Reach Missions Partnerships
Friday, December 06, 2013
Baptists help people everywhere find the Lord
Submitted by philip on Wed, 11/09/2011 - 02:00
By Karen L. Willoughby, Managing Editor
STATEWIDE – Southern Baptist churches and associations large and small across Louisiana send mission teams each year across the United States and internationally.
Ministry on the Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico and Arizona is probably the most-frequent U.S. destination of Louisiana mission teams, in part a result of efforts started in 2009 by Randy Carruth, a layman from Glenmora and the Native Peoples Network Coordinator.
Brazil is the destination of one of the largest groups. Coordinated as a personal ministry by Wayne Jenkins, evangelism/church growth team leader for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, the Brazil trip has grown over the last 26 years to as many as 199 people.
South Korea is the destination of perhaps the longest-established of Louisiana Baptists’ short-term mission trips. Coordinated by David Cranford, pastor of First Baptist Church of Pontchatoula, this is a ministry started in 1967 by Charles Lowry, then-director of LBC’s training and administrative services department.
South Korea and Louisiana had an official partnership early in its 44-year history, but several years ago state convention leaders decided to serve as a support for churches in their individual interests, rather than to focus efforts on just one nation.
The present effort is to facilitate the individual churches in long-term partnerships with chosen people groups.
Wayne Sheppard leads in that role. Sheppard is partnerships coordinator for the LBC, in addition to more recently being named Executive Assistant to Executive Director David Hankins. Sheppard developed the Cast the Net volunteer mobilization tool – LBC.org/CastTheNet – so individual Louisiana Baptists, churches and associations can connect with mission efforts in whichever nation God has led them.
To date, 17 informal partnerships – called People Group Networks – have been set up, each coordinated by someone from Louisiana. Another 10 are actively being developed, and more can be added as Louisiana Baptists respond to God’s leading, Sheppard said.
“Our purpose is to expand global missions impact by broadening the awareness of mission opportunities and by mobilizing the maximum number of volunteers being involved in the Acts 1:8 challenge,” Sheppard said. The Partnership Missions Mobilization Network connects people “assisting each other to do volunteer missions, providing mechanisms that inform interested parties about mission projects, mobilize participants through connecting and equipping, and which celebrate the work of the Lord in changed lives and Kingdom expansion.”
Multiple strategies are employed, some of which include an interactive website, multimedia, conferences, online and onsite training, highlighting projects, and celebration reporting. The recent IMB-hosted East Asia Summit is one example of conferences that bring together people with an interest in the same region.
Networks to nations already developed include Belize, Brazil, Canada, Haiti, Honduras, India, Chan Chen in Mexico, Oaxaca in Mexico, Peru, South Asia, South Korea, Wales and Merida in the Yucatan.
Networks to people groups include French Acadiana in Canada, Native Peoples in the U.S. and Canada, the Uighur people group of East Asia, and the Zari people group of Nigeria.
Networks far enough along in the development process to be named: Boston and Seattle in the United States, plus East Asia, Southeast Asia, eastern Canada, western Canada, Nicaragua, and Ukraine. Other nations are coming into focus, Sheppard said.
“We are working on developing Small Church Networks where five to ten churches will partner in reaching a people group,” Sheppard said. “This will allow smaller churches, even bivocational-led churches, to participate in global missions when it would not be possible alone.
“Our focus is People Group Networks,” the LBC partnerships coordinator continued. “These networks will allow multiple churches to partner together to pray, strategize, and mobilize volunteer missionaries to reach the peoples identified and then develop indigenous church planting.”
The partnerships also make it possible for individuals to join in with a group, should they not have a mission team possibility in their own church or if the people or nation closest to their missions heart is not one their church is yet pursuing.
“Volunteering in missions is life-altering: it changes lives and you will never be the same,” Sheppard said. “You can help meet people’s spiritual and physical needs, you can help churches grow, and you can help God’s Kingdom advance. Opportunities include prayer walking, music, block parties, construction, teaching, medical, agricultural and resort ministries. People of all ages and walks of life can participate.”
The 2009 simultaneous revivals in Native American Christian churches by people from at least 42 Louisiana Baptist churches led to most of those churches maintaining an ongoing partnership with the Native church where they ministered. Construction, VBS, and training events have taken place since, and First Sulphur has a women’s group joined by Skype to women in a Navajo church.
For several years, Concord Union Baptist Association has gathered upwards of 2,000 Christmas shoeboxes for children, plus winter attire and bedding, and money used there to buy staples such as rice and beans.
In Brazil this summer, the missions efforts of 118 people resulted in 3,300 decisions for Christ, three chapels built, 201 children in VBS, 567 treated in medical/dental/eye clinics, cooking classes in five Brazilian homes, basketball and baseball clinics, classes in English as a second language, prison ministry, street ministry – including to people involved in sex trade, and two drama teams that ministered in schools, prisons, parks and churches.
“One reason for going on a mission trip to Brazil is because it is a place where God is working,” Jenkins said. “People are extremely responsive to the Gospel. Another reason is that it is a place where people of almost any age can go and be effective. We have had people age 10 to 87 go and be used by our Lord.”
In South Korea, 13 people in groups of two partnered with Korean Baptists to visit with people in the homes and businesses of church prospects. They also told the story of God’s sacrificial love at schools, on college campuses, and to people they met who were shopping. In all, 702 gospel presentations were made, and 566 people made professions of faith during the Louisiana team’s 12 days in cities across the Asian nation that is about the size of Louisiana.
“Louisiana Baptists should want to go to Korea because of Jesus’ mandate, because of Louisiana Baptists’ long relationship with the South Korean people, and because these precious people are so receptive and open to the Gospel of Jesus,” Cranford said. “The long history of the fall evangelistic mission trip and our great partnership with the Korean Mission Board ensures relatively smooth logistics and our ability to focus on just one thing: building the Kingdom of God through His Church one soul at a time. This trip is about direct, personal evangelism.”
Sheppard invites every mission leader and pastor in Louisiana who is currently involved in reaching a particular people group or country to visit the Cast The Net booth at the LBC annual meeting Nov. 14-15. Those unable to attend the annual meeting can contact Sheppard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319.449.4278
“At the booth, individuals will be asked to indicate where they are presently involved in missions, from local to global,” Sheppard said. “As this occurs we will establish additional People Group Networks. Individuals wishing to get more information or who wish to get involved should also visit the booth.”
The booth will be manned by individual People Group Network coordinators such as Chad Ballard, pastor of Greenacres Baptist Church in Bastrop. The International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, and Canadian leaders will also have booths nearby.
The Cooperative Program provides the infrastructure costs for the Partnership Missions Mobilization Network. Individual mission trips are paid for by the volunteer, though some churches are able to assist with the cost.
Louisiana Baptist Message- March 26, 2009
By:Karen L. Willoughby
PONCHATOULA – We were at a national park by the sea, within eyesight of North Korea and in a rocky area guarded by South Korean soldiers, when an elderly woman came up to me, grabbed my hands in hers, and bowed deeply, several times.
“Thank you for many kindness,” she said in halting English, then bowed again, her hands still clenching mine, as if to underscore the importance of what she was saying. “Korea never forget.”
She was talking about the Korean War, of course, which I don’t remember, but Korea I will never forget. We were welcomed there, the 38 of us who participated in Reach Missions’ 2007 annual evangelistic crusade to South Korea.
This Oct. 21through Nov. 4 will be the 43rd year for what is now an informal partnership between Louisiana and South Korea. The partnership has grown to include a three-week mid-summer Camp USA for elementary school students from South Korea – on hold this year because of global economic conditions – and a July 22 through Aug. 8 English Camp as a church outreach in South Korea. The English Camp is new this year.
The 2008 Korea evangelistic mission trip was the first international trip for Ann and Steve Corbin of Reserve, La. God willing, they plan to return.
“We were just overwhelmed with sights, sounds, smells, transportation, just to start us off, but to see God work in a fresh way was just incredible,” Ann Corbin said. “I got to lead seven people to Christ and Steve led three. It was awesome in the fact that after the first couple I didn’t know what to think; it felt too easy. But God just impressed on my heart that it had nothing to do with me, but with the power of God being spoken.
“I was just His mouthpiece,” Corbin continued. “Once I understood that, I was able to relax and let God do His work.”
Missions volunteers under the direction of Reach Missions and the Korean Baptist Convention’s Home Mission Board in teams work with two Korean Baptist churches each to share the Gospel. A team consists of a pastor/leader and two to four laypeople. They share the Gospel – using a bilingual tract and an interpreter – share in a home, a business, a restaurant, a coffee shop, at the church, or anywhere people gather. At least some of the visits are usually prearranged. Some of the churches also have nightly crusade services the Americans will participate in with testimonies or sermons.
The Korea evangelistic mission trip is open to any Southern Baptist in Louisiana (or elsewhere, for that matter) who is God-called to this short-term mission assignment, said David Cranford, coordinator for Reach Missions and pastor of First Baptist Ponchatoula.
“Anybody with a heart for evangelism and missions can do this trip,” Cranford said. “The Korean people and their openness to the gospel make this trip special.
“The Korean people are very loving and hospitable, and always welcome us with open arms and more,” Cranford continued. “They are eager to speak English and to know Americans, and therefore are open to hearing the gospel from Americans specifically.”
Rudy French participated in the Korea mission trip in 2007, and took his wife Rose with him in 2008. There he would open conversations with, “I traveled 8,000 miles to tell you a story,” and no one refused to let him tell it.
“The spirit of the Korean people I was in contact with – they just excited me,” French said in a telephone interview. “There is an innocence in Korea we don’t have anymore in the United States, and that helped me. … I had gotten a little jaded, a little hardened. In Korea my heart softened again.”
Another person on the mission trip had been doubting the reality of the conversions Reach Mission volunteers spoke of, French said. Then the doubter saw a woman he’d led to the Lord the day before, witnessing to people at a public bathhouse.
“Korea is wide open to the gospel,” French said. “Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons are flooding in over there. We must do at least as much. … To me, being in Korea was like being a mouse in a cheese factory. I wanted to talk with more and more and more and more of them.”
The Korea evangelistic missions trip is ideal for a first-time international missions volunteer, Corbin said.
“It’s not like going out and living in primitive conditions,” she explained. “It’s something that would ease you into international missions, and yet you’d see God work.”
She and her husband had anticipated being on a team with Koreans who would go to people’s homes or businesses to visit, but instead, at the first church they were assigned to, they did street witnessing on a university campus, which moved her out of her comfort zone, Corbin said.
At their second church, the Corbins found the pastor and his wife struggling because of church issues.
“We spent the first morning just visiting with them and listening to their story,” Corbin said. “Steve and I had the privilege of laying hands on them and praying for them. …
“We had been talking about restoring relationships, and how before growth can take place, we have to take care of business – restore those relationships,” Corbin continued. “We spent the next two to three days traveling to all his church members and restoring relationships. It wasn’t what we had planned on or what had been set before us, but God has His own way of accomplishing His purposes.”
Each person needs to make his/her own travel arrangements to Korea, Cranford said. Air travel to/from Alexandria and Seoul/Incheon is about $1,300. In-country transportation, housing and some meals will cost an additional $700. More information is available on www.reachmissions.com – for the English Camp, and for the evangelistic missions trip, or call Cranford at 985.386.3075.
Korean Crusades bring hundreds to know Christ
Louisiana Baptist Message- November 15, 2007
By:Karen L. Willoughby
SEOUL, South Korea – When all reports are in, perhaps 1,500 people here will have made professions of faith in Jesus during the recent Louisiana/Korea crusade.
Eight churches reported in with 438 professions of faith by the time of the Nov. 5 “Victory Dinner,” which took place at the largest Baptist Church in Seoul, where Young Min Pee is pastor.
“The state of Louisiana was one of the best states to help Korea, with much fruit,” Pee said as he welcomed about 100 Americans and Koreans to the Victory Dinner, including Young Sik You, executive director of the Korean Baptist Convention, and Choon Sik Choe, president of the Korea Baptist Convention. A missionary with the International Mission Board translated from and to English/Korean.
The evening’s high points included short messages from outgoing Crusade Coordinator Charles Lowry of First Baptist Pineville, and from Executive Director Yoo of Korea, as well as testimonies from American team members and Korean churches.
The 38 Americans – including eight who were staying on a third week to help make up for a significant shortfall from a promised 200 participants made by Texas – were involved in evangelistic crusades at 32 churches across Korea, announced President Choe.
In his remarks – which fell just shy of a goodbye – Lowry explained the history of the Louisiana/Korea partnership. In 1967, then-President Chung U. No of the Korea Baptist Convention came to Louisiana with O.K. Bozeman, a Southern Baptist missionary in Korea. They met with Louisiana’s executive director, Robert Lee, and the LBC evangelism director, Leonard Sanderson, and prayed together to establish a partnership.
When the formal partnership ended after two four-year terms, it was picked up by associations in Central Louisiana, and continues to this, its 40th anniversary, Lowry said. He has been chairman for at least 15 years, and with his wife Carolyn, has made 30 trips to Korea. Now 79, he spearheaded the development of the partnership both at the state and associational level.
The Korea Baptist Convention, with official roots that date to 1958, consisted of about 40 churches in 1967; today at least 2,700 churches and more than 700,000 members affiliate.
The Korea Baptist Convention is organized with the same entities as the Louisiana Baptist Convention because Louisiana helped it develop its framework for ministry, Lowry said.
He cited the work of KBC’s Church Development Board (equivalent to the SBC’s LifeWay Christian Resources), Home Mission Board, Foreign Mission Board, Annuity Board and Cooperative Program.
“In America we have a saying that a youngster who is similar to his father is ‘a chip off the old block,’” Lowry said. “You are a block off the old chip.”
He introduced David Cranford, pastor of Tioga First Baptist near Pineville, as the next partnership coordinator.
“Frankly, he is the finest planner and administrator in Central Louisiana,” Lowry said of Cranford. “I want to assure you, our Korean brothers and sisters in Christ, of our continued prayers for you as we continue to work together to obey the Great Commission of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May our fellowship and work together continue another 40 years, or until Jesus comes again.”
Executive Director Yoo spoke of his personal appreciation for the Louisiana partnership.
“The Louisiana people came to help us start the church 23 years ago,” Yoo said of the church he continues to pastor. “So I want to give you a special thanks at this time.”
He spoke from Luke 2:25 of the person God uses. It’s one who “is always honest, clean, someone immersed in godly life.” And it’s someone who follows through on God’s vision.
The church God uses is one that focuses on ministry, reaching out in the name of Jesus, Yoo said.
“Keep on being visionary,” Yoo preached. “Continue on praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
Chung Hun Hwa of ShinGok Baptist Church in Asan City, said his congregation developed 517 prospects before the crusade, and after three Americans and 22 people from his church met in visits with 374 of those prospects, 309 made professions of faith.
Hyungki Baek, second pastor at Sermerna Church in Cheonan, said that church was five years old.
“We prayed for people from America, prayed that prospects would open their hearts to Christ, prayed that we would have people to translate,” Baek said. “God answered our prayers. It was such a happy time for us.”
One prospect came in response to an invitation not because she was interested in Jesus, but because she had never seen a Westerner, and was curious, the associate pastor said. She was among many who made professions of faith. The ‘curiosity’ factor drew in many, several Americans and Koreans said in private conversations.
The pastor of Cheong Ju church in Cheong Ju spoke so engagingly that each of his sentences in Korea was punctuated by the laughter of his listeners.
“This is my first experience with the crusades,” he said – as translated – to riotous laughter. “I prayed for the tongue of English.”
David Weng, an IMB missionary who coordinates Koreans and the 10-40 Window, spoke of the great need for more volunteers to come to Korea, to offset the shortfall in career missionaries.
“When I came here 28 years ago, there were 128 missionary families to help with these crusades,” Weng said. “Now it’s my wife and I, and this isn’t really our job. … Korea is 27 percent Christian, and the IMB focus is on those people groups that are less than 2 percent Christian. So who’s going to reach the rest of Koreans?
“Korean Christians, and you,” Weng said. “If we don’t reach them, other groups will.”
One team who served in Daejeon saw that first-hand. A team of two American women and three Korean women went to the home of an elderly woman. She listened with respect until one of the Korean women saw a photo of a Korean devil that was piled in one corner of the spacious third-floor apartment.
She brought it to the woman and poked at it with her finger, which she also used to gesture around the less-than-immaculate apartment.
“What has this devil done for you? Jesus will help you,” the Korean Christian said. The ‘devil worshipper’ clammed up, obviously cowed by the photo of the scary-looking black-and-white photo.
And while walking through a shopping area in Seoul, one Korean stopped an American, saying she was with the “Church of God.” Her words, though, spoke not of the Most High God, but of a woman god.
When the American tried to extricate herself from the Korean’s insistent witness by saying “Chook pok ham me da” (God bless you), the Korean shot back, “You can’t bless me until you believe in my god.”
Plan now to participate in the 2008 evangelistic crusade in Korea, set for mid- to late-October.
Korean missions team keeps revival alive
Louisiana Baptist Message- November 8, 2007
By:Karen L. Willoughby
ANSON, South Korea – Six people made professions of faith in Jesus Christ yesterday; six more did today in this city of 1 million people southeast of Seoul.
They did so while being visited by four Americans and their Korean interpreters, part of a 38-person, 11-team mission team sent out by Louisiana Baptists in late October to participate in an evangelistic crusade in South Korea.
The crusade celebrated the 40th anniversary of a partnership between Louisiana and South Korea – both of which are about the same size – and the 100th anniversary of the first Christian revival in Korea.
Grace Song, a university student and member at Central Anson, said she had changed her opinion about American mission teams after being with the team that came to her church.
“Before these guys came here, I have been to China for short mission,” Song said about a mission trip she had participated in last year. “I can’t speak Chinese and need interpreter, so I wonder how we can do mission here. [But] We do [evangelistic in-home visits] yesterday, and I see, oh, it is effective.”
The mission team at Central Anson included Paul Perry, pastor of Coax Baptist Winnsboro; Steve Bryan, youth pastor of First Baptist Winnsboro; Jeanette Melton, member of Emory (Texas) Baptist and Bryan’s sister; and Karen Willoughby, managing editor of the Louisiana Baptist Message.
“Everything about this trip has exceeded my expectations,” Bryan said on day three of that team’s support of the work of Central Baptist Church of Anson. “Our mission here is easy, because it’s the local body that goes out and reaches the community. They’ve found the lost; they’re the sowers. We’re just reaping the harvest.”
Each of the 11 teams used the “Four Spiritual Laws” tract printed in English and Korean. The American would read the English words while running his/her finger underneath each word in English; the Korean interpreter would then read the Korean words while running his/her finger underneath the Korean words.
“They call this ‘finger evangelism,’ said David Cranford, pastor of Tioga First Baptist and coordinator of the mission trip, during a short orientation Oct. 25 at the Volunteer Mission Center in Seoul.
His instructions were clear: Don’t embellish; just read the tract. If people ask why you have come to Korea, say, “To tell you about Jesus because once someone told me about Jesus.” Use easy English; speak in short sentences but be sure they’re complete sentences so the interpreter is able to translate correctly.
“This year is very special for us,” said Choom Sik Choi, president of the Korea Home Mission Board, in his words of welcome to the mission teams. “One hundred years ago in Pyungyang [20 miles north of what today is the DMZ that separates the two Koreas, there was a] great movement of the Holy Spirit, so it is very appropriate to have crusade this year. I want [you to know that I] appreciate you. … We have really prayed for you a lot. We expect to have great things from this effort.”
Evening crusade services followed morning and afternoon in-home evangelistic visits. At Central Anson, they were as much to encourage and motivate current members as to convict and challenge nonChristians, said Associate Pastor Dae Young Phyo.
Phyo coordinated the plans for the Central Anson mission team; a Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary graduate, he also was the main interpreter.
When In Kwan Kim started Central Anson 28 years ago, there were no Baptist churches in Anson. Today, it is the largest of 35 churches in the city; about 110 people attend Sunday morning worship.
The church’s growth has been steady, despite the fact that the church changed locations five times in 25 years, as leases expired and monthly rents were increased, Young explained. Three years ago, however, the church bought land and built a four-story edifice capped by a towering cross that can be seen from a main highway.
“I never expected this big of a building,” said Pastor Kim, as interpreted by Young. “We didn’t have much money, but I believed God wanted me to build it. … We had a crusade five years ago, but that was [at the church’s previous location.] Now we have this building and plenty of space, so the people need to be motivated to evangelize the community.”
That need for motivation was the reason he wanted to participate in the USA/Korea partnership crusade, Kim said.
With one more day left in Anson before traveling via train on Thursday to Daejeon, the mission team talked about the things that were standing out to them: the graciousness of the people was number one; the excellence and variety of mostly spicy-hot food; the ability of Pastor Young to maneuver the church van down narrow streets without mishap; and the number of apartment dwellings.
At least 20,000 people live within a one-mile radius of the church.
“People are very impressed by your visit from the United States to South Korea,” Phyo said. “They have good experience with you. You can see in their face more pride, big smile. I think that’s good motivation for my people.”
Volunteers needed for Korea mission trip
Louisiana Baptist Message- October 11, 2007
A great need remains for volunteers to join the Oct. 24-Nov. 6 evangelistic mission trip to Korea. A 200-person group from Texas dwindled to 16. If you have a passport, you can join this trip even at this late date. Rudy French decided to go. He had talked a year ago about going, then got involved with volunteers to help with Katrina recovery as well as evangelistic witnessing in St. Bernard Parish. When he heard of the great need to cover for the Texas shortfall, “God being God, Rudy booked his ticket last night at 10 o’clock,” emailed his wife Rose French. If God is in it, you too can be part of this international evangelistic event. The photo is of a store in southern Korea; a Baptist church meets on the second floor.
Anniversaries peak interest in missions trip to Korea
Louisiana Baptist Message- September 6, 2007
By:Karen L. Willoughby
TIOGA – Forty years ago, Louisiana Baptists entered into a partnership with Korea. That anniversary plus the 100th anniversary of the Great Korean Revival coincide this year with heightened interest in the annual missions trip to Korea.
“We have 34 volunteer missionaries who are planning to fly with us into Incheon, the international airport that serves Seoul, South Korea,” said David Cranford, coordinator of the Korea Missions Partnership and pastor of Tioga First Baptist Church. “That’s up from 11 last year, and eight from the year before that.
“The word from Korea is that there hasn’t been this much excitement around the crusades in years,” Cranford added. “Our host church leaders are gathering by the hundreds and praying throughout the day for revival.”
During these crusades, American Christians are sent out with people from local churches across the peninsula nation who have been cultivating prospects over the last year. The American Christian tells his/her story about the difference God has made in his/her life, which is translated by the Korean Christian for the prospect. The prospect then is invited to turn his/her life over to God.
“Thousands have made a profession of faith in these crusades over the years,” Cranford said. “Entire congregations have been built, and the Korea Baptist Convention has grown explosively.”
More volunteer missionaries from Louisiana are needed for the trip planned for Oct. 24 through Nov. 6, the coordinator said. Another missions partnership was to bring about 200 people in the week after the Louisiana group, but they may only be bringing in half that many.