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BP Ledger, Aug. 20 edition

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.

Today's BP Ledger contains items from:

Baptist New Mexican

Oklahoma Baptist University

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Lamb & Lion Home Video

Southern Baptists Wrap Up Ministry in Ruidoso Area

By John Loudat & Tammy Reed Ledbetter

ALBUQUERQUE (Baptist New Mexican) -- New Mexico Baptist Disaster Relief recently completed what may have been its most demanding deployment, the eight weeks of ministry during and after the devastating Little Bear Fire north of Ruidoso.

On June 9, the day after the wildfire near Alto jumped containment lines, NMBDR was activated by the American Red Cross to provide feeding and communications assistance, and shelters were opened at Trinity Baptist Church in Capitan and at the high school in Ruidoso.

Pecos Valley Baptist Association's feeding team began serving meals at lunch the following day at Ruidoso High School, Central Baptist Association's communications unit began operating later that same day and First Baptist Church, Ruidoso, opened its facilities for evacuees.

Communications assistance was needed because of the phone lines and cell towers that had been destroyed by the blaze.

Ten days after the NMBDR volunteers were deployed, most of them had returned to their homes and preparation for the next phase of ministry had begun, with two volunteers commencing the work of doing assessments for clean up, working with homeowners who were submitting applications.

The two men stayed at Canaan Trail Baptist Church in Alto, which had miraculously survived the blaze that destroyed much of the surrounding area.

That second phase of ministry, which began the first week of July and concluded Aug. 4, was the most demanding part of the overall ministry project, since NMBDR was not working with Red Cross at a place that had already been set up, said Cricket Pairett, ministry assistant on the Baptist Convention of New Mexico's missions mobilization team. NMBDR, she explained, needed to provide the entire infrastructure, which included housing, logistics, operations and food.

First Baptist, Ruidoso, served as the base for operations, making its facilities available to the many Baptist volunteers who came not only from across the state but from Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arizona over the four-week-plus period. While some of them stayed at the church, others stayed at the auxiliary gymnasium of Ruidoso High School.

Incident commanders Ira Shelton of Albuquerque, Dick Ross of Clovis and Ed Greene of Rio Rancho directed the army of volunteers from five states, who tackled 77 of the clean-up jobs that had been requested.

The biggest bottleneck in operations has been the inability to get dumpsters to a dump near Alamogordo," Greene said during the time he directed the operation, describing the round trip of about 150 miles.

In the initial phase of ministry in June, NMBDR volunteers logged 284 volunteer days in serving 4,156 meals to evacuees and firefighters. During the clean-up portion in July, they served volunteers 4,513 meals, working 221 volunteer days.

The communications unit put in 530 hours passing on 2,218 messages. Manned by volunteers from New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, they were assisted by ham radio operators of Lincoln County.

The primary work of Phase 2 was the clean up of the devastated area. They also were supported by NMBDR's mobile shower unit, which provided 510 showers; its laundry unit, which washed 387 loads of clothes; and a command staff that put in 202 volunteer days.

Pairett stressed the valuable contribution of area churches, the local high school and businesses. "We couldn't have done it without them," she said.


"We are grateful that you have been led and used by our Lord during our time of need," wrote Don and Pauline Romero in a note addressed to BCNM's DR staff.

"You have helped countless individuals to make this crisis somewhat more bearable," they added. "The food and kind words of encouragement have not gone unnoticed. Bless you for being a blessing."

A retired pilot took his loss in stride, standing near the ashes of his over 4,000-square-foot house that took a year and a half to build and only three hours to burn.

"You need to wake up at 4:30 after a fire and see the beautiful universe out there and realize how miniscule this is," he said. "There's always a blessing in store, and I believe the Lord has got a good plan for us.

"It's already happening," added the longtime Southern Baptist who moved to the area seven years ago from Spring, Texas. He praised the hard-working Southern Baptists of Texas Convention crew, noting that his wife plans to join New Mexico's DR team after seeing the ministry firsthand.

"These guys and women are so fantastic; you don't find this in the world," he said. "If this is not a witness, I don't know what is."

Texas Southern Baptists poured their hearts into the work of helping New Mexicans recover from the wildfire that raced across the area after the lightning strike, deploying 44 volunteers during the month of July and sharing their faith along the way.

They were eager to return the favor of serving after Southern Baptist DR volunteers from 11 state conventions, including New Mexico, deployed last year to Texas following the Bastrop area wildfires.

"It is our opportunity and privilege to share with our fellow state conventions in disaster relief ministry," stated Jim Richardson, the SBTC's DR director.

"We have the opportunity to assist our neighbors during their time of need as they come to our assistance when we have a need."

Most local residents were amazed at the kindness of strangers ministering to them. After the devastating loss of his home, one man struggled with this new challenge by moving into an RV trailer on his charred property.

"He was very touched by the fact that people would come from so far away to help him and have no idea who he was," recalled Suzy Scott, an experienced SBTC DR volunteer from Atlanta, Texas, who drove 700 miles to reach the site. "We just told him it was because of the Lord that we were there."

The Little Bear Fire ended up burning over 69 square miles, destroying 242 homes, and costing an estimated $19 million to fight. Despite the disastrous result, several residents are experiencing new life in Christ.

Without a doubt, the many volunteers who were involved in the ministry are most grateful for the nine people whose lives they had been able to touch with the love of God who professed their newfound faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

John Loudat is editor of the Baptist New Mexican; Tammy Reed Ledbetter is news editor for the Southern Baptist Texan.


OBU students offer help

in the 'Land of Smiles'

SHAWNEE, Okla. (Oklahoma Baptist University) -- Filled with friendly, gracious people who value hospitality, Thailand is known as the "Land of Smiles." An eight-member team from Oklahoma Baptist University traveled to the Southeast Asian country on mission to share their own smiles with third-culture kids gathered there.

Southern Baptist mission representatives who live and serve in East Asia gather periodically for times of training and retreat. While the parents participate in meetings, volunteers bring Vacation Bible School and childcare to the meeting site for the representatives' children - the task for OBU's Global Outreach team. During the meetings, missionaries are encouraged in their faith and walk with Christ after a mental, physical and spiritual drain of many months of focused service in East Asia.


"We invest in them by nurturing their spiritual lives as well as evangelistic and discipleship skills for their return to minister in East Asia," said Nathan*, an equipper of new missionaries in East Asia. "OBU investing in the lives of these worker's children refreshes the children as well, which in turn refreshes the family for further service."

Without OBU's investment in the children, the group of workers in East Asia would not be able to nurture, encourage and invest in the entire family during the time of retreat, Curtis explained. By strengthening the entire family, the OBU team enabled missionaries to be strengthened for long-term service.

The team was one of nine OBU-commissioned groups to participate in missions adventures during the summer 2012 semester. OBU's mission encourages students to integrate faith with all areas of knowledge and to engage a diverse world. More than 60 OBU students, faculty and staff embarked on summer Global Outreach (GO) Trips, sharing their faith around the globe under the leadership of Dr. Joy Turner, director of global mobilization.

Some of the OBU team members initially did not feel their mission trip assignment was very exciting, but they quickly learned the value of their service.

"I always thought that missions work looked all alike, but really it's just whatever needs done to contribute to the Kingdom (of God)," said Cherry Donnelly, the team's leader, who serves as secretary in OBU's Division of Music. "That's what is at the heart of missions, not a particular job description."

Prior to the trip, OBU student Christopher Thrutchley said he felt "left out" of the exciting summer trips awaiting his classmates: hiking the Amazon River area, doing medical work in South Asia, living in African villages and more.

"And I was just going to do daycare in a metropolitan Asian city," said Thrutchley, a sophomore from Broken Arrow, Okla. "Even though I knew I was going where God wanted me … I felt left out. However, upon arriving and seeing the faces of the and their families, hearing their stories, and living alongside them for eight days, my attitude completely changed. I became convinced that I was on the most productive trip of them all, because what my team was doing would have a lasting, refreshing impact on long-term workers all over East Asia. No longer did I feel left out. I felt ecstatic!"

Heather Johnson, a sophomore from Duncan, Okla., said her first impression of Thailand was darkness, which overshadowed the smiles she saw. She said she felt physical darkness as the city where they served sat in a valley surrounded by mountains. But she also felt spiritual darkness as she watched local people make sacrifices to Buddhist idols.

"My heart was completely broken," Johnson said. "Very few people there know about God or anything to do with Him. It was so sad to see how lost they were, even though they were smiling and happy. Their happiness was so futile, and it was so depressing seeing that and knowing that they did not see how fleeting that happiness was, and how pointless it was to sacrifice (to idols)."

The trip served not only to expand the team members' worldviews, but also they learned the value of service and gifts. Working with a team from the Metro East Baptist Association in St. Louis, Mo., team members collected items to provide care packages for the representatives' families, as well as birthday gifts for each of their children. They collected food items and supplies not commonly found in foreign countries. Donnelly said each team member was allowed by the airline to check two bags, so each checked one bag full of the care package supplies.


"The gifts provide a constant reminder as the workers return to East Asia that numerous Oklahomans serve alongside them in prayer," Curtis said. "There is no limit to the encouragement Oklahoma's investment will produce as these families seek to spread new life that is paved with new hope in Christ."

Donnelly said the most rewarding part of her trip was meeting the Southern Baptist representatives and hearing their personal stories.

"I love learning what their struggles are and how God worked through them," she said. "It helps me to learn how to pray for them."

Johnson said the trip gave her a greater appreciation for living in a place where she is surrounded by like-minded believers in Christ.

"It also helped me to see how urgent it is for us to spread the news (of Jesus)," she said. "There are so many people out there who do not know about Christ, and as a believer, that breaks my heart. Knowing the joy I have found in my Father makes me want to share the wonderful news with those who do not know it."

For more information about OBU's Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach, visit

Located in Shawnee, Okla., OBU offers 10 bachelor's degrees with 84 fields of study. The Christian liberal arts university has an overall enrollment of 1,871, with students from 37 states and 27 other countries. OBU has been rated as one of the top 10 comprehensive colleges in the West by U.S. News and World Report for 20 consecutive years and has been Oklahoma's highest rated comprehensive college in the U.S. News rankings for 18 consecutive years. For 2011-12, ranked OBU as the top university in Oklahoma.

* Name changed for the security of mission personnel and the people with whom they work.


First corporate chaplain west of Mississippi

River recalls nearly 65 years of ministry

By Sharayah Colter

FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) -- Whether described as baggage, drama, problems or issues, employees in corporations around the nation often hear, "leave it at the door." In all reality though, the problems employees face in their personal lives do affect their work.

Arkansas pastor Dean Newberry realized those employeesneeded Christ but knew not many of them came to church to seek Him out. A United States Air Force veteran and an alumnus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Newberry began to feel a burden for those employees and a call from the Lord to minister to them.

"In 1975, I became concerned that at that time, 95 percent of religious work was done within the four walls of the church, and, yet, less than 50 percent of American people acknowledged an identification with any particular church," said Newberry, who had been pastoring in local churches for 29 years at that point.

After some research and prayer, Newberry said he received his "marching orders" from God in Mark 6:31-44, where Jesus ministers to the people out of compassion, teaches them and meets their needs. With his direction from the Lord in hand, Newberry contacted James Hudson, president of Hudson Foods Inc. in Springdale, Ark.—which later became Tyson Foods Inc.—and discussed with him the possibility of joining the Hudson team to serve as the company chaplain.

Ten days later, Hudson hired Newberry for the position—a decision that helped to pioneer the marketplace chaplaincy field. No longerwould employees at Hudson be among the millions of workers admonished to leave their "problems" at the door. Instead, they would have access to a chaplain who could help them sort through the difficulties and joys of life and the inevitable effect those situations had on their work. As part of the new chaplaincy program, Hudson and Newberry constructed a chaplaincy mission statement, which The Morning News of Northwestern Arkansas published in a July 30, 1995, article about the chaplaincy program at the poultry plant.


"In keeping with the company's emphasis upon human values and recognizing that our associates' work environment is impacted by their home life, mental, emotional and spiritual health, the chaplain shall provide a ministry of pastoral visitation, care and counseling to our associates and their families, regardless of their religious affiliation or beliefs," the mission statement read.

Newberry's successor, Alan Tyson, a Southwestern alumnus of no relation to Tyson Foods' namesake, described the position in the same Morning News article as "wandering around" hospitals, homes and plants, getting to know employees and being available to help however they can.

Although a handful of corporate chaplaincy programs existed in the East, Hudson's invitation to Newberry to join the company made Newberry the first corporate chaplain west of the Mississippi River. During the next 17 years, as Newberry developed and implemented the chaplaincy program at the poultry plant, he became affectionately known as the "Chicken Chaplain."

Two years after he accepted the role of chaplain at the growing Hudson Foods, Southwestern invited Newberry to speak in chapel and to guest-teach in a chaplaincy course. Newberry, who completed his seminary degree in 1953, felt honored and privileged to encourage the students who sat in the same place he had more than two decades earlier. He realized his degree armed him with the knowledge and tools needed to follow God everywhere He would send him.

"My Master of Divinity studies prepared me spiritually as a minister of the Gospel, and my religious education classes prepared me to spread the Gospel both in the pastorate and in the chaplaincy," Newberry said.

When he guest-taught in the chaplaincy class with now-retired professor of pastoral ministry Gerald Marsh, Newberry said he, too, was encouraged.

"When I asked if he could recommend to me a book on industrial chaplaincy, he replied, 'Yes, I can: The New Testament,'" Newberry recalled. "I needed to hear those words. After all, if our marching order can't be found in the New Testament, we shouldn't be marching in that direction."

With that reminder, Newberry continued to march on, serving in his chaplaincy position for nearly two decades. In 1992, Newberry retired from chaplaincy and returned to the pulpit once again, leading as an interim and then a full-time senior pastor until 2005. Over a span of three decades, Newberry also served as president of the Arkansas Board of Baptists, as an executive board member of Midwestern Baptist Seminary and as chairman of the development committee at Midwestern.

In 1996, Newberry celebrated 50 years of ministry, having been first ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1946, just after graduating from Ouachita Baptist University. The late Adrian Rogers, the then-pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., where one of Newberry's three sons, Phil, still serves on staff, sent a note of thanks and encouragement to Newberry for five decades of service to the Lord. But Newberry was still not finished with ministry.

In 2003, in the midst of his service in the local church, Newberry began serving as a volunteer chaplain at St. Mary's Hospital (now known as Mercy Hospital of Norwest Arkansas) in Rogers, Ark.

"My days as a volunteer chaplain began at 5 a.m., as my assignment was to minister to those going in for outpatient surgery," Newberry said. "Being able to touch a large number of people each year and to bring them comfort, hope and peace before a critical time in their lives has been a rich blessing from God."


Pierce McIntyre, who also serves as a chaplain at the hospital, says the patients Newberry encountered indeed saw him as a blessing.

"He continues to have an impact, not only while he volunteered here. Even today, he was recognized this morning at a board of trustees meeting at our hospital for his years of service here as well," McIntyre said in a July 25 interview. "He continues to have an influence in the community. Patients at the hospital really appreciated the consistency of having Dean there when they came in, to pray for them."

During his eight years of service at the hospital, Newberry ministered to about 6,000 people each year.

"The response from patients, family and friends has been overwhelming," Newberry said of his volunteer service. "I have been paid well for my efforts."

Though health matters led Newberry to resign from the volunteer chaplaincy in December 2011, Newberry says he continues to pray for chaplaincy staff and hopes his experiences can offer encouragement to students who have felt the same call on their lives that he received many years ago.

"If you have the Lord as your personal Savior, then you have everything, no matter ill or well, rich or poor, average or very successful in your efforts," Newberry said. "Always remember that you are touching lives, whatever your position of ministry that God provides."

Sharayah Colter is a writer for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas (


Evangelist Rev. Billy Graham lauded by top entertainers

in tribute project "Thank you, Billy Graham"

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Lamb & Lion Home Video) -- Pat Boone's Lamb & Lion Home Video label is honoring Billy Graham through its "Thank You, Billy Graham" tribute project. Available in stores nationwide September 11, 2012, this multi-artist musical tribute DVD and bonus music CD will celebrate Graham's life and ministry.

Some of the world's premier entertainers, from Larry King to Reba McEntire, have come together for personal testimonials and joining their voices in a multi-artist, anthemic performance of "Thank You, Billy Graham." The project was written and produced by Pat Boone, Grammy-winning rock artist David Pack from the critically acclaimed band Ambrosia, and Grammy winning country singer-songwriter Billy Dean. Special features include hours of interviews and in-studio footage condensed down into a documentary style, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the tribute.

"This is a once in a lifetime celebration for a humble giant who has devoted his life to serving God and humanity," says Pack.

Along with King and McEntire, other featured entertainers include country stars Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Kenny Rogers, and Marty Stuart; pop and rock artists Michael McDonald, LeAnn Rimes, John Elefante (Kansas) and John Ford Coley; R&B/gospel artists Jeffrey Osborne, Andraé Crouch and Vestal Goodman; and contemporary Christian artists TobyMac, Kevin Max and Michael Tait (dc Talk), Mark Kibble (Take 6) and Lisa Bevill among others. The film also features a special guest appearance from former CNN talk show host Larry King who narrates the song's third verse.

Since he was ordained in 1939, Graham has preached to nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries, and led hundreds of thousands of individuals to make personal decisions to live for Christ. His counsel has been sought by presidents and heads of state, and he has received numerous awards, including the Congressional Gold Medal.

Over 100,000 ministers have trained under his spiritual tutelage, and Graham has been preaching at White House services since FDR was president. His stadium sermons are legendary and only ended recently due to the world-famous preacher's frail health. Graham's wife, Ruth Bell Graham, died in June 2007 following a lengthy illness.


"He would not want to hear it, he's such a humble man," says Boone. "But around the world, we need to say it: Thank You, Billy Graham."

A portion of the proceeds from the Thank You, Billy Graham project will be donated to Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse and Mercy Corps, two charities that support humanitarian relief throughout the world.

Today, at age 93 (Graham will celebrate his 94th birthday November 7th), he is still widely recognized for his humanitarian work around the globe and the work of his foundation, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Graham's son, evangelist Franklin Graham, serves as President and CEO of the BGEA.

Worldwide and North American distribution of Thank You, Billy Graham through all traditional and online retailers is via Allegro Media Group (

To listen to the song "Thank You Billy Graham," visit

About The Gold Label and Lamb & Lion Home Video

In the late 1990s entertainment icon and Billboard chart-topping artist Pat Boone contacted a number of his peers -- singers who'd sold millions of records -- and offered them the opportunity to make new records and be part of keeping their previous hits available. The Gold Label became a destination for keeping in touch with the biggest hits of the '40s, '50s and '60s by the legacy crooners that made them famous, including such singers as Jack Jones, Sha Na Na and The Ventures. In recent years The Gold Label began adding to its roster new artists spanning a variety of genres including vocal and instrumental, pop, jazz and neoclassical.

In the 1970s and 1980s Lamb & Lion Records was home to such contemporary Christian artists as Debby Boone, Gary Chapman, Degarmo & Key, and the Boone Family. Today, like parent company The Gold Label, Lamb & Lion Records is re-releasing catalog titles from legacy Christian artists and adding new contemporary Christian artists to the label.

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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