Missions in Dominican Republic

I just returned from a survey trip to the Dominican Republic (DR) with a team representing Faith Church, Fellowship Greenville and Faith Global Missions.  We were encouraged, thankful, convicted and challenged by what we observed.  I hope you enjoy this brief report and follow the links to see pictures and learn more about what God is doing in DR.  As you follow the links, please feel free to share them on your own Facebook timeline.

Fondo de la Botella is a house church plant in a poor barrio of Santiago.  Iglesia Bautista de la Gracia provides two weekly Bible studies and distributes food packs to neighborhood residents.  We met an elderly lady who came to Christ several months ago, but could not read.  She worked hard to learn to read and has only recently received her own copy of the Scriptures.  She is thrilled to be able to read God’s Word for herself now!

Hogar Crea is a government home for men struggling with addictions where Iglesia Bautista de la Gracia freely conducts a weekly Bible study and helps with special needs. 

Iglesia de Dios Valle de Bendiciones is a church plant, providing food and limited childcare and education to a poverty-stricken barrio.   

Iglesia Evangelista Cristo Redentor is a Haitian church plant and school.  Many undocumented Haitian refugees live in DR and do not qualify for education or social services.  Yve’s story will bless you.

Vida para Niños provides half-day Christian education as well as a meal and fresh fruit.  Iglesia Bautista de la Gracia helps provide food, medicine and leadership.

Iglesia Bautista de la Gracia created Fundación Red de Misericordia, Network of Mercy Foundation, because they had a burden to reach the orphans of DR.  They currently have three homes for different age groups ranging from infants to high school.

T.E.A.R.S. is a ministry started by a former Oakland gangbanger who trusted Jesus and then wanted to reach people in a dangerous, severely poverty-stricken barrio.  Rod and his wife, Twyla, live among the people of their barrio in La Vega.  They minister in practical ways to plant the seed of the gospel and establish a church. 

Cien Fuego, literally 100 fights, is so named for the nature of its inhabitants  It is the location of two church plants associated with Iglesia Bautista de la Gracia. 

Please pray for Faith Church, Fellowship Greenville and Faith Global Missions as we consider partnership opportunities with the churches of DR.  Please like us while you are there.

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Small Churches Can Support Missions

“I wish we could do more for missions, but our church is small” or “we just don’t have much money.” These are common comments today in evangelical circles. Perhaps you have thought or said something like this recently. I would like to use this opportunity today to give you some hope!

You and your church CAN have a great impact on worldwide evangelism!

According to Barna Group, 41% of church-going adults attend small churches, those with 100 or fewer. So if you are part of a small church you are part in a significant part of the Protestant population.

Matthew Spandler-Davison has served as pastor of a small church in Bardstown, Kentucky, since 2004. In August 2012 he published an article for the Gospel Coalition entitled How Small Churches Can Support Missions. In the article he made four suggestions.

1. Preach the Gospel. The Gospel is at the heart of our message and preaching of the Word is at the center of local church ministry. The pulpit is an excellent conduit for highlighting the message of missions threaded through the Scriptures.

2. Pray for the Nations. Have a focused prayer time during worship. Lead the church to pray for missionaries. Share recorded messages from missionaries as you pray with your church family. Form prayer groups within your church family to pray for specific missionaries.

3. Develop Partnerships. Don’t try to be everywhere and partner with everyone, but choose a focused strategy of partnerships on specific fields. You can also partner with other like-minded churches to do more together. You might even be able to provide some volunteer services to help your favorite mission agency or partner with a larger church who is impacting an area of the world in a way that interests your church.

4. Provide Opportunities. Work with trusted missionaries, churches and mission agencies to provide opportunities of service. Ask your missionaries how your congregation can serve them. Prepare video greetings for your missionaries and make them available on the Web for them to view. Ask your missionaries first to make sure you don’t violate any security protocols for their field of service.

Visit The Gospel Coalition to read the full article.

 

Posted in Local Church in Missions, Missions Giving | Leave a comment

How Do I Learn More About the Problem of Human Trafficking?

I remember a pastor friend of mine in Moldova telling me about a lady in his church who had responded to an advertisement for a domestic housekeeper in another country. Upon arrival at her new location, her passport was taken from her and she was locked up and forced into sexual servitude. She eventually escaped her captors and returned to Moldova. My pastor friend spent many hours counseling her from the Scriptures to help her deal with her experience.

Because of his involvement in fighting human trafficking and his training in biblical counseling, he was better prepared to help this woman. There are many resources on the internet that will help you learn about this problem. You may find a list of recommended resources at www.symposiachristi.com/resources/.  Attendance at symposiums and conferences on the topic is another way to learn more about the problem.

Symposiachristi.com sponsors annual symposiums on the campus of Purdue University on various topics. This year the topic is “Human Dignity, Slavery and Sex Trafficking” and will be held Friday, January 31st and Saturday, February 1st in the Elliot Hall of Music. You may find the schedule at www.symposiachristi.com/schedule-of-events/.

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Should the Church Combat Sex Slavery and Human Trafficking?

For many years the evangelical church responded to the liberal social gospel by avoiding any involvement in social ministries.  Today, more churches are realizing that the Church “threw the baby out with the bath water” when she did that.

God’s Word teaches us that He is a God blesses those who seek justice (Ps. 34:15; 106:3; 112:5; Prov. 14:31; Eccl. 8:12; Jer. 22:13-17).  Furthermore, God loves justice and hates injustice (Ps. 5:4; 11:5-7; 33:5; 99:4; Isa. 61:8; Amos 5:7, 10-12, 15, 21-24; Mal 2:16-17).

God is also a God of compassion who responds to the cries of the oppressed (Ex. 22:23-27; Ps. 9:12; 10:14, 17-18; 34:6, 18; 116:5; 145:8-9; Isa. 30:18; Hos. 14:3; Mark 1:41; John 11:35; Jas. 4:4, 11).

God calls believers to respond to injustice (Psalm 72:1-2, 4; 82:3-4; Pr. 24:11; 29:7; 31:8-9; Isa. 1:17; 56:1; 58:3, 6-10;Matt. 7:12; 25:35-40; Luke 6:36; 2 Cor. 7:11; Heb. 13:3; Jas. 1:27)

A special thanks to Evangelical Covenant Church and their Digging Deeper Study.  This study may be accessed at https://www.covchurch.org/trafficking/files/2010/10/Digging-Deeper-HT.pdf.

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What is the scope of Sex Slavery and Human Trafficking?

Sex slavery and human trafficking is a problem of global proportions. It is almost always a form of organized crime, generates an estimated $32 billion in annual revenue and ensnares about 2.5 million people at any given time. It affects people of all backgrounds and socio-economic groups.

Sexual exploitation accounts for 79% of human trafficking followed by forced labor at 18% with the greatest numbers coming from Thailand, China, Nigeria, Albania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. The most common destinations for trafficked women and girls are Thailand, Japan, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and the United States. (UNODC)

To learn more about human trafficking in different countries and regions of the world, download UNODC’s Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.

Proverbs 14:31 He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him. [NASB]

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What is Sex Slavery and Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking and sex slavery has become a problem of global scale.  It is a dark problem most of us would prefer to ignore.  However, it is a problem of global proportions that should affect the ministry of the Church, especially in foreign missions.  So I thought it was about time for FGM to write a series on the topic.  Over the next few weeks we will consider the scope of the problem, the biblical basis for the church’s involvement and opportunities to learn more about the problem and solutions.

Sex Slavery is a very real form of slavery. It specifically targets women and children forcing them to perform sexual activities. Most sex slaves are women, followed by young girls and a small percentage of men and boys. Sex slavery includes pornography, prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation. Victims are often form poor countries and are offered legitimate employment in another country. Sex slavery almost always involves human trafficking.

Human Trafficking is the recruitment, transport, transfer, harboring or receipt of a person by any means of threat, force, coercion or deception for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation may include forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor, or other servitude. This is separate from smuggling of people, but may occur in conjunction with smuggling of people.

Human Trafficking FAQs

 

 

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Lessons Learned by a Veteran Missionary

I think it is interesting that this veteran missionary of over 40 years says that one of the most important lessons he learned as a missionary is the value of teamwork.  If you think about it, as a missionary Saul/Paul always had a team with him.

At Faith Global Mission I’m thankful to be part of a team.  Our team of pastors and professional staff at Faith Ministries provides wise, knowledgeable and godly insight and accountability to one another both personally and in ministry.  We believe in teamwork on the mission field, too.  We think the team concept is so important, that we want our missionaries to work in teams rather than as individuals.  It is a great benefit to have someone close at hand to hold you accountable, to encourage you when you are discouraged, to share in the joys and the heartaches of life ministry.

My prayer today is, God, please help me be a good team player.  Help me to be blessing to those in leadership over me, a joy to those I am working beside and an encouragement to those I am leading.

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Why Should I Give to Missions?

Reason #1: To partner with the missionaries in the work

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote a missionary letter to the Philippian church.  In Philippians 4:10-12 he  thanks them for their financial support of him and his ministry.  He tells them and us that he had learned to be content in any economic state, that he had learned the secret of living on much or little.  Then in verse 13 he says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” When is the last time you thought about this verse in the context of missionary support or lack of economic sustenance?

Reason #2: To partner with missionaries in the challenges of ministry

Paul also mentioned that the Philippians encouraged him by their participation in the ministry in a material way.  They shared in his affliction, i.e. as he had financial needs, they made financial sacrifices to help meet those needs, thereby feeling some of his pain.

Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.  You yourselves also now, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.

Reason #3: To partner with the missionaries in the rewards of the work

Paul made it very clear to the Philippians that their financial partnership with his ministry would result in heavenly rewards.  The rewards would go the account of the givers.  How would you like to be given credit for the fruit of Paul’s ministry.  Well, that’s exactly what Paul said in Philippians 4:17, Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.

You see, when you and I give financially to missions, we share in the rewards for that work.  Since rewards are given based on our hearts, rewards given at the judgment seat of Christ represent works that glorified God.

Giving to missions glorifies God!

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Why Should I Consider Being a Missionary?

Marc Blackwell has served as a missionary since 1973, so he speaks from experience.  He and his wife, Judie still serve as missionaries in the Republic of South Africa.  When I asked him why anyone should consider being a missionary in today’s world, he told me, “Because it is a life that is lived for others rather than a life lived for self.”

As we consider this topic, I think we need to know what is a missionary ?  A missionary is a Christian who is committed to ministering across geographic, cultural or linguistic boundaries … someone who ministers to people who are different than himself/herself.  Many ministries are about serving others, but few require one to give up geographic closeness to family and friends or to give leave the culture, society and traditions with which we grew up.

Jesus left the comfort of his position in heaven, the intimate closeness of his Heavenly Father, the worship of the angels and so much more in order to live a life of sinlessness in the form of a man.  He did this for his Father and for us … for others!  Shouldn’t you and I at least consider the possibility of serving God as a missionary?

If you would like more information on serving as a missionary,  contact us today

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Everyone Should Have a Timothy

 

Sep 2013 BCTC Class
Sep 2013 BCTC Class

 

I love spending time with my 3-year-old grandson.  He will work alongside me around the house because he likes to “do stuff with Papi.”  Sometimes we will work on a project together or do chores together.  Other times we will go for a walk and observe the world God has created.  Sometimes we play with his toys together.  We do things together for several reasons.

  1. We both love doing things together.
  2. My grandson needs to learn how to do things, how to work and how things work.  (His favorite question: “How does is work, Papi?”
  3. He needs to appreciate nature and see the glory of God in nature.
  4. He needs to learn about the holiness, mercy, grace and justice of God.
  5. I have a responsibility to pass on to my grandson the things I have learned from and about God and spending time together facilitates that.

I try to do the same thing in my ministry.  Not with my grandson, but with others.  If I teach a class, I want to have someone in training teaching with me.  If I am counseling, I want to have someone in the room observing me to learn how to counsel.  The idea is that as we go through life, we should be preparing and equipping others around us to do the work of the ministry.  In his report on a recent trip to teach biblical counseling for us in Moldova, Bill Tully said,

I told them it is our desire to see them become effectively equipped biblical counselors who are effectively making a difference in the lives of others who are seeking for answers to the problems they are encountering in life.  Therefore, if they are actively applying the principles they are learning personally and practically using the principles to help others find answers to their problems, they will find us to be interested in doing what we are able to do to help them become effective biblical counselors.  On the other hand, I also reinforced the fact that we are interested in those who will practice what they are taught, not just simply accumulate knowledge.  

One of the questions that came up in the closing Q&A session is one of the big questions of counseling in every culture, “How do we counsel all the needs that arise within our congregations, there are so many?”  The answer to that question is also,  Strive to always be training someone else!

Remember, there is always someone in our spheres of influence that has less experience or knowledge than we.  Therefore, we can always be helping with the discipleship of someone.

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