Wednesday, September 18, 2013

IMB Journeyman Jessica Bolton joins Missions Ministry

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.

Leia Mais…

Monday, August 19, 2013

Taylors spend six months serving in South Africa

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.

Living Hope
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.”

Ministry Impact
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."

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Medical Dental Unit sets sail on maiden voyage

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."

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Volunteers take VBS to inner-city kids in Nashville

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.”

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Leaves In Your Mouth

by Brandon Abbott

I remember as a fifth grader traveling to Montgomery, Alabama for the annual Royal Ambassador conference. Well, I say I remember it. I remember a van ride, a trip to Shoney’s breakfast bar, and taking a picture by a large rock.  (We didn't get out much).

One other thing I remember about the conference is meeting a missionary.  She was serving in some country, the name of which apparently got trumped in my memory by the trip to Shoney's.  She was dressed in authentic native clothing from that area, and she also had this ornamental  jar with a lid and a metal straw.

“Would you like to taste?” she asked.  You have to understand that outside of pizza and cheeseburgers, my diet was limited to Coke and oxygen. So I was understandably skeptical.

“What is it?”

“It’s tea from [insert country name here]. It’s green, but it’s good. You just have to drink it through this special straw so you don’t get any of the leaves in your mouth.”

The phrase “leaves in your mouth” left me with absolute certainty that I would in no way be tasting the tea from the country we speak not of.  But as passionate as I was about my diet, I was even more passionate about pleasing others, especially those kind men who drove four hours in a church van with a group of unruly eleven year olds.

“Come on, Brandon. It won't hurt you,” they encouraged me.  Eventually I relented and sipped the tea.  It was bitter, and strong. And the special straw failed, because I ended up with a slimy leaf snaking across my tongue.  I was mortified. I choked and spit in a very dramatic display of disgust.  To top it off, I ended up with a massive headache and laying down in the back of the van all the way home.

Since that day, I think I built a kind of wall in my mind between missionaries and the rest of us.  I mean, on one hand you have normal people, and on the other hand you have oddly dressed purveyors of poison leaf juice waiting to infect unsuspecting Royal Ambassadors. 

This week, the wall came down.

First things first . . . I have not been offered, nor have I consumed any kind of tea.  Mostly just sparkling mineral water. (It’s a pretty big deal out here in Oberwiesenthal, Germany). And I have seen no one in any kind of authentic native garb.  What I have seen are real people. Parents with real children.  Normal, everyday Christians with real smiles, real tears, and real problems.

Like me, they deal with issues like where their kids go to school, what to make for dinner, and how to fit 25 hours into a 24 hour day.  What’s different is that they happen to deal with these issues in a foreign country among people who are ignorant, indifferent, and even hostile to their God and his mission for them.

As we have worshipped and prayed together this week, I have watched these people, many of whom are lonely and tired and misunderstood, as they thanked God for how He had blessed them.  I watched people who experienced cancer, theft, danger, and isolation, praise God for his healing and provision, his protection and constant presence.

I have listened to them sing as they raised their hands, closed their eyes, and poured out to Heaven . . .

Never once did we ever walk alone.
Never once did you leave us on our own.
You are faithful, Lord you are faithful.

This week, I came to serve missionaries.  And in the process, a wall came down.  I no longer saw these people as strangers in strange clothes dispensing strange beverages. I saw them as people just like me.  I saw people serving God by living out the great commission, no matter the cost.  Then I looked in the mirror and realized that this week, I was their mission field.  Though I came to serve the missionaries, they have served me. 

Leia Mais…


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.”
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Community is a loaded word—one that has proven itself instrumental to me and completely invaluable to my walk with Christ thus far, and the relationship I am able to have with other believers. But the way I have seen community modeled out this week among the pioneers and laborers for Christ among the European nations rivals anywhere I have ever seen it demonstrated.  This week, we are honored to serve those who toil shamelessly for the Gospel. While I get to congregate weekly and worship with Brentwood Baptist, the missionaries here often do not have a church family, making experiences like this, of communal worship and prayer, few and far between.

As I stand in the back, listening to the crowded room swell in praise, the words of Psalm 133:1 come to life: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” In fact, it is amazing how much Scripture comes alive when one is involved in ministry. I am struck by the beauty of my surroundings—families who have taken literally the command to “be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)” It is a striking setting, and a small picture of what Heaven will look like.

And the community extends through all age groups. This week, I’m a part of a group of eleven who are loving specifically on students (ages 12-college). There are about 40 students here, who live all over Europe, from Iceland to Austria. My small group consists of 14-15 year olds, which has meant a lot of laughing and stories, even on the first day! As one who is passionate about people, I spent a lot of time today having one-on-one conversations, attempting to hear their stories and gain a glimpse of who they are. How can a room full of what seems like perfectly American teenagers have seen and felt and experienced so much in their lives? They see each other only once or twice a year, but this is definitely a family.  It is so unique compared to any group of students I have ever seen. I have been processing this a lot today, and I covet your prayers for our time with these missionary kids (MK’s). Pray for the ways our team will continue to encounter the MK’s and the future conversations to be had and seeds that will be planted. I already know many friendships will grow from this week. J

And pray for the people of Europe. That they will come to salvation, and that God will send pioneers to labor on the frontier of what He is doing in those nations—to plant and sow seeds for the harvest that will soon be ready. It is with great URGENCY that we must seek to advance the Kingdom.

Two verses that have been on my heart…

“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

Loving this sweet time with fellow believers and the ways I am seeing God move around the world!

For His glory among the nations,
Grace Taylor

“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

Leia Mais…

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Not So Far From Home

Written by Darlene Abbott

Best Quote So Far
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). 

Children and Students
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).  

We're turning in soon so we can be raring and ready to go in the morning with worship and VBS.  I am impressed with the number of youth Station Hill's Student Minister, Brother Yancey, is going to have. I’m so excited about the Bible studies that he has planned for them.  After talking to some parents tonight, so are they.  I think it will be exactly what God wants to say to them. Everyone, please pray against spiritual warfare and for hearts and minds to be opened.

The children’s team got to spend about 45 minutes with the kids tonight, so we went ahead and taught portions of a couple of the songs.  The kids not only sounded great, but they picked up the music and motions quickly. (This is in part a testament to the writer, Jeremy Johnson, who is also with us.) I’m looking forward to watching them the rest of the week.

The Missionaries
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 privileged to spend time with a couple of M’s this evening, listening to how God brought them to a foreign land. These families are in places so different than life in the states. The culture is raw to Christianity. One M shared they are considered a cult where they live.  As they talked about their challenges, I was so convicted about how little I have prayed for them. I was challenged to get from the M’s specific prayer requests of their needs and situations.  They really are on the front lines. 

Not So Far From Home
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.

There are real needs in the hearts and lives of these M’s. Please be praying that God will speak and that we will listen as we minister to them this week.  Many of them won’t return to a place where they can just go to church on Sunday to receive more encouragement after a rough week. Many of them won’t have neighbors or friends to hug their necks and tell them they will continue to pray for them when they get home.  Our prayers for them are serious business.  

More to Come
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.

In His Hands,

Darlene Abbott

Leia Mais…