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COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP | WWW.THEFELLOWSHIP.INFO

Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission

CBF field personnel celebrate Jesus, feed the hungry in Lebanon


ENDING HUNGER

with silver buckshot

IT WAS AS a teacher that I was first awakened to hunger. A student in my class became a real nuisance, taking pencils from the other kids and begging them off me every day until I went through a year’s supply. I had no pencils left. In frustration, I went to put a stop to this — only to find out that he was taking pencils for the most unlikely reason: to eat the erasers. Every single day he was coming to school hungry. That was the day I quit being blind to the need around me. When did you see him hungry? What is your story of hunger ministry? Join the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in the Offering for Global Missions, highlighting hunger ministries by giving and by telling

A PUBLICATION OF COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP

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CBF

VOLUME 24, NUMBER 6

DECEMBER/JANUARY 2015

EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR Suzii Paynter ASSOCIATE COORDINATOR, FELLOWSHIP ADVANCEMENT Jeff Huett EDITOR Aaron Weaver GRAPHIC DESIGNER Travis Peterson ASSOCIATE EDITOR Carrie Harris McGuffin ASSISTANT EDITOR Candice Young PHONE (770) 220-1600 E-MAIL fellowship@thefellowship.info WEBSITE www.thefellowship.info fellowship! is published 6 times a year in Feb./March, April/May, June/July, Aug./Sept., Oct./Nov., Dec./Jan. by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Inc., 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500, Decatur, GA 30030. Periodicals postage paid at Decatur, GA, and additional offices. USPS #015-625. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to fellowship! Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500, Decatur, GA 30030.

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your story. CBF is also partnering with the Baptist World Alliance to address the Ebola crisis in Liberia, providing emergency support for food in the wake of this devastating epidemic. Will you join us? The work of Christian mission and compassion through hunger ministry is a priority for two reasons: 1) We follow Christ, who chose among all the miracles of the universe, the miracle of redemptive, compassionate feeding to show to humanity the nature of a loving God. At first, Jesus is tempted in the wilderness to “turn stones into bread” for show — for pride and power. He turns away from the use of food for pride and power. Jesus shows the nature of compassion for a hungry crowd when he feeds the multitude from a single lunch basket. Feeding also becomes a rite of holy remembrance and beckoning when, in the last days of his life, he transforms a meal into a remembrance that carries on for generations. After the resurrection, scripture says he is revealed on the road to Emmaus in a common meal and to his beloved disciples over charbroiled fish. Feeding is a sign of the reign of God. 2) We work collaboratively for collective impact. As Christ’s followers in a global network of related ministry and service, we can join others to create the collective impact to end hunger. In the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the seminal periodical on cross-sector solutions to large-scale, global problems, researchers determined that the scale of collective impact needed to end hunger requires a mind-shift from seeking a silver bullet solution to creating silver buckshot solutions. Like all creation, people everywhere are born hungry, and we stay hungry as long as we live. Providing food for our family is a primary responsibility of adults and communities worldwide. The goal of ending hunger is families providing food. In recent days, we have seen that

global hunger is declining because there is genuine collaboration toward this goal of self-sufficiency. CBF hunger missions and ministries provide emergency feeding in some areas and also provide channels toward self-sufficiency with gardens in villages and city communities. In order to have collective impact to scale, many organizations and ministries work together toward: 1) A common vision for change that includes a joint approach through agreed-upon actions. 2) Shared measurement through agreement on the ways success will be measured and reported, with a short list of common indicators. 3) Mutually-reinforcing activities from a diverse set of stakeholders, typically across sectors through a mutually-reinforcing plan of action. 4) Continuous communication through frequent and structured channels to build trust and motivation, and to assure mutual objectives. 5) Backbone support by an independent staff that provides ongoing support for vision, strategy, aligned activities and mobilizing resources.1 These are great principles for effective missions and ministry at every level from a simple food pantry to a community-wide hunger intervention ministry. In a world of uncertainty, I am very sure of two things. 1) I have yet to find or meet a silver bullet. As good as any one thing can be — it is not enough to tackle hunger. 2) I look out across our CBF network and see plenty of SILVER BUCKSHOT. There are miraculous gifts, a remarkable overabundance of gifts, right in front of us every day. We all need to eat to live. Ending hunger is doable, and in the doing of it we will become more authentic Christ followers in service to the world.

Suzii Paynter, CBF Executive Coordinator

1 John Kania and Mark Kramer, “Collective Impact,” Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2011. Fay Hanleybrown, John Kania and Mark Kramer, “Challenging Change: Making Collective Impact Work,” Stanford Social Innovation Review, January 2012.


Contents 9 10

Advent Resources How will you wait?

Restoring hope in the midst of struggle

CBF field personnel help #EndHunger among Latino families in Fredericksburg, Va.

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Syrian refugee crisis

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CBF CARES

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CBF field personnel celebrate Jesus, feed the hungry in Lebanon

Cooperative Baptists donate $25,000 to help refugee children and families

A ‘border’ ministry far from any border

North Georgia church serves immigrant children from Central America

CBF Ebola Response

CBF encourages financial support for its Ebola crisis response

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Affect: December 2014

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Affect: January 2015

CBF CARES

CBF hunger ministries

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship works to #EndHunger both in the United States and abroad. Support CBF hunger ministries and impact CBF’s global missions work meeting other needs worldwide by giving to the CBF Offering for Global Missions. Learn more on pp. 14-15.

From the editor

EVERY DAY 842 million people in the world suffer from hunger. That’s more than twice the size of the United States population. This issue explores what Cooperative Baptists are doing to #EndHunger through the Offering for Global Missions, the foundational means of support for the CBF missions enterprise. CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter writes on the preceding page about ending hunger with collective impact or silver buckshot — the miraculous gifts of individuals, churches, partners and state/regions from across the Fellowship. CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter reminds us on pp. 14-15 that Jesus devoted a significant amount of his public ministry to feeding the hungry. Will we be faithful with the resources which God has entrusted us? We learn on pp. 10-13 of CBF field personnel Greg and Sue Smith, who are restoring hope and helping to #EndHunger among Latino families in Fredericksburg, Va., and on pp. 16-19 we read about the ministry of Chaouki and Maha Boulos, field personnel who are sharing Jesus and feeding hungry Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The Offering for Global Missions makes this life-changing work possible. Will you join us?

Aaron Weaver, editor, aweaver@thefellowship.info

Carrie Harris McGuffin, associate editor, charris@thefellowship.info fellowship!

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prayerspeople of the

Praying the Great Commission By Bo Prosser

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atthew 28:16-20 is one of the foundational passages of our faith. This passage has continually reminded me to go with intentionality, to share with purpose and to be comforted by the presence of Christ. Many of us might rather ignore this commission and the evangelistic tone of Jesus’ challenge. Yet, the message is clear: reach and teach with the authority of Jesus. This month, pray this commission as you begin your prayer time. Read these verses

CBF Ministries Prayer Calendar CH = Chaplain FP = Field Personnel FPC = Child of Field Personnel GMP = Global Missions Partner PC = Pastoral Counselor PLT = Church Planter S = CBF Staff DECEMBER 1 Joseph Farry, Greenville, SC (CH); Phil Miller-Evans, St. Petersburg, FL (FP) 2 Connie Madden, Kirkwood, MO (CH) 3 Rosemary Barfield, Jeffersonville, IN (CH); Ed Beddingfield, Fayetteville, NC (PC); James Heath, Dry Prong, LA (CH); Shane McNary, Slovakia (FP); Travis Peterson (S-Decatur); Gennady Podgaisky, Ukraine (FP); Rachel Gunter Shapard (S-Florida); Jim Tillman, Swansboro, NC (PLT); David Wilson, Chapel Hill, NC (CH) 4 Jose Albovias, Louisville, KY (CH); Elizabeth Richards, Emeritus (FP); Mary Thompson, Greenwood, SC (CH) 5 Chuck Gass, Gainesville, FL (CH); Kenn Lowther, Columbus, OH (CH); Chris O’Rear, Nashville, TN (PC); Judith Powell, Whiteville, NC (CH) 6 Joe Mills, Roswell, GA (CH); John Norwood, Houston, TX (PLT) 7 Phil Hester, Emeritus (PLT); James Jones, Sierra Vista, AZ (CH); Robert Wilder, Jacksonville, FL (CH) 8 Tommy Deal, Dalton, GA (CH); Edward Erwin, Pensacola, FL (CH); Shane Gaster, Deland, FL (CH); Virginia King, Columbia, SC (CH); Donald Kriner, Canton, GA (CH); Robert Pitts, Greenville, MS (PLT); Stephanie Glenn, Los Angeles, CA (FP) 9 Julie Brown, France (FP); Wayne Hyatt, Spartanburg, SC (PC) 10 Cecelia Beck, Shelby, NC (FP); Terri Byrd (S-Alabama); Beth Roberts, Chapel Hill, NC (CH); Gary Strickland, Sioux Falls, ID (PC); James Williams, Montgomery, AL (CH) 11 Zechariah Maas, 2008, Belize (FPC) 13 Tom Cleary, Emeritus (FP); Rick Landon, Lexington, KY (PC); Jim R. Smith (S-Decatur); Frank Stillwell, Lexington, KY (PC); Robin Sullens, Dallas, TX (PC) 15 Anna Anderson, Scotland Neck, NC (FP); James Close, Louisville, KY (CH); Sheree Jones, Winston-Salem, NC (CH) 16 Cayden Norman, 2000, Spain (FPC); Ina Winstead, Emeritus (FP) 17 Perry Carroll, Anderson, SC (CH); Craig Cantrall, Louisville, KY (CH); Buddy Presley, North Augusta, SC (CH); Josh Smith, South Africa (FP); Ronald Wilson, Northport, AL (CH) 18 Joel DeFehr, Oklahoma City, OK (CH)

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of challenge and encouragement out loud. Feel the strength of Jesus and the focus of Jesus guiding you. Thank God for the energy and opportunity to do Bo Prosser good works and to CBF Coordinator of Organizational Relationships share good words with those around you. Focus on one person who needs a good word from you. Go in confidence, share in confidence. Leave the results to God’s Spirit. Next, identify what you’re feeling, and pray for God to make you aware of God’s blessings to you. Regardless of what you may

be feeling, pray something similarly, “God, today guide me to someone with whom I can share a word of grace. I’m trusting that you will bless me with the presence of Christ today.” Sit silently, wait, focus on your prayer and God’s commission for a few moments. Now, choose one of the names from the prayer list. Pray, “God, guide (speak their name) today that they might also share a word of grace with someone on their pathway. Bless them today with the same guidance that you will bestow on me.” Pray also for their families, their safety and the place in the world where they serve. Close your prayer time with another minute of sitting quietly. Place your hands in your lap and feel the blessings of God.

19 Anna-Grace Acker, 2005, Uganda (FPC); Bernard Morris, Chester, VA (CH); James Palmer, Pensacola, FL (CH) 20 Robert Brasier, Queen Creek, AZ (CH); Melissa L. Dowling, Austin, TX (CH); Larry Glover-Wetherington, Durham, NC (PC); Kyle Kelley (S-Louisiana); Bruce Minett (S-Decatur); Jan Thompson, Cornelia, GA (CH); Alan Willard, Blacksburg, VA (PC) 21 Lynn Hutchinson, Togo (FP); Bethany McLemore, Roanoke, VA (PC) 22 William Thompson, Los Alamitos, CA (CH); Eli Williams, 2011, South Africa (FPC); Sarah Wofford, Mooresville, NC (CH); Candice Young (S-Decatur) 23 Frances Brown, Surfside Beach, SC (PC); Robert Elkowitz, Cumming, GA (CH) 23 Steven Ivy, Indianapolis, IN (CH); Hal Lee, Clinton, MS (CH); Linda Strange, Denton, TX (CH) 24 Michael Carter, Dallas, TX (CH); Bogdan Podgaisky, 1997, Ukraine (FPC) 25 Taylor McNary, 1993, Slovakia (FPC) 26 Robert Marsh, Fredericksburg, VA (CH); Scottie Stamper, Charlotte, NC (CH) 27 Larry Austin, Fredericksburg, VA (CH); Juan Luís Barco, Raleigh, NC (PLT); Steve Clark, Louisville, KY (FP); Solon Smith, Louisville, KY (CH) 28 Claudia Forrest, Cordova, TN (CH); John Halbrook, Pound Ridge, NY (PC); Thomas Holbrook, Berea, KY (PC) 29 Maner Tyson, Waterbury, CT (FP); Art Wiggins, Triangle, VA (CH) 30 Shay Crenshaw, Raleigh, NC (CH); Revonda Deal, Emeritus (FP); James Garrison, Arden, NC (CH); Kenneth Kelly, Black Mountain, NC (CH); Ramona Reynolds, Orlando, FL (CH); Lex Robertson, Oklahoma City, OK (CH) 31 Nathaniel Newell, 1998, San Antonio, TX (FPC); David “Tod” Smith, Farmington, NM (CH)

8 Rachel Hill, Shelby, NC (CH); Gerard Howell, Lexington, KY (CH); Ethan Lee, 2009, Macedonia (FPC) 9 Bill Cayard, China (FP); Paul Hamilton, Lodge, SC (CH); Patrick Moses, Mansfield, TX (PLT); Jonathan Myrick, 1994, Kenya (FPC); Jeffrey Perkins, Knoxville, TN (CH); Bella Smith, 2010, South Africa (FPC) 10 Melody Harrell, Kenya (FP); Kenny Sherin, Mitchell, SD (FP) 11 Ed Waldrop, Augusta, GA (CH) 12 Neil Cochran, Greenville, SC (CH); Larry Connelly, Decatur, GA (CH); Scott Smallwood, Englewood, FL (CH) 13 Dianne McNary, Slovakia (FP); George Pickle, Marietta, GA (CH) 14 Thomas Cantwell, Paducah, KY (CH); Steve Graham (S-Oklahoma/Kansas) 15 Keith Ethridge, Yorktown, VA (CH) 16 Merrie Grace Harding, 1995, Orlando, FL (FPC); Jerry Hendrix, Abilene, TX (PLT); David Hormenoo, Durham, NC (CH); Mary Lynn Lewis, San Antonio, TX (CH); Michelle Smith, Woodruff, SC (CH) 17 Matthew Hanzelka, Round Rock, TX (CH); Donna Manning, Fort Worth, TX (CH); Aaron Norman, 2005, Spain (FPC); Glenn Norris, Sherwood, AR (CH); Neal Sasser, Chesapeake, VA (CH) 18 William Beaver, Fort Benning, GA (CH); Jeanell Cox, Camden, NC (CH); Justin Nelson, Mount Airy, NC (CH) 19 Kaelah-Joy Acker, 2008, Uganda (FPC); Amoreena Jasper, 1997, Somerset, KY (FPC); Jackie Ward, Goshen, KY (CH) 20 Marcia Binkley, De Soto, KS (FP); Marshall Gupton, Smyrna, TN (CH); Kevin Morgan, Pisgah Forest, NC (CH); Paul Tolbert, Scott AFB, IL (CH) 21 Jim King, Newport News, VA (CH) 22 Jim Hylton (S-North Carolina) 23 Richard Atkinson, Bastrop, TX (CH); Brent Raitz, Cleveland, OH (CH) 24 Heather Kaye Lee, Austin, TX (CH); Judy Strawn (S-Decatur); Stephen Reeves (S-Decatur) 25 Mich, New Jersey (FP); Chris Nagel, Houston, TX (CH) 26 Sandy Hale, Lebanon, NH (CH) 27 Darrell Bare, Charleston, SC (CH); Ben Sandford, Hampton, VA (CH); Eric Smith, Willow Park, TX (CH) 28 Chuck Ahlemann, Des Moines, IA (CH); Griselda Escobar, Tyler, TX (CH); Kristen Taylor, Morgantown, WV (CH) 29 Christopher Bowers, Powhatan, VA (CH); Glen Foster (S-West Region); Darryl Jefferson, Charlotte, NC (CH); Bill McCann, Madisonville, KY (CH) 30 Hal Ritter, Waco, TX (PC) 30 Nathan Rogers, Anchorage, AK (CH) 31 Rebecca Adrian, Irving, TX (CH); John Manuel, Fort Benning, GA (CH); Paul Smith, San Diego, CA (CH)

JANUARY 1 Sam Bandela, Atlanta, GA (FP); Andy Cowie, Haiti (FP) 1 Noy Peeler, Cambodia (FP); Christina Pittman, Summerville, SC (CH) 2 Misael Marriaga, Greenville, NC (PLT); Gabriella Newell, 2002, San Antonio, TX (FPC); Jon Parks, Slovakia (FP); Daniel Sostaita, Rural Hall, NC (PLT); Tammy Stocks, Romania (FP) 3 Christopher Bowers, Powhatan, VA (PC) 4 Joshua Hickman, Newnan, GA (CH) 5 Richard Durham, Mount Pleasant, NC (CH); Charles Kirby, Hendersonville, NC (CH); Kevin Lynch, Spartanburg, SC (PC); Calvin McIver, Sacramento, CA (CH); Linda Serino, Memphis, TN (CH) 6 Tarryl Daniels (S-Decatur); Larry Hardin, Topeka, KS (CH) 7 Denny Spear, Dunwoody, GA (CH)


Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Ministries

Capt. Gerry Hutchinson, CHC, USNR (Ret.), serves as the endorser for chaplains and pastoral counselors for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

By Gerry Hutchinson

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love the spirit of adventure expressed in Dr. Seuss’ poem “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” It is a fitting theme for chaplaincy and pastoral counseling ministries. There is such a rich variety of contexts in these ministry fields. Chaplains serve in each branch of the United States Armed Forces, medical centers, correctional institutions, hospice organizations, police, fire and rescue departments, colleges and universities, businesses and industries, retirement communities, the Department of Veterans Affairs and Civil Air Patrol as well as in many other specialized settings. Similarly, pastoral counselors serve in counseling centers, interdisciplinary settings and on church staffs. My journey into chaplaincy is one of God’s serendipities in my life. While in seminary I had no plans to become a chaplain. My first full-time ministry position was in Jacksonville, N.C. — the home of Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base. There, I served on the staff of the New River Baptist Association as the director of church and

community ministries. In Jacksonville, I became acquainted with many active and retired military personnel and their families. Military personnel filled the pews of our churches and served in various community ministries. The relationships that I formed with these men and women put a human face on the military for me. When I moved to my next ministry position, a co-worker was a U.S. Navy Reserve chaplain. Upon learning I had lived in a military community, he immediately urged me to consider becoming a chaplain too. I was not interested. Over the course of several months, each and every time he saw me he said, “You should consider being a Navy chaplain.” After almost a year of his continual casting a vision of chaplaincy, I thought to myself, “You should at least consider it.” Consider it I did! My wife and I discussed and prayed about it. I talked with my endorser and eventually I sought and received endorsement and a direct commission as a Navy Reserve chaplain. In May 2014, I retired after almost 26 years in the Navy Reserve. I served 17 of those years with the U.S. Marines — the Navy provides chaplains, medical and dental personnel to the Marine Corps. When I joined the Navy their recruiting motto was “Navy: It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.” That certainly proved true for me as chaplaincy duties took me to 15 states and 10 countries. I was recalled twice to active duty, to Afghanistan and to the Horn of Africa. I ministered to military personnel and their families by planning and leading worship, baptizing and teaching believers, providing counsel, conducting funerals and memorial services and offering pastoral care while serving alongside Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Guardsmen, civil contractors and foreign nationals. I ministered to Admirals and Generals and

U.S. Ambassadors. I also led humanitarian efforts to local populations in a number of countries where I served. While traveling to a variety of places around the world to do ministry, there were also places in the heart I touched as well through worship, counseling and simply being present with fellow military members. Chaplains and pastoral counselors reflect God’s love and remind people that they are not alone during life’s periods of challenge and change. I urge you to be open and obedient to God’s continuing call on your life. The staff of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s chaplaincy and pastoral counseling ministries is here to listen, inform, assist and encourage as you explore God’s call. CBF affirms the ministry of chaplains and pastoral counselors through endorsement. Currently, there are 750 CBF-endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors. Is God calling you into such a ministry? “So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss

For more information about CBF’s chaplaincy and pastoral counseling ministries, visit thefellowship.info/chaplaincy. CBF celebrated Pastoral Care Week (Oct. 19-25) with a special serices on the CBFblog. Read the series at www.cbfblog.com/featured. fellowship!

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Paynter challenges anti-hunger advocates to join, lead and ‘live your call’ WACO, Texas — Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter called on anti-hunger advocates meeting at a summit Oct. 1 to “accept the unfinished business” of their lives as they work together to end hunger in the United States. “The inspiration and arc of our lives is in God’s hands toward the kingdom of God,” Paynter said. “We’re not alone. We’re held in a great, fertile, hilarious imagination of God. …Join something, lead someone, be contagious, love with unimaginable love. Live your call without the credit because God isn’t finished with you yet.” Paynter’s challenge came during the opening night of Together at the Table: Hunger & Poverty Summit, a three-day gathering of anti-hunger and anti-poverty leaders and practitioners from across the country at Baylor University. Attendees focused on addressing food insecurity. Now in its sixth year, the summit, co-sponsored by the Texas Hunger Initiative, Texas Food Bank Network and USDA Southwest Region, offers an opportunity for the sharing of evidence-based research and best-practice models among organizations working to end hunger. In 2009, while director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, Paynter partnered with the Baylor University School of Social Work to launch the Texas Hunger Initiative, a project to end hunger in the state of Texas through public policy, education, community organizing and community development. Texas Hunger Initiative now has almost 500 congregations serving as summer meal sites across Texas and has connected with more than 2,400 churches through its community partner program. During her plenary address, Paynter shared how she awakened to the problem of hunger after, as a reading teacher, discovering that one of her students was collecting pencils to eat the erasers. “That’s the day that I quit being blind to hunger,” she said. Paynter said that she works to end hunger because “it’s the kind of redemptive act in the world that echoes the kingdom of God.” She emphasized the importance of collective impact as another primary reason for working to end hunger. “We’re all born hungry in creation,” Paynter said. “Hunger, feeding, growing, living — this is the essence of life. In every city, in 6

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF BAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

By Aaron Weaver

CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter addressed the 2014 Hunger and Poverty Summit at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, challenging anti-hunger advocates to live their call and commit to collaboration to end hunger.

every age, we need to eat to live. Ending hunger is doable, and in the doing of it we become a better state, a better nation, a better world.” Citing recent research from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Paynter highlighted five conditions needed for successful collective impact to solve large-scale problems such as hunger — conditions she noted are present in the daily work of the Texas Hunger Initiative. These include the need for a common agenda, shared measurement and mutually-reinforcing activities. “I know this community — the hunger and social service community,” Paynter said. “You are not competitors. You are collaborators. You hold a tremendous gift to this state and our country.” She emphasized the importance of collaboration, noting that out of this commitment to collaboration, CBF launched a rural poverty initiative called Together for Hope in 2001 to work with people in 20 of the poorest counties in the United States to affect change and break the cycle of economic disparity.


Paynter said that continuous communication and a well-developed support system, or “backbone,” are necessary elements for collective impact. “While everyone is doing their job, it’s very hard for you to do your job and think about the big issue of ending hunger,” Paynter said. “There has to be a backbone, an organization that is doing just that, is working in Washington, D.C., or in your state legislature.” In achieving collective impact, structure is as important as strategy, she added. “Just having a good idea and a list of things to do is a very great starting place,” Paynter said. “But, if you don’t have the structure behind it, it will have a hard time being as effective as it was dreamed to be.” Collective impact requires anti-hunger advocates to learn from each other “rather than just following a linear plan,” she said. Paynter reminded the group that there is no “silver bullet” to solve the problem of hunger, but that together, they are all “silver buckshot.” “There is no silver bullet. There is no one thing that is going to make [hunger] disappear. But, you know, we are a pretty darn good collection of silver buckshot. In your job...being able to look across the town, across the county line and see another glimpse of silver right over there — that’s where we get our strength. That’s who we are together at the table — not trying to be somebody else’s silver bullet. ...When I look out at this room, across our network, I see plenty of silver buckshot. There are remarkable miraculous gifts, an overabundance of gifts right in front of us every day.”

Jeremy Everett (pictured above), director of the Texas Hunger Initiative (THI), introduces CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter on the opening night of the three-day Hunger and Poverty Summit. In 2009, while director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, Paynter helped launch THI, a project to end hunger in the state of Texas. Now in its sixth year, the Hunger and Poverty Summit offers an opportunity for the sharing of evidence-based research and best-practice models among government agencies and faith-based and other nonprofit organizations working to end hunger.

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CBF produces engaging missional formation curriculum for all ages. Form and Spark for preschoolers and children are available through the CBF Store. Free E3 and Affect lessons for youth and adults are offered online in addition to Affect resources at the back of each issue of fellowship!

Did you know?


HOW WILL

YOU WAIT? by Joshua M. Speight, CBF Missional Congregations Services Manager

T

he season of Advent, a Latin word that means “toward the coming,” serves to help the church look toward the coming of Christ to earth. It is a season meant to shift our focus off of our own agendas. It is a season focused on waiting. But how many of us truly enjoy waiting? A quick scan of the faces of people waiting in the checkout line in the grocery store or of drivers next to you in traffic will tell you that waiting is never high on the priority list. Checking off the daily to-do list rules our lives. Yet, it is precisely in the waiting — in the midst of lighting Advent candles and listening to sermons on hope, love, joy and peace — where we discover the importance of waiting. Advent is the moment in the church year that we, hopefully, slow down enough to wait and listen for God to be with us. Preparing to wait is a troubling task for many of us, yet it can also be extraordinary. In the words of Frederick Buechner, “The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.”

d365 is an online devotional website produced by Passport, Inc. and sponsored by CBF, Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Episcopal Church. Geared toward students but visited daily by adults as well, d365 features an Advent Devotional series each year called Following the Star. Starting the first week of Advent, it will be available at www.d365.org Mary’s Story, an Advent Bible study on maternal and child nutrition from Bread for the World is available for download at www.bread.org/ hunger/maternal-child-nutrition/documents/ advent-marys-story.pdf Seeds of Hope Publishers has a collection of Advent worship packets that aim to help congregations creatively engage the issues of poverty, hunger and justice with an attitude of hope in the Advent season. Learn more at www.seedspublishers.org/worship

John the Baptist prepared the way for the coming Christ, telling those who would listen that someone extraordinary was to come. Advent is the season that we slow ourselves down physically, mentally and spiritually to wait upon the coming Christ. How do we prepare? How do we wait? Where do we give space for ourselves and for others to experience the extraordinary moment that is Advent?

Joshua M. Speight CBF Missional Congregations Services Manager

Waiting is an important reminder the church can gift us as the world instructs us to consume and buy our way to happiness. As you and your congregation celebrate the blessing of God with us at Christmas, be sure not to move too quickly past the celebration of Advent — the extraordinary moment in which we wait upon the Lord. How will you wait this Advent?

Advent Resources •

A CBF Advent sermon series is available online featuring Jim Somerville at www.cbfblog. com/2012/10/29/four-sermons-for-youradvent-journey/

Textweek.com is the premier online worship preparation site (especially if your church follows the Christian calendar). For Advent resources, visit www.textweek.com/advent.htm.

Cloth for the Cradle by John Bell and Wild Goose Worship Group — This rediscovery of the stories of Christ’s birth through adult eyes is for use in group and worship situations. The material is drawn from the work of the Wild Goose Worship Group known for its innovative style of worship.

Everlasting Light by Sandy Dixon — This collection of litanies, candle lighting services, a hanging of the greens service and more offers worship resources for the three years of lectionary readings for Advent, including the Sunday after Christmas.

Celebrate Advent by John Hendrix, Susan Meadors, and David Miller — With exciting original artwork, creative orders of worship and a wealth of educational material, including sermons and intergenerational activities, Celebrate Advent is a valuable resource for local church leaders, regardless of the size of the congregation or experience with the season.

Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent — A printed resource available through the Upper Room. fellowship!

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Restoring hope in the midst of

struggle CBF field personnel help #EndHu nger among Latino families in Fredericksburg, Va. By Emily Holladay

Many Latino families in Fredericksburg, Va., struggle to find adequate work, housing, medical care and food — along with a language barrier, this turns hope for a better life into a desperate hope for basic dignity.

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magine moving to a new town because you are trying to flee extreme poverty in your home country in hopes of providing for your family. You travel far from home because you’ve heard of a town with a booming economy where jobs are plentiful. But when you arrive in the town, you are met with barriers that prevent you from building a life. Fortunately, you are able to find work, but no one speaks your language and you are unable to find affordable housing, medical care or even readily acquire food that you know how to cook. For many Latinos in Fredericksburg, Va., that story is all too familiar. In addition to these struggles, many Latinos in Fredericksburg find themselves unemployed and fear deportation. Walking into a new town and a new culture full of hope for a better life, they are faced with confusion, skepticism and eventually, desperation. In the 1990s, Fredericksburg, a small town located between Richmond and Washington, D.C., experienced a significant influx of Latino residents due to a surge of construction and service-oriented jobs. Today, Latinos make up nearly 10 percent of the city’s population, but the same jobs

are no longer available due an economic downturn. When Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Greg and Sue Smith moved back to Fredericksburg in 1999 after more than a decade of mission work in Costa Rica, their hearts broke for the challenges facing the growing Latino community. Knowing that the magnitude of these challenges far outweighed the church and community’s capacity to respond adequately, the Smiths created a cross-cultural ministry to serve their new Latino neighbors. In 2003, the Smiths partnered with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia to become the first CBF field personnel appointed in the Old Dominion. The couple then formed LUCHA Ministries, which they co-founded with two United Methodist colleagues, Victor and Heather Gómez. “LUCHA is actually the Spanish word for struggle,” Greg Smith explained. “It is also an acronym, meaning ‘Latinos unidos por Cristo en hermandad y apoyo,’ or in English, ‘Latinos united through Christ in solidarity and support.’” “The aim of LUCHA Ministries is to provide a holistic Christian response to the needs of the Latino population in

LUCHA Ministries seeks to assist struggling Latino families by providing access to food, medical care, and interpreting for clients who do not feel comfortable interacting in English. The Smiths will accompany families to the doctor or dentist and help them find affordable healthcare and ask the right questions.

Fredericksburg,” Greg said. The Smiths assist in numerous ways, including providing Latino families with access to food, medical care and interpreting for clients who do not feel comfortable speaking in English. “Most of our clients find themselves in a time of crisis where they have lost their jobs or are suffering from an illness that has caused them to be out of work for a period of time, so there’s much economic need,” Sue Smith said. “We provide food for people when they are suffering or going through a rough time. We take them to the doctor, the dentist or help them find affordable healthcare. We go with people to interpret a lot of times, because they don’t feel comfortable interacting in English. They don’t really know what kind of questions to ask or where to find help when they need it.” The Smiths encounter families every day who are desperately trying to navigate through their new culture. Most do not qualify for government resources for the unemployed or for other forms of fellowship!

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assistance. Limited proficiency in English makes it difficult for them to seek help in the community. Many fear that they will face discrimination or even be reported to immigration officials and deported if they seek help. “LUCHA in Spanish means ‘struggle’ or ‘fight,’ and unfortunately that is what a lot of our Latinos have to do,” shared Dan Trementozzi, a local pediatrician and LUCHA partner. “They have to fight for their rights. They have to fight for opportunity, and a lot of them are too scared to do that and don’t know how to get from A to B to C. That’s what LUCHA has done.” When these families do find shelters or food donation centers that are willing to serve them, the food offered is not the most appropriate for their dietary needs. Not only is the food often inadequate in terms of nutrition, but it is also unfamiliar to them and thus many of the families do not know how to cook the food. Providing food that can meet the needs of Latino families is a vital service that LUCHA CBF field personnel Greg and Sue Smith (pictured bottom right) share a meal and fellowship. In the Latino community, fellowship and community are often built around food and the sharing of a meal. “Food is the prop for the fellowship that you share with each other,” Greg said.

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ministries offers to the Latino community. Greg and Sue are passionate that the ability to #EndHunger stems from intentionally upholding the dignity of each individual experiencing life-altering hunger. “Food ministry is not only about filling empty stomachs,” Greg emphasized. “Our food relief and hunger relief ministry is about upholding the dignity of the individual and the family. If we provide them with food that they don’t know how to prepare, or that they are not comfortable eating, that might fill their stomachs but that also makes them dependent upon us. “It seems to be more Christ-like to give them what they are used to, what they can prepare, what they enjoy, and therefore uphold the personal dignity of each individual and family.” “It’s very hard for a mom to be able to provide a meal for her family if she doesn’t know how to cook the food that she’s been given, or if she doesn’t believe it’s healthy for her children,” Sue added. In the Latino community, a lack of access to food results in much more than hunger pangs. For Latinos, fellowship and community is often built around food and the ability to share meals together. Taking

away that ability not only removes a physical necessity, but it also eliminates an avenue to connect relationally and spiritually to their neighbors. “The meal is not just about eating,” Greg said. “Food is the prop for the fellowship that you share with each other. It’s not just something that you do over a 30-minute or 45-minute period. With the Latino people, sharing a meal is an event; it’s an event where you stay long enough to participate in each other’s lives.” The food pantry that LUCHA facilitates meets people where they are. Because of their deep passion for preserving human dignity and providing holistic ministry, the Smiths know that the food they offer and the ways they minister meet an entire community’s emotional, physical and spiritual needs. “Jesus was focused on relationships and for me that is what’s most important — how we treat others and how we minister and go about our lives,” Sue said. “I’ve been able to be the presence of Christ in our community as I work alongside people and listen, receiving their stories without judging. And through those stories, I’m learning more about them and how to meet their


Much of CBF’s global missions impact is funded by the Offering for Global Missions. The Offering is the foundational means of support for the CBF missions enterprise and provides access to a wide array of tools and resources to serve people and equip churches. When you support the Offering for Global Missions, you make ministry possible by supporting all CBF field personnel.

All field personnel receive • Support for technology and travel • Member care and wellness services • Exploratory conferences and the discernment process for candidates seeking missions as a life call • Annual retreat for children of field personnel • Support for travel to team meetings LUCHA Ministries seeks to uphold the dignity of every person through providing vital services for the Latino community in Fredericksburg. Through support from the CBF Offering for Global Missions, field personnel like the Smiths can focus on the work that they do and the hunger that they alleviate every day.

needs and how to respond in a Christ-like way to what they’re experiencing.” The Smiths are working to #EndHunger in Fredericksburg, Va., one family at a time. And through their ministry, they introduce a community of suffering people to a loving savior who meets needs and restores hope. “It’s very hard for us as field personnel to be able to think about the ministry that we do and the work that we’re doing every day and also try to keep the financial resources that we need to stay on the field,” Sue Smith shared. “I think it’s really important for people to remember that field personnel can’t do their work without a consistent source of support and a foundation for being able to do what we do. Giving to the CBF Offering for Global Missions is really important so that we can focus on actually meeting needs and doing our work.” The CBF Offering for Global Missions is the foundational means of support for

To make a donation to the Offering for Global Missions, visit www.thefellowship.info/give. the CBF missions enterprise and provides access to a wide array of tools and resources to serve people and equip churches. CBF is committed to working with field personnel to help #EndHunger both in the United States and abroad. Your gifts make this vital work possible. “Our calling is to respond holistically to their needs,” Greg noted. “LUCHA Ministries cannot do everything. We are a small organization with a small budget. We cannot do everything, but that doesn’t mean that when someone presents themselves in front of us we say, ‘Oh, we don’t have budget for hunger, so we can’t do that.’ “The CBF Offering for Global Missions is extremely important to the work that we do among the Latino community because it provides us with the resources and support we need to reach out and be the presence of Christ among the Latino community. Without the Offering for Global Missions, we would not be able to do the work that we do, so we’re grateful to all CBF churches and individuals that give because it helps support our ministry in Fredericksburg.” fellowship!

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1 in 8 suffer from hunger

842

million people globally

Join CBF

on mission with Christ to

#ENDHUNGER

More than

Twice

through the Offering for Global Missions

the U.S. population

The numbers are staggering. 842 million people in the world go hungry every day. To put that into perspective, the current population of the United States is roughly 320 million. If we are not careful, the sheer scale of this crisis can overwhelm us to the point of inaction. And in the face of such need, we wonder if we truly can make a difference. What can I do? What can my church do? What even can a network of 1,800 churches do? Fortunately, we serve a God who multiplies modest gifts. A few fish and loaves can feed the multitudes if we break through our complacency and allow God to bless the gifts that have been given to us. The question is not whether we will wipe hunger off the face of the earth, but whether we will be faithful with the resources we have been entrusted. Not only does Jesus devote a significant amount of his public ministry to feeding the hungry, but he also bequeaths the church two gifts to advance God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven — and one of them is a meal. We spend a lot of time, talent and treasure seeking the kingdom that Jesus continually made visible in the breaking of bread. Perhaps God’s mission is not so difficult to discover and fulfill as we sometimes make it out to be. Perhaps it is as simple as setting the table for a feast and inviting those on the highways and byways to come in. The Offering for Global Missions supports the efforts of 123 field personnel in more than 30 countries to set such tables around the world. Won’t you bring your gifts to the banquet?

Steven Porter, CBF Coordinator of Global Missions 14

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www.thefellowship.info/OGM If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. – Isaiah 58:10

Food distribution and feeding programs

Partnerships with schools and food pantries

Urban farming and rural economic development

Emergency food assistance

CBF Hunger Ministries

exist in 20 countries on 4 continents.

CBF engages in God’s mission with and among the most neglected and least evangelized people on Earth. Through the work of field personnel and through CBF’s rural poverty initiative, Together for Hope, the Fellowship is helping to #EndHunger with partners across the United States and around the world. CBF works to #EndHunger with partners such as the Baptist General Association of Virginia and the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering as well as with CBF state and regional organizations such as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Heartland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Your gifts to CBF’s Offering for Global Missions help #EndHunger and impact CBF’s Global Missions work meeting other needs worldwide.

2014-15 Offering for Global Missions emphasis:

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SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS By Aaron Weaver

I

n the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells the crowd: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” For all Christians, loving one’s enemy is no easy task. Jesus’ command seems impossible to fulfill. For Chaouki Boulos, being able to love his enemy forever changed his life. Living out this revolutionary command took transformation — it took a relationship with Jesus. Chaouki has spent the past 30-plus years celebrating Jesus with anyone willing to listen. Today, the Lebanon native and his wife, Maha, who serve as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel, find themselves sharing Jesus and feeding the

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hungry in the middle of the world’s biggest humanitarian emergency — the Syrian refugee crisis.

“They were the real enemy to me.” It was 1977. Chaouki was an 18-year-old teen in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. One afternoon his father made a routine trip to a nearby store to pick up some medicine. Chaouki and his mother waited for Mr. Boulos to return. They waited and waited. He never returned. Chaouki’s father had been murdered on his way to the store by a Syrian soldier. It was a massacre — a brutal slaughter of everyone in sight. His father was left to die in the street for hours with the other victims, slowly bleeding to death.

“When that happened, I was extremely sad,” Chaouki shared. “If you asked me, ‘who is your enemy?’, I would tell you Syrians are my enemy. They were the real enemy to me.” Prior to the murder of Chaouki’s father, sectarian fighting in Lebanon had erupted into a full-fledged war. The Lebanese Civil War witnessed the Maronite Catholics, who held the presidency and other key government positions, pitted against a coalition of Sunni and Shiite Muslims, including the forces of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The complex war would last 15 years and leave more than 150,000 dead and nearly a million displaced. The murder of his father had transformed the soft-spoken Chaouki into a hardened person trying to survive in the midst of chaos. Several years later, Chaouki found


CBF field personnel celebrate Jesus, feed the hungry in Lebanon

A bedouin refugee community in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Jesus at a revival. He became a Baptist believer and enrolled at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut. Chaouki also fell in love with Maha, the daughter of a successful Lebanese businessman. Maha was a graduate of Beirut’s American University, where she majored in English and discovered her talent as a translator. The couple soon married.

Celebrating Jesus In 1989, Chaouki and Maha left war-torn Lebanon for the United States. For almost a decade, Chaouki worked to establish Arabic-speaking congregations in North Carolina and South Carolina. During that decade, Chaouki never once returned to his homeland. But, he never stopped praying

for a great revival to sweep across the Middle East. Then, in 1999, as the world was planning to celebrate the new millennium, Chaouki sensed a call to return to Lebanon. He had a dream — to celebrate Jesus. “I called one of my best friends and told him that I had a dream,” Chaouki explained. “I wanted to come to Lebanon and gather all the Christians, invite all the Muslims, the Druze and everyone to celebrate 2,000 years since the birth of our Lord.” His friend questioned how Chaouki could pull this off. Chaouki didn’t know. He did know, however, that Lebanon’s embrace of religious freedom might offer “the open door to reach the peoples of the Middle East.” Since the Taif Accord that marked a beginning to the end of the Lebanese Civil War — forming a government

jointly-controlled by Christians and Muslims, Lebanon has been regarded as one of the most democratic nations in the Middle East. Religious groups exist sideby-side with mostly amicable relationships, where Muslims account for an estimated 60 percent of the population and Christians make up 39 percent. Chaouki and Maha returned to Lebanon and connected with Operation Antioch, a non-denominational ministry, to organize a high-powered evangelistic service in July 2000 in downtown Beirut. Around 500 people showed up for the first night of lively music and preaching. Attendance doubled the second night. By the fourth night, the crowd had topped 2,300, surpassing the event’s seating capacity. More than 200 professions of faith were made that night, fellowship!

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according to Maha, inspiring the Bouloses to continue organizing “Celebrate Jesus” rallies. In the 14 years since that July 2000 event, the Bouloses have helped coordinate close to 30 different celebrations in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East. They have celebrated Jesus with thousands in Egypt and Jordan. The couple even crossed Lebanon’s northern border into Syria to hold three separate celebrations.

Chaouki Boulos (right) speaks to the women’s Bible study and prayer group that his wife, Maha (left), started in October 2012. What started as a small gathering of 15-20 women has become a group of more than 350 women. Every four-tosix weeks, the group distributes food packets to refugee families.

“No one can believe you can do a celebration there,” Maha said. “But we did, and we were welcomed.” Their love for Jesus is what drives the Bouloses, who were commissioned as CBF field personnel in 2002, especially Chaouki, who preaches a simple message of Jesus’ radical love to the rallies’ diverse crowds — crowds that have included Chaouki’s former enemy. “I tell them that Jesus came for everyone,” Chaouki said. “I don’t say this is a Christian celebration. I say this is a Jesus celebration. Jesus loves all of us.” For the Bouloses, evangelism isn’t only about bringing others to a transformative relationship with Jesus. Evangelism is also a means to affect much-needed social change in the Middle East. 18

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“Our task is to reach the unreached, the poorest of the poor. This is our goal,” Chaouki emphasized. “But, sometimes we have to think about the rich. We have to think about the president of the country. We have to think of the key leaders in every place. Because, if you win them to the Lord, big changes happen for everyone.”

“The biggest humanitarian emergency of our era” In March 2011, peaceful protestors took the streets of Syria to call for the release of political prisoners and demonstrate against human rights abuses. The situation in Syria soon spiraled out of control, exploding into a full-blown civil war as many civilians armed themselves and organized into rebel groups. Three years later, there have been more than 200,000 deaths. And, at least 6.5 million people have been internally displaced, according to United Nations estimates. More than 3 million Syrians have fled to the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, creating a serious refugee crisis that is creating a crippling economic impact on the region. Lebanon has received more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees — 38 percent of all refugees, far surpassing the totals of any other country. The refugee count in Lebanon is expected to rise to at least 1.5 million (3.59 million in the region) by the end of 2014. Syrian refugees now make up one-fifth of Lebanon’s population, and more than 50 percent of these refugees are children. “The Syrian crisis has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them,” said António Guterres, the U.N.’s high commissioner for refugees, in a statement in late August marking the milestone of 3 million refugees.

Feeding the hungry While the world may be failing, the Bouloses are working to meet the needs of their new neighbors in any way they can. The Syrian refugee crisis took their ministry in a different direction. In October 2012, Maha started a group for women, which included Syrian refugees, to pray and study the Bible together. With food in short supply, the women began preparing food packages for

refugee families. Every four-to-six weeks, the women distribute more than 350 packages, comprised of rice, sugar, lentils, beans, oil and milk. “You see what is going on. You cannot just sit and watch. Jesus told us to love everybody, to help everybody in any way we can, regardless of where a person comes from,” Maha said. “We have to respond to the needs of people.” What started as a small gathering of 15-20 women in the apartment of a refugee has become a group of more than 350 women. The group now has a leadership team responsible for ensuring childcare for infants and toddlers and Sunday school-like activities for kids ages 4 to 12. The group’s response to the refugee crisis that surrounds them has not been limited to passing out food. They have also distributed blankets to the Syrian refugees — and medicine, when they have the resources to do so. The Bouloses helped organize a medical and dental clinic in November 2013, and again in February and September of 2014, to give much-needed check-ups to refugee families, many of whom suffer from poor health due to a lack of safe drinking water and proper medical care, as well as unsanitary and overcrowded housing conditions. “When we help refugees, they are seeing Christ doing it. Because any time we do it, we tell them this is from the hands of Jesus,” Chaouki said. “It’s not from the hands of Chaouki Boulos or anyone else. It is from the hands of Jesus.” Feeding the hungry is about bringing the Kingdom of God to Lebanon. It’s about following Jesus, Maha said. “The Kingdom of God on earth would be a peaceful world with no people trying to kill and hurt others. It would be a world that has no hunger and no hungry people on it,” Maha explained. “Since Jesus taught us to feed the hungry and take care of people, I think the church is the first place where people should care for others.” This is what the Bouloses have devoted their lives to doing — feeding the hungry and caring for others, caring for refugees like Claudia from Aleppo, the largest city in Syria. Three years ago, Claudia migrated to Lebanon with her husband and children, but the war has kept Claudia separated from the rest of her family.


“We have been here for several years, and I haven’t seen my family,” Claudia said. “Every once and a while I talk to them on the phone, but I hear the sounds of bombs and shells. I hear them say there is no gas, no water, no electricity, no food.” Now, Claudia serves as a volunteer at the center where the women’s group meets. She helps Maha and the other women pack and distribute food to families like her own, who have escaped the violence and bloodshed in Syria and now struggle to find adequate food and medical care. Ibtisam, another volunteer, identifies with the Syrian refugees. Twenty years ago, her family was displaced from their home in south Lebanon. “We feel the pain the Syrians are feeling, because we were refugees in our own country before them. We suffered and lacked everything. We came here homeless with… no shelter, nothing. We come to [these meetings] with Sister Maha to help our Syrian brothers and sisters.” Since 2013, the Bouloses have helped an Armenian congregation to provide food packages to Bedouin and other refugee families in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, where more than 400,000 refugees reside. They also partner with an Armenian church planter in Damascus, who teaches discipleship classes in Syria’s capital. Maha and Chaouki provide their trusted friend with food packages each month to distribute to Christians in Syria suffering from hunger. After leading a devotional, Maha Boulos (pictured center, third from right) poses with a group of women that attend a home Bible study. Most of the women who attend are refugees.

Chaouki Boulous (right) comforts and prays with a woman attending the weekly Bible study and prayer meeting. The Bouloses have devoted their lives to feeding and sharing the love of Jesus with their new refugee neighbors.

The Bouloses have provided assistance to the Syrian refugees since 2011 in partnership with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which funds their ministry in Lebanon. In February 2014, CBF allocated $25,000 to provide emergency food support to Syrian refugees through the work of the Bouloses.

Offering for Global Missions The CBF Offering for Global Missions makes possible the work of Chaouki and Maha Boulos. “The Offering for Global Missions affects our work 100 percent,” Chaouki said. “We live in a globe. We are related to each other in one way or another. We always need to

join hands together to be able to do what our Lord has called all of us to do.” “The Offering for Global Missions is very important,” Maha added. “It allows us to have the support we need.” As the Bouloses continue to feed the hungry refugees in Lebanon, they seek to remain faithful to Jesus’ revolutionary command in the Gospel of Matthew. And, they do so remembering Chaouki’s dream that led them back to their homeland almost 15 years ago to celebrate Jesus — more convinced than ever that a great revival will sweep across the Middle East. “I believe this is the Arab Spring, regardless of what people believe,” Chaouki said. “I believe this is the Arab Spring. I believe it’s our visitation time here in the Middle East. Our Lord is visiting our area.”

CBF allocated on Nov. 14 an additional $30,000 to support the Bouloses’ response to the Syrian refugee crisis. These funds will provide emergency food support for refugees in Lebanon, including students at a Bedouin school in the Bekaa Valley and will also support food distribution projects in Damascus, Syria.

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HURCH WORKS February 23-25, 2015 First Baptist Church Decatur, Ga.

theology matters

Events, activities, programs, late night conversations, Bible studies, shared meals, VBS and much more make up the components of education ministry, but why do we do them? Theology Matters is a reminder that the “why� is of great importance, not only to what is happening in our ministries, but also what has and is to come. Come spend a few days as we think about why Theology Matters and matters of theology in education ministry.

Find out more and register at: www.thefellowship.info/churchworks


Advocacy in Action CONFERENCE March 9-11, 2015 Washington, D.C. $25 registration fee • Meet advocacy partners including Baptist Joint Committee and Bread for the World • Discuss how faith informs issues like immigration, hunger and poverty, payday lending and more • Learn how to become an effective advocate • Visit your elected officials

Find out more and register at: www.thefellowship.info/advocacy


CBF CARES Cooperative Baptists donate $25,000 to help Central American refugee children and families By Aaron Weaver DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has raised more than $25,000 to provide emergency support to unaccompanied children and immigrant families from Central America. In July, CBF launched CBF CARES (Children and Refugee Emergency Support), an effort to raise funds to meet the needs of children crossing into the United States from Mexico, seeking refuge from poverty and violence in their home countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Cooperative Baptists have contributed $25,373.55 to the CBF CARES effort. To date, CBF has distributed $18,000 in emergency support to assist these children and their families, including $5,000 to the Rio Grande Valley Baptist Association to cover the acquisition and operation of a mobile medical clinic that the association purchased earlier in the year. Since May, the mobile clinic has operated in the city of Brownsville, Texas, where it has served as a medical screening and treatment facility for the refugee relief process. The Rio Grande Valley Food Bank received $3,000 to support its efforts at the U.S. southern border. The food bank has been used as the collection and distribution point for all donated goods coming into the Rio Grande Valley, providing clothes and food for thousands of immigrants. CBF CARES funds are being used to help offset the expenses of operating this massive relief project. An additional $1,500 was allocated to the Salvation Army of Hidalgo County. CBF sent an initial $5,000 donation in June to the Salvation Army to purchase pallets of bottled water to supply its mobile kitchen with drinking water. The kitchen has provided food and water to thousands of refugees over the past four months. First Baptist Church of Dalton, Ga., a CBF-partner congregation located in north Georgia, has received $3,500 from the CBF CARES fund to cover the costs of shoes and coats for Central American

PHOTOS COURTESY OF DIANN WHISNAND

Diann Whisnand, CBF field personnel serving in the Rio Grande Valley, presents a check for $5,000 from CBF CARES to Rev. Robert Cepeda, director of the Rio Grande Valley Baptist Association, to support a mobile medical clinic.

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immigrants relocated to Dalton, Ga. FBC Dalton has also supported the “Newcomer Academy” of the Dalton Public Schools district, where these children are enrolled, with reading materials, printers and other school supplies. The church contributed an additional $5,300 for these and other needs. Courtney Allen, minister of community ministry and missions, expressed her appreciation for the support of Cooperative Baptists and partnership with CBF to make a difference in the lives of these immigrant children. “This Fall, FBC Dalton has had the unique opportunity to engage some of our newest neighbors, often referred to as ‘unaccompanied minors.’ FBC Dalton and CBF have directly impacted 45 children, ranging in age from 11 to 19, by partnering with the Newcomer Academy, a specialized learning environment to meet the needs of students who have had little to no formal education,” Allen said. “The most basic things — socks, underwear and new tennis shoes — have helped these students know they are loved, welcomed and beloved by the people of God at FBC Dalton and our larger Baptist world. “We give great thanks for the support, partnership and affirmation of a ministry opportunity we didn’t expect, but thankfully have been able to respond to and engage in. We are excited about the relationships our congregation continues to form with our newcomer neighbors through mentoring, reading together and volunteering in the classrooms.” Stephen Reeves, associate coordinator of partnerships and advocacy for CBF, praised the efforts of Cooperative Baptists to help meet the needs of these newcomers. “The compassionate response by the CBF community to these children and their families shows that our love of neighbor extends across borders and beyond legal status,” Reeves said. “These gifts will be used to help not only the first responders meeting immediate needs, but also those far from the border trying to adjust to life in a foreign land. We should all be encouraged by the model of FBC Dalton to reach out and find new ways to minister to the strangers in our midst.” Tommy Deal, CBF’s U.S. Disaster Response director, commended Diann Whisnand, who serves as one of CBF’s field personnel in the Rio Grande Valley, for her role in facilitating the distribution of CBF CARES funds at the border to partners in the region. “During the summer we all were inundated by the news of these children crossing the border after long, arduous and dangerous journeys,” Deal said. “What was ‘just a border problem’ became real to us as faces of innocent children seeking life and freedom were seen. We have had a great representative in place in Diann Whisnand as well as incredible partners throughout the region with whom we have worked.”


In addition to the CBF CARES effort, Cooperative Baptists have also made generous donations of gift cards to Whisnand, who has focused much of her time on ministering to refugees and connecting with aid volunteers and agencies in McAllen, Texas, to determine where CBF can best make a long-term impact to support these immigrants. Whisnand said she has been overwhelmed by the compassion and generosity of individuals and churches from across CBF. “I am so grateful to be a part of the Fellowship, a fellowship of people who are quick to ask how they can help. Thanks be to God,” Whisnand said.

Terri Drefke, executive director of the Rio Grande Valley Food Bank, which received $3,000 from CBF CARES to help fund its relief efforts at the United States southern border.

Donations to CBF CARES will continue to be distributed to organizations and churches ministering with these immigrant children and their families. Donations may be made online at www.thefellowship.info/cbfcares or by mailing a check payable to “CBF” with Acct. 17027 in the memo line to:

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship P.O. Box 102972 Atlanta, GA 30368-2972 For more information on how you or your congregation can help, please contact Tommy Deal at tdeal@thefellowship.info.

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A ‘border ministry’ far from any border

North Georgia church serves immigrant children from Central America

By Greg Warner

Y

ou don’t have to be anywhere near a border to minister to “border children” — the unaccompanied immigrant minors currently fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. Just ask the folks at First Baptist Church in Dalton, Ga., a manufacturing town in the Appalachian foothills — more than 1,200 miles from the nearest border. An estimated 65,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the United States

FBC Dalton supports the young Hispanic community of Dalton, Ga., through volunteering time and goods to the Newcomer Academy, and through fostering relationships with its students.

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southern border this year, 13 times the annual average of 5,000 children. Even more come with their mothers or other family members. Most of the newcomers are fleeing Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, where poverty, violence, drugs and gangs pose a lethal threat, especially to children. The flood of immigrants was largely in reaction to rumors that the U.S. government was planning to stiffen its laws that grant certain immigrants legal rights, making it


Number of unaccompanied children crossing the United States-Mexico border annually

Estimated 65,000 so far in 2014

PHOTOS COURTESY OF COURTNEY ALLEN

Annual average: 5,000

harder to stay if they enter the U.S. without newest immigrant families are flocking, proper documentation. The door, they joining relatives already working in the thought, was closing. region’s massive carpet and flooring industry. “We are talking about large numbers of Because of those earlier immigrants, Dalton’s children, without their parents, who have population is more than 48 percent Hispanic arrived at our border — hungry, thirsty, and a likely destination for those immigrants exhausted, scared and vulnerable,” said allowed to stay. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Allen, who has served at FBC Dalton for Emergency Management Agency, in four years, knew in the spring there was an testimony before Congress in July. influx of border children coming to Dalton, By then, however, many people in but the missions minister didn’t see the Dalton were already aware of the plight of connection with the city’s the border children. After surviving the long-established Latino population until an dangerous trek through Mexico, a small article in the local newspaper pointed it out. group of older children had found respite “Only in the summer did I connect the in April with family members already living dots — the newcomers were there to live and working in the town. The immigration with family members who were already part crisis was hitting home. But unlike some of the Dalton community.” communities, Dalton, which has a large FBC Dalton already had a history of Hispanic population, welcomed the ministering to the Hispanic community, newcomers. dating back two decades, Allen said. So “They are children of God,” said Courtney finding ways to minister to the newest Allen, minister of community ministry and immigrants seemed natural. missions for First Baptist Church of Dalton. Dalton Public Schools, which has a “These children traveled thousands of miles reputation for excellence and innovation, and experienced terrible things. They came has started a Newcomer Academy for the across the desert. Some were raped. Some immigrant children between the ages of 11 had seen dead bodies.” and 17. The purpose is to This year’s 65,000 accelerate the teaching of “We were starting with unaccompanied minors basic English, Allen said, the most basic reading overwhelmed the federal and give the 45 children network of permanent enrolled a “functional and writing skills. Many children’s shelters, so the cultural understanding” had not even been in a Department of Health for living in Georgia. school before. We literally and Human Services set “Many didn’t have up temporary shelters even the most basic did not know if they could at military bases in living skills,” Allen said, hold a pencil. But they Texas, Oklahoma and and little more than the California, where the clothes on their backs. were so eager to learn youngest children (under Along with other local and grateful to be here.” 10 years old) are given faith groups, the First unprecedented legal Baptist volunteers asked – Courtney Allen the academy, “What do assistance to prevent their exploitation and you need?” determine if they qualify to stay in the U.S. “They said ‘we need reading buddies’” Older children (ages 11-17) and those who will tutor the children for 30 minutes coming with family members have been sent a day, she recalled. So they began a to immigration centers across the country. partnership. Many are eventually returned to their native “We were starting with the most basic countries. But if they can prove returning is reading and writing skills,” she said. “Many dangerous, and if they have a family member had not even been in a school before. We already in the country legally, many are literally did not know if they could hold a allowed to stay. pencil. But they were so eager to learn and Although the nearest international border grateful to be here.” is 1,240 miles away in Matamoros, Mexico, Approximately 30 people from First Dalton is one of the places to which the Baptist have volunteered in the program. fellowship!

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Another 40 people have donated money or goods. “It’s been remarkable,” Allen said of the response from First Baptist. “I just made a phone call in response to something I heard of in the community. I give so much credit to the teachers and administrators of the school for thinking creatively about how we can be of help.” Not all communities have welcomed the newest refugees, many of whom fled gang violence and intimidation only to be greeted by public protests in their new country. In July in Murrieta, Calif., buses carrying immigrants to a Border Patrol facility were blocked by flag-waving protesters. A rally in Oracle, Ariz., protested a rumor — started by the police chief — that some of the unaccompanied minors would be housed locally. Rallies in Michigan and Massachusetts voiced similar concerns. Americans for Legal Immigration, a controversial political action committee, helped organize nearly 300 anti-immigration demonstrations for one weekend in July. “We haven’t experienced it that way at all,” Allen said of the protests. Most Dalton residents have welcomed the children and families. And First Baptist has benefitted from investing in their lives, she added. “We are a better church and better people of God because of these relationships and 26

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the acknowledgement of who our neighbors are,” Allen said. Meanwhile, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship launched its own strategy to deal with the border crisis, enlisting financial support for its Children and Refugee Emergency Support fund, or CBF CARES. More than $20,000 was raised in the first few weeks. FBC Dalton, the only CBF grant recipient not working on the border, received $3,500 to buy shoes and coats for the immigrant children arriving in northwest Georgia. “We got a new pair of tennis shoes for every one of the children with the money from CBF,” Allen said. But even that wasn’t easy. Two teachers had to spend a whole day measuring the children’s feet. “They would say ‘size 5’ when really it was size 7,” Allen said. “They never have had shoes that fit. We had to convince them they could have shoes that really fit.” First Baptist itself contributed more than $5,300 to supply the Newcomer Academy with reading materials, school supplies and computer printers. The congregation also provided medical care for seven of the school’s children and dental services for several others, Allen said. Now the church is looking for ways to help the children deal with the “coyotes,” the human traffickers who smuggled them into

The volunteers from FBC Dalton shared time with the students of the Newcomers Academy by hosting an American-style luncheon, at which the students and volunteers could share stories and fellowship.

the U.S., Allen said. Some of the teens have been working at night to earn money to pay off the smugglers. “The students’ families back home are the collateral for the debt,” Allen said ominously. “We are currently thinking about ways to offer [the students] economic opportunity that is safe and non-exploitative.” Perhaps the most rewarding experience so far for the First Baptist volunteers, she said, was hosting an American-style luncheon for students of the Newcomers Academy, giving the volunteers and others a chance to socialize with the children and their families. Luncheon participants shared stories of their involvement in the partnership and how it has changed them — students and volunteers alike. “It was mutual and reciprocal,” Allen said. “There were tears from both sides at that table. Despite all the ugliness and vitriol around immigration, we were just sitting there as children of God.” Two First Baptist members who spoke at the luncheon were Candi Cruz and Rosa Vasquez, both of whom had their first contact with FBC Dalton through Soul Food,


the congregation’s seven-year-old feeding program for families in need. Soul Food also includes a community garden, medical clinic and children’s ministry. Eighty-five percent of its clients are Hispanic. After becoming a client of Soul Food, Cruz and her husband and three children were the first Hispanic family to join the church in its 166-year history. Vasquez, a facilities worker at First Baptist, told the border children at the luncheon about her experience fleeing from civil war in El Salvador years ago. Vasquez serves as a volunteer at the Newcomer Academy, prompting one of the school’s teachers to declare at the luncheon, “You have been the epitome of grace to these students.” Allen said First Baptist laid the groundwork for the current school partnership through its earlier ethnic ministries, such as an Hispanic mission

church begun 22 years ago and EnglishDescribing the current immigration crisis language instruction started even earlier. as “a man-made disaster,” Deal said, “the “Hopefully the community sees response in Dalton mirrors what we try to us as a welcoming do in natural disasters.” place,” she said of the Immediately after “We are a better church congregation. The a disaster strikes, he and better people of personal relationships said, “some groups that have developed go in and do some God because of these between the volunteers wonderful things.” relationships and the and Academy students Rather than competing acknowledgement of who give the partnership its with those efforts, authenticity, she added. however, CBF looks for our neighbors are. These CBF Disaster long-term recovery and are children of God!” Response Director development projects Tommy Deal said in which to invest their – Courtney Allen effort. “That’s where CBF the Dalton church is “a great model” of a finds our strength.” long-term strategy, one that should inspire The disaster-response specialist lives in other congregations. He said CBF churches Dalton, where his wife serves as minister elsewhere are just starting to find out what of music and worship at First Baptist. After needs the new immigrants bring as they are visiting the Newcomer Academy classrooms, resettled in other cities. Deal praised the school’s three teachers — a reading specialist, a middle-school specialist and an adult education and English-language specialist. “Each one of these educators has a deep passion, care and love for these young people, well beyond their professional expectations,” Deal wrote after his visit. Courtney Allen said all three teachers are believers who “walk a fine line,” careful not to impose their beliefs on the impressionable newcomers. As with the teachers, Allen said, the commitment from FBC Dalton is deep and abiding. “All of us see this as ongoing relationship,” she concluded. “I am grateful for CBF collecting and sharing resources for this kind of ministry,” Allen concluded. “They have empowered and enabled us to do more with these students than we would have been able to do otherwise.”

The group of Newcomers Academy students and FBC Dalton volunteers gathered around each other through a luncheon to celebrate the partnership, share authentically and deepen personal relationships.

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CBF encourages financial support for its Ebola crisis response By Aaron Weaver DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is partnering with the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) to address the Ebola crisis in Liberia and other West African countries, providing emergency support for food, medicines, medical equipment, educational materials, prevention training and sanitation supplies to help stop the spread of the deadly disease. CBF has created an Ebola Response Fund to encourage Cooperative Baptists to support the Fellowship’s response to this global crisis. Gifts can be made to the fund at www.thefellowship.info/ebola. CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter emphasized the importance of linking arms and supporting Baptists in West Africa, including the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (LBMEC) and its president, Olu Menjay, who is a graduate of Mercer University. Additionally, CBF-endorsed chaplain Col. Charles Reynolds recently served in Liberia as Senior Chaplain for US Army Africa — the command that is coordinating the Army’s Ebola response operation. “There is heartfelt compassion and connection for many in CBF — students, leaders and churches — to Liberia, Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary and the Baptist union led by Dr. Olu Menjay,” Paynter said. “It is a privilege to give and, in a small way, join all those who are truly being the presence of Christ in West Africa.” The Ebola virus has killed more than 5,000 people. A total of 9,936 cases of the Ebola virus have been reported in five affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Spain and the United States) and two previously affected countries (Nigeria and Senegal) as of October 19, according to the World Health Organization. Liberia remains the country worst affected by the Ebola outbreak, with 47 percent of all reported cases (4,605) and 55 percent of all deaths (2,705).

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In August, CBF contributed $5,000 to the BWA’s effort to raise $35,000 to provide food, educational materials and sanitation supplies to 100 pastors and 100 communities across Liberia associated with the country’s Baptist churches and institutions. Since the outbreak began, many government offices were forced to close to prevent the virus from spreading. A 90-day state of emergency was declared on August 6 by Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, ordering that all schools close, including the Baptist-affiliated Ricks Institute, Lott Carey Mission School and the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary. CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter emphasized the need and responsibility to extend healing to those affected by the crisis. “While the scale of the Ebola crisis in West Africa makes any response feel inadequate, we must remember that healing and the multiplication of humble gifts were central to Jesus’ public ministry, and as his disciples, we are called to follow suit,” Porter said. “With longstanding Baptist partners on the ground, especially in Liberia, we have a concrete opportunity to extend the healing ministry of Jesus in our world today.”

Donations to CBF’s Ebola Response Fund may be made online at www.thefellowship.info/ebola, or by mailing a check payable to “CBF” with Acct. 17028 in the memo line to: Cooperative Baptist Fellowship P.O. Box 102972 Atlanta, GA 30368-2972


There are 28 open field personnel positions around the world with CBF.

Is God calling you to serve?

THEFELLOWSHIP.INFO/SERVE


Opportunities to

December 2014

Cooperative Baptists have raised more than $25,000 to support children and refugee families through CBF CARES.

MORE RESOURCES

Visit thefellowship.info/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: Around the Table: At Home In Worship: Children’s Sermon

LEARN

Learn more about CBF CARES at thefellowship.info/cbfcares

PRAY

Pray for the work of CBF field personnel, churches and partners serving the needs of immigrants and refugees. Prayers of the People is a great resource for your daily prayer: thefellowship.info/pray

NETWORK

Connect with other CBF churches and ministries focused on refugees and immigrants through CBF’s mission communities. Visit missioncommunities.org

GIVE

Donations to CBF CARES will continue to be distributed to organizations and churches ministering with immigrant children and their families. Donations may be made online at thefellowship.info/cbfcares

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CBF CARES In Small Groups

Missions Education Resource The outline below is designed for adult mission groups, Bible study classes and other small groups. Share copies of fellowship! with group members prior to the meeting and have extra copies available. These suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame. 1. This session explores CBF’s emergency response to unaccompanied minors from Central America. Read the article on pages 22-23 in this issue of fellowship!, and gather copies for participants. If anyone in your congregation or area has experience with refugee ministry, you could invite that person to join the conversation. 2. Arrange for someone to read aloud 2 Corinthians 5:20. Ask, “What does it mean for us to be ambassadors for Christ?” Allow time for discussion. 3. Say, “Last summer, many of us learned for the first time about children from Central America crossing the United States border, often unaccompanied by an adult. These children make this dangerous trek north to escape violence and extreme poverty in their homelands.” 4. Explain that while legislative leaders, policymakers and the courts work on addressing the causes of this problem, these vulnerable children are already here, with needs from food to healthcare to safety to education. 5. Invite participants to think about what they would want for their own children, grandchildren or young loved ones to have if they were far away from home and alone. 6. Ask, “As followers of Jesus, what might it mean for us to be ambassadors of Christ to these children and families?” Allow for

discussion, guiding away from political issues and toward reflection on our call as Christians. 7. Say, “With CBF the launch of CBF CARES (Children and Refugee Emergency Support), Cooperative CBF field personnel Baptists celebrate Jesus, feed the hungry have raised in Lebanon more than $25,000 to support these children and refugee families.” Emphasize that the money has gone to provide medical screenings as well as water, food and clothes to those in need. 8. Invite someone to read paragraphs 5-8 about FBC Dalton’s outreach to unaccompanied minors settled in their area. Ask, “How are the people of FBC Dalton living as ambassadors for Christ? What message are these children receiving about God’s love?” 9. End with a prayer for these children and families, for our political leadership to make wise and compassionate choices and for our churches to truly live as Christ’s ambassadors to these people in need.

fellowship! COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP | WWW.THEFELLOWSHIP.INFO

DECEMBER/JANUARY 2015

Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission


Opportunities to

January 2015

CBF field personnel Greg and Sue Smith work through LUCHA Ministries to help #EndHunger in Fredericksburg, Va.

MORE RESOURCES

Visit thefellowship.info/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Small Groups Around the Table: At Home

LEARN

Learn about CBF field personnel Greg and Sue Smith and LUCHA Ministries at thefellowship.info/greg-sue-smith

PRAY

Pray for the work of CBF field personnel and partners who are addressing hunger and poverty worldwide. Prayers of the People is available in multiple formats at thefellowship.info/pray

NETWORK

Interact with field personnel and other missions and ministry leaders active in hunger ministries at missioncommunities.org/poverty

GIVE

Your generous gifts are vital to the work of CBF field personnel and other Fellowship ministries. Find out more at thefellowship.info/give

CBF Hunger Ministries In Worship: #EndHunger Challenge Missions Education Resource The giving challenge below can be incorporated into a worship service or other missions emphasis time. For this event, you will be asking members of your church to participate in CBF’s campaign to #EndHunger by thinking about the food they eat and responding in ways that help others find the food they need.

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DECEMBER/JANUARY 2015

COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP | WWW.THEFELLOWSHIP.INFO

Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission

CBF field personnel celebrate Jesus, feed the hungry in Lebanon

To prepare for the #EndHunger challenge: • Read the article about Greg and Sue Smith’s work through LUCHA Ministries on pp. 10-13 in this issue of fellowship!. • Download and preview the “CBF Hunger Ministries” video from this link: vimeo.com/album/3113639. • Ask two volunteers to make the #EndHunger challenge at the end of the video. • Provide enough CBF Offering for Global Missions envelopes or blank envelopes for each person in your congregation and enough pens to pass around during the event. At the beginning of worship, pass out blank envelopes and pens to each person present or put them in the pews before people arrive. During the service, show the video and end it with the following #EndHunger challenge:

Speaker 1: One-in-eight people in our world are hungry. But this is a reality that we can change. We can each give a little to help build a great feast. Right now, I’m asking you to think about one item that you eat or drink that you could easily give up without going hungry. Maybe it’s a cappuccino on the way to work or the cookies from your favorite bakery. Think of one item — then decide to give it up for one week, or maybe a month. Write on the front of the envelope what you’re giving up and then put the money you would have spent inside the envelope. We’ll pool our money together and turn it into a great feast that feeds the hungry. Your little bit will become a bountiful harvest when we pool all our resources together. Speaker 2: Read Matthew 25:37-40 Follow the appeal with an offering, inviting each person to contribute to the #EndHunger feast. After the service, count up all of the money that was given and announce the total. You can also make a list of all the things people chose to give up and share this with your congregation. Be sure to ask those who use Twitter to tweet about your church’s campaign by using the hashtag #EndHunger. Also, consider blogging about your church’s #EndHunger campaign by contributing an article about your experience to the CBFblog (www.cbfblog.com). Submit your article to Aaron Weaver at aweaver@thefellowship.info.

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Cooperative Baptist Fellowship 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500 Decatur, GA 30030 www.thefellowship.info • (800) 352-8741

We’ve got big plans for the 2015 CBF General Assembly Finding REST AND FELLOWSHIP in opportunities for both collective and individual renewal

Casting a VISION for the future of the Fellowship

INSPIRATION to find and continue your God-given mission

JUNE 15-19 The whole event is still under one roof. Assembly will be hosted and held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Dallas, Texas.

Sharing BEST PRACTICES and resources for meeting ministry needs

Worship and CELEBRATION through stories of missions, ministries and God’s work

YOU SHARED. WE LISTENED. At the 2015 General Assembly in Dallas, we’re delivering some new and improved elements to help you get the most out of your experience. Here are just a few… • Offsite workshop excursions with field discussions of issues like payday lending • Simplified onsite registration with a self-check-in kiosk • Return of the Silent Auction

Pre-register now: thefellowship.info/assembly

• Increased number of spaces in the age level assemblies • Childcare available for the Wednesday night service • WE (Welcome Everyone) lunches on Thursday AND Friday

fellowship! magazine - Dec/Jan 2015  

Read the Dec/Jan 2015 issue of fellowship! magazine and learn about the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's response to the Syrian refugee cris...