|From the General Secretary |
What a welcome surprise!
By Neville Callam
Is anything more wonderful than a pleasant surprise? An unexpected visitor
whom you longed to see. A lovely email from a special friend from whom you
haven't heard for a very long time. An act of kindness you never anticipated.
It fills you with joy. It brings a smile to your face. It warms your heart.
But there are some surprises that do not produce a positive
effect. These are surprises that one would rather not have. They leave you
disappointed and, if you do not make the appropriate response to them, your confidence in humanity
could be severely impaired.
Because life is a marvelous adventure, a journey marked by steep
mountains and deep valleys, one should expect all sorts of surprises. Hardly,
however, can anything prepare a person for the trauma often associated with
feeling let down, felling brutally betrayed by someone you trusted. For a
moment, you feel you can never trust again. You wonder whether anyone can be
believed. You ask yourself whether you should ever again expect anyone to be
honest, loyal, faithful, and true.
People do have experiences that make surprise a sometimes welcome and
sometimes unwelcome guest. It is not so with people of faith who, in their
dealings with God, come to know one who is altogether trustworthy. After being
Christ-followers for a few years, we can joyfully sing, "Great is your
faithfulness," knowing that we are not only giving voice to a verse of
scripture, but also expression to a fact of life. The God we serve does not
take a vacation from being utterly reliable. God never makes a promise that
goes unfulfilled. God's word can always be trusted. In a sense, we may claim that,
with God, there are no surprises. God always remains true!
Yet, there are times when God surprises us. We shouldn't be surprised,
but we are.
Do you not recall a situation when you looked back on a passage of your
life and you realized how, without your ever realizing it, God was there
guiding your steps, aiding you in the quest to live with integrity, leading you
to make the kind of choices fit for children on the Christian pilgrimage? After
our retrospective look, we joyfully state what has come home to us with crystal
clarity. We conclude, "So, that's what God was up to!" We smile; we breathe a
sigh of relief, and we offer a word of thanks!
After an experience like this, we read from the book of Psalms
familiar passages that take on a brand new meaning. When, for example, we read
Psalm 116:1, "I love the Lord ..." our heart overflows with joy because we have
come to know the wonder of the God who is ever faithful. God protects God's
own! God vanquishes foes bent on your destruction. God brings to nothing the
orchestrated plan of the enemy. When God surprises us, what a welcome surprise!
So, with Psalm 117:2, we can say, "Great is God's love toward us and
the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever."
|What BWA Member Bodies are Doing|
Baptist General Association of Virginia, USA
The Baptist General Association of Virginia
(BGAV) is a member organization of the Baptist World Alliance. Located in
Richmond, Virginia, USA, it was formed more than 100 years ago to foster
cooperation among Baptist churches in the state of Virginia.
Through its minister training arm, the
Virginia Baptist Mission Board (VBMB), the BGAV provides support and resources
for seminaries, schools, and pastors in training, including for bivocational pastors. It also assists churches with pastor and congregational
The BWA member body has created significant
partnerships with the Christian Evangelical Baptist Union of Italy and the Caribbean Baptist
Fellowship, and has provided substantial help to tsunami victims in India. The convention
also partnered with the Belize Baptist Association to create six teams that
worked on housing and a camp facility, involving 65 participants and 22
The BGAV boasts almost half a million members
spread among 1,412 churches.
John T. Lewis serves as president. BGAV and VBMB executive director John Upton is president-elect of the
BWA for 2010-2015.
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Main Baptist Church in Pasadena, Texas, in the United States, has
committed itself to mission "that is both local and global in
nature." It offers various ministries in the Pasadena and Houston
areas of Texas, and around the world, including through its
contributions as a BWA Global Impact Church.
South Main Baptist Church Pasadena, Texas, USA
in 1954, the congregation's community involvement includes a City
Reach Houston youth event in association with extreme sport athletes
and other Baptists from Texas. The church's Upward Sports Program,
planned by the Family Life Ministry, includes basketball and
church's Learning Center runs a day care for young children that
includes Bible story lessons and other activities. Its traditional
and contemporary worship services are designed to reach both the
younger and older demographics.
Main provides a ministry known as "The Gathering Place," opened
to the community that is staffed by volunteer caregivers who offer a
day of care for those with early stage Alzheimer's or dementia. It
also provides respite and relief care and support for full-time
caregivers who meet the needs of these individuals.
church also offers special ministry outreach to singles, seniors, and
for persons experiencing divorce, including to children of divorced
To the following churches for Haiti relief:
$5,000-$9,999 Trinity Baptist Church,
Bronx, NY, USA
South Main Baptist Church, Pasadena, TX, USA
$2,000-4,999 Crossway Baptist Church, Victoria,
First Baptist Church,
Fitzgerald, GA, USA
First Baptist Church,
Frankfort, KY, USA
First Baptist Church,
Pensacola, FL, USA
Fredericksburg, VA, USA
Third Baptist Church,
St. Louis, MO, USA
Weatherly Heights Baptist Church,
Westwood Baptist Church,
Springfield, VA, USA
$500-$1,999 First Baptist Church,
Jasper, GA, USA
Evangelical Baptist Church, Union, NJ, USA
Grace Baptist Church,
Richmond, VA, USA
Greenbrier Baptist Church,
Arlington, VA, USA
Heritage Baptist Church,
Annapolis, MD, USA
Japan Baptist Women's
Memorial Baptist Church,
Arlington, VA, USA
Providence Baptist Church,
Baptist Church, Peabody, MA, USA
Tremont Temple Baptist Church,
Boston, MA, USA
Williamsburg Baptist Church,
Williamsburg, VA, USA
Yolla Baptist Church,
Yolla, Tasmania, Australia
Other gifts for Haitian relief:
$77,030 Kowloon International
Baptist Church, Hong Kong
$24,000 Mountain Brook Baptist Church,
Birmingham, AL, USA
$9,982 Far East Broadcasting
Company, South Korea
The following church gave for Chile Earthquake relief
$5,000-$9,999 Central Baptist Church, Bearden, TN, USA
To Kenneth R.
Stevens, for gift in memory of his wife, Imogene.
Note: The list of donors may not reflect the total number of gifts received each month.
Baptist World Aid
|BWAid grants for the month of March |
Grants recorded in United States dollars unless otherwise noted
Poverty Reduction in Rural Communities - 7,500.00
Swamp Rice Production - 9.808.00
Hope for War Orphans & Needy Children - 2,734.00
Income Generating Project - !8,000.00
Youth Self Employment Seminars Yr 2 - 7,553.00
Clean Water Supply Project - 14,950.00
Emergency Drought Relief - 9,100.00
Karonga Earthquake Relief - 5,070.00
Soup Kitchen - 12,100.00
Grain Storehouse - 18,900.00
Rice Buffer Project - 23,000.00
Odessa Seminary - $180.00
Chile Earthquake Relief - $25,000.00
Domestic Gardens Project Yr 2 - 4,609.00
Micah Challenge, USA 2010 Donation - $500.00
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 April we will remember the following:
Malaysia Baptist Convention
Singapore Baptist Convention
The Christians and people of Brunei
Convention of Indonesian Baptist
Fellowship of Baptist Churches of Irian
Union of Indonesian Baptist Churches
Japan Baptist Conference
Japan Baptist Convention
Japan Baptist Union
Okinawa Baptist Convention (Japan)
Korea Baptist Convention (South Korea)
Chinese Baptist Convention (Taiwan)
April 25-May 1
The Christians and people of Djibouti
Union of Baptists in Latin America Consultation, San Jose, Costa Rica, April 14-16
Baptist Men's World Day of Prayer, April 24
BWA Day, May 1 and 2
BWA Living Water Conference, Maputo, Mozambique, May 20-23
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|South Main Baptist
of Pasadena, Texas, in the United States, was listed as being in
Pasadena, California, in the March issue of BWA Connect. We regret the error.