Supporting ministry in south Asia

For security reasons, the specific location of this mission work is not given, and the local pastor is referred to only by the initial D.

Being a Christian pastor in a largely non-Christian place can sometimes be a lonely, discouraging job. Brandon Williams and others from Temple Baptist Church recently helped such a pastor in south Asia.

D is the lead person in the Christian ministry in his area, and Temple has committed to support him and his work. A single Korean-American, D is committed to sharing the Gospel through a full-time ministry in south Asia.

IMG_0161Williams and others traveled to south Asia Oct. 12 – 21, 2018, not only to demonstrate support for D and his work but also to train other pastors and to share the Gospel directly with people in the area. They also spent time prayer walking for those residents. During their time there, Williams said, “God moved in different ways … He showed us the need for the Gospel in this area, and I feel that He has tasked us with following Him to bring His glory to this area.”

The challenge in south Asia is so great, Williams added, that it “can be overwhelming in all aspects.” The volunteers realized that human efforts seem small in comparison with the task of reaching so many people for Christ, but God’s power will make the difference.

IMG_0003While in south Asia, Temple’s people observed a worship service in a temple for one of the local gods, and the contrast with Christianity was striking. Williams said, “It was very eye-opening and emotional to see people devote their worship to an object that has no power to even move its permanent place.”

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Winning means more than sporting events in east Asia

For security reasons, neither the real name of the Temple college student nor his specific place of service is used in this account of summer mission work. He will be referred to as SG (not his real initials) and the site as east Asia.

Wanting to win games is a natural desire for athletes. For those who serve in sports ministry, however, winning games becomes secondary to winning people to Jesus Christ. SG is a college student who served in sports in east Asia in the summer of 2018.

IMG_7756God reinforced SG’s decision by prompting his best friend to join in the effort and by providing an internship with a sports company. Once he was with the company, SG found himself surrounded by others who he said were “passionate and effective in ministry.” They welcomed the two newcomers as enhancements to the existing ministry.

IMG_2265Basketball camps provided opportunities for SG to meet and develop relationships with believers and non-believers. Participation in football, soccer, Frisbee fun and other activities went beyond the official camp schedule to build new friendships and witness to those new friends. “After we developed a relationship with them, we would share our testimony little by little,” SG said, “in hopes of painting a clear picture of the amazing God we serve! It wasn’t long before they were the ones asking us all the questions. We could see God clearly moving in their hearts.” During their third week on site, one of the new friends accepted Christ.

IMG_9499The university’s summer break brought a change in focus for SG and his friend. With no students to minister to, they traveled to work with an unreached people group in what SG described as “a very dark place. The people were friendly but, SG said, “few had ever met a Christian, let alone heard the Gospel.” Working with a couple of more experienced Christians, they became involved with local residents through activities such as biking, eating, playing ball and riding yaks. “God opened multiple doors,” SG said, “for us to share the gospel and develop connections for potential future evangelism in that area.”

SG learned some lessons himself as he ministered. “One thing God taught me early in the trip,” he said, “was that it was never up to us whether students entered a relationship with Jesus to begin with. We were/are called to share …” He also learned that even an injury can be beneficial. A dislocated ankle two weeks before the end of the trip left SG sidelined during ball games. However, that inability to play gave him time to share his witness with high school students who attended the games.

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More success in East Asia

“‘Why did God send His Son, Jesus, and not an angel?” That was one of the questions Kaitlyn Eads heard as she ministered in East Asia during June and July 2018.

Seeds of the Gospel sometimes take root slowly, as Eads discovered. “The first few weeks,” she said, “some did not want to accept His story as being true. But after thinking about it, they began to ask questions” — such as why God sent Jesus to die for people’s sins. She explained that God’s sending His Son showed the depth of His love for people.

Although she worked with several churches, most of Eads’ time was spent with Greenhouse, a church in an apartment complex. Greenhouse’s ministry is limited because the minister is in the city only during summer months. The church is active then, but its work tends to languish the rest of the year.

Buddha temple

Kaitlyn Eads and others prayer-walk for this and other Buddha Temples.

Eads prayer-walked frequently, praying for people, mosques, and government. She had four priorities as she met and built relationships with people in East Asia:

  • Introduce them to the story of Christ.
  • Help those who had heard the story to understand it better.
  • Answer any of their questions that hindered their coming into faith.
  • Help believers to grow in their faith.

One highlight of Eads’ trip was seeing two girls baptized in a bathtub — her first time seeing a baptism outside a church. Although she did not know the girls then, she said, “I was overjoyed that they chose to follow Christ.”

Music festival

American missionaries and East Asian nationals enjoy a music festival.

Eads also saw selflessness demonstrated in an unusual setting — a card game. The object of Halli Galli is to collect cards from other players; when a player loses all of his or her cards, he or she is out of the game. A variation occurred, however, when Eads and two other American believers played Halli Galli with a group of local students. When a local student ran out of cards, the believers shared some of their cards with him or her as a demonstration of love. Soon the local students began to share their cards with others who were out. “It was amazing,” Eads said, “to see how one simple act out of kindness and love can affect others in a positive way.”

While she was in East Asia, Eads learned a personal lesson about patience. For two months, she went from having a well-planned schedule for her life to relying on God’s daily direction. “The only thing that was for sure planned was the plane ride back home,” Eads said. “God taught me how to enjoy the moments in life a little more.” She added that the language barrier also demonstrated the importance of patience as she struggled to communicate with students and with others in various situations.

Science and engineering camp

Students and teachers interact at a science and engineering camp.

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Experiences in east Asia – part 2

Anthony Ellis spent eight weeks in two regions of east Asia during  July and August of 2018. This post focuses on his three weeks in the second region. Part 1 focused on his experiences in the first region. For security reasons, the regions are not being identified, and any names given for residents are not their real names.

Ellis’s three weeks in the second region involved distinct activities:

  • Week 1: He spent much time with college students, some of whom are American believers and others who are residents of the region whom the Americans had befriended earlier in the summer.
  • Photo 1 (logos blurred)Week 2: Working with engineering students from West Texas A & M, he taught at an engineering and science camp whose students ranged from elementary school through middle school in ages.
  • Week 3: He gained more knowledge about the region through travel and prayer-walking with a team from the Seattle, Wash., area.

The second segment of Ellis’s trip also teamed him with a missionary whose business hosts summer camps and maintains a website that focuses on interesting places in the region. The missionary hopes that the website’s popularity will increase, enabling him to travel more to gather additional material. As he travels, he ministers to people in the region.

Throughout his eight-week stay, Ellis shared the Gospel with many students. Some had heard the good news before, but others were unaware of salvation through Jesus Christ. “Some were very interested in learning more,” Ellis said, “and some thought it was a good insight into Western culture.” He found that acceptance of Jesus is often a prolonged process, and he noted, “most only received Christ after spending many months attending house churches and studying the Bible there and on their own. Discipleship started long before they ever decided to have faith in Christ.”

Even as Ellis shared the Gospel, he was impressed by the way the people he met shared material blessings. “Paying for the other person’s food was a strong gesture of goodwill that paved the way for a bond of friendship,” he said. “I learned that I can use money, not expecting anything in return, to bless other people and strengthen our relationship.”

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Experiences in east Asia – part 1

Anthony Ellis spent eight weeks in two regions of east Asia during  July and August of 2018. This post focuses on his five weeks in the first region. Part 2 focuses on his experiences in the second region. For security reasons, the regions are not being identified, and any names given for residents are not their real names.

Ellis met Patrick at a game night and saw him again at a meal arranged by the pastor’s wife, who also tutored Ellis in the local language. Patrick is not yet a Christian,  but he attends a local church as he seeks to learn more about Christianity. “We talked extensively about his doubts,” Ellis said, “and what the Bible had to say about them. He seemed engrossed in the conversation and seemed encouraged by it.”

God used the two men’s time together to benefit both of them. Ellis said, “Afterwards, I felt very grateful to God and incredibly fortunate to have an opportunity to play a small role in what He was doing in Patrick’s life.”

Photo2Knowing the local language and establishing connections with people are essential to sharing the Gospel. While Ellis studied the region’s language, he networked with university students in the area. Eating lunch in the university’s cafeteria enabled him and a roommate to meet local students and begin to get acquainted with them. The roommates extended hospitality to the local students by regularly meeting them for dinner and occasionally hosting game nights and movie nights. Those social contacts provided opportunities for Christian outreach. “We regularly shared the Gospel with non-believing students,” Ellis said, “and we spent time mentoring some of the college students that attended a local church.”

Ellis’s work was far from a solo effort. He and his two roommates worked with a husband-wife Journeyman couple who mentor both believing and non-believing college students at house churches in the locality. Sundays provided opportunities to meet with additional Christians — several families whose children ranged in age from 1 to 16.

“The team had a very strong sense of community,” Ellis said. Sunday sessions included discussions of prayer requests and praises for what God had done in individuals’ lives. Each meal provided additional opportunities for sharing. Ellis said that he valued the advice of the group’s older men, who had “a lot of valuable insight.”

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Volunteers plant Gospel seeds in Calgary

“. . . Behold, a sower went out to sow . . .” –Matthew 13:3 (NKJV)

pst-albertaA girl had a question following a devotion led by Karen Sanders during a camp in Calgary, Canada. Why, she wondered, did one of the men on a cross get to go to Heaven with Jesus? After Sanders explained the concept of forgiveness, the girl said she understood and went off to play. “I have no doubt,” Sanders said, “a seed was planted in the heart of that child.”

Sanders had stepped out of her comfort zone to take on that role. “I felt somewhat inadequate to lead a devotion,” she said, but she let God take control and He worked through her to share thoughts about forgiveness.

cropped-Multiply-Logo-Trans-1Sanders and other members of Temple Baptist Church, Ruston, La., spent July 15-19, 2018, in Calgary, holding two soccer camps and an end-of-camp block party. The activities were part of Temple’s ongoing partnership with Multiply Church, a church plant in Calgary. Mission teams from Temple travel to Calgary to supplement the efforts of Multiply Church’s four staff members. Like Temple’s youth group that earlier this year distributed 45,000 door hangers to promote Multiply Church’s activities, the volunteers plant seeds and trust that the Lord will provide a harvest.

The Gospel’s seeds were scattered among all ages — not just children. Sanders remembered a man who sat by his daughter during the devotion time. He was attentive during the session despite previously not having been receptive to the Gospel. Now back in Louisiana, she prays that Multiply Church will water the seed that was planted in his heart and that he will accept the salvation that Jesus offers.

As is always true of Temple’s mission trips, this one affected the visitors from Louisiana as well as the Canadian residents. “God tugged on my heart,” Sanders said, causing her to re-evaluate what she does in day-to-day situations.

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Launch sessions set for new international mission team members

Two training sessions are scheduled for members of Temple Baptist Church who want to participate in international mission trips for the first time. Interested individuals may attend either of the sessions listed below, but attendance at one session is mandatory for participation in future international mission efforts.

  • Sunday Aug. 5, 2018, at 4:45 p.m., Room 81
  • Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, at 6:45 p.m., Room 81

For more information, contact Ben Jernigan at 255-3745 or ben@temple.life.

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Temple teams active in Louisiana, Canada, Asia

One mission team from Temple Baptist Church, Ruston, La., concludes its overseas trip in the early part of this week, while two other teams are active all week — one in south Louisiana and the other in Canada.

The East Asia Mission Trip, which began Thursday, July 5, will end as the team returns Tuesday, July 17. Please pray for the team’s safe return.

Opera Snapshot_2018-07-16_132938_www.missionlab.comMeanwhile, the Junior High Mission Trip has 32 students (seventh – ninth grades) and adults in New Orleans, La. July 15-20 to share the Gospel in a variety of ways. Backyard Bible Clubs are being held in the mornings. Afternoon activities include ministry to homeless people, helping in food pantries and working in yards. Temple’s group is working with MissionLab of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in the activities. Temple’s Youth and Recreation Minister, John Nugent, wrote in The Tidings, “Every year we have participated with MissionLab, our teenagers have led people to Christ.” Please pray that this week’s efforts will be similarly effective.

cropped-Multiply-Logo-Trans-1Much farther north, the Calgary Family Mission Trip has Temple folks in Calgary, Canada, July 14-20 to work with Temple’s mission partner Multiply Church. This week’s activities follow by about a month a Temple youth group’s trip that canvassed neighborhoods and placed approximately 45,000 door hangers to promote Multiply Church and its summer activities. The group this week will build on the foundation laid by the youth, helping Multiply Church in its outreach activities in Calgary. Please pray for success in their efforts in reaching unsaved people.

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Reaching out through new shoes

A first-grade girl made direct eye contact with the woman who had washed her feet and was then putting new shoes on them. “You will all be blessed,” the girl said.

That moment made a lasting impression on Challys Williams, a Temple Baptist Church member who helped with the Samaritan’s Feet outreach at Cypress Springs Elementary School in Ruston, La., recently. “Oh, what a precious little girl,” Williams said. “May we stop to pray for her and the others to receive salvation.”

Samaritan's Feet logo 1The recent project was Temple’s first time working with Samaritan’s Feet. That organization (which is not affiliated with Samaritan’s Purse) “serves and inspires hope in children by providing shoes as the foundation to a spiritual and healthy life resulting in the advancement of education and economic opportunities,” as stated on its website.

Helping to provide shoes for children is one way in which Temple’s people reach out in Jesus’ name to Ruston and its surrounding communities. John 13 records His setting the example for Christians as He washed the feet of His disciples.

Williams related a second anecdote from the project, one that involved two brothers. The boys are active in their church, so they were familiar with the scripture as she reminded them of Jesus’ example of humility and service in ministry. She encouraged them to follow that example for their mother, and she later heard them talking about washing each other’s feet. Williams observed: “Oh, don’t you know our Lord was enjoying seeing His little children catching a nugget of His truth? Pray that they will live His truth every day.”

The socks and shoes that children received in the Samaritan’s Feet project will one day wear out and be discarded. With God’s blessing, however, the spiritual truths that they received will grow and prosper in their lives.

 

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College students scatter to serve

Students from Temple’s college ministry have left their comfort zones to serve God in mission opportunities not only in Louisiana but also in other states and in other countries in the summer of 2018. Please pray for these young people.

  • Aldin Brady, Calgary, Canada
  • Kayla Clark, Houston, Texas
  • Camille Cole, Eunice, Louisiana
  • Michael Dickson, Bossier City, Louisiana
  • Andrew Ebeyer, Calgary, Canada
  • Lauren Fletcher, Eunice, Louisiana
  • Garrett Gibson, Benton, Louisiana
  • Zach Harper, Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Miranda Howland, Hunt, Texas
  • Clay Hudson, Eunice, Louisiana
  • Hannah Jones, Chicago, Illinois
  • Maggie Jones, West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Stephen Kessler, Calgary, Canada
  • Meredith Nichols, Tyler, Texas
  • Jaina Robinson, Calgary, Canada
  • Connor Scott, West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Emily Seabaugh, Chicago, Illinois
  • Sarah Beth Sewell, Eunice, Louisiana
  • Hyder Spence, Black Mountain, North Carolina
  • Mitchell Spillers, Flint, Texas
  • Ashley Swofford, West Palm Beach, Florida

Students summer 2018

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