|From the General Secretary |
Love from Anguished Hearts
By Neville Callam
My heart was broken when I discovered that one of my former professors, John Rawls, one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century, stumbled in his faith when he came up against the problem of evil. He seemed to have lost his way as he tried and failed to come to terms with the problem of theodicy. In his essays that were published posthumously, we discover his unfortunate, though understandable, failure in faith. Why is there so much pain in the world when there is an omnipotent God?
Perhaps many still struggle with this same question when they reflect on what has happened in Haiti in recent days.
Haiti is a country with a proud history - securing its independence after defeating the armies of France, Britain and Spain!
The first country to free every single enslaved person on the land and to abolish the cruel system that once enslaved them!
The first country to guarantee the freedom of every single enslaved person to set foot on its soil!
The first country to recognize equality of rights for all human beings whatever their gender, economic, or other condition.
Haiti is no ordinary place! If you have visited the country and have seen the creativity reflected in its paintings and carvings, its art and craft, if you have encountered the love and joy its people display in spite of their economic situation, you know that Haiti is an extraordinary place.
Throughout its history, Haiti - that country with the largest number of Baptist believers in the Caribbean - has known pain and distress. The reasons are many and complex and, even before the earthquake, the way forward was never going to be easy.
While we may spend precious time seeking an explanation for the tragedy in Haiti - and it is likely that we will find no answer that will satisfy us completely - we must remember that there is something else that we can do. We can do something to help bring change to Haiti's millions. And we can do something now!
Days after the earthquake struck, Baptists were on hand playing their part in the rescue operations. They are still there distributing relief supplies and we will remain engaged, doing all we can to aid the redevelopment of Haiti as the days pass. If you send your gift to Baptist World Aid, you will contribute to enabling the Haitians to sing a new song and to look to the future with hope.
When we face tragedies, like the one in Haiti, let us act in the best traditions of human solidarity. Only after we have done what we should can we afford to struggle with the difficult issues that generations have tried and failed to understand. And we will consider the heart-rending problem of pain - with the certain knowledge that we are committed to do as much as we can to help overcome the terrible pain others feel and we feel with them. Love can pour out from anguished hearts.
|What BWA Member Bodies are Doing|
Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists of Belarus
The Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists of Belarus (UECBB) became an autonomous Baptist union after Belarus gained its independence following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. The first Baptist church was planted in Belarus in 1902.
In recent years, the Baptist World Alliance member body has placed an emphasis on ministry to young families through seminars, summer camps and conferences for youth and children. 2008 was declared as "youth year," with the aim of preparing youth for leadership within the Baptist church. A regional youth leaders' conference will be hosted by the UECBB, beginning February 19 this year in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
The union operates a seminary, the Little Pearl children's camp, and a social program in Kobrin, a city in southwest Belarus close to the border with Poland.
Nikolay Sinkovets, the union's president, visited the BWA Center in Falls Church, Virginia, in December, 2008, and met with General Secretary Neville Callam.
There are 292 Baptist churches and more than 13,000 baptized believers in the country of almost 10 million people.
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First Baptist Church of Plano
Plano, Texas, USA
First Baptist Church (FBC) of Plano is a globally-minded church with roots that were planted in 1852 in north Texas in the United States.
For more than 150 years the church has focused on "loving God, serving others, and sharing Jesus." It includes three congregations, Anglo, Latino and Chinese, and shares facilities with Chin Baptist Church, a congregation of mainly refugees from Myanmar, the latter having more than 400 worshippers each week.
In 2009, First Baptist of Plano helped to plant a new "Cowboy," or Western Heritage church, in the community.
Each week, FBC, a Baptist World Alliance Global Impact Church, feeds the homeless and leads in various prison ministries. The Plano Children's Medical Clinic, which serves uninsured children, is on the church property where FBC members serve as volunteers.
The church enjoys strategic missional partnerships throughout Mexico, in New York City, and with the Baptist Campus Ministry of Dartmouth College.
In recent years, FBC collaborated with Mission to Unreached Peoples that focuses on facilitating church planting movements among unreached people groups and in the least reached cities of the world.
The church's financial support of local, regional, and international ministries totals more than $200,000 each year.
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Bienne L'Amerique, 46, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, died in the earthquake that struck the country on January 12. Bela Szilagyi, director of Hungarian Baptist Aid and a member of the Baptist World Aid Rescue24 team currently in Haiti, spoke with the L'Amerique family. The survivors include sons Bethill, 16, Berlau George, 13, and daughter Bioutelle, 11.
The following email was received from Szilagyi in Port-au-Prince.
Pastor Lamerique, now with the Lord due to the tragic earthquake, was one of the leading Baptist pastors in Haiti. He led a church of 600, managed a kindergarten, a primary school and a children's sports club. His wife and children survived. They shared the happenings of the devastating hour:
"I was reading on the first floor when the earth moved as if a great chasm opened up and our house fell into it," said Bioutelle, the 11 year old daughter.
"My mother and father were talking in the living room; my father was just standing up to leave the house. A piece of the ceiling fell down, hit his head and he fell on the ground. My mother also fell down on the ground and rolled under the table. As for me, I don't know what happened to me. All I remember is my older brother pulling me out from under the rubble. My leg was hurting very badly but it only had scratches on it."
The eldest child, Bethill, 16 years old, joins in: "I was watching TV on the second floor and I heard a screeching, exploding noise as the house collapsed. I was not hurt and I was able to pull my little sister out from under the ruins. My younger brother was not at home, he was at [our] grandmother's place. We heard the screaming of our mother and we found her under the concrete rubble. She could not move. My sister and I tried to rescue her and pull her out. I don't know how we managed it. I'm only 16 and not very strong; Bioutelle's just a little girl. Our dad was too deep under, we could not move him. He did not speak a word and he did not move. My mother is saying that it is possible that he died immediately when the ceiling fell on his head."
"It is difficult, our hearts are broken," said Bethill.
[She] shared how she loves to play and to make music on the flute and the violin. When I asked her to play me her favorite piece she says she cannot. "It has broken to pieces in the earthquake, like our dreams."
|In Memoriam: C. Bill Hogue|
C. Bill Hogue, a former vice president of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), died on January 26 in Texas in the United States, after a year long struggle with cancer. He was 82 years old.
Hogue served in several capacities within the BWA, including as a member of the General Council and the Executive Committee, the two governing bodies of the international organization. He was also a longstanding member of the Executive Committee of the BWA Division of Evangelism and Education (E&E) where he, along with former E&E director, Tony Cupit, shared in several projects around the world. He was a member of the Search Committee that recommended the appointment of Neville Callam as BWA General Secretary to succeed Denton Lotz in 2007.
At the time of his passing, Hogue was a member of the BWA Memorial Committee, the Mission and Evangelism Workgroup, and the Personnel committee.
From the time he met with Hogue when he appeared before the BWA Search Committee, Callam said he found Hogue to be "a gracious and compassionate person who had breadth and depth of vision for Christian involvement in the world and also a heart for people."
The BWA leader stated that, "In Bill Hogue's passing, the Baptist World Alliance has lost a vital partner, a team builder, and a special friend."
"I have the fondest memories of Bill from the time I joined the BWA in the late 1980s," said BWA President David Coffey. "From the beginning of our friendship he was a brother beloved. I feel impoverished by the thought that I will never see Bill again at a BWA Gathering," Coffey declared. "He was a Barnabas of an encourager; he stayed passionately focused on the Great Commission of Jesus; he was a loyal and gifted ambassador who carried infectiously a vision for the work of the BWA."
Former BWA General Secretary Denton Lotz described Hogue as "a man with a passion for evangelism but who also had a heart for racial reconciliation and social justice."
A native of the state of Texas, Hogue graduated from Howard Payne University in Brownwood and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. He served as a pastor of three congregations in Texas and one in Oklahoma from 1952-1971.
From 1971-1973, he was director of evangelism for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma; vice president for evangelism of the Southern Baptist Convention's Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) between 1973 and 82; and executive director of the California Southern Baptist Convention from 1985-1995.
He leaves Betty, his wife of more than 60 years, four sons, and a daughter.
Funeral services were held on January 30 at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood, Texas. Back to top
Baptist World Aid
|BWAid grants for the months of October-December. |
Grants recorded in United States dollars unless otherwise noted
Mt. Meru University, Water Borehole - 21,375.00
Nagaland Baptist Church Council, Miqlat Ministry - 3,867.00
Micah Challenge USA - 500.00
Earthquake Relief - 20,000.00
Earthquake Relief - 30,020 (Euro) [BWAid/HBAidRescue24]
Micah Network - 1,000.00
Monthly Prayer Guide
Each week, the staff of the Baptist World Alliance prays for conventions and unions throughout the world.
We invite all other Baptist conventions and unions, and individual Baptists everywhere, to join us in these prayers.
For the month of February we will remember the following:
January 31- February 6
Finland Swedish Baptist Union
Finnish Baptist Union
Baptist Union of Denmark
Baptist Union of Sweden
Baptist Union of Norway
The Christians and people of Iceland
Baptist Union of Great Britain
Baptist Union of Scotland
Baptist Union of Wales
The Christians and people of Ireland and Northern Ireland
Union of Baptist Churches in the Netherlands
Union of Baptist Churches in Belgium
The Christians and people of Luxembourg
Baptist Evangelical Christian Union of Italy
Portuguese Baptist Convention
Baptist Evangelical Union of Spain
The Christians and people of Malta
February 28- March 6
Federation of Evangelical Baptist Churches (France)
International Baptist Convention (Germany)
Union of Evangelical Free Churches in Germany
Baptist World Alliance Executive Committee, Falls Church, Virginia, USA, March 8-10
European Baptist Federation Executive Committee, Belgrade, Serbia, March 18-20
Caribbean Baptist Fellowship General Assembly, Montego Bay, Jamaica, March 20-23
BWA Living Water Conference, Havana, Cuba, March 23-26
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