MILTON JONES, SHARON DIRCKX, PEACE IN SYRIA
TECHN OLOGY IN IN
MISSION The pros and cons of mission in the digital age
THE DAY I NEARLY DIED... OF EMBARRASSMENT DANCING FOR THE CHINESE
PLEASE DON’T SEND ME HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’RE CALLED TO MISSION?
THE FREE QUARTERLY MAGAZINE FROM BMS WORLD MISSION MISSION STORIES / PRAYER / NEWS / OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE
welcome Every New Year’s Day a friend of mine and her husband set goals for the coming year. They write them down and seal them in an envelope. When the next New Year’s comes around they open the envelope to see what they wrote and what they’ve managed to achieve before setting the following year’s goals. At BMS we are preparing to launch a new strategy document, The Highest Goal. There is an exercise in Ideas for your church (p 26) which allows you to explore its theme and help you set some goals yourself. BMS’ highest goal is ‘to bring people to faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and an experience of the abundant life that only he can provide.’ Is that your goal as a church too? Let’s pray that we may all achieve this goal in 2014 and in the years to come.
Highlights 10 God tech In a world where everything appears to be going digital, does technology help or hinder mission?
14 Learning to live again A BMS worker in Nepal is showing people told to wait to die that they can have life in all its fullness.
16 The day I nearly died… of embarassment Pirouetting in front of thousands in her socks was not what former ballet teacher Jenny expected when she signed up to go to China with BMS.
BMS World Mission PO Box 49, 129 Broadway, Didcot, Oxfordshire, OX11 8XA Tel: 01235 517700 Email (general): email@example.com Email (editorial): firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.bmsworldmission.org General director: David Kerrigan Managing editor: Jonathan Langley Editor: Chris Hall Regular contributors: Vickey Casey, Fiona Castle OBE, Nabil K Costa, David Kerrigan, Jonathan Langley, Aidan Melville, Sarah Stone Guest columnist: Lynn Green Design editors: indigoninja.co.uk and Pepperfish.co.uk Printed by: Halcyon Print Management, Tunbridge Wells, TN3 9BD The views and opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of BMS World Mission.
18 The Big Interview: Milton Jones Being a Christian comedian in both the Christian and secular world is an issue that Milton Jones faces and tackles daily.
Baptist Missionary Society Registered as a charity in England and Wales (number 233782) and in Scotland (number SC037767) © Copyright 2013 BMS World Mission ISSN 1756-2481 Printed on material from sustainable forests
Sign up to receive Engage magazine for free four times a year at bmsworldmission.org/engage
MISSION news /news–blogs
School marks 20th birthday
Thailand: A BMS supported international school in Albania has celebrated its 20th anniversary. Launched on 14 October 1993 with five teachers and 24 children, GDQ now has around 100 pupils, with six BMS World Mission workers on its staff team. The school in Tirana marked the anniversary with a special celebration featuring pupils singing, Albanian dancing and a ceremony with flags representing the nationalities of students that have attended since the school began. Former staff and pupils attended the celebration including the original director of the school, former BMS worker John Thompson, and his wife Lynne.
Escaping prostitution A Ugandan woman has escaped prostitution in Thailand and been reunited with her daughter thanks to BMS mission workers in Thailand.
our women trapped in Thailand and forced to work in the sex trade have returned to Uganda following help from BMS World Mission and partner NightLife. One of the women, Blessing, originally went on a business trip
Persecuted pastor A pastor in Kazakhstan has been rearrested for suspicion of damaging his congregation through his sermons. Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbaev has been in and out of prison and psychiatric clinics for the last five months and was rearrested moments after release. Due to his failing health Kashkumbaev has
been placed under house arrest. During a court hearing, footage of a worship service was shown to prove the psychological influence he had over the congregation. The pastor’s supporters believe that the charges are politically motivated because he converted from Islam to Christianity.
to China and was asked to remain longer to buy more stock. When her visa was about to expire, Blessing asked for the airfare back to Uganda, but her boss only sent enough for a ticket to Thailand. On arriving in Bangkok, Blessing found work as a teacher but the company only paid for one of the three months she worked. With no other options and money running out, she turned to prostitution. Thanks to NightLife and BMS worker Sarah Brown, Blessing and three other former prostitutes have now flown home. “It was amazing at the airport to see that these ladies, who had experienced so much pain and trauma, were finally going home,” says Sarah. “These women were heading back to Uganda with powerful voices, to help others who may fall prey to a similar fate.”
(Mission Network News)
WINTER 2014 | Engage
MISSION news /news–blogs
Compassion on a rubbish dump BMS World Mission workers help widow and family of murdered man.
Burmese refugee has been rescued from life on a rubbish dump by BMS workers following the violent death of her husband. Anna* became a widow when her husband tried to break up a fight and was stabbed. Following his death she was forced to leave her new-born son in the care of her young daughter so that she could forage through the dump for materials to sell for food. BMS mission workers, Bob and Charmaine Trendell, met Anna during one of their days at the Mae Sot rubbish dump located along the Thai-Burmese border. “It’s hard to say what would have happened to her if Compasio weren’t there,” says Bob Trendell. BMS partner, Compasio, built Anna a bamboo house and are now providing basic food packages for her family for a year. “She would have had to rely totally on the community, but they are all poor themselves,” says Bob. The Trendells visit Anna regularly to check her progress and make sure she is doing well. “This is what we’re about – just coming alongside people and helping in any way we can. Being Christ in action.” The Trendells, along with Compasio workers and volunteers, regularly travel to Mae Sot to visit the dump’s residents. Along the Thai-Burmese border, Compasio helps rescue children and their families and collaborates with local non-profit-making organisations to improve their quality of life.
*Name has been changed
USA: Atheists, Christians in billboard war Answers in Genesis (AiG) a Christian organisation, has responded to a US atheist billboard campaign with a poster campaign of their own. In December 2012, American Atheists paid for billboards saying, “Keep the Merry! Dump the Myth!” with images of Santa Claus and a wooden crucified Jesus. In response, in August 2013 AiG produced posters saying, “To all our atheist friends: Thank God you’re wrong,” which were displayed in prominent locations including New York’s Times Square, the San Francisco Bay Bridge and Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. American Atheists are promising to reply to AiG with another billboard campaign. (Christian Today)
SAT-7 opens airwaves to Syrians
Syrian refugees are being encouraged to share their stories from the civil war and ask for prayer on a special programme launched by Christian satellite television station and BMS partner, SAT-7. The live programme is introduced by Syrians from SAT-7’s studios in Lebanon. Since the civil war started, up to two million refugees from Syria have escaped to Lebanon. “We have received hundreds of phone calls from Syrian people,” says executive director Naji Daoud. “Syrians are fed up with political promises. They want to hear that someone is praying for them, someone is giving them a word of hope.”
UK: Church blessed cocktail bar The Cocktail Shack, a beach themed bar, is the newest addition to St Paul’s Church in Westonsuper-Mare. The bar is licensed, has the full support of the church’s council and boasts a welcoming atmosphere. From tweeting portions of the sermon to opening a well-stocked bar, the church is finding new ways to reach non-Christians in the town. The bar is a part of the church’s Alpha programme. (BBC News)
Chad: UNICEF’s unexpected gift A BMS supported hospital in Chad has received a gift of 3,000 mosquito nets from UNICEF. Guinebor II Hospital in the capital N’Djamena was chosen by UNICEF because they are seen as a good source of care and education. In attendance for the delivery in September were Malc and Sue White, who work for BMS at the hospital, and Steve Sanderson, BMS Manager of Mission Partnerships. Malaria season runs from July to November in Chad and in August 2013 there was a sharp increase of malaria cases in the country.
Malaysia: Christian magazine can’t use Allah Three years after protests and the destruction of many churches and mosques, the Malaysian court has overturned the 2010 decision to make it legal for Catholic magazine, Herald, to use ‘Allah’ instead of ‘God’ in their publication. “It is our judgement that there is no infringement of any constitutional rights,” said Apandi Ali, head of the three-judge panel. Despite the ruling, churches in Sadah and Sarawak say they will continue to use ‘Allah’ in their services. Peaceful protests have followed the ruling and Herald plans to appeal the decision. (Al Jazeera)
Get more exciting stories every week online at
WINTER 2014 | Engage
postcard from © Michael Foley
General Director, BMS
I was struck by the very public displays of devotion at Boudhanath Stupa, an important site for Buddhist pilgrimage in Kathmandu. People walk around the Stupa several times spinning the prayer wheels. There are shrines where people ring bells, make offerings and pray. A monk stood motionless for the hour we were there, holding a bronze bowl. A less public image of devotion was that of a young waiter in a Nepali restaurant. He spoke little English but when he discovered we were Christians a huge smile filled his face and he said, ‘I love Jesus, I love Jesus very much’. There are two reasons, a pastor told me, for this heartfelt and passionate devotion that is very common here. Firstly, the God they have discovered through Jesus is one who loves them and wants to bless them, which is so different to the fearful images of gods they have often grown up with. Secondly, many have experienced persecution; misunderstanding by families, sometimes loss of employment, sometimes beatings. And persecution, he told me, always brings a closeness to Jesus. I wonder what kind of image I give to others of what it’s like for me to be a follower of Jesus?
With best wishes
Andy and Jenny Saunders
BMS workers in Nepal
A miracle in
North Korea? Praying for North Korea is the first step in helping this needy land, says David Kerrigan. The city of Pyongyang in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is beginning to change. Old restrictions still apply but, I was told, they have eased in the last two years. Some people now have localrange mobile phones. DPRK young people with whom we met give cause for optimism. But North Korea’s leadership remain suspicious and fearful of the outside world, so more profound changes may not come quickly. At the heart of Pyongyang, arguably the heart of the country, is Mansudae, a place of great importance. Towering above the square are the two statues of father and son, Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea, and Kim Jong-il, who died three years ago. The present leader, Kim Jong-un, is the third generation in the family. It was here that I was most aware that our presence, if and when it happens, will be something of a miracle. Our first workers could be here in the next year. The Government is supportive of the project of which we will be a part, an international university with 500+ North Korean elite students, learning and studying in English. Soon a medical sciences division will be started, all funded externally. The Government is very aware that the project team members are all Christians and accept this. In turn, the team members are equally aware of the tight restrictions within which they must live and work every day. Keep on praying for North Korea. Pray especially that people with scientific, technical, financial, medical and English-teaching skills may be found. Some will be needed for a few months. Others for the long term. Pray that the miracle of presence will one day give way to the presence of miracles in this needy land. For more on how you can pray for North Korea go to Ideas for your Church (page 26-27)
David Kerrigan is General Director of BMS World Mission
Have something to say about Engage magazine? Email us at email@example.com or write to us using the address on page 2.
I was most interested to read Rob Parson’s article on marriage [Autumn 2013], and felt disturbed when I read the question how he would feel if same sex marriage became more of the norm and that it will be something the church will have to respond to. His reply is that we will have to respond to it without a doubt.
We have enclosed photos of our clothes swap event, in support of the article ‘Fashion’s True Cost’ [Autumn 2013]. This event was very successful and whilst raising awareness of the fashion industry and buying cheap clothing, we found it also met a need, so we have decided to hold one of these events every quarter. Our next one will be in January where we will have a fashion show of clothes swapped or bought in a charity shop. We hope you would encourage more of these events through your magazine as it serves two purposes. Thank you.
Yes, it is part of our society and our response, in love, should be a resounding no. It can never be acceptable. There should be no question about it. We are all, especially leaders, going to be accountable before a Holy God one day and our excuse for ‘moving with the times’ will not be acceptable to him. God is the same yesterday, today and forever and his commandments do not change. We must not compromise our faith and our belief in all things that are taught in Scripture. We must be proud and hold our heads up high, thanking Jesus for dying for us all – no exceptions – and no compromise. Let us not be man pleasers, but, God pleasers!
Irene, by email
Dear Friends I am writing to you as I believe the Lord has laid a matter upon my heart. Toilet Twinning has been important to me for a while now, and I have included my family in this worthy cause. I believe it would be a great witness to outside communities if all Baptist churches were to twin their church toilets. If this happened nationwide it could have a profound effect on many needy communities. It would also add to the comfort of women and girls not needing to leave the safety of their community to go off into the bush! [for more go to toilettwinning.org]
We do not have the space to include all readers’ correspondence that we receive and letters that are printed may be edited for publication. More letters are online at bmsworldmission.org
Experts in church and home insurance Does your home insurance support the Baptist Union and World Mission? For each new home insurance policy sold, Baptist Insurance will donate £10 to the Baptist Union of Great Britain and £10 to BMS World Mission. To find out more, call 0845 070 or visit www.baptist-insurance.co.uk
2223, quoting 20BMS13
The Baptist Insurance Company PLC (BIC) Reg. No. 83597. Registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ. The Baptist Insurance Company PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
WINTER 2014 | Engage
‘Helping as many as we can’
earing about the conflict is one thing,” says BMS partner Rev Jihad Haddad. “Sitting with these people who are crying in front of you, not knowing what to do or where to go is something else. We are helping a lot, we are reaching many thousands of people, but what more can we do?” Ten years ago, BMS helped Rev Jihad start a small church in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Today, with your support, that same church is helping over 700 Syrian refugee families who have had to flee their homes as war continues to ravage their country. An estimated 6,000 Syrians are crossing the border into Lebanon every day. Thousands of them end up on the doorstep of True Vine Baptist Church. “They feel that the church is their shelter,” says Rev Jihad. “Everyone is pushing them aside and closing the doors in their faces. The only place they can find acceptance and welcome is in the church.” In September 2013 BMS sent a grant of £20,500 to the Lebanese Society for
Educational and Social Development (LSESD), enabling True Vine Baptist Church to supply a further 50 families, or around 350 individuals, with monthly food packages. These food packages are a lifeline for people who have lost everything – their possessions, their homes and, often, their loved ones – to a conflict over which they have no control. “Who knows how the crisis in Syria is going to unfold?” says Rupen Das, who is directing LSESD’s response to the crisis. “It is totally unpredictable at this stage. But what we do know is that the needs are so horrific that somehow the international community needs to continue to find ways to provide assistance to those in need. The Church is no exception to that.” The Syrian crisis is now considered catastrophic by the UN, and its impact on Lebanon is huge – leaving its government schools and medical clinics completely overcrowded, and jobs and housing scarce. The need is great. “As the Syrian refugee crisis intensifies, we are grateful to work with long-standing partners in order to express the love of Christ to these incredibly vulnerable families,” says BMS Manager for Mission Projects, Steve Sanderson. But, while international support is enabling churches like Rev Jihad’s to make the world of difference to thousands of Syrians, more are crossing the border every day in desperate need. “The Syrian refugees are all around us,” says Rev Jihad. “We feel that we’ve got to sell our stuff to help these
© Jodi Hilton / IRIN
As life for thousands of Syrians is shattered daily, a small church in Lebanon is bringing hope to those who have nowhere left to turn, with BMS World Mission support.
The only place they can find acceptance and welcome is in the church. people. What breaks your heart is that every week there are many newcomers from Syria. We can’t say no to these families, we can’t push people aside and we can’t help everyone. But we are helping as many as we can. “We do this because this is our Christianity, this is what our Lord Jesus taught us.” This is the message that Rev Jihad tells those Syrian refugees who try to understand his church’s kindness. Their work is a profound act of witness in a situation of almost unimaginable suffering – a shining light in the darkness.
Will you shine a light? We might not be able to end the conflict in Syria, or help every one of the millions in need – but we can change the world for some of those affected. Please help us to do this by giving to our Syria appeal today – use the donation slip enclosed with this magazine or donate online at bmsworldmission.org/syriaappeal
ENGAGED Find us on facebook BMS World Mission Please pray for our General Director, David Kerrigan. He departs tomorrow (5 October) for a two week trip to North Korea. Like · Comment · Share 42 people like this
Deb N Dug Benn We’ll be thinking of and praying for you DK Haydn Davies Our Association prayed for you yesterday. Moira and I and others will pray for you each day
BMS World Mission It’s National Poetry Day. Can you come up with a couplet, haiku or limerick about BMS? Like · Comment · Share 4 people like this
Alex Anderson How about this effort: There was a young pair from old Blighty, Who wanted to serve the Almighty, They asked BMS Who promptly said ‘yes’ And now they’re a long way from Blighty! There was a young pair on a mission, To carry out God’s great commission, God called them to go So they couldn’t say ‘no’ With BMS their dream’s come to fruition!
your Tweets Keith Tarring
Using ‘Hungry’ from @BMSWorldMission as I plan for Sunday’s Harvest Service. Great resources that tell the story of some transforming work
Safely arrived in Iquitos after 24hrs travelling. Now after a few hours sleep am off to teach in Nauta with @BMSWorldMission
Speaker and writer
Be true to myself? Children today are increasingly ignorant of Christian beliefs.
rownies and Guides have always been worthwhile and trustworthy organisations, but I was saddened to learn that they have replaced the pledge to serve God and the country with a promise to ‘be true to myself and develop my beliefs.’ I’m aware that this sits well with atheists, humanists and secularists, but what does it MEAN? Children today are increasingly ignorant of Christian beliefs with prayers and hymns being deliberately eliminated from school assemblies, in order not to offend non-believers. I am reminded of a comment that Anne Graham Lotz made after the 9/11 terrorist attacks: “For years we have been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman he is, I believe he has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us his blessing and protection if we demand that he leaves us alone?” As for ‘being true to myself,’ what do children think that means? Maybe “I refuse to let anyone get the better of me,” or, “If I want to do it, I will.” I well remember as a small child taking the vows very seriously and, before taking the pledge, being taught WHY I should do my duty to God and to the King. How ironic that many churches have generously allowed their premises to be used for Brownies and Guides every week, with many Christians volunteering to help, and yet witnessing an evaporation of Christian values. In an age of online bullying and abuse, we urgently need to stand up for Christian values to improve the quality of life for the younger generation. Let us pray that those who lead these groups will continue to impart these values to our youngsters.
... we urgently need to stand up for Christian values.
Feeling a bit broken by the world today, but reminded of our great hope by an evening looking at the work of @BMSWorldMission
Keep engaged at facebook.com/BMSWorldMission
Fiona Castle OBE is an international Christian speaker and writer. Her late husband Roy was an entertainer and TV presenter.
twitter.com/BMSWorldMission and @bmsworldmission
WINTER 2014 | Engage
TECHN A OLOGY The pros and cons of mission in the digital age.
t first glance, the MegaVoice isn’t much to look at. It looks like a small walkie-talkie children played with in the 1980s. For Ramesh and Bhim Bahadur though, it has been life-changing. Ramesh, a Christian in a village in the Kingdom of Bhutan, was given a MegaVoice by BMS partner Big Life ministries. MegaVoice is a handheld audio Bible run by solar energy which can be programmed in several different languages. One night Ramesh was listening to his MegaVoice when his alcoholic brother, Bhim Bahadur, entered his room and demanded to know what he was listening to. “When he heard it was stories from the Bible he also began to listen and was inspired by what he heard,” recalls BMS Associate Leader for India, Benjamin Francis. “From then on he began listening to the MegaVoice every day and slowly, as he heard the message of the gospel, it completely changed his life.” The MegaVoice is just one example of the way technology can be used in mission and development work to impact the lives of millions. There are many others – from tiny film projectors to solving agricultural problems through text message. In a world where everything appears to be going digital, is technology always the solution? Does it sometimes hinder mission?
nowhere. Before the trucks go anywhere extensive route planning is done using online maps. “Google Earth are updating every year their photos of Africa so we are seeing where the villages are and where the roads are before we leave,” says Overlands Mission founder Phil Smethurst. “We do the pre-reconnaissance on Google Earth and reconnaissance using GPS on the ground. The cost savings of us doing that are huge.” When the Overlands team visit a village, part of their outreach is showing films like the Jesus film or clips from wildlife programmes to entertain people before they share the gospel message. They play the films off their iPhones using a projector the same size as the phone and a small speaker. There are no wires – the iPhone, projector and speaker are connected together using Bluetooth. Up to 250 people are able to watch the 60” picture which is projected onto a bed sheet screen tied to two trees. Phil is clear that although technology aids the work of Overlands Mission significantly, when it comes to building relationships and sharing the good news about Jesus, there is no replacement for face to face contact. “We will only use technology as a bridge to a relationship. We will never replace a relationship with technology,” he says. “You can’t send a projector ahead. It works, people get excited and they will watch your movies and your teaching videos and everything, but without the human touch you are going to get a dysfunctional church. Technology is really helping us, it speeds us up, it gets us to the people, it makes things easier. It is a prop to our preaching but it does not replace face to face – it cannot.”
Saving time and money
Overlands Mission is a mission agency that works in 11 countries including Cambodia. Focusing on rural areas, they find technology essential in planning their trips to remote locations to tribes that have often never heard the gospel. To move around in frequently difficult terrain they have a fleet of 1990s military trucks which they have kitted out with the latest technology including computers, solar-powered mobile phones, and a satellite internet device which allows them to create a wireless hotspot often in the middle of
It is over 40 years since the first mobile phone call was made in April 1973. Today there is an estimated 3.4 billion unique
mobile phone users worldwide. In the developing world 50 per cent of people own a mobile phone. This increases to 70 per cent if you include those who share a phone with somebody else. “Mobile phones have caused a seismic shift in the ways information can be distributed and the sort of conversations people are invited to participate on,” says Amy O’ Donnell, International Digital Vision Lead for Oxfam since June 2013. The use of text messaging in development work is now widespread. Before working for Oxfam, Amy was at FrontlineSMS who were involved in many projects using mobile messaging in the developing world. One project was The Organic Farmer, a publication which was trying to spread agricultural advice to a community in Kenya. When distribution of the magazine proved difficult they started a radio programme introduced by John Cheburet where people were invited to send in their agricultural problems and challenges by text into Frontline SMS. “At one point there was a scenario where a lot of people were messaging in that their chickens were dying and they didn’t understand what the problem was,” says Amy. “John gathered all the text and multimedia messages, got an agricultural expert on the radio show and then was able to diagnose this disease as Newcastle’s disease. Then through the radio platform was able to distribute advice to farmers who might be facing this, information about vaccination schedules and tips to mitigate this disease’s effect on chickens. I love that example as it shows directly how as a result of a community being invited to take part in a dialogue and conversation, you are able to distribute very quickly lifesaving information.” Text messaging has also been used in situations from warning people to take action in anticipation of flooding in Madagascar to sending healthcare information following the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. However, Amy is keen to stress that text messaging and the use of digital technology can only work in certain situations. It must be sustainable from the outset. “In some cases people see technology as a magic bullet, where people think about using digital tech without necessarily having a strategy behind it, identifying digital as the solution before figuring out what the problem is.” Barriers to using mobile technology include issues of literacy, not having sufficient coverage to receive calls or texts, and the cost of replying to a text to the end user may be prohibitive. In the developing world men often have more widespread ownership of the mobile phone and there may be additional barriers for women to regularly use them. Another factor is being aware of data security and ensuring that people are not put at risk by the information they share. “It is fundamentally important to consider how that service will be paid for, the ownership of the organisations that will run and resource that information service and how in the long term that will fit between existing programmes and practices,” says Amy.
YOU ARE ABLE TO DISTRIBUTE VERY QUICKLY LIFE-SAVING INFORMATION
Fleet of former military trucks used by Overlands Mission kitted out with the latest technology.
What happens when it breaks?
Chris, who worked for a BMS partner for several years in Afghanistan, agrees that technology must be sustainable. He gives an example of passing through Kabul airport one day when there were queues waiting for security checks whilst a brand new x-ray machine lay idle. “I asked the security guard what the problem was and he said, ‘Well the machine was working fine and it then broke down. We are waiting for someone from Europe to come and fix it. We don’t think anyone is going to come because the government don’t want to pay for someone to fix it.’ “That was an example of great technology but not thinking through how it is going to be used. You need to have technology that is appropriate to the context. People need to be able to use that technology themselves.” The development of micro hydro water turbines for generating electricity by BMS’ partner is a complete contrast to the Kabul airport x-ray machine scenario. Instead of importing the turbines from abroad, apart from one component, they are entirely manufactured in Afghanistan with spare parts easily bought from any local bazaar and are just as efficient as a similar model in the West. Afghan engineers have been taught to make it and encouraged to set up their own private companies to manufacture and sell it. Since the project started 15 years ago thousands of water turbines have been made and sold. “Straightaway you have something that can be made in Afghanistan, you can teach people how to make it and then down the line if something goes wrong you’ve got the ability to get it fixed within the country so you have got more potential for the technology to be adopted,” says Chris.
With new gadgets coming onto the market and software upgrades every year, technology in mission and development work will become increasingly more important in the future but there will always be limitations. “In terms of the shift we are seeing in people’s communications preferences, I think we will see an increasing number of organisations harnessing the new opportunities the digital age is offering in order to reach more people, more efficiently and with wider reach,” says Amy O’Donnell. The challenge for the mission and development community is discerning where technology will help solve problems and improve the lives of people and where it won’t.
WINTER 2014 | ENGAGE
TECHNOLOGY IN MISSION Here are ten ways BMS and its partners use low tech and high tech solutions in mission:
...For God so loved the world...
online theological training...
1.MEGAVOICE MegaVoice is a handheld audio Bible the size of a phone that runs using solar energy. BMS partner, Big Life Ministries, have given it out to over 230 villagers in India who would not be able to read the Bible otherwise - 116 of them have become Christians.
2. PROJECT TIMOTHY
3. INTERNET CAFES
Project Timothy is an online church leaders’ training course, originally developed by BMS and the Brazilian Baptist Convention, to help train those unable to attend a theological college.
A café opened by Ugandan women in Kasese that has been supported by mission worker, Bethan Shrubsole, was transformed into an internet café thanks to a team from St Andrews Street Baptist Church, Cambridge who installed the equipment.
4. SAT-7 Over 15 million people in the Middle East and North Africa regularly watch a variety of locally produced Christian programmes on Christian satellite television station SAT-7.
5. BACKPACK PRESENTATION SYSTEM BMS at its Nauta Mission Training Centre in Peru has used this system to show the Jesus film. Each bag contains a mobile phone sized projector, powered by solar-charged batteries, with tiny but powerful speakers that wirelessly connect with the projector using Bluetooth.
7. HYDRO8. HIP PUMPS ELECTRIC WATER TURBINES Developed by a BMS partner in Afghanistan, these turbines for generating electricity use parts easily obtained from the local bazaar and are manufactured in the country.
In a project initiated by BMS mission worker, Gareth Shrubsole, these pumps are allowing people in a flooded area of Uganda to grow crops on sandy soil by irrigating them using water from the nearby river.
6. SAND FILTERS BMS workers in Afghanistan have helped install bio sand filters in remote villages where access to clean water is a major issue. The water is poured into the top of the filter and goes through sand and helpful bacteria that remove disease-carrying bacteria before coming out the bottom clean and ready to drink.
9. ECO-OVENS 10. WASTE AS BIOFUEL BMS workers Harland Rivas and Gill Thurgood have introduced 105 eco-ovens to river based communities in Peru. The ovens reduce the amount of firewood using in cooking by 50 per cent, improving safety and health and speeding up cooking.
In rural Nepal, bio-gas plants funded by a BMS grant, are taking methane from cow dung and converting it into oil to power gas cookers for farmers and their families. This means considerably less firewood is used for cooking reducing C02 emissions and deforestation.
WINTER 2014 | ENGAGE
LIVE AGAIN S In a clinic nestling in the hills in a small town in Nepal, a BMS worker is showing people told to wait to die that they can have life in all its fullness.
aru woke up unable to move her legs; she’d been unconscious for a week. She had no recollection of her family taking her to hospital in Lucknow, India, of the doctors saying she would die or of her journey home to western Nepal. As she woke, her family told her what had happened – everything had changed. A week earlier Saru had been working in the fields when she was attacked by a bull. She was sent flying as the bull hit her from behind. It was hours later that her husband found her lying unconscious in the field. Despite the doctors’ diagnosis, Saru’s husband and 14 year-old daughter never gave up hope. They took great care of Saru, taking it in turns to miss work or school in order to stay with her as she lay on her bed unable to move. After four months, a field worker from BMS partner the International Nepal Fellowship’s (INF) Surkhet Clinic heard about their situation. When a bed became available, Saru was placed in the capable hands of BMS occupational therapist Megan Barker and her team of six. After ten months of therapy Saru is unrecognisable: able to sit up, wash and dress herself and move around in the wheelchair the clinic has given her. Megan’s team have fitted out her house so that it is fully accessible, meaning that, though Saru’s injuries are so severe she’ll never walk, she can still have a fulfilled life. Today Saru is back at home – grateful for all that Megan and her team have done for her. Grateful that she is no longer a burden on her family, that her daughter can go back to school and that she may live to one day see her get married. Grateful to be alive. Around 75 per cent of people in Nepal make a living through agriculture – getting attacked by farm animals or falling from a tree and breaking your spine is a daily possibility. For those to whom it happens, work is over. In fact, it seems that life is over. Their only option is to lie in bed staring at the ceiling. The lucky few may get to listen to the radio. It’s no life. Surkhet Clinic is the only facility in the whole of Nepal which provides a full rehabilitation service for spinal injury patients. Without it, Saru would still be lying on her bed in agonising pain from pressure sores, hopeless. So would hundreds of others.
If you break your spine, it seems that life is over. The only option is to lie in bed staring at the ceiling.
© O’SHI - Fotolia.com
That’s why Megan’s work is so important. It’s not just providing the freedom to move – but the freedom to live. “The doctors say to them, ‘this is an incurable problem, go home and wait to die,’” says Megan. “Saru was told that. And it’s a fatalistic society, so in the back of their minds many believe that the gods have willed this upon them because of something they’ve done in this life or a past life. “You’ve got to convince them that their life isn’t over, to get them to see that there’s hope.”
It was eight in the morning and Amar was cutting grass for his goats when he slipped off the side of a cliff – the fall was 40 metres. When his wife found him hours later he was unconscious with a broken back. Just 34 years old and a labourer, Amar woke up unable to move his hands or legs. He was paralysed. Amar was sent from hospital to hospital until his relatives admitted him to a spinal cord injury rehab centre near Kathmandu. But after months of expensive hospital treatment and with little improvement, Amar could no longer afford to stay and had to return home. It was then that Amar heard about Surkhet Clinic and put his name on the waiting list – but there is such demand for rehabilitation that it was a full year before a bed became available for him. “When Amar and his wife came they were so depressed they wouldn’t even make eye contact,” says Megan. Amar would lie like a log in the hospital bed, the only sign that he was alive were his blinking eyes. “What do I have to smile about?” he would say. Three months of intensive rehabilitation twice a day have transformed Amar. He is now able to sit himself up, stand with the help of his wife and walk with someone assisting him. He is still in Surkhet, so his journey of recovery is not yet complete, but already he is like a different person. He is smiling. “Meeting these people, sometimes I could weep,” says Megan. “I am really grateful that I haven’t become hard, because everyone comes with such a horrible story and I feel God is still giving me that passion to see each one of them as a human being with amazing, complex needs.”
Megan is currently the only Christian in the team working in spinal rehabilitation at Surkhet Clinic and her patients see that she is motivated by her love for Jesus. “When I came back after two weeks away they all said to me, ‘I’m glad you’re back, now the love’s back,’” says Megan. Every Wednesday there is a fellowship meeting held on the ward – many patients, including both Saru and Amar, attend. Few arrive at the clinic as Christians; many more love Jesus when they leave. Saru and Amar’s stories speak of hope and restoration, yet there are hundreds more desperate for the service that Megan and her small team provide. When Megan arrived in Nepal she was the only occupational therapist in the whole country. Today, there are eight – one of whom was enabled
You’ve got to convince them that their life isn’t over, to get them to see that there’s hope. to train thanks to a BMS grant. Health provision is moving forward, but slowly. The need is huge. “We have eight rehabilitation beds, and 55 people on a waiting list. It’s totally inadequate,” says Megan. “There needs to be more of what we’re doing. There needs to be a vision for this across Nepal.”
INF’s Surkhet Clinic is the only place in Nepal that provides a full rehabilitation service: helping people to believe they can get better, bringing them through intensive rehabilitation, and eventually making adjustments in their houses and helping them to find financial security so that they can return home with hope.
WINTER 2014 | Engage
BMS worker profile Jenny Mewes
The day I nearly died…
OF embarrassment Pirouetting in front of thousands in her socks was not what former ballet teacher Jenny expected when she signed up to go to Shandong in China with BMS World Mission.
was imagining a Sound of Music family get-together – everybody just singing a song or dancing. It should have been a warning that it was a bit more than that when they sent a car to fetch us. It was two months after we arrived at the college, and one of the teachers invited us to come and take part in the rehearsals for the New Year Gala. As it was Christmas time, my husband Dave and I and our two BMS colleagues decided we’d sing Silent Night. So we practised three verses – once – and I volunteered to dance through the third verse to make it more interesting.
It was a complete misunderstanding.
We arrived and were led up to a theatre on the sixth floor and into a sound room and it all began to look really important. We were offered microphones for singing, but none of us have much of a singing voice so we said no thank you. We had no costumes. I was wearing boots. After a little on-stage debate about where we should stand, we sang the song and I did my dance. I completely forgot the choreography so sort of made
it up as I went along. The large audience gave us a polite clap, looked slightly bemused, said thank you very much and asked us to sit down. In a way it was a mercy that we were right at the beginning, so we didn’t know, but it gradually dawned on us. The next group that came on were in full costume – 12 girls in beautiful dresses. When they finished a man stood up and gave them a critique in Chinese; apparently he was a really important dance expert. There had probably been about 200 people watching us, and a panel of six judges. I felt totally embarrassed. Watching it, we just wished we were somewhere else. After five performances, our interpreter came up to us and said: “The dance inspector says, ‘thank you very much but you’re not suitable for the show this time. Maybe next time?’” To which we all heaved a sigh of relief. “But,” he said, “Jenny can dance.” And I said, “yes, I can, but no thank you.” On the Friday I got a message saying: ‘Jenny must dance.’ To start a ballet stage career at the age of 50 is not what I was planning. I had no ballet kit with me in China, I’m five foot ten, and I don’t like performing (in the UK I definitely chose to be a teacher). But no, I must dance. So the weekend was spent choreographing and rehearsing. On the Saturday we went on the hunt for a ballet costume for me; at nearly six foot I didn’t think we’d find anything, but we really prayed and we managed to find a black petticoat that I could wear with other things I had. I had no ballet shoes, so I wore socks. The following week I performed at all three campuses: the old, the new and the campus in Weifung. Thousands of people watched me dance. We’d been teaching at the new campus, so our students went absolutely crazy when I got on stage – it was such a lift when they all cheered! After my dancing debut I started teaching ballet to some students. The college asked me to plan a show and I thought: at least perhaps this time I can escape the performance. I couldn’t. They wanted me to dance as well. I choreographed a dance based on the life of Florence Nightingale. It represented the Crimean War and I represented Florence Nightingale – dancing around with a torch in my hand. I’m not sure if anyone got what it was about… I called it the Lady of the Lamp, but they billed me as the Goddess of Light! Dance is such an important part of Chinese culture so, despite my own self-consciousness and being aware that my body is old and my technique is not as good as it once was, the college absolutely love my ballet. It’s different from the things they do. To me it doesn’t seem important, but it seems to be the thing that they’re really impressed
© Peter Baer
To start a ballet career at the age of 50 is not what I was planning.
with – I’m amazed that it has been such an effective way of connecting with the college. We’ve worried about how our Western style has gone down here, but the ballet seems to mend any bridges we break. I still get very self-conscious when performing and so the only way I enjoy it, if I have to perform, is to make it into a form of praise. So for me, these performances were a way of praising God, and I think it was just amazing to have everyone there to see that.
Our students went absolutely crazy when I got on stage.
Jenny Mewes was talking to Sarah Stone
Jenny and David have been with BMS since 2010. Aside from the ballet, they are in China to work as part of a team teaching English in a nursing college, which was established by BMS back in 1885 in Qingzhou in Shandong Province. David has a background in electronics, administration and building maintenance, and Jenny is a ballet teacher who also taught English to asylum seekers in Plymouth.
WINTER 2014 | Engage
THE BIG INTERVIEW Being a Christian comedian in both the Christian and secular world is an issue that comedian, author, and actor Milton Jones faces and tackles daily.
JONES Milton Jones speaks a little about his new book, Even More Concise 10 Second Sermons, and addresses the challenges of producing Christian comedy that is accessible to all audiences.
Does the subject of faith ever come up with comedians who you’re working with backstage?
Quite often you have a conversation early on about beliefs, and then it’s not mentioned again for ages and ages. But everyone sort of thinks they know where you’re coming from. They make assumptions that may or may not be true about exactly how I would put my faith into practice. You do get the impression that some people keep an eye on you, and that you’re refused the third pint because you shouldn’t be having it.
It’s like being a diabetic? Yes. It’s difficult to know what’s going on in people’s heads. Unfortunately preconceptions, thanks to the media, are so strong
that even saying something like ‘born again Christian’ conjures up baggage of the extreme versions and dogma, such as people foaming at the mouth and shouting at other people. It’s almost an unhelpful phrase, even though technically that’s what I am.
Yes there has been a trend in the last few years, when every young comic has a bit about why they’re an atheist and why Christians are stupid for believing the Bible. It’s fair enough for someone outside to ask those questions, all be it in a rather cartoonlike fashion. There are massive things in and out of the Bible about suffering, sexuality, and ethnic cleansing that even Christians grapple with. That’s really difficult stuff. I believe that people who don’t believe in God are going to end up spending eternity without him. It’s actually quite hard to make a joke about that and it serves me within the context that I have a faith that I’m able to make jokes around the subject.
It’s actually quite hard to be motivated, I think, if you don’t mix with the actual people you’re trying To help.
You are known as a comic who is also a Christian. Is your latest book, Even More Concise 10 Second Sermons, a conscious decision to make a clearer statement as a Christian? Or did you just get tired from hanging back from that kind of stuff? I’ve never consciously shied away from it. The word ‘sermon’, I guess, has a certain amount of preconceptions that comes with it, both in the Church and outside. But I think if you are vaguely interested in Christianity and faith in general, Sermons won’t necessarily put you off, especially if it has ten seconds next to it.
Is that something frustrating in comedy, that you can’t really address serious stuff? Sort of. I suppose faith is about the only thing I feel seriously, and I think the only place where I have some sort of authority to knock things is from within. I feel like I’m in his family and therefore I can say a few things that may divide people. I tried one or two of them out but I felt the laughs were coming for the wrong reason. There are funny things you can say about it but you’re literally preaching to the unconverted and Christianity gets enough knocks out there as it is.
© Idil Sukan
Have you noticed a trend of comedians dedicating a section to Christianity bashing? Do you ever feel the temptation to do some Dawkins bashing on stage in a similar way?
As an artist, do you ever feel God is using you and working through you? It’s difficult to measure and yes some people say, “It’s great how you don’t swear,” which sort of annoys me a little bit because to me it’s about the spirit with which you do something. I don’t think anyone will be turned off God necessarily by seeing me do my thing, but it might be a link in a chain. I hope my work isn’t just negative and there is some wholesome quality about it too.
What would you say to the Christians out there who still believe that the main focus of Christianity should be conversion and evangelism instead of ‘mercy ministries’? I could imagine how dull they are in terms of preaching all the time in their conversations; but the people who knock them are often guilty of not doing very much themselves. It’s an imperfect instrument often but it’s probably, for the time being, the only way. I think maybe even from God’s point of view we may be judged for what we tried to do. What did we do about the things that fell across our path? We need to address the global inequalities wherever poverty exists, be it next door or on the other side of the world, rather than feather our own nests.
What are the charities that are close to your heart? I’ve just become a patron of Jubilee Action, as opposed to the Jubilee dead. I work with children who were born in prison and child soldiers who are being rehabilitated, and youth work in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Brazil. The children that they work with are the ones who have been born in a bad place and also been dealt a very bad hand. The plan is to go out there some time next year and see what the score is. It’s actually quite hard to be motivated, I think, if you don’t mix with the actual people you’re trying to help.
Final Question – we’re a mission and development agency, do you know any good missionary jokes? Are there any good missionary jokes? There’s the old one: There’s nothing like prudence is there? Going into a dark interior and doing a good work.
Milton Jones was talking to Jonathan Langley
WINTER 2014 | Engage
Miracle. Murder. Miracle. Tapan, a BMS partner worker in India, has faced heart-breaking challenges to his faith.
unanda tried everything to cure her epilepsy. Her village, in West Bengal, prayed to Hindu gods. She tried doctors and even witchcraft. Sunanda and her husband Tapan were about to give up when a director of BMS partner, Big Life Ministries, came to her village and offered to pray for her. She was healed. The healing had a huge impact on the couple and they became committed Christians. “We knew Jesus had done this. We were sinners so we repented and followed him,” says Tapan. They started a church in their home and Tapan trained with Big Life to be a church planter. Then, an unbearable tragedy occurred. Whilst Tapan was witnessing in another village he got word that his wife was ill. He caught the train home to find that she had been murdered by her relatives for her faith. “They murdered her for giving out tracts at the market, destroyed my house and even took my son,” says Tapan.
HIGHER DEEPER WIDER 20
“Then they threatened to kill me for changing my religion.” Astoundingly, Tapan neither blamed God nor was bitter towards his family. “I could not forsake my Lord because he promised never to forsake me. Jesus forgave his killers so I forgave them and waited for them to kill me too.” Despite death threats, Tapan continued to preach about Christ in his village. Slowly people began taking more interest in his message about Jesus and he planted churches in nearby villages. Amazingly his family’s attitude improved. They invited Tapan to live with them again so he could be with his son. They then allowed him to start a church in the village and miraculously many of them came to Christ.
Baptist Assembly 2014
Bethel Convention Centre West Bromwich 10 - 11 May bapt ist assem bly.org.uk
The Big Picture
In the Kyangwali refugee camp in western Uganda, over 300 Congolese and Sudanese refugees crammed into a tiny church to hear BMS World Mission worker Graeme Riddell give a sermon on 1 Corinthians 12.
Dressed in their colourful kitenge, men, women and children travelled from all over western Uganda to the service. Those that could squeezed into pews for the five hours of worship in the Ugandan heat whilst the rest peered through open doors and windows.
WINTER 2014 | Engage
Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5: 17, NKJV) We would encourage you to photocopy this page, or to cut out the sections and use it in your regular prayer times.
Places: Afghanistan For decades Afghanistan has been ravaged by conflict and its people have suffered. Successive regimes have each offered a semblance of hope that things would be different, but have often fallen victim to extremism and corruption. Today, a fragile government exists, but it is slowly starting to rebuild the country. BMS works in Afghanistan through sending personnel to a partner agency. Explicit Christian witness is not allowed in this Muslim country. However, where questions are asked, the truth can be explained and many meaningful conversations do take place. Through practical help and assistance, our workers are able to demonstrate the love of Christ in a very real way.
Pray for: • The government and other national leaders, especially as Western forces start to withdraw. •A n end to violence and extremism and for communities as they rebuild their lives. •T he work of Christian and secular NGOs as they seek to serve the Afghan people.
Projects: Disaster Recovery An earthquake in Haiti. Flooding in Bangladesh. A war in Syria. A cyclone in India. When disasters like these happen, the international response can be overwhelming. People give, churches pray for a while, and everyone feels good. But the work doesn’t stop there. The damage caused by both natural and man-made disasters can take years to repair. Sometimes the effects can be felt for generations. Fortunately, through the generosity and prayer of our supporters, we are able to continue responding to crises as they happen, and to support on the ground efforts for as long as they are required. Please do continue to pray for this vital work.
Pray for: • BMS funded disaster teams as they respond to crises as they happen. • Those whose lives have been affected by disasters and conflict. • The many events that happen around the world that are not covered by our news programmes but still wreak havoc on poor and vulnerable communities.
People: Action Teams Each year the BMS gap year programme sends Action Teams to various destinations around the globe. This year, 22 young people are serving in Christian ministry in India, Italy, Nepal and Thailand for six months. For many, this will be their first taste of cross-cultural mission. Being away from home for so long and having to form deep, trusting relationships with other team members requires wisdom, grace, patience and determination. Please pray for these young people, for whom BMS Action Teams is a life-changing experience. To hear about what they are up to, have a read of their blogs at actionteamblogs.org or visit bmsworldmission.org/actionteams
Get regular prayer points and resources from BMS at bmsworldmission.org/prayer
please pray for: • For good team relationships and the development of real friendships. •T hat the teams would be an encouragement to the communities they are serving in, and vice-versa! •G ood health and safety and a continued reliance on God.
Aidan Melville is sub-editor of the BMS Prayer Guide
© SP-PIC - Fotolia.com
is the first (and only!) female General Secretary of BUGB
Do you often find yourself pining for the past? It could be that you are missing a person who reminds you of happy times that have now passed. It could be wanting to turn back time to before a situation that has upset you, where you can’t forgive someone or you can’t forgive yourself for what you have done. You are trapped by your past. In the time of Isaiah the Jewish people were living in exile. They were pining for the times when they were back in the Promised Land. At the same time they were feeling guilty for the way they had turned away from God and sinned, the consequence of which had been their banishment from Israel. Isaiah gave a prophecy of hope, that they would return one day to their home. But it was not a return to the past. In Isaiah 43: 18-19 he warns to not ‘dwell on the past’ but to see that God is ‘doing a new thing’ and to ‘perceive it’. As we end 2013 and begin 2014 let us by all means look back and thank God for the way he has helped us through the year but let us not linger there. Let’s look for the new ways God is working and follow where he is now leading.
Verse Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43: 19
Prayer Holy God, we thank you for how you have worked in our lives in the past. Help us to forgive those that have hurt us and forgive the sin we now regret. Encourage us to look forward to the exciting plans you have for our present and future. Amen.
From pioneer mission to women in leadership, we need God’s inspiration
ver the years BMS World Mission has needed divinely inspired imagination to fulfil its purposes. Early missionaries soon realised that doing things the way we have always done them was not going to be effective in different cultures. So pioneers such as Hudson Taylor adopted Chinese dress and learnt a new language in order to share the good news of Jesus. Shocking and controversial at the time, but standard practice today! I believe that we need more of this divinely inspired imagination in our mission in the UK as we seek to engage with an increasingly diverse population. The pioneer heart and mindset is needed more than ever today, and not just in our mission. We need divinely inspired imagination when it comes to people and roles too. I read recently in this magazine that Cham Kaur-Mann is the first and only Asian woman minister in BUGB. I feel that God’s vision for leadership is bigger than ours. If we want to see more women, more of those from different ethnic backgrounds and more of the differently abled leading, influencing and shaping our life together then we need to be more open to thinking differently. We need to make space and create opportunities for people to serve in ways that they can. We need to create roles around people’s gifts wherever possible and think bigger than the way we have always done things before! I have been blessed and empowered by people of imagination throughout my ministry and I long for us to use our divinely inspired imagination to find ways to release the potential of everyone for the benefit of the Kingdom.
God’s vision for leadership is bigger than ours.
WINTER 2014 | Engage
Here I am,
How do you know if you’re ‘called’ to mission? Have you ever worried that God is going to call you to a far off land? To a country that harbours your greatest fears? Far away from your friends and family? If you have, you’re not alone. Sometimes we seem to think God will go out of his way to make us do what we don’t want to do. As if he gives us talents and passions only to say, “Actually, do something else that you’re not particularly good at and you really don’t enjoy.” But that’s not the God we worship. So, while we often end up in unexpected places and sometimes have to do things we don’t want to do, they’re places and things that God has prepared for us in advance. We’re all mission workers.
Photo: © auremar - Fotolia.com
PLEASE DON’T send me… Called to a place? Bob and Charmaine, Thai-Burma border Charmaine was born in Burma, and wanted to serve overseas for over 50 years before God sent her: “I’ve felt called to mission work since I was a little girl,” says Charmaine, “and I would ask God, ‘Am I not good enough? Why am I still here?’ But one day when I was praying it dawned on me that God had things for me to do in the UK, and in his good time we would go. “When Bob was made redundant it felt like the right time and we contacted BMS as we knew they were working on the Thai-Burma border which is where my heart was. We applied thinking maybe we could be volunteers as we were 60 at that point, but BMS said ‘how about long term?’ We were flabbergasted. “We’re now living in a town that is less than 100 km from the town I was born in. So not only has the Lord taken us on mission, he’s taken me home. I haven’t spoken Burmese in over 50 years, and what’s wonderful is I now have the opportunity to communicate and talk with what I consider my people, in my language.”
David Kerrigan, BMS General Director believes that, while some do receive a very clear calling to go into mission overseas, God doesn’t ordinarily speak to us like that. “My challenge is to those who do not consider mission because they have not received the mystical call that they assume is necessary for mission work,” he says. “Every businesswoman, teacher or engineer intent on ushering in the Kingdom of God should consider India just as easily as Ipswich. No special calling – just an honest examination of their character, their skills and their temperament. ‘Here I am – wholly available.’”
Called to a purpose? Liz and Sergio, mission workers in training Liz and Sergio met when serving with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in Brazil. Once married, they moved to the UK to work as youth pastors for three years – but when they took their young people to Brazil they realised how much they missed it. “We took a while looking at our spiritual gifts – and mercy was one of the top ones for us, along with helping other people and teaching,” says Liz. “We got in touch with BMS, but it wasn’t quite the right time. “Then last February I had a car accident, broke lots of bones and should have died really – but God saved me. Both our daughter Chloe and I are miracles. That helped me to realise that God has a specific purpose for me, otherwise I wouldn’t be here on earth anymore, and I really want to fulfil that purpose. So it helped us to say, what are we meant to be doing? “We got in touch with BMS again and said we believe we are ready to go. We just want to be where God is calling us to be, and we’re excited to be going to Mozambique!”
Current Opportunities If you would like to explore what God might be saying to you about serving him in another culture then please get in touch with us today. Amongst our urgent needs, both short and long term, in countries as diverse as Afghanistan and Albania, Guinea and Bangladesh are:
Called to be willing? Kathy, Mozambique Lawyer Kathy felt God ask her to put herself forwards for overseas mission. “I like travelling, meeting people, being a lawyer and using my legal skills for good,” says Kathy, “and overriding all that is my faith in God and wanting to live a life that brings glory to him. I came to a point where I needed to go away for a weekend and pray that through – and while I was praying I felt God ask me to put myself forward. “I felt he asked me to put myself forward, but I wasn’t sure if he was actually asking me to go! I just needed to be faithful in going through each step, and if a door opened I would go through it, and if it didn’t I think I would very happily have stayed working as a lawyer, attending my church and doing what I was doing.”
All of our BMS mission workers have different stories of how they ended up in overseas service – some were reluctant at first, others were eager and had to wait, some felt a specific call, others just pushed on doors and trusted God to open one. “I am more and more convinced, especially these days, that ‘mission work’ is an artificial construct if we mean by that a work that is different from the ordinary witness of the church in the world,” says David. “Geography demands different gifts and skills, character and temperament. I am not convinced it demands a different kind of calling.” What’s God calling you to?
Teachers and teacher trainers Ministers, theologians and church planters Project managers Doctors and health professionals TEFL/English teachers HR, accounting and people gifted in administration Company directors and engineers
To find out more go to bmsworldmission.org/opportunities
WINTER 2014 | Engage
ideas for Stuff for
your church Church activity
The highest goal As we enter a new year, it’s usual to make resolutions and set goals for ourselves. In the last year, BMS World Mission has been looking at its goals and has drafted a new strategy document called The Highest Goal. Here is an activity for your own church, to be used in a service or house group to explore your highest goal. You will need: • B locks of Post-it® notes – enough that everyone in the church will have at least three • A supply of pencils – enough for each member of the congregation to have one • A large picture of goal posts (these can be football, rugby or any other goals that suit your sporting preferences!) or even real goal posts if you have them Introduce the activity by telling people that it’s time to make some resolutions and set some goals. Have the
picture of the goal posts at the front of the church and distribute the Post-it® notes and pencils around the congregation. Ask people to write three personal goals for this year, anonymously, each on a separate note. Then they have to select one ‘highest goal’ for themselves, bring that to the front and stick it on the picture of the goal posts. By the end, you should have a picture covered in Post-it® notes. It should be a visual display that all of us have hopes and aims. BMS’s highest goal is “to bring people to faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and an experience of the abundant life that only he can provide.” If you would like to explore this topic more, a copy of the The Highest Goal will be sent to your minister in early 2014.
White cabbage – very finely shredded (as if you were making coleslaw) 4 to 6 tomatoes – chopped into small pieces 1 to 2 onions – finely chopped Cooking oil – be generous
Instructions 1 Fry the onions and tomatoes in the oil for three to four minutes. 2 A dd the cabbage – keep stirring – another four to five minutes (ish) (add more oil if necessary).
3 W hen the cabbage has changed colour and texture, it should be ready! 4 S erved as an accompaniment to rice and beans or similar.
Thank you to Deb Benn, a mission worker in Uganda, for sharing this recipe.
Firstly, we want to say a big thank you to everyone who continues to faithfully collect stamps for BMS World Mission. Your efforts have managed to raise nearly £12,000 this year – money that continues to go to frontline mission work overseas. When you send stamps, and other collectible items such as coins, medals and cards to the BMS Stamp Bureau, they are collated and sold on to collectors and dealers. The Stamp Bureau has been running since 1928 and with a recent reorganisation our volunteers are now able to process and sell even more stamps. We all receive lots of stamps especially over Christmas so why not set up a collection box in your church and encourage people to bring in their contributions. Another idea to promote the Stamp Bureau is to host a stamp trimming event at your church. Green Fields Baptist Church held a cutting and sorting morning followed by lunch. Mrs Jeffery from Green Fields said, “we were greatly blessed with the morning and we pray that these stamps will bless others.” For more information or to order leaflets to promote the Stamp Bureau in your church please visit:
© steve ball - Fotolia.com
First class fundraising
Project Cyrus – pray for North Korea Pray every way you know how… and especially for rulers and governments to rule well. 1 Timothy 2: 1-2 (The Message)
It’s encouraging to see many of you have signed up to partner with us in prayer for North Korea as individuals and as church supporters – your prayers are really making a difference. If you’ve yet to sign up there is still plenty of time to join with us in regularly praying for North Korea. By signing up as an individual you will receive free monthly updates, a bookmark and a prayer wrist band and by signing up as a church you will receive a free promotional pack to help your church pray faithfully and creatively for this country including a regular PowerPoint for your services and prayer meetings as well as the bookmarks, wristbands and monthly updates. Please do sign up today and join us at:
Could this be you in 2014?
As the New Year begins, I wonder if your New Year’s resolution involves getting fit? If you take part in a sponsored sporting event in 2014, you can get fit, have fun and also raise funds for some amazing work across the world. In 2013 Paul ran the Milton Keynes half-marathon to support BMS disaster recovery work, Alan rode in the RideLondon-Surrey 100 mile cycle ride for BMS, and in October Harriet took part in the Cardiff half-marathon to raise funds for our work with malnourished children in Chad. Could this be you in 2014? For details of marathons and half-marathons, visit www.marathonrunnersdiary.com, and for the RideLondon-Surrey cycle race visit www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk. For an application form to take up one of the BMS places in the RideLondon event, contact Suzanne Linnell at firstname.lastname@example.org
3 February 2014 The BMS Day of Prayer is a special day when BMS staff in the UK and mission personnel around the world set aside time to pray. If you would like to join us, there will be lots of resources to help you as a church or an individual, available from January at bmsworldmission.org/dayofprayer
WINTER 2014 | Engage
Help, Thanks, Wow
TV Mini series
Hodder & Stoughton, £12.99 (Hardcover)
Rating: Help Thanks Wow explores what prayer looks like in a post Christian-world: “reaching out to be heard” by “the force that is beyond our comprehension”. Anne Lamott’s main contention is that prayer should be kept simple (fair enough, but hardly revolutionary stuff), and that this simple routine helps us get through the day and see new beginnings – the ultimate in self-help banality. The word God is used, but as a mere cypher for a mysterious, unknowable other – certainly, she decries Christian certainty about a personal God. Fundamentally, this book is a far cry from a Christian trinitarian understanding of prayer – prayer through the interceding ministry Spirit, in union with the Son who pleads for us, to the Father. Prayer isn’t primarily something we do in order to change us, but Jesus praying for us in our place and on our behalf – we are simply invited to join in with the movement of grace. In contrast, Lamott’s book is the very tinniest of echoes. That said: it is worth asking how many Christians in our churches have a functional understanding of prayer similar to the one that Lamott outlines… Review by David Bunce, a German and Theological Studies student at the University of St Andrews
Warner Bros Records
(Broadcast date December 2013)
Another almost-made-it entry in the annals of Christian bands, Skillet have been around for a while, peddling pretty much the same formula of catchy hooks, nice (but not monster) riffs, garglingon-sand vocals and weak lyrics. There’s a sense here of a concept album, although figuring out what the actual concept is, is pretty difficult. It’s certainly not one that grabs you, and seems to be centred mostly around a sense of teenage-American isolation. That’s been done to death, and done better, by others. It’s really not a bad album, though – it’s great for an hour’s drive. Freak Show and Circus for a Psycho are amongst the better tunes, but their claimed ‘symphonic’ elements really don’t deserve that description – a couple of string section instruments does not ‘symphonic’ make. New guitarist Seth Morrison’s pretty impressive (not sure about main man John Cooper’s description of ‘absolute shredding’ though). Drummer Jen Ledger’s vocals are a continuing source of grievance for me though. They’re the singing of a playground moppet, over-produced and at odds with what the rest of the album’s sound is about - try What I Believe for proof of that. This is Skillet doing what Skillet does. If that does it for you, you’ve probably already got this; if not, it’s unlikely to win you over to joining the Panheads.
Riveting and dramatic, The Bible, highlights the human struggles from Abraham (William Houston) to Jesus (Diogo Morgado) and the Apostles as they fight to stay true to their faith and complete their missions. The emotional rawness that this dramatic recreation brings through its multicultural cast has captivated viewers, both Christian and non-Christian alike. Faith is a running theme throughout the series as the various characters are asked to do difficult and sometimes painful tasks by God through dreams, a whisper on the wind or through angels. Watching Abraham’s sadness and resolution as he leads Isaac up the mountain for a sacrifice, Sarah’s (Josephine Butler) terror once she realizes what is happening, and the subtle end of Isaac and Abraham’s relationship as father and son is gut-wrenching, even for a viewer who knows the story. Grace and forgiveness are two key themes found throughout The Bible. David (Langley Kirkwood) is forgiven for disobeying God’s laws just as Paul (Con O’Neil) is forgiven for persecuting Christians and sent to preach the gospel. These moments provide a nice contrast of compassion and understanding to an often severe image of God. Visually stunning and creative, The Bible is a landscape of human struggle and triumph. It is definitely worth watching.
Review by Mark Craig,
Writing Intern at BMS World Mission
Communications Director at BMS World Mission
Review by Vickey Casey,
Rating: Anthony Haden West was working on Wall Street on 9/11, losing many of his colleagues in the attacks on the Twin Towers. He quit his job soon after, turning his hand to film-making as a way of processing his confusion over the divisions between Christians and Muslims. His journey has resulted in a moving documentary about the lives of four American missionaries and the effect that evangelism in Muslim cultures in Africa had on their lives. Haden West spent four years following members of US-based Global Teams, intrigued to see how and why the number of US missionaries has tripled since 2001. It’s the personal impact of their exposure to those foreign cultures, often with only two weeks training, which makes it so compelling. Any UK mission agency could benefit from watching this, even if only as a cautionary tale. That said, Haden West is not a professional documentary-maker and while it is filmed and edited well, a better film-maker would have dug deeper and found better stories about the lives of modern missionaries. Review by Alex Baker, a photographer for alexbakerphotography.com
Five minutes with...
Science and faith can work well together says former brain imaging scientist and now academic tutor at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, Sharon Dirckx.
How can apologetics help people come to faith? Apologetics is giving reasons why we believe what we believe as Christians. Just starting from the Bible isn’t enough. We need to translate what is in the Bible so people can understand it. Certainly in the West and in Europe in particular we are approaching a time where there is almost an entire generation that hasn’t had contact with the Christian faith. We need to unpack what is in the Bible, we need to unpack the historical accounts before people decide what they think and form an opinion. I still think there is a place for giving an answer but the answer must ultimately point to the person of Jesus. Apologetics is a way of removing roadblocks so people can see Jesus more clearly.
When a healing or what could be perceived as a demon possession is described, as a scientist do you automatically think that there is a rational scientific explanation for it or would you look at it from a supernatural perspective? Science is uncovering mechanisms but faith, theism and Christianity are pointing to the agent behind it. You don’t have to choose between the agent who continues to sustain and hold things in place and the mechanisms involved. It is very Western to segment the spiritual and the physical but they are very much combined. If something spiritual is happening quite often there will be physical effects that science may well pick up. I wouldn’t want to separate the two but hold them together.
Is apologetics a Western response to faith questions or can it work anywhere? The need to give answers is relevant whatever the culture, whatever the continent you are on. However, the questions that are most pertinent to that culture may differ. Perhaps in the US the most pertinent question may be different to on the continent of Africa but nevertheless the need to give an answer is still there.
Do you ever have doubts? I’m a human being. I have occasionally thought ‘Wow. God exists – is that absolutely certain?’ I have to say though that these moments have not been long-lasting. That might be because I had a very clear period in which I came to faith from having no faith so I can clearly remember the difference it made and what the alternatives are. I am grateful to be surrounded by people who passionately believe the same things. The need for community to help us with doubt is absolutely crucial.
How did your fellow scientists react to you coming from a faith perspective? Is it harder to gain their respect? The day to day of science does not call into question the existence of God. I did not find myself constantly engaged in conversations with people on science and faith. I did my science as a theist, they did their science as atheists and we all generated science that was good and some that wasn’t so good. The assumptions and difficult questions about science and faith came from outside of science.
Sharon Dirckx was talking to Chris Hall
Why?: God, Evil and Personal Suffering by Sharon Dirckx is available from UK bookshops priced £8.99
WINTER 2014 | Engage
24 hours in…
If you visited the Haitian capital, here is where BMS World Mission workers Andy and Jutta Cowie would take you.
© IOM Haiti
Champ Mars This is a large open space, where many pitched their tents after the earthquake. Once a year the area is transformed into “the festival of flowers”, a colourful and vibrant festival sponsored by the President to raise morale after the disaster of January 2010.
Baptist MISSION All mission groups visit the Baptist Mission which has a fantastic view over the surrounding countryside. There is a hospital, gift shop, museum and school there too. The museum shows the impact of voodoo on the country and how the church has been working throughout Haiti.
Archives When a BMS missionary and his family visited the Welsh town of Aberdare on Christmas Day, thousands came to see them.
n Christmas Day, thousands of people of Aberdare had the privilege of meeting our warm hearted countryman, and our esteemed brother, Rev Thos Evans of Delhi, with his wife and child. The meeting was announced to commence at seven o’clock; but such was the excitement and anxiety to secure room, that the chapel had to be opened
Orphanage The orphanage is located at the vocational training centre where Andy and Jutta work from. The kids have lost one or both parents in the earthquake. They have been through so much and are starved of love and affection – they always want to play dominoes, football, basketball and blowing bubbles.
Make beads Jutta is helping many Haitian women get into micro-enterprises that can earn them some money and teach them a trade. She is encouraging them to help themselves by using their gifts and abilities. Creative women like to make bracelets, macramé sandals, baskets, crochet hats etc, learning budgeting and marketing skills along the way.
Play with cars Andy is running a mechanics course at the Vocational Medical Centre. The garage, which is around 20 minutes away from the centre, gives students hands on practical experience. The Haitian Baptist Convention have a fully operational garage. They have opened the doors to the course because they know the need for well-trained mechanics, as many vehicles are poorly maintained leading to horrific accidents.
A Christmas they will
150 years ago
never forget soon after five o’clock. Long before seven the large building was literally crammed with people. Mr Evans took for his subject at the meeting, India as a missionary field – the obstacles met with by the missionary – and the encouragements to labour for Christ. At the end of a two hours address, Mr Evans had thoroughly convinced the vast assembly that India was to be won for Christ – that India was to be one of the pearls that is to adorn the Crown of our Redeemer. Mr Evans had, by his Welsh fire, genuine Christian zeal, and his extensive knowledge of the subject treated
upon, literally kept over two thousand people for two hours riveted in attention – breathless attention to every word he said. The two hundred children who sang “Who will go?” with the hearty responses from their young lips and hearts, “WE Will Go,” will never forget the visit of the missionary to Aberdare. This is an extract from an article which first appeared in Missionary Herald, February 1964 (p25). To arrange for a BMS speaker to visit your church go to bmsworldmission.org/speakers
© basiliox - Fotolia.com
The good and bad of Western military intervention in the Middle East in light of the Syria situation
ne can understand that ‘those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ (Santayana). The challenge, however, is with those who have witnessed the horrific outcome of Western military intervention in Iraq, and yet were just about to repeat the same mistake in Syria. Were no lessons learnt from the meaningless losses in lives, the pain and suffering that still linger on in Iraq today, the destruction, the displacement and exodus of a good percentage of the people of this nation – Christians included? What was the achieved ‘end’ that justified the war then, and where is Iraq today from that ‘end’? As Christians we do not condone any form of violence. Nothing justifies it. In fact, God’s commandment in Exodus 20: 13 is clear. Therefore, reconciliation and peacemaking are the only option. The Syria crisis is already perceived as the worst refugee crisis since the Rwanda Genocide. Western military intervention will give rise to more suffering, more hatred towards the West, and render the prospect of reconciliation even more difficult to achieve.
Nabil K Costa Lebanese Baptist leader
It is time for the West to realise that military intervention is no longer an option they can pursue. Because of the uninformed decisions and actions of Western states, a staggering number of Christians have already emigrated. In fact, one reason why the people of the Middle East do not have much trust in Western states and governments – especially the USA – is the swift shift in positions and alliances from one side to the other (Sunni v Shia) in pursuit of their own agenda and in total disregard to the high values (human rights, democracy…) that they proclaim to honor. The stand of the global Church against an impending attack on Syria was quite amazing, serving successfully as the voice of the voiceless – that of the local Arab Church along with the people of Syria. This increases our credibility as Christians and, what’s more, enables our fellow Arabs to separate the Church in the West from the governments and foreign policies of the Western countries that eagerly pursued the option of an attack on Syria. This is particularly important as a prevalent misperception in the region is the assumption that North American and European countries are Christian, and that the Arab Church is affiliated with them. If the Western states are sincere about issues of human rights then what needs to be done is to pursue a just and peaceful solution to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict which is at the core of many other issues. The way this conflict has been handled has set a bad precedent, and a negative “culture” that others are adopting. No nation can be built on injustice and bloodshed. This should be evident by now.
© Rafael Ben-Ari - Fotolia.com
No nation can be built on injustice and bloodshed.
Nabil K Costa is the executive director of BMS partner LSESD, a vice president of the Baptist World Alliance and a trustee of BMS World Mission.
WINTER 2014 | Engage
For less than the cost of a coffee, you could provide a day’s schooling for a child living in poverty. To find out more and to order Coffee for a cause resources, go to bmsworldmission.org/coffee
or phone Pam on 01235 517617
Baptist Missionary Society: registered as a charity in England and Wales (number 233782) and in Scotland (number SC037767)
As a Christian mission organisation we aim to share life in all its fullness with the world’s peoples by: enabling them to know Christ, alleviating suffering and injustice, improving the quality of life with people as our primary agents of change – motivating, training, sending and resourcing them.
Pros and cons of technology in mission, Top Ten of Technology in mission, Health care in Nepal, Milton Jones, the day I nearly died ... of e...