April 24, 2014
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2013: Lottie Moon Christmas Offering
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2nd VIEW: 'Flat Lottie,' trek by trek, relays her mission field encounters
SOUTHEAST ASIA (BP) -- Ever heard of Flat Stanley? How about Flat Lottie? With Flat Stanley, schoolchildren exchange paper cutouts or digital images of Stanley as a way of interacting with students in other locations, even other countries.
Pulpit perspective: Reach unreached together
Supporting Southern Baptist mission efforts is about working together, pastor Ryan Pack explains. "When it comes to worldwide evangelism, Southern Baptists get on the same page."
FIRST PERSON: 'The value of one soul?'
Alex Garcia asks, "What is the value of one soul?" Garcia, a Southern Baptist missionary in London, shares how one life can make a difference for Christ.
Lottie Moon's story reenacted at seminary
NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- Laurita Miller told the story of Lottie Moon's call to China by portraying the missions trailblazer in chapel at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Hope found after ALS diagnosis
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (BP) -- Mary Harper's* eyes well with tears as she plucks rocks from the garden of her family's home near Springfield, Mo.
The 42-year-old slowly makes her way down a row marked "Spinach," using her left hand to toss dozens of stones into a trailer made from the bed of an old pickup. Her right arm hangs at her side, emaciated, its fingers slightly contorted -- the first victim of a disease that will likely take her life.
Three to five years, she said. That's the average doctors give most people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. She fights back tears as she recalls the moment that she and her husband, John*, broke the news to their daughters and turned their family's world upside down. "Mom, I don't want you to die," Mary remembers her older daughter, Lindsey*, now 15, crying in her arms. Her younger daughter, Jessica*, now 13, also was in tears. John wondered how he'd raise two girls without his best friend. It wasn't supposed to be like this. More than a year ago, the Harpers were living half a world away, sharing Jesus in a spiritually dark corner of Central Asia. They'd spent the past seven years there serving as Southern Baptist representatives. It was an epic journey the small-town couple never imagined they'd take; especially for John, a self-described "hillbilly" whose happy place is either perched in a deer stand or waist deep in a river holding a fishing rod. Called to missions at 15, John said he surrendered to just about every missions field on the planet, "bawling his eyes out" whenever a missionary spoke in church. He met Mary after high school and they started dating, until John's calling almost ended their relationship. "God told me to go, and you can either come with me or not," he remembers telling Mary one night. "And then I turned around to walk away because it didn't seem like she was responding." Irritated but otherwise unfazed by John's pig-headed ultimatum, Mary grabbed his arm, spun him around and revealed something she'd never told anyone -- at 16, God also had spoken to her about missions. Listening to a missionary from China preach in church one Sunday morning, Mary clearly felt the Lord asking if she would be willing to go overseas one day. She was. "I gave her a little bitty, thin gold ring with a little grain of sand in there for a diamond," John said. "I was poor. I ate all my money." He proposed at Lambert's restaurant in Sikeston, Mo., home of the famous "throwed rolls." (Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like; waiters literally throw hot yeast rolls at customers.) It wasn't the most romantic gesture, but Mary was too down-to-earth to care about such things -- she simply wanted to obey God and follow wherever He led her husband-to-be. John was prepared to go just about anywhere, except to work with Muslims. He'd heard missionaries speaking about Muslim work and could "summarize all of their testimonies like this: We served for 30 years in such-and-such country, we were about to retire, and the day before we got on the plane somebody finally gave their heart to Christ." Incredulous, he added, "Dude, I'm not working 30 years to see one person come to faith."
New believer risks marriage for Jesus
CENTRAL ASIA (BP) -- John Harper* had just blown it. The
Missouri-born Southern Baptist missionary watched as a wave of anger washed over the face of his new friend, Rasheed,* whom he'd just told that Jesus wasn't a prophet (as the Quran describes), but God's Son -- a very offensive idea to most Muslims.
Believer suffers prison so others can live
CENTRAL ASIA (BP) -- "Dad, I think we're being followed." Meleeka* drummed her fingers nervously on the car door. Her father kept on driving the familiar route to drop her off at English class, singing a praise song to Jesus as he drove.
No 'throw-away babies,' Tibetans learn
KATHMANDU, Nepal (BP) -- There is no word for abortion in the language of ethnic Tibetan people. The closest phrase is "throw-away baby."
Grace, forgiveness taught in Nepal
KATHMANDU, Nepal (BP) -- Chiijik Lhomi has never been a big fan of Christians. Everyone in her community knows it. The 51-year-old woman -- who makes and sells rice beer -- once loved to poke fun at those who believe in Jesus.
WORLDVIEW: Late for Christmas
As Christmas approaches, Erich Bridges asks readers if they have prepared a place this year in the "guest room" of their lives for Jesus, the promised Messiah. "Giving a quick nod toward the 'true meaning of Christmas' while gorging ourselves on holiday diversions doesn't even rise to the level of putting Jesus in the back room with the livestock, spiritually speaking," he writes.
Students at FUGE camps relish each year's missions infusion
RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- More than $11 million. That's the amount of money given to missions at LifeWay camps since 1984. "It's incredible," said Mark Robbins, FUGE camps coordinator for LifeWay Christian Resources. "Just incredible." The collection is, indeed, incredible especially considering the offerings come from students ranging from third grade through high school. Summer 2014 will mark the 35th anniversary of the FUGE mission offering. Centrifuge, now called FUGE, is a summer camp for seventh- to 12th-grade students which began in 1979. Campers gave their first offering for missions in 1980. Since then, LifeWay has divided the offerings between the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board. LifeWay campers -- 100,000 this summer -- donated more than $600,000 to missions. For the North American Mission Board, the offerings will fund missions efforts in the Bronx and in Canada. For the IMB, 2013 donations will help meet needs of orphans in East Asia through a project called One Child, in a new focus on age-appropriate projects, said Jeremy Echols, who leads LifeWay's CentriKid team. Meanwhile, the 2013 CentriKid partnership (grades three through six) provided $65,009 to orphans in East Asia living in isolated and difficult conditions, reported Tobias Jones*, an IMB student strategist in the region. In an environment where $10 will feed a child for a month, and $30 will provide clothing and thermal underwear to keep kids warm throughout the long winters, the offering literally changes lives. "Many of these kids were orphaned because their mothers died during labor or their parents died because they didn't have basic medical care," Jones said. "Spiritually, these kids have almost zero opportunity to hear about Jesus. They need to see His love and hear His love." Christian workers among the orphans are praying for more opportunities to show God's love, such as meeting their most basic needs, Jones said. "FUGE has partnered with IMB for years and years," Echols said. "Sometimes the projects like True Love Waits and HIV awareness were a better fit for teens than for kids. It's been great this year for CentriKid to focus on meeting the physical needs of kids in an orphanage in East Asia." When CentriKid began in 2001, LifeWay combined the FUGE and CentriKid offerings and gave them to support student projects through IMB's International World Changers (IWC). In 2006, LifeWay and IMB also began identifying specific projects that allowed students to "pray, give and go" to a specific people group. "The 'pray, give, go' tag keeps kids from getting confused with the details," Echols said. "Praying is something they can all do. Giving is something they can all do, and they can go now or go later."
Baptists help Kenyans transform lives
RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- On a chalkboard easel, Southern Baptist missionary Chad Pumpelly and his co-workers serving on two college campuses in Kenya write down names of students, categorizing them as "already a believer," "on the fence" and "would take a miracle."
Christ is worthy of your all
RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- Years ago, in my wife's home church, the pastor received an unusual call on Sunday afternoon from the chairman of the church's finance committee. That morning, the church had begun collecting its annual Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions. ...
WEEK OF PRAYER: Burmese immigrants find 'living water'
RANONG, Thailand (BP) -- It rains eight months out of the year in the Thai province Scott and Alyssa Branding* call home. For many of the country's 2.5 million Burmese living in the southern part of Thailand, monsoon rain is their only dependable water source. But drinking the rainwater can make them sick.
WEEK OF PRAYER: Prayer intertwines Ark. church & South Asia
CENTERTON, Ark. (BP) -- Shanti* was the only believer in her village. The Bedia woman prayed in secret every day for one year.

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