Missionary Stories

Missionary Spotlight Update: Nathan and Andi Knight

Restoration Church continues to reach a global population in the nation’s capital. One such example is a young Chinese girl who began attending the church more than a year ago. She could be found at many of the fellowship gatherings but continued to only “consider Jesus.” Recently, after a sermon addressing the meaning and importance of the Lord’s Supper, she came to copastor Nathan Knight and, in broken English, said, “I have decided to follow Jesus. What must I do now?” The church celebrated her conversion as she was baptized. This young girl gave an incredibly God-glorifying, Christ-exalting testimony in front of many people. Today she continues to be mentored and discipled by another girl from China in the church.

Loving Different People

Cissy McNickle; her husband, “Buff;” and their 3 children moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey, almost 3 years ago to plant a church. They believed God had equipped them, but it was still a scary move.

In the Northeast, only 5.9% of the population is affiliated with an evangelical church. Cissy had to learn to love people different from her genuinely. That includes girls working in strip clubs.

Cissy oversees a ministry to these girls called Love’s Way Out AC. The ministry is affiliated with Grace Falls Church, which Cissy and Buff planted.

“I love the ministry of church planting God has called my family to, and I will continue to allow God to use my circumstances to conform me more and more into the likeness of Jesus,” Cissy said.

She has witnessed the power of prayer in their ministry and requested prayer for the protection of her marriage and children as well as for boldness to do the work God has called her family to do.

LaNita Mitchell writes and serves from Princeton, Kentucky. She has a master’s degree in Christian ministry.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Eric and Kristi Stanton

The Patagonia region of Argentina is plagued with high divorce rates and broken homes. But missionaries Eric and Kristi Stanton know that in order to have healthy churches, it’s vital to have healthy individuals and families.

That’s why they are praising the Lord for the opportunity to use marriage enrichment resources to train key leaders. These leaders, in turn, are beginning to gather small groups in their homes to share the truth of God’s Word with other couples.

Like the Stantons, ask God to work mightily in the lives and homes of people throughout the region, saving those who are lost and restoring marriages.

Most Argentines consider themselves Christians because of their Roman Catholic heritage, but the Stantons realize they do not know Christ. So the missionaries are training believers and sharing Bible study tools and resources as they cast the vision for believers to share Christ with their families and neighbors.

Pray the Stantons would see Argentines moving farther into Patagonia, carrying the gospel to those who have not heard.

Suffering Produces Perseverance for Ohio Church Planter

Ohio

Jonathan Smith is a church planter—which he said was never on his radar—at Berachah Church in Columbus, Ohio. He was serving on another church’s staff when God changed his direction.

“The lead pastor I was working with was involved in sinful and destructive behavior,” Smith explained. “It rattled me and caused me to question things I had never questioned before.”

But in the end, he realized that God used the situation to place the passion in his heart for church planting. “In a very real way, I was called to plant a church out of a challenging situation that required perseverance when everything humanly within myself wanted to throw in the towel.”

One key step in planting a church was finding a place to meet, especially to “have greater visibility, as well as stability in our community . . . to better reach others who need to meet Jesus.” During the last 5 years, Smith has seen the church grow from a house to a grocery store to a funeral home to a private school and now to the city’s recreation center. While he tried to fix the problem of location, he learned that God was “building His church. It is His timing and plan, not mine.”

Teaching God’s Word in a Diverse Environment

Diverse Environment

In a city of 14 million people from almost every ethnic and religious group, Kevin and Laura Baggett persevere in their efforts to teach the Word of God. Buenos Aires, Argentina, is defined by diversity, which challenges the Baggetts and their 2 children, Cylia and Lucas, every day.

Laura Baggett paints a vivid picture: “In one city block, you might encounter a successful lawyer on his way to a meeting, a homeless child asking for money, a Peruvian woman buying vegetables from a Bolivian teenager, a talented Argentine playing an instrument, an immigrant from Senegal selling jewelry on the sidewalk, an elderly woman walking to the Catholic church carrying a picture of a saint while whispering a prayer to Mary, an Orthodox Jew dressed in a black suit and hat stopping by his business, a Muslim woman covered by her hijab walking closely with her children, an atheist university student waiting on the bus boasting a T-shirt with profanity, and an agnostic taxi driver wearing a red ribbon to ward off evil thought.”

Transitioning from South Africa to Ghana

Beth Locke had a desire to work overseas, but she never dreamed that God would call her to international mission service. “When I met my husband, he had a strong, longtime call to international missions. We spent 20 months in Eindhoven, [Netherlands], with the [International Mission Board’s] International Service Corps. That time working with internationals and with refugees confirmed that call. Many of the refugees were from Africa. As I have diabetes, the board would only send us a few places. South Africa was one of them, and there was a job request that fit us.”

After 18 years in South Africa, the Lockes will transition to a new area of service in 2016. Alan Locke will be the country catalyst in Ghana. He and Beth anticipate surveying the 9 unreached people groups in the north of the country, working with the local convention, and setting up possible partnerships with American churches. Beth plans to open their home to convention and church leaders, using hospitality to build new relationships with new colleagues.

Missions Inspiration Update: Manny and Jennifer Sanchez

You would think that starting a church in San Diego, California, in May 2013 would be enough to keep church planters Manny and Jennifer Sanchez busy. So how could they even think about planting another church 1,000 miles away in Portland, Oregon?

“We decided when we started that our church would be a disciple-making, church-planting church,” Manny Sanchez said. “Our first church plant is happening in September 2016. We trained up a young man, Anton Fero, and he is assembling a team, training them. We have big dreams for them and pray for a major harvest.”

And in San Diego, the Sanchezes are planning a community Easter egg hunt not only for children but also for adults.

“Downtown San Diego is 60% young adult singles and we want a way of engaging them,” he said.

The family continues their “adopt-a-block” neighborhood program, asking people how they can pray for and serve them. They want to include businesses, asking church members to pray for and serve a specific building. “Our hope is that in 10 years, we will have every single building adopted in downtown San Diego!” Manny Sanchez said.

Using Hospitality to Draw People to Jesus in Indianapolis

From her first visit to Indianapolis in 2008, Amy Rager felt God drawing her heart to the city. But she and her pastor-husband, Barry, were serving an established church in a rural setting in Owensboro, Kentucky, and could not imagine leaving their church for big-city life. Through much prayer and wise counsel, they surrendered to God’s call and relocated their family of 6 to Indy in 2013. Since then, they have established New Circle Church, an inner-city Southern Baptist church plant.

The Load Unbundled

By Kimberly Hart

Are you struggling to carry a heavy load? Here are some tips for carrying a man-sized load:

  • Know what needs to be hauled.
  • Consider the distance and destination.
  • Lay aside additional weight.
  • Determine who or what can help.
  • Consult owner for special instructions.

So how do you carry a cross—see notes above. The instruction given by Jesus in Luke 9:23 to carry our cross can be hard to understand. The meaning can be lost in “churchy” language. It can also be clouded by the world’s idea that anything rough is a cross to bear.

Share His Light: Ministering with Others to Others

By: Gail Veale

Looking for a ministry and someone to serve with you? There are many opportunities in your community to share and spread the light and love of Christ.

Prayer and Passion

Pray for God to reveal your passions. Reflect on how you have served in the past and the blessings you gave and received. Ask God to open doors and then follow His leading.

Two by Two

As Jesus sent out His followers in groups of 2 (see Luke 10:1–2), you can pray for and seek out someone to minister with you. Two neighbors visited my mother-in-law recently and brought her flowers from their yard. They stayed only a few minutes, but the impact was long lasting!

Bright Light Sites

You can begin your search for a ministry to plug into at wmu.com/ministries. Are you passionate about serving struggling people in your community? Then volunteer with your local Christian Women’s Job Corps or Christian Men’s Job Corps site and help women and men gain job skills and life skills.

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