The best way to get to know people is to connect with them - step into their world. Our team's goal was to do that in Booneville - once you've connected, the door opens to sharing the Gospel. There's a difference between missions and evangelism. Missions is evangelism but in a cross-cultural context. Appalachia is different than Atlanta. There was a great need, but no one begged. Not a single person asked me for money. They arrived daily at the mission wondering if we were giving away clothes and food. You love people for who they are - we can't change them - only the Lord can do that.
One of the greatest needs in Appalachia is clothes and food. Yesterday our team served over 300 hot dogs throughout Owsley County. Booneville has a local food pantry that receives a weekly delivery from Lexington - hundreds of residents rely on this food to meet their hunger needs. Giving away free clothes and food is one way to open the door to advance the Gospel. We always include tracts with the food and ask if residents have prayer requests. We're thankful for First Baptist Church of Frankfort, they own and operate the mission center we're staying at. They bought an old motel and renovated it for mission teams to stay and work out of.
Our ministry team went to the nursing home and senior's center. Many people don't think about sharing the Gospel with senior adults. One of our team members asked an elderly man about his relationship with God, and he responded, "I'm going to hell."
He told him he didn't have to go to hell, and shared the Good News about Jesus. That senior citizen trusted in Christ yesterday in Booneville, Kentucky. We have no idea who God is preparing to respond to His Word. We're told in Isaiah 55:11 that His Word never returns void. Yesterday, one more was added to God's Kingdom.
Last week at the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump spoke about, "Forgotten America." The flyover part of our nation that's missed economic growth. 34 people from First Baptist Church, Moreland, Georgia are staying in Booneville, Kentucky. Four different teams serving and sharing the Good News in Owsley County.
Many times when we think of missions, we first think internationally. While that must be a priority, we can't forget of our home. The needs are great here in Appalachia - God hasn't "Forgotten" about this part of America. Be in prayer for our four teams as we begin a life-changing week.
30+ folks from First Baptist Moreland will be headed to Booneville, Kentucky next month for a week-long mission trip. Last weekend, 6 people traveled to Booneville to see what to prepare for. One of the most important things about having a great mission trip is preparation. Here are 4 steps mission teams should take before going on their mission trip:
1). Take a Preview Trip. Some of the mission trip leaders should travel to the ministry sites a month or two in advance to see what you'll be doing and make any necessary adjustments. Take pictures, come back excited - become contagious about the upcoming trip.
2). Create a Daily Schedule. Everyone should know what they're doing everyday. You should wake-up in the morning and know where you'll be working, how you'll get there, where you're eating and what supplies you'll be needing. Wasting time wastes your mission trip.
3). Come Prepared for Unplanned Expenses. A flat tire, an expensive restaurant, helping others in need, having to buy extra supplies. There are unplanned and unexpected expenses on every mission trip. Make sure teenagers bring spending money - they always want to buy the most.
4). Be Prepared to Share the Gospel. Memorize the Romans Road to Salvation or the ABC's to Salvation. The purpose of all mission trips is to lead others to Christ - everyone should come expecting the opportunity to see others get saved.
One million Chinese live in Central and South America - yet only .02% are believers. We hear about a Chinese revival in East Asia - but not for the Chinese in Latin America. Among the Hispanic countries, Venezuela has the most Chinese with 350,000. There are eight Baptist churches reaching the Chinese there. Peru has the second most Chinese with 200,000 and zero Baptist churches for Chinese believers. Zero. This should bother you. A Chinese person is more likely to get saved in Communist China than in Democratic Peru. Southern Baptists have assigned one missionary family to work with Venezuelans, and they don't even work with the 350,000 Chinese. In Peru, the IMB has assigned one family to work with the Chinese, and they don't even speak Chinese. This is what an unreached people group looks like.
Baptists have been working in Peru since 1927 - but in the city of Canete, two hours south of Lima, whom 26,000 people call home, there's no Baptist church. Not even a Spanish-speaking Baptist church. Christians south of Lima have two options for worship: the Roman Catholic Church or prosperity Gospel churches. Could you imagine being a Christian with the closest evangelical church hours away? We met people today who are praying, even begging for a church planter to come to their city.
Every large city has a Chinatown. Atlanta's Chinatown's in Chamblee. The method our IMB personnel engage Peru's Chinese is to eat at their Chifa's or Chinese restaurants and invite them to a midnight Bible. We spoke with a Hakka man who said he hasn't had a day off work in 24 years. He owns a seven-day a week business. David Platt has said, "There's a reason the unengaged, unreached remain unreached." We visited about a dozen Chifa's - trying to connect with the owners.
200,000 Chinese Peruvians live in Lima. This morning we attended a non-Baptist church. We worshiped in the China Alliance Missionary Church. Why not a Baptist Chinese church since there's so many Chinese? There aren't any. In a city of 9 million with 200,000 being Chinese, there are two Chinese churches, both Alliance. Could you imagine Coweta and Troup counties having zero Baptist churches in both counties? That's what it's like for Chinese immigrants in Lima. How many Southern Baptist missionary families are working with the Chinese in Peru? One. Of the 46,000 SBC churches how many have adopted the Chinese in Peru? One. Is one church in Moreland, Georgia and one SBC missionary family from Chattanooga, Tennessee going to reach 200,000 Chinese Peruvians in Lima? What's different about this Lima? The Chinese speaking people in Lima, Peru are overwhelmimingly unreached with the Gospel.
Today we learned about our assignment and explored Lima, Peru. This is our first time to South America - most of the continent is in the middle of winter. Lima is a city of 9 million with 200,000 Chinese. It never rains and is usually foggy. This country loves soccer. Everything paused this afternoon so everyone could watch Paraguay beat Brazil in the Copa America soccer tournament - which is the premier soccer tournament for South America. Peru plays Chile on Monday evening in the semifinals. Soccer here is like SEC football in Georgia. Tomorrow we worship in a Chinese Peruvian church.
On Friday, First Baptist Church of Moreland will be sending four people to Peru on the church's first-ever international mission trip in her 186-year history.
Please be in prayer for myself, Eric Ramey, Kerry Howard and Macie Perry as we try to engage the Hakka people group with the Gospel. The Hakka are Han Chinese people who speak the Hakka Chinese language and descended from southern China. They now live all over the world.
Click here to learn more about the Hakka of Peru from the IMB's people groups website. IMB personnel told me they only know of one believer among the Hakka. We'll be working in Lima's Chinatown (pictured below).
Not only will our team be in Lima, but the Hakka also live in a city 2-3 hours south of Lima called, Canete, we'll also serve in. We'll also be traveling to a city called Chosica, which is two hours east of Lima in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. There's a Baptist Campground there we'll be doing VBS-style ministry with children. The IMB workers said children's ministry typically involves soccer. Fortunately, all four of us on our team have been Upward Soccer coaches!
We hope to share the Gospel with people who need Jesus and encourage our IMB personnel. Our church has adopted the Hakka - we hope this is the beginning of multiple mission trips to Peru for FBCM.
Thank-you for praying for our safety and for the receptivity to the Gospel.
This coming Sunday in Southern Baptist life is World Hunger Sunday. On this Sunday churches are asked to make a donation to the World Hunger Fund - now known as Global Hunger Relief (GHR). GHR gives 100% of every dollar received towards fighting hunger in the U.S. and internationally. They're able to do this working through the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board.
Our church, First Baptist Church of Moreland, Georgia, has two ongoing food ministries. We have an emergency food pantry in our fellowship hall helping anyone who asks on an as-needed-basis. We also go to The Home Lodge, a motel three miles north of the church, and feed residents on a monthly basis. Both of these food ministries always have a need - hunger is in every community. For our annual Trunk or Treat on October 24, "admission" is a can of food for our food ministry.
When you read the stats from GHR about hunger throughout our country and the world - its shocking how much of a reality and ongoing struggle finding the next meal is.
I remember in 2009 witnessing hunger in Cleveland, Georgia in the North Georgia Mountains. We were working in a trailer park - there was a "community center" and residents came to receive daily food. We gave away food, which allowed us to share the Gospel. By meeting the residents hunger needs, they listened to us share about Christ.
Jesus used hunger to move people to hunger for God. He declared in John 6:35, "I am the bread of life."
If your church has a food ministry or is thinking about beginning one, make sure you're not giving bread alone (Matthew 4:4).
This morning we're leaving for a 16-day trip to Beijing, Guangzhou, and Dongguan, China. We're going to adopt our new daughter, Esther Miao Ausbun. Sherri and I are bringing our two oldest children, Daniel, Jr. and Elizabeth as well.
Last Christmas Southern Baptist gave a record 154 million dollars to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. The largest amount in the offering's 125-year history. First Baptist Moreland raised a record $3,535.79 this past Christmas. Did you know one billion people (1 out of 7 people on earth) will live their lives without ever hearing about the Gospel.
A small lady from Albemarle County, Virginia born in 1840 wanted to reduce the world's lostness.
Lottie left her affluent Virginia plantation in 1873 (she was 33 years old) and spent 40 years as a single adult telling the Chinese about Jesus. Lottie and her younger sister, Edmonia, spent their lives reaching Chinese women and children with the Gospel.
She wrote letters back home pleading for Southern Baptists to give towards missions. If there was more funding, then more missionaries could come join her work in China. She first suggested Southern Baptists collect a Christmas offering for foreign missions. In 1888, the first Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for foreign missions raised $3,315.26 surpassing the $2,000 goal. This was enough to send three missionaries. Lottie gave her life to the Chinese - she became sick when she was 72 years old and died on December 24, 1912 in the harbor of Kobe, Japan returning home for medical care.
Today China is experiencing spiritual revival - possibility 10% of the country is Christian. Many of the churches planted and seeds sown were originally scattered by Lottie.
Lottie reminds us that lostness is the world's greatest problem. It afflicts every city and country - there's people all around who do not love Jesus. As we leave for Lottie's land today, please pray that all four of us will be a witness for Christ. Southern Baptists have a great legacy and passion for taking the Gospel to China.
Today the Southern Baptist Convention is concluding in Baltimore - but something even bigger begins tomorrow.
On Thursday June 12 at 4 p.m. ET Brazil opens the World Cup against Croatia. The World Cup occurs every 4 years and is the world's premier soccer tournament. It's followed more than the Super Bowl and the Olympics. 32 countries have national teams in the tournament. All 64 matches will be aired on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. The championship match will be Sunday July 13. Brazil and Spain are two of the favorites - Spain won the Cup in 2010. The matches will be played in 12 different cities throughout Brazil. Russia will host the World Cup in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
Our International Mission Board (IMB) has missionaries and World Cup mission teams across the country sharing the Gospel with soccer fans. How can you help? You can pray for a World Cup revival. 600,000 people are expected to travel to Brazil and nearly 1 billion are expected to watch it on TV (the final matches are the most-watched sporting events in the world).
IMB American Peoples Prayer Facebook Page
IMB American Peoples Prayer Twitter Account
Brazil is in the American Peoples Affinity Group
2013 is almost over. Another year. Another Christmas. Another New Year. Another Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Still 3,030 unengaged, unreached people groups who did not hear the Good News about Jesus in 2013. Nearly two billion people still have no access to the Gospel.
You might be glad Christmas is over, but God is saddened by the billions who did not celebrate His Son's birthday. Evangelism and missions is the plan and purpose of God's people. Lottie Moon is important because she reminds us there's unfinished work. Here's three reasons why Lottie Moon is a must:
The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions should be THE priority special focus offering of Southern Baptist churches. Taking the Gospel to the nations is a command directly from our Lord. Giving is one of the best ways of reaching the nations. Our church is approaching our all-time record for Lottie Moon: $3,367 (set in 2009). The best gift we'll ever give is the gift of Jesus. Lottie Moon provides a platform that 100% of the gifts are used overseas. There is no greatly privilege for a pastor or WMU director to encourage their church to give to Lottie Moon.
Lottie Moon reminds us that God has chosen to share His Son via humans. We have no idea why God chose sinners as His messengers, but He did. If Christians ceased sharing the Good News, lost people would not hear and believe. Christians should be able to share their testimony and tell a lost person how to be saved.
Lottie Moon is an example we desperately need today. Lottie Moon left her home in Virginia in 1873 and served 39 years in China telling people about Jesus. She never married, yet was totally His. She became sick and passed away in the Japanese harbor of Kobe on December 24, 1912. She was 72 years old. She lived a selfless life, giving all to the Lord.
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