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Cooperative baptist fellowship |

Summer 2009

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

CBF photo


In Uganda, Lino teaches Anna-Grace Acker how to eat sugar cane. Anna-Grace is the daughter of CBF field personnel Jade and Shelah Acker, whose ministry includes providing a home to former child soldiers and children affected by war. To learn more about how CBF ministries create a sense of home, go to pages 12-17.

General Assembly coverage inside. See pages 8-9.

What holds us together? Editor’s note: Below is a portion of the remarks made by CBF Executive Coordinator Daniel Vestal at the CBF General Assembly. To read Vestal’s complete remarks or listen to the video, go to

CBF is approaching a milestone of 20 years. It is also something of a threshold that has prompted me to reflect on the question, “What holds this Fellowship together? Is it our history? Or our cultural context? Or our partners? Or an organizational structure?” We are not a convention of churches or a denominational organization like so many others. We do not own and operate institutions that are solely dependent on our continued existence. We do not have a tenured history that compels love and loyalty. And in a post-everything culture where local churches are reasserting their primacy, what is it that can keep us connected and cooperating? These are important questions not only for the present, but for the future. Let me offer some reflections that I hope will be encouraging. We are bound together by some common values. For some they may almost be assumed and unstated. And even the way they are articulated in our mission statement may not capture their essence, but CBF does share some commitments about which we are passionate. We are bound together by our love of freedom. This is at the very heart of a Baptist vision, and those that make up this Fellowship have a love affair with freedom. We believe every individual is a priest before God free to interpret and apply Scripture as the Spirit leads them. We believe every church is free to order its own life and ministry. We believe in religious freedom for everyone and that the government should neither prohibit the free exercise of religion nor establish it. We are bound together by community and connection that is profound for local churches. It’s a community and connection that is broader than one state or region. It is a connection to a global mission vision that includes cross cultural missionaries, chaplains/pastoral counselors and strategic partnerships with Baptist bodies all around the world. It is a connection to the larger Baptist family and to the even larger Christian family. It’s a community of Baptist Christians and churches as well as seminaries, organizations and a host of partnering ministries. We are bound together by a growing participation in God’s mission to the world. I believe that there is an increasing awareness within churches that what binds us together is the mission of God, and that we need community and connection with one another because the mission of God is greater than any Vol. 19, No. 3 one of us or any one of our churches. In our better moments we know that the mission of God is global in scope, and nothing less than that global mission is compelling enough to bind us together. executive Coordinator • Daniel Vestal We are bound together by grace and providence. I know we are living in a recession and in a culture Coordinator, Fellowship that in many ways is hostile to what we believe. I also know that some of you live and serve in places Advancement • Ben McDade where there are not many others who love and value this Fellowship. I know that some of you feel Editor • Lance Wallace isolated, and at times, discouraged. I feel that way at times. But I believe in the grace of God and the managing Editor • Patricia Heys providence of God working in and through us. Associate Editor • Carla Wynn Davis This Fellowship is a work of God’s grace. And as we approach a milestone, our very existence is a Phone • (770) 220-1600 testimony to providence. Our birth was a miracle. Our survival amidst brutal and sustained attacks is Fax • (770) 220-1685 amazing. Our growth and influence within the Baptist family and the broader Christian community is E-Mail • humbling. The resources that God’s people have entrusted to us is at times overwhelming. I recently had Web Site • a respected Baptist leader outside of CBF say about CBF, “You will never know how many people have fellowship! is published 6 times a year in Jan./Feb., Mar./Apr., May/June, July/Aug., been saved because of what God has done through you.” Sept./Oct., Nov./Dec. by The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Inc., 2930 Flowers Road South, Ste 133, Atlanta, GA 30341. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. USPS #015-625

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to “fellowship!” Newsletter, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, 2930 Flowers Road South, Ste 133, Atlanta, GA 30341.




Summer 2009

Grace and peace,

Daniel Vestal, CBF Executive Coordinator

Contents 8-9 10-11

J.V. McKinney photo


2009 General Assembly gathers in Houston, Texas Learn about CBF’s newly commissioned field personnel Home: Showing hospitality and providing refuge


Missional resources for congregations


School provides safe haven for Roma youth

Julie Merritt, pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Hendersonville, N.C., spoke at one of the evening worship services.

Check out the new version of the fellowship! magazine online. You can easily flip the pages of the magazine and click on links throughout the issue. If you would like to switch your

subscription from printLog to the online version, please and e-mail Become a fan of CBF on facebook. on to search for “Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.”

meet Devita Parnell Parnell’s primary responsibility includes managing the production and promotion of CBF’s missions education resources, Form, Spark, Ignite and Affect. She works with CBF’s congregational formation initiative, assisting congregations with missions education, teacher trainings, spiritual formation events and more. Parnell also gives leadership to helping the Fellowship movement be strategic in how it honors race, gender and generations. Hometown: Sandersville, Ga. Education: University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.; Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, Ga. Church: First Baptist Church, Decatur, Ga. Interesting fact: Parnell formerly served as associate

coordinator for congregational life at CBF of Georgia. “In order for churches to live out their God-given callings, individuals must be shaped and equipped to live as missional Christians. I understand the goal of CBF’s missions education resources is to help in forming missional Christians, by lifting up the examples of CBF field personnel, endorsed chaplains, church starters and others. My dream is that congregations will renew their commitment to teaching missions education with passion and energy, reframing it as missional formation. I find this work meaningful because it blends my love of teaching and passion for following Christ and encouraging others to do so.” Contact Devita Parnell at or (800) 352-8741. Also, check out her “Five Tips for engaging your community” on page 18.


Summer 2009



fellowship People

Virginia Barfield


his fall, Virginia Barfield will begin her tenure as dean and vice president of academic affairs at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C. As a minister ordained in a Baptist church, Barfield is both the first non-Lutheran and the first female to serve in the role. “I’m a part of CBF because it represents the best of who Baptists have been called to be and how we can best be that in this changing world,” Barfield said. As an educator, Barfield is passionate about walking alongside her students as they discern their vocations and calls to

ministry. She began teaching at Lutheran Theological in 2003 and has taught New Testament, Greek and Baptist history. “I see light bulbs come on and concepts take root,” she said. “In the midst of all of that, I also get to see students understand why that knowledge becomes useful in ministry. It ignites a passion Virginia Barfield in students. And it is all done for the kingdom of Christ. Teaching, passion, energy, is all part of the expansion of the kingdom — that’s why it matters, and that’s why it’s fun.”

Brent Peery


fter 15 years ministering in local churches, Brent Peery felt called to hospital chaplaincy. Being endorsed through CBF as a chaplain was a natural fit for Peery, who has worked at CBF partner churches throughout his ministerial career. He has served at Houston’s Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, the busiest level 1 trauma center in the country, for seven years. As the director of chaplains, Peery works alongside staff chaplains to provide emotional and spiritual support to pa-

tients, their families and the hospital staff. “Every day I get to work with people whose lives have been suddenly and tragically disrupted,” said Peery. “It’s my privilege and my honor to care for them. I consider it a sacred privilege. Every day there’s a chance to make a difference in someone’s life. It can be demanding and emotionally draining, but I really enjoy it.”

Brent Peery

Cory Goode


elocating to Missouri in 2007 left Cory Goode missing the camaraderie of the peer learning group he left behind in Tennessee. Wanting to re-create that community, he started a Facebook group to informally connect with other youth ministers. One year later, thanks to a Lilly Endowment Inc. grant awarded to the Fellowship in 2008, Goode has been named manager of the Fellowship’s new youth ministry network. Goode, who serves as associate pastor with student em-

phasis at University Heights Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo., plans for the network to become a resource for youth ministers to enhance their ministry. “I think we have a lot to learn from one another and a lot to offer one another. This kind of relationship benefits everyone involved as we Cory Goode encourage and enable teenagers to go and serve and be the presence of Christ right where they are,” said Goode.

Tori Justus


ori Justus’ first day at camp last summer was an adventure — a last-minute location change, a sick child, a fist fight and a little blood. Despite the initial obstacles, she stuck it out and discovered a passion for the work she was doing. Serving through CBF’s Student.Go mission program for students, Justus coordinated volunteer groups to aid with the CLUE Camp (Children Living the Urban Experience) located in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. The camp, which is sponsored by CBF partner churches Greater Restoration Baptist Church in Brooklyn and Metro Baptist Church in Manhattan, provides recreational and learning op-

portunities for children living in local housing authority developments. “It was an awesome experience,” said Justus, a member of Mars Hill Baptist Church in Mars Hill, N.C. “It’s really cool to see the difference you can make in just a couple of weeks. I wouldn’t trade it for the world — I love those kids.” Tori Justus Fueled by her experience last summer in Brooklyn, Justus, a rising senior at East Tennessee University, is serving this summer on another Student.Go project working with children in Washington, D.C.

To nominate someone to be featured in an upcoming Fellowship People, e-mail 4



Summer 2009

In Zambia, wells provide needed water to communities, schools and medical clinics.

When you “This particular project was both farwhen water in our community was a precious commodity, so we were able to combine a project to reach out across the world with one that would also be beneficial in our own community.”

Judy Shepard, missions coordinator Beulah Baptist Church Aylett, Va.


t Beulah Baptist Church in Aylett, Va., one conversation led to another and soon the church had organized a year-long project to raise money to dig a well in Zambia and promote water conservation in its own community. It started with a CBF DVD that included a segment on Fran and Lonnie Turner’s work to dig wells in Zambia. Church members decided to make raising money to dig a well a church-wide project. Then, recognizing their own community was suffering a drought, they added local water conversation as part of their emphasis. The Turners, CBF field personnel, began working with water projects in 1998, and have dug and installed more than 2,000 wells and pumps, which cost $2,000 each. “In Zambia the people say, ‘Water is life,’” the Turners said. “That statement affirms that access to clean water for drinking and growing food is a basic human right. Access

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CBF photo

CBF photo

reaching and local. It came at a time

to water for the rural poor provides the links to food security and economic growth.” To promote its water emphasis, Beulah included announcements in each week’s bulletin about the wells in Zambia along with a home water conservation tip. The church raised $2,532.48 in one year, with $605.20 coming from the children.

“It was such an amazing project to be a part of, and I know the love of giving this well will be so helpful to the people of Zambia and help show them God’s love,” said church member Ginger Rice. “I hope more churches will start a well project. It is such an easy way to help so many people and such a good way to show love.”

To learn about giving to the Turners’ well projects or other projects related to CBF ministries, go to or call (800) 352-8741. fellowship!

Summer 2009




Join young Baptists in remembering Sept. 11 with day of service Each September, Current — the Fellowship’s network for young ministers and leaders (under 40) — facilitates a day of simultaneous missions projects across the country. Known as Eleven-on-11, this day of service began as an effort to do something constructive to remember Sept. 11, 2001 — a day marked by destruction.  “Eleven-on-11 is an important event because it’s a time for young leaders to physically participate in what God is doing through CBF in the world,” said Shannon Rutherford, coordinator of Current’s leadership team. “It has been a time of ministry,




SERVE | Spring 2009

community and fellowship, as each group chooses how it will spend a day serving. From youth to adults, folks are joining together to meet the needs of their cities while extending the love of Christ to the hearts of those they come in contact with.” Over the years, Eleven-on-11 has become a way for Baptists of all ages to make a difference in their communities and recognize the Sept. 11 anniversary. In previous years, mission projects have included plant-

ing a community garden, painting a local elementary school and serving lunch at a center for people who are homeless. This year’s day of service will be Saturday, Sept. 12, and hundreds of Fellowship Baptists are expected to serve at 20 sites. This includes state-wide events with CBF of Missouri and CBF of Louisiana.

To learn about Eleven-on-11 opportunities in your community or to host a site, go to or contact Chris Boltin at (800) 352-8741.


In 2008, CBF was part of relief efforts in China after a devastating earthquake.

Tsunamis. Cyclones. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Famines. Natural disasters can happen anytime and anywhere in the world. With little warning, a school day can become tragic for a group of students, a family can lose its home, a nation’s economy can become unstable and lives can be forever changed by loss and injury. As we watch the chaos of disasters unfold, we may feel we can do little more than pray. David and Merrie Harding know how to respond when a disaster occurs somewhere in the world. As Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel, they are responsible for developing the Fellowship’s responses to international disasters. While many first responders focus on immediate search-and-rescue roles, David travels to the location of the disaster to discern where CBF’s help is most needed. One of his first tasks is assessing how CBF’s relief and development funds will be used. In the instance of an international disaster, CBF may provide financial resources through partnerships with other organizations like Baptist World Aid, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries and Serving in Mission. David also helps develop a recovery plan for disaster victims. Investing in the recovery of people and communities is a compelling way to demonstrate the love of Christ. Recovery efforts in areas affected by the devastating 2004 tsunami, including India, are an example of the response efforts of CBF. In 2008 alone, CBF responded to disasters in

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Distaster response meets needs in time of crisis

China, Myanmar, Jordan and Ethiopia. The Hardings played leadership roles in many of these efforts. This August, adults using the AffectTM magazine, the Fellowship’s adult missional formation resource, are studying about responding to international disasters. They are learning about the work of the Hardings and how CBF field personnel

respond to disasters. They are being asked to consider joining CBF in disaster relief efforts around the world through prayer and action.

Title By Author


m I S S I O N S E D U c aT I O N r E S O U r c E

march • aprIl • may

| 2009

Friendship in Fremont

Learn How a California Church’s Hospitality Created a Ministry with Afghans

Millennium Ministry

Eight Ways Your Church Can Make a Difference Through Millennium Ministries

Rapid Response Churches

Discover How Your Church Can Show God’s Love When Disasters Strike UNIT 1

| T IT L E


For more information about Affect or one of CBF’s other missional formation resources, visit

Pray that CBF response funding will provide help for the small body of believers which gathers in a home and registered church meeting point in Anxian County. The church was functionally destroyed by the May 12, 2008, earthquake that hit China’s Sichuan province. Anxian is located at the foot of the mountains on the western edge of the Sichuan basin. Pray for wisdom for David Harding as he makes decisions about how CBF should best respond when disasters occur around the world. Pray for the development of partners with whom CBF might share in the ministry of disaster response.


Summer 2009



Fellowship Baptists urged th at 19 General Assembly More than 1,600 Fellowship Baptists gathered in Houston, Texas, July 2-3 for the 2009 General Assembly. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in more than 60 workshops, network with others in their state and region, learn about resources and partner organizations and worship together. The Assembly’s worship sessions explored the ideas of diversity and hospitality as Christian practices, including biblical, theological and practical aspects of being a neighbor. The services included music from around the world and were inspired by the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37. “What Jesus is calling us to is living with and among people that are different from us, actually getting to know them – meeting their needs but not seeing them as a need, but one of us,” said Julie Merritt, pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Hendersonville, N.C. “In short, we are to love in

particular not in general. Loving in general is easy and cheap. But loving in particular requires more of us. We don’t just feed the hungry. We sit down with those who are hungry and recognize our own hunger. We sit down and share a meal together, share a conversation and thus share a holy space.” Three ministries that embodied the concept of being a good neighbor were highlighted during worship: • Churches and CBF field personnel connections were noted in a presentation on Water for Hope, an effort to connect churches, individuals, organizations and resources in order to address the world’s water crisis. In Ethiopia, David Harding, one of CBF’s field personnel, and College Park Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla., work to

provide access to clean water within one half mile of every home. • One presentation on how people groups separated by geography connect featured CBF field personnel Ralph and Tammy Stocks, who serve among among the Romany people in Hungary, and CBF field personnel Greg and Sue Smith, who serve among the Latino community in Fredericksburg, Va. Last summer, Latino youth from Virginia traveled to Hungary to lead activities and Bible study for Romany children. • In a video presentation, college and graduate students who participated in the Student.Go semester missions experiences shared how their lives were changed by serving. Carson Foushee, one of the students who went on the Millen-

Joel McLendon photo

The Sichuan China Network was commissioned along with six new field personnel during the commissioning service July 1 at South Main Baptist Church in Houston.




Summer 2009

to show love to neighbors

J.V. McKinney photo

J.V. McKinney photo

J.V. McKinney photo

nium Development Goals trip last year, shared about a return trip this summer to Uganda where he led a team in distributing mosquito nets and conducting soccer camps. For the fifth year, Fellowship Baptists gave to the The Resource Fair provided Fellowship Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Baptists with opportunities for fellowship and Offering for Religious Liberty learning. and Human Rights, raising and rejoice in our rela$9,848. One-third of the offering is used by tionships,” said now imthe Baptist World Alliance and two-thirds is mediate past-moderator Marissa Morgan and the Missouri City Baptist Church Mass Choir from designated for CBF-sponsored ministries and Jack Glasgow, pastor of Missouri City, Texas, led in worship July 2 in a service that featured music partners. One of this year’s recipients on behalf Zebulon Baptist Church from around the world. of CBF is the European Baptist Federation. in Zebulon, N.C. “Like gregations and individuals focused on minCBF will also designate a portion of the funds the post exilic community in Jerusalem, istry in the Sichuan Province of China. The to support the ministry of CBF field personnel there is joy that can be found in a work of network includes South Main Baptist; First Lita and Rick Sample, who work with women renewal and rebuilding. Let us find that joy Baptist Church in Jefferson City, Tenn.; Secchurch starters in the Middle East. and passion and renew our commitment ond Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta, In the business sessions, the Assemto one another. The joy we find will be the Ga.; and CBF field personnel Bill and Michelle bly approved the 2009-2010 ministry and strength for our future.” Cayard, who serve in the Sichuan Province. missions budget of $16.15 million. Actual Several events occurred before the As“You see, tonight really isn’t about you expenditures are subjected to the financial sembly began, including the Leadership who are being commissioned at all,” said contingency plan, which was implemented Institute. Approximately 225 church leadRob Nash, the Fellowship’s coordinator of March 1 and cuts expenses by 20 percent. ers participated in small group discussions global missions. “If it is about you, then we’re CBF’s new officers were also elected based on “Growing an Engaged Church,” led focused on the wrong thing and asking the during the session, including moderatorby author Albert Winseman of Gallup Inc. wrong question. It is about the most neelect Christy McMillin-Goodwin, associAt the Houston Sessions, a week-long glected. It is about the least evangelized and ate minister for education and missions at collegiate missional experience, more than the most marginalized people in the world. Oakland Baptist Church in Rock Hill, S.C., 30 students explored issues related to povIt’s about homeless people in North Carolina, and recorder Joanne Carr, a member of First erty and participated in aspects of the Aspoverty-stricken children in Miami, churches Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga. Hal Bass, a sembly, including leading a workshop about and suffering people in China. ‘Who is my professor at Ouachita Baptist University in ministry to college students. neighbor?’ the lawyer asked. Jesus respondArkadelphia, Ark., assumed the role of CBF On July 1 at South Main Baptist Church ed, ‘Who will be a neighbor to those who live moderator at the conclusion of the Assembly. in Houston, the Fellowship commissioned six in poverty and spiritual despair and oppres“Let us celebrate our connections, individuals to full-time missions service. (See sion?’ My prayer is that you will be.” strengthen our partnerships, step up our pages 10-11 to learn more.) The Fellowship Next year’s Assembly will be held June 24encouragement, accelerate our commitment, also recognized the Sichuan China Ministry 25, 2010, in Charlotte, N.C. Information and Network, a registration will be posted on the CBF Web group of consite, this fall. For full coverage of the 2009 General AsStudents from sembly, including videos of the keynote adthe Houston dresses, visit Sessions, a collegiate missional event, led one of the 60 workshops.

By Patricia Heys, Bob Perkins and Carla Wynn Davis, CBF Communications fellowship!

Summer 2009



Newly commissioned CBF field personnel The following people were commissioned as CBF field personnel on July 1 at the CBF General Assembly in Houston, Texas.

LaCount Anderson

John and Michele Norman

AsYouGo Affiliate – Scotland Neck, N.C. Ministry: Ministry to homeless

AsYouGo Affiliates – Four Oaks, N.C.

Hometown: Savannah, Ga.

Ministry: Advocate

Church: First Baptist Church, Scotland Neck, N.C. Anderson will serve alongside churches, assisting with ministries to people who are homeless. He will work to provide physical resources, such as food and shelter, and spiritual resources, including Christian education.

“It has become clear to me that all of my years of ministry have uniquely equipped me to do this particular assignment. From serving as a chaplain to being a minister of education and finally serving as a pastor, I have had experiences that are valuable to the reaching of people for Christ in this new ministry assignment.”

Cecelia Beck AsYouGo Affiliate – Shelby, N.C. Ministry: Social worker and outreach ministry Hometown: King, N.C. Church: First Baptist Church, King, N.C. Beck will serve as an outreach worker with the Northeast Shelby Weed and Seed, a comprehensive strategy designed to assist communities in bringing people and resources together to prevent and control crime and improve the overall quality of life. Beck plans to focus on child and adult literacy and enrichment programs for children.

“My passion for serving those on the margins of society fits that of CBF. We are working toward the same goal – being the presence of Christ in order that people’s lives are uplifted and transformed by the love of God and God’s kingdom is increased.”

Hometown: Four Oaks, N.C. Church: First Baptist Church, Four Oaks, N.C. The Normans will work to develop a network of individuals and churches in the United States to pray, financially support and actively participate in the work of CBF in China.

“The role of China advocates is an opportunity to combine our personal abilities with our call to serve God. It also allows us to build upon our many relationships with CBF partners. We believe that China has a rich history and a significant place in the future of our world.”

Gabe Orea AsYouGo Affiliate – China Ministry: China Church Support Hometown: Pachuca, Mexico Church: Columbus Avenue Baptist Church, Waco, Texas Orea will work in partnership with the local registered church to build relationships and opportunities to minister with the most neglected and least evangelized in Xiamen, Fujian, China. This ministry will include developing local leadership for sustained ministry.

“Full-time missions service provides an opportunity to share with others in need what we have graciously received, both physically and spiritually. It is a chance to reflect what our life priorities are and to live by the principle that it is better to give than to receive. It is a statement that makes clear where our treasure is. It is a humble way to identify ourselves as followers of Jesus and thus help others to become followers as well.”

Christy Craddock AsYouGo Affiliate – Miami, Fla. Ministry: Director of youth ministries Hometown: Lexington, Ky. Church: David’s Fork Baptist Church, Lexington, Ky. Craddock serves at Touching Miami with Love, a ministry center in the Miami neighborhood of Overtown, one of the poorest areas in Florida. As director of youth ministries, she leads the after school program for teenagers and other activities.

“God has given me a heart to reach out to and care for teens struggling amid difficult circumstances. As I have built relationships with the youth over this past year, I am beginning to see several of the youth truly open up and share their lives with me. I am seeing young people make choices to follow Christ. They are choosing not to get caught up in the crime, violence, drug dealing, and promiscuity around them. Instead, they are choosing to open their hearts up to God and to allow God to mold their lives.” 10



Summer 2009

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CBF’s face2face speaker’s bureau connects churches with missions speakers. Invite CBF field personnel to speak at your church. Schedule a speaker at (800) 352-8741 or

Shaping a response to impact Christian faith By Rob Nash Coordinator, CBF Global Missions Last month, I found myself riding along Manila Bay in the Philippines, looking toward the dock where I had landed with my missionary parents some 45 years earlier. We arrived in Manila in 1964 on the S.S. President Cleveland, a luxury liner, after a trans-Pacific voyage that lasted some 21 days. It was an eventful journey for a five-year-old boy! Suddenly, my trip down memory lane was interrupted by the sound of my cell phone. It was a friend back home who had no idea I was 10,000 miles away. I ignored the call and turned back to the memories. It occurred to me that for most of the 1960s, my family made a single call home every year. We would go to the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company and place a call to Cornelia, Ga., my mom’s hometown. We listened to the clicking of the phone line and then, finally, my grandfather’s voice would say “hello.” Suddenly, in the back of that cab traveling along Manila Bay in 2009, a profound realization hit me. The experiences of my family in the 1960s had far more in common with the mission experiences of early Baptists like William Carey and Ann and Adoniram Judson than we had with the


experiences of field personnel in 2009. The world has changed — drastically — and in a brief period of less than 50 years. Fast forward to 2009. Our context is radically different from their context. Today, Christian people can be found most anywhere in the world. American Christians can also be found anywhere, studying in universities, working in business, serving as teachers and as diplomats in every corner of the globe. Christians are sensing a powerful calling in the context of their occupations to be the presence of Christ among the most neglected. At the same time, U.S. congregations are identifying local and global mission fields to which their members are sensing a call. Here at CBF, we’ve done our very best to understand our context and to shape a response that multiplies the impact of the Christian faith around the world. We call this response our affiliate program. We’re fully aware that God-called people are already in the world doing the good work of mission and ministry. We’re also aware that there are many who sense a calling but who simply need to connect their gifts with a place of ministry. There are many churches out there who want to have a direct hand in supporting the good work of members who are called out of their midst

or whose ministry captures a congregation’s imagination and passion. We stand ready to bring such persons through our appointment process, place them on our field teams, provide connections, best practices and encouragement. Affiliate field personnel are currently serving in significant ministries from Southeast Asia to Florida. They bring with them their own financial support, either through their vocations or from individuals and congregations. We assist them with fund-raising, technology support and provide the resources of a member care team. They are CBF field personnel with all of the privileges and possibilities that come with that calling. Their presence among us offers some hope that we are following in the great tradition of those who have gone before us — thinking outside the box and doing our best to read the signs of our times. The truth is our turn has come. We are now called to create the mechanisms and processes that enable us to reach the world for Christ in our day. I’m convinced that our affiliate program is the direct result of just this kind of creative and imaginative reflection. It multiplies our possibilities and transforms the lives of people — no small thing in a world in which phone booths and trans-Pacific liners have given way to cell phones and jet planes.

To learn more about the affiliate program, contact Matt Norman at


Summer 2009



Providing refuge Field personnel open home, family to former child soldiers

The story began in 2001. Jade and Shelah Acker were


working in Sudan at a camp for former child soldiers. The United Nations had demobilized more than 3,000 boys from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, and approximately 350 boys were living in this one camp.

CBF photos

“We formed strong relationships with some of the boys and got to know their stories,” said Shelah. “Some of them did not know if their families were dead or alive, and some knew their families were in government controlled areas they could not go to.” When the camp closed, the Ackers traveled to another part of Sudan to work on a relief project. They were surprised to find several of the boys from the camp there, living on the streets and doing what they could to survive. The Ackers advocated on their behalf again and again when the army came to reenlist them. By 2003, several of the former child soldiers had become part of the Ackers’

Volleyball and Twister are two popular games at the Acker’s home in Uganda.

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Summer 2009

extended family, and with insecurity in the region they arranged for nine of the boys to go to school in Kenya. Now, the Ackers’ home in Uganda is always full of people. Commissioned as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel in 2004, the Ackers moved to Uganda in 2008 after previously serving in Senegal. They purposely selected a home that would be large enough for their children and their extended family of boys. In addition to the Ackers’ two young daughters, their house is home to Lino, a teenager from Sudan the Ackers are in the process of adopting. So far, four of the former child soldiers have moved to Uganda from Kenya to be near the Ackers, living in a smaller house on the Ackers’ property. And then there are three ministry workers, who work out of the Ackers’ garage office. “We work mainly with people who have been in conflict, which means they have often lost their homes or lost their families, and they are living in a strange place,” Shelah said. “So our whole ministry is committed to providing a refuge for people — a spiritual refuge and a spiritual home, as well as a physical refuge for them. So I feel like providing a home is what we do; it is essential to our ministry.” One evening as the Ackers’ family and extended family sat around the dinner table, one of the guys shared that they had never said the word “daddy.” “It hit me very hard at that moment to think that we have the opportunity to show these young people what it means to have a family that cares about them,” Shelah said. “Sometimes I wonder if all this is just too hard, but that moment made it all worth it.” UNICEF estimates that 300,000 child soldiers are currently fighting in conflicts around the world. Seven of the nine boys, now teenagers and young men, who are part of the Acker’s extended family were

To financially support the Fellowship’s ministry, give online at ministry expenses is supported by the CBF Offering for Global Missions.

The Ackers’ extended family includes (from left to right) Abraham, Saudi, Barakat, Shelah, Jade, their daughters Kaelah and Anna-Grace, and Lino.

directly involved in the Sudanese civil war that lasted from 1983 to 2005. An estimated 2 million people were killed and 4 million displaced during the conflict. Saudi, one of the young men, began fifth grade at the age of 15. Now, he’s nearing the end of high school and dreaming of being a politician. He wants to return to his village as a leader, providing education, training and resources. “These nine guys have had a chance to continue their education, and they’ve done so well,” Jade said. “They speak English, Swahili and Arabic. They have skills that can help them in the future and allow them to make a positive impact on their communities.” Jennifer Wilmore, who served with the Ackers this spring through CBF’s Student.Go program, witnessed the bond the Ackers and these young men have. Saudi told Wilmore that meeting the Ackers was “an act of God.” He said they have inspired him to want to go out and do something for his community. “These guys have impacted our lives in

so many ways we cannot hardly remember life before them,” Shelah said. “To describe how much we love them and care for them is difficult — it’s something God has given us for them. We feel God brought them into our lives, and it’s really a miraculous story. When we met them, most of them were teenagers and now they are young adults, so we feel our parental role has shifted toward being friends and mentors.” The relationships they’ve built with the young men from Sudan are just part of the Acker’s multifaceted ministry in Uganda. They recently started three projects that they hope to develop and raise funding for this year: • Provide educational opportunities to 20 youth from the Democratic Republic of Congo who were former child soldiers or children displaced by war. • In the Ugandan village of Greek, facilitate the construction of a multipurpose center, which will serve as a school, place of worship and community meeting place. At-

tacks on the village, including cattle raids, have forced the community to move six times in the past few years. • In the Ugandan District of Kaberamaido, to train 10 widows and 10 former militia members in agricultural methods that will generate income and improve their quality of life. Rebels in Uganda previously attacked the people in Kaberamaido, displacing them from their homes. Now the fighting has stopped and the militia has been disbanded allowing the community to replant. “For me, being the presence of Christ is about being here daily and investing in people’s lives,” Jade said. “Not just projects, not just buildings, not just ideas or goals, but day to day being with people, hearing their needs, hearing their struggles and in some way, in whatever ways we can, meeting some of those physical needs. I guess that is being the presence of Christ.” By Patricia Heys, CBF Communications

or use the envelope included with this issue. As CBF career field personnel, the Ackers’ salary and fellowship!

Summer 2009



Anderson helps homel


CBF field personnel Eddie and Macarena Aldape hold medical camps twice a month in cities across northern India.

Anderson has started a partnership with Faith House, a shelter for women and children in Enfield, N.C. A poster in director Gloria Caudle’s office reads, “I’m homeless, but I’m not alone.” That’s what her ministry does for women recovering from lifealtering situations.


ames walked in Union Mission’s building with purpose. He stood tall, proud but worried. His shift was eliminated, and now he didn’t have a job or a place to live. He spent the previous night

sleeping in an abandoned building in Roanoke Rapids, N.C. The next day he decided to come to nearby Union Mission — a place he said he’d never thought he’d need — for help and hope. His restless legs shook with anxiety as he sat across the table from LaCount

Carla Wynn Davis photos

LaCount Anderson, one of CBF’s field personnel, leads a Bible study for men in the Union Mission recovery program, which he directs. Bible study and life skills training are important components of the recovery program.




summer 2009

Anderson, the director of the men’s recovery program at Union Mission, the area’s largest homeless shelter. Anderson listened to James’ story and said, “The Lord has sent you here. Why don’t you sleep here tonight? We have a bed for you.” That invitation spelled not only immediate relief but also a chance for a new beginning for James and the dozens of other men that Anderson has led through the recovery program. Anderson, who was appointed as one of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s field personnel at CBF’s General Assembly in July, has been working at Union Mission for two years – the best two years of his life. “All of the training and other ministry I’ve done in my life has led me to be here,” said Anderson, who has served previously as a pastor and in education ministry. “I see miracles every day. I see God impact lives.” One is Jimmy, who used cocaine for 20 years before accepting Christ in Anderson’s

To learn about missions opportunities in North Carolina and around the

less ‘get back on their feet’ office and stopping his drug use. Another is Phil, who spent 13 years in prison before going through the recovery program. Now, he’s the manager of a local thrift store. And there are dozens of other success stories — of men who came in homeless and left with a better vision and purpose for their life. The recovery program has three stages, including an initial three months of basics — Bible study, discipleship, life skills and the development of a life plan. During the second stage the men pursue any necessary education or training, and in the third stage they prepare to find a job. “We’re small. We can’t help everybody, but we want to make a difference in some people,” said Anderson of the program and its 55 percent success rate, which is high compared to similar ministries. Most of all, the recovery program gives men hope. “The hope we give them is Jesus,” said Ron Weeks, the mission’s director. “Jesus is the hope and light.” In recent months Anderson has widened his focus to include additional local ministries, such as two community gardens that will help provide food to needy people in Halifax County. He’s also partnering with Faith House, a ministry in the small community of Enfield. Faith House is led by Gloria Caudle, who started the homeless shelter for women

and children in 2007. Affectionately called Mission, which had mailed him a letter. “Miss Gloria,” Caudle houses up to eight He went in one day to volunteer and came women as they recover from drugs, abusive home to tell his wife, Anna, that he thought relationships, depression and other lifeGod was calling him to work there. A few altering situations. At Faith House they get days later he was hired and hasn’t stopped their lives back on track, just like Caudle enjoying what he calls his new dream job. did many years ago. When she escaped a “I share God more now than I ever did previously bad marriage — one where the before in my 30 years of ministry. I get no poverty was so great that she was down to greater thrill than watching someone give just a tray of ice in the refrigerator — she their life to Christ,” he said. promised God she would give back to others. “God can transform,” she said. “This is By Carla Wynn Davis, CBF my assignment. I have been commissioned Communications to do this.” What Faith House With high levels of poverty in Halifax County, N.C., Anderson needs is a little extra help and a group from First Baptist — repairing the house, Church in Scotland Neck, N.C., providing toiletries and planted a community garden that will supply food for the neediest other essential items. And people in the area. that’s where Anderson began to think he could help. As one of CBF’s field personnel, he aims to connect Fellowship partner churches with ministries among the homeless in eastern North Carolina, which has some of the state’s poorest areas. “I want to help churches discover a way to reach out in their neighborhood,” said Anderson, a native of Savannah, Ga. Reaching out to neighbors is something Anderson knows about. Two years ago he unexpectedly lost his job and, while looking for another job, he decided to visit Union

world, contact Chris Boltin at or (800) 352-8741. fellowship!

Summer 2009



A place to 5


Sierra, 8, and her three cousins are being raised by their grandmother. It’s a common family dynamic in Owsley County. Together For Hope, CBF’s rural poverty initiative, works alongside families and communities in the eastern Kentucky county. The ministry connected Sierra’s family with a partner church in Virginia that will cover the costs of electricity in the family’s home for the next year, something Sierra has lived most of her life without. “It’s important for girls like Sierra to complete school and be exposed to life outside of their counties of poverty,” said Paula Settle, one of CBF’s field personnel who serves in Kentucky. “So often, the cycle of poverty continues for generations. We want to give children like Sierra encouragement and support and show them what their future could look like.”


Angela, a 15-year old girl growing up in inner-city Miami, has found the love of a family and the feeling of home in the youth program at Touching Miami with Love (TML). Angela comes to TML every day after school to participate in the youth program, which includes homework assistance, life skills, entrepreneurship training, creative arts and Bible study. Even when her family became homeless and she was living in a shelter, Angela continued faithfully coming to TML everyday after school. Angela recently wrote, “TML is like my second home — one big family. Miss Christy, who is our youth director, is like a second mom to me. She tries her best to supply us with all of our needs, physically, emotionally and mentally. TML is so lucky to be blessed with so much joy, love and happiness. We are not just going to sit around and let that love, joy and happiness go to waste. We are going to spread it, and that’s why we welcome everyone with open arms.” The TML youth program serves many inner city youth like Angela, who are looking for  a second home. CBF has supported TML since 1994. Currently four CBF field personnel serve at TML — Christy Craddock, Angel and Jason Pittman and Keri Spears.


Hae So

CBF photos

The Karen language does not have separate words for house and home, though finding a real home, a place to belong, is the dream of the Karen people. One of many ethnic minorities in the Thailand-Burma region, the Karen have long been persecuted by the Burmese military dictatorship. Hundreds of thousands have poured over the border into Thailand seeking refuge. Approximately 30,000 Karen are trying to make a home in the United States under a government program. Hae So is one of the 30,000. Duane Binkley, one of CBF’s field personnel, met Hae So and heard his story. Hae So was walking near his home in Burma, when soldiers accused him of being a rebel and arrested him. In jail, he was able to break off a piece of the bamboo wall to use as a small shovel. He dug enough to squeeze under the wall and ran. When he reached his family, they all fled to Thailand, where they lived several years in a refugee camp. Now, Hae So and his family live in Illinois. He works at a meat processing plant, and his children are able to attend school. “When we asked Hae So what he appreciated most about life in the United States, he replied he was most happy that he, his family and the Karen community were accepted in a local Baptist church,” Binkley said.




Summer 2009

To learn more about the ministries of CBF


call home Yacine

Yacine is a young woman from Senegal who traveled with her family to Spain. She is one of many immigrants from Africa who have settled in an urban neighborhood in southern Spain. Written in graffiti on their apartment building, where many African immigrants live, are words meaning, “Without God, or home country, or love.” The words are reality for refugees and immigrants, who often travel to Spain to escape violence and extreme poverty. “Many come to Spain in search of a better life, survival, peace or just to find a way to feed their families. But when they arrive they find these dreams are hard to attain, and they become lonely, hungry and sad,” said Tiffne Whitley, who serves with her husband, Joel, as CBF field personnel in Spain. “We seek to build relationships, offer them friendship, hope and a sense of home.” The Whitleys minister in hopes of helping refugees and immigrants feel more at home in Spain by providing food and clothing, opportunities for fellowship, language classes and religious conversation.

Sasha and Misha

In Kiev, Ukraine, brothers Sasha, 5, and Misha, 7, are two of five children who have found a home at the Village of Hope, a foster care facility operated by the Ukrainian Center for Christian Cooperation. The brothers were abandoned by their mother — left alone in a house without food, water or heat. A man looking to purchase the house stopped by and noticed the two boys huddled together inside. Gennady and Mina Podgaisky, CBF field personnel who helped start Village of Hope, form relationships with street children and orphans throughout Kiev, providing them with basic necessities and helping those who want to move off the streets. “We minister to thousands of children at risk in Kiev,” said the Podgaiskys. “Some live in the streets, some in orphanages and some are about to be kicked to the streets by their parents. God intended for all of these children to have a place to call home. Our goal is to find a home for each child that needs one and wants one.”




In Brussels, Belgium, Janée Angel teaches English to immigrants and refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. She says the word “home” creates a challenging lesson. She tries to explain that “house” is a building of residence, but “home” is a sense of belonging. Ahmed, from Morocco, said he began to understand this idea through the people in the English classes. He said the classes have become like a second home, where strangers become family. This is the same message Angel tries to communicate at the Arab Protestant Baptist Church in Brussels, where she and her husband, Hary, lead a Bible study and facilitate service projects.  “Each one of us is trying to create our home in Brussels, and Hary and I are trying to create ways for each person at our church to feel more at home and a part of the family of God,” said Angel, one of CBF’s field personnel. “At home we feel comfortable or at ease just being ourselves. The feeling of home is not always related to a place or a country, but the people around us often give us the greatest sense of home.”

Foster parents Yuri and Lena, with their two biological children and five foster children, including Sasha and Misha.

field personnel, go to fellowship!

Summer 2009



for engaging your community Missional churches are eager to get outside the walls of their facilities to be the presence of Christ in their communities. They seek to be engaged in a way that is highly contextualized and specific to their unique settings. They are less interested in duplicating existing ministries provided by other churches and non-profits and


Discover your passions Some congregations may want to engage in a study of spiritual

gifts and God-given passions before planning missions events. By discovering how members feel called to use their gifts, churches can plan more efficient and effective engagement with their communities. This approach also helps

more interested in the strategic role they can

prevent burnout and creates energy. Consider

play in contributing to the whole. Finally, they are

using Klesis, a resource produced by CBF to

prayerful and discerning about which ministries

help individuals and congregations discover

they will initiate based on the gifts and passions of

their unique calls to ministry. Action item: Host a church-wide missions

the congregation. Consider these suggestions for mobilizing your members to put their faith into action and become a church that is missionally focused.


Patricia Heys photo

By Devita Parnell

Mary Beth Waddell, a member of North Stuart Baptist Church in Stuart, Fla., served with other members of North Stuart at a back to school event at CBF partner Open House Ministries in Homestead, Fla.

project for members of all ages. Involve as many church members as possible by allowing

can a mission team’s learning continue and make

them to use their individual gifts and passions to

a difference long after the trip is over and have an

serve others. Bake cookies, offer free oil changes,

impact in the life of the larger congregation. Action item: Find out how you can continue to sup-

medical/dental/legal services, car washes, clean

Learn from practitioners

yards or pressure wash houses.

CBF field personnel rely on gifts to the CBF Offering for

Most communities have non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity, American Red

Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters and United Way that rely on a strong volunteer base. Involvement in such community-building organizations allows church members to gain important skills (such as construction, disaster relief, tutoring, etc.), while networking with others who are experienced at seeking solutions to complex situations such as poverty, homelessness, health care and education. Churches can also learn from the experiences and methodology of CBF field personnel who are tackling similar issues in other places. Affect, CBF’s magazine for adults, tells the stories of field personnel and also provides suggestions for direct


committee chair to build relationships with local non-profits. Encourage your deacons, pastor and missions teachers to order copies of Affect.

Find a way to minister long-term and build relationships

Global Missions, which funds their salaries and ministry expenses. Consider adding the ministry to your churchwide prayer list or collect needed supplies.

Missional engagement is not about quick fixes, but focuses on long-term

partnerships and relationships. Action item: Instead of collecting school supplies,

adopt a school in your community that allows you to mentor teachers, students and parents. Or, set up


When the issues get difficult, don’t back down Poverty, disease, basic human rights for women and children, caring for the

a Christmas store in your community and set prices

environment — these are issues that many will shy

that allow low income families to purchase items at

away from because they have no clue where to begin

greatly reduced rates. Such an approach may help

and they wonder what difference can really be made.

instill dignity and pride in the person now able to give

The global community is seeking to address these

gifts to family and friends.

same issues around the world in a concerted way.

application in your own community. Action item: Encourage your missions

port the ministry even after you’ve left. For example,


Build on the work of short-term mission teams

Research has shown that we have all the resources necessary to solve such issues. The question is, however, do we have the “will” to solve them? Action item: Find resources to help your

Churches typically do a good job of

congregation tackle big issues. CBF provides

preparing mission trip participants

resources related to the eight Millennium Development

on the front-end of their experience. But what do

Goals. Go online to for

churches do to build in the ongoing theological

ideas or order the MDG curriculum on CD through the

reflection and action after an experience ends? How

CBF Store by calling (888) 801-4223.

Devita Parnell serves as the Fellowship’s congregational resources specialist. Contact Parnell at or (800) 352-8741. To learn more about missional church resources, go to 18



Summer 2009

Missional Resources Starting off the new church year can be a time-consuming process. With all of the resources out there, where do you find what you need? Let us help. The CBF family of missional resources is designed to help churches and individuals along their missional journey. CBF has been providing resources for small group studies, individual devotionals and age-graded materials for more than 10 years. Whether you’re looking for something to use for adult Sunday school classes, thinking about Advent or looking for children’s resources, the Fellowship’s missional resources are a great place to start. Take a look at some of the resources offered by CBF. A full description of all of the CBF missional resources is available online at

It’s Time! A Journey Toward Missional Faithfulness 0540P003 This eight-week church-wide study includes sermons, small

Glimpses of Missional Faithfulness 0840P002 This collection of stories captures glimpses of missional

group studies, personal devotional material and more to help

faithfulness among CBF partnering congregations, sharing stories

churches and Christians live their lives on purpose and with

and inviting church-wide reflection. It can be used by individuals or

passion, in order to be the presence of Christ where they are.

in a small group setting. A natural follow-up to It’s Time: A Journey

This is a good starting place for churches seeking to under-

Toward Missional Faithfulness, the resource is designed to help

stand what missional means for their congregation. Start with

churches understand, begin and advance in the missional journey.

the It’s Time Kit, which includes one copy of each of the It’s

Price per item based on quantity: 1-25 = $6.95,

Time resources. $49.95

26-50 = $6.50, 51-100 = $5.95, 101+ = $4.95

Klesis: God’s Call and the Journey of Faith 0540P007

Destinations: Mapping your Missional Journey 0740P002

The call of God is extended to every person; first to

This church planning resource helps churches discern,

become a believer in Jesus, then to become Christ’s

as a community, their “destination” and map out ways to

presence in the world. Klesis: God’s Call and the Journey of

reach it together. Web aides, suggestions for books and

Faith was written to help Christians more carefully consider

other resources, ideas for ministry events and discussion

how God might be calling them to be the presence of Christ

guides are included. $9.95

in their world. This is a natural follow-up to It’s Time: A Journey Toward Missional Faithfulness. $14.95

New Resources from the Fellowship Prayers of the People 0960P007 The 2009-2010 CBF Prayer Guide each month includes four weekly prayer

Words That Shape and Form 0840P003 Words That Shape and Form is a 40-day resource for use

requests, scripture and imagery that invite readers to pray for CBF missions

by individuals, small groups and congregations. Ideal for the

and ministries. Also features a birthday calendar listing field personnel and their

Lenten season and other 40-day periods of the Christian year,

children, chaplains, pastoral counselors, church planters and partner mission

the resource helps participants explore the meaning and

personnel. Free

transforming potential of words like “advent” and “missional.”

Becoming Like Christ: Helping Children Follow Jesus 0840P006 This resource for children’s leaders is designed to help older children make a faith decision for Jesus. Six sessions introduce children to Jesus and what it means to follow him. Designed for use in many differing contexts (Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Backyard Bible Clubs, etc.),

With reflection questions, this resource makes for an exceptional devotional piece or small group study. Price per item based on quantity: 1-25 = $8.95, 26-50 = $8.50, 51-100 = $7.95, 101+ =$6.95

Advent Devotional Guide: God’s Most Generous Gift 0940P001 This Christmas season engage both children and adults in a

this resource works well with both churched and unchurched

meaningful Advent experience. This family devotional resource is

children. $14.95

designed as a standing flip book with a side for children and a side for adults. Imagine sitting around the kitchen table — children and adults reading an Advent devotional at the same time. $5

To place an order for any of the items listed visit or call (888) 801-4223. You can also go online to download the entire CBF Store catalog. fellowship!

Summer 2009



A legacy of faithfulness By Don Durham CBF Foundation President


ack and Martha Fields were a testament of faithfulness, frugality and commitment to global missions. Members of First Baptist Church of Chattanooga, Tenn., they lived the majority of their lives in northwest Georgia near the town of Chickamauga. Though they never ventured far out into the world themselves, their support of global missions through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and CBF Foundation will permanently impact God’s work on earth. Jack and Martha never made a lot of money. Both worked in professions not known for financial reward. He was a retired social worker and she was a retired high school home economics teacher. However, they lived frugal lives and were able to accumulate more than either of them ever expected. They lived in a modest home, forsook new, fancy clothing and never traveled as much as their means would have easily allowed. They were also ministers. No church had ordained them, but they served. Their friends and family tell endless stories about Martha’s helpfulness over the years to countless young people beyond those in her classroom. She would teach them how

learn |

to live, how to cook and how to keep house. She used her gifts to help warm their hearts. In retirement, one of Jack’s hobbies, in addition to wood working, was managing their stock portfolio. He became quite good at investing and saw it as his full-time job to grow the money God had entrusted them into as large a resource for missions as possible by the ends of their lives. With no children of their own to care for, they decided to continue their lives of caring for others by leaving a surprising legacy of their faithfulness through their estate. Some might say they were frugal to a fault, denying themselves pleasures most of us take for granted. They didn’t see it that way. When I first met Jack and Martha early in my work with CBF Foundation they made their simple intentions clear. “We don’t see anything we have as our own,” they said. “Our money is God’s money, and we want it to be used for God’s work. We like what we hear about CBF’s missionaries. We’ve heard people speak in our church, we always read fellowship! news, and we want to help.” Jack and Martha never wanted anyone to know what they were doing, especially the magnitude

of what they were doing, while they were alive. They did agree to let me tell their story as long as their names were not used. When I would visit Jack and Martha and share the reactions of others to whom I had told their story, they would look at each other, get a little teary eyed, and just shake their heads. They were amazed that anyone thought what they were doing was special. They were special. The Jack & Martha Fields Endowment Fund for Global Missions provides permanent funding for CBF field personnel salaries and exists as a lasting testimony to their faithfulness. Jack and Martha, well done good and faithful servants.

Jack and Martha Fields

To learn more about the CBF Foundation or setting up an endowment, go online to or contact Don Durham at (800) 352-8741 or

You’ve Got the Time Join the churches of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in listening to the Bible during Lent or some other 40-day period in 2010. As Baptists, we claim to be people of the “Book,” but, if we are honest with ourselves, we might admit that we don’t spend enough time with the Bible to let it meaningfully impact our lives. The Fellowship is engaging in this project so that together we will be more deeply formed in Christlikeness and better able to fulfill our vision of being the presence of Christ in the world. Learn more at 20



Summer 2009

‘Holding T onto hope’ Field personnel serve at school providing safe haven for Roma youth

Clista and Glen Adkins have served as CBF field personnel in Hungary since 2007, when they began working with the minority Roma people group.

CBF photos

Below: Through teaching English and leading a Bible study, Clista has formed strong relationships with Gandhi School students.

here are a handful of Roma teenagers who were just beginning to believe they could dream big dreams for their life. But those dreams — of overcoming the stereotypes and expectations of being born a “Hungarian Gypsy” — are now at risk. The New York Times recently reported that the economic downturn has triggered a wave of violence against the Roma in Hungary where Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Clista and Glen Adkins work with the marginalized people group. After several years of seemingly less discrimination, there are old stereotypes and prejudices aggressively returning. “No one is pretending to like ‘gypsies’ any longer,” the Adkins said. And that’s what makes their ministry all the more important now. In southwestern Hungary, just outside the city of Pecs, the Adkins serve at Gandhi School, a residential high school for as many as 300 academically-gifted Roma teenagers seeking a better future. — Continued on page 22


Summer 2009




Pray for protection and justice for the Roma, that the violence would end and they might be treated as equals.

The Gandhi School was started 15 years ago and remains the country’s only all-Roma high school. Public schools are open to Roma but are often hostile environments for this minority, the Adkins said. Though laws exist to protect all students, some schools still isolate the Roma into classes for the mentally handicapped. With so many obstacles, only 3 percent of all Roma in Hungary graduate and go to college.

Economic downturn sparks renewed discrimination against Roma The global economic downturn has left many Roma unemployed and resulted in renewed aggression against this minority people group. Many Roma are viewed as lazy, unwilling to work and a drain on the social welfare system. And the recent rapid rise in unemployment has fueled that stereotype. “The Roma people are the last to be hired in a good economy and the first to be fired when things go bad,” said CBF field personnel Dianne and Shane McNary. The McNarys serve in Slovakia, which is home to a large Roma population. Long one of Europe’s most neglected minorities, the Roma people increasingly have become targets for localized violence and aggression. Some Roma have been physically attacked. Others have had their houses burned or bombed. Levels of fear and suspicion are rising. While many of the requests for help that the McNarys receive are related to poverty or financial problems, sometimes local Roma “just seem to want to know that there is someone [like us] who knows what is going on,” Shane said.




Summer 2009

“Many students want to have big dreams, but reality here tends to squash those dreams before they even have time to take root. They have a hard time holding onto hope,” Glen said. Most Gandhi School students come from impoverished families, many of which don’t have steady income, healthcare or balanced nutrition. Their parents often are suspicious of and resistant to education, preferring their children to marry early and start a family. Beyond providing a standard high school education, Gandhi School teaches and equips its students to strive for more. “When they graduate from Gandhi, they have what few Roma have — hope for their futures,” Clista said. “In addition, we hope we can help them to understand that God loves them and that God’s gift of love in Jesus Christ was for Roma just as much as it was for everyone else.” Students like Janos have great hopes for the future. He wants to be a doctor and is thriving in school, where he is passing national exams, helping tutor his fellow classmates and improving his English — something his previous school told him he couldn’t do. Another student, Dori, wants to attend college in the U.S. and then return to eastern Europe to help educate Roma women and children. “Education has given Dori the chance to dream. She wants to provide that hope and vision for other Roma women,” Clista said. And that’s vital in a culture where desperate Roma girls and women sometimes resort to prostitution for income. Once during a weekly Bible study the Adkins asked students what they were most afraid of. “One 15-year-old girl answered, ‘I don’t ever want to have to stand on the side of the road,’” Clista said. “The threat of having to

be a prostitute to survive is both real and frightening. Therefore working with young Roma women — to help them find hope — is critical for the future of these desperate and despised people.” Since 2007 when they were appointed as CBF field personnel, Clista has taught English classes at the school, and Glen has directed the school’s choir, which recently recorded a CD and will be going on tour in Baptist churches in Hungary and Slovakia. “People all around us seem to be looking for hope. Hopefully, by building relationships with all of these students and teachers, we are being living parables about the love of God and the family of God,” Glen said. Both seminary graduates, the Adkins previously served at First Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C., a CBF partnering congregation that is consistently engaged in Roma ministry. One group of women in the church recently provided a shopping trip for a new student named Isti, who arrived at the school without even underwear or socks. Because of the church members, she was able to return the clothes she had borrowed from her homeroom teacher and buy something she wanted. “I don’t know that I have ever seen such dawning joy on the face of a teenager in all

The Gandhi School choir, which Glen directs, recently recorded its first CD of songs native to the Roma culture.

my life. I think this shopping trip did more for her sense of worth than we will ever know,” Clista said. More than 70 percent of the students arrive with little to nothing. To meet the constant need, other churches have given gifts of socks, toiletries, choir materials, English books, and funding for several students to attend last year’s Baptist World Alliance’s Youth Congress in Leipzig, Germany. Churches like Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., and First Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., have traveled to Hungary to help with English camps and other ministries. “Through all of your consistent and ongoing efforts and gifts, we help these students get a glimmer of hope. We show that God doesn’t get tired and go home, that God’s love for them isn’t dependent on the political or economic climate, that God’s presence isn’t conditional or whimsical,” Clista said.

There are always opportunities for churchof a gift from God than it is a job,” Clista said. es to travel to Hungary to teach English, lead “This is a place where miracles happen evcamps, help with construction projects, and ery day, even in the middle of tragedy and lead music and other special programs. Felhopelessness. If any or all of these students lowship Baptists could also partner with speaccomplish their goals, the results could cific groups or classes, such as English classes ripple through their families and communithat are always in need of U.S. pen pals. ties in ways we cannot even comprehend.” As with many CBF field personnel, the Adkins are financially supported through By Carla Wynn Davis, CBF Communications CBF’s Offering for Global Missions, which provides for operating expenses, salaries and lifechanging ministries. Online — Go to For questions regarding online “I feel so privigiving, contact leged to get to repreMail — Use the contribution envelope included in this issue and make your sent all of our former check payable to CBF. congregations and Phone — Call CBF toll-free at (800) 352-8741. the Fellowship here in Hungary. It is more fellowship!

Summer 2009



Cooperative Baptist Fellowship 2930 Flowers Road South, Suite 133 Atlanta, GA 30341 • (800) 352-8741

Online registration available now for collegiate conference


a special conference for

college and graduate students Dec. 29, 2009 - Jan. 2, 2010 First Baptist Church in Decatur, Ga.

Faith. Hope. Love. Now.

In a global

climate of need, change, conflict and disparity — these three things remain — and the world needs them … now. Come to engage in honest dialogue and discussion, to ask hard questions, consider new answers and open yourself to God’s leading your life. Come stretch your worldview, worship in different ways, hear and be heard and really

An all-inclusive $249 pays for everything

listen to God. Attend the 2009 Antiphony event and you

— all meals, hotel lodging, programming, parties,

just might walk away changed forever.

t-shirt and an unforgetable New Year’s Eve gala.




Spring 2009

Sam Davidson Speaker for Dec. 31

Ruth Perkins Lee Speaker for Dec. 29

Don’t miss Antiphony. Visit

Amy and John Wiles Worship Leaders

Mike Young Speaker for Dec. 30

Julie Pennington-Russell Speaker for Jan. 1 to learn more or register.

Mark your calendars for other CBF events:

n Women’s Clergy Retreat – Sept. 28-30 n Clergy & Lay Leadership Retreat – Oct. 28-30 n Ministers Retreat – Jan. 18-20

n ChurchWorks Conference – Feb. 22-24 n Clergy & Lay Leadership Retreat – April 11-16

To learn more or register, go to

2009 Summer issue of fellowship!  
2009 Summer issue of fellowship!  

CBF's fellowship! magazine; summer issue