From small-town Alabama, Jessica is the middle child in between two boys. Her mom refers to her as "the calm between two storms." She grew up knowing and learning about God. And as a sixth grader, she gave her life to Jesus.
"Looking back, I would've never guessed what that decision would mean for my life. What a mighty and compassionate God we serve to make Himself known to the heart and mind of a young child. I'll be forever thankful I came to know Him at an early age."
She attended Auburn University and majored in International Business. During that time, God opened her eyes and heart to the nations. She felt called to serve Him wherever He told her to go.
After college, God sent her to the Philippines with the International Mission Board (IMB) as a Journeyman. Due to the widespread no-ID no entry policy on college campuses, she attended an all-girl non-air conditioned school in Manila where she had to wear a uniform.
While there, she made friends with her classmates, became a member of the Foreign Student's Club, and ate rice in the cafeteria. She spent countless hours meeting with students from three universities in the area to study God's Word.
"We had plenty of girl's nights and did more crafts than anyone could imagine," she said. "I also had the privilege of discipling young ladies and being part of a 30-member church that met outside."
She spent her summers in the province sharing with unreached people who live in tribes. She said, "Just imagine a tall ginger tromping through rice fields, sharing a snack and conversation in Tagalog with a tribal chief, and wearing out my chaco's in the jungle."
Because of her surrender to God's call, she's gone to places she never thought possible.
"I know how to hunt down beavers in the pasture behind my rural Alabama home, as well as maneuver my way through an Asian mega-city of 17 million people," she said. "I wouldn't have it any other way. The Lord has surely taken me on the adventure of a lifetime."
For her third year as a Journeyman in the program, IMB and Brentwood Baptist are partnering to place her on staff at Brentwood Baptist. Here, she'll mobilize young people and students into local and global missions, serving as the liaison between Kairos and the Missions Ministry.
"I'll help connect interested students to IMB or Brentwood Baptist missions," she said. "Anywhere someone wants to go, we want to find a way to get them there."
If you're a student who's interested in missions, e-mail Jessica.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Monday, August 19, 2013
By Dawn Freeman, Volunteer Writer
The Call to Go
It was a late life dream for Rodney and Patty Taylor, and it had been two years in the making. However, they got back last month from what would be a memorable short-term mission journey to Cape Town, South Africa.
In 2008, Rodney went on a mission trip to Cape Town. As he got to know John Thomas, founder of Living Hope, pastor of King of Kings Baptist Church, and board member at Cape Town Baptist Seminary (CTBS), he learned that one of the professors at the school was scheduled for furlough in the states. Because he taught Greek he'd only be gone a couple of months.
"John told the seminary about me, and we began discussions about my replacing him for a semester because I had the skills and background to teach Greek," Rodney said. "So this tour to Cape Town was to allow me to join the faculty of CTBS and teach Greek, both elementary and advanced. As a part of my responsibilities, I also taught a course on Ephesians."
Rodney said he and his wife, Patty, left Nashville on January 11, had a 26-hour flight, and arrived late in Cape Town on January 12. They were there six months and two days. They left to return home on July 14. During that time, they experienced a lot.
Cape Town Baptist Seminary
Rodney talked about one of his memories from the trip. It was during Mission Week at the seminary when students went into the townships to do various kinds of ministry. Both Rodney and Patty joined with the students a couple of days to observe and participate in the activities.
"I watched in amazement as one of my students, Mzamo Stuurman, went through a township, stopping everyone he met on the street, and asking them if they knew Jesus," he said. "If not, he would take time to stop and share the gospel and witness to them. I personally observed him lead three or four people to the Lord in the matter of a morning."
According to Rodney, that experience made him long for the same kind of excitement and dedication among our church family.
Patty also spoke of a memorable time for her. It happened during the senior adult club for men and women that she worked with. Each week, they met for Bible study, support, and craft time.
She took dish towels, trim, embroidery thread—all donated by her Bible study and LIFE Group. She taught them how to simply thread a needle and embroider. Each person completed a dish towel and decorated washcloths with buttons and trim. In addition, she taught them how to make greeting cards, name bracelets, and cross necklaces.
"I was intrigued by the fact that they wanted to do their best, wanted me to approve," she said. "And [they] acted like little children when they had accomplished their project. The group leader told me that many of them probably had never had anything with their names on it or made anything like we had done."
According to Patty, the group planned a lunch and invited the Taylors to join them to say goodbye when their time had come to leave. She said, "They fed us, thanked us, hugged us, and gave us a card they all had signed.”
Patty said, "Most everyone whom we encountered impacted us. The humbleness of the people in the townships is hard to ignore. They so greatly appreciate whatever you do for them. The people generally are friendly and want to know about America."
Rodney spoke of his time and impact among the seminary students. He said, “I considered it a privilege to teach students who will be going out and impacting many others. It was a way that I could multiply my contribution to the kingdom of God many times over and over multiple generations.”
He also talked about the people who impacted him—his students. He said, “They are all so dedicated to their purpose in the kingdom and to leading the African continent to the Lord. To them, one’s relationship with God is utmost, and they have dedicated themselves to preparing their heads, their hearts, and their hands to do the work to which God has called them."
Rodney said he was impressed by their willingness to lay it all out on the line for Jesus. Most attend seminary under extreme financial conditions. Some come from the townships where poverty is a way of life. But they do whatever it takes to break that cycle and get an education.
He said, "They recognize that education is their ticket out of poverty, and they acknowledge that God has provided."
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
By Kaylan Christopher, Staff Writer
On Friday, August 9, the new Medical Dental Unit left the church parking lot at 6:00 a.m. for the first national mission journey to East Tennessee, making stops in two of the area's poorest communities.
A team of 31 Kairos and Brentwood Baptist medical volunteers, including doctors, dentists, nurses, and hygienists, went to partner with Of One Accord Ministry. Together, they hosted two half-day clinics including dental services, health screenings, and activities for kids.
On Friday, they made their first stop in Sneedville, hosting a clinic from 2:00-7:00 p.m.
Sharon Fairchild, Mission Journeys Minister, said, "When we got there, a man man drove up on his riding lawn mower and asked if we were pulling teeth. We told him to see if he could get on the list. … Later in the day, we had space, so he came back and we pulled seven teeth. He went home and came back again later on his mower to tell us 'thank you.'"
At dinner that night, the team talked with their waitress at a local diner, explaining to her why they were there.
Amy Fairchild, Medical Dental Unit Coordinator, said, "She had some dental issues but didn't have insurance, so we invited her to the clinic the next morning. She was there at 8:00 a.m. and we were able to take care of her."
On Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., they set up shop in Of One Accord's parking lot in Rogersville.
There they provided scheduled dental services and health screenings, which consisted of a general health questionnaire plus glucose and blood pressure checks. Most of the patients didn't have access to a doctor or dentist, or didn't have funds for one.
Michael Vaughan, a Nashville-based dentist on the team, said, "The MDU let us minister to their spiritual and physical needs. We saw people in desperate conditions—experiencing pain, embarrassment, inability to chew their food. We were able to give each person a diagnosis and ideas for treatment. And we did as much dental work as possible."
For a pre-determined 150 kids in need, volunteers donated backpacks filled with school supplies, set up games and crafts, offered fluoride treatments, and handed out food boxes. And to all, they served up a free lunch.
One 6-year-old girl, Lilly, got her backpack then went to pick up her box of food from Tabitha Taylor, a Kairos volunteer, and asked if it was all for her. When Tabitha confirmed it was, Lilly said, "You mean I get to eat today?"
Tabitha said, "Ministry is awesome, and it's fun to be involved around the world, but there are people struggling in our own backyard. Sometimes we don't even know it, and sometimes we just ignore it. It's really humbling to be a part of something like this."
At the end of the weekend, the team saw 24 medical patients, gave 40 fluoride applications, cared for 27 dental patients, pulled 87 teeth, and shared the gospel 34 times. One young man gave his life to Christ and every patient that came through the clinic was prayed over.
Sheldon Livesay, Of One Accord's Founder and Director, said, "Our number one goal is create events and activities like this, bringing people together. There's a church on every corner, but nobody is coming. We have to get outside the church walls, meet people's needs, then present the gospel."
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Story by Kaylan Christopher, Staff Writer
From July 17-19, just after offering Vacation Bible School to more than 1,000 kids on Brentwood Baptist's campus, a group of volunteers traveled a short 13.5 miles to offer it to the kids in one of Nashville's poorest, inner-city communities.
Partnering with Set Free Church in Nashville for the second year, and sticking with this year's Colossal Coaster theme, they set up in a field across from the church. Every evening, they welcomed in kids from the surrounding neighborhoods and bussed in children from outer areas.
During VBS, the kids played games, participated in arts and crafts, worshiped, and more. Those who attended heard the gospel and life change stories from believers, and volunteers prayed over each one of them.
Mignon Camp, who led the crew, said, “We loved on more than 100 children, served close to 400 meals, gave out more than 150 snow cones (thanks to the Deaf Church), and popped and served 6 pounds of popcorn. And the children iced and ate 200 cookies!”
On the last night, the team gave out backpacks filled with school supplies. And by the end of the week, three children had made the decision to give their lives to Jesus and follow Him.
Thirty volunteers served, representing Kairos, Brentwood Young Children's School, Summer Play Days, Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church, and Brentwood Baptist's Preschool, Children's, and Student Ministries—along with the Set Free residents, homeless men who live at the church.
Bob Carlton, Church Multiplication Minister at Brentwood Baptist, said, “Mignon and the Set Free VBS crew once again knocked it out of the park. They made a huge impact in the lives of our city's kids with the gospel. The ride is more fun because we're on it together.”
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Never once did we ever walk alone.
Never once did you leave us on our own.
You are faithful, Lord you are faithful.
by Grace Taylor
“It is grace, nothing but grace that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren…in Jesus Christ we have been chosen from eternity, accepted in time, and united for eternity.”
“The harvest are plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” –Matthew 9:37
“Be courageous! We must fight bravely for the people and the cities of our God. May the Lord’s will be done.” –2 Samuel 10:12
“Heil und Rettung kommen allein von unserem Gott, der alle Macht in seinen Händen halt, und von Christus, dem Lamm.” –Offenbarung 7:10
“Salvations belongs to our God, who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” –Relevation 7:10
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Okay, best quote of the trip so far is from Station Hill's Carl Wayne Meekins. He and some others were taking a walk yesterday through a nearby village when they spotted a dog. Carl Wayne shouted, “Man, I am actually seeing a German Shepherd IN GERMANY! That is soooo cool!” (Smile and chuckle).
Yesterday (Saturday), all the teams finally arrived by about 4 PM. After a great dinner, we met and were naturally given lots of instructions. Today we decorated the rooms for VBS. They look fabulous! Even the bed babies room is decorated. So far, the Lord has blessed, and as far as I know we have everything we need (except perhaps enough sleep).
The missionaries came in today, and we worshipped with them tonight. It is wonderful to see Christians so hungry for fellowship, for the Word, and for worship. For many of the M’s this is a rare opportunity to worship in their native tongue. In West Germany many of the locals speak English. Here in Oberwiesenthal, a part of former East Germany, it is different. This area was once behind the Berlin Wall before it fell. So it isn't quite as developed commercially, and English is rarely spoken. It is, however, absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The village is picturesque – a town square, little shops, and cobblestone streets.
I was also dumbstruck at how similar some of our situations are. In southern Williamson County we know that 85% of the people are not even looking for a church. One M shared that in their area 85% of the people claim other religions or are not looking for a God at all. They are too occupied or content with their wealth. Sound familiar? Another M shared about their work with the poor. Jesus said, “The poor will be with you always.” That is true all over the world.
Brentwood Baptist Missions Minister, Scott Harris, will speak tomorrow, with Station Hill Pastor Jay Strother already having delivered two devotionals plus sermons to come. Last night, in the second of these devotions, Jay flat out gave a mini sermon. It was great! God wants to love on his missionaries this week, and he has chosen us. After meeting the M’s, I am completely humbled by this realization. And to think I honestly wasn't very excited about this trip when my husband first mentioned it to me. I’m so glad God turned my heart around. I can’t wait for you to hear what happens after the first day tomorrow. Someone else will be blogging tomorrow, so stay tuned.