Tableaux Spring 2013
from the dean
TABLEAUX: plural [ta-bloh]: A picturesque group of persons around a common table As McAfee continues to grow, so too does our commitment to the global church. In just seventeen years, McAfee has developed international relationships in over forty countries, launched sustainable, international churches and nonprofits, and looks to continue this pattern with every graduating class. With our Master of Divinity track in Global Christianity, our connection with CBF’s Student.Go organization, our international internships, mission immersion opportunities, an endowed world mission fund, and the mission of the new Baugh Center for Baptist Leadership, McAfee is more prepared than ever to be a leading resource for the global church. In this issue of Tableaux, you will find story after story of how McAfee’s faculty, students, and alumni continue to build a global influence. These stories provide fascinating snapshots of how the McAfee community is advancing the work of God’s kingdom and what we are learning through international collaboration. I am proud of the dedication and vision represented in these life stories, and I sincerely hope you enjoy reading this issue of Tableaux.
R. Alan Culpepper
contents 4 6 8 9
“We’re out to be transformed” by Rob Nash McAfee without Borders CBF Field Personnel Liberia: Jessy Togba-Doya
10 12 14 16
Uganda: Missy Ward
18 19 20 21 22 24 25 26 28 29
Chile: Blake and Bekah Hart Philippines: Ryan and Cindy Clark Japan: Carson and Laura Foushee; LaTonya Whitaker Metro Baptist Church: Ryan Wilson Peace Corps: Chalsea Clark Service First: Tanell Allen Service First: Neil Boggan His Nets: Andi Sullivan Coming Events “Life as Adventure” by Leah Robinson McAfee School of Theology Class Notes
On the cover: CBF field personnel Bekah Hart helping with the regional Baptist association’s children’s activity in Chile.
! d e m r o f s n a r t e b o t We’re out Missions
2 1 st
The seminary I attended in the 1980s had a powerful slogan that most of us bought into without much reflection. “We’re Out to Change the World!” it screamed. I’ll confess that I drank the Kool-Aid. The world was a bit different at the time. We had so much confidence in ourselves. Denominational engines were steaming. Thousands of missionaries from the United States were engaged in mission and ministry all over the world, many of them from my school. We believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had blessed us as a nation and as denominations and that God was determined to work through us to accomplish this grand vision. In fact, my particular denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, had determined in the year 1976 that it would share the gospel with the entire world by the year 2000 and that it really didn’t need any help to make it happen—not even from the Methodists.
That we failed in this endeavor probably goes without saying. In fact, I think the framers of this strategy must have misunderstood God. I think what God tried to tell us was, “I’m going to share the entire world with you by the year 2000,” because that is exactly what happened. Few among us could have predicted the future that now exists. Millions of immigrants streamed into the United States, radically changing our perspectives on God and faith. The Cold War ended. Powerful revolutions in technology, transportation and communication occurred. In the process, the Christian faith became a global faith, fueled by a vital church in Asia, Africa and Latin America that completely changed . . . us. Thank God that we failed in living out that slogan. As it turns out, we were the ones who needed changing, desperately. We needed to be reminded of our own limitations and of the need to work together with and alongside God’s people. We needed to quit talking so much and to start listening. Some confession was in order. We had gotten at least as much wrong in the process of sharing the gospel with the world as we had gotten right. Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m grateful for those missionaries who served around the world through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It was their sacrifice and ministry that made the Christian faith a global faith. But the challenge for the church has always come at the point of recognizing that it has gotten its wheels in a rut and that God is doing a new thing to which it should begin to pay attention. I have just returned from the Philippines where I delivered the LideWalker Lectures at the Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary on the theme, “Pausing2Listen: The Bible and Mission in the Twenty-First Century.” In many ways, this was a visit home for me, a return to the country where my missionary parents raised me. The journey provided ample opportunity for reflection upon the mission of God in the twenty-first century and upon what we at the McAfee School of Theology ought to consider as we
prepare ourselves for mission and ministry today. Perhaps two thoughts will help us to get started:
We have more to learn right now than we have to teach. We’re probably more likely to be transformed by our engagement in the world than we are to transform. It’s just the way it is. The gospel has taken root in various cultures. In the process it has become a powerful and unique gospel that is spoken by the people in a particular place and to the people in that particular place. What transforms us is the radically new perspective on the gospel that emerges for us as we have the privilege of working alongside our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world and even in our own context. Our engagement in the world must emerge out of the conviction that partnership and not control is an essential element of mission. I enjoyed the opportunity one evening at the Philippine seminary to look at the pictures of the faculty members who had served the school since its founding in 1952. Until the mid-1980s most all of the faces in the pictures were of Anglo-Americans, former missionaries, who had served the school as administrators and faculty. Today, almost the entire faculty is from the Philippines and other Asian countries. Notable exceptions are Cindy and Ryan Clark who teach music and pastoral care respectively. What impressed me about Ryan and Cindy was their quiet presence among that capable group of teachers. They serve the seminary as partners with Filipinos and Koreans and other nationalities who, together, train the future leaders of the churches of Asia. In addition, two McAfee students, namely Meg Olive and Neil Boggan, have studied at PBTS. I am sure both of them would attest to the powerful influence of their Filipino brothers and sisters upon their understanding of God and church.
For this reason, I’ve got a new slogan that I’d like to offer as a calling for all of us at McAfee and as the US church in the twenty-first century: “We’re Out to Be Transformed.” We’re open to what God would say to us in such a day. We’re open to listening. We’re open to ministry together in partnership with a global church that, quite honestly, has far more to teach us than it has to learn from us. And my true hope is that the churches of Asia, Africa and Latin America might share the gospel with us . . . say, by the year 2050.
McAfee without Borders
Spanning from Canada to Australia, McAf
Liberia Ghana Belgium Bulgaria Brazil Thailand Cuba Indon Greece Turkey Lebanon Palestine Japan Philippines Chile Wales Ukraine Argentina South Africa Estonia Colombia Aus
fee is developing quite a global network.
nesia Uganda India Mexico Spain Israel Jordan Syria Egypt Canada China England Germany Nicaragua Iraq Scotland stralia United Kingdom Taiwan Hong Kong Northern Ireland
CBF Field Personnel McAfee is a proud identity partner with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. As a matter of fact, this summer will be the fourth consecutive year that a McAfee graduate gets commissioned as CBF Field Personnel at CBF General Assembly. The opportunities CBF provides are life-giving and cannot be understated. In the pages to follow, you will read in more detail about some of the McAfee graduates serving as foreign missionaries.
LIBERIA When God called me into ministry, I knew I needed to go to seminary. I chose McAfee because of the rigor of its programs, diversity of faculty and student body, integrated and contextual approach to building bridges between theology and practical ministry, and most importantly, the school’s caring and nurturing community of faith. My seminary experience shaped my approach and outlook on global ministry. The courses prescribed for my program of study provided both content and opportunity to integrate theology with practical ministry. But pieces to the puzzle did not come together until my final class which was Mentoring I. In partial fulfillment of the course requirement, Dr. Truett Ganon asked each student to develop a ministry plan for her/his ideal ministry. The exercise was daunting as no one knew what was ahead. But the exercise not only stretched my understanding of fundamental biblical principles, it also challenged my ability to integrate knowledge learned to a global ministry setting. The result was a beautiful tapestry, a blueprint for a well thought-out ministry plan that gave rise to the organization that is now the Balama Development Alliance Inc. (BDA) The BDA is a faith-based nonprofit organization committed to the transformation of rural communities. BDA’s vision is to enable transformational development by investing in the dreams of the poor, so they might be empowered and released from poverty. BDA’s mission is to create opportunities for Education, Evangelism, Community Empowerment and Leadership Development—developing micro-loans for small businesses, opening a new school, offering scholarships for graduates and facilitating small group Bible study for the community—with an initial focus in the Balama Region of Bong County, Liberia. We accomplish these objectives by leveraging volunteerism through partnership with individuals, organizations and churches. Our plan for 2013 and beyond is to replicate its transformational development model in other rural communities of Liberia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the continent at large. But all of this would not be possible without McAfee’s commitment to equipping students for the propagation of the gospel. _Jessy Togba-Doya (‘05) For more information—http://balama-project.org
Jessy TogbA-Doya Togba-Doya
Missy Ward Uganda For the last six years, I have dreamed of developing a victim’s aftercare ministry in an area where there are no resources. My life’s calling is to be a resource for refugee women in violent or vulnerable situations. And my journey of pursuing my calling in Uganda has been the most incredible journey of my life. My undergraduate coursework in political science, religious studies and rhetoric exposed me to the dire state of women’s rights in our world. I was especially shocked to learn how many women were sexually assaulted during wartime and how many refugees were trafficked or exploited in various ways afterwards. Still, with these high levels of violence, there were often few resources for after-care and healing. Instead, women were often blamed and sometimes ostracized from their community. I became even more aware of these complexities while interning with refugee ministries alongside CBF Field personnel through Student.Go. I taught as an ESL teacher to refugee women from Afghanistan in Fremont, CA during the summer after my junior and senior years of college. I have
had additional opportunities to teach ESL to East African refugees for a semester and two summers at a refugee community center in Kampala, Uganda, while enrolled at McAfee. These experiences changed my life.
I could no longer live life the same.
These women were no longer a statistic, article or news story-they were my students, friends and family. These women, like everyone else in our world, deserve to be treated with equal dignity, respect and love. I will never forget Claire, one of the first students I tutored and worked with in Kampala. She arrived as a new student to the center during my second week serving as an intern. She seemed eager and excited to learn but was very far behind other beginning ESL students. I tutored her for a few hours every day over the next month and a half. Despite the language differences, we bonded. One day, just before we were about to start class, Claire was flipping through her notebook and handed me a letter that was addressed
“ ” These women were no longer a statistic, article or news story...They, like everyone else in our world, deserve to be treated with equal dignity, respect and love.
to me and translated into English. The letter explained that her parents abandoned Claire at the age of three as the war started in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Claire grew up as an orphan and was subjected to physical and sexual violence. She managed to come to Uganda and find a family to stay with, but they could no longer take care of her, and she was afraid. She asked me in the letter, “Teacher, help me. I want a better education and better life. I want to be productive in the society where I live. Help me.” My heart absolutely broke. We sat together in silence, my hand in hers, and cried. As her teacher, I wanted to do something to help ensure that she found safety and the resources she needed. My search for these resources came up empty although there were organizations that did advocacy within refugee communities, there were none that assisted in aftercare or provided shelter. I quickly learned that Claire was not alone as there were other students who were being abused, neglected or were orphaned without a place to go. This abuse and oppression compounded an already grave injustice that they faced due to war, violence and various oppressions within their countries. What an unimaginable tragedy that these women continue to experience violence and oppression in the place where they are seeking peace! I am dedicating the rest of my life to ministering with and among refugee women and girls in East Africa. I am
Missy Ward recently finished McAfee with her Master of Divinity in Christian Social Ethics. Over the last four years, she has served with ministries serving refugees in California and Uganda through Student.Go. In June, Missy was appointed as CBF field personnel to serve in Uganda. In February 2013 Missy will move to Uganda to serve as the Refugee Women’s Advocacy Coordinator with Refuge and Hope International (www.refugeandhope.org). She will work to develop a ministry project that holistically empowers and ministers to refugee women and girls in violent or vulnerable situations in Kampala, Uganda.
To find out more about this ministry project, please visit: www.missyinuganda.com
moving to Uganda in less than two months to serve as CBF field personnel. I will serve on staff as the Refugee Women’s Advocacy Coordinator with Refuge and Hope International, a ministry dedicated to ministering with and among people affected by war and conflict in East Africa. I will develop a new ministry program focused on assisting refugee women and girls who are in violent or vulnerable situations. This new ministry project will involve opening the first shelter for refugee women and girls in Kampala; strengthening the education and vocational training initiatives for women at the community center; and counseling, discipleship and self-help saving groups for women. This project seeks to holistically minister to female refugees in violent or vulnerable situations through empowering them with shelter, life skills and community. Injustice, suffering and oppression can at times seem overwhelming and all-consuming. Still, in the midst of this sea of suffering, as Christians we are called to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. The opportunity to develop this ministry project is a privilege and dream come true for me. I cannot imagine doing anything else. I am grateful for my communities at McAfee, CBF and elsewhere that have encouraged and supported me over the last five years as I have developed as a minister of the gospel. _Missy Ward (‘13)
Blake and Bekah Hart CHile
“ ” Missions ought to be a mutual exchange, a back and forth. It ought to be a conversation between equals, each of us sharing our gifts, insights, and abilities within the body of Christ. We are all to be servants, one to another.
Bekah and I were commissioned by CBF in June 2010 to serve in northern Chile, in a border city called Arica. The key foci of our ministry were to be working with neglected children while discipling and training new believers and leaders of the church. We went to the mission field eager to offer our gifts and abilities. There are hundreds of neglected children who need to be loved, treated with respect, and shown the unconditional acceptance that family should offer. There are also many pastors and leaders who want a more profound theological training but have no access to such an education. When we arrived in Chile in October 2011, it didn’t take us long to find our niches. Bekah began working at a children’s foster home. Children who are removed from situations of abuse or neglect are sent to this understaffed,
underfunded government run home. Her first job was to play with and love those children as Jesus does. Now we are dreaming of ways that we can inspire local congregations to break the cycles of abuse and neglect that make such a home necessary. Didn’t Jesus teach us that we are to love the least of these, the little ones? We think so. That’s why we are working to help local congregations see that the “least of these” are right in their neighborhoods. While Bekah was working with kids, I got involved with two theological centers in Arica. As a border town, Arica is far-removed from the capital of Santiago, and, therefore, far-removed from most opportunities for such training. My focus was to work with the Centro de Formación Bíblica (Center of Biblical Formation) and the Instituto Teológico Bautista (Baptist Theological Institute). Both of these
institutions offer basic courses on the theological and practical aspects of ministry to people who otherwise would have no opportunity for such training. Our work has been going well. My time at McAfee prepared me (and us for that matter) for a lot of what we have encountered. I can easily pinpoint many things that we are now using on the field, but the most used resource has been the need for humility in missions and ministry. Many times those who do mission work begin just like we did. We have gifts and talents that we want to share; so, naturally, we look for ways to offer them. The risk, however, is that we fall into the trap of thinking that we are their “messiah.” They need what we have; they are the receivers and we are the givers. Missions, however, ought to be a mutual exchange, a back and forth. It ought to be a conversation between equals, each of us sharing our gifts, insights, and abilities within the body of Christ. We are all to be servants, one to another. We went to Chile aware of this, so we looked for ways not only to give but to receive. We hoped to create a selfsustaining ministry that was dependent not on us but rather on the locals we were sent to work with. We don’t have the monopoly on church and faith; we want to be open to mutual encouragement and ministry. We don’t want to be outsiders; we want, to the best of our ability, to become one of them. We don’t want to minister to them; we want to minister with them.
Thus our journey began, but then our world fell apart.
The Harts serve in Northern Chile among the Aymara people, an indigenous group that lives in the Andes Mountains of Peru, Bolivia and Chile. They work to address issues related to poverty, including access to clean water and education. With few pastors in the region, the Harts also develop new churches and ministerial training programs.
To give: http://thehartbeat.wordpress.com
Our need to receive ministry was never more urgent than when our son, Silas, was stillborn on November 7th. At that moment we were no longer givers in ministry; there was absolutely nothing we could offer. We struggled to understand and to grieve. The traditional mission tables turned and we found ourselves on the receiving end. Church members and leaders visited us in the hospital and in our home, helped us with our daily chores, walked us through the paperwork necessary to come back to the States, and even helped with financial gifts to cover surprise costs we were confronted with. This was a complete reversal of the old paternalistic model of mission work.
The traditional lines of missions had not been blurred; they had been completely erased.
Normally we go on mission looking for what we can offer. We look for the holes in the fabric of the local church; what is the niche that our giftedness fills? What is it that we can do that they are not doing? Our experience has taught us that this is only part of the picture. When we enter the mission field, we must look for how we can share in the ministry. Everyone should give and receive ministry, for we are all gifted and all in need. Bekah and I have seen firsthand how God works through all people to comfort those in pain— even us missionaries.
_Blake Hart (‘11)
Ryan and Cindy Clark Philippines Reflecting eleven years after graduating from McAfee and moving half-way around the world, I can say that my theological education has held up well. The inclusiveness that shocked me in my first months in Atlanta has fostered a warm curiosity that has been a vital tool for living abroad. I serve as the Dean of Students and Professor of Pastoral Care at the Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary, a 60 year-old school located in West-central Luzon. It’s an international seminary with students from thirteen different countries. A few months ago I sat with a Bangladeshi family in the public hospital as I helped them decide whether or not to pay for an emergency appendectomy from a private surgeon or wait for the public surgeon to come available. The public surgeon fees would come to about $125 dollars, the private surgeon would come to about $800. The average annual income in Bangladesh is $640 USD per year. The student and his wife were unable to make the decision themselves, frozen
in fear of what their supporting church back home might think, doing something extravagant like paying 18 months’ salary on a private surgeon. They had decided to “leave it up for God to decide.” When another Korean professor, who is also the student’s pastor, arrived we decided to split the private surgeon fee. “Here is God’s decision,” I thought to myself. The student was in surgery within 45 minutes and the student lived. His appendix had indeed burst and if he had waited for the availability of the public surgeon he would have died. I’m not making drama here. This is what happened. I struggle making room for, or being inclusive of, a theology that seems to only wait to see what “God” is going to do. I might have given this other explanations before, but I’m quite sure now it’s because I’m an American. Nate Silver, in his book The Signal and the Noise, points out about Americans that “most of our strengths and weaknesses as a nation – our ingenuity and our
industriousness, our arrogance and our impatience-stem from our unshakable belief in the idea that we choose our own course.”1 Living in Southeast Asia for the past 2.5 years I have come to live the realization that most of the people in the world don’t share this view with us. Before Nate Silver, other authors and invigorating discussions in seminary helped me understand American exceptionalism and religious sectarianism (Though not from a statistical perspective like Silver’s). It was in these discussions that I experienced an intellectual awakening (I was a bit of a late bloomer). And though I had an intellectual awaking, I had not lived the realization of that awakening. I guess you could say there is self-awareness and then there is self-awareness. Every American who has traveled outside the U.S. and outside the vacation resorts knows what I’m talking about. An OBGYN shared with me a line she uses on patients who will not consent to an emergency C-section, “I can cut this baby out of you alive now- or dead later – it will cost you the same amount.” I ask if it is effective. “Works every time” my doctor friend replies. It would probably not occur to an American to risk their baby’s life because their husband would be angry that they spent $1250 on something so “extravagant” as a C-section. Even if we scale that to American economics, to 1/4 the average household income, we would still naturally and immediately consent if we had not already demanded it. That is because as North Americans, deep within our collective unconscious, we believe that we choose our own course in life. Our entire educational and familial systems exhibit this. At the public hospital babies born at 27 weeks often die because they don’t have a proper incubator. Three miles away at the private hospital babies at 27 weeks usually live. The difference between the two experiences costs about $1450 USD. So when a woman goes into pre-term labor in Baguio she has to make a choice. If she has no capacity to pay the extra $1450, she will go to the public hospital and pray the baby is far enough along. The Filipino saying, “Bahala na” literally means “whatever” but contextually what is meant is – “there’s nothing to do, it’s up to God.” That being said, medical care in the Philippines is far more advanced than many places (including Bangladesh,
#61 according the WHO in 2000 just behind South Korea and ahead of countries like Mexico and Egypt) and it’s still affordable. It’s not a system many Americans would put up with (at least not for long) but there are sufficient resources for people who can afford it. Something you might find interesting: I call myself a “progressive,” not a “moderate.” This is because, like a good friend in a peer group shared, “I’m always looking for a better way and open for God to teach me something new.”
This new thing has been that I am not always able to choose my own course. When the Korean professor and I agreed to split the cost of the surgery – it demonstrated the perfect example of how deep down in our souls we believed that we do choose our own course. With my American industriousness and a little savings, I was helping these Bangladeshi’s chart their own course as well. We weren’t going to wait for a surgeon who would have taken another 14 hours. We were going to do it right then and there. While we were willing and ready to put our money where our mouth was, neither of us actually had to put in all that much money. Students, faculty and staff came together along with churches and leaders in Bangladesh in the following weeks that covered the majority of the surgical and hospital fees. So while my privileged status as an American (with emergency money stashed away) and my (sometimes false) sense of empowerment helped us make a good decision, the course I was determined to take became the course of action that took me. In other words, I am not a ski boat in a once calm lake. I am a dugout canoe in a swift river. This universe has me. I do not even come close to containing it.
I just push that canoe into the water, and most of the time the rest is Bahala na.
In addition to his work at the seminary, Ryan is a volunteer in the community working at the city dump and Kalinga-Crossover Mission, a ministry to Baguio City’s entertainment workers. His wife, daughter and he are finishing up an almost 3 year appointment with CBF Global Missions. He is the proud father a one month old son, Judah, who was born at one of Baguio’s private hospitals.
_Ryan Clark (‘02)
Carson CARSON and Laura Foushee Carson:Laura = Global:Local The Foushees came to McAfee with very distinct passions in ministry. Laura came in 2007 with a desire to serve the local church. Her experiences in church from childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, in leadership roles and as an observer, led her to discern a call to ministry. She defines this call as a passion to create healthy communities of faith. Carson came in 2008 to study in the first class of Global Christianity students. Fresh off experiences as a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship student missionary in locations across the world, his passion was to find a way to further share the love of Christ with the globe. As they began to have serious conversations around marriage, they decided that they would try to honor each other’s calls as best as they could – understanding they may not happen concurrently. Laura graduated first and took a job as Associate Coordinator at CBF of Georgia in Macon. After getting married a year later, Carson began working as an Admissions Counselor at Mercer University and also serving as the Campus Minister for the Cooperative Student Fellowship. After a while, they began to consider the possibility of serving together in ministry through opportunities in global missions with CBF. After months of discernment, they felt called to a
position that seemed as if it was written specifically for them: serving the local church in a global context. This summer Laura and Carson will be commissioned as CBF Self-Funded Field Personnel to Japan. The position was created by the Japan Baptist Convention to bring CBF Field Personnel to minister in local congregations and communities. They will serve for at least three years alongside the leadership at both Kanazawa Baptist Church and Toyama Kozumi-cho Church. They will preach once a month in the Kanazawa church with the help of a translator, lead a new English worship service twice a month, and teach English to the church’s kindergarten students and others interested in the language. They also will serve weekly in the Toyama congregation. This is a frontier position for CBF, for the Foushees will be the first full-time CBF Field Personnel in Japan. The traditionally Buddhist country is less than two percent Christian, creating a different and even challenging cultural context in which to share the Gospel and invite people into the church. One of the most attractive features of the ministry is the churches’ emphasis on building relationships with nationals and internationals within their communities. The Japanese Baptists understand the importance of the Gospel message as well as forming genuine relationships in sharing this message. Needless to say, the Foushees are
excited about joining the Japanese Baptists in this mission. Laura and Carson have much to do before their anticipated departure in late summer. They know they cannot do this alone and are building a strong network of support to help equip them for this ministry. They are finding that this support comes in many different forms. Friends have introduced them to two former Baptist missionaries to Japan, including the founder of the church in which they will minister in Kanazawa. They are meeting with family and friends across the Southeast about financially and prayerfully supporting them as part of their self-funded process. They are connecting with various CBF congregations seeking to partner with them on mission. Some churches are even getting creative in their support, such as a Girls in Action groups planning a Japanese themed fundraiser luncheon with offerings going to the Foushee’s ministry. Laura and Carson also are eagerly anticipating the commissioning
service at the CBF General Assembly in Greensboro, NC, in June, where they will spend time with Fellowship Baptists from across the nation and even the pastor of the Kanazawa Baptist Church. Their network is developing and they are anxious to see how it continues to grow. Both Laura (‘10) and Carson (‘11) feel blessed to have such a unique opportunity to serve together, even when it did not seem apparent that their callings would align in such a way. It is the joy of this blessing that will carry them as they minister alongside each other and faithful Japanese Baptists in sharing the Gospel.
Calling:Ministry = Foushees:Japan If you want to join the Foushees on mission in Japan, go to www.fousheesinjapan.com.
Life as Service
My name is LaTonya Whitaker, and I am 37 years old. I grew up as a preacher’s kid in small town Clarksdale, MS. I graduated from the University of Southern Miss in 1999 in Psychology and Education. In 2003, I graduated with a Master of Divinity from McAfee with a specialty in Pastoral Counseling. I now live and serve in Japan with my husband David as independent missionaries in Tokyo. When David and I first came to Japan we were coming under a mission organization established in the US. Unfortunately during the time we were meant to arrive, the person handling our case left the office due to her husband’s transfer. The week before we left we inquired about our travel and assignment, but no one knew who we were and everything we had, except our tickets, was missing. We prayed about what to do, and our hearts still felt led to go to Japan. So we boarded the plane with what we had and left for our new journey. On arrival we contacted our assigned church but heard nothing in return. David and I explained our situation to Pastor Kei Jukora, a 2002 graduate of McAfee. He along with Shirmura Baptist Church, where Kei pastors, took us in, gave us a place to serve, and helped us fulfill our life’s calling. Out of all the love and support shown, the greatest gift that Kei gave us was the advice, “Find your way to do ministry.” And this is exactly what we have done. I now serve by teaching English, gospel music and cooking. Through each of these avenues I am able to share my faith, invest in God’s kingdom on earth, and engage my calling. I’m grateful to McAfee, Shirmura Baptist Church, and all the people who helped David and me get to Japan. We are serving God’s people one class, one worship service, and one meal at a time.
LaTonya Latonya Whitaker
BEYOND YOUR CULTURE
BEYOND YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Summer and semester opportunities list and application available at
Metro Baptist Church New York City
I currently serve as the Ministry Resident for Metro Baptist Church and Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. After graduating from McAfee, I moved to New York to spend one year with these two great ministries. Not surprisingly, the move from Atlanta to New York City was quite a transition. But with only a few short months under my belt, I already feel at home with Metro and RMM. As the Ministry Resident to both Metro and RMM my time and responsibilities are divided. At Metro my weeks are filled with meetings, worship preparation, administrative work, creative projects, assisting with teams and volunteers, and meeting any number of other needs. I even get to preach occasionally. At RMM, I work in their food pantry. Each Saturday, RMM provides food assistance to 75-100 families in the Hell’s Kitchen community by way of a ‘client choice’ food pantry. With the help of 20 volunteers, we are able to setup a grocery store style shopping experience, providing families a chance to ‘shop’ for their goods rather than receive pre-bagged selections. The food pantry is one of RMM’s longest running programs, beginning in 1995, and each month we are able to provide food for 600-700 individuals. It is a joy and blessing to be a part of such a significant ministry. McAfee played a significant role in my coming to work with MBC and RMM. During my first year I was introduced to a CBF program called Student.Go. I learned Student.Go sends students to Metro during the summer months to help with their CLUE Camp program. After numerous conversations with professors and Student.Go staff, I found myself interviewing with Metro and RMM about a yearlong ministry opportunity. McAfee, without a doubt, equipped me to work in this urban ministry setting. Thanks to my education as well as McAfee’s extensive ministry network, I feel empowered and equipped to be doing the type of ministry I feel called to and love. Here in Hell’s Kitchen, I’m experiencing God in exciting new ways. Thanks be to God for McAfee and Student.Go for helping me discern and unfold this calling, for I am most grateful. _Ryan Wilson (‘12)
Chelsea Chelsea Clarke Clarke (‘10) (‘10)
On April 2, 2010, an opportunity for adventure came in the form of a letter inviting me to serve as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in China. Peace Corps Volunteers in China are invited by the Chinese Ministry of Education to teach English at universities in four provinces throughout Western China. I lived in Chengdu, the capitol city of Sichuan Province, historically known for its giant pandas, teahouse culture and spicy, oily foods. When I tell people that I lived and worked in China, I am often asked, “What did you do there?” It’s a fair question, but not one that is easily answered. Anyone who has spent more than a few days overseas, especially in a developing country, knows the day-to-day life is more often than not anything but predictable. On any given day, I could teach a well-prepared lesson plan to my usual students or be asked five minutes ahead of time to deliver a lecture in front of a new audience. On any given day, I could wander down the street to my usual lunch spot and slurp up a delicious bowl of noodles, or show off my chopstick skills while eating a variety of finely chopped meats and vegetables, drowning in chilies and slick with oil. Or, on any given day, I could hop on the same bus I had taken every day for six months to get to my destination, only to find myself in an unknown section of the city because the bus route had changed overnight. While there was always a level of confusion, misunderstanding and frustration, the “I get it” moments made it all worthwhile. One of the greatest blessings I received while living in China were the relationships that formed with my women’s student group. These women were some of my greatest companions, and they taught me more than I could have imagined about culture, language, familial responsibility, and respect for education. We challenged each other to consider new perspectives, and in turn, we gained new understanding and respect for each other and those in our community. In two years I saw shy, timid university women transform into confident, caring leaders. I still receive emails from many of these women telling me about new jobs and education opportunities for their families and themselves. It is amazing to be able to follow their journey and continued success! China was an experience full of grace and growing pains. It was a season in my life that was anticipated as well as unexpected, and one I am still processing. I can only hope and pray that the lessons learned, experiences gained and friendships made continue to bless my life as they have during the past two years.
Tanell Tanell Allen Allen (‘12) (‘12) As a McAfee graduate, I’ve been given the opportunity to serve in the mission field through an academic program called Service First. This program provides Mercer graduates with outlets to be immersed in other cultures to grow both spiritually and mentally. As a result, I am a part of Service First’s affiliate program, the Total Immersion Program (T.I.P.). I work in Beijing, China, as an English teacher at Peking University and Haidian Church (English Fellowship) as a group leader. The T.I.P. is a twenty-one-day English program that educates non-speaking English teachers on procedures to improve alphabet recognition, word pronunciation, and sentence structures. On any given day, I have 150 students in my T.I.P. classes. I teach exercises to help students practice conversational English, diction, morning motivation, and fairy tales. These routines help them engage and explore ethical issues, find what motivates them in their everyday lives, and encourages them to think about morals and values from different perspectives. After these large class sessions, I visit dorms and use many of the skills taught in my Pastoral Care classes to build relationships. I take time to listen to each of the students, to hear their concerns, and to help them find a solution. In the Chinese education system, the teacher is at the center of the learning process; they do all of the talking and teaching. In the T.I.P., however, we do the opposite. We focus more on student-centered learning. We show the students how to teach themselves, teach others, and teach foreign facilitators from their experiences. This practice is known as the “80/20 Principle,” and it causes students to lead in the classroom by doing 80% of the talking while teachers speak 20% of the time. Another aspect of my obligation in China is to build a community that embraces diversity while motivating and inspiring others. One way I follow through on this commitment is by singing on an international praise team at Haidian Church as well as helping prepare sermons to be preached in English. I also teach Bible study courses at both Peking University and Haidian Church. I feel blessed and equipped to teach these classes thanks to my Old Testament, New Testament, Ethics, Faith Development, Mentoring II and Mission and Evangelism I and II classes from McAfee. I am proud of the work I do on the mission field. Educating, inspiring, building community, and embracing diversity are all passions of mine. I’m humbled to have an opportunity to help change the world through the art of teaching. This experience, to say the least, has been transformational in my faith journey. Thanks be to McAfee and God for this experience.
Service First in the Philippines
From August 2010 until April 2011, I lived and taught at the Philippines Baptist Theological Seminary (PBTS) in Baguio City. In three successive quarters, I taught Church History I, Church History II, and Baptist History, one class per quarter. Mercer’s serve-abroad program, Service First, afforded me this opportunity. I was part of the inaugural class of Service First, which meant that all of us participated in something brand new. My unique post, however, already had deep Mercer and McAfee connections. The director of our program, Dr. Scott Walker, grew up at PBTS as a missionary kid; his father was even the president of that seminary. McAfee’s own Graham and Mimi Walker lived and taught at PBTS for twelve years. Several McAfee faculty such as Drs. Allen, Culpepper, Jones, deClaissé-Walford, and Karen Massey, have been to PBTS in order to teach or do Mission Immersion. So, why did I do it? I went because it sounded like a fun, low-risk way to further explore my calling. And if I did not like it and/or I was terrible at teaching Church History, then I would only have to do it for a few months. McAfee certainly helped me to have knowledge of Church History and to further hone the critical thinking skills required to research and plan lectures. McAfee professors gave me educational techniques that I imitated and they modeled a graciousness for answering students’ questions. Both professors and my fellow students exuded creativity (and quirks) inside and outside of the classroom, which helped me teach toward different learning styles, to host classroom discussions, and to be a more fun-loving teacher. The most subtle gift McAfee gave me, however, was generosity. Faculty, staff, students, and roommates, all displayed the precious gift of generosity to me. They taught me how to give and receive generosity better than I ever had in my life. My time spent in the Philippines can be described as a deluge of generosity. The faculty, staff, students, and most people I encountered there gushed with it. It’s humbling to constantly be in the presence of people who so well emulate Trinitarian generosity. Even though I was a teacher during my time at PBTS, I was also a student who had (and still does have) much to learn about living generously. _Neil Boggan (‘09)
Andi Sullivan: executive director www.hisnets.org
Malaria has plagued humans for centuries. Ancient Assyrian, Chinese, and Indian texts refer to seasonal fevers that afflicted masses of people. In the twenty-first century, malaria kills up to three million people each year. The disease has been eradicated from the West, but is still rampant in developing countries, concentrated in tropical areas where lack of drainage creates pools of stagnant water—perfect breeding grounds for the mosquitoes carrying malaria. The most cost-effective method of preventing malaria is insecticide-treated bednets. So my father and I established His Nets to fight malaria one bednet at a time. All bednets are distributed without cost to the receiving families, with priority distribution to pregnant women and families with children under five years of age. His Nets relies on private donations to finance the purchase of nets. We’re supported by individual donors, churches of many denominational affiliations, Rotary clubs, schools, and universities. His Nets has also been the recipient of grants and actively partners with international and local organizations. I like to think of us as a “boutique” organization. We’re small and we don’t have any big corporate donors or celebrity endorsements. Our administrative costs are largely covered by donations from our board of directors, and our distribution projects are driven by volunteers. Our size means we can be flexible and creative, working individually with donors and groups interested in completing distribution projects. To date, we’ve distributed over 135,000 nets in 20 countries. One of my favorite His Nets moments occurred in late 2010 when a small group of Baptists and Muslims traveled to Tanzania for a mission trip. During their trip, the group distributed His Nets’ 100,000th net. The recipient was Fatimah Ramadan, a young mother of three, who also happens to be Muslim. She was thrilled to receive a net to protect her family from malaria. What I love about this isn’t just that His Nets reached a big milestone—100,000 nets distributed! But also that a Muslim woman received a net from Christians and Muslims working together to alleviate human suffering. This is incredibly beautiful to me. According to the New Testament, Jesus spent most of his time teaching, feeding, and healing. This combination of activities spoke to the basic needs of people to be healthy both physically and spiritually. For centuries, Christian ministers and missionaries have continued to do these same things at home and around the world. For the most part, the need has not changed since Jesus walked this earth. But what has changed is that for the first time in human existence, we now have the technology to prevent many diseases that ravage hundreds of millions of lives. One $6.00 bednet saves two lives. It is such a simple formula. This formula highlights the fact that in the face of a devastating disease such as malaria, one person can make a difference. _Andi Thomas Sullivan (‘11)
February 25-26, 2013
Senior Pastor at Mountain Brook Baptist Church Birmingham, AL
Preview Conference Explore your sense of call by
engaging with faculty and students
experiencing classes learning about academic programs & financial aid
interviewing for merit-based scholarship
worshiping in community
Feb 24 & 25 http://bit.ly/A33aaJ
R E G I S T E R O N L I N E To register for McAfee events, visit our website: http://bit.ly/Kj0o6Y
St. Simonâ€™s Island, GA â€˘ 9.22-24.13
Your life doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. See the world, get on the road, meet people, show the love of Christ to the masses, take the wonderful education you have been given, and as Paul lovingly said “continue to work out your salvation.”
My name is Rev. Dr. Leah Elizabeth Robinson. I am from Ringgold, GA, and I am very reluctantly 30 years old this year. Though raised in Georgia, I now live in the most beautiful city in the world, Edinburgh, Scotland. I attended Shorter College, before the massive upheaval (thank God), where I majored in Religious Studies and Psychology. I was directed at the time by Dr. Robert Nash. I was unsure of seminary at the time; I felt as though it would just be like going to a giant Bible study, and I was even less clear if I wanted to be a minister. I wish I could say I skipped merrily along to seminary fully confident of what I was doing, but that’s untrue. It was more of a nervous drag. But once I arrived at McAfee, I found that it was a far cry from my fears, and it actually showed me the great deal of academic rigor that lies within the area of ‘theology and religious studies.’ This was exemplified best in Alan Culpepper’s Gospel of John class (which I recommend
wholeheartedly). That was the hardest earned B of my life (and I still have aspirations to lecture one day without class notes as he so wonderfully does!). Along with Dr. Culpepper, It was Dr. Tom Slater that inspired me to do my PhD. While I was far more interested in Theology than Biblical Studies, I found Dr. Slater’s method of teaching to be my favorite at the school. On my final paper he wrote, “Very creative thinking, this is PhD type material, well done.” I realized at that moment this was the type of encouragement I needed to start my journey towards becoming a doctor. While I applied to schools within the States, I knew that I wanted to travel, so I applied to the University of Edinburgh and was accepted. I spent my PhD focused on the theology of reconciliation in war torn countries, and worked/ volunteered/researched communities in Northern Ireland who were struggling with issues of violence and tribalistic divisions. My field research in Northern
Ireland was insightful as much as it was terrifying, and I learned a great deal about what the human spirit can endure when living in the midst of war. When I finished my PhD in 2011, I moved back to Scotland and began a post at the University of Glasgow. There I received a research grant from the UK government to begin studying the influence of sectarianism within the Scottish school system. Since finishing my PhD, I have known that conflict resolution/reconciliation will always be the forefront of my ministry, despite being outside the walls of the established church. Even during my time at McAfee I enjoyed working with youth, and so it has been a great blessing to me to be able to help them understand issues of bigotry and hatred. With the post at Glasgow, I also began working for the Church of Scotland as a ministerial and professional development coordinator within the University. This has allowed me to do what ultimately McAfee did for me, train new ministers. My work is extremely rewarding and I learn new things each day from my students who have so kindly allowed a foreigner (and a non Presbyterian Southerner!) into their mix. My time at McAfee has allowed me to be sympathetic to the struggle that many of these ministers are going through, and likewise I have tried to be what many at McAfee ultimately were to me, a support
system. If I could speak to a first year seminary class, I would say, “Don’t be afraid if you don’t seem to fit into the cookie cutter mould of what you feel a seminary student should be—I certainly didn’t.” Doubt is ok; frustration is ok. If you aren’t certain what your ministry is supposed to be, pray and get creative. Your ministry doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. If you are unsure if you are supposed to stop your theological education, buy a house, get married, settle down etc., you don’t have to, keep going! Your life doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. See the world, get on the road, meet people, show the love of Christ to the masses, take the wonderful education you have been given, and as Paul lovingly said “continue to work out your salvation.” This is what I have done, and I can honestly say that every day is a new adventure in so many ways. I am grateful to McAfee for this opportunity and for allowing me to meet friends and fellow ministers who continue to support me. _Leah Robinson (‘07)
McAfee School of Theology
EQUIPPING WOMEN AND MEN CALLED BY GOD FOR AUTHENTIC MINISTRY Now accepting applications for the fall 2013 semester.
For more information, find us at theology.mercer.edu Or contact us at 678-547-6474
class notes ‘00 Rev. Jeff Summers (M.Div.) and Rev. Jessica Summers (M.Div. ‘01) welcome the birth of their daughter, Felicity Alice Summers. She weighed 9 lbs and 6 oz measured over 21 inches. Dorie Jones (M.Div.) & Joey Fennell (M.Div. ‘01) have started a business together: Crisis Support Solutions, LLC designed to give ministers crisis support training.
Nolan Crosby Barlow arrived July 30, 2012. He was welcomed home by big brother Peyton (2). Tina Cansler Clark (M.Div.) was named Regional Director of Services with Hospice Care Options in Macon, GA after serving as a Staff Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Services for nearly 10 years.
Amy Dills Moore (M.Div.) is now working as Staff Chaplain at Presbyterian Homes of Georgia here in Atlanta. Lee Sosebee Ritchie (M.Div.) was ordained to the ministry of the gospel on January 13, 2013.
Carrie and Nathan Dean (M.Div.) welcomed Lyra Grace Dean, born October 18, 2012.
Leah Robinson (M.Div.) just received a lecturer appointment at the Trey Morrison (M.Div.) just University of Glasgow, United Charlie Haws (M.Div.) and wife Lauren welcome Evan started a new position at Kingdom. Alexander Haws born Dec 23 Agape Hospice as Spiritual at 5:28 PM weighing 5 lbs 1 oz Care Coordinator and Rev. James W. Livingston and measuring 18.5 inches. Supervisory Education (M.Div.) was called in August Student through Care and Counseling Center of Georgia. 2011 as Pastor of the Mt. Brenda McCalop (M.Div.) Enon Baptist Church in is, as of 1-14-13, chaplain Monroe, Georgia—a church at Hospice & Palliative Care Naomi Brown (M.Div.) where the Holy Spirit flows Center, Winston-Salem, NC. accepted the position of like Living Waters. Minister to Children at West Hills Baptist Church in Charles Qualls (D.Min.) just Jane Hull (M.Div.) has been Knoxville, TN where Drew released his sixth book, “A called as Interim Pastor Prince (M.Div.) serves as Hungry Soul Desperate to of First Christian Church pastor. Taste God’s Grace.” This book (Disciples of Christ) in is a collection of prayers Birmingham, AL. that are very much rooted in Susan Barlow (M.Div.) and themes from the 2011 Mercer Rev. Jonathan Barlow (M.Div. Preaching Consultation at St. ‘08) are excited to announce Simons Island.
end notes From “Ryan and Cindy Clark: Philippines”:
1. Silver, Nate. The Signal and the Noise: Why so many predictions fail but some don’t. New York: Penguin Press. Kindle Edition.
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