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Today's From the States features items from:

Oklahoma Baptist University

The Proclaimer (Virginia)

Baptist New Mexican

Nursing majors share God's

love, medical care in Mexico

By Julie McGowan

LA MIXTECA, Mexico (Oklahoma Baptist University) -- The La Mixteca region of Mexico boasts great geological contrasts, with mountain ranges to the north, ravines to the east, valleys to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the south. For OBU nursing majors, a January intercultural service trip to the region provided great contrasts as well: an abundance of opportunities to share God's love and basic hygiene practices with hospitable people, coupled with the constraints of multi-lingual communication and limited medical care.

The rugged, varied geography hindered communication among the Mixtec people groups over time, creating a great differentiation of dialects within the Mixtec culture. An estimated 12 or more different Mixtec languages exist.

Communication was one challenge for the OBU team, comprised of four nursing majors: Alex Whelan, a senior from Parachute, Colo.; Emily Christensen, a junior from Cañon City, Colo.; Jonathan Phillips, a senior from Exeter, Calif.; and Brandy Moore, a senior from Mansfield, Texas. The group was sponsored by OBU faculty members Martha Hernandez and Dawn Westbrook, assistant professors of nursing.

"We were very far south and were in a beautiful mountainous area," said Whelan, who has been to Mexico more than a dozen times on intercultural service trips, but not to this same area. "While working at the established clinic, we were right on the beach, but during our village trip we were way up in the mountains."

The OBU team joined forces with an existing working group to serve alongside cross-cultural workers in an established clinic. The students also were part of a large group that traveled into remote mountain villages to set up clinics in communities with very limited access to medical care. They had an opportunity to work alongside 2012 OBU graduate Aubrey Dolliver, who obtained her nursing license and now ministers full-time at the site.

"We had the overall goal of keeping Christ first and sharing his love to all we encountered," said Christensen. "We also had to goal to use our skills that we have been gaining in nursing school to help the communities we were in contact with in Oaxaca. We did a three-day village trip where we set up portable clinic sites to see the people in the villages. Our goal with this was to help relieve their physical ailments. Afterward, we would pray with them and tell them about Jesus."

The villages the team visited lie about five hours away from most modern services, Whelan said. The local people speak a dialect different from Spanish, and the local culture varies from much of Mexico. The people dress differently and work to grow food to sustain their families. With meals comprised mostly of beans and tortillas, the medical team encountered a lot of nutritional deficiencies in the local people. In addition to addressing medical needs, the team had prepared a health teaching project about dental hygiene which they shared in several churches, as well as during the clinics.

The most difficult part of the trip was the language barrier, she reported. Because the local people did not speak Spanish, the team used two separate translators for each conversation exchange. The system made communication difficult and time-consuming.

"We would have one translator from English to Spanish, and then another one for Spanish to Mixteca," Whelan said. "While this was difficult for normal conversations, it was much more difficult for the medical side of things. Frequently things were lost in translation and much clarification was needed in order to understand simple symptoms."

Perseverance proved fruitful for the team, which ministered to more than 80 patients in one village alone. Six people made life-changing commitments to accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior.

"The most rewarding part of the trip was during our village trip," Whelan said. "I really enjoyed being able to help people that very rarely get medical care. They genuinely needed what we were giving them. It was, however, heartbreaking to think that we could only give them limited care and only short supplies of medications which wouldn't last them very long when they could use care much more frequently."

The journey was not new for OBU's College of Nursing, which offers two cross-cultural health ministry courses designed for junior and senior nursing students who are beginning practitioners in health ministry. The practicum courses, which focus on the application of the nursing process with individuals and within communities, are coordinated with OBU's Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach (GO Center). The January assignment marked the College's fifth trip to the same region of Mexico.

"The nursing department has a long history of taking students on (intercultural service) trips to expand the opportunity to integrate faith and discipline," Hernandez said. "Dean Lana Bolhouse was the first to take a group to Mexico in 1983. We are blessed to have the opportunity to work beside Laura Pratt Nelson, RN, who obtained her BSN and MSN in Oklahoma and has been working in this area for the past 21 years."

The GO Center sends dozens of students on international service endeavors each year. As a Christian liberal art university, OBU transforms lives by equipping students to pursue academic excellence, integrate faith with all areas of knowledge, engage a diverse world and live worthy of the high calling of God in Christ.

"This trip gives students the opportunity to begin this journey of nursing with God," Hernandez said.

Whelan said she believes students should take the opportunities to engage in intercultural service opportunities because such trips provide a view of how people around the world live, and how that differs from students in the United States. She also found the staff of the village clinics rely on volunteers utilizing their skills and helping in outreach.

"It changes the way I live and how I view the world," she said. "I think it is important to give some of our time and abilities to those who are less fortunate. I also think it is very important to come alongside people who are missionaries full time and encourage them in what they are doing and show them that we are supporting them by helping them out."

For Christensen, the trip broke the mindset that the nursing skills she has learned apply only to a hospital setting.

"I definitely think it is important for OBU students to go on GO Trips," Christensen said. "I think that it is a perfect way to use their learning to help others - no matter what their major is. … It gives you an idea of how you can use your skills to help others and educate them for the future. It is an eye-opener that teaches you more than a classroom ever could."

This article appeared in the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger (baptistmessenger.com), newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Julie McGowan is news and media relations director for Oklahoma Baptist University.

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Richmond church plant modeled

after 'Matthew's Table'

By Staff

RICHMOND, Va. (Proclaimer) -- In 2010, Ricky and Audrey Love came to Richmond to partner with Alethia Richmond (an SBCV church plant) to plant a new church in one of the city's toughest areas. Richmond's inner city is extremely unreached and desperately needy, and the Loves moved right into the heart of it.

As early as the 1990s, C. Eric Lincoln wrote in his book "The Black Church in the African American Experience" that "a major challenge to the church was communities like the East End where there was a growing sector of unchurched black youth, largely teenage and young black adult males." The East End of Richmond is also home to four housing projects. Richmond has more public housing per capita than any other city south of New York City.

A year before the Loves moved to Virginia, God began to show Ricky from the Scriptures His concern for the outcasts of society. The vision for this new church, Matthew's Table, was birthed out of a passion to see the Gospel change lives through the local church, especially among the poor and neglected areas of Richmond. Matthew's Table even got its name from the story of Matthew's call.

As a tax collector, Matthew was himself an outcast. Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners (Matt. 9:10). Matthew's table was a place where those who were far from God were invited to come near. It was a place of belonging and acceptance. The Loves and Matthew's Table Church want to be like that. Their desire is to be a place where those who are normally forgotten by the world and very often by the church can find acceptance and family through Jesus Christ.

Matthew's Table began meeting as a small group in May of 2010. They began to build relationships with people in the city in simple ways, such as hosting meals and playing basketball. During that time, they also developed a wonderful relationship with the Fairfield Court Boys and Girls Club in a community where 70-90 percent of the children are fatherless. Through their partnership, they have put on several events such as cookouts, open-mic nights and a hip-hop concert.

Over the past two years, they have realized as they look out at a community that is broken and in need of the Gospel, that they too are broken and in daily need of that same Gospel of grace. They need abundant grace to deal with the many difficult situations they experience living and ministering in this community -- situations like Diontae's. He is 21 and fatherless and because of his mother's drug addiction, was raised by his grandmother. In order to survive he's been selling drugs in his community since age 12. By God's grace, Diontae has been getting to know folks from Matthew's Table. It took him a year, but he recently came to a service where he heard the Gospel for the first time. He has read the Gospel of John and is now reading Luke. Though not yet a follower of Christ, God is clearly at work in his life.

Please partner and pray with the Loves for those like Diontae and the multitude of people living in this needy mission field.

This article appeared in the Proclaimer (sbcv.org/articles/category/proclaimer), newsjournal of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia.

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Anchor Church

has 'Grand Opening'

By John Loudat

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Baptist New Mexican) -- Anchor Church already has tripled the size of its "church planting team," with 91 people present on Sunday morning, Jan. 6, for its "Grand Opening" at Dennis Chavez Elementary School in Albuquerque's Far Northeast Heights.

Most important, three people trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior that Sunday, and another two prayed to receive Christ the following Sunday.

The young church's lead pastor, Jared Bridge, told the Baptist New Mexican newsjournal he is thankful for the role the Baptist Convention of New Mexico and New Mexico Baptists have played in the starting of the new work.

"Because of (New Mexico Baptists') commitment to the Cooperative Program, we were able to have a successful launch and expand God's territory," Bridge said.

The church-planting pastor also expressed his appreciation to X Factor Christian Fellowship—which was planted a few years ago by Sandia Baptist Church, Albuquerque—for its gift of children ministry equipment and portable storage carts.

While everyone is welcome at Anchor Church, the congregation is currently "connecting" with many young families and has reached a number of single mothers, Bridge said, recalling an inspiring story of redemption in the life of one young lady in particular.

Without a doubt, the church is gaining momentum, the pastor said, noting that it is growing at a rate that he believes two services will soon be necessary.

Anchor Church began meeting in Bridge's home last June and met there until it grew to about 30. On July 8, it moved to the Baptist Convention of New Mexico's building, where it met until its Grand Opening.

For the past several years, Bridge, who grew up in Albuquerque, has been a youth pastor—at Sagebrush Church and, most recently, Hoffmantown Church. He said God has given him a vision for reaching Albuquerque and the surrounding area with the power of the gospel. More on the church can be found at anchorchurch.co.

This article appeared in the Baptist New Mexican (bcnm.com/page.php?team=Executive&category=Information%20Services%20Team&page=Baptist%20New%20Mexican), newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. John Loudat is editor of the Baptist New Mexican.

EDITOR'S NOTE: From the States, published each Tuesday by Baptist Press, relays news and feature stories from state Baptist papers and other publications on initiatives by Baptist churches, associations and state conventions in evangelism, church planting and Great Commission outreach, including partnership missions. Reports about churches, associations and state conventions responding to the International Mission Board's call to embrace the world's 3,800 unengaged, unreached people groups also are included in From the States, along with reports about church, associational and state convention initiatives in conjunction with the North American Mission Board's call to Southern Baptist churches to broaden their efforts in starting new churches and satellite campuses. The items appear in Baptist Press as originally published.

Copyright (c) 2013 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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