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A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship • www.cbf.net

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015

CBF in South Africa

JOINING GOD AT WORK IN THE RAINBOW NATION


We are not an accidental witness…

SUZII PAYNTER is Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Follow her on Twitter at @SuziiSYP.

Global Christians, Global Baptists, Global CBF CBF CHURCHES AND INDIVIDUALS are global. One major channel for expressing global impact, deep spiritual kinship and relevant partnership is through our membership in and support of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA). Gathering together at the 21st Baptist World Congress in Durban, South Africa, in July for worship and Bible study with dedicated Baptist Christians from around the world was a visible expression of the community of God’s people. This summer, BWA delegations included Liberians who had recently navigated the tragic effects of Ebola, Nigerians who asked for fervent prayers in light of the violent acts of Boko Haram, Middle Eastern Baptists from Iraq, Lebanon and Israel as well as Baptists from Columbia, India, the South Pacific, Australia, Taiwan and more than 80 countries joined in worship at the global gathering of our Baptist family. It was not long in the hallways before you were embracing friends from Hong Kong, Korea and Japan. “So blessed to see CBF” — this phrase of friendship and connection was repeated over and over. But in truth, it is a blessing to be part of the beloved community of BWA. During worship and Bible study each day at the World Congress, there was repeated reflection on the role of reconciliation and peacemaking for Baptist Christians, reminding us of recent Russian and Ukrainian Baptists in dialogue and echoing words from Karen Bullock’s reflection on 400 years of Baptists. “There are many positive ways to understand our history for our constructive engagement for the future,” she wrote. “Peace-bearing/reconciliation is one of these positive themes that traces through the four centuries of Baptist witness, challenging us to the continuance of this enduring legacy. Following World War II, Baptist minister James Henry Rushbrooke re-wove the wounded tatters of European Baptist life as Christian individuals by nations had to face the pain, forgive each other and learn to live in Christ together. In the later twentieth

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century alone, Baptists have woven peace in record numbers as they reconciled major differences in Angola, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Italy, South Africa, Thailand, Zambia and the United States.” Knowing that the BWA World Congress will not meet again for five years, there is a focus on the practices in faith formation that prompt openness to global kinship. Thinking in five-year increments raises our eyes to the horizon. Where should we go together? How? The BWA truly is a global organization with capable and inspiring leadership from all parts of the world, with principles that can guide our global conversation and provide wise touch points for the church at home as well.

BWA Abbreviated Principles and Guidelines: • Christians are finite beings and sinners saved by grace. Therefore, we cannot assume that our knowledge or understanding is complete and free from error. On account of this, our opinions and perspectives must always be offered in a spirit of humility and with the request for the Holy Spirit to guide us in our speaking and in our listening to others. • All humans are made in the image of God. In Christ, we are being conformed to the image of Christ and we share in the one body of Christ. We “affirm the dignity of all people, male and female, because they are created in God’s image and called to be holy.” Furthermore, as members of the body of Christ, we belong to one another. As a world community of Baptist believers, we remain incomplete until we have vigorously sought to hear, understand and respect the diverse viewpoints reflected by others. • The members of the BWA celebrate the gift of language that reflects our rich diversity. Language is an index of one’s identity and affirms one’s history and culture. The BWA therefore recognizes the need to provide for greater opportunities to assist members to hear and speak in their own languages.

• We are called to love one another. By this, we demonstrate that we are Christ’s disciples. We believe that true unity and fellowship can never be achieved until relationships move beyond acknowledgment of and respect for the other, toward care and concern. • We acknowledge that Baptists are known to have a wide range of opinions and perspectives on many issues including what constitutes “truth.” Yet, we love and accept one another. When we believe an opinion or perspective is seriously flawed, we challenge each other as beloved family members rather than as strangers and enemies.

A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Volume 25, Number 5

October/November 2015

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. EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR Suzii Paynter ASSOCIATE COORDINATOR, FELLOWSHIP ADVANCEMENT Jeff Huett EDITOR Aaron Weaver GRAPHIC DESIGNER Travis Peterson ASSOCIATE EDITOR Carrie McGuffin ASSISTANT EDITOR Candice Young PHONE (770) 220-1600


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THE GOD WHO SEES ME Johannesburg ministry seeks transformation alongside South Africa Ministry Network By Aaron Weaver

FROM THE EDITOR

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LOVE GOD. TEACH NEIGHBOR. BE TRANSFORMED.

FEATURED ON THE COVER of this issue is a photo of a mural painted on the walls of an activity center at the Refilwe Community Project, a multi-faceted ministry serving the impoverished Lanseria district just north of Johannesburg, CBF in South Africa South Africa. In 2006, a group of Canadian Rotary students designed the painting to visually articulate the hope that Refilwe aims to bring to its community and the hope it wishes to spread around the world as visiting volunteers return home to their communities inspired to do good. A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship • www.cbf.net

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015

CBF field personnel share Christ’s great love through literacy ministry in Romania By Blake Tommey

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JOINING GOD AT WORK IN THE RAINBOW NATION

BEING PRESENT South Africa Ministry Network embraces ‘Pilgrim Posture’ on mission journey in Rainbow Nation

The quote on the mural captures the vision of Refilwe to break the cycle of poverty by being a transformational (rather than transactional) organization.

By Aaron Weaver

“It’s so important to move from a transactional organization to a transformational organization,” Refilwe’s director Lelane Brits told me. “It’s so easy to be transactional, to say, ‘I will feed you, I will give you a bed.’ Transformational is when you really make a difference and you really address the reason why we are here.”

SAYING NO TO PARACHUTE MISSIONS

Read on pp. 8-11 about how Refilwe, alongside partners like the CBF South Africa Ministry Network, is living into its vision, seeking transformation for both its community and the vulnerable children in its care.

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South Africa Ministry Network offers model for long-term change through short-term missions By Aaron Weaver

6 CONNECTING THE DOTS By Carrie McGuffin Selah Vie provides young Baptists time to ‘pause life’ for connection and discernment

12 COOPERATIVE BAPTISTS AT 21

ST

BAPTIST WORLD CONGRESS

CBF sends delegation to Durban, South Africa for Baptist World Alliance’s quinquennial gathering

14 MODERATOR PROFILE By Carrie McGuffin Meet CBF Moderator Matt Cook

20 A LOOK AT CBF MISSIONS AARON WEAVER is the Editor of fellowship! Connect with him at aweaver@cbf.net

An introduction to CBF Global Missions commitments and contexts

30 AFFECT: OCTOBER 2015 Literacy Ministry

31 AFFECT: NOVEMBER 2015 South Africa Ministry Network

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015

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prayerspeople of the

Praying Psalm 23 By Bo Prosser

P

erhaps there is no more beloved “song” in the world than Psalm 23. Christians have recited it over and over in worship services and in private prayer. The psalm is attributed to the “boy” David, who composed as he watched over his flock of sheep. Certainly it has been recited by generations to bring comfort and assurance to all. In some ways, Psalm 23 is a prayer of comfort and unwavering confidence in God. While not quoted directly in the New Testament, the thoughts of this great song undoubtedly influenced its writings. These months, pray Psalm 23 daily. Write it out on a note card; keep it in your Bible. Don’t just recite it out of memory, but pay attention to the words you are praying. Read the words for meaning as you pray; internalize the comfort of this prayer. Next, focus on the meaning of the prayer for your life. What does it mean for you that God is your shepherd? What does it mean that God prepares rest and refreshment for you? What does it mean for you personally that in your hour of deepest need God is with you? Personalize this psalm as you pray. Now, add one more part to the psalm. Add the names on the prayer list on this page for each day as part of your prayer. As you pray Psalm 23, also pray, “God please remember (say the names), even as you remember me.” This psalm will become even more dear to you in these coming days — so will the people for whom you are praying. Pray for comfort for yourself and those you choose on the prayer list, pray for assurance, pray for unwavering confidence in God, the Good Shepherd!

BO PROSSER is the CBF Coordinator of Strategic Partnerships. Follow him on Twitter at @BoProsser.

CBF Ministries Prayer Calendar CH = Chaplain FP = Field Personnel FPC = Child of Field Personnel GMP = Global Missions Partner PC = Pastoral Counselor CST = Church Planter S = CBF Staff

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OCTOBER 1 Tina Bailey, Southeast Asia (FP) Ron Craddock, Evans, GA (CH) 2 Maha Boulos, Lebanon (FP) Keith Holmes, Netherlands (FP) 3 Jonathan Bailey, Southeast Asia (FP) Greg Long, Elgin, TX (CST) Matt Norman, Spain (FP) 4 Matthew Eddleman, Travelers Rest, SC (CH) Michael Metcalf, Evans, GA (CH)

5 Kate Blackshear, Austin, TX (CH) Jo Ann Hopper, Emeritus (FP) Gregory Thompson, Oakwood, GA (CH) Christopher Towles, Pfafftown, NC (CH) David White, Murfreesboro, TN (CH) 6 Gerald Richards, Apex, NC (CH) 7 Daniel Brockhan, Cheektowaga, NY (CH) 8 Lucas Dorian (S-Alabama) Lisa Jeffcoat, Charlotte, NC (CH) Robb Small, Geismar, LA (CH) 10 Larry Aaron, Danville, VA (CH) Joseph Boone, Cold Spring, KY (CH) Beth Duke, Smithville, TN (CH) Amber Hipps, Gadsden, AL (CH) Jay Martin, Woodland Park, CO (PC) Tina Woody, Spartanburg, SC (CH) 11 Michael McGrath, Little Rock, AR (CH) Laura Senter, Everett, WA (CH) Sing Yue, Bakersfield, CA (CH) 12 Ben Newell, San Antonio, TX (FP) Greg Sink, Killeen, TX (CH) 13 Lloyd Blevins, Fayetteville, NC (CH) Bob Newell, Emeritus (FP) John Painter, Charleston, SC (CH) Fran Turner, Emeritus (FP) Gretchen Watson, Louisville, KY (PC) 14 Janel Miller-Evans, St. Petersburg, FL (FP) 15 Bruce Guile, Mexico, MO (CH) 16 Karen Black, Fort Worth, TX (CH) Betty Drayton, Sumter, SC (CH) Greg Greason, Kansas City, MO (CH) Monty Self, Little Rock, AR (CH) 17 Frank Broome (S-Georgia) Bob Cheatheam, Abilene, TX (CST) David Fambrough, Greenville, NC (CH) 18 Hank Demous, Opelika, AL (CH) Danny Garnett, Irmo, SC (PC) 19 Mike Hutchinson, Togo (FP) 20 Carl Brinkley, Fayetteville, NC (CST) Annette Ellard, Louisville, KY (FP) Chuck Hawkins, Pearland, TX (CH) Luke Langston, Durham, NC (CH) 22 Keith Cooper, Lubbock, TX (CH) Paul Robertson, Sugar Land, TX (CH) Missy Ward-Angalla, Uganda (FP) 23 Adele Henderson, Roanoke, VA (CH) John Lassitter, Martindale, TX (CH) Carl Price, Lebanon, TN (CH) Michael Weaver, Beaumont, TX (CH) 24 Ben Collins, Deland, FL (CST) Tawanda Hughes (S-Decatur) Charles Lumpkin, Greensboro, NC (CH) Wes Monfalcone, Casselberry, FL (CH) Robert Powell, Birmingham, AL (CH) Rick Ruano, North Miami Beach, FL (CH) 25 Doug Cobb, McGregor, TX (CH) Suzie, Southeast Asia (FP) 26 Dean Dickens, Emeritus (FP) 27 Robert Carter, Virginia Beach, VA (CH) Kathy Hope, Albuquerque, NM (CH) Terrell Moye, Palm Beach Gardens, FL (CH) 29 Sam Scaggs, Dublin, GA (CH) Troy Todd, Sneads Ferry, NC (CH) 30 Richard Brown, Troutville, VA (CH) Hazel Thomas, Houston, TX (CH) 31 Phyllis Boozer (S-Northeast)

NOVEMBER 1 Lynne Mouchet, Johns Creek, GA (CH) 2 Karen Alford, Southeast Asia (FP) Mark Elder, Spartanburg, SC (CH) Jesse Hunt, Fort Drum, NY (CH) Mickie Norman, Leland, NC (CH/CST) Suzii Paynter (S-Decatur) Ryan Yaun, Wetumpka, AL (CH) 3 Michael McCawley, Carthage, NY (CH) David Reid, Boise, ID (CH) Jeffrey Ross, Virginia Beach, VA (CH) Cyndi Abbe, Waco, TX (CST) 4 Eric Maas, Belize (FP) Mary Stinson, Berea, KY (CH) Mark Westebbe, Waynesboro, VA (CH) 5 ________, North Africa (FP) Cameron Gunnin, San Antonio, TX (CH) 6 Emerson Byrd, Fort Bliss, TX (CH) Jeff Lee, Macedonia (FP) Meghan McSwain, Winston-Salem, NC (CH)

7 Craig Butler, Sugar Land, TX (CH) Pat Coley, Sugar Grove, WV (CH) Darrell Hudson, Georgetown, TX (CH) Roland Kuhl, Round Lake Beach, IL (CST) Zachary Morrow, 1995, Aledo, TX (FPC) 8 Jay Kieve (S-South Carolina) Mark Weiler, Greeley, CO (CH) 9 Debby Bradley, Owensboro, KY (CH) Charles Seligman, San Antonio, TX (CH) Audrey Wilson, Durham, NC (CH) 10 Brooke, Southeast Asia (FP) Kevin Crowder, Fredericksburg, VA (CH) Angela Lowe, Lawrence, KS (CH) Ralph Mikels, Jr., Seymour, TN (CH) Jim Smith (S-Decatur) 11 Phoebe Angel, 2010, Belgium (FPC) Scott Blair, San Antonio, TX (CH) Dana Durham, Sacramento, CA (CH) Victor Perez, Knoxville, TN (CST) Troy Petty, Palmyra, VA (PC) Bert Sanders III, Winston-Salem, NC (CH) Steve Sweatt, Birmingham, AL (PC) 12 Michael Cox, Elizabethtown, KY (CH) John Lepper, Crestwood, KY (PC) Harry Rowland (S-Decatur) Caroline Smith, South Africa (FP) 13 Shelia Earl, Emeritus (FP) Earl Martin, Emeritus (FP) Devita Parnell (S-Decatur) Gail Smith, Hillsborough, NC (CH) Cindy Wallace, Carpentersville, IL (CH) 14 Katie Anderson, Louisville, KY (CH) Patterson Coates (S-Decatur) 15 Cris Avila, Newnan, GA (CST) Marcia McQueen, Eden, NC (CH) David Simmons, Harrisburg, PA (CH) 16 Anita Snell Daniels, Emeritus (FP) Edwin Hollis, Odenville, AL (CH) 17 Chuck Strong, Olive Branch, MS (CST) Elizabeth Thompson, Littleton, CO (PC) Cade Whitley, 2004, France (FPC) Dylan Whitley, 2004, France (FPC) 18 Elaine Greer, Frankfort, KY (CH) Kristin Long, Richmond, VA (PC) 19 Will Kinnaird, Keller, TX (CH) T. Nancy Cox, Georgetown, KY (CH) Deenie Grubbs (S-Mississippi) 20 Chuck Christie, Loganville, GA (CH) Kevin Park, Bellingham, WA (CH) Steven Porter (S-Decatur) Dean Vonfeldt, Marietta, GA (CH) 21 _______, Turkey (FP) Fred Madren, Indianapolis, IN (CH) 22 Becky Smith, Atlanta, GA (FP) 24 Will Barnes, Savannah, GA (CH) Carol Lynn Brinkley, Fayetteville, NC (CST) Peggy Gold, Durham, NC (CH) Will Manley, Johnson City, TN (CH) David Posey, Medina, TN (CH) Ruth Santos-Ortíz, Gainesville, GA (CH) 25 Gary Batchelor, Rome, GA (CH) Tony Biles, Richfield, NC (CH) Robert Cooke, Selma, NC (PC) Ed Farris, Topeka, KS (CH) Brad Hood, Knoxville, TN (CH) Chan Shaver, Jamestown, NC (CH) Sue Smith, Fredericksburg, VA (FP) Lee Weems, Pineville, LA (CH) 26 Carol Fletcher, Athens, GA (CH) Blake Hart (S-South Carolina) Michael O’Rourke, Alexandria, VA (CH) Charles Reynolds, Vicenza, Italy (CH) 27 Macarena Aldape, India (FP) Posey Branscome, Charlotte, NC (CH) Saul Burleson, Weaverville, NC (CH) Joshua James, Salisbury, MD (CST) 28 Ronald King, Midland, GA (PC) Abigail Parks, 2004, Slovakia (FPC) Mark Tidsworth, Chapin, SC (PC) Joel Whitley, France (FP) 29 Paul Mullen, Clemmons, NC (CH) 30 Rick McClatchy (S-Texas) Lucas Pittman, 2003, Miami, FL (FPC)


Celebrate!

FOR NEARLY 25 YEARS, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has been driven by its mission to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission. We’ve sought to live into our vision to be a national and global community bearing witness to the Gospel in partnership with Christians across the nation and around the world. On the eve of the 25th Anniversary, we are celebrating our future. CBF is living into the same attributes that our founders instilled. We strive to be Christ-like, innovative, authentic and global. We aspire to raise the bar on excellence with inspiring partnerships, ministries and missions, and like CBF partner-congregations, we are committed to being diverse — hearing and respecting different perspectives. Join your fellow Cooperative Baptists as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of CBF in 2016 at the General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C.

The 2016 CBF General Assembly will be hosted and held at the Sheraton Greensboro Hotel and Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in downtown Greensboro, N.C., June 20-24, 2016. Register now for free at www.cbf.net/assembly


c nnecting the d ts Selah Vie provides young Baptists time to ‘pause life’ for connection and discernment By Carrie McGuffin

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — More than 100 college students, graduate students and other young Baptists from across the country came together Aug. 3-5 to “pause life” during Selah Vie. This end-ofsummer retreat focused on “Connecting the Dots” and the process of discernment during times of transition. With the expectations and pressures that are placed on young people through family, school, society and technology, Selah Vie serves as an annual gathering that allows space to discuss major life decisions, listen to new voices, disconnect from technology, receive insights from Cooperative Baptist Fellowship leaders and form in faith together. This time of discerning and debriefing brought students together who served with Student.Go, CBF’s student missions initiative, and Student.Church, the Fellowship’s young adult congregational internship program, as well as other young Baptists still discerning their futures. Representatives from CBF, CBF partners and CBF state/regional organizations led participants in small-group discussions around discernment, engagement, formation and vision in light of their personal experience in mission, ministry or life stage. The small-group discussions began by making connections — looking at the ways that young Baptists can engage these topics and be shaped and transformed in conversation with their peers. Rachel Gunter Shapard, associate coordinator for CBF of Florida, focused on spiritual formation in her presentation to participants as the Fellowship has highlighted the idea of formation and “Forming Together” more boldly over the past year. “[Spiritual formation] is the process of being shaped into the image of Christ by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit in community for the transformation of the world,” Shapard said. This formation and transformation, she added, happens in the places where we are least Christ-like, when we are allowing ourselves to lead with our weaknesses and be vulnerable.

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As the students prayed, worshipped and fellowshipped with one another, this vulnerability was welcomed and celebrated as conversations aimed to dig deep, helping the young Baptists to grow together and shape one another. Meredith Stone, director of ministry guidance and an instructor at Logsdon Seminary at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, led the attendees in daily prayer and worship. Focusing her sermons on family, suffering and community, Stone connected stories from the Old Testament to the lives of the young adults. “During our worship times, we’re going to look at a few stories from the Old Testament,” Stone told the students. “And we’re going to think about those stories and the aspects of our lives that they represent to speak into the way that we connect the dots.” These dots of our lives, Stone explained, are inked by our families, the tragedies we face, the suffering we endure and the community that surrounds us. Through engaging the perspectives of the Old Testament characters, Stone affirmed that these three aspects of life are formative for all people — from the characters of old to the young people of today. The Christian narrative is shaped by those who are called because of the way that family, suffering or community have influenced and shaped the trajectory of their lives. Devita Parnell, manager of the CBF Young Baptist Ecosystem, expressed her hope that this time of pausing life to connect the dots gave the students a sense of community and support from CBF. “I hope that young adults will begin to experience the wisdom of pausing in the midst of life to discern important decisions and direction,” Parnell said. “As these young adults pay attention to their lives, we hope that they will begin to better understand their place in joining with God to renew the world and know that there is a community of support across this Fellowship for them.”


Young Baptists gathered in small groups with CBF leaders including Rachel Gunter Shapard (pictured center) of CBF of Florida to pray, learn and fellowship together throughout the week.

To kick off the retreat, participants played games and were led in activities geared to get them connected to one another.

Meredith Stone led retreat attendees in daily imaginative prayer and worship services focused on family, community and suffering.

Retreat attendees not only had time to connect but also to unwind with outdoor activities and a 1990s-themed dance.

Together, young Baptists and CBF staff and leaders gathered around the communion table during the final worship session.

Young Baptists at Selah Vie heard words of affirmation and support from CBF leadership as a benediction to the week.

Graduate students like Meagan Smith (left) and Rachel Freeny (right) connected and cooled off around a local Nashville treat of snow cones to beat the end-of-summer heat.

Selah Vie participants like Holden Hargrave (left) and Amanda Lewis (right) showed their creativity during the 1990s-themed dance party by showing off their 90s style and costumes. Photo: Holden Hargrave

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n the sixteenth chapter of Genesis, God promises the weary and desperate Hagar a future for her unborn son, Ishmael, offering the Egyptian maidservant hope and strength as she wanders through the burning Judean desert. Stopped at a spring, she calls out to God with the name “El Roi” — Hebrew for “the God who sees me.” “You are the God who sees me,” Hagar said. “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Each year, more than 3,500 newborn babies are abandoned across South Africa, and in the country’s largest city of Johannesburg, 200 babies are abandoned monthly — many conceived through violence or born with HIV and most discovered already dead. The Refilwe Community Project, a Christian ministry serving the Lanseria area of Johannesburg, believes that God is a God who sees all. God is a God who watches over all, especially babies abandoned on the side of a street, at a park, in shoe boxes and trash bins and

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wrapped in plastic bags dumped in gutters and latrines. Three years ago, the El Roi Baby Home opened its doors at Refilwe to provide a safe home for the abandoned babies of Johannesburg. Since then, El Roi has been a home for 28 babies — 13 of which have been placed with their “forever family” through adoption. A small staff of local women known as “aunties” work around the clock to care for and bond with the infants, focusing on sleep training and establishing a strict daily schedule to ensure a consistent routine and create healthy boundaries. Daily occupational therapy exercises help the babies of El Roi meet their developmental goals, and a group of local and international pastors regularly pray for the babies and oversee dedication services. In 2014, El Roi installed a “Baby Safe” outside of its facilities, where a mother can safely and anonymously leave her baby. When a baby is placed in the covered metal box, weighted sensors trigger an


Johannesburg ministry seeks transformation alongside CBF South Africa Ministry Network By Aaron Weaver

More than 3,500 babies are abandoned annually across South Africa, many left to die on the side of a street or dumped in a gutter. Johannesburg ministries like the El Roi Baby Home and Door of Hope Children’s Mission rescue dozens of these babies, providing them with a safe home while seeking to place each one with a “forever family.”

alarm that notifies an auntie who quickly retrieves the baby. “We want to be a part of God’s plan to rescue these babies by offering the Baby Safe for people to anonymously abandon their child if they feel that’s their option,” said Nicole Gillette, who has managed the El Roi Baby Home since it opened in October 2012. Showing and sharing God’s love with the babies is the raison d’etre for Gillette and her team of aunties. “We try to capitalize on the time that the babies are with us by helping them understand that they’re wanted and that they’re loved and that God has a plan for their lives,” Gillette explained. “Even if their mother and father abandoned them, God will never forsake them. It’s really important for our babies to feel that love and to know that love. “I know that my babies won’t remember me. They won’t remember my voice. They won’t remember my touch. But I’m convinced that they will remember the love of Christ that came through me.

And on that day when they hear about the love of Christ again, be it at Sunday school or sitting on a bus when they’re 50 years old, something in their heart is going to go, ‘I’ve known this love before.’ And that’s what we try to do. We try to love these babies with the love of Christ.” The idea for the El Roi Baby Home was born during a summit of congregational ministry partners at Second Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark. There, Refilwe’s then director Jaco Van Schalkwyk was introduced to Cheryl Allen, founder of Door of Hope Children’s Mission — a Johannesburg-based ministry located just 25 miles away from the Refilwe campus that rescues and receives abandoned, abused and orphaned babies, providing them with a temporary Christian home while seeking a forever family. During the summit, Allen encouraged Schalkwyk to examine the possibility of starting a baby home, offering to assist Refilwe through all the government paperwork and processes and doing so alongside OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015

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Caroline Smith, one of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s field personnel serving at Refilwe. When El Roi was ready to open, Allen sent Gillette, her trusted aide and long-time volunteer at Door of Hope, to Refilwe to manage the baby home. Since its birthing in 1999 out of Berea Baptist Church in Johannesburg, where Allen served as senior pastor (one of the few female Baptist pastors in all of Africa), Door of Hope has saved more than 1,500 babies and is almost always at capacity with 60 babies at its three baby houses. Roughly 10 percent of the rescued babies are left in the ministry’s well-known ‘Baby Bin’ located steps away from a corner stand selling cokes, cigarettes and cell phone minutes in a high-crime downtown neighborhood where being robbed even during Sunday worship is not an impossibility. For a week in July, the South Africa Ministry Network, a consortium of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship congregations launched in 2009 to work with and support CBF field personnel in the country, led a group of just over 70 Baptists to take part in a short-term mission experience in Johannesburg as well as at mission sites 250 miles southeast in the rural Winterton area of the KwaZuluNatal province. The hands-on trip culminated with the group taking part in the 21st Baptist World Congress in Durban, South Africa, the quinquennial global gathering of the Baptist World Alliance.

The Baby Safe located just outside of the El Roi Baby Home allows mothers to anonymously leave their newborn. Weighted sensors in the metal box sound an alarm, notifying staff who retrieve the baby.

Seven network congregations participated in the mission experience: Second Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark.; Broadway Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas; Gaston Oaks Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas; First Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tenn.; First Baptist Church, Wilmington, N.C.; Second Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn.; and First Baptist Church, Chattanooga, Tenn. About 30 participants volunteered with Door of Hope and Berea Baptist Church and also at Refilwe, where CBF field personnel Caroline and Josh Smith served from 2011-2014. At Refilwe, the small group spent its week working with neighborhood children at a kids club and after-school program as well as at the El Roi Baby Home. There was manual labor too as some volunteers sanded and stained a playground set for the 30-plus children of Refilwe’s God Parent Programme, a family-based foster care model that provides a safe and stable home environment for children. Other participants went on home visits with Sister Didi Mojapelo, a South African nurse who came out of retirement several years ago to open the Bophelo Medical Clinic at Refilwe, which provides much-needed health care to more than 350 people each month in the surrounding community as well as food parcels to vulnerable senior adults. “We discovered the ways that the Refilwe Community Project uses staff and volunteers to be the presence of Christ among foster children, families from a nearby informal settlement and many others,” said Melody Maxwell, a professor at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, who led her international missions practicum class on the trip alongside the network’s churches. “We did not carry the burden of introducing God to South Africa, since God has already been at work there. Instead, we had the privilege of identifying and joining God in God’s ongoing work there. We sought to be the presence of Christ in tangible ways that might draw ourselves and others closer to God.” God was clearly at work through the ministry of Refilwe, added Derek Hatch, who teaches Christian Studies alongside Maxwell at Howard Payne. “I saw God at work in the amazing love shared among the people we encountered. Regardless of social location or income level or ethnic background, Christ’s cosmic love was made manifest in people who met us, worked with us and received us.” Charlie Fuller, minister for congregational life at Second Baptist Little Rock said the mission experience helped to “reframe the gospel” for him in a new and powerful way. “I was moved by the genuine faith of the people with whom we worked. Facing what many of us here would consider intractable problems, they faithfully day-by-day engage with those who have so very little in terms of food, clothing and shelter.” Brannon Hulsey, a layperson from network member First Baptist Church of Knoxville, Tenn., spent her time caring for the children of Door of Hope and chatting with the aunties.

Neighborhood children take part in a kids club and after-school program at the Refilwe Community Project. Refilwe also hosts a preschool and sponsors fun weekend events for the children.

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“These women truly believe that all babies are made in the image of God, that all babies should be cared for and loved,” Hulsey said. “What an excellent testimony of their faith to dedicate their lives to raising up children of God who otherwise would be left to die.” Over the past six years, the South Africa Ministry Network has made significant investments in the ministry at Refilwe, including providing financial support for CBF field personnel and long-term volunteers from network congregations as well as for the construction of an onsite volunteer housing block, which has become a source of income for their South African partner. The network has also purchased a truck for Sister Didi, funded the salaries of caregivers at the medical clinic and completed multiple construction projects on the Refilwe campus. Since 2012, network member Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, has supported Refilwe’s preschool, which serves nearly 80 four- to six-year-old children, and made possible a weekly community-wide Agape Meal, modeled after the congregation’s popular 20-year-running weekly banquet dinner that feeds 170-180 low-income and homeless individuals each week. “For me, if I should think of the biggest gifts that CBF has given us, it’s the volunteers,” said Lelane Brits, Refilwe’s chief operation officer. “Thank you for your investment into Refilwe. Thank you for your faith in us. Thank you for sticking it out, coming back every time.” Breaking the cycle of poverty — the vision of the Refilwe Community Project — is no easy task. It’s not a transactional task, but a transformational one that requires partnerships. “It’s so important to move from a transactional organization to a transformational organization,” Brits said. “It’s so easy to be transactional, to say, ‘I will feed you, I will give you a bed.’ Transformational is when you really make a difference, and you really address the reason why we are here. If we’re really transformational, we need to change the vulnerability of the children of this community.” As the Refilwe Community Project lives into its vision and seeks to be a transformational organization, it does so alongside the South Africa Ministry Network, sharing the conviction that God is El Roi. God is a God who sees. God sees the abandoned babies of Johannesburg. God sees the orphans in the God Parent Programme, the patients at the Bophelo Medical Clinic, the Refilwe preschoolers and the children who attend the kids clubs and after-school programs. God sees all. “You are the God who sees me. I have now seen the One who sees me.”

(Top) Cristalyn Fitzgerald, a student at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, worked on a playground construction project during the week-long mission experience. (Right) Sister Didi Mojapelo, a South African nurse, runs a medical clinic at Refilwe that serves hundreds of patients each month in the surrounding community.

AARON WEAVER is the Editor of fellowship! Connect with him at aweaver@cbf.net

Network leader Chris Ellis (far left) of Second Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark., and Brannon Hulsey (far right) of First Baptist Church of Knoxville, Tenn., smile alongside new friends in Johannesburg.

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015

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CBF sends delegation to Durban, South Africa for Baptist World Alliance’s World Congress

The International Convention Center in Durban, South Africa, welcomed and housed more than 2,500 Baptists from more than 80 countries for five days of fellowship, worship, networking and learning together during the 21st Baptist World Congress of the Baptist World Alliance. Photo: EthicsDaily.com/Brian Kaylor

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The “Just for Joy” singers and dancers of South Africa (pictured above) led attendees in a time of jubilant worship during the closing session of the 21st World Congress. BWA General Secretary Neville Callam also issued a renewed call for unity among the global Baptist family, reminding the crowd of the BWA’s calling to “serve as a vital instrument that helps Baptists overcome fragmentation and division.” Photo: CBF/Stephen Reeves


CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter led a delegation of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship staff and leaders to Durban, South Africa, July 22-26, for the 21st Baptist World Congress of the Baptist World Alliance. With the theme “Jesus Christ, The Door,” this diverse five-day gathering of global Baptists celebrated the history of the BWA, an organization that has been a true expression of “the essential oneness of Baptists” over the past 110 years. Through times of fellowship, Bible study and worship in many languages, the 21st World Congress was a testament to the growing diversity of the Baptist family. The presence of the CBF delegation at the World Congress was also a testament to the increased collaboration between CBF and BWA, exemplified by the formation, jointly announced in January, of an expanded partnership around global advocacy efforts at the United Nations.

Joel Gregory, professor of preaching at Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, preached during the closing worship of the 21st Congress, asking attendees to make a commitment to discover the door of opportunity that God has opened for them. Photo: EthicsDaily.com/Cliff Vaughn

The choir of Grace Baptist Church in South Africa (pictured above) helped lead worship during the five-day gathering. The 21st World Congress also featured the installation of Ngwedla Paul Msiza of South Africa as the new BWA president, only the second African to hold this position. Msiza succeeds John Upton, executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia. Photo: EthicsDaily.com/Cliff Vaughn

The worship sessions of the 21st World Congress featured multiple performances from the Sharon Children’s Choir of South Korea (pictured above), who opened the Congress alongside African singers, scripture readings, hymn singing and a sermon from Peter Chin, senior pastor of the 30,000-member Global Mission Church in the Bundang-Suji district of South Korea. Photo: EthicsDaily.com/Cliff Vaughn

CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter led a Bible study for English speakers focusing on the 10th chapter of the Gospel of John during the 21st World Congress. “One of the things that is our treasure and gift of this particular Congress is not the capacity of a single person, but the capacity of this group together,” Paynter said. Photo: CBF/Ryan Clark

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MATT COOK 14 |

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att Cook, pastor of First Baptist Church of Wilmington, N.C., steps into the role of Moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship for 2015-16 as the Fellowship prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary with another gifted leader in place. An active CBF pastor and co-founder of the South Africa Ministry Network, Cook brings a commitment to doing collaborative ministry and mission. As CBF Moderator, Cook brings significant knowledge of the Fellowship and deep relationships with people across the Fellowship. He is an inspiring figure for the newest generation of Baptist leaders as he assesses the challenges from our past and looks toward solutions for future challenges through partnerships and relationship building. Recently I had the chance to connect with Cook and learn about his story and his thoughts about this next year in the life of CBF.

Tell me about your background, where did you grow up? I’m a minister’s kid. My dad was a pastor in Oklahoma for the early years of my life before we moved to Nashville, Tenn., where he went to work for the Baptist Sunday School Board when I was 10 years old. I’ve always thought of Nashville as my “hometown” because I lived there the longest growing up, but I’ve got a bit of Oklahoma red dirt in me as well. Who were some important influences in your development as a leader and pastor? My parents are amazing Christians, and my dad’s tenure as a pastor had a huge impact on how I think about issues of faith. In college at Samford University, I was mentored by Bill Leonard, and he has been a good friend to me for many years. As a student at Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, I had fantastic faculty influences, but I was also gifted with a tremendous group of friends in ministry who continue to bless me with who they are and how they live and serve. How did you come to connect with CBF? I grew up as a Christian in the midst of denominational controversy. My dad was working in Baptist denominational life, and being a moderate Christian that was a difficult and anxious time for him. I think I internalized that anxiety without realizing it at the time. During college and my first year of seminary, the conflict was intense, and all of the “issues” that people were fighting over were in my face as a young minister. At the top of that list of issues was that of women in ministry, and I am blessed to have a number of female friends who felt called to ministry. The thought that they would not

be able to live out their callings was (and is) something that mattered a great deal to me. CBF was the place that provided hope and support for them, and that is what drew me toward the Fellowship. What keeps me connected to CBF is the missional mindset that characterizes our Fellowship. I believe that one of the best gifts that the Free Church can offer to the Kingdom of God is creativity and a cutting edge mentality. Postmodernity and post-Christendom demand this creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset, and I think a freedom-loving Fellowship like ours could make a wonderful contribution at this moment in Christian history. What do you bring to the table as CBF Moderator? That is a hard question to answer. I certainly have been blessed to build relationships with a broad swath of our Fellowship. I’m an Okie who grew up in Nashville, went to college in Alabama, seminary in Texas, and I’ve pastored in Texas, Arkansas and now North Carolina. I have friends all across the geographical and theological spectrum of CBF and that feels like a gift God has given me. I am unapologetic about the idea that we’re so much better off being in relationship with people who don’t think exactly like we do, and so one thing I bring is a strong desire to keep the big tent of CBF as big as possible. I think that I also represent a rising generation in CBF life. There are a lot of young ministers behind me that don’t even have to remind themselves to let go of the battles that were fought a generation ago because they’re too busy figuring out how to meet new challenges and try new things to help people know Jesus and build community. I don’t want to forget our history or be naïve enough to


CBF Moderator Profile

By Carrie McGuffin

think it doesn’t matter, but it is just as important for us to meet the challenges in front of us as it was for us to be faithful in the midst of the controversies that are now behind us. What is your vision for the future of CBF? I really like what our Executive Coordinator, Suzii Paynter, says about her hopes for CBF — that we aim to become the most vital and vibrant religious community in the United States, and that we would reach our arms around the world. That is a great vision. That is also a huge challenge in a day and time of increasing denominational irrelevance. For the Fellowship to be relevant and impactful, we have to figure out CBF’s distinctive contribution for God’s Kingdom. We’re not big enough to be God’s “only hope” for the world — which when you think about it is such a freeing concept. We’re only responsible for being good at what God wants CBF to do and be. So I guess my “vision” is for us to try to be as focused as we can be, given how diverse and freedom-loving we are, and this is both my vision for the next year and beyond. My greatest hope for this year — and into the year of our 25th Anniversary — is that we will reclaim our foundational commitment to being the hands and feet of Christ around the world and put our financial support strongly behind that commitment. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.

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Love God. Teach Neighbor. Be Transformed.

CBF field personnel share Christ’s great love through literacy ministry in Romania By Blake Tommey

At the Ruth School in Bucharest, Romania, Roma children learn to read and write as well as learn about God in a place that accepts them and empowers them.

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In a classroom at the Ruth School, Roma children are given opportunities to receive an education that does not discriminate based on their cultural background. Here they are taught to read and write in the Roma language and Romanian as a means to succeed in society.

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stera loves to read. In her fifth-grade class at the Ruth School, Estera’s favorite subject by far is the Romanian language, and she lives to devour children’s novels. But some of her most cherished stories are the parables that Jesus tells in the Gospel of Luke, many of which she now knows by heart. “My favorite parable from the Bible is the story of The Lost Sheep,” Estera explained. “A shepherd had a hundred lambs. One day while leading the sheep in the pasture, a lamb got lost. When the shepherd arrived home, he counted his lambs but one was missing. So he went back to the place where he had led his sheep and he found his lamb again. When he got home, he invited his friends and neighbors to celebrate that he had found his lamb!” For Estera, understanding God isn’t a complicated process. God is simply the kind of God who goes after lost things, who looks for and after those who have been cast away or fallen through the cracks — especially Roma children just like Estera. “ORIGINALLY, THE YOUNG This is the story of the Ruth School, an organization sharing Christ’s great love through literacy ministry among Roma families PEOPLE OF PROVIDENCE living in poverty. The Ruth School serves 240 children, 80 percent BAPTIST NOTICED THAT of whom are Roma, and provides literacy training and educational recovery to kids of all ages. With support from the CBF Offering for ROMA CHILDREN WERE Global Missions, the Ruth School is loving God, teaching neighbor ROAMING THE STREETS AT and being transformed as they seek to empower students and help ALL HOURS OF THE DAY AND them to integrate into Romanian society. Located in the Ferentari neighborhood of Bucharest, one of the EVENING, SO THEY DECIDED poorest and most marginalized communities in the world, the Ruth TO INVITE THEM IN.” School operates as part of Project Ruth, a partnership between Romanian Baptists, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and its field personnel Ralph and Tammy Stocks, as well as Providence Baptist Church, a Ferentari congregation that founded the school in 1992 to address the glaring needs of children in their neighborhood. “Originally, the young people of Providence Baptist noticed that Roma children were roaming the streets at all hours of the day and evening, so they decided to invite them in,” said Ralph Stocks, one of CBF’s field personnel and area coordinator for ministry teams. “They quickly noticed two things. First, some of the kids, even as old as 10, 11 or 12 years old, couldn’t read or write. Then, when snack time rolled around, they noticed how famished

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Project Ruth offers education for preschool aged children through adults in an effort to break cycles of poverty among the Roma people in Bucharest, Romania.

the kids were. It seemed like they were always hungry and couldn’t get enough. So they had the idea to start a literacy club, and that was the beginning of the vision for a legitimate school that would address these children’s needs.” Roma children often experience tremendous discrimination in public schools, Stocks noted, though the law allows them to enroll and attend. Once there, Roma students are typically labeled as mentally deficient and corralled into their own classroom with the newest or most inadequate teachers. This leads to extremely widespread and deep discouragement early in their lives, not to mention illiteracy, he added. In Romania and across Europe, Roma communities continue to experience systematic discrimination and many countries still uphold a long tradition of open hostility toward the Roma people. Where many Roma are concentrated in Bucharest, hate speech is a usual occurrence and Roma, young and old, are largely denied economic opportunities like employment or proper schooling. Teaching literacy is fundamentally an economic issue, emphasized Georgiana Mitran, a former Ruth School student. “As a human, being literate is so important, because it helps you enlarge your

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children, is that they are marginalized solely because of their origins,” Mitran said. “As a child I was a subject of this prejudice: ‘You are Roma, so you are stupid.’ But that is not true, because the Roma people are equally valuable, appreciated and smart, and there are many children who are very very smart, because their minds are very well developed. God put value into these children, and we must make it possible for them to develop as they should.” Beginning with kindergarten and moving through eighth grade, the Ruth School is making such development possible for Estera, Mathias and all of their fellow students, primarily by ensuring they can read and write in Romanian, a highly legitimizing factor in society for the Roma. But Mihail Ciopasiu, executive director of Project Ruth, pointed out that teaching your neighbor is about much more than reading and writing. “The Ruth School is not just about providing basic education, which is compulsory according to the Romanian curriculum, but rather about approaching the opportunities in life,” Mitran said. “There child in a holistic way,” Ciopasiu said. is actually a possibility that one day you “That means giving help with what many will become a doctor, a lawyer or anything families cannot afford, so we also provide a else you want to be. When I was a child, I daily hot meal, school supplies, we have an wanted to be a successful adult and I realized after-school program, we have IT class, an that I could only achieve that goal through English club and various sports activities. All education.” these programs come together to help our Mitran first came to the Ruth School as students carry on with their education.” a 16-year-old who had only completed the Providing a hot meal each day is one of the third grade. She was denied enrollment in the most critical steps in the educational process, local public schools and the Ruth School was Ciopasiu stressed, because many families the only opportunity she had to complete her lack the resources to send their child to basic education. After a few years, Mitran not school with a lunch. After spending as many only completed literacy as eight hours of a given training but also became “THE RUTH SCHOOL IS NOT day at the Ruth School, a caregiver with the students return home JUST ABOUT PROVIDING after-school program at BASIC EDUCATION, WHICH IS fed and having already Project Ruth. Mitran completed their homework COMPULSORY ACCORDING — a tremendous leg up and her husband now have two children — for Roma families who TO THE ROMANIAN Mathias, a first-grader often live without running CURRICULUM, BUT RATHER water, electricity or at the Ruth School, and Maya, who attends ABOUT APPROACHING THE heating. Additionally, the the nursery school. CHILD IN A HOLISTIC WAY.” Ruth School employs a She wants to instill in social worker tasked with her son and daughter not only the value of identifying children with special needs and education but also their own intrinsic value as helping many of them make the transition children of God. to high school after the completion of their “The most important thing for these primary education. children to understand, especially Roma


Order CBF Offering for Global Missions resources for FREE at www.cbf.net/OGMorder See the full complement of Offering resources, place your order and view videos and other materials online at www.cbf.net/OGM.

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CBF engages in three primary contexts: Global Poverty, Global Migration and the Global Church, and participates in God’s mission with and among the most marginalized and least evangelized people on Earth.

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Love God. Teach Neighbor. Be Transformed. Sharing Christ’s great love for us through literacy ministry

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Much of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s global missions impact is funded by the Offering for Global Missions. The Offering is the foundational means of support for the CBF mission enterprise and provides access to a wide array of tools and resources to serve people to equip churches.

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BLAKE TOMMEY serves with the Baptist General Association of Virginia as a collegiate minister at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. Estera (pictured left) knows that there are benefits of an education that extend beyond the fifth grade and help the entire family. (Below) The Ruth School aims to provide a holistic support system for Roma children by providing a quality education and meeting the students’ physical needs.

is for

write we cannot succeed in life,” Estera said. “And education can help the entire family, because parents can have access to work, they can have access to health services, and they can offer the family everything it needs.” Through the work of CBF field personnel, Romanian Baptists, Providence Baptist Church and partners around the world, Project Ruth and the Ruth School are bringing renewal to God’s world through literacy ministry in Bucharest, Romania. Tammy Stocks, CBF field personnel and area coordinator for mission teams, said her vision for the Kingdom of God in Bucharest and globally is looking beyond color, beyond ethnicity and beyond income to form together and be transformed. “One of the ways you break the cycle of poverty is through education, so we emphasize that to our students because many of them come from very impoverished situations,” she said. “To break the cycle, to get out of that, education is the key. Education transforms because it enlightens them, it gives them a chance that they may not have had. It brings the world to them. When you are literate, it opens a whole world to you.” “Literacy ministry is Kingdom work.”

When you support the Offering, you make ministry possible by supporting all CBF field personnel. Your gifts provide much-needed materials and support to enrich the lives of children and families through life-changing literacy ministries.

For Project Ruth, however, teaching neighbor is not just about children, but about people of all ages. In addition to the Ruth School, the CBF Offering for Global Missions continues to support the Obed Day Center, a two-year preschool designed specifically to prepare young children for school by teaching colors, shapes, letters and numbers — the foundational skills necessary for literacy. Project Ruth continues to empower Roma clergy through the Gypsy Smith School, an eight-week theological literacy program for Roma pastors. Estera said her favorite thing about school is getting to make new friends as she passes through each grade. Estera’s mother even lets her play in the park or visit a friend when she receives good grades from her teacher. But even a fifth-grader knows that learning to read and write means so much more than friendship or rewards. “Reading is very important for children because if we don’t know how to read and

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2015-16 CBF OGM Bible Study Curriculum for adults, youth and children along with Worship Resources available for download.

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COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP

Global Missions WHERE IS GOD CALLING YOU? Sometimes the most direct questions are the most difficult to answer. In these pages, you will find practical tools to respond to the question of God’s call. More importantly, you will discover a community of Christians and congregations endeavoring to respond to that call together. For more than two centuries, Baptists have been forming together to make disciples of all nations. And Cooperative Baptists believe — as Jesus prayed in John 17 — that our unity advances the gospel. CBF’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission. The Fellowship supports career field personnel serving in 30 countries, 50 Student.Go interns and hundreds of short-term mission teams annually. Yet we now face a substantially different missionary situation than we did at CBF’s inception. Global migration has brought the world to our doorsteps, while a missional vision has sent our

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congregations into the world. At home and abroad, we’ve discovered a global church equally committed to God’s mission. In response, our Missions Council is working diligently to imagine a sustainable mission model for the 21st century. The Holy Spirit is calling us to leverage the strengths of our past to seize the future before us. But truth be told, we need a movement more than a model. We need to tap the passion that once placed Baptists at the vanguard of the modern missionary movement. The next Lottie Moon or William Carey may be sitting in our pews already, but they won’t give their lives for the Gospel unless they see us willing to sacrifice for it ourselves. We need a movement. God willing, may these pages ignite a fire in us to see God’s “kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”. Where is God calling you?

“Being in relationship with our field personnel and ministry partners has helped us recognize where we find common ground with ministry partners here in Memphis. Our community deals with extreme poverty and high rates of infection with HIV/AIDS, at-risk children and scores of social injustices. Each trip we have taken to South Africa has allowed us to better see not only the ministry opportunities that exist in the wider global community, but also in our own particular corner of the Kingdom. ”

Stephen Cook Senior Pastor Second Baptist Church Memphis, Tenn.


Commitments and Contexts

In a world cluttered with mission opportunities and organizations, CBF offers a clear focus for mission engagement characterized by our Mission Distinctives. We are committed to:

OUR MISSION COMMITMENTS Cultivating Beloved Community: We cultivate communities of reconciliation and hospitality that serve as instruments, signs and foretastes of the Kingdom of God. Bearing Witness to Jesus Christ: We bear witness to the Gospel through words that invite faith in Jesus and actions that embody the way of Jesus. Seeking Transformational Development: We seek to transform systems that suppress the capacity of individuals and communities in order to recognize, claim and celebrate the God-given gifts of all people and places.

OUR MISSION CONTEXTS Global Poverty: In a world where 1 in 8 persons suffer from hunger, 2.8 billion live on less than $2 per day, 1 billion lack access to clean water and 35.8 million are enslaved, Cooperative Baptists seek sustainable responses to systems of poverty that devalue life and diminish the image of God. Global Migration: With more than 232 million migrants in the world, including 16.7 million refugees, we live in an age of unprecedented human mobility. Such movement affords Cooperative Baptists the opportunity to extend hope and hospitality to those who are driven by circumstance or drawn by opportunity away from their homes. Global Church: We live in an era of a global church where no single tradition or culture can lay claim to the center of Christianity. Cooperative Baptists befriend Christians from around the world to share and receive gifts and to engage in God’s mission together through worship, fellowship, education and service.

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Discovering and Developing your Mission Engagement Missions Education: Experience CBF missions through Bible study, videos and storytelling using Spark, Form, e3 and Affect missional formation materials. Encourager Church: Explore becoming an Encourager Church to field personnel. The Spirit works in and among our relationships for mutual transformation of our congregations, field personnel and the community we serve. Encourager Churches are an essential component of the work of CBF field personnel, covenanting in four areas — prayer support, financial support, short-term engagement and administrative support.

“Focusing our mission efforts has helped us to better claim our identity as people committed to God’s mission. We speak less often about our congregation’s general support of missions and more often, and passionately, about our intentional connection to partners with whom we share the reconciling work of God.” Mike McBrayer Minister of Discipleship and Missions Vestavia Hills Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala.

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Mission Collective: Host or attend a one-day event for equipping churches in best practices for mission through collaboration. We gather expert practitioners, church leaders and CBF staff around a relevant topic bringing together collective wisdom for collective action. Field Personnel: In addition to the Encourager Church program, there are many ways to incorporate the stories of God’s work into the lives of your congregation. From Bible studies and worship helps to event speakers and mission committee consulting, please contact Global Missions about how you can more closely connect.

“I’ve seen God in the lives of my youth. Our experience in Macau is both a special memory we share and an experience that deeply impacted their lives. Working with CBF’s international partners made them more aware of their privilege and the presence of God and God’s people on the other side of the world.” Jillian Farmer Minister to Youth Kirkwood Baptist Church, St. Louis, Mo.


Learn more at www.cbf.net/missions Short-term Opportunities: Think globally. Individuals and teams can make a difference in the lives of people around the world through short-term mission engagement. Service opportunities can last from one week to several months. Serve alongside CBF field personnel and ministry partners around the world. Student.Go: Discern how to spend your next academic break. Student.Go trains and sends undergraduate and graduate students to serve for a summer or semester-long term. Working alongside CBF field personnel and partners, students gain experience in cross-cultural service and provide assistance to the ministries with which they work.

Long-term Mission Service: Explore full-time service with CBF Global Missions. We commission ministers, known as field personnel, to engage in close, collaborative relationships with churches, agencies, small groups and individuals to faithfully answer God’s call to serve among the most marginalized and neglected people around the world. CBF Ministry Networks: Are you looking to connect around your passion or practice? Do you wish you could find a community of support and encouragement? Do you need a place to turn with your questions on ministry? CBF Ministry Networks are a great place for you to connect. They exist to provide support, encouragement, resources and conversation around similar passions and practices.

Together for Hope marks CBF’s commitment to establishing long-term relationships, listening, learning and walking alongside community stakeholders in the poorest counties in the United States. Learn more at www.cbf.net/togetherforhope

PRAYING TO RENEW GOD’S WORLD Prayers of the People is a yearlong guide to prayer that includes the birthdays of CBF field personnel, chaplains, pastoral counselors, church starters and staff. Contact CBF at www.cbf.net/OGMorder or (770) 220-1660 to order. OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015

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BEING

PRESENT South Africa Ministry Network embraces ‘Pilgrim Posture’ on mission journey in Rainbow Nation

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By Aaron Weaver April 27, 1994. That’s the date that South Africa held its first democratic election, forming a multi-racial coalition government and officially doing away with the country’s brutal, five-decade long system of racial segregation and oppression. Nelson Mandela was president and apartheid had been brought to an end. However, the “Rainbow Nation” had a new challenge to confront — one that, 20 years later, it has not adequately addressed: HIV/AIDS. During the early 1990s, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS began to increase rapidly. Yet, the South African government failed to put in place a coherent strategy throughout its provinces. In the face of government inaction and a climate of conspiracy theories and denialism, thousands of South Africans were dead and dying.

SOFI’S STORY As the epidemic worsened in the late 1990s, an English woman named Sofi and her husband, Robert, were going into the South African villages along the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains, bringing food to AIDS patients who were dying in their homes. They did so at a time when there were no medicines, no antiretroviral regimens available. Sofi and Robert received no payment as they fed and bathed the suffering, helping them to be as comfortable as possible in their final days. Robert later became sick and passed away, but Sofi stayed, and continued the work. She went door to door throughout the rural Winterton area, assisting those in need with health support and information about finances and government

Mission teams from the South Africa Ministry Network spent a week in July working at the Thembalethu Care Organization, a Christian ministry in the rural Winterton area responding to the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic through free medical care and programs for orphans and vulnerable children.

services. Many were and still are in great need in Winteron and the surrounding area located in the KwaZulu-Natal province — the country’s second largest and poorest province that carries the distinction of having the highest HIV/AIDS rate. An estimated 1.6 million people live with HIV there, just over 37 percent of the population. In 2009, Sofi started a permanent community center called Isibani, which means “bring the light” in Zulu. The center offers many much-needed services, including home-based health care, HIV testing and counseling, food and clothing distribution, child and youth projects, adult literacy classes and emergency assistance. Three years later, Sofi launched Isiphephelo (“refuge” in Zulu) which provides a safe and temporary home to vulnerable, neglected and abandoned children.

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Over the years, Sofi has seen much death and knows the many faces of despair. She finds herself frustrated often, weary of a broken system that tends to fail the children it is supposed to protect and keep safe. “The culture is just in such a meltdown,” said Sofi, noting the growing use of drugs among the region’s teens. Yet, she perseveres. She continues to be present, serving those with HIV/AIDS and showing a big smile when she’s around the children of Isiphephelo. “[The culture] is broken,” Sofi said. “I want to share God’s love every moment, share God’s values, share God’s heart. If you can give people God, the [problems] won’t be fixed. But God’s love doesn’t need fixing. Just be present in your pain and suffering. …You come back to these kids and you’re like, ‘Let me do what I can do for you, because I can’t change the rest.’”

During the week-long mission experience, the network hosted a retreat at the Em’seni Camp (“place of grace” in Zulu) for the staff and children of Isiphephelo, an organization which provides a home to neglected and abandoned children.

At the Em’seni Camp (“place of grace” in Zulu) outside of Winterton, surrounded by battlefields where the British fought the Boers and Zulus in a series of bloody wars more than 100 years ago, the network hosted a retreat for Sofi and the children and staff of Isiphephelo. While some played with the kids, others spent time with the staff, leading the group of smiling and singing women in team-building activities, Bible study and providing space for reflection and relaxation. “I was blown away by these women,” said Thomas Quisenberry, pastor of First Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., a network member. “The compassion they show these children is amazing. Their love for them is without question. I found them to be carrying heavy loads — caring for the kids of Isiphephelo as well as families of their own. My prayer is that these loving caregivers know that they are not alone. Our time with them was to offer some relief, encouragement and ways that they can take care of themselves while lovingly mending the lives of others.” Network participants also worked alongside the staff of the Thembalethu Care Organization, a Christian ministry responding to the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the extreme poverty in the region. Thembalethu shares God’s love through caring for the sick in the rural villages as well as orphans and vulnerable children. Started in 2006 and run by Betsy Meyer, a field personnel from Seattle’s University Presbyterian Church, Thembalethu — a partner with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) — provides medical care to 300 patients each month and regularly cares for more than 120 children with psycho-social support, food parcels, access to social welfare grants and school grants. Meyer emphasized that the younger generation living in the area, where nearly 80 percent of residents are unemployed, faces intractable challenges. “Even if [youth] go and finish high school, or go to university, there are just so few options for them,” she said. “So, it’s really a struggle. That’s the most significant challenge youth around here face — there’s this kind of hopelessness because they don’t really have options.”

‘PILGRIM POSTURE’ For a week in July, the South Africa Ministry Network, a consortium of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship congregations launched in 2009 to work with and support CBF field personnel in South Africa, led a group of 70-plus Baptists on a week-long mission experience, with participants divided between mission sites in Johannesburg and Winterton. The network journeyed to the Rainbow Nation with a ‘pilgrim posture,’ said organizer Stephen Cook, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., embracing the call of South African theologian Trevor Hudson to make “pilgrimages of pain and hope.” “The essence of these pilgrimages of pain and hope is that we are not tourists who set out to see the sights of the places we visit,” Cook shared. “Instead, we are pilgrims and we assume a ‘pilgrim posture’ as we approach these experiences. The pilgrim is one who is ready to be present, who is ready to listen and who is ready to notice where, how and with whom God is working.”

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A woman makes bricks for a tuck shop, a small store where she can sell essential items to her neighbors, in a rural village in the Drakensberg Mountains just outside of Winterton, South Africa. Villagers face extreme poverty and reside in the country’s poorest province where more than one-third of the residents live with HIV.


The South Africa Ministry Network led a group of 70-plus Baptists on a week-long mission experience to ministry sites in the capital city of Johannesburg as well as the rural Winterton area. The Winterton group included members from the following network congregations: First Baptist Church, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Second Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn.; First Baptist Church, Wilmington, N.C.; and Gaston Oaks Baptist Church in Dallas.

“GOD IS AT WORK” The impact the HIV/AIDS epidemic has had on the region cannot be understated, said Sara Williams, who alongside her husband, Mark, served as CBF field personnel in Winterton from 2010-2014. “The HIV/AIDS epidemic and extreme poverty have wreaked havoc on society at large,” noted Williams, who accompanied the network on the July mission experience. “Due to AIDS, you have an adult generation of people that have been lost,” she added. “So, you have the children as the head of households and raising children — children who have not been taught the wisdom of their elders, who have not been taught how to participate and contribute to the community, how to be a family and know right from wrong.” A recent study found that just over one in ten South Africans are living with HIV. That’s 6.19 million in a nation of 55 million people. According to PEPFAR, 200,000 deaths were due to AIDS in 2014 and the number of new infections last year reached 370,000 — seven times the number of infections as in the United States, a country with six times the population of South Africa. Condom use is dropping and the infection rates of teenage girls are alarming per a new survey. The estimated antiretroviral coverage of those with HIV over the age of 15 is just 42 percent, and the number of orphans due to AIDS (ages 0-17) was 2.4 million in 2013. Despite these grim realities, Williams and the network’s leaders see God at work in the Winterton area. “God is at work through the hands and hearts of these local Christians who are doing the work that no one else wants to do,” she said. “They are working with people that others don’t want to admit exist. They are holding the hands of outcasts and modern-day ‘lepers.’ Whether the people that are being helped get physically better is not

the issue, although it is often an outcome, but rather to know that their life is worthy to be noticed, touched and loved. This is the work of God in the Winterton area.” Network leaders have asked Cooperative Baptists and friends of the Fellowship to pray for the work God is doing in South Africa. “Pray for our network. Pray for our ministry partners in South Africa,” Cook said. “Pray for discernment about whether God is calling you to serve as a short- or long-term volunteer at one of the mission sites where our network has established relationships with ministry partners. Pray for field personnel to be called to serve alongside those partners.” “Please pray for Betsy and the staff at Thembalethu, as they seek to care for the needs of those in the extreme rural areas outside of Winterton,” Williams said. “Pray for Isibani, Isiphephelo and Sofi as they seek to be neighbors to those that are outcasts and live on the margins. Pray for their spiritual wellbeing and pray for their safety as they put themselves at risk daily for those lost and in need.”

AARON WEAVER is the Editor of fellowship! Connect with him at aweaver@cbf.net

To learn more about the work of the South Africa Ministry Network, read the stories on pp. 8-11 and 28-29. For additional information on the network, contact Stephen Cook at Stephen.Cook@2ndmemphis.org. OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015

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Saying NO to parachute missions

By Aaron Weaver

South Africa Ministry Network offers model for long-term change through short-term missions

Parachute missions. Poverty tourism. Vacationary. These descriptors are frequently invoked to characterize and critique a misguided (western) approach to missions — an approach that many say encourages an unhealthy dependency and paternalism. In his widely-read 2011 book Toxic Charity, which is responsible for popularizing this critique, Robert Lupton writes: “Contrary to popular belief, most missions trips and service projects do not: empower those being served, engender healthy cross-cultural relationships, improve quality of life, relieve poverty, change the lives of participants [or] increase support for long-term missions work.” When it comes to most popular approaches to short-term missions (STMs), Chris Ellis agrees. Ellis, who serves as minister of mission and outreach at Second Baptist Church in downtown Little Rock, Ark., has lived and studied the subject extensively as a key leader in and co-founder of the South Africa Ministry Network, a consortium of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship congregations launched in 2009 to work with and support CBF field personnel who serve and partner with local ministries in South Africa. “Short-term missions often do more harm than good, especially when the primary purpose of the trip is the fulfillment of the trip itself,” according to Ellis. With more than 1.6 million Americans over the age of 18 going on a short-term mission trip each year, Ellis, whose recent doctoral dissertation is titled Short-Term

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Missions — Long Term Change, wishes to see STMs made as “missiologically sound” as possible for both participants and those receiving teams. “As STM trips are currently being implemented, they often do not lead to changed lives,” Ellis explained. “Research suggests that participants do not sense increased vocational calling, increased connection to mission at one’s home or increased connection to the global missions movement. This lack of ‘changed life’ is often connected to three main factors: lack of in-depth training of participants, learning transfer or the incongruity of the international STM experience with one’s home life and a lack of skilled STM facilitators. “Grounding the [short-term mission] trip in a correct understanding of the Missio Dei — the mission of God, poverty and power as well as global Christianity changes the narrative of the trip and forces participants to put the trip into proper perspective, allowing it to shape their lives when they arrive home. Focusing on the practical cross-cultural aspects decreases the likelihood that participants will do irreparable harm to local ministries and can give proper perspective on one’s home culture and how to engage it appropriately.” Together, Ellis and the leaders of the South Africa Ministry Network are offering a reimagined model for short-term missions. “The South Africa Ministry Network is trying to embed the short-term mission trip in a much larger narrative,” Ellis said. “We’re not going to South Africa this year,

Peru next year and somewhere else the year after that and the year after that. We’re going back to the same place over and over and over again, seeing and creating relationships with folks who are on the ground and sharing life with them as much as we can. “We tell our congregations that short-term mission is not about creating change. It’s not about saving the world. It’s not about a whole bunch of these narratives that we like to use to drive the mission movement. Rather, a short-term mission is a moment in time that we are privileged to have that forces us to ask the question: ‘How is it that we can truly help both make a difference in the places that we’re partnering as well as learn from what our South African friends have to teach us?’” To prepare his church members for a trip, Ellis leads a five-session discussion and study on the mission of God, global Christianity, the history of South Africa and the present challenges that the post-apartheid “Rainbow Nation” faces. Participants also spend time getting an advance glimpse of the work being done by the network’s partners in South Africa and receive a devotional guide that begins a week prior to their departure. While on the trip, participants take part in nightly debriefings — opportunities to reflect on God’s work in the world and their place in it. Stephen Cook, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., a member congregation of the network, says the consortium of CBF churches knows its role is not to “fix” anything, but to take part together in the renewal of God’s world. “We know we are not going to ‘fix’ anything,” he said. “We are going [on these


short-term] trips to come alongside of and be involved with what God is doing in that part of the world. We know our limitations and that we cannot and should not be responsible for determining outcomes. Rather, we are there as ones who believe that God is at work in more places than those we call home. We invest the time, resources and energy we do in order to participate in that which is larger than ourselves. “We participate as a network because we recognize that we are better off together than we are apart. The gifts and passions that come from the various members of the various churches are a significant testimony to the power of collaboration and a commitment to sharing work that matters.” Cook has embraced the call of South African theologian and pastor Trevor Hudson to make “pilgrimages of pain and hope.” “The essence of these pilgrimages of pain and hope is that we are not tourists who set out to see the sights of the places we visit,” Cook shared. “Instead, we are pilgrims and we assume a ‘pilgrim posture’ as we approach these experiences. The pilgrim is one who is ready to be present, who is ready to listen and who is ready to notice where, how and with whom God is working.” CBF Moderator Matt Cook, who serves as pastor of First Baptist Church in Wilmington, N.C., another network member, points out that short-term missions have the potential for much good. “We all think that short-term missions are something that God can use to create a two-fold blessing for those in South Africa and for those traveling to South Africa, but it could easily be mission tourism if we didn’t work hard at keeping our focus on how to make it at least as much of a net positive for

the South Africans as it is for the Americans.” To keep this intentional focus, he noted that the network strives to offer care for the caregivers. “We can’t really change the world in a week and we know that,” said Matt Cook, who helped birth the network alongside Ellis in 2009 while then senior pastor of Little Rock’s Second Baptist Church. “What we can do is try to be a strong wind in the sails of the very impressive human beings who are doing hard and good work.” Now in its sixth year, the network has helped provide financial support for four partner-funded CBF field personnel and made significant investments in the ministries of the Refilwe Community Project, a Christian organization in Johannesburg that provides a home for orphaned and neglected children as well as a baby house for abandoned infants. Refilwe also hosts a medical clinic, preschool, kids club and after-school programs for its impoverished community. The network led a group of just over 70 Baptists in July on a week-long mission experience in Johannesburg as well as at mission sites 250 miles southeast in the Winterton area of the KwaZulu-Natal province, a rural region heavily impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The hands-on trip culminated with the group taking part in the 21st Baptist World Congress in Durban, South Africa, the quinquennial global gathering of the Baptist World Alliance. The network also looks for opportunities to convert mission trip dollars to ongoing support, Matt Cook said, noting that the network sets aside a portion of trip costs to help pay for the salaries of care workers at the Bophelo Medical Clinic at Refilwe.

“We’ve found that when our members go on these trips they make a connection that leads to ongoing support,” he added. “Over and above the trip costs, we’ve had countless individuals make additional financial contributions to local partners and to CBF field personnel located in South Africa. Going promotes giving. “We learn, we grow and we discover that God is bigger than we thought.” Ryan Clark, church engagement manager for CBF Global Missions, says that the missing ingredient in many short-term missions has been the relationship — and not the kind of relationships where one person or group makes all the decisions. “What CBF churches in the South Africa Ministry Network have discovered is a beautiful balance of power and resources with an eye on the long-term transformation of communities,” Clark said. “As Christians we have a responsibility to demonstrate that our mission activity isn’t just for our own (western) kicks that works for our convenience and purposes. The South Africa network has made an investment — spiritually, financially and with their own sweat and tears. Their model is time consuming — so it’s not as popular as parachute missions. It’s an investment that seeks transformation. And that transformation takes time and intentionality.”

To learn more about the South Africa Ministry Network and how you can get involved, contact Stephen Cook, network coordinator and pastor of Second Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., at Stephen.Cook@2ndmemphis.org.

More than 70 Baptists took part in a short-term mission trip in Johannesburg and the rural Winterton-area of South Africa, July 15-21, 2015. The trip was hosted by the South Africa Ministry Network, a consortium of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship churches.

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Opportunities to

October 2015

Chris Ellis (left) and Brannon Hulsey (right) of the South Africa Ministry Network pose with new friends in Johannesburg during the network’s July trip.

MORE RESOURCES

Visit cbf.net/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Small Groups Around the Table: At Church

LEARN Learn more about the ministries of Refilwe at refilwe.org

PRAY Pray for CBF field personnel, churches and partners throughout the year. Requests, thoughts and scriptures to guide your prayers are featured in the Prayers of the People at cbf.net/pray

NETWORK Connect with the South Africa Ministry Network. Contact network coordinator Stephen Cook at Stephen.Cook@2ndmemphis.org

GIVE Your generous gifts enable CBF to foster new mission networks with churches and CBF field personnel worldwide. Give online at cbf.net/give

South Africa Network IN WORSHIP: A MISSIONS MOMENT Missions Education Resource

The resource below can be used in a worship service or other misson-focused group experience. Prepare by reading the article “The God Who Sees Me” on pp. 8-11 in this issue of fellowship! Be ready to summarize briefly the ministries of the Refilwe Community Project, Door of Hope Children’s Mission and the South Africa Ministry Network, closing with the opening words that explain “El Roi” — Hebrew for “the God who sees me.” Then say “Please join me in a responsive prayer for this ministry.” Leader: God sees the thousands of abandoned babies and orphaned children of South Africa. People: We pray for God’s hand in breaking the cycle of poverty and disease that creates this situation. We pray for the safety and health of these innocent victims. We pray for those who are rescued and cared for by nurturing caregivers at Refilwe and Door of Hope. Leader: God sees the caregivers who work around the clock providing shelter, nourishment and love to those given into their care. People: We pray for these caregivers, and give thanks for their compassion and nurturing gifts as they show and share God’s love. Leader: God sees the children who participate in kids clubs and after-school programs at Refilwe.

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People: We pray for their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being as they enjoy games and learning activities.

A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship • www.cbf.net

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015

CBF in South Africa

JOINING GOD AT WORK IN THE RAINBOW NATION

Leader: God sees the multitude of people in South Africa who suffer from illness and extreme poverty — hundreds of whom benefit from the Bophelo Medical Clinic at Refilwe. People: We pray for their healing and health — and for the staff of the clinic who care for them. We pray for those who are visited in their homes because they are unable to travel to the clinic. Leader: God sees the congregations of the South Africa Ministry Network who have committed to send volunteers and resources to join these ministries in God’s ongoing work. People: We pray for open hearts to hear and respond to God’s call as volunteers for these ministries in South Africa. We pray for ministries of compassion for the poor and neglected in our own community. And we pray for open hearts and hands to provide needed resources. All: With thanksgiving for the God who sees all. Amen.


Opportunities to

November 2015

Roma children are supported with a holistic education at the Ruth School in Bucharest, Romania.

MORE RESOURCES

Visit cbf.net/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Worship: A Missions Moment At Home: With Children

Literacy Ministry 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 centers on the Ruth School in Romania, where CBF field personnel Ralph and Tammy Stocks serve. Read the article in this CBF in South Africa issue of fellowship! on pp. 16-19 and gather copies for participants. A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship • www.cbf.net

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015

LEARN Learn more about the ministry of Ralph and Tammy Stocks at cbf.net/stocks

JOINING GOD AT WORK IN THE RAINBOW NATION

PRAY Pray for CBF field personnel on their birthdays. Download CBF’s Prayers of the People resource at cbf.net/pray

NETWORK Explore literacy ministries through videos, printed materials and Bible studies for all ages available at cbf.net/ogm

GIVE Your generous gifts to the CBF Offering for Global Missions support field personnel worldwide. Find out more at cbf.net/give

5. Say, “The people of Providence Baptist Church in Bucharest invited in Roma children who were roaming the streets and quickly realized that literacy and hunger were pressing issues. The literacy club they began eventually became the Ruth School which educates and nurtures Roma children.”

2. Before the group begins, ask someone to prepare to read the Parable of the Lost Sheep from Luke 15:1-7. Start the session by inviting everyone to listen to one of Jesus’ parables.

6. Note that literacy is an economic issue, paving the way for Roma children to find employment or further their education later in life. Share how the Ruth School offers after-school support, supplies, food and sports activities so that children have a holistic education.

3. Say, “This parable of the lost sheep is a favorite of a little Roma girl in Romania. Perhaps she identifies with it because her own people, the Roma have frequently been separated from the rest of the flock and forgotten.”

7. Read aloud the final three paragraphs of the article. Ask, “Why do you think Tammy Stocks describes literacy as ‘Kingdom work’? How is teaching someone to read also showing them the love of Christ?” Allow time for discussion.

4. Explain that the Roma are a cultural minority who have suffered extreme discrimination across Europe, including being excluded from or segregated in the public school system.

8. Invite participants to name various literacy projects in your area. End with a prayer for the work of the Ruth School, the Stocks and the local Romanian clergy as they serve the Roma people, God’s beloved children.

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015

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20 Questions:

A Collection of Recent Inquiries About The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

is now available! Order copies for your congregation for FREE at www.cbf.net/OGMorder Get answers to questions like: What is the focus of a denomi-network in the 21st century? What is the difference between CBF Global Missions and other mission groups? How can CBF help my church start new missions? To what seminaries does CBF relate?

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