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FROM THE STATES: Mo., Ark., Tenn. evangelism/missions news

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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.

Today's From the States features items from:

The Pathway (Missouri)

Arkansas Baptist News

Baptist & Reflector (Tennessee)

Greene County Association churches on mission

from Mexico to Nebraska to northwest India

By Brian Koonce

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (The Pathway)--The exact wording of Acts 1:8 commands Jesus's followers to go make disciples "in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth." For the churches of Greene County Baptist Association, that translates to "Springfield, Nebraska and India." And don't forget Guadalajara, Mexico, where a team of 17 representing seven churches from the association has been witnessing to spectators at the Pan American Games since Oct. 13.

"The churches embrace Acts 1:8," said Mike Haynes, Greene County director of missions. "We've got 94 churches and missions that constitute the association and the great majority on some level are sending money or people for these partnerships. We're blessed with some great churches."

The Greene County churches have been making several trips a year in the last several years to the west-central Mexican city as part of a partnership with the regional Baptist convention there.

"Our churches do vacation Bible schools, construction projects and for the past several springs our association has paid for and have conducted a leadership training conference for their pastors and wives," Haynes said.

Guadalajara is the second-largest city in Mexico and this week is hosting the Pan American Games, an international, Olympics-style competition among 42 North and South American nations. The city expects roughly 500,000 visitors for the games, including the mission team from Greene County.


"The Baptists and other evangelicals are really doing a great job trying to bring in groups and hosting activities to share the Gospel with the spectators and just meeting people," Haynes said.

The team will be passing out free bottles of water with the Gospel printed on the labels and copies of the Gospel of John.

At "the ends of the earth," churches in the association are in a long-term partnership with an association of churches in northwest India, centered around the city of Chandighar. Their most recent trip was in March of this year.

"We've seen the Lord work in a powerful way in that part of India," Haynes said.

The association works with a pastor-church planter in Chandighar, who has been pastoring for more than 30 years. Through that one church, more than 400 churches and missions have sprung up in the region. They promote sponsoring children in a local Christian school and have helped in its construction, and like in Guadalajara, they hosted a leadership conference for 40 pastors, many of whom traveled 200 miles and slept on the floor to be there. But perhaps their biggest ministry in India isn't one that immediately comes to mind to most people who think about international missions: motorcycles.

"So many of the pastors are leading several churches in two or three different villages, but they are limited by a lack of transportation," Haynes said. "We dreamed of ways to help them in that regard and in the last three years we've bought probably 20 motorcycles for pastors there. They go from people able to plant churches in three or four villages, to 15 villages. It's been a very rewarding ministry."


A little closer to home, the churches of the association are partnering with churches in eastern Nebraska to spread the Gospel.

"The primary thing we've done is promote needs from the churches there and each summer several of our churches go up there working with church plants, or working with churches in downtown Omaha or Lincoln," Haynes said. "It's only a seven-hour drive up there, so we churches can do a short weekend trip if that's what works or longer doing Bible schools, helping do the legwork with a church plant or whatever they need."

This article originally appeared in The Pathway (mbcpathway.com) newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention. Brian Koonce is a staff writer for The Pathway.


'One Day' makes eternal difference:

Churches meet for missions

By Jessica Vanderpool

One day. Seventeen hundred mission volunteers. Fifty-one salvations.

That is what occurred at the Acts 1:8 One Day Mission Trip Oct. 1.

Breck Freeman, Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) missions ministries team member and Acts 1:8 One Day Mission Trip coordinator, said more than 125 churches from across the state converged on the Mena/De Queen area with a force of more than 1,700 volunteers for the mission trip.

Together, the volunteers split into groups and went out to serve communities in the Ouachita Baptist Association and share the love of Christ with them. Teams ministered in more than 80 sites in the area.

Some groups did yard work, others held sports clinics or block parties. One even held a fishing derby. Still others distributed food, prayer walked, held medical or dental clinics or served in various other ways.


"It's just an opportunity for us to present Christ to Polk County and even down into Sevier County," explained Jerry Taylor, pastor of Concord Baptist Church near Mena, who also served as leader at the fishing derby in Mena. "We have a couple churches down there in our association, and so they're doing the same thing down there."

Meanwhile, as fishermen and women cast their lines and waited for a bite in Mena, children and adults were biting into hotdogs at a block party at Iglesia Bautista Emanuel, De Queen, about 50 miles away.

Rich Lugo, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Emanuel, explained the church was chosen as a block party site due to the large Hispanic population. He said about 200 people came throughout the day.

Lugo explained, "And it's not so much that they heard us preach and tell them about the love of Jesus, but they got to hear other people ... share the love of Christ and there was a very good response from the community in general. So ... like they say, our work is now getting ready to start. Today was the easy day."

By the end of the day, he said at least 13 people had accepted Christ at the block party.

"I just hope that as many that have made a decision for Christ and have heard the Word will open their hearts (and) continue with Him because that is the realization that that's what's going to help them in their life, and there really is no other place to go besides that direction," Lugo said. "So that's what we're hoping occurs because we will see lives changed with that."

Another 13 people were saved at the medical and dental clinics. Other salvations were spread out between sites.


Freeman added that, over the course of the day, not only did 51 people accept Christ, but also "numerous other decisions were made." More than 5,000 people were fed, and 400 boxes of food were given out, as well.

"We have received very positive input from churches that were on the trip on how they are looking forward to upcoming mission projects," Freeman said.

Contact Jessica Vanderpool at jessica@arkansasbaptist.org.

This article originally appeared in the Arkansas Baptist News (arkansasbaptist.org), newsjournal of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Jessica Vanderpool is assistant editor of the Arkansas Baptist News.


JAMs Jammed With Missions

By Connie D. Bushey

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (Baptist & Reflector)--Several hundred boys and girls gathered here last weekend for the last of three JAMs held for girls and boys in grades 1-6. JAM stands for Journey Into Adventures in Missions.

The three JAMs, held at First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro; Union University, Jackson; and First Baptist Church, Morristown, drew about 984 participants and 199 program personnel.

At each JAM boys and girls, including some members of Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors, visited an interactive missions fair with games and activities, attended a high energy competition session based on TV game shows and attended missions presentations.

The missions fair included the chance to visit with missionaries and to pack Kits for Kids, the JAM ministry project of supplying school items to needy children in other countries through Baptist Global Response, a global and development organization.


The items were supplied by JAM participants with help from participants of two other recent Tennessee Woman's Missionary Union events. Christy Dyer of the Tennessee WMU staff explained that because 12 items were needed for each kit, women attending the Women's Prayer Retreat and the four training events or Equipping Missions Leaders events, also contributed items for the kits.

Dyer said 22,782 school items were given and the project was a good one because children were helping children and it was hands-on as they packed the kits.

The theme of the JAMs was "Missions and Me."

Helping lead each JAM were several of the six State Acteens Panelists. Panelists are high school students who are members of Acteens, a WMU missions education program for girls in grades 7-12.

Helping at the JAM held at First, Murfreesboro, were Miko Bloom of First Baptist Church, Estill Springs; Alyssa Hargrove of First Baptist Church, Spring Hill; and Lydia Huggins of Southwest Baptist Church, Johnson City.

Bloom said the JAMs are important because it helps children learn "how important they are in missions. They need to be involved as a little kid just as they do whenever they grow up."

Hargrove said JAMs are good because kids have the chance to "be one-on-one with the missionaries" and realize "that they are real."

Huggins said JAMs help kids "learn about the missionaries and how they work." She also thought the missions project was important for them to be involved in.

JAM "is a fun experience," added Huggins.

Dyer, preschool/children/student ministry specialist, Tennessee WMU, who directs the JAMs said the staff is dependent on the dozens of volunteers who serve, the churches and other entities who host them and gifts to the Cooperative Program by Tennessee Baptists.


This article originally appeared in the Baptist & Reflector (http://tnbaptist.org/BRNews.asp), newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Connie D. Bushey is news editor of the Baptist & Reflector.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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