Today's BP Ledger includes items from:
The Pathway, Missouri Baptist Convention
The Lausanne Movement
Israel Ministry of Tourism
Mars Hill College
First Baptist Orlando
National Guard, MBC form faith-based partnership
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (The Pathway)--The Missouri National Guard is reaching out to troops through the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) in an effort to provide yet another layer of support to the state's citizen-soldiers and airmen.
Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard, signed a voluntary memorandum of understanding April 28 to implement the Partners in Care initiative. Also signing was MBC Interim Executive Director Jay Hughes, who was assisted on background by Kerry Messer, MBC lobbyist.
"We want to have a reciprocal relationship with these folks," said Jim Wells, MBC Executive Board member, director of missions for the Tri-County Baptist Association, Nixa, and registration secretary for the Southern Baptist Convention. "The fact of them working with us in partnership with chaplaincy is worth thousands of dollars in equipment when we have a disaster in the state."
Partners in Care help coordinate support for Guardsmen and their families by teaming up with local faith communities like the MBC. The state chaplain's office is working to identify resources churches currently offer and refer troops to those services. All faiths are welcome to participate with their congregations.
"My intent is to provide our Guardsmen and their family members with a variety of support systems in their local communities," said Danner. "The care team is in place to recognize and assess their needs. We can then direct them to resources within our organization, as well as within their local areas."
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon supports this new partnership and sees the positive impact it will have on troops and their families.
"Missouri's communities of faith have been anchors in times of need," Nixon said. "We have seen them put their faith into action many times before to help their fellow Missourians with physical needs. Partners in Care takes this to a new level, helping to meet the spiritual needs of those brave men and women who protect us at home and overseas, as well as ministering to the needs of their families. This initiative will carry great reward and benefit for everyone involved."
Col. Gary Gilmore, Joint Force chaplain with the Missouri National Guard and a former trustee with Southwest Baptist University, recognizes that an untapped area of strength and support is local churches.
"If I have a relationship, chaplain to pastor, and I'm aware of what a church offers in that community, I'm also likely aware of what's going on in a soldier's life in that community," said Gilmore. "If I can make them aware of each other and then they voluntarily choose to unite a need and a resource, that's a win-win for everybody."
In return, Gilmore plans to work with local pastors in a collegial relationship and provide free specialized training enabling them to better work with the military and gain a deeper knowledge of what military men and women endure.
"Our churches have our National Guard retirees out in their congregation and out in their community," said Gilmore. "They have World War II, Korea and Vietnam vets in their congregations right now, but no one teaches pastors how to understand and equip them to better minister to folks with military service."
While providing this free training to Missouri pastors, Gilmore simply asks in return that churches extend programs they may already have in place to the soldiers and families in their community, such as Mother's Day Out, marriage counseling or financial counseling programs. Gilmore views Partners in Care as a triangle having a connection with a pastor and a connection with the soldier and his family.
"If a church would share its strength, and we share our strength in training with the church, what's not to love?"
A citizen-soldier lives in two worlds, according to Gilmore. Typically he or she has a military career, plus another career and a family.
"What we need when we're down is someone who's up," said Gilmore."We need a battle buddy to share their strength to offset where we're not as strong, so that as a team we're all strong. If we love unconditionally, the world will always respond to that."
According to Gilmore, with only 25 chaplains and 14 candidates, he's outnumbered trying to serve about 11,000 Guardsmen. Having a network of clergy across the state can help better support and care for these troops.
The MBC is the first organization to step up and lead the charge with the National Guard. Vince Blubaugh, director of communications and development for the MBC, said the choice to sign on to Partners in Care was an easy one.
"It's the least that we can do to let them know that there's a group of people here that care about you, that are thankful for what you're doing for us, and we're here to do anything you need us to do to help you," said Blubaugh.
Not only is Blubaugh a former pastor and church planter, but he is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and served in Desert Storm.
"For me, I know what it's like to be deployed," said Blubaugh. "I know what it's like to be away from your family. "We are doing this with no strings attached. We are doing this regardless of whether or not a soldier decides to come to one of our churches. We're doing this because it's the right thing to do."
Blubaugh added it's all about the love for others.
"The Lord commands us to share His love," said Blubaugh. "Our command is to go into the world, to love people, to serve other people. I guess that's what we're getting out of this, the opportunity to fulfill something that we feel the Lord has given us to do."
Whether it is in a time of deployment or not, Blubaugh wants to be a resource, or a bridge, for troops and families struggling in any way, regardless of their religious affiliation.
"Those guys give and it's an honor to be a part of an agency that can give back to them," said Blubaugh.
To learn more about Partners in Care, contact the state chaplain's office by phone at (573) 638-9613 or by means of email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Lin named as new North American Director for Lausanne Movement
SOUTH HAMILTON, Mass. (The Lausanne Movement)--The Lausanne Movement has named Tom Lin as new International Deputy Director (IDD) for North America. He succeeded Jim Tebbe on 25 June, joining a team of twelve, covering the world. Tom, Vice President of Missions for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA www.intervarsity.org, is Director of the Urbana Student Missions Convention. After graduating from Harvard in 1994, he served on the InterVarsity/USA staff and as HR Director for a Fortune 500 company. Then in 2002 he and his wife Nancy left for Mongolia where they spent more than four years working to establish an evangelical student movement.
Lindsay Brown, Lausanne Movement International Director, said, "Tom Lin demonstrates fine leadership and brings an unusual combination of skills. He is a vision-caster, a planner and a manager. I look forward to working with him to advance the cause of the gospel, as we encourage the global Church to bear witness to Jesus Christ and all his teaching in every area of the world and in every sphere of society."
Tom Lin, who serves as Vice-Chair on the board of Wycliffe Bible Translators, said: "The Lausanne Movement connects those who are most passionate for God's mission around the world. North America still has much to share. We need to discern what our best contributions might look like in the future."
He added: "The Cape Town Commitment calls for gospel partnership between churches and agencies and across borders. It gives a keen sense of urgency for the work to be done in North America. Many of us lament over today's staggering biblical illiteracy and exodus of young adults from the Church. There are reasons for concern, but I'm hopeful about the future of the North American Church."
From experience in the Urbana Convention (jointly hosted with the Canadian IVCF and the French-Canadian Groupes Bibliques Universitaires et Collégiaux) and the wider church, Tom Lin believes the next generation of North Americans will make a strong contribution in global missions. "Today's students think globally, engage inter-racially, cross cultures more easily and reach across the old sacred-secular divide," he said. "They have a collaborative spirit, and take action, with a 'Why not?' approach. There are thousands of gifted evangelists graduating from universities every year. The future looks bright because of what God can and, I believe will do through this generation."
Tom Lin will participate in The Lausanne Movement leadership meeting in Boston 20-24 June.
Record-breaking number of tourists visit Israel in May:
380,000 Visitors Arrived in Israel in May 2011
NEW YORK, N.Y. (Israel Ministry of Tourism)--According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 308,000 visitors arrived in Israel during May 2011, similar to May 2010 the best year ever for tourism to Israel. About 1,350,000 visitors arrived in Israel in the period January-May 2011, which is 2% less than the same period in 2010.
"These statistics are very encouraging and we hope to see this trend continue throughout the remainder of the year," said Haim Gutin, Israel Tourism Commissioner, North and South America. "Our dear Christian friends certainly played a large role in May breaking tourism records and the record breaking 3.45 million tourists who arrived in 2010."
268,000 of all arrivals for May 2011 were tourists (staying more than one night), 5% more than May 2010 and a record figure for the month of May. 40,000 were one-day visitors (23% less than last year), of which 16,000 arrived on cruise ships (double the number for May 2010).
Of the 1.348 million visitors who arrived in Israel during the period January - May 2011, 1,168,000 were tourists (4% more than the same period last year). 180,000 were one-day visitors, 28% less than 2010.
For more information about travel to Israel, visit www.EvangelicalIsraelExperience.com.
The Israel Ministry of Tourism, with its main headquarters for North America in New York, leads the State of Israel's efforts at maintaining a strong tourism industry. The Ministry of Tourism promotes tourism to Israel via its Israel Government Tourist Offices in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Mars Hill College Women's Soccer Team Goes to Jamaica
MARS HILL, N.C. (Mars Hill College)--In a first for Mars Hill College, an entire athletic team will be taking a mission trip this summer.
From August 15 through 21, the Lady Lion's soccer team and coach Ken Miller will be taking a mission trip to work in a group of orphanages in Kingston, Jamaica. The 25 players who plan to take the trip will engage in humanitarian projects and teach the game of soccer to children who reside in Mustard Seed Ministries orphanages in Kingston. For those players who choose to do so, the relationships built through interacting with the children will also provide an opportunity to share their Christian faith.
The trip is planned through Global Soccer Ministries International, a non-profit ministry started by Paul Banta, a former NCAA Division 1 Soccer Coach and coaching educator. GSM has ongoing ministries in Guatemala and Jamaica.
According to Miller, soccer -- or "football" as it is called in many other countries -- is a "world game," that provides a perfect medium for getting to know the children and showing them affection.
"Soccer is a common interest that our players will have with these children. It allows an opportunity for us to break the ice, to get to know the children, and then maybe have an impact in their lives," he said.
In addition to teaching the boys and girls soccer on an informal basis, the team will have two to three exhibition games for the children to enjoy. Coach Miller has also been invited to hold a soccer clinic for coaches in the Kingston area.
Miller said he has contemplated a team mission trip for several years and felt that now the time was right. He said he hopes the players can touch the lives of children, but that they will also come away with a life-changing experience for themselves. "This trip will give our players an extraordinary cultural experience; it will give them the chance to show compassion and give back to others; and for those who choose, it will give our players a chance to share their Christian beliefs and values," Miller said.
For now, the team is busily raising the $1,500 per person cost of the trip. Anyone interested in donating funds toward trip costs may do so by contacting Ken Miller at 828/689-1171, or at email@example.com.
First Baptist Orlando on Mission at BCF
ORLANDO, Fla. (First Baptist Orlando)--For eleven years, First Baptist Church (FBC) of Orlando's Global Mission Team has given precious time, energy and resources on mission at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville, Florida. This year, the mission team, coordinated by Jim Worthan and his wife Pat, arrived on campus the third week of June with willing hearts ready to work and lend a helping hand.
The seventy-three member team provided manual labor around the campus in addition to the prayer support for what God continues to do in the lives of the students attending BCF. For years, the volunteers have worked tirelessly on projects around the campus laboring long hours in the sweltering summer heat. Many of the team members speak of Graceville as their "adopted summer home" as they return each year investing their time and skills in improving the facilities and landscape.
Members of the Global Mission Team recognize the value of an institution that trains men and women for areas of Christian service and ministry, which is why they repeatedly devote their time and money into helping maintain its physical premises. When asked, Wortham humbly acknowledges that working on the BCF campus allows the school to focus and channel more resources on student scholarships and obtaining faculty members that are training the next generation to spread the Gospel.
The visiting mission team made visible impacts all over campus this year as they worked hundreds of man-hours sprucing up the grounds, trimming bushes, painting, and maintaining the academic beauty of the campus. They also filled a tremendous need in restoring and preparing the new classroom complex located in Heritage Village.
The actions and dedication of the missionaries from Orlando serve as a clear indicator of their love for God and Kingdom work. They make the five and a half hour journey to Graceville each year and sleep in the dorms each night after prayer time and devotions. They are a welcome sight and joy to the staff and administration at BCF. It is because of their vision, their dedication, and unending passion for people and service that keeps this group of volunteer construction workers, electricians, teachers, Sunday school workers, praise leaders, moms, dads, grandparents, and young people, returning to their summer home.
For more information about mission opportunities at The Baptist College of Florida, please contact 800-328-2660 ext. 460.
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