Back to main magazine page now!! Volume 48, Number 3, 2012 Editorial Y ou D eserve the B est ! By David H. Snyder The world uses many different tactics to sell their products. Sometimes they tell us we desperately need a particular item— it is something that we just cannot live without. Other times we are told a certain gadget will provide us with protection or it will drastically improve our lifestyle. Another method often used promotes the idea that we “deserve” the item that is available for purchase. There is a billboard along a busy highway in Chattanooga that says, “You deserve the best.” The advertisement is for a particular HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. Do I really deserve to have that particular unit in my house? Do I deserve to own any type of HVAC system? Indeed, do I deserve to have a house in which to install a HVAC unit? It is sad to see the attitude of many today who have adopted the erroneous “I deserve it” philosophy. While the world tells us we deserve all the good things life has to offer, the Bible gives us a completely different picture. In fact, as is always the case, God's Word teaches the exact opposite of what the world promotes. The only thing you and I really deserve is an eternity in hell. As believers, we are not on our way to heaven because we deserve salvation. It is only by God's grace and mercy that we have been saved (Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5). Praise the Lord for His amazing grace and everlasting mercy! Going beyond salvation, too many Christians have embraced the “I deserve it” attitude when it comes to their service for the Lord. This goes hand-in-hand with today's “health and wealth prosperity gospel.” Those who have been deceived by this way of thinking are often not willing to consider giving their lives to missionary service. The assumption is they deserve to choose the occupation they desire. Their focus becomes a better house, better vocation, better attire, and better car—because they deserve the best. The Word of God clearly states that in order to be Jesus' disciple one must be willing to forsake everything and follow Him; otherwise, he simply cannot be His disciple (Luke 14:26–27, 33). In Matthew chapter 6, the Lord gives the proper attitude a believer should have concerning the material things of this life. Jesus said, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:31–33). If we are going to effectively obey the Great Commission, it is imperative that we focus on what we owe rather than what we feel we deserve. Paul understood himself to be a debtor both to the Greeks, and to the 2 BIMI WORLD Number 3, 2012 If we are going to effectively obey the Great Commission, it is imperative that we focus on what we owe rather than what we feel we deserve. Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise (Romans 1:14). A reoccurring theme 1 in Paul's writings was the obligation he felt because of the sacrifice Christ made for him. It was only sensible to Paul that since Jesus gave everything for him he should give everything back to God. Second Corinthians 5:14–15 are verses that express this conviction: For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again (emphasis added). Two of the natural results of this type of thinking are soul winning and missionary service. This is emphasized by Paul a few verses later in 2 Corinthians 5 when he writes, And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech If people are motivated by you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be what they feel they deserve ye reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18–20, rather than what they owe, the emphasis added). So, if people are motivated by what they feel they deserve rather than natural result will be a focus what they owe, the natural result will be a on self rather than others. focus on self rather than others. Perhaps many Christians are missing God's call to missions because they have been influenced by the billboards Satan has displayed along the busy highways of life: advertisements that declare, “You deserve the best HVAC (house, vocation, attire and car) the world's system has to offer!” If we really want “the best,” we need to humbly follow the Lord's will—whatever and wherever that may be. The Christian life is not about what we feel we deserve from God but about what the Bible says God deserves from us. Understanding the eternal debt we owe allows us to enjoy the very best God has for us. W (Endnotes) 1. See also Romans 6:1–13; 12:1–2; 1 Corinthians 6:19–20; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:8–10; 5:1–2; Titus 2:11–14. BAPTIST INTERNATIONAL MISSIONS, INC., was founded in 1960 as an independent Baptist faith mission. BIMI is a fundamental mission agency, true to the Word of God in doctrine and method. The purpose of BIMI is to assist fundamental Baptist churches in fulfilling our Lord's command to evangelize the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our objectives are to establish indigenous Baptist churches and train national pastors and leaders. There are over 1,000 missionaries with BIMI working in 100 countries of the world. OFFICERS/BOARD OF TRUSTEES: Michael Edwards, Chairman; Robert Wall, Vice Chairman; David Snyder, President; JB Godfrey, Vice President; James Butler, Corporate Secretary; Al Goss, Treasurer; Jeff Amsbaugh, Andy Bloom; David Bragg; Tim Butler; John W. Collier; Bill Egerdahl; Kevin Folger; James God; CO Grinstead; Rodney Kelley; David Pittman; James Ray; Jim Rushing; Don Sisk; Mark Stevens; Ray Thompson; Jim Townsley; Robert Vrandenburgh; Tom Wallace ADMINISTRATION/FIELD DIRECTORS: David Snyder, General Director; JB Godfrey, Executive Director; James Butler, International Office Director; Doug Cunningham, Comptroller; Jeff Alverson, Assistant Military; John Bailes, USA; Gerry Baughman, CAMP BIMI*SMART; Roger Blevins, South America; Eric Bohman, Africa; Alan Brooks, Assistant Southeast Asia; Bob Green, Candidate, Deputation and Aviation; Malcolm Gregory, Assistant South America; William Griffin, Enrichment; David Harris, Far East; Ed Hembree, Europe; Terry Jones, Central America; James Kennard, Military; Robert Larson, Assistant USA; Jim Lilley, Estate Planning; Sean Lunday, Assistant Brazil; Robert Meyer, Southeast Asia; Jimmy Rose, Brazil; Don Sisk, General Director Emeritus; Gary Sprunger, Caribbean; Steve Stone, Far North; Ray Thompson, Executive Director Emeritus; Carl Vonnoh, CLAIM REPRESENTATIVES: Gailen Abbett, Roy Ackerle, Ron Bragg, Pat Creed, Ed Gibson, John Halsey, Brant Holladay, Robert Johnson, Mark Logan, Michael McCombie, James Ray, Jerry Reece, Reggie Rempel, Clayton Revels, Clayton Shumpert STAFF: Don Arnold, Audio Visuals; Ken Catoe, Printing Services; John Ramsey, Missionary Finances; Kevin Wnuk, Computer Services BIMI World: David Snyder, Executive Editor; Ken Catoe, Editor; Don Arnold, Production Photographer; Jonathan Bergen, Designer Field Editors: Eric Bohman, Africa; Alan Brooks, Southeast Asia; Gary Craft, Military; David Harris, Far East; Mark Lockhart, Central America; Ed Johnson, Brazil; Coy Shaw, USA; Gary Sprunger, Caribbean; Steve Stone, Far North; Clint Vernoy, South America; Rob Willoughby, Europe Official Publication of Baptist International Missions, Inc. · All Scripture quotations are from the KJV. Mailing Address: P.O. Box 9215 - Chattanooga, TN 37412 / Shipping Address: 8614 Harrison Bay Road - Harrison, TN 37341 / Phone: (423) 344-5050 / Fax: (423) 344-4774 / Info@bimi.org / www.bimi.org / BIMI Canada: P.O. Box 242 - St. Jacobs, Ontario N0B 2N0 / (519) 664-3242 Number 3, 2012 BIMI WORLD 3 South America Stages of Life - Missionary Style by Clint Vernoy I have been reading prayer letters from missionaries in South America. Each ministry is different. Location, culture, language, and industry are just a few of many factors that distinguish a work. Some letters bring back memories of past years and others make me think of the future. I keep coming back to the idea of stages, like a Saturn V rocket. Incredibly, some young people don't even know what I am talking about. This generation knows about the Space Shuttle but has no clue about Gemini, Mercury and Apollo. Their knowledge is limited to a history lesson. It is difficult to truly understand something through which they did not live themselves. The Saturn V rocket was designed to take three men to the moon and back. The whole world stopped to watch the launch and a few weeks later, splashdown. Do you remember the tension of Apollo XIII—not the movie—real life? I was young, but I remember the astronauts climbing out of the capsule. Wow! I remember watching a launch at school. I was surprised when only a few minutes into the flight a massive portion of the rocket separated and dropped away. “That can't be good!” I thought. Then I learned that to reach the moon, stages of the rocket had to be left behind if they were to continue on. Solomon understood this as he wrote Ecclesiastes chapter 3. Picture by NASA 4 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1)… I see prayer letters from families preparing to go to the mission field. They are traveling to different churches to share their burden for a country far away. These missionaries are anxious to get to their adopted countries and wish they could just go straight there, but there is a time and a purpose for everything. They need people and churches to get to know them. Those churches will provide both prayer and financial support in the coming years. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted (Ecclesiastes 3:2)… I see young families announce the birth of a child in the mountains of Peru. Others lose loved ones tragically in car accidents in Paraguay. Some put down roots in a new city. Others uproot to go somewhere new. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up (Ecclesiastes 3:3)… What was once a family pet in a cage escapes to become an evil furniture destroying rodent. A child finds an injured hummingbird and wants to make it all better. Who feeds the thing at 2 a.m.? Then there are family medical issues. Does a missionary plan a car accident that puts him on his back for six months? Can a child determine not to get sick and need to return for a medical furlough? Are these failings of a missionary family? Can we say God is not protecting them? Some say God is punishing someone for something. Or is it more scriptural to say as Solomon did, there is a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up? A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4)… A missionary weeps each time he takes a furlough because he leaves those he loves. They have begun a new life and a new church and have seen lives changed by the Gospel. It is hard to describe the feelings missionaries experience when asked, “How Family is no less dear to a does it feel to be home?” The silent question is, missionary after years in a “Can you define ‘HOME?'” foreign country than they The missionary also laughs each time he goes were the first time tears on furlough because he sees loved ones he has were shed at the airport not seen in years. Family is no less dear to a and goodbyes were said. missionary after years in a foreign country than they were the first time tears were shed at the airport and goodbyes were said. It is exciting to be with family and share the things that were missed. Time together is enjoyed but part of the heart is always on another continent. Number 3, 2012 BIMI WORLD 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; (Ecclesiastes 3:5)… Does the missionary dare count the construction projects on the mission field? How many times is it necessary to run out to get one small insignificant part that is vital to the project? One spends three hours traversing town and visiting all of the hardware stores only to find that the item was at the first store but the wrong words were used to describe it and the clerk didn't understand. How about the electrical connections in some countries where there are at least ten different types of household plugs? One can never quite find the right type. That is when the missionary prays for a Lowes like those fortunate people in the States have! A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away (Ecclesiastes 3:6)… Missionary children grow up and go to high school or college or even marry. The missionary parents laugh and cry at the same time. They laugh because it is exciting to move on. They cry because the past will never return. To what school will their kids go? Will MKs be able to come home on vacation? Will their children meet the person they will marry at school or will that special person be back home waiting? Do MKs get married in the country where the parents live or the country where they came from? Which language is used in their wedding? The new missionary family with toddlers is too busy trying to keep their kids alive crossing streets to even think of these things, but then, they are not at that stage. The missionary must finish one stage before moving to the next. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:7)… No family or ministry is perfect. The stresses that destroy families in the States still exist on the mission field. Relations get strained between co-workers. Even the “spiritual giant” missionary is not exempt from anger, strife and division. It is often hard for a missionary to ask for personal or spiritual help, yet they face needs that are common to the various stages of life. There is no shame in being human. We are quick to preach of the sinfulness of man. Yet, we are afraid to show who we really are and what we might be going through. Even though God accepts “Just As I Am” that Even though God doesn't mean others will. In our relationship with God accepts “Just As I there is a time to be silent and wait and other times Am” that doesn't when He has told us to call out to Him in our hour of mean others will. need. The hard part is discerning which time it is. The stresses that destroy families in the States still exist on the mission field. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace (Ecclesiastes 3:8)… Politics has nothing to do with the work of God. Missionaries are not servants to a government nor do they get involved in those areas. But politics can be a hindrance. When war threatens, does the missionary stay 6 BIMI WORLD Number 3, 2012 or leave? What is the will of God? Can it be different for each missionary? He is a sovereign God and we must trust Him and preach His Word. God sets up governments and He tears them down. It is our lot to serve where He wants. What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it (Ecclesiastes 3:9-10)… Sometimes a missionary ministry can change overnight because of a coup. Yesterday was total freedom and today there is a curfew. After passing through the stages of life and ministry some will ask: Was it worth it? If it is God's work, then the answer is always yes! The profit is in knowing God is pleased and He has been glorified. It might be hard but it will always be worth it! The profit is in knowing God is pleased and He has been glorified. It might be hard but it will always be worth it! He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end (Ecclesiastes 3:11)… Every stage in life and ministry is in God's hands. The process is different for every missionary. All need prayer as they pass through these stages. It is beautiful in its time. I remember when my children were in diapers and I carried them around all the time. I am also VERY glad they grew up and now follow God on their own. God brought me through that stage and now I enjoy the grandparent stage. God placed the world in our hearts. Missionaries see the world—its beginning and the end to come. We understand we are eternal and God placed it in our hearts to care for those who do not know Him. But we cannot see our future in all its detail until we pass through it. I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13)… We all must pass through the stages of life and ministry. Pray that God will lead the missionary from one stage to another in His time. Pray he will know the joy of serving God where he is (whether he is eating boiled worms, dog or maybe even horse), and that he will do so with joy, acknowledging the privilege it is to serve God and share His son with those who have never heard the name of Jesus. I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him (Ecclesiastes 3:14)… God's work will last forever. The gates of hell will not prevail. Jesus is more than a conqueror. Even though we go through stages in our lives, God does not. If the stage we are in gets us down, we should always remember God is above us; He is sovereign and it is worth it all. W Number 3, 2012 BIMI WORLD 7 Europe By Ryan Strother My first exposure to London came in the fall of 1996. At that time I was in college earning a BA in History and Political Science. As part of my degree plan, I had gone to live in London for a semester and study history. Though I had been saved as an eleven-year-old boy, I had never been discipled and was not living for the Lord. Never in my wildest imaginations would I have believed the Lord would one day call me back to London to plant and restart churches. In my early twenties I began to get my life right with the Lord. After God called me to preach in the fall of 2000, He immediately began giving me a desire to return to London. In June 2008, after almost eight years of waiting on the Lord's perfect timing, He called us to work as church planting missionaries in the United Kingdom. We were serving on staff at Liberty Baptist Church in Newport Beach, California, at the time. For 17 days in August 2012, the attention of the world focused on the city where the Lord has called us to labor. I had the incredible opportunity to be in London for seven of those days to take part in evangelistic efforts associated with the Olympics. Though I have visited London several times since college, this would prove to be the most exciting visit because for the first time I actually had the opportunity to be involved in evangelistic outreach. I served under the ministry of a local, independent Baptist church, located in the West End of London. A small team of 15 Christians (including Londoners and visitors from the United States and Northern Ireland) labored in a city of 8 BIMI WORLD Number 3, 2012 14 million residents and tens of thousands of Olympic athletes, spectators, and officials. Each day we would share the Gospel with people on the streets of London. Our walks to and from the Tube allowed us the opportunity to pass out tracts along the way. London is quite a busy city and the Tube (subway) and other public transport were packed. We specifically targeted high traffic areas of the city where people would naturally congregate. One might recognize the names of some of these areas: Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park (next to Buckingham Palace), Leicester (pronounced Lester) Square, Covent Garden and Embankment. Had the Queen been home at Buckingham Palace and opened her window, she could have heard the Gospel! Upon arrival at a location, the preachers would set up the sketch-board while everyone else fanned out and began passing out tracts, trying to share the Gospel. There were people who refused to take a tract, but I was pleasantly surprised by the number who did take one. Even more surprising was that many walked away reading the tracts or put them in their pockets, purses, or bags to read later. Very few threw them on the ground or threw them away. 9 Once the sketch-board was up, the preaching would begin and those passing out tracts would drift back and congregate around the sketch-board. There is an old saying, “a crowd draws a crowd,” so by standing around listening, we would cause other people to congregate to listen and find out what was happening. Many were curious about what was being said. The writing and drawing on the sketch- board kept people engaged visually, an important aspect in today's environment. It was not unusual to have crowds of two dozen or more during the preaching. We noticed a consistent trend throughout most of the crowds that gathered. People who stopped were generally interested and trying to follow the message. Many would listen to the preacher talk about God or spiritual matters. However, once the name Jesus was written on the board, most would turn and walk away. Most were apathetic, others were simply not interested or disgusted, but a few were openly antagonistic. The name of Jesus always causes a reaction one way or the other. People are not ambivalent to His name. The United Kingdom is the land of Darwin, the crucible of evolutionary theory. Charles Darwin was born, raised, educated and lived in England. One of the saddest reports from the trip involved a direct logical conclusion drawn from his false theory of evolution. A young lady sat near the sketch-board and listened as the Gospel was preached. After the presentation she engaged one of the workers with all kinds of questions. It was clear she was searching for something in life and was curious about the truth that had been preached. The worker offered to sit down with her over coffee and discuss more. She gladly accepted. In the conversation, after many issues had been discussed, the soul-winner asked, “Do you really think you have been put here by accident?” Her response was: “I am completely content to believe my life is an accident.” We were saddened by this young woman's response to our co-laborer's sharing the Gospel and discussing the issues of life with her. 10 This is the logical end point of Darwinism. If life evolved through the mere happenstance of molecules and particles being at the right place at the right time, then why should we believe our lives are anything more than accidental or that they have any part in a greater plan? When you believe life is ultimately an accident, there is no joy, no plan, no purpose, no hope and certainly no expectation of better things after this lifetime. It is no wonder people are so despondent and wander aimlessly through life when such ideas have a strong hold on society. Unfortunately, this train of thought has become prevalent in the United Kingdom. In nine days, thousands of tracts were distributed. The Gospel was clearly preached 35 times. Dozens of contacts were made for future follow-up by the local church. Numerous “personal evangelism” conversations were held with people seeking the truth. At least two people accepted Christ as Savior. Yes, we would have preferred to have a larger harvest, but we must remember we do not necessarily witness all the harvest. We planted, we watered and we are praying for a great harvest at a later date in the United Kingdom. We are praying for revival! Over the last 16 years since my first trip to London, my life has changed drastically, all to the glory of God. My family and I expect great things from God in the city He sent me to a decade and a half ago. We have been on deputation for 28 months and have over 75% of our support. We plan to complete deputation in the next eight months and are excited at the prospect of moving to London to accomplish the work to which God has called us. W 11 Africa Bob, Jules and Kristine A changed life who changes lives By Bob Mach Years ago in October of 2000, a twenty-nine-year-old man named Jules Séry came to visit our church in Bingerville, Côte d'Ivoire. After visiting for several weeks, he met with me in my office and made the decision to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. I had no idea at that time how God would use this one man to make such an impact on our church and ministry. A couple of weeks later, Jules asked me if he could give a testimony in our Sunday morning service. One never knows what a new convert might say, yet having seen spiritual growth, I had confidence that he should speak. As Jules addressed the church, I was touched to hear him speak so personally to those present. He recounted the bad experiences he had in other churches and reminded those who were there that they had those same experiences as well. He concluded by exhorting all who were there to thank the Lord regularly as they could now go to a church in Bingerville where they knew they were hearing the Truth. Jules showed signs of further spiritual growth as he realized his marriage situation was not as it should have been. The Ivorians have their traditional ways of marrying, but the law requires a ceremony at the City Hall. Jules came to see me to state that he felt his marriage should be correct in everyone's eyes including the government. He made the arrangements and we had a great celebration. 12 BIMI WORLD Number 3, 2012 Before long, we could see God's hand on Jules' life. He became conscious of the spiritual needs of those around him and burdened to reach them with the Gospel. Literacy ministry When the church was a year old, I challenged our men to determine how to reach the Muslim and village communities better. At that time, we had no converts in our church from those two groups. Jules came to see me a few days later. He had done a demographics study and determined that the Muslim community in Côte d'Ivoire had the highest rate of illiteracy. As such, he developed a plan to open a literacy center as a ministry of our church. This plan gave birth to the Alpha Baptist Literacy Center of Bingerville. Each year, 170 students, most of whom are Muslim, learn to read and write. Our graduates have a 93% success rate on the national exam to establish a junior high capacity for reading and writing. Much more importantly, we teach and preach the Scriptures regularly at the literacy center. As well, we have activities at the center that include our church people so that they begin to intermingle. Our literacy center students are required to visit our church a certain number of times each year. Today, we have many in our church who have come through the literacy center and who can now read the Scriptures for themselves. Jules has directed this ministry from its beginning. Since 2007, the Ministry of Education in Côte d'Ivoire has declared our center as the best literacy center in our region that includes a quarter of the country's population. Jules has been instrumental in teaching over 1,500 people to read and write. Even more importantly, he has been instrumental in giving the Gospel clearly and continually to these people who otherwise would not have heard the Gospel. Jules has worked with another member of our church to establish two other literacy centers in the north of Côte d'Ivoire through a church we have established there. Kristine, Doctor Bernard Kadio, Bob and Jules Although the literacy ministry was a great success, there was still more work to do. God was going to use Jules in yet another way to reach the people of Cote d'Ivoire with the Gospel! Medical ministry In November of 2004, we were able to open a clinic to reach out to the villages around Bingerville. Jules eventually was given the responsibility to oversee the evangelizing of those who came to the clinic. He very quickly and effectively Number 3, 2012 BIMI WORLD 13 organized this evangelism so as to have an account of every person who had come to the clinic as well as their reaction to the Gospel. Through this work, the work of Dr. Bernard Kadio and the arrival of missionary Kristine McLaughlin, we were able to use the clinic to open Bible studies in four villages as well as continually schedule medical preaching opportunities in many of the other villages. Jules directs these ongoing Bible studies and medical days, resulting in the salvation of many souls and the eventual establishing of churches in these villages. He also continues to direct our literacy ministry as well as teach our new converts class in our Sunday school department. Commitment Recently, Jules' older brother came to visit me. He works in Italy but was back in Côte d'Ivoire for the burial of their father. Jules' brother explained how years earlier, Jules had been the black sheep of the family. They were concerned he would never amount to anything and that he would be continually getting into difficulty. So starting in the year 2000, he began offering to Jules the possibility to work with him in Italy. It is the dream of any Ivorian to work in Europe or the USA. However, Jules continually put off giving an answer. The family began to notice a remarkable improvement in his life. “Today,” Jules' older brother said, “Jules refuses to go to Italy. He refuses even to leave Bingerville to take control of the family businesses and to live in the large family home in Abidjan. Instead, he stays in his little home in Bingerville so he can continue in your church. Yet, he has become a respectable leader in our family and even his older brothers and sisters now seek his advice. So, Missionary, I just had to come today to see what has made such a fantastic change in my brother's life.'' What a joy to have been the one to lead him to the One who made that change! May each of us likewise commit ourselves to spread the Gospel in the harvest field where God has placed us. May we, like Jules, turn away from the lure of the world's goods and instead gather treasures in Heaven! W Bob Mach and Family 14 By Kaye Jones The prophet Jeremiah said in Lamentations: mine eye affecteth my heart. Several years ago a missionary couple working with the military gave me a small toy soldier, asking me to put it where I would see it regularly and pray for the soldiers. I sat it on the ledge above my kitchen sink and there it has been. It has been a constant reminder of a prayer request and a reminder of the young men going off to battle around the world. It did remind me to pray for them. We were asked to participate in a missions conference at Grace Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia. The church is near Fort Benning Army Base. On Saturday morning the pastor took the missionary families to the museum at the army base. There were also men from the base going through the museum as part of an assignment for basic training. At one exhibit I stood alongside four young men. They all seemed to be in their early twenties. I spoke to them for a few minutes and then asked where they were headed when leaving Fort Benning and basic training. One of the young men said he was headed to Germany. Looking at him, I thought of how brave he must be, how young he looked, how polite he was to me and his dignified way of standing straight and tall as he talked with me. Then, it hit my heart that this young man was on his way somewhere else in the world, possibly to go into battle and never return to his home. He looked so young to face what may be ahead of him, but he seemed ready to move on from basic training. The soldiers were in small groups moving together from exhibit to exhibit. As I came across the group of four young soldiers that I talked with earlier, I began to think about the journey they had ahead of them and especially the young man going to Germany. Was he a Christian? Where was he from? Where was he going? If he died in battle, would he have a home in heaven? The little toy soldier on my kitchen counter now has a “face,” the face of the young man leaving Fort Benning for Germany. I do not know his name, but I remember his face and how God touched my heart in just the brief conversation I had with him. Will you join us in prayer and in support of BIMI military ministries as they work with the military near US military bases around the world? W Kaye Jones is the wife of BIMI Central America director Terry Jones. Number 3, 2012 BIMI WORLD 15 Far East A Trophy of God's Grace By David Harris The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). I met Mr. Yamashita in a locked ward of a mental hospital. His plight was depression and he was heavily sedated. A large portion of one side of his head was shaved and a half moon incision with stitches revealed the doctor's work to relieve pressure from his brain. He had jumped from an open window of the same hospital attempting suicide. It was his fifth attempt. When I visited the hospital that day to speak with a young man who had visited our church, the room designated as the visitation room was filled with men who wanted to talk to the foreigner. Everyone had a story and everyone wanted to talk. As I talked with everyone at the same time, the Lord surprisingly seemed to single out this young man and urge me to love him. I argued with the Lord. “He will never be able to come to church.” “I can hardly understand him.” “He is in a locked ward of a mental hospital.” These were some of the thoughts that were going through my mind; yet, the Lord strongly spoke to my heart and challenged me to love him. After praying and asking the Lord what He wanted me to do, I gave the young man a New Testament. I suggested he begin reading the book of Mark. When we met the next week, I was surprised to learn he had read the whole book. He devoured Bible studies and our allotted visitation time of thirty minutes would often turn into two and three hours. It seemed the doctors and nurses did not mind. There was not much to do other than their normal rounds. When we first met, the recurring themes I heard from him were of his highly successful father who sometimes would mistreat him due to alcohol. He spoke of his fear of situations in the world such as wars. His life was full of fear. He spoke of being a top student in the highest level high school in Aomori before going to college in Tokyo. It was there the disappointments of life began. A failed relationship caused his first suicide attempt. One day he pulled up his shirt to reveal scars on his stomach from another failed attempt. That one was what is called hara-kiri (ha-da-kee-dee [“r”s in Japanese have a soft “d” sound like in the name Eddie]). Hara is the word for stomach. Kiri is the verb meaning to cut. I am sure one would be familiar with this term some call “hari-kari.” 16 As time progressed, I learned that his parents worked. On the weekends they would pick him up and he would get to spend some time at home. On Sunday night they would bring him back. When he told me where he lived, I was surprised that it was less than a ten-minute walk from our house and church. Yet, no matter how much I urged him to come to church, he would not. No matter how much I challenged him to get saved, there was no decision. One Saturday afternoon our doorbell rang. There stood Yamashita san. He was drenched in sweat and looked somewhat panicked. It was not until then, about a year after we met, that I learned he was not supposed to leave his home alone. Previous suicide attempts left him without a sense of direction. He had been looking for our house for over an hour. After a short visit, I walked him home. There, I met his father. They invited me in, and soon his father began grilling me. With a stern face he said, “What are you doing with my son?” From there, I told him the story of how we met and what the Lord had told me to do. Included in this story was the Gospel and how the Lord had saved me. His father listened as I described how God called me to Japan and then to Aomori. After two hours he said, “I am a Buddhist…but…no one has ever loved my son!” He reiterated that his beliefs were different but gave his permission for me to talk with his son. Two weeks later at the hospital, Yamashita san, as we say in Japan, became Yamashita kyodai, Brother Yamashita. He repented of his sin and trusted Christ as his Savior. He became a changed man. His fears instantly disappeared, and even in his sedated state the doctors and nurses could tell he was different. One day as I entered the Aomori Grace Baptist Church 17 ward, he said to me, “The doctors want to know what you did.” This was a recurring comment over the course of the next couple of months. One day I received word that the head doctor over the whole hospital wanted to talk to me. After I was ushered into his office, he said immediately, “What did you do to Mr. Yamashita?” He went on to say he had never seen a mental patient cured. I took out my Bible and explained to him what Jesus had done. The look on the doctor's face revealed that he was very unsure what he was hearing. Nothing in the Orient changes quickly. It took months for changes to occur. At first they moved him to an unlocked ward. Then they began talking to him about possibly going home. A year and a half later, they told him he did not need to be there any more. During this time, he was a witness of the power of God to those around him. Many of his friends would gather around us at the hospital and we saw many of them place their faith in the One who has the power to change lives. So many of his hospital friends started coming to church that one man cautioned me over getting too many of “them” attending our church. He said, “You are going to give people the idea that church is a place for the weak.” Today, if one visits the Aomori Grace Baptist Church, he will meet Brother Yamashita. Though he carries the scars of five suicide attempts, he also testifies of the wonderful grace of God. He is…a trophy of God's grace. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword (Hebrews 4:12). W Aomori Grace Baptist Church 18 Perhaps —You can tuck a buck a week away for Bibles ($52). —Your business can buy a box of Bibles (25 per box = $50). —Your children can sponsor 1 student each ($2). —Your church or VBS can sponsor a whole district (18 districts—see website for list). —Your school can adopt a school in Fiji (see website for list). —You know a foundation that would underwrite some of the project. Our immediate goal is to order 102,000 Bibles (two containers). This will allow us to give a Bible to every secondary school student in Fiji. Once we have given Bibles to the secondary school students, there is the potential of distributing 130,000 more Bibles to the primary school students. Our plan is to print, ship and distribute Bibles as God provides us with the finances to do so. www.bimi.org/fiji 19 Far East Too Far From Home By David Harris I wonder—is the Far East scaring people away from ministry opportunities? I only ask because of the word—far. Maybe somewhere a young person desiring to be used of God in a needy part of the world may turn away because the Far East or some other place is just—too far away! Just maybe you are thinking if you follow God, it might be a little too far from home! Seriously, I do not think anyone would be distracted by the word far, but I am curious as to why so few are surrendering to go into all the world? Could it be some parts of the world are more glamorous or filled with adventure? Certainly, that cannot be true! No one would claim to choose the will of God for his life because a place might be a little too far away, would he? Well, maybe no one but me! I recall growing up in church, being inspired by missionaries from around the world and desiring to go with them to their countries. At every missions conference I surrendered to go—that is, until the day the Lord called me! In my early days, even before I knew of a place called the Far East, that part of the world was very appealing. I grew up in Hawaii, the son of a career Marine. Dad was sent to Hawaii for two tours and forced his family to accompany him. I was only one year old when my family moved there and almost nine when we left—with a year in between in Norfolk, Virginia. One lesson I learned was that even though Uncle Sam told my dad when and where to go, it was God who controlled the timing and the location. Growing 20 BIMI WORLD Number 3, 2012 up with friends from the South Pacific and Far Eastern countries placed within my heart a very soft spot for that part of the world. God blessed my three sisters and me to be reared in a home that loved the Lord. My parents were great examples of what every believer should be—a servant. I cannot remember a time when my mom and dad were not faithful to church. This was not only in their attendance but also in their participation. Dad was a printer and Mom worked as a secretary for churches and Christian schools. There was no job that needed done that they were unwilling to do. Mom and Dad … Most of their service was volunteer. Much of what they did, we made us feel that if kids did too. That produced in me a very strong desire to serve the Lord. Mom and Dad were committed to God and anything we decided to serve the Lord with our we kids wanted to do for the Lord was never questioned, but lives, they would be supported. They made us feel that if we decided to serve the the happiest people Lord with our lives, they would be the happiest people in the in the world! world! Stories from mission fields were a part of my formative years and I dreamed about serving the Lord somewhere—anywhere—as long as God directed. China was a place of interest to me. Possibly it was because of missionary stories I heard in Sunday school. Missionary aviation was also a strong possibility after watching the pastor who led me to Christ take off for a meeting in a small plane provided by the church. Missions conference time was always a time of mixed emotions. It was not should I go, but where? The stories of fields and ministries in far off places gripped my heart and made me dream. 21 Beginning Bible college was a dream come true. Finally, I was going to learn how to do ministry so the Lord might use me somewhere. One of my first classes was called Introduction to Missions, taught by a 20-year veteran missionary to Japan, Larry Burgett. At first, the words and stories from Japan seemed interesting and fascinating, but my interest faded after hearing the difficulty of a Far Eastern language. As I watched him write those—things—on the board, I was convinced there was no way I could learn a language like that! I did not share the same excitement as a classmate who already felt the call to Japan, but I possessed a strong desire to do something for the Lord. I was content to learn about missions, win souls, serve in my local church and continue to prepare for the ministry—but Japan? Not a chance! Then came missions conference time in my first semester of Bible college. I remember the excitement I felt after learning there would be a video about China. If the Lord had spoken to me about China, I was ready to go. Yet, something unexpected happened. Half way through that video a thought overtook me. It was only one word—Japan! The placement of that thought at that moment took me by surprise. I remember thinking, “Where did that come from?” For the next few moments the video continued but I do not remember anything else said. My mind was distracted. Hindsight and an unbelievable series of events have confirmed in my mind that at that moment I was hearing the still small voice of God. I am sure what transpired took only a few minutes but it seemed like a very long and drawn out struggle. I simply could not understand it. Again, I know now what I should have done was to say, “Lord, here am I.” Instead, I turned inward. My thinking process said, “Japanese is too difficult for me!” “Japan is too far away from home!” I did not say no. Instead, I made a simple decision that Japan was impossible for me! I failed to do the one thing that makes or breaks a believer in a moment like that— surrender! I failed to do the one thing that makes or breaks a believer in a moment like that—surrender! From that moment, I took control. Though I continued to serve faithfully, I tried to find God's will on my own. I tried to surrender to everything imaginable. I was looking for direction. I was trying to find what God wanted me to do. Can you see my problem? Granted, my service for the Lord continued. I was a bus captain, sang in the choir, witnessed almost daily, served faithfully, won souls weekly. Yet, from that moment, I remember the struggle that overwhelmed me. Where there had been joy, excitement and zeal in serving the Lord, it was replaced with—with something! I could not put my finger on it. Something was not right! Gradually, I began to notice drudgery in doing those things that had at one time been so meaningful. There was not one area where my service for the Lord decreased, yet there was a gradual decent that drained me of strength. I had been challenged by pastors to listen carefully to the voice of the Lord as He spoke through His Word, especially through the preaching of the man of God. It was a regular practice to ask the Lord what He wanted and to respond. I was not always so eager, but at this time in my life serving the Lord consumed my thoughts. 22 BIMI WORLD Number 3, 2012 Three years went by as I continued preparing for the ministry. The only problem was there was no direction and no peace. Later, I transferred to another Bible college and again found myself busily preparing for the ministry, but God seemed distant. My prayers went unanswered. Ministry became more duty than fun. Joy was gone. During the first two months of my senior year, the Lord began a slow process of bringing me back to where I needed to be. My heart was cold. My eyes were dry. Thankfully, God did not leave me alone. God used several chapel services to touch my heart. Many of my teachers would pray with me as I went forward but I had no idea what was wrong. One day a preacher preached on the need to surrender all to the Lord. The light went on. God showed me my problem. I went forward and repented. I surrendered and committed to do whatever the Lord wanted. The moment I finished praying, peace flooded my heart. An instant later, one word came to mind—Japan! It shocked me, but this time, I surrendered! What happened soon afterward and continued are stories that will have to wait for another time. One thing was clear, God wanted me in Japan. Is God leading you? Will you surrender? Rest assured that whatever He desires, He is able to perform! Will you listen to His call? God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8). W (David Harris spent 24 years in Japan and is now the Far East Director for BIMI.) 23 Southeast Asia Jim Civale with taxi drivers “Should I take the car with me or leave it behind?” By Jim Civale This is what I asked myself as I prepared to take the ferry from our island to the next to go to the capital. “The cost of taking the car would probably even out with the cost of taxis and it would be a lot more convenient,” I reasoned. Nevertheless, I felt impressed to leave it behind. An hour and a half later when I disembarked on the other side, the usual crowd of taxi drivers shoving and shouting to get their fares greeted the throng of passengers. In the midst of that chaos, a young man I had never met before caught my attention. “Pastor, do you need a cab?” He asked. With that I handed him my suitcase and followed him to his car. The ID hanging from his mirror told me his name was Jason; the rosary told me he was Roman Catholic. “Lord, guide this conversation,” I silently prayed. We weren't out of the parking lot when Jason asked if he could ask me some questions. He was Catholic but was questioning his church, he told me. He was not living the way he should, he confessed, and wanted to know how to make a real change. His wife and mother-in-law were Jehovah's Witnesses and were trying to persuade him to convert, but he knew that wasn't right either. “Do you have any advice for me, pastor?” Praise God, it was not long before we were simultaneously traveling down the road to town and the Roman's Road. When we arrived at my destination, I paid Jason and motioned to leave. “Pastor,” he said, “Please don't go. I want to say that prayer you told me about on the road. Can you teach me how?” Hallelujah! There in his Hyundai in the small village of Vaoala, on the island of Upolu, Jason placed his faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Praise God for Jason's salvation! At the same time, pray to God for more laborers. Ask God if you might be one of those laborers He is calling to Samoa. Jason's village is the better part of a day's travel by land and sea from us and there is no Gospel-preaching church anywhere near him. Jason told me his village has Mormon, Jehovah's Witnesses and Catholic churches—but no church that tells people how to get saved. He said he wished someone would start a Bible study in his village because he has so many more questions and his family needs to hear the truth. W 24 BIMI WORLD Number 3, 2012 Last Founding BIMI Board Member Goes Home By James Ray E. C. Sheehan I was 17 years old when I first saw E. C. Sheehan. The Mikado Baptist Church that he pastored in Macon, Georgia, had outgrown its building and Dr. Sheehan had led the church in the construction of a large tin tabernacle to be used until a new auditorium could be completed. Mikado Baptist Church was hosting a Bible conference with participating ministers and their churches. The old tin tabernacle was packed. I can still feel the passion and fervor of that meeting. The tabernacle vibrated as the congregation lifted their voices, singing the great hymn “How Firm a Foundation.” E. C. Sheehan was one of a cluster of leaders in those days, including Lee Roberson and Harold Sighter, whose heart was aflame with vision of reaching the world for Christ. That night in the old tin tabernacle left a lasting impression on me of this man of God. The Mikado Baptist Church, now pastored by Dr. Rusty Smith, continues that great legacy. On November 8, 1955, a group of men met in the dining hall of Tennessee Temple College to discuss the possibility of assisting missionaries in the Congo. Out of that meeting came the formation of the Southern Wing of the Congo Gospel Mission. The group included E. C. Sheehan, Lee Roberson, J. R. Faulkner, Harold Sighter, Dolphus Price and others. E. C. Sheehan was elected as president of the newly formed board. Many letters are on file in the archives written by Dr. Sheehan to the missionaries in the Congo. Those letters displayed love and concern for the missionaries and their work. In 1960 the Congo exploded in revolution; the missionaries had to be evacuated and the field closed. When the executive board met to discuss the situation, a motion was made by Dr. Lee Roberson that the mission be expanded to embrace the whole world. From that meeting emerged what is now Baptist International Missions. Dr. E. C. Sheehan was unanimously elected to serve as president of the Board of Trustees. He served in that position until 1968. In his letter of resignation as president he said, “I will be praying for the work, and I assure you that my interest in the work will not lessen.” Almost fifty years after the founding of BIMI, I attended a service at Hardison Baptist Church in Byron, Georgia. There, I again heard this servant of God, now over 90 years old, speak. I felt the same spirit as I did back in 1957. On another occasion when I spoke at a missions conference at Berean Baptist Church in Macon, Dr. Sheehan attended the meeting. He held in his arms the baby daughter of Tony and Christy Applegate, BIMI missionaries to Uganda. Amazing—the man who served as BIMI's first president of the Board of Trustees in 1960 was holding the baby of a missionary couple 50 years later! His work was living on. On September 14, 2012, at the age of 97, Dr. E. C. Sheehan closed his eyes and made his final journey home. He was the last living original board member of BIMI. Had it made any difference to anyone that he had lived? The first answer to that question is an astounding YES! The vision and passion of this man touched the lives of multitudes through his leadership in world evangelization. A second answer to that question is that he touched this writer and left him with an inspiration that has been with him for over 50 years—since the meeting in…the old tin tabernacle in Macon, Georgia. Number 3, 2012 BIMI WORLD 25 Donald L. Kirk went home to be with the Lord Monday, July Alan Brooks 9, 2012.  Don and Lori were accepted as BIMI missionaries in July 1978.  Brother Kirk served as a missionary to Grand Cayman Island, then with the U.S. military in Mannheim, Germany, and to the U.S. military in Killeen, Texas.  This “Soldier of the Cross” fought a good fight and now has finished his course with joy.  Our prayers are with Lori and the family. Memorial Gifts have been received in memory of: Bill Murray by Bob & Patsy Green by Myra Irwin & Friends by Don & Martha Murray by Mike & Jeanie McKenna by Frances Birkhead by his Riding Buddies by Clayton Freeman by Ooltewah Animal Clinic by Virginia Tindell by Melissa Brandon by Robby Tindell by Jennie Collingsworth by Peggy McKenna by Mary Holland by Mr & Mrs Johnny Parks by Joice Grow Don Kirk by Barbara Denney by Gregory & Lori Kirk Daniel Truax by Joel Barnett JB Buffington by Jim & Peggy Robson Matt Goins 1 August 3,900 patients seen in 4 days in partnership with Medical Missions Outreach—120 salvation decisions. #Honduras Matthew Stensaas 2-3 August 64 men attended personal evangelism institute—in 2 days in various areas of town 58 professed Christ. #Uganda Robert Smith II 3 August 60-70 each night in VBS—9 professions #Barbados Lisa Newland 6-10 August 42 nationals from 11 churches attended teacher training seminar. #Tanzania Marguerite Gentry 17 August 220 older teens attended 3 rd week of camp— after much battle in prayer over rebellious spirit—40 professed Christ. #Romania Dan DeLong 19 August 16 young believers followed the Lord in baptism #Australia Harold Holdbrook 19 August 103 children attended VBS—20 professions. 5 believers baptized into church in July. #Ghana 26 Chester Jones by Virginia Thornton by Mr & Mrs Dale Burnham Catherine Hudson by Bella Vista Baptist Church by Union City Baptist Temple by Central Baptist Church by Amarillo Baptist Church by Bible Baptist Church Sharon Berry by Mr & Mrs Bobby Lawler Sherrie Lyell by Mr & Mrs Bobby Lawler Virgil Marcum by Mr & Mrs Ivan Sowders James Hudson by Faith Baptist Church Duane Mote by Nella Mote Eunice Mixson by Everette & Joyce Laird Clarence Van Houten by Bob & Jennifer Larson Lloyd Garrison by Patricia Henderson Leona Porter by Patricia Henderson Bobbie Garrison by Patricia Henderson Ruby Gilstrap by Mr & Mrs James Gilstrap Dougal Pope by Mr & Mrs Kenneth Ingalls Lee Roberson by Jim & Peggy Robson Bill Brouwer 26 August National pastor led week-long evangelistic crusade—over 100 professions. #Tanzania Russell Mackay 26 August Registered 60 children during VBS—3 professed Christ. Pray for follow up. #Canada Chester Sheren 2 September Peace of God Baptist Church celebrated 34 th Anniversary #Honduras Bill Pettit 1 September 6 Bible school students went door to door for several days—200 came to church the next Sunday. 6 professions #Mexico Greg Wagoner 10 September 400+ teens and church leaders from 25 local congregations attended youth camp #Tanzania Jean Rousseau 16 September 3 believers baptized #Canada *compiled from prayer letters