Raise the Roof! Faith Home, Honduras

Raise The Roof! At Faith Home, Honduras

Rodney and Teresa Walls

New personnel, Rodney and Teresa Walls

Faith Home has experienced many changes in 2016. Changes in number of children, changes in staff, and changes in the way we see God. We can’t say enough of the greatness of our God and how we have seen Him move in the lives of the children and the ones who are caring for them.

We have seen sick children miraculously healed, families reunited, and lives literally saved by God’s provision of Faith Home for the abandoned and neglected children of Honduras. But the most important changes are the ones we have seen in the hearts of the children and young adults as they accept Christ and learn to embrace His unconditional love that comforts in all circumstances. Some of their stories bring tears of joy and some just pure thankfulness for our God’s timing, which is always perfect:

  • One sibling group came with all four children very sick. Two of them spent a week in the hospital. We were told that in another week on the street that they would not have lived.
  • One of the newborn babies that arrived was so severely malnourished that family services told us later they were surprised he made it through the night. His mother is in prison for stealing food to survive.
  • One of the young boys who arrived this year told us this was the best Christmas he had ever experienced and one he would never forget.
  • Many of the new children have shed tears of joy over the simple things of new clothing, shoes and toys (things they never had before).
  • An 11-year-old was so excited to be able to attend school for the first time…ever.
  • One child commented to his mother at a supervised visit that they get to eat three times a day …every day!

We are thankful for Faith Home and the people who so generously support this ministry. 2016 has been full of changes mixed with moments that have abundantly blessed the hearts of the children and adults of Faith Home. We are excited to see what changes God has in store for Faith Home as we LAUNCH a new year.

LAUNCH!LAUNCH. The VBS offering in 2017 will go to help us to change more lives by bringing more children to Faith Home. Along with the blessing of 33 new children in 2016 (13 of whom were reunited with family) came challenges and extra expenses. We are grateful for all who are helping with additional sponsorships and funds for foster care and newborn baby care, but we also have other housing needs.

Currently all of our casas are occupied. We are keeping the newborns in the missionary houses. Church Planting / Medical Missionaries Rodney & Teresa Walls are the primary caregivers of baby Ely who has hip dysplasia along with fetal alcohol syndrome. Ely arrived when she was a month old and only four pounds.

Isaias with Christina Massey

Isaias with Christina Massey

Faith Home Director Christina is the primary caregiver of Isaias who came to us when he was 13 days old and under four pounds. Baby Samuel arrived when he was seven days old and a little over three pounds. We have a night nanny that keeps Samuel and another nanny who works with our teen girls to help with the babies during the day.

We have a house for each age group of boys and girls and we are currently at capacity. We are praying for more staff and children in 2017, which means we need additional housing and repairs to current casas. Casa 3 (destroyed in the earthquake of 2009) is currently being rebuilt but needs an extra $30,000 to complete.

Casa 3 will be able to house up to 16 children depending on age. We have built flexibility into the design of this casa, so that it can be used as a toddler house or for older transition children depending on the needs we have at any given time.

The children are growing up quickly, so the dynamic of our campus is constantly changing. Casas 5, 8, and the transition houses outside need metal roofs (approximately $2,000 each) to get the weight of the tejas (clay tile) off of the aging casa walls.

There are also several possible remodel plans that could allow us to house more children in 2017, all of which takes additional funding. Please consider how you can help Faith Home LAUNCH 2017 by helping with our housing needs and allowing us to impact more lives in Honduras with the Love of Christ.

7 Suggestions to Help Make Easter a Big Day!

by Franklin Dumond – Director of Congregational Ministries

Make Easter a Big Dat!1— Start Early!

At the beginning of every calendar year pastors can look ahead to predict the most likely higher attended and lower attended days of the year. By planning ahead to accentuate the high days and mitigate the low days the overall average attendance may be increased and more and more people won to faith in Jesus Christ. What are my most likely higher attendance days? Look at the attendance records from last year on a line graph. When does your attendance spike? Why? Take a hard look at your current programming. There must be something in your congregational culture that brings these high points.

2 — Add A Special Feature.

How many people are usually involved in leading worship on a given Sunday? Add a special feature whereby more people can be involved in meaningful participation and watch the visitors arrive…especially if you use the Children’s Choir and its members rehearse for a few weeks in advance! For Easter a wise pastor can plan for a Spring Baptism. Easter celebrates the new life of the risen Christ, which is also the Christian symbol of Baptism. The now secular tradition of new clothes for Easter can be traced back to the ancient church when Easter Sunday was Baptism Sunday and each baptismal candidate was given a new white robe. Make Easter a fabulous family celebration with an Egg Hunt on the church lawn following Morning Worship. The beauty of the modern hen is that she lays plastic eggs so you don’t have to worry so much about the eggs spoiling by being outdoors for a while. (Note: While plastic eggs are undisturbed by warm temperatures, chocolate will melt if left in the warm sunshine for any length of time.) Is an added worship service needed? If Easter already brings the church to capacity should the plan include doubling seating capacity by adding another service? The church already offering a 10:30 a.m. Morning Worship may be well served to offer 9:00 a.m. Easter Worship, too. Always ask the key question, “What will I need to do to make sure that these special features work well?”

3 — Develop specialized promotion.

How will everyone know of the special day if you don’t tell them? How will they realize what’s going on if they only hear it once? Newspaper ads and yellow pages listings do little to attract the unchurched. Consider a saturation mailing. You can develop your own material, but you may want to bring in the professionals for the first time or two. Always be sure you have proper contact and location and schedule information included in your promotional piece. Continue reading

New Ministry in Baja California Mexico

A New Ministry in Baja California Mexico

Eylin RodriguezGeneral Baptist International Ministries is pleased to announce a new work in the Baja California area of Mexico. Pastor Rene Rodriguez and his daughter Eylin have played a key role in the development of this work. General Baptists already have an association of churches in the area and a Bible Institute. The new association has a close connection with General Baptist International as well as the Sheffield Association of General Baptists in southern California.

Eylin Rodriguez is the 25-year-old daughter of Pastor Rene Rodriguez, Director of Ethnic Ministry in Southern California. Born in Honduras, at the age of 13 her family moved to the USA. Eylin says of her childhood, “Some people can say that being part of a Pastoral family is difficult, I can say that on the contrary, I am blessed to be able to learn from them. I feel truly blessed to be a witness of the work that our Lord has done through many great men and women who have taken on the privilege of expanding the kingdom of God.”

Eylin married Jose Carlos Hernandez, and they have two beautiful children. In 2015 Eylin and Jose Carlos had a long conversation with the director of Sheffield Association of General Baptist Pastor Rene about the necessity of a new work in Mexico. Her family felt the call to make themselves available to work for the Lord and go wherever he desired to take them. As Eylin so aptly states it, “so now here we are in Mexico.”

On Saturday October 22, 2016, they had their first meeting in Tijuana Baja California, Mexico. Five Pastors decided to associate with General Baptists, giving birth to the Northern Mexico Association of General Baptists. They have also started a Bible Institute under the guidance of Pastor Rene who is the director and teacher of the Bible Institute in California. There are approximately 30 students and 3 fully accredited teachers. To date they are still looking for a more appropriate location between three cities, (Ensenada, Tijuana, and Tecate) since the students come from all three locations.

There are a total of eight associated churches who have started working with General Baptists and are ready to carry on the Great Commission. There are more meetings scheduled with pastors who want to know more of the work of General Baptists. Eylin states, “I am honored and thankful for being part of the all the work that is being done through International Missions of General Baptist here in Mexico.”

General Baptist International Ministries is currently committed to $200 a month to help sustain the new Bible Institute. If you would like to be a ground-floor partner with this new ministry, please contact GBIM, 100 Stinson Drive, Poplar Bluff, MO 63901, 573-785-7746.

Update from Prakash and Jemima Pamu - India Missionaries

Update from Prakash and Jemima Pamu – Missionaries in India

Dr. and Mrs. Prakash Pamu recently sent an exciting update on their ministry in India. The Pamu family ministry is in the Kakinada/Pithapuram area of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh has a population of 84 million with 1.51% being Christian. As you consider this information please keep that important fact in mind. General Baptists have worked in this area since 1982.

  • Dorcus Sewing CentersDORCAS SEWING CENTERS (DSC): Ten DSC are now operating among poor people in ten communities in India. They are 1) Zaddangi ,2) Bodlanka, 3) Bangarayyapeta, 4) Ravikampadu,5) Donthamuru 6) Gollaprolu , 7) U. Kothapalli 8) Rachapalii, 9) Venkatanagaram. 10) Chitrada. More than two hundred girls are in training and listen daily to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks to all our beloved sponsors for this good work.
  • NEW SEWING MACHINES TO DSC GIRLS: As a Christmas, gift forty DSC girls received sewing machines because of the generosity of General Baptist sponsors in the USA. It is a blessing to all our General Baptists to show the love of Jesus Christ in our deeds. Thanks be to Our Lord for our General Baptists in USA.
  • DSC AND PASTORS CHRISTMAS: We had a Christmas gathering of over 300 believers, non-believers, DSC girls, Bible women (Bible study leaders) and Pastors on December 27, 2016 at our General Baptist church in Pithapuram. New blankets and bed sheets were given to pastors and Bible women, and new clothes were given to believers as a gift of Christmas. It is wonderful to share gifts on behalf of all our General Baptists in USA. Thanks to one and all of our sponsors.
  • CHRISTMAS: In our main church at Pithapuram, we had blessed Watch Night Service and New Year worship services.
  • BAPTISMS: Seven new converts were baptized in the Bay of Bengal on 1st of January 2017. Praise the Lord!
A Calling to Go - Launch GO

A Calling to Go – Launch GO

by Kaebra LaGrange, LAUNCH GO Intern

Finding your purpose, or calling, in life is a difficult task. Many of us go through life searching for it. What is our purpose, and how are we as individuals best able to serve God? That was a question I had been dealing with until recently. It was not until I went on a life-changing trip that I truly found my calling and what I wanted to do with my life. I went to Saipan on a missionary internship opportunity and left changed.

For most of my life I had sort of just glided through. I went to school and decided to settle with an easy major. I felt no calling toward the degree I was pursuing. I was simply doing it to finish school and to be done. I knew it was a fast track way to a decent and easy life. I wouldn’t venture out of my comfort zone. I had everything planned out. That was until God threw me a curveball and my plan crumbled. It felt as though my whole life had crumbled. I now had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or how I was going to do it. I was searching for God, for answers, and for my purpose.

God then proceeded to open doors for me and He led me to General Baptist International Ministries. I applied for a missions internship and was thrilled when I got accepted. I was going to go overseas and serve somewhere. It was scary. I had no idea what to expect. I was sent to a school in Saipan. I had no idea where Saipan even was, but I was excited to go. I knew this was God’s plan for me and I was eager to go where He led me.

God orchestrates trials and tribulations in life to grow us, deepen our faith, and to push us where He wants us to be. If it wasn’t for my trials I wouldn’t have ended up in Saipan and I wouldn’t have found my calling and love for teaching. In Saipan I felt God truly speaking to me and showing me what He wants for my life. Continue reading

National Missions Sunday Church Planting in Jacksonville, Florida

National Missions Sunday – Church Planting in Jacksonville, Florida

Church Planting has always been a primary mission for General Baptists. Our movement was organized by a church planter who established churches on the American frontier in the 1820s.

Our denominational mission to plant churches is underwritten by the general budget through Unified Giving, but it is also made possible by special gifts such as those received on National Missions Sunday. This year the National Missions Sunday Offering will assist church planting efforts in Florida by helping to more firmly establish the new work of All Nations Church.

This ethnic church plant has resulted from the long-term ministry of Missionary Cecil Green who discipled a young believer in the Philippines nearly 50 years ago. In 1977 Pastor Pete Lapaz was ordained by the General Baptist Church of the Philippines and in 2016 he began work to establish All Nations Church in Jacksonville, Florida.

In a recent report Pastor Pete noted

  • the ordination of an associate pastor, Dr. Lito Ibaretta,
  • two more new converts ready for baptism,
  • two Bible study centers now in operation, and
  • two Spanish-speaking families now attending.

A Children’s Ministry will begin soon and the search is on for a larger meeting space. The group has outgrown meeting in homes. A recent attendance of 40 placed them at capacity in their current rented space.

On a recent Sunday in January, those attending worship paused for a photo. Pastor Pete is on the left holding his grandson. Pastor Lito is seated in the front center.

Different churches have different traditions about National Missions Sunday. Some churches include National Missions Sunday in the budget, others take up a special offering to aid these special projects. All gifts received for National Missions Sunday will result in winning many people in Jacksonville, Florida who otherwise will not be won to faith in Christ.

Mission & Ministry Summit

Take the Land

by Clint Cook, Executive Director

Clint Cook - Summit Keynote Speaker - possessIn 1994, I was privileged to speak at the General Association held in Nashville, Tennessee. My scripture portion was from Joshua 1. “Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the Lord said to him: You are old, advanced in years and there remains much land yet to be possessed.”

This passage is very similar to the key scripture chosen for the 2017 Summit theme: Take the Land. Deuteronomy 1:8 says, “See I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore to your fathers….”

These two passages have some interesting similarities: they both deal with the Promised Land, and they are both statements to Joshua. The difference between the two passages is Joshua’s age.

In Deuteronomy, we see a younger Joshua who was following a senior leader. Later we have a seasoned, mature Joshua who had encountered many ups and downs over a 40-year span of time. Joshua 1 shows us a man who had weathered the death of Moses, navigated his growth from warrior to national leader, and saw the result of disobedience. It was under Joshua’s leadership that the people of God finally conquered and possessed the Promised Land.

Then, in Joshua 13, the Lord gives a very clear analysis: “There remains yet very much land to possess.”

Like Joshua and the nation of Israel, each of us is given a similar directive by God to Take the Land. Disciples of Jesus are commanded in the Great Commission to go and make disciples. I see a direct correlation between God’s directive to Joshua and the Great Commission to the church.

As a 32-year-old pastor at that G.A., I was a lot like Joshua: young, impetuous, and intimidated. I knew the Great Commission commanded me to share the gospel and make disciples. I also knew of many older General Baptist pastors and preachers who had been blessed with fruitful ministries and growing churches. I recall that I reminded the 1994 audience that the General Baptist movement needs young, middle-aged, and older disciple makers, because, “There remains very much land yet to be possessed.”

Our movement has made wonderful progress for the Kingdom through souls saved, thousands of disciples trained, new churches organized and new international fields opened. Yet, have we run out of communities to change? Has every person we know been won to faith in Christ? No!

Just because General Baptists have had some successes, our assignment is not finished. In the midst of our praise to the Lord for these blessings, we must never lose sight of God’s mandate that remains unfulfilled: “There remains very much land yet to be possessed.”

So what can we learn from these passages?

First, whatever the age of your church, the age of your members, or the age of your pastor, we will give an account one day not only for what we have accomplished, but for what still needs to be done.

Second, the Great Commission is an ongoing, never-ending, retirement-free directive to the church. Church member, leader, pastor: our assignment is not complete. There is more land yet to possess!

Third, let us remember that making disciples is like fighting those Old Testament Canaanites. Sharing our faith is a spiritual battle that is full of obstacles, obstructions, and strongholds. But it is a battle we must continue to fight. The children of Israel dwelt on the obstacles. They asked, “Where can we go up? Our brethren have discouraged our hearts saying the people are greater and taller than we are. The cities are great and fortified up to the heaven.” (Deuteronomy 1:28)

We’re in this fight together. When we Stay Connected, we Stay Strong. Let’s hold fast to God’s response to the nay-sayers in verse 29: “Do not be terrified or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes before you, He will fight for you.”

My prayer is that 2017 will be the year every General Baptist church renews its commitment and obligation to Take the Land for, “There remains very much land yet to be possessed.” Join us at the 2017 Summit where we will challenged even more to Take the Land!