Back to main magazine page now!! Volume 51, Number 2, 2015 Truths Reconfirmed in Africa.............2 End of the Mayan World?...................4 Remote But Reachable...................... 6 Why Ottawa?..................................... 8 This is Missions to Me!......................10 Not a Day Too Late............................ 12 Candidate School 2015..................... 13 The Paraiba Valley...........................18 A Thought to Ponder........................ 20 Almost a Catholic Priest.................. 24 The Guard Who Knew Too Much..... 25 by David H. Snyder President/General Director During a recent trip to Africa, I was once again reminded that there is a tremendous need for mankind to hear the Gospel message. It is all too easy to stay focused on the small part of the world where we live and forget about the rest of God’s harvest field. My trip reconfirmed that there is a tremendous need for personnel, protection, power, provision, and prayer in fulfilling the task of worldwide evangelization. The need for missionary personnel is probably greater today than ever before. Jesus gave us one very particular prayer request for more labourers (Matthew 9:37– 38; Luke 10:2). As I traveled through town after town and village after village in Africa, my heart was burdened about the need for more missionaries. Some towns and villages I visited now have independent Baptist churches because BIMI personnel answered God’s call to “Go.” However, I was also made aware of towns and villages where there is no Gospel-preaching work of any kind. Humanly speaking, the only way these places will one day have a church is when someone responds to the need for more missionaries. Often our prayers for God’s protection are either habitual or halfhearted because safety has not historically been an issue of great concern. However, for those serving in places like Africa, prayers for protection are passionate and continual. Prior to my leaving 2 BIMI WORLD Number 2, 2015 for Africa, a terror alert was issued for one of the countries I was scheduled to visit. Also, as I was traveling to Africa, terrorists attacked a college in Kenya and brutally murdered nearly 150 Christians. Additionally, while I was on the continent, there were other terrorist alerts issued for places where I was staying. Many missionaries have armed guards at their homes as well as armed guards at the entrances to their church properties. Every time we went to a shopping mall, our vehicle was searched and we were often asked to get out of the vehicle so they could search us individually. This is just “normal” life for those living in much of Africa. Although we might take our safety for granted, God’s protection is tremendously needed no matter where God calls us to serve Him. Doing the Lord’s work in our own strength will yield very little (if any) eternal fruit. The power of God is absolutely essential in every ministry on every field, and thus we should pray for it daily. While in Africa, I met people who walked for hours to attend church. The power of God’s glorious Gospel had changed their lives. These believers did not have to be bribed or coaxed to be faithful to church services. As a result, a church is now being started (or has been started) in some of these places so Christians do not have to walk for hours and so the whole village can be more effectively reached for Christ. God has given 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 900 missionaries with BIMI working in 100 fields of the world. OFFICERS/BOARD OF TRUSTEES Mike Norris, Chairman; CO Grinstead, Vice Chairman; David Snyder, President; JB Godfrey, Vice President; James Butler, Corporate Secretary; Michael Edwards, Treasurer; Jeff Amsbaugh, Andy Bloom, David Bragg, Tim Butler, Paul Chappell, John W. Collier, Bill Egerdahl, Kevin Folger, James God, Rodney Kelley, Denny Patterson, James Ray, Don Sisk, Rusty Smith, Mark Stevens, Ray Thompson, Robert Vradenburgh, Tom Wallace ADMINISTRATION/FIELD DIRECTORS David Snyder, General Director; JB Godfrey, Executive Director; James Butler, International Office Director; Doug Cunningham, Comptroller; Jeff Alverson, Military; Gerry Baughman, CAMP BIMI*SMART; Roger Blevins, South America; Eric Bohman, Africa; Alan Brooks, Assistant Southeast Asia; Dan DeLong, Candidate, Deputation; Bob Green, Aviation; Malcolm Gregory, Assistant South America; William Griffin, Enrichment; David Harris, Far East; Ed Hembree, Europe; Terry Jones, Central America; Robert Larson, USA; Jim Lilley, Estate Planning; Sean Lunday, Brazil; Steven Maldoff, Southeast Asia; 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, John Bailes, Dennis Bellew, Ron Bragg, Pat Creed, Bob Green, John Halsey, Robert Johnson, James Kennard, Mark Logan, Michael McCombie, James Ray, Jerry Reece, Reggie Rempel, Clayton Revels, Jimmy Rose, Clayton Shumpert, Ray Thompson STAFF Don Arnold, Audio Visuals; Ken Catoe, Printing Services; John Ramsey, Missionary Finances; Kevin Wnuk, Computer Services us the responsibility to share the Gospel, but it is only through the power of God that souls will be saved and churches will be planted. Church planting is also completely dependent on God’s provision. One of the village churches I visited had prayed for God to provide a church building. God had recently supplied the mud and dung mixture they needed for the floor, the small trees that would function as walls and rafters, and the dried grass to be used as roofing. This small congregation gathered together while we visited with them and we enjoyed an impromptu church service in their new church building. They praised God for His provision. As I reflected on their joy, I was overwhelmed with all of God’s blessings in my own life. I wondered how often God had provided things for me and I did not even think to thank Him for His provision. God will supply everything needed to accomplish His will—although what we think we need is often more than what is truly necessary. In John 15:16, Christ told us to “go.” In that same verse He promises that as we go, whatsoever we shall ask of the Father in His name, he will give it to us. Finally, the necessity of prayer is something that has been mentioned throughout this editorial. Prayer is essential if we are going to see more churches planted around the world. I do not want to overstate the obvious but the process of church planting starts with praying for laborers who are willing to trust God for His protection, power, and provision. After having visited Africa, I am confident that it is one of the places Jesus had in mind when He said, “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few” (Luke 10:2). As all of the truths mentioned above were reconfirmed in my heart, it caused me to pray to the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest (Matthew 9:38). Would you pray with me for more missionary personnel? As you do so, please pray that they would continually experience God’s protection, power, and provision. W BIMI World David Snyder, Executive Editor; Ken Catoe, Editor; Don Arnold, Production Photographer; Jonathan Bergen, Designer; Field Editors: John Bailes, USA; Eric Bohman, Africa; Alan Brooks, Southeast Asia; Gary Craft, Military; David Harris, Far East; Ed Johnson, Brazil; Mark Lockhart, Central America; Gary Sprunger, Caribbean; Steve Stone, Far North; Donald Thatcher, Europe; Clint Vernoy, South America Official Publication of Baptist International Missions, Inc. All Scripture quotations are from the KJV. Shipping Address: 8614 Harrison Bay Road - Harrison, TN 37341 Phone: (423) 344-5050 / Fax: (423) 344-4774 / BIMI Canada: 100 Ridgewood Ave. - Guelph, ON N1H 6C5 519-265-1950 Number 2, 2015 BIMI WORLD 3 Central America End of the Mayan World? By Terry Jones Several years ago there was much talk about the Mayan Calendar predicting the end of the world. On December 22, 2012, the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza were overrun by those who were looking for an apocalyptic event to occur. But the world didn’t end! What was all the hype about the Mayan Calendar?  The Foundations for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI) states the following on their website:  There is nothing in the Maya or Aztec or ancient Mesoamerican prophecy to suggest that they prophesied a sudden or major change of any sort in 2012. The notion of a “Great Cycle” coming to an end is completely a modern invention.  Maya inscriptions that predict the future consistently show that they expected life to go on pretty much the same forever. At Palenque, for instance, they predicted that people in the year 4772 AD would be celebrating the anniversary of the coronation of their great king Pakal. 1 On a recent trip to the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, the missionary I was visiting took me to the Mayan ruins of Dzibilchaltun. We asked our guide about the 2012 story. He explained that 2012 was not the end of the world but the end of an era. The year 2012 was to usher in a “new era,” the Age of Women. Since the end of 2012, not much has been said about the Mayan Nation. It seems as if we have forgotten about that part of the world.  But for many, 2012 was the end of the world. Many of Mayan ancestry slipped off into eternity in 2012, and since then many more. It has been estimated that there could be as many as 30 million people of Mayan ancestry in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, many of whom speak one of the 69 different dialects of Mayan. Who will reach out to spread the Good News of salvation to these millions? The ancient Mayan civilization flourished for thousands of years. Dating back to 1,500 years before Christ, they had a profound knowledge of astronomy and architecture. They developed an advanced society of city-kingdoms and local governments that ruled over vast territories. Their sacred writings hold accounts of creation and a worldwide flood. With all these advantages, they still had a pagan religion of sun worship and human sacrifice. It is no wonder that this culture has almost completely disappeared.  Thankfully, God is working in the Mayan Nation. God is saving souls and calling men to preach, start churches, and pastor these churches. For many years BIMI missionaries have teamed up with national pastors in the region. Local churches have been started and national leaders have been trained to continue to reach out to their people. I have had the privilege of preaching in several Mayan pastors’ conferences where the emphasis has been placed on getting the message to the Mayan Nation. In 4 BIMI WORLD Number 2, 2015 one such conference held in a village in the Mexican state of Chiapas, several young people surrendered their lives for full-time service. Some had never left their village but they went to Bible college. They will be headed back to their people to reach them for the Lord and to start more churches.  Another conference was held in the city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Quintana Roo, Mexico, where Brother Alfredo Pech is pastor. Brother Alfredo was a lawyer when God saved him and later called him to preach. He has built a strong church and has already sent others from his church as church planters. The Mayan Nation is one of the Open Door Project’s target fields. There are many open doors available to someone who would pursue these opportunities. Souls are dying every day and for them, it is the end of the world. Will you reach out to them before it is too late? W 1. Alfredo Pech and family Number 2, 2015 BIMI WORLD 5 Far North Remote But Reachable By Nate Minion Labrador is an obscure and a spiritually dark corner of Canada. In 1792 William Carey, the Father of Modern Missions, bemoaned the lack of Baptist missionaries who would preach the Gospel around the world. He said, “Have not the (Catholic) missionaries surmounted all those difficulties which we have generally thought to be insuperable? Have not the...Moravian Brethren, encountered...the frozen climes of Greenland, and Labrador, their difficult languages, and savage manners?” He went on to plead for Baptist missionaries to take the Gospel to the regions beyond. As far as I know, for over 200 years following that plea for missionaries, there has been a sad lack of independent Baptist missionaries taking the Gospel to Labrador. In 1995 BIMI missionaries Steve and Kathy Stone moved to Labrador to start a church. They spent eight years serving in Western Labrador and organized a church there. Unfortunately, that church no longer exists. Since 2003, Labrador has once again been without an independent Baptist church. Oh yes, they have Catholics, Pentecostals, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, but 6 there has not been another independent Baptist church established in Labrador. God has called us, Nate and Christy Minion, to take the light of the Gospel to Labrador. Several years ago while I was in Bible college, God gave me a burden for the people of Labrador. Labrador has relatively few people compared to the great cities of Canada, but the people of Labrador cannot be ignored. Too long they have waited for the light of God’s Word. Too long they have waited for someone to give them the truth of the Gospel. Together with Newfoundland, Labrador makes up the easternmost province of Canada. Newfoundland is a large island and Labrador is the mainland part of the province. Labrador is a remote area. It contains tundra, forests, mountains, glaciers, and countless lakes and rivers. Central Labrador has a sub-arctic cli- mate. Temperatures range from 70ºF to -30ºF. The average snowfall is 12–15 feet. The climate in Labrador is a cold, harsh climate. More importantly, the spiritual climate in Labrador is cold and harsh. There are six good indepen- dent Baptist churches in Newfoundland but there are no established independent Baptist churches in Labrador. Labrador City and Wabush are two large mining towns on the west side of Labrador. These areas do not have independent Baptist churches or missionar- ies. There are twenty- two small fishing villages scattered up and down the rugged coastline, and none of these villages have independent Baptist churches either. Happy Valley-Goose Bay is the largest town in Labrador. Because Goose Bay is a large military airbase, it is the transportation center for Labrador. We will initially be work- ing in the Goose Bay area. Labrador also has a First Nations group. Sheshatshiu, an Innu town, lies only thirty minutes away from Goose Bay. The Innu are a smaller people group related to the Inuit (Eskimo). The Innu are scattered across Labrador and northern Quebec. One of our goals is to start a work with the Innu people. The young people there know some English, but the middle-aged and older people have little knowledge of the English language. Christy and I are planning to learn the Innu- Aimun language so we can try to reach the Innu people with the Gospel. The work in Labrador will have to be a long- term, patient work. These smaller towns are very tight-knit communities and the people are slow to accept outsiders. It will take time to build relationships and gain their trust. When they are faced with the difficulties of life, many of the people in Labrador turn to alcohol, drugs, and suicide. They are without hope. They don’t have the solutions for their problems. The false religions don’t have the answers. Labradorians must hear the Gospel! In 2013 the Dinsmores, a Canadian family from Ontario, moved to Labrador. They are trying to organize an independent Baptist church in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. So far, they have seen three individuals trust Christ as Savior. When we arrive in Labrador, we will be working to help the Dinsmores get that church established. After helping to establish an independent Baptist church in Goose Bay, our long-term goals are to plant independent Baptist churches in other parts of Labrador, reach the Innu with the Gospel, and evangelize the remote fishing villages on the coast. Please pray for us as we continue deputation. Our goal is to arrive in Labrador in April 2016. For more information, please visit our website at W 7 Far North Why Ottawa? By Jeff Smith “Why Ottawa?” is a question we hear often while on deputation. We usually answer in two ways. First, we are convinced this is the city to which God is sending us for our missionary/ church planting ministry. Second, there is great need and opportunity for the Gospel in Ottawa. From the very start of God working in our lives in the fall of 2005, we knew our calling in the Gospel ministry was that of missionary service. From that time forward, we began to pray for God’s direction regarding the geographical location. We prayed, researched, and traveled during this time. Since I had worked eight years on the family dairy farm and in the family construction business, we, at first, thought that God would direct us to a remote, third-world mission field where I would have some useful experience in agriculture and construction. But God soon gave us another desire. After mission trips and lots of prayer, the first sense of direction we felt God gave us was the desire to be in a city ministry. God impressed on my heart that Good News should go to people— lots of people. God used a relationship and two short ministry trips to show us that Ottawa is the city where He would have us serve Him. The relationship God used to introduce us to Ottawa was with 8 Steven and Debra Michel. Steven Michel is the assistant pastor to Pastor George Covey at Carleton Baptist Church (CBC) in Orleans, Ontario. Our first short missions trip to Ottawa was with our sending church and nine teenagers to help CBC conduct their Summer Day Camp. Our second trip to Ottawa was a construction missions trip to help CBC construct the footings for their first church building. This second trip was a BIMI CLAIM trip led by Missionary Phil Smith. Kim and I were slow to realize that Ottawa was a legitimate and needy mission field in the same way that a poverty-stricken, faraway place was a mission field. God used these people and these trips to turn our eyes and hearts to Ottawa. On these trips we saw what God could do through a Gospel-preaching church in a metropolitan city. We saw primary school- age children pray for salvation and we saw a growing multi-cultural congregation at CBC. There is great need and great opportunity for the Gospel in Ottawa. God continues to reveal this to us as we research the city. Ottawa is a significant point of entry into Canada for immigrants from around the world. Canada is third in the world as a country receiving immigration. “One in four Ottawa residents is an immigrant.…All parts of the world are represented with 53 percent of new arrivals coming from Asia and the Middle East, 17 percent from Africa, and 15 percent from Europe.” 1 Foreign-born residents total 185,000 people in the city. There are 11,000 people of West Indian origin, 19,000 of African origin, 17,500 of Chinese origin, and 22,000 of Middle East origin. 2 We are excited about the possibility and probability of people accepting Christ and then telling family and friends of their salvation in their homeland and in their nationality. There is also a great opportunity to reach Canadians from across Canada. Since Ottawa is the capital of the nation, the city receives tourists, students, and temporary workers. “Canada’s Capital region welcomes over 7.3 million visitors per year.” 3 Another interesting fact is that the Joshua Project website identifies six unreached people groups in the Ottawa area. The population of these six groups totals 37,500. 4 Before we begin our first church planting work in Ottawa, there are two significant requirements we plan to complete. First, we plan to learn the French language. Ottawa became an official bilingual city in 2002. Forty percent of Ottawa’s population can speak both English and French. We have been counseled and we believe we have God’s leading to learn the French language to minister more effectively. Second, per immigration requirements, we must work under an established ministry during our one-year temporary residency status in Ontario, Canada. This is a legal requirement, but it is also a great opportunity for us to be mentored in the ministry in the place that God has sent us. We plan to fulfill this requirement at Carleton Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor George Covey and Assistant Pastor Steven Michel. After our temporary residency status, we enter a three-year permanent residency status. During this time we plan to plant a new church in Ottawa’s city proper. Carleton Baptist Church will be the local, reproducing church. We will have help, counsel, energy, and support from CBC in the new work. Most people in Canada love the café and bake shop called Tim Hortons. When we are with people in Canada, we occasionally hear, “Let’s go to Tims, eh!” An illustration and challenge that I often use on deputation is about the success of Tim Hortons in Canada. shows 176 search results for Tim Hortons in the Ottawa area. Maybe you have heard the illustration that Coca-Cola has reached the world with their product. I can say that Tim Hortons has reached Ottawa with their product. However, we cannot yet say that Ottawa has been reached with the Gospel. Ottawa residents need to be offered eternal life through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Please pray that God will receive glory through the salvation of souls in Ottawa. W ottawa#toc_h2_3 2 demographics/population 3 4 1 9 South America This is Missions to Me! By Erika Cisler Before I became a missionary, I had little concept of what being a missionary actually entailed. As is the case with most missionaries, it was not until I arrived on the field that I fully understood what I was getting into. No turning back now! Though the culture shock was overwhelming enough, I was completely taken aback by a totally different experience as I faced the reality of missions—people! We had spent much time traveling around the United States, sharing statistics and facts about this needy country, and as a result my heart was burdened for the Uruguayan people. However, I had yet to truly understand the compassion the Lord wanted me to have for them. A few short months after arriving in Uruguay, I sat face-to-face with a lady named Claudia, listening to the heartbreak she felt for her lost children and for her devout Catholic family. She accepted the Lord as her Savior when she was nine but had strayed away from Him for many years. Now she is married to an unsaved man and raising three teenagers who do not care to listen to her talk about God. Her oldest daughter blatantly proclaims He does not exist. I just sat there listening with a mother’s broken heart as she spoke. 10 “So this is missions,” I thought—the opportunity to see needy people, really see them, and feel their hurt in my heart. Such is the compassion the Lord gave to me, the compassion of which He speaks in Matthew 9:36. Such compassion leads me to action. Why am I here? Not just to empathize, but I am here to offer the hope these precious people (people God loves and died for) desperately need and long to have. one. The realization that there are so many things I will never get to experience with dear family and friends, memories made that we will not be a part of. Just one more hug, one more cup of coffee together, a chance to hold the new baby. Often it feels like everyone else has moved on and forgotten about us. It can be very tempting to dwell on these things and become depressed or bitter. Thus, because there are desperate people in need of the Savior all around the world, God has commissioned missionaries to go and share the Good News. It is our responsibility. The position of “missionary” is certainly a privileged one. Sometimes missionaries are even referred to as “heroes,” probably due to the amount of sacrifice involved in this occupation (though, because I know me, I would never define myself as a hero). Some may say it takes a “special person” to be a missionary because they could never imagine themselves in such a position. However, speaking as a missionary, I would say this job is not one that can only be fulfilled by some super Christian. Those whom God is seeking are simply the willing and obedient, those who will respond to God’s calling: Here am I; send me! So if it is not the missionary who makes being a missionary so special, what is it? I would say it is the “office” itself. In Romans 11:13, Paul said, I magnify mine office. It is also tempting to feel like I am all alone with these emotions, that no one else understands. However, it is comforting to know that Jesus most certainly understands just how I feel! He counted the cost, left the comforts of home, suffered trials and temptations, and then endured the most painful trial of all—that moment when He was separated from God the Father on the cross. He gave all He had in order to provide salvation for the world. As a missionary, I have the precious honor to relate with Him on a far smaller scale by willingly sacrificing things that are easy and comfortable to obey the Father’s will, delivering the Good News to the people of Uruguay that they might be saved. Truly I am not alone. Jesus knows exactly how I feel. God, the Creator of the universe, the Savior of the world, called my family to represent Him in Uruguay. Wow! As a missionary, I can humbly receive the glory that comes from the position and simply pass it on to the Lord with a grateful heart for being permitted the opportunity to serve Him in such a way. While the work of missions is truly a blessed privilege and an honor, there are times it does not feel like such a privilege. Sometimes I am tempted toward feelings of loneliness, shifting my focus from the Lord to the sense of loss and sacrifice I feel as a result of leaving behind everything familiar and everyone I hold dear. At other times, being a missionary is just plain hard! Since we arrived to the field a few years ago, I have experienced various moments of “grief.” I call it grief because it feels so very similar to the emotions felt after losing a loved So this is missions to me—so far. I am still learning every day as my Lord teaches and molds me through the experiences of missions. Missions is real. It is not just numbers and facts on a PowerPoint slide. It is real people with real struggles and needs who are desperate for a Savior, though they may not yet realize it. That is why we are here! Missions is a responsibility. God has given us the privilege to see these people, to feel their hurt in our hearts, and to share with them the Good News of the Savior. It is truly an honorable calling we are blessed to have received. However, missions is also difficult. It is no small matter to leave everyone and everything behind in order to follow God’s calling. Yet, what an amazing opportunity we have as missionaries to experience a taste of what Christ went through! Missions—a very real, very difficult work God has given us the responsibility and privilege to fulfill. W Number 2, 2015 BIMI WORLD 11 Africa Not a Day Too Late By Bill Brouwer Sunday morning after the service, several men arrived at the church in Igekemaja. They had been sent by their grandmother to get the pastor and bring him to their village 30 km (18 miles) away. Pastor Pelegrino (Pele) was hesitant to go because he needed to travel to another village for the afternoon service. However, the men were insistent that he come right then. Finally, Pele, his family, and two men from the church took off for this unknown village. What they found made the trip totally worthwhile. There sat an elderly woman of 102 years of age. She had heard of the church and desperately wanted to know how to go to heaven. She, along with a group of 20 people, listened as Pele shared the good 12 news of the Gospel. This precious elderly woman and six other people accepted Christ as Savior! Ten days later Pastor Pelegrino received a phone call saying this 102-year-old woman had gone home—home to her Savior! W Bill and Tammy Brouwer are BIMI missionaries serving in the Lake Region of Mwanza, Tanzania. Their ministry is finding villages without a Gospel-preaching church—a village like the one mentioned in the article above. At this present time Bill and Pastor Pelegrino are making plans to plant an independent Baptist church in this village. Go To Carry Out Candidate School the Great Commission Go ye therefore (Matthew 28:19) by Dan DeLong As I introduce the June 2015 Candidate School class of Baptist International Missions, my thoughts turn to our theme for the year: Constrained by the Love of Christ to Carry out the Great Commission. Four ingredients that seem to surface over and over again can be seen in the word GO. As we look at what is necessary to fulfill this theme, our candidates were challenged to consider these four ingredients. The number one ingredient is a love for Christ that must prompt these future missionaries; it must drive them; it must guide them as they commit their lives to fulfill the Great Commission. Second, they must have a faith in Christ as He guides and directs them in the ministry to which He has called them. Simply put, they must TRUST Him! The third ingredient needed to carry out God’s command is a persistence, steadfastness, and faithfulness to do what God tells them to do. These are the characteristics that will keep them doing it and doing it and doing it! Last, our new pre-fielders were taught a fourth ingredient of the Great Commission. It is actually the first command—GO! They must GO. The Lord has left them, you, and me with clear instructions in Matthew 28:19 to Go ye therefore. These three words involve the most important aspect of the Great Commission—GO. My prayer for these candidates is that they wrap their entire lives around the Great Commission as they GO to their fields of service. I pray they never forget Christ loves them and has entrusted them with the Gospel as they prepare to GO to Carry out the Great Commission. In the following four pages I introduce to you the June 2015 Candidate School pre-field missionaries of BIMI. 13 14 BIMI WORLD Number 2, 2015 15 16 BIMI WORLD Number 2, 2015 17 Central Brazil America First Independent Baptist Church Plant in the Paraiba Valley By Ed Johnson Growing up in Brazil as an MK (missionary kid), I was able to see firsthand the great spiritual needs and the countless opportunities for sharing the Gospel in Brazil. So at the age of twenty, I was thrilled when God called me to go back to Brazil as a missionary. I count it a true honor and privilege to be able to serve our wonderful Savior in Brazil. of Brazil and anywhere the dart landed would be a good place to start a church. He is right! The need is so great in Brazil. As my family and I were praying, we visited several different cities and locations. Everywhere we went my heart broke as I saw the desperate spiritual needs and the multitudes of souls going about as sheep without a shepherd. Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world, is in desperate need of more Gospel-preaching churches. It is true that Brazil is a very religious country—you would be hard-pressed to find an atheist. It is also true that there are churches everywhere and “evangelical” churches are growing like wildfire. But real Gospel-preaching churches are few and far between. These other so-called churches are teaching a works-based salvation and a prosperity gospel. They provide entertainment and a “positive and an emotional experience with God” but forget about the life- changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. Coming back from one such trip in 2011, we found ourselves spending the night in the Paraiba Valley. That is when God began showing us the needs as well as the opportunities of this region. The Vale do Paraíba, as it is called in Portuguese, is in southeastern Brazil, consisting of over 3.3 million inhabitants. It is located along the major highway Dutra and sits in between the two largest and most important Brazilian cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Because of its strategic location, it is an industrial hub for many large companies such as Ford, Volkswagen, LG, and Johnson & Johnson. It plays a very important role in Brazilian economics. As we were praying for God´s direction on where to start a church, I heard a veteran missionary who had been involved in many church plants in several different regions of Brazil say that one could throw a dart at a map 18 There are approximately 58 municipalities in the valley; one is Taubaté, a rapidly growing city with a current population of 300,000. It was recently cited in Brazil’s largest news magazine as one of the top twenty medium-sized cities with best chances of becoming a metropolis in the country. Taubaté is one of three privileged locations in Brazil to have a conservative, Baptist radio station. The broadcast reaches most of the valley and yet there is a tremendous lack of good churches here. In fact, even though a radio station pumps out the Gospel message very clearly twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the listeners have no independent Baptist churches they can attend to continue to grow and be discipled. The Lord has called my family and me to plant the first independent Baptist church in this region. We have relocated to the city and will be working in a team ministry along with my parents and another missionary family. I have been involved with two other new church plants and can say that it is truly exciting to be a part of a brand new work especially in a region that so desperately needs the Gospel. Soon after we moved here, I was getting to know my neighbors. While I was talking to my neighbor across the street, he told me he goes to the Assembly of God church and proceeded to tell me they have 54 congregations here in Taubaté—one in each neighborhood. He then asked me how many independent Baptist churches were in the city. I had to tell him none, at least for now. But there ought to be one independent Baptist church in every neighborhood as well—at the very least one in every one of the 58 cities in the Valley! There is much work to be done. We need to be about our Father´s business. We need to work while it is day! In all of Brazil, there are over 5,570 municipalities, some with a population as large as eleven million. Most of them have no Gospel-preaching church. God has called me to the Paraiba Valley to start churches here. What about you? What are you doing for the cause of Christ? The inauguration of New Life Baptist Church of Taubaté will be in September and we covet your prayers! W Number 2, 2015 BIMI WORLD 19 Central America A Thought to Ponder By Mark Lockhart William Carey preached his “deathless sermon,” as described by his biographer S. Pearce Carey, on May 30, 1792. The place was Nottingham, England. At 10:00 a.m. the young cobbler/pastor from Leicester rose to address the small group. His text was Isaiah 54:2– 3, Lengthen thy cords…strengthen thy stakes. Then he rang out a fervent plea for missions. The two key thoughts he drew from that passage are “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” One who was present tells us that Carey “was in an agony of distress” as he became spokesman for the perishing multitudes in heathendom. As the ministers “once more quenched the Spirit” at the meeting’s close and began to leave, Carey grasped the arm of Andrew Fuller and cried, “Is there nothing again going to be done, sir?” By the grace of God and the participation of countless churches and individuals, Baptist International Missions, Inc. (BIMI), has been doing something about worldwide missions for more than fifty years. I want to pose another question. What more can be done? My immediate focus is not on what individuals and churches can do but rather what the missionary can do. The work of missions is all about giving. Churches and individuals sacrifice time and prayer as well as money in order to send missionaries. In turn, these missionaries are responsible to emulate their sacrificial example. Most certainly, at first thought we are able to understand how the missionary accomplishes this goal in many ways. However, there is one avenue of sacrifice that is far too often seen only by the missionary. I am swiftly approaching the conclusion of a generation of service with BIMI as a foreign missionary. A generation is the sobering term I want to consider with you today. God has blessed us with four children who are growing into young adults. We recognize they will soon leave our home and with God’s help launch out into doing God’s specific will for each of them. Our expectation and anticipation is that they will be obedient. Nonetheless, parents are always concerned for their children, and quite honestly, we may even have been fearful they would choose some other venture in life rather than God’s will. We rejoice that all three boys have indicated that they have faithfully prayed about their personal life choices and they are convinced God would have them commit their lives to missions. That is a tremendous decision of victory. Our earnest prayer is that they experience further victory in performance and accomplishment. My desire is to convey the reality that missionaries often sacrifice their children to the work of missions in a good way. It is much more than a simple coincidental occurrence. Many missionaries pray for God to call their children to full-time Christian service and specifically that God would choose their children to serve Him as missionaries. Why would missionaries pray that way? I suggest three simple reasons: it is a worthy calling; it is a worthwhile investment; it is a welcomed outcome. Our missionaries at BIMI continue to offer their children these goals. I am well aware that we would fall well short of our aspiration without the prayer and financial support of many of you who are reading this article. However, I want to pose a question and 20 BIMI WORLD Number 2, 2015 challenge to each of you. Why would you not offer your children or grandchildren to God through prayer? Only you can answer that question. Are you willing to do so? In 2002 we were cooperating in a church plant that has now been turned over to a national pastor. I want to recount a story about the daughter of the first husband and wife reached for Christ through that ministry. Her fictitious name is Dorothy. Dorothy and her family became faithful members and this little girl grew into a teenager with a sweet spirit and a desire to serve God as a missionary. Both of her parents are professionals. Unfortunately, she was discouraged from following through with what she believed God wanted her to do. Her parents did not recognize the spiritual ambition of their daughter as a lofty goal. Dorothy now has a college degree, but she neither has the joy of the Lord nor the same sweet spirit or smile on her face. If you agree that missionary service is a worthy calling, a worthwhile investment, and a welcomed outcome for missionaries’ children, I submit to you that the same reasoning should be held as applicable for each of us. I recently received letters from Missionary John Ridings and from his son-in-law John Gilbreath, and my heart was blessed to see John Gilbreath’s son on the ladder laboring with his dad. There are many other BIMI missionaries who are also blessed to have their own children serving on the field with them or in some instances serving far from them. Such is the case of Don and Carolyn Carney, who serve in Merida, Mexico. They have three children serving on the foreign mission field. The examples are too numerous to mention, but God is not finished; He continues to call our children. Are we as parents and grandparents willing to accept that call? In the words and thoughts of the great missionary William Carey, are you willing to “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God”? We read in 3 John 1:4, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Will these words ring true in your heart as you offer to God the next generation of faithful missionaries? W 21 South America To Turn Them From Darkness To Light By Roger D Blevins Have you ever sat in a dark room and thought about the darkness? The simplest definition of darkness is the absence of light. The remedy for a dark room is the introduction of some form of light. The light can come from a number of sources: a candle, an oil lamp, a flashlight, an electric light, etc. There is something far worse than a room void of light—spiritual darkness! It too can be defined as the absence of light, and the remedy for it is the same—introduce light to dispel the darkness. But this is where the similarities end. There are not multiple sources of spiritual light. There is only one source. It is God’s Word. The task of every Christian, the mission of the local church, and the job of every missionary is to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death (Luke 1:79a). Medellín, Colombia (pronounced: may–day– yean), is a spiritually dark place. Once known as the most dangerous city in the world, Medellín has made great strides toward economic, social, financial, and even cultural recovery after its decades-long struggle under the brutal violence and oppression of fierce drug lords, but a blinding veil of spiritual darkness continues to shroud its people. God has put it in our hearts to take the Word of God to Medellín, Colombia, because we know that is the only hope for dispelling the dreadful spiritual darkness. In order to do this, we have launched PROJECT MEDELLIN. Our goal is to print, ship, and distribute 40,000 Spanish New Testaments in the city. For the small cost of just over $2 per copy, we can make this happen! Of course, we cannot do this alone. We need the help of churches across America to raise the approximately $80,000 needed to carry out this project. Please pray that God will raise up many Project Medellín Partners to help us. 22 Thankfully, today things have changed in Medellín. Baptist International Missions, Inc. (BIMI), now has two missionary families living and ministering in this great city of 3.5 million souls. We have partnered with Victory Baptist Press of Milton, Florida, for the printing of the New Testaments and assistance in shipping them to Colombia. With the Lord’s help, our team will travel to Medellín in October 2015 where we will put the Word of God directly into the hands of multiplied thousands of Colombians in their homes and on the streets of this spiritually dark city. We often sing “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” Working together, this October we can SHINE OUR LIGHT in Medellín, Colombia. For more information about PROJECT MEDELLIN, please go to www.bimi. org. Look for Project Medellín and click on read more. You will be able to view our exciting five-minute video (accessible in both English and Spanish) that will tell you much more about this tremendous undertaking. All contributions should be sent to BIMI and designated for account #418. W 23 Africa Almost a Catholic Priest By David Maskey—Nigeria Most churches in Nigeria are evangelical now. Yet, there are still many Roman Catholics since they were among the first missionaries to come many years ago. Innocent Ukpong was a young man who grew up in a Catholic family and attended one of those Catholic churches in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He eventually became an altar boy and a Mass servant to the priest in order to prepare for the priesthood himself. However, when his father died unexpectedly, his training was delayed for financial reasons and he became discouraged. God used this setback in Innocent’s plans to cause him to ponder his direction and his religious beliefs. In spite of being very devout to his religion, he had begun to perceive that much of it was just empty ritual and there was something missing in his life. He started attending some of the many Charismatic churches but they did not seem to have the answers he needed. One time, he walked into one of those churches and felt dizzy and fainted. When he woke up, the pastor was standing over him and told him he had been “slain in the spirit” and that he had received a 24 “special anointing of God,” but still he knew something was not right. In the meantime, a friend had been inviting him for about a year to come and visit our church but Innocent would always have an excuse not to come. Finally, one Sunday he did come. He considered himself to be “saved,” but in truth he was just trying to work his way to heaven, as he had been taught in his church. That Sunday for the first time he heard from the Bible that salvation is not by works or by doing rituals but by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. He knew in his heart that this was the truth. After attending for several more weeks, he finally responded to the invitation one Sunday in 2007 and did receive salvation. Since then, he has become one of our most faithful members (usually one of the first to arrive for the services!) and is now a student in our Bible institute. He is an ardent soul winner, a committed bus captain, and one of our best preachers—a man who almost became a Catholic priest! Pray for Innocent and all our Bible institute students that God will use them in a great way to spread the truth in Nigeria and beyond. W Africa The Guard Who Knew Too Much By Jeremy Pittman—Uganda Ocwee is a security guard who has worked in Soroti for over six years and was a leader in his local village church. I had attempted on several occasions to witness to him but was always rebuffed as he was convinced his good works would take him to heaven. In his opinion, he simply knew too much and was not going to fall for “our religion.” I had spoken to him often about the fact that it is not a religion but our relationship to Christ that makes the difference in our lives. Our orphanage property was guarded by Ocwee at night and he also guarded my home at times but had caused us problems in the past. Recently, he simply told me that we needed to talk as he had some questions about the Bible. He specifically had questions about the one-on-one discipleship lessons he had heard me teach to new converts. Ocwee and I sat down with our Bibles, and he began to tell me that he had been watching me closely over the last six years to see if I was really a “true Christian.” He looked at me intently and said he was now convinced that I truly was a Christian and he wanted to be a “true Christian” too. Ocwee told me that he had stolen from me in the past and even though I knew he had stolen, I was patient with him and treated him fairly. He stated that he watched how I treated Christians and non-Christians and was waiting for me to fail. I am certain I must have been inconsistent at times with someone, but I am thankful he apparently never noticed! He then said he had done other bad things to me (I still would like to find out what those things were!), and he needed my forgiveness and wanted to be truly born again. I was so thankful when he humbly bowed his head and put his faith in Christ instead of his good works that he had previously been trusting. His prayer was so precious to listen to and we have now seen his wife trust Christ as well. They are both taking discipleship lessons and we would appreciate your prayers for their spiritual growth. W 25 Jane Ford August 3, 1937 – January 30, 2015 Jane and her husband, Keith, were approved to serve with BIMI in 1973. They started churches and ministries with the Deaf in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Grenada, St. Kitts, and the United States.  In Jamaica the Fords established a school for the deaf through the ministry of Palmers Cross Baptist Church. The school is now known as the May Pen School for the Deaf and is under the control of the Ministry of Education and the Jamaican Association for the Deaf. Keith and Jane also had a printing ministry in the Caribbean.  Since 2001, they have helped with the BIMI Harvest Deaf Bible College in Ringgold, Georgia. The Fords taught sign language to other people who dedicated themselves to teach the deaf. That multiplied their ministry, so there were many more deaf people saved as a result. Please pray for Keith as he continues in ministry. Stephen Fox August 9, 1952 — June 12, 2015 Memorial Gifts have been received in memory of Jean Thames by Barbara Witherspoon Blessed Hope Baptist Church Becky & Richard Dorston Bruce & Lola Gard Donald Hatfield Hershel & Mae Hatfield Don & Teresa Katz H.C. & Peggy O’Bryant Richard & Linda Tester Anthony & Tiffanie Sileo As a rebellious teen, First Assembly of God Church Greenville Brother Fox was Jeanette Jones by Calvary Baptist Church placed in a Roloff Al Layson by Living Hope Baptist Church home. It was there Dale Taylor by Tillie Henderson that he accepted Jesus Marvin Bryant by Faith Baptist Church Christ as Savior. Due to Brother Roloff ’s influence, School Jane Ford by Bobby Gunter Stephen enrolled in Tennessee Temple Bible and dedicated his life to full-time missions by Mrs. Rachel C Nicholson work. Myrtle Stewart by Robert & Lisa Gunter Rae Dawson by Terry & Darlene Boyett Stephen and Treasa served as missionaries to Jeffrey Stock by Mr. & Mrs. Richard J Tenpas Trinidad and the Philippines. In 1985 they Ray Larkins by Mr. & Mrs. Johnny Parks felt called to work with Native Americans and David Wilcox by Mr. & Mrs. Johnny Parks returned to the States to serve in Phoenix, Earl Henry by American Benefit Corp. Arizona. They lived and worked on the Salt River Morris Miller by Patricia Henderson Pima Maricopa Reservation in Mesa, Arizona. Ronald Cannon by Judy & Crawford Jones Their ministry was to the Creek, Navajo, and the Oliver Tilley by John & Lynea Morgan Yavapai-Apache Indians. Please be in prayer for Dennis Lupfer by Bible Baptist Church his wife, Treasa, sons John, Timothy, Stephen, and Jill Knorr by Bible Baptist Church their families. Jerry Bowmaster by Bible Baptist Church Missionary Stephen Linda Furlong by Fox went Home to be with his Lord on Friday, June 12, 2015. He and his wife, Treasa, have faithfully served as BIMI mis- sionaries for 40 years. 26 BIMI WORLD Number 2, 2015 Are you one of countless people filled with sincere and relevant questions, wondering about God’s calling and missions? CAMP BIMI can help. CAMP BIMI I, II, III: June 20-27, 2015 CAMP BIMI I: June 27–July 4, 2015 ACH Debit l Do you get tired of writing monthly support checks? l Have you ever forgotten to send in monthly support? l Has your monthly support check ever been lost or delayed in the mail? Help your missionaries by guaranteeing the timely arrival of monthly support! Baptist International Missions, Inc., offers the convenience of check-free giving to those who regularly support its missionaries and ministries. ACH Debit allows you to authorize BIMI to withdraw your monthly support directly from your checking or savings account. You will save time, postage, check expense, and any postal delays connected with your regular giving. With ACH Debit you can be sure your support always arrives in a timely fashion. Monthly withdrawals will be made from your account until you notify us of a change. You may discontinue the program at any time. To start the ACH Debit process, please call, write, or e-mail requesting the ACH Debit Authorization Form.