During the Big Serve celebration service on Sept. 4, First Baptist Norfolk’s minister of missions mobilization told three stories of how God is working through our church’s missions projects and partnerships overseas.
In the area of Nepal where our church is serving, Baptist Global Response (BGR) is building 500 homes through the giving of Southern Baptist churches, like First Baptist Norfolk, to the Cooperative Program. One of our church members has spent a total of three months in Nepal working in partnership with BGR. This area has been devastated by natural disasters, from earthquakes to landslides to floods. Please be in prayer for the Nepali people who are suffering.
On a recent trip, our church’s mission team was able to “live the New Testament out” by meeting a man with a “Saul to Paul” testimony. Five years ago, this man was part of a Maoist group. He was actively persecuting the church in his area — he was involved in burning down the church building and even beheading the pastor.
One day, he and other persecutors went to the home where a Bible study was taking place. They ordered the family meeting inside: “Come out and live, or stay inside and die.” The family came outside, but knelt down and prayed in front of the angry group. This gripped the man’s heart and changed him, much like Saul.
He repented of his sins and became a believer in Christ, and today he is the pastor of that very church he persecuted. The villagers could have rejected this man because of his past behavior, but they have seen the change that has taken place in his life and are supporting him.
In Malawi, our mission team provided medical checkups at a new health clinic that was built through funds raised by our 2015 Vacation Bible School and private donations. On the first day, the clinic had to close by 1 pm because they saw so many people that they ran out of medication and had to buy more at local pharmacies. On the second day our team saw almost 200 patients. Every person treated also heard the gospel. They were told that we cared not only about their physical health but also their spiritual health, and approximately 70 people made professions of faith on the second day alone.
In addition, the mission team visited a village were the chief had accepted Christ two years ago, but they hadn’t him seen since. They had concerns that he may not have stayed strong in his faith, but the chief greeted our missions minister with, “Welcome, my brother in Christ!” This man is chief over 23 villages and has a big influence in many communities.
The team showed the JESUS film to about 700 people. When asked if they wanted to receive Christ, so many people raised their hands that they could not count them all. Our missions minister also led a Bible study with 25 men, and about 15 made decisions for Christ. These men committed to be a part of a new church plant in the village.
While the mission team was visiting, there was a death in the village. Typically, no activities would take place in the village following a death, but the chief was adamant that people in his village needed to hear the gospel. Most people who listened wanted to accept Christ.
The mission team was asked to visit the grieving family and offer condolences, unaware that the chief had invited the other chiefs from the 23 villages. When everyone was seated, the chief requested we share the gospel with these men and their families. Most who attended also made professions of faith. The chief stated he could not tell the chiefs where to go to church, but that there was going to be a new Baptist church starting services in his village the following Sunday and invited them to attend.
Only one word could sum up the experience in Malawi: “phenomenal.”
In Peru, our mission team had planned to host a medical, dental, and eye clinic for the squatter village of Brisis. However, none of the local doctors or dentists showed up, so there was no way to continue with the clinic as planned. The team was worried that the people would not stay, but they did! The team shared the hope of Jesus, and about 80 people made professions of faith. How greatly God worked through a situation that at first seemed frustrating.
Be encouraged, because God is in control. He is doing marvelous things around the world — will you join Him? To find out how you can be involved in missions at First Baptist Norfolk, contact the missions office at 757-466-5181.