Page 1

fellowship!

CBF

Photo courtesy of Hali Thomas

Spring 2009

Cooperative baptist fellowship | www.thefellowship.info

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

Healing ministries

In India, CBF field personnel Eddie and Macarena Aldape, center, provide medical care and health education to Banjara children, who often live in poverty and have limited access to resources. Learn more about medical ministries on pages 8-13.


An open letter to pastors I am writing this as if it were a personal letter to each pastor whose church partners in Cooperative Baptist Fellowship with other Baptist Christians to be the presence of Christ to our world. It is this unifying and clarifying vision that makes CBF more than a para-church organization, a denominational body or a missionary agency. We are a fellowship whose vision is to be a continuing embodiment of Christ — individually, congregationally and in community with one another. So how are we doing? Are we making progress in fulfilling this vision? I believe we are. Increasingly I see churches defining themselves by their participation in the mission of God. I am encouraged by congregational conversations about discipleship, prayer and spiritual formation. I see evidence of churches engaging in bold ministry in their communities and around the world. Of course there are daunting challenges facing congregations in this Fellowship, but there are also inspiring examples of faithfulness and fruitfulness. In CBF as a community of Christians and churches, I also see evidence that our vision is being realized. Missionaries, sent and supported by you, are proclaiming good news and practicing good deeds in difficult and dangerous places. Chaplains, pastoral counselors, church starters, seminary students, responders to disaster and short-term volunteers belong not only to your churches but to all of us as a community. They represent shared values, vision and mission. As a Fellowship we participate in even broader and more expansive alliances: Micah Challenge, Renovaré, Bread for the World, Christian Churches Together in the USA, New Baptist Covenant, North American Baptist Fellowship, Baptist World Alliance, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. And together we fund numerous ministry partners: seminaries, Associated Baptist Press, Baptist Center for Ethics, Baptists Today and others. Some may see this as inconsequential, but I see these collaborations as ways to leverage the influence of your church. Through these involvements we engage in theological education, ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, religious liberty and advocacy for social justice. I hope you sense my encouragement about the progress we are making in living out our vision. I also hope that as a pastor you will lead your church to do the following: • Commit to being the presence of Christ in the world • Celebrate this shared vision with other Christians and churches in the Fellowship • Claim the ministries and partnerships in the CBF community as an extension of your church’s ministry I ask for your prayers and good will. I ask for your involvement in this Fellowship both personally and congregationally. I ask for your attendance at the General Assembly and at the gatherings of your state or region. I ask for your continued financial support and for words of affirmation about CBF. Pastoral leadership has never been easy, but I believe in today’s culture and environment it is especially difficult. Through the years I have seen different models for ministry that were the basis for evaluating pastors and defining success. But when one listens to the refrains of Scripture there is nothing about models for ministry, methods of leadership, or measurement of success. However, there is a lot about motives for ministry. I’ve come to believe that Vol. 19, No. 2 pastors around the world will function in different ways, but those who will be rewarded are those who are executive Coordinator • Daniel Vestal examples of Christian character and compassion to their flock. They may or may not be successful by the Coordinator, Fellowship world’s standards, but they will be rewarded by the Good Shepherd. Advancement • Ben McDade I hope you sense my appreciation for the role and responsibility you have as a pastor. I also hope that Editor • Lance Wallace CBF can have value for you and that we can do the following: managing Editor • Patricia Heys Associate Editor • Carla Wynn Davis • Be a resource to you and your church as you seek to be the presence of Christ Phone • (770) 220-1600 • Be a connector to help your church engage in global missions Fax • (770) 220-1685 • Be a place for your growth, renewal and community E-Mail • fellowship@thefellowship.info • Be an encouragement and support for you, especially in times of transition Web Site • www.thefellowship.info Recently after a worship service a layman spoke to me with tears in his eyes, “I wish the same thing for fellowship! is published 6 times a year in my church that I wish for CBF. I don’t just want us to survive. I want us to thrive.” That is my prayer both Jan./Feb., Mar./Apr., May/June, July/Aug., for your ministry and the ministry of this Fellowship. Sept./Oct., Nov./Dec. by The Cooperative Grace and peace, Baptist Fellowship, Inc., 3001 Mercer University Dr., Atlanta, GA 30341-4115. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. USPS #015-625 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to “fellowship!” Newsletter, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, P.O. Box 450329, Atlanta, GA 31145-0329

2

|

fellowship!

Spring 2009

Daniel Vestal, CBF Executive Coordinator


Contents 15 16-19 20-21 22-23

Medical ministries make a difference in lives around the world Five Tips for helping to prevent minister burnout Make plans to attend the 2009 General Assembly in Houston CBF state organizations invest in CBF Foundation micro finance initiative Offering supports Whisnands’ ministry among racetrack workers

Photo courtesy Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

8-13

George R. Brown Convention Center and Hilton-Americas Hotel, site of the 2009 CBF General Assembly in Houston, Texas.

Become a fan of CBF on facebook. Log on to www.facebook.com and search for “Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.”

meet Chris Boltin Chris Boltin serves as short-term and partnership manager at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Hometown: Cope, S.C. Education: Winthrop University, Rock Hill, S.C. Church: Smoke Rise Baptist Church, Stone Mountain, Ga. Interesting fact: Prior to CBF, Chris engaged in full-time missions service in California and spent nine years connecting Georgia churches with missions opportunities. “Growing up in a small rural church in South Carolina, I heard about missionaries all the time. We even had special prayer times and offerings for them each year. It wasn’t until I got much older that I realized I, too, could be a part of what God was doing. Missions is for everyone! God can use teachers, doctors,

plumbers, students, grandparents, and even kids like me from a small church in South Carolina. I discovered that there was one main difference between myself and those missionaries that I heard about growing up. They said ‘yes.’ God called them to something bigger than themselves and they responded. “Every day it is my joy to walk with others who are exploring their calling and saying ‘yes’ to mission service. Whether it is for a week or even a year, I am always amazed and excited by how God is alive and at work throughout the Fellowship. My hope is that more and more people will seek out opportunities to become the presence of Christ in their world. How truly amazing it has been to reflect on how God has honored my heart’s desire to serve through missions. I can only hope that others will be able to discover the joy that comes from serving through a missional engagement.” Contact Chris Boltin at cboltin@thefellowship.info or (800) 352-8741. fellowship!

Spring 2009

|

3


fellowship People

Andrew Daugherty

A

ndrew Daugherty lovingly refers to the early days of Christ Church as a “Baptist brunch,” when a small group of people would meet in his living room on Sunday mornings to eat, pray and sing together. “It was an organic mix of Sunday school and worship as we dreamed together about what kind of church God might be calling us to start,” said Daugherty. That small group has outgrown Daugherty’s living room and is now Christ Church at Rockwall, Texas. Supported by CBF, the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Wilshire

Baptist Church in Dallas, Christ Church is finding its calling. “Just now we’re beginning to discover a stronger sense of identity and community and mission emerging. We’re supporting well projects in India through the CBF Offering for Global Missions. For a new church like ours, Andrew Daugherty CBF is our network of ministry support. Look what this suburban church in Dallas can do around the world in India — we couldn’t do that without CBF,” said Daugherty.

Brittany Riddle

B

rittany Riddle’s call to ministry has evolved and developed throughout her life. While at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., working on her bachelor’s degree, Riddle was a founding member of the Cooperative Baptist Student Fellowship on campus and its first president. CBF of South Carolina supported the group by funding a parttime minister and inviting the students to attend state meetings and serve on state committees. This partnership offered Riddle a chance to network with ministers throughout the state at various events and led to

meaningful ministry internships for Riddle in Fellowship partner churches. After graduating from Furman, Riddle continued to feel called to become a pastor and was awarded a CBF Leadership Scholarship to begin her seminary career at Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va., a CBF partner. Brittany Riddle “Receiving the CBF Leadership Scholarship was an affirmation of my calling to ministry and has affirmed my place in the CBF community,” said Riddle.

Frank Granger

F

rank Granger has been the minister of education at the First Baptist Church in Athens, Ga., for 19 years. For the last three of those years, he’s been involved in a CBF peer learning group specifically for education ministers in the area. The peer learning groups — there are more than 90 across the country — provide both a professional and personal network for those involved. “The purpose [of the peer learning group] is to support one another and what we do,” Granger said. “Our monthly meet-

ings are a safe place to explore professionally what we’re doing, what’s changing and how that applies in a local church level. Personally, it deals with what we’re thinking and what changes and challenges are happening. Having that extension apart from my work in the church sustains me. Offering these groups is a way in which CBF cares about their clergy serving local churches. It’s very much needed.”

Frank Granger

Sabine Crysler

A

fter six years as a travel counselor, Sabine Crysler combined her global travel expertise with her passion for ministry by founding LetsUTravel, a travel agency working primarily with churches and religious organizations. “This has been the most rewarding five years of ministry in my life; and through it I feel I am helping make an impact worldwide,” said Crysler, a member of Fellowship Group Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., a CBF partner.

Crysler works with CBF staff and field personnel to arrange travel around the world. “My goal is to make travel worry free for the field personnel, so their concerns are limited to what they’re going to do when they get there. The only thing I don’t do is pack their suitcase — but I’ll let them know how many suitcases they can take,” said Crysler.

To nominate someone to be featured in an upcoming Fellowship People, e-mail pheys@thefellowship.info. 4

|

fellowship!

Spring 2009

Sabine Crysler


WhyI give... “If we within the CBF family are truly CBF photo

as incarnational as our vision statement suggests, then we have no choice but to give financially. Writing checks is the only way many of our shared values and passions grow flesh and bone, hands and feet.”

Shaun King Pastor, College Park Baptist Church Orlando, Fla.

E

ach October, College Park Baptist Church in Orlando, Fla., holds a Missions Emphasis Month, which highlights ministry partnerships around the world. The church invites mission leaders and field personnel from CBF to share how the partnership between College Park and the larger Fellowship community is making a difference. Shaun King, pastor of College Park, says that the Fellowship’s vision to be “the presence of Christ in the world” resonates with his own philosophy of church ministry. “It is my belief that the church is intended to be the visible presence of the risen Christ in this world,” said King. “As such, the ministries of the church must embody the radically-inclusive love of Jesus. Every endeavor the church attempts, whether it be missions, evangelism or social justice,

Give |

must find its life, its purpose and its passion exclusively in the life, purpose and passions of Jesus — namely, to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind and to let the oppressed go free.” King, a graduate of CBF partner Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va.,

has previously served as pastor of CBFpartner churches in Tennessee, Virginia and Maryland. “Giving financially says, ‘I not only celebrate our shared ideas by way of General Assembly enthusiasms ... but I am invested in those ideas enough to make sure they become flesh and dwell among us,’” said King.

To give to the Fellowship’s missions and ministries, go to www.thefellowship.info/give or use the envelope provided in this magazine. Thank you for giving. fellowship!

Spring 2009

|

5


Serve

Join field personnel in faith sharing ministries In Lebanon and neighboring countries, CBF field personnel Chaouki and Maha Boulos coordinate “Celebrate Jesus” rallies, sharing the story of Jesus with thousands of people. Each year at these events, more than 1,000 people make public professions of faith. Mission teams are needed to help facilitate the upcoming celebrations — working to set up the site, conducting sports clinics and vacation Bible schools and being involved in relief and evangelism ministries. “These events provide an opportunity for Americans to see new ways the kingdom is growing,” said Chaouki Boulos. “The Middle East is changing and people

are gaining more religious freedom. Christians from America can encourage that — their presence compels people to keep asking for freedoms.” The Bouloses are also helping to facilitate the construction of a Christian conference center in Lebanon, one of the few countries in the Middle East with religious freedom. The Bouloses envision that the center would serve churches in Lebanon and other countries in the region — Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iraq. The center would provide a place for training sessions, retreats and other events, hosting as many as 500 people at a time.

Mission teams are also needed to help with construction on the center, especially individuals with specific skills such as painting, plumbing, carpentry, electrical and tiling. “As minorities there, when Christians see Christians from other countries standing on their side, they do not feel alone,” Chaouki said. “The Christians 2009 Celebrations in Lebanon July 8-12 in Lebanon need encourAugust 24-26 in agement and Cairo, Egypt support. It August 28-30 in keeps them Minya, Egypt going.”

CBF photo

Chaouki Boulos, left, leads a prayer during a Celebrate Jesus event.

6

|

fellowship!

SERVE | Spring 2009

To learn more about opportunities to serve in Lebanon, contact Chris Boltin at engage@thefellowship.info or (800) 352-8741.


Learn

Fellowship, development goals connect around poverty

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Wilmore

Millions of people in our global community are living in extreme poverty. For the first time in history, world leaders, government and private organizations, churches and individuals are coming together to do something about it. In short, the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) bring all these groups together with a common focus to cut global poverty in half by the year 2015. The MDGs, adopted by the United Nations in 2000, address the needs of the world’s poorest people. Nine years have already passed since the adoption of these goals, yet many people have never heard of the MDGs. There is still much to be done in order to meet these goals. Jesus teaches us by example to love our neighbors, to do justice, to love mercy, and to care for those who are sick and hurting. Since its formation the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has been about being the presence of Christ as we walk alongside and minister to the world’s most marginalized people. In 2007, CBF officially endorsed the MDGs. CBF field personnel, churches and

Last summer, Meredith Wilkinson traveled to Uganda with 12 other college students on a 50-day trip to experience how the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s efforts intersect with the Millennium Development Goals.

individuals continue to be the presence of Christ as they join together with others The UN MDG goals around the world with the 1. Eradicate extreme poverty 2. ensure access to primary education for all children common goal of ending 3. promote gender equality and empower women extreme poverty. We can 4. reduce child mortality make a difference. It’s our 5. improve maternal health turn to get involved in 6. combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases working toward the MDGs. 7. ensure environmental sustainability In April preschoolers using 8. develop a global partnership for development FormTM, the Fellowship’s missional

learn | PRAY |

formation resource for preschoolers, will be studying the MDGs. Through hands-on activities, stories of real people affected by extreme poverty and participation in a mission project, preschoolers will become more aware of global poverty and how it affects other areas of life such as hunger, health and education.

For more information about CBF’s missional formation resources visit www.missionseducation.org. Order “Our Fellowship At Work,” a full-color brochure about the Fellowship’s ministry and the MDGs, from the CBF Store by calling (888) 801-4223.

Pray that the government of the United States will live up to its commitment to support the world in accomplishing the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Pray that our elected officials will make hunger and poverty a focus of their efforts, and more specifically, that foreign assistance reform will become a priority of the 111th Congress. Pray for Lindsay, one of CBF’s field personnel, as she seeks to be an advocate for women and children through her assignment in Southeast Asia. Pray as she helps to prevent human trafficking by developing a child safety training curriculum that will teach children in Southeast Asia methods of self-protection against potential perpetrators. Pray specifically as the curriculum undergoes revision and translation and for all those who will potentially use it. fellowship!

Spring 2009

|

7


W

CBF field personnel work to address medical needs of Banjara people

hen Macarena Aldape cleans a wound or treats a rash, her Banjara patients

often ask her why she is helping them. The Banjara people are considered

“untouchable” by Indian society, and their socio-economic status often limits their access to healthcare, education and jobs with decent wages. “The same God who created you created me and loves us,” Macarena Aldape, a registered nurse, tells her patients. “As a nurse, Christian, woman and mother, I try to show them love and acceptance. It is what God has told us to do — to love our neighbors as ourselves. That’s what I try to do.” Macarena and her husband, Eddie, who serve as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel in India, hold medical camps twice a month in cities

Photos courtesy of Hali Thomas

Healing ministries

Caring for India’s children

Banjara children often have limited access to medical care and health education.

GIVE 8

|

fellowship!

Spring 2009

across northern India. Often, they conduct a camp for six to seven hours in one location and then in the afternoon move to another location. The extreme poverty in which many of the Banjara people live prevents them from seeking the care of a physician. The Aldapes provide a variety of medical services — from treating diseases and common illness to providing education about good health practices. “When a person learns something, that knowledge is power,” Macarena said. “It makes them feel so good about themselves. It makes a world of difference to them.” The Aldapes also work to educate people about HIV/AIDS. With limited health education and medical care, many do not know that they are infected. Eddie said that in one Banjara community it is estimated that half the adults are HIV positive. In 2006, the Aldapes started a boys’ home to serve families living in extreme poverty that could no longer care for their children. Approximately 100 boys wanted to live in the home, but only 50 could be accepted. Many of these children come from homes where one or both of the parents is infected with HIV/AIDS. The Aldapes predict that the need for children’s homes will increase in the next few years as more children are orphaned by AIDS.

To financially support the Fellowship’s medical ministries, give


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

Rajesh, (pictured on the cover of this issue) the oldest of the three children, was 5 years old when he came to live at the boys’ home. His parents, who were both HIV positive, did not want to separate their children, but also recognized that they could no longer provide them with adequate care. “When Rajesh’s father’s health went from bad to worse, he called us over to make a promise to him that we would take good care of Rajesh,” Eddie said. “He also asked us to take the other two boys once

his wife was not able to care for them. He apologized over and over and said he had never before seen the love of God. He and his wife accepted Christ as their personal savior and became active members of the local church. He has since gone on to be with the Lord.” The Aldapes conduct medical clinics at the boys’ home and other children homes. They dream of outfitting a school bus or van with medical equipment and supplies. Such a mobile clinic would give them more flexibility to “go wherever the needs are.”

“Fellowship Baptists have a vision to reach out to marginalized people — those that have been ignored and neglected,” said Macarena. “For me, it is an answered prayer to have people that care that much for others and send people all over the world to work. Through CBF we are doing the work of many others in India. It is a privilege to know that there are people out there that still care for those nobody else does.” By contributing writer Charlotte Tubbs, Atlanta, Ga.

online at www.thefellowship.info/give or use the envelope included in this issue. fellowship!

Spring 2009

|

9


“As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to Jesus;

Healing ministries

and he laid his hands on each of them and healed them.” — Luke 4:40

Maddy

When war broke out in Lebanon in the late 1970s, Maddy was a teenager. Without a shelter close by or family to take them in, Maddy and her family lived through two decades of bombings — sometimes 5,000 shells a night — in relative isolation. Even when the war ended, the stress and fear of the bombardment stayed with Maddy. CBF field personnel Chaouki and Maha Boulos, who serve in Lebanon, have reached out to Maddy and her widowed mother, making sure they had the resources to treat post-traumatic stress. “It’s a wonderful thing being the hands and feet of Jesus in the world,” said Maha. “Maddy is just one example of many who are being reached on a monthly basis.”

Mr. Mulu Photo courtesy Dee Donalson

Dee Donalson first noticed Mr. Mulu, the director of public relations at the water office, on the streets of the village in Hosanna, Ethiopia. He was dressed in a business suit, traveling down the street on his hands and knees. Donalson, one of CBF’s field personnel, soon learned that Mr. Mulu, a paraplegic since birth, was one of more than 500 people in the region in need of a wheelchair. With many people in the region suffering from polio, rickets and debilitating birth defects, wheelchairs and other medical equipment are in high demand and difficult to acquire. Donalson connected with a U.S.-based non-profit, an individual donor and a translator in Ethiopia to obtain a wheelchair for Mr. Mulu, the father of five children. “He was humbled when he realized the chair had actually arrived,” said Donalson. “He said many people asked if he needed a wheelchair but none had followed through. I take no credit — it was only through the body of Christ that I am involved.”

LEARN 10

|

fellowship!

Spring 2009

To learn more about the ministries of CBF


Ruslani

Soledad

Operation San Andres, a ministry center in Collique, Peru where CBF field personnel Chris and Jessica Rose serve, recently expanded its medical services to people living with HIV/AIDS. In Peru, most dentists will not treat HIV/ AIDS patients because they lack the proper education about the disease. When two dentists and two hygienists from a medical mission team decided to provide care, they met Soledad, a victim of domestic violence who had suffered a broken front tooth. She was anxious and thought that the dentists would pull out her teeth, leaving her with a big gap. Normally, that would be the case, but two dentists felt called to spend the extra time and resources to work together to perform a root canal and build her another tooth. “The dentists managed to construct a new tooth, and she left with a smile worth a thousand words,” said the Roses. “It was truly a blessing for both the patients and the dentists and hygienists to be involved with God’s work that day. One of the dentists said that this was probably the most rewarding experience he’s had on a medical mission trip.”

CBF photo

On a warm afternoon, Ruslani comes to the village to get water for his family to use for cooking and drinking. CBF field personnel Casey and John installed a filter in the village a year ago, which means families such as For people living along the river, access to clean water Ruslani’s do not have helps prevent common illnesses. to spend their limited income to purchase clean water. “Ruslani has always been thankful for the clean water his family has been able to enjoy since the filter was installed, especially during the toilsome rice planting and harvesting seasons that have recently passed,” John said. “However, he has been finding himself even more thankful these days as the rainy season brings rising flood levels at the same time that economic woes rise higher and higher.”  The availability of clean water also means the family spends less on medicine and trips to the local health clinic. The filter, destroying 90 to 100 percent of the bacteria, protects the family from the harmful bacteria found in the river water. A medical worker in the village recently reported that since the filter had been installed the number of people reporting intestinal issues has decreased drastically.  “The chance to be a part of this ministry has been wonderful,” John said. “It has offered us the opportunity to share hope and health and love with these beautiful people.  It has also granted us the ability to concretely live out the care for the poor and those in need that we read in the words of scripture and see in the life of Jesus.”

Photo courtesy of the Roses

In just one week, medical missions teams often treat thousands of people in Collique, Peru.

Aynallum

Tori Wentz, left, frequently travels to Ethiopia to provide medical care.

Photo courtesy Tori Wentz

Aynallum, a mother of three, was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. Without proper medical care, her health deteriorated rapidly and cancer spread to two-thirds of her chest wall. Tori Wentz, one of CBF’s field personnel, met Aynallum through Hospice Ethiopia. Wentz, a registered nurse, travels with hospice staff to minister to patients, helping them make necessary decisions and face death with dignity. Wentz and a hospice nurse provided Aynallum with medication to treat the infection and intense pain. “Most importantly, though, we spend time sitting by her bed and listening as she shares her story,” Wentz said. “We acknowledge her disappointments and fears. When she asks, we tell her the truth about her prognosis and then hold her hands while she quietly cries. Before leaving, we pray with her.”

field personnel, go to www.thefellowship.info/fieldpersonnel. fellowship!

Spring 2009

|

11


Healing ministries

‘Show people Christ’ Riverboat ministry provides health care in Southeast Asia

For one medical worker in Southeast Asia, the adventure story of a lifetime takes place on a riverboat that doubles as her transient home and a health care clinic. Despite daily challenges and setbacks — including a perpetually failing generator and local doctors attempting to shut the ministry down — she and the crew persist in their mission to improve the quality of life for people who generally have little access to health care. Karen, one of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s field personnel, ministers to small farming communities along a river in Southeast Asia. With a background in environmental science as well as medicine, she is uniquely positioned to care for the sick and provide health education.

“Most of their health issues [are] related to environmental issues,” she said. “[The villagers] are almost completely dependent on the river water for drinking, bathing, washing clothes and dishes, going to the bathroom, fishing, and irrigating their rice paddies and other fields.” Since many of the villages have no road access, the river is often the primary means of transportation. It’s also where industrial plants dump waste. “With raw sewage and chemicals in the water,” Karen said, “this river is the number

CBF Photo

Many of the health problems facing the people who live along the river are the result of environmental issues.

SERVE 12

|

fellowship!

Spring 2009

To learn about opportunities to serve in medical ministries in Southeast Asia


CBF photo

one source of illness and disease.” However, most people can’t afford the fuel needed to boil their water before drinking it. “Conditions are harsh and the level of poverty is extreme,” said Karen. “Most families live on less than $1 a day, which the World Health Organization calls ‘the poverty that kills.’ If a family member gets sick, the family must literally decide between seeking medical attention for that individual or feeding the rest of the family for the week.” The most common conditions that Karen treats are routine issues such as coughs, colds, runny noses, ear infections, dental problems, stomach problems, scabies and lacerations. “We see a lot of infections that can be easily treated with antibiotics or even just good hygiene but have become debilitating or even life-threatening due to the poor conditions in which most people live,” Karen said. Sometimes, the riverboat team sees more serious cases. One mother brought her 9-year-old son to the boat to be examined. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and an infection in his lung. Karen saw that the boy was admitted to a hospital and assisted the family in completing the necessary steps to qualify for a free medical program so he could continue treatment after discharge. “I am continually awed and humbled by their stoic acceptance of hardship,” Karen said. “People who live along the river are used to not having health care. They habitually live with chronic and debilitating illness as just a normal part of life.”

The staff on the medical riverboat often serves as many as 150 people a day.

The staff on the medical riverboat often serves as many as 150 people a day, and village leaders offer fruit and fish as tokens of their gratitude. “We spend a considerable amount of time educating patients as to the nature of their illness and ways to prevent a reoccurrence,” Karen said. “In the villages where we have been working for almost a year, we have seen a decrease in the severity of illness. There are young children who have regained function of limbs that were previously useless and adults who are less likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack because their blood pressure is under control and they are eating healthier.” For Karen, the riverboat ministry is an attempt to reach out in a tangible way to share the love of Christ. “I always think of Matthew 25:35-36, which says ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave

me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me.’ To really show people what Christ looks like,” she said, “we must explore ways to help people obtain their most basic and critical needs.” To this end, Karen and her co-workers are working to address the root causes of poverty at many levels. In addition to providing free basic medical care on the boat, they are building water filters in the villages for clean drinking water and operating an experimental farm looking for ways to improve agricultural practices to boost economic stability. Editor’s note: Due to global security concerns names and locations of some of CBF field personnel will not be publicized. By contributing writer Laurie Entrekin, Marietta, Ga.

and around the world, contact Chris Boltin at engage@thefellowship.info or (800) 352-8741. fellowship!

Spring 2009

|

13


As you plan for Easter & Mother’s Day … give a gift that makes a difference

I

nstead of shopping for a traditional gift this spring, consider purchasing from CBF’s Global Missions gift catalog, which has

dozens of ministry projects as gift options. You can support a ministry for as little as a couple of dollars, and CBF will send your loved one a special note describing the gift you purchased in their name. It might be tuition for a seminary student in China, a pig for an agriculture project in Thailand, water well in Ethiopia or bus ticket for a Roma family to attend church. Each gift represents a contribution to the life changing ministry of CBF field personnel serving around the globe. Your gift can be given in memory, for a birthday or anniversary, or for any holiday or special occasion during the year. Begin shopping today at www.thefellowship. info/giftcatalog.

Antiphony,

a special conference for

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

Faith. Hope. Love. Now.

In a global

climate of need, change, conflict and disparity — these three things remain — and the world needs them … now. Come to engage in honest discussion, to ask hard questions, consider new answers and open yourself to God’s leading. Stretch your worldview, worship in new ways, hear, be heard and really listen to God. You just might walk away changed forever.

An all-inclusive $249 pays for everything — all meals, hotel lodging, programming, parties, t-shirt and an unforgetable New Year’s Eve gala. More details are online now:

14

|

www.thefellowship.info/antiphony fellowship!

Spring 2009


for preventing ministerial burnout ers refreshed and renewed. Jesus

In today’s fast paced, ever changing, infor-

withdrew from the crowds often to

mation-overloaded world, the days can take a

recharge. Encourage your minis-

toll. The minister is not exempt from this pace.

3

The following tips for preventing burnout can apply to all of us — they may help all of us deal effectively with the stress of the daily grind. But, these are especially relevant for ministers, who tend to ignore their days off, rarely find time for reflection and whose family needs them. Apply these to your own life, but also help your ministers apply these to their lives. Your pastor and staff will thank you for caring for them. So, how do you survive stress? Easy, R-E-L-A-X!

1

ters to do the same!

L — Laugh There is no better energizer than a

release of endorphins through a good belly laugh. Laughter really is the “best medicine,” keeping

Carla Wynn Davis photo

By Bo Prosser

our perspectives healthy. Clinical studies have shown laughter to

Earlier this year, CBF held two retreats specifically for ministers. The True Survivor conference for Christian educators and Current retreat for young leaders were held in Orlando, Fla.

be an effective tool for keeping focused, for bringing energy and insights, and for aiding learning. Ministers are sometimes immune to laughter. The stress of caring for the needs of

R — Rest

a congregation weighs heavy on the mind of our

There is perhaps no better antidote for the stressful lifestyle than rest. The aver-

spiritual leaders. About once a month, I give myself a “mental

age adult needs at least eight hours of sleep a

health” day. I watch comedic movies, listen to

night. Very few of us get that much! Ministers are

stand up comics, and visit humor sites on the

notorious for not taking care of themselves. Rest

Internet. It’s amazing how a time of laughter can

is critical.

help me re-adjust my attitude and my outlook

There are many ways to rest — power naps,

on life. Help your minister to spend some time

spiritual retreats, vacations. But, perhaps the best

caring for his or her mental and spiritual self with

tool for rest is honoring the day off. Sunday is not

some good laughs.

a day of rest for the minister; it is a day of work. The minister must find another time for Sabbath. Help your minister (and yourself) to guard his or her day off. These are not times to run errands, write columns, or make phone calls or home visits. These are days off; no working allowed.

2

E — Escape

4

A — Alter Routines Doing the same things, the same ways, day after day leads to bore-

5

X — eXercise Ministers (along with the rest of us) are not taking care of themselves. Perhaps

the most ignored part of our daily routines is physical exertion. The average adult needs 45 minutes of exercise at least three times a week. Rarely does this happen in the life of the minister. We must do better — so quit reading this and get on the treadmill or go for a walk or a bike ride. As we get our bodies in motion, our souls, minds and bodies become healthier. We are able to tackle work issues with more enthusiasm; we are able to attend to ministerial demands with energy. Make a commitment today to begin a diet and fitness routine that will lead to a healthier minister. Two other hints that will also help head off

dom, lack of energy, even depression. By altering

burnout: Encourage your minister to engage a

routines, we can see new perspectives, re-energize

counselor or spiritual director. The load of ministry

our work lives and enjoy life to the fullest. Altering

is too heavy to carry alone. Having someone to

routines can be as simple as brushing our teeth

walk alongside will be a tremendous gift.

Ministers, like the rest of us, also

with the opposite hand or driving to work on a

need time away. These “escapes” are

different route. This may mean getting up early to

know of your prayers. There is no better encour-

study or sleeping late some morning.

agement that a minister can receive from a church

important for recharging and rejuvenating. These can be extended vacations, study times, prayer

The things that we do over and over become

Finally, pray for your minister and let him or her

member than to know of active prayer warriors.

retreats or any number of other times away. Like

mindless task masters and make our work boring

When parishioners are praying, the minister is en-

the “day off,” vacation time is often ignored. The

and our thoughts stale. We pay our ministers to

gaged, energized and affirmed.

minister needs time to refresh, to rethink, to dream

think part of the time. We don’t want them stale or

and to renew.

bored. We want them fully engaging with the Holy

Help your pastor or staff minister to RELAX,

Extended time away might be a one-day prayer

Spirit in prayer and study. Encourage your minister

to seek a spiritual guide and encourage them in

retreat. These might be a two or three week vaca-

to change up his or her schedule to see the renew-

prayer. Your ministers will thank you; your church

tion. Remember that you want your spiritual lead-

ing love of God at work in the world.

will be energized.

Bo Prosser serves at the Fellowship’s coordinator of congregational formation. Contact Prosser at bprosser@thefellowship.info or (800) 352-8741. To learn about CBF retreats for ministers, go to www.thefellowship.info/events. fellowship!

Spring 2009

|

15


Welcome! 2009 Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly in Houston, July 2-3 The 19th annual Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly will gather July 2-3 in Houston, Texas, around the theme “Embrace the World: Welcome to Your Neighborhood.” The event features dynamic worship, practical ministry workshops, warm fellowship and new ideas for you and your congregation. Here you’ll find important information about the Assembly, including the schedule, new events, things to see and do in Houston, and a step-by-step guide to attending the Assembly. Come this summer to a city as diverse as Houston, where you can embrace the world by getting to know your new global neighbors. Hear why this fellowship movement called Cooperative Baptist Fellowship matters, and leave the Assembly knowing you are part of this growing movement of God in the world.

More information about the Assembly, as well as free online pre-registration, is available at

www.thefellowship.info/assembly. 16

|

fellowship!

Spring 2009


Welcome to your neighborhood — a new one, a global one, one where we’re all connected, one where Christ’s compassion extends to our neighbors down the street and around the world, one where we are changed as God changes lives through us, and one where together we can make a world of difference.

M

ake plans now to attend CBF’s General Assembly at the George R. Brown Convention Center and Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston, Texas. Beyond the new resources, the fellowship, the inspiration and the renewed hope that the Gospel is making a difference, there’s the experience of being part of a movement that is changing the world. Pre-Assembly Events Monday, June 29 – Wednesday, July 1 Missions Service Projects While in Houston, give back to the area by serving in one of many hands-on missions projects. Serve for one hour or a few days in your choice of community or local church-based ministries.

Tuesday, June 30 – Sunday, July 5 Houston Sessions The Houston Sessions is a collegiate missional experience featuring hands-on missions immersion, fellowship, meaningful discussion and reflection, a July 4th celebration, the opportunity to participate in the General Assembly, and more.

Wednesday, July 1 Noon-5 p.m. On-site registration 1-5 p.m. The Leadership Institute This event features guest speaker Al Winseman of Gallup. Winseman is author of Growing an Engaged Church, a copy of which each registered participant will receive. Register online at www.thefellowship.info/ assembly.

7:30 p.m. Global Missions field personnel commissioning service at South Main Baptist Church in Houston Come support the newest CBF field personnel as they are commissioned for ministries around the world. Be part of this special service and meet the new field personnel at a reception after the service.

c o n n e c t : Houston’s South Main Baptist Church is the home church of CBF field personnel Bill and Michelle Cayard, who serve in China. At Wednesday evening’s Global Missions Commissioning Service, you’ll learn more about the church’s relationship with CBF field personnel and how it’s made a difference in Houston and China. General Assembly is a great place to connect with CBF field personnel and talk about how your church can partner and support ongoing ministry worldwide. fellowship!

Spring 2009

|

17


2009 Cooperative Baptist Fe Houston, July 2-3 General Assembly Schedule

Friday, July 3

Thursday, July 2

7:30 a.m. Auxiliary events

7:30 a.m. Auxiliary Events

8:00 a.m. Registration opens

8 a.m. On-site registration opens

8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Resource Fair open

8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Resource Fair. Find new resources, books, ministry organizations and more. Visit the missions marketplace or bid at the silent auction on work by artists from around the world. Don’t miss the nightly fellowship after worship.

10:00 a.m. General Session in Convention Center

10 a.m. General Session in Convention Center 11 a.m. Business breakout sessions 11:30 a.m. Lunch & Auxiliary Events 1:30 – 2:40 p.m. Workshops. Enhance your ministry. Learn something new. Whether it’s spiritual formation, missions, preaching or other ministry topics, you’ll find workshops to equip, inspire and encourage your personal and church ministries. 3:00 – 4:10 p.m. Workshops 4:30 p.m. State and regional CBF meetings 5:30 – 7:15 p.m. Dinner & Auxiliary Events 7:30 p.m. Worship in the Convention Center with other Fellowship Baptists through global music, art and stories that challenge and inspire. Be amazed at what God is doing in the Fellowship. 9 – 10 p.m. Fellowship in the Resource Fair

11:30 a.m. Lunch & Auxiliary Events 1:30 – 2:40 p.m. Workshops 3 – 4:10 p.m. Workshops 5 – 7 p.m. Dinner & Auxiliary Events, including a special gathering of Hispanic Christians. 7:30 p.m. Worship in Convention Center. Don’t miss this special time of communion and commitment. 9 – 10 p.m. Reception in the Resource Fair

Thursday and Friday Children’s Assembly While you’re enjoying worship and workshops, your children engage in fun learning activities of their own using CBF’s missions education resources. Held at various times in the Convention Center, the cost is $85 for the first child, and $75 for each additional child in the same family. See www.thefellowship.info/assembly for more information and to register. Youth Assembly Youth will gather for worship, Bible study, late night reflection services and hands-on missions projects. Also scheduled is a trip to Houston’s Space Center to learn about God’s vast creation. Cost is $125 per teenager. See www.thefellowship.info/assembly for more information and to register.

c o n n e c t : Former Houston residents Bob and Janice Newell are CBF field personnel who minister in Athens, Greece, among Albanian refugees. A photo exhibit, “Albanians in Athens — a Positive Picture,” was created by Gary Barchfeld, a professional photographer from Houston. Sixteen photos about the Newells’ ministry are included in a traveling exhibition that concludes its U.S. tour at the General Assembly, where you can see it in the Resource Fair. 18

|

fellowship!

Spring 2009


ellowship General Assembly Practical Ministry Workshops The approximately 60 workshops include: • Bible Studies on the Good Samaritan led by Dorisanne Cooper • “Prophetic Preaching — The Art and Craft of the Sermon” • “400 Years of Baptist History — What’s a church to do now?” and “How a church can speak up now” with Bill Leonard and James Dunn • “Understanding Islam” with Michael McCullar and Rob Sellers • “Flawed Families of the Bible: A Teaching Resource” with Diana Garland • “Joint Venture: Practical Spirituality for Embracing the World” with Jeanie Miley • “The Minister: A Renewable Resource” with Steve Graham • Numerous workshops with CBF field personnel. Learn how you and your church can engage, joining God’s mission in the world.

Auxiliary Events Organizations and groups hosting auxiliary events include: CBF Foundation, Whitsitt Society, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Campbell University Divinity School, Christian Life Commission and T.B. Matson Foundation, Truett Theological Seminary, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Associated Baptist Press, Church Benefits Board, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, CBF Leadership Scholars and CBF’s endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors.

Want to come to the Assembly? Here’s what you do: 1. Visit www.thefellowship.info/assembly to pre-register for the Assembly. It’s easy and free. 2. If needed, reserve a hotel room. Take advantage of special CBF pricing of $109 per night in the downtown, four-star Hilton Americas Hotel. The special rate lasts through the weekend for those interested in staying for July 4th festivities. 3. Consider splitting travel costs by visiting www.thefellowship.info/ assembly/forum, where you can request a roommate to share hotel costs or a carpool to share the ride. 4. Make travel arrangements. Fly into Houston Hobby (HOU) or Intercontinental (IAH) airport. Visit the Assembly Web site to learn how you can save 10 percent on AirTran flights. You can also ride the Amtrak train to downtown Houston (HOS) or drive. Parking is available. Invite a friend to attend the Assembly with you. 5. If applicable, register your children and teenagers online for the children’s and youth assemblies. 6. Visit the Assembly Web site for updates, program additions, registration for auxiliary events and more. Keep up with the latest

Assembly updates through the biweekly e-newsletter sent to all preregistrants who have listed an e-mail address. These updates will include new events, travel tips, helpful downloads and more. 7. Visit www.visithoustontexas.com to explore attractions, events, and things you can see and do while in Houston. Visit the aquarium, zoo, museum, space center and the Freedom Over Texas Festival on July 4th. With live concerts and the state’s largest fireworks display choreographed to music, you’ll be glad you spent the holiday weekend in Texas. 8. Once in Houston, be sure to find Assembly registration in the Convention Center. You will receive a packet of information, including the 2009 General Assembly Guide that describes all Assembly activities. Familiarize yourself with the schedule, prioritize workshops and auxiliary events of interest and enjoy the Assembly.

c o n n e c t : Team roping, trail rides, chuck wagon meals, rodeo skills camps, barrel racing and activities at the county fair are some of the events that Gulf Coast Cowboy Church uses to embrace its neighborhood of Santa Fe, Texas. While at the Assembly, consider visiting this unique CBF-supported church start located just outside of Houston. fellowship!

Spring 2009

|

19


Extending the challenge State organizations invest in CBF Foundation micro finance initiative

W

Photo courtesy of Proempresa

hat began as a friendly challenge that CBF of Texas made to CBF of Florida may well end up putting millions to work in developing nations, giving them a chance to earn more than just a subsistence wage. It began when CBF of Texas decided to invest $10,000 — 10 percent of its reserve — in the CBF Foundation’s new micro finance initiative. Texas challenged CBF of Florida to add 10 percent of its reserve or endowment funds into the project. Then the challenge spread to all of CBF’s states and regions, who enthusiastically endorsed the idea. Now, more than $1 million is committed to micro finance through the CBF Foundation, said Foundation president Don Durham. But he cautioned that CBF is not in the banking business. CBF Foundation invests the funds in micro finance banks through an investment banker who monitors and evaluMicro enterprise loans are ates them regularly. usually short-term — six months to a year — and These banks then range from $50 to $1,500. make short-term (six months to a year) loans of $50 to $1,500 to entrepreneurs in low-income countries who, Durham said, “are ready to be productive caretakers of their families and homes.” Between 96 and 98 percent of the loans are repaid. According to research by Duetsche Bank approxi-

20

|

fellowship!

Spring 2009

mately $25 billion is available worldwide through micro enterprise banks, but the same research also shows that demand for these loans is around $250 billion. That’s why Rick McClatchy, coordinator for CBF Texas, wants to extend the 10 percent challenge to local churches at the General Assembly in Houston so that more money is available for micro enterprise lending. “This venture is important because it works to reduce poverty, and the need for capital in these countries is great,” McClatchy said. “For us to have such resources in our hands and not be willing to lend them to the extreme poor of the world is a sin.” Ray Johnson, coordinator for CBF of Florida, agrees. “We felt that this use of

our wealth was an appropriate expression of our values,” he said. “In fact, our boards were all very pleased and excited to have a chance to invest our funds in this way.” Johnson said that CBF Florida is investing 10 percent of its funds-undermanagement in micro enterprise financing, approximately $91,000. “The overwhelming consensus of our governing boards was that investing in micro enterprises helps CBF Florida align its financial stewardship with the principles of Matthew 25 — to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give water to the thirsty,” he said. CBF’s micro finance project is not a charity approach, McClatchy said, “It is a financial capital approach that promotes responsibility, hard work and cooperative partnerships.” Both McClatchy and Johnson said that CBF’s involvement with micro finance is one way the Fellowship can help meet the


United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “My research indicated that micro finance has been proven to make a significant impact upon the lives of those who live in abject poverty and connects with several of the MDGs,” McClatchy said. “We think that many Texas CBF churches have endowments and could use some of their endowment funds to provide capital for microfinance, but we could not ask churches in Texas to do so unless we, that is CBF Texas, had done so too.” “This kind of investment makes sense at a number of levels,” Johnson said. “It is a simple, concrete way to help the poor. It is one way for CBF Florida churches and individuals to become more aware of what we can do to help achieve the MDGs. It is exactly the kind of investment that CBF Florida churches can be excited about. And, investing in micro enterprises is a very stable investment strategy, particularly

learn |

in today’s world where typical stock investments are a bit more volatile.” “Our bigger mission in the CBF movement is to advance the kingdom of God vision that Jesus gave us,” McClatchy said. “The kingdom of God is concerned about the spiritual and physical needs of human life upon this world. Caring about the poor is kingdom work and any failure to understand this and do this is failure to follow Jesus. Microfinance is a tool that enables us to successfully help the poor and is therefore kingdom work.” “CBF Florida’s basic mission is to motivate and equip followers of Jesus to be his presence,” Johnson said. “Micro enterprise financing extends our reach beyond our own borders. It is, to use the theme of this year’s CBF Offering for Global Missions, an additional way for us to ‘embrace the world.’”

Alabama church allocates resources to micro finance A small town church in northeast Alabama with a global outlook is using some of the money it has set aside to pay its utility bills to give a man or woman in a developing nation a chance to earn a better living. Gault Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Payne, Ala., was among the first churches to reallocate a portion of its CBF Foundation resources into the Foundation’s just established micro finance initiative. “I heard at last year’s General Assembly that as little as $25 would enable someone to buy a sewing machine, start a garment business, and earn more than just a subsistence living,” said Gault Avenue’s bivocational pastor Mike Mitchell. “That is our goal — to see people who are honest and

By contributing writer Sue H. Poss, Greenville, S.C.

To learn more about the CBF Foundation’s micro finance initiative, contact Don Durham at ddurham@thefellowship.info or (800) 352-8741.

hardworking pull themselves out of poverty. We know that not all will be successful but we hope some will, and that they will be on a path to financial well being.” After last year’s Assembly in Memphis, Mitchell talked with his 75-member church about using some of its assets in the micro finance program.

Loans help artisans start, grow business

our members were excited about the idea,” he said. “They said ‘Let’s do it.’” The church

F

gives about16 percent of its operating budget to missions effort. Gault Avenue already had an account set up with the CBF Foundation, the basis of which was an estate gift made to the church several years ago by Archie Fuller. Church

Photo courtesy of Proempresa

redy Rojas Landa spent 15 years in the textile industry in Peru before cutbacks forced him and many others to seek other work. Landa moved his family to Canto Grande, Peru, and sought to begin his own business. An artisan, specializing in wood and silver crafts, Landa secured a loan of $166 with Proempresa, a micro enterprise development company in Peru. With the loan, he was able to purchase raw materials to start his business. “Everything I have worked for has been for my family to overcome the extreme poverty we came to live in because of my previous business failure,” Landa said. “My business recovery has united my

“Our church is very missions-minded and

members and others have been adding to the fund regularly since, with the goal being that the interest earned on the account would be used to offset the church’s utility payments. Church members decided to use $2,000 of that principal for the micro

family, and all of us are now on the road to success. I’ve been able to fulfill my dreams, and my children are benefiting from my success. I’ve also been able to involve all of my employees, so that they can become future leaders.”

finance program. “We expect to be paid back but we understand that this is not 100 percent guaranteed,” Mitchell said. “We hope the money will be used to lift some families out of poverty. If we never get it back, we’re not worried.”

fellowship!

Spring 2009

|

21


‘Manger dwellers’

CBF field personnel bring Christ’s love to migrants on backside of racetrack

O

n Feb. 2 just outside of Seattle, Wash., Emerald Downs racetrack opened for winter training. Along with more than 300 racehorses that moved into the racetrack’s stables came hundreds of caretakers. Mostly Hispanic migrant workers, these caretakers do everything from groom and saddle horses to lift hay bales and clean stalls. It equates to long hours, low pay and a hard life, where they’re often invisible or overlooked — but not to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Diann and Phil Whisnand. As racetrack chaplains, the Whisnands are a spiritual presence on the “backside” of the Emerald Downs track, where nearly 800 workers, mostly migrants, will live and work through the end of racing season in October. By opening race day in mid-April, the number of racehorses at Emerald Downs grows to more than 1,250 — many of which earn less racing than what it costs to feed and care for them. With slim profit margins, workers are often paid below minimum wage, making it nearly impossible to afford living anywhere but the backside’s dorm rooms or in a small tack room with saddles, bridles and other equipment. The backside is like “a small town in the middle of nowhere,” the Whisnands said, complete with its own celebrations,

Phil Whisnand, who formerly worked as a veterinarian, shares a natural connection and common language with backside track workers, who provide day-to-day care for racehorses.

22

|

fellowship!

Spring 2009

defeats, good times and bad. And for all of that, the Whisnands are there, supporting an isolated, mostly male Hispanic population in the northwestern United States. In the horse racing world, the Whisnands said Hispanics are often hired by horse trainers for their widely-known skill with high-spirited horses. In the off-season, some workers will move with the horses to another farm or training facility, and others might return home to their families in Mexico and Central and South America for a brief visit before returning to the track. “For many, it is a life of dangerous work, isolation, loneliness, alcohol, drugs, depression, suicide and even murder,” Phil said. “We are there to offer them hope.” Usually wearing a hat or coat with “chaplain” on it, the Whisnands are easy to notice and often called upon to help. Once, Phil was called to a barn, where a worker had just died of a heart attack. Later he delivered the devastating news to the man’s wife, who asked the Whisnands to conduct the funeral in a racetrack facility. “It was an opportunity to speak to the whole backside about life after death,” Diann said. The Whisnands offer chapel services and Bible studies in English and Spanish. Diann leads Spanish and English songs, and sometimes a worker brings an instrument and plays. Phil preaches, and during one sermon about forgiveness, a man interrupted and asked why he should forgive people in that room who were mean to him. Phil encouraged him to do as Jesus said, looking at his own heart before blaming others.


CBF photos

The Whisnands offer Bible studies in Spanish and English for workers. During the summer they hosted a Vacation Bible School for workers whose families live nearby.

“The man agreed and said he’d give it a try,” Phil said. By the end of racing season, trust is built and some workers will linger after chapel or dinner to meet with the Whisnands about personal struggles or for spiritual counseling. Diann also looks for ways to specifically minister to the few women working at the track. In a given week, the Whisnands’ ministry might include providing food, clothes, medicine and transportation to the doctor. Sometimes they visit the hospital when a worker has been injured. And most recently they have started a program to help connect addiction counselors to the many workers who fight loneliness and isolation through alcohol and drug use. “Without affordable or free intervention, it can easily spiral out of control,” Diann said. More and more the Whisnands are expanding the ministry to involve churches and Christians, who by helping with the ministry can serve in an international setting without leaving the United States. Already some churches gather clothes and blankets to donate or provide an occasional hot meal for workers, who may be “down to their last dollar” and worried about when their next meal will be.

Workers on the track’s backside often live at the track, both to be close to the horses in case of emergency and because they often can’t afford to live elsewhere.

One 75-year-old woman sponsored a “Christ was born in a manger, and that’s migrant family for a Christmas outreach exactly the lowly place in which our ministry project. Though she was nervous about intakes place. We walk with these ‘manger dwellteracting with people of another culture and ers,’ talk with them, eat with them, and pray language, she found purpose in the experiwith them. We are their trusted friend. They ence and wants to help again. can depend upon us for help,” Diann said. “Helping people discover and fulfill their As with many CBF field personnel, God-given mission, even if they are 75 years the Whisnands are financially supported old, is very worthwhile,” Diann said. through CBF’s Offering for Global Missions, The Whisnands know a little something which provides for operating expenses, salaabout joining God on mission. In 2005, after ries and life-changing ministries. years of involvement in short-term missions “The Offering allows us to live and work in Mexico and Peru, Phil, a veterinarian, in the Seattle area. It provides a way for us and Diann, an educator, left their jobs to to live out being the presence of Christ evbe commissioned as CBF field personnel. eryday,” Diann said. As certified chaplains with Racetrack Chaplaincy of America, they began their By Carla Wynn Davis, CBF Communications work at Hollywood Park racetrack in Los Angeles and moved to Emerald Downs in 2008. “I really feel at Online — Go to www.thefellowship.info/give. For questions regarding online home when I am giving, contact igive@thefellowship.info. walking on the backMail — Use the contribution envelope included in this issue and make your stretch and talking check payable to CBF. with the workers, Phone — Call CBF toll-free at (800) 352-8741. sharing God’s love,” Phil said. fellowship!

Spring 2009

|

23


Cooperative Baptist Fellowship P.O. Box 450329 • Atlanta, Georgia 31145-0329 www.thefellowship.info (800) 352-8741

C o o p e r at i v e B a p t i s t F e l l o w s h i p

General Assembly 2009 July 2-3 | Houston, Texas

C

ome this summer to a city as diverse as Houston, where you can embrace the world by getting to know your new global neighbors. Hear

from them why this movement called Cooperative Baptist Fellowship matters, and leave the Assembly knowing you are part of this growing movement of God in the world.

Follow these three easy steps: 1 Pre-register at www.thefellowship.info/assembly. It’s easy and free. 2 If needed, reserve a room at the Hilton Americas Hotel at discount of $109/night 3 Consider splitting travel costs by visiting www.thefellowship.info/ assembly/forum, where you can request a roommate to share hotel costs or a carpool to share the ride.

Spring fellowship! 2009  
Spring fellowship! 2009  

Spring fellowship! 2009