|From the General Secretary |
Prayer of a Former Refugee
By Neville Callam
|Gallison M. George|
Gallison M. George is a pastor in the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (LBMEC) and he serves on the convention's Investment and Development Commission and Restructuring Committee.
In 1994, George was serving as pastor of the First Baptist Church, Gbarnga City, Bong County, Liberia, when, on September 8, gunmen launched a vicious attack that drove fear into everyone in the town. Soon, the rebel forces expelled many of Gbarnga City's residents from the area.
In that fateful year, George's grandfather was a 95-year old preacher in the LBMEC. Realizing the situation his close relatives faced, his grandfather asked to be left behind so the others could escape from the consequences of the invasion. After pronouncing a blessing on his family members, the grandfather bade them farewell. That night, torrential showers provided cover for people wanting to escape, after offering fervent prayers to God.
Those who fled Gbarnga City walked for about 150 kilometers to Danané, Ivory Coast. Each man arrived at this destination with only a single shirt and one pair of pants. They knew no one in the place where they sought refuge, but George was fortunate to find housing in the home of a person whose relatives were known to him. His hosts promised to provide him with lodging but not meals.
The life of a refugee presented George with many challenges. He would preach at a church that would offer him a gift. This covered his basic costs for a few days. He found common cause with other refugees who cut grass and placed it in bags to be used as mattresses.
Over time, George gathered together the members of the First Baptist Church, Gbarnga City, who were in exile and established the First Baptist Church of Danané. He served the church as pastor for nearly five years, working without pay. He was grateful to members who shared whatever food they had with him. Over the first three months of service, his daily life consisted of preaching, washing the few articles of clothing he had and making preparation for another day's sermon.
In 1998, the owner of the house where he lived told him the war in Liberia was over and George prayed to God for a way to return home. By that time, there were 300 members in his congregation. How could he leave them? Yet, he felt he had to return to Liberia on voluntary repatriation under a program operated by the United Nations.
On his return home, and discovering that Gbarnga Church had called another pastor, George traveled to Monrovia and attached himself to the Duport Road Baptist whose pastor was Paul Tpayway. He received an invitation to serve on the staff of the church, and was assigned responsibility for the church's evangelism program.
Soon, Gallison George got married, relocated with his wife, and started attending Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, eventually, being called as director of evangelism and head of church growth. When the pastor of Mt Nebo died, George assumed leadership of the church.
The life of George is a study in struggle and commitment. Yet, he continues to pray, "Your will be done!" while serving his congregation with confident purpose and consummate zeal. If God never failed him during his time in Ivory Coast, why would God abandon him now?
|What BWA Member Bodies are Doing|
Baptist Convention of Kenya
The Baptist Convention of Kenya (BCOK) has committed itself "to lead the Kenyan nation into becoming God's people and the Kenyan church into bringing all people to the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ."
The convention, established in 1972 with approximately 400 churches, is one of the largest Baptist groups in Africa, and now comprises 800,000 members in 3,500 churches across 10 regional associations. It describes itself as an "assembly of autonomous local congregations" committed to the "promotion of evangelism, discipleship, Christian education, fellowship, stewardship, benevolent and social ministries, and mission."
Declaring that "ministry training is not a preserve of the clergy," BCOK conducts training to its members through the Kenya Baptist Theological College, the Kenya Ministers College, and various Bible schools across the nation.
The convention's Kenya Baptist Media translates and produces materials for evangelism, discipleship, church planting and leadership development.
BCOK social ministries include the drilling of boreholes in arid regions, the provision of seeds and animals to victims of drought, and the building of shelters for persons displaced due to droughts and conflicts. "Due to global warming and unpredictable climatic changes, our people in particular arid and semi-arid areas have been affected directly by these changes...drought, floods, diseases, epidemic, malnutrition and high illiteracy in the nomadic regions."
It is engaged in assistance programs for the poor in the provision of relief food and clothing, and the care children at its orphanage in Nairobi, the country's capital.
"The purpose of the convention is to lead churches and ministries to do evangelism and establish churches that are growing, maturing, ministering, and reproducing; and to develop fellowships for prayer, equipping, mutual encouragement and training," BCOK's purpose statement states.
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Columbia Baptist Church
Falls Church, Virginia, USA
Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, Virginia, in the United States, describes itself as "an exciting community of believers committed to 'Igniting Passion for Jesus Christ from Metro Washington to the World.'"
Located close to Washington, DC, the church conducts worship in multiple styles and languages, including traditional, contemplative and contemporary worship services. It includes congregations that are Arabic, Latino, Korean, Vietnamese, and Brazilian. These worship services and cultural and language congregations are held at various sites, including at Columbia@Crossroads, Columbia@Greenspring, and at the main campus in Falls Church.
Ministry to family is at the heart of what Columbia does. This focus involves the Columbia Baptist Child Development Center; parent ministry, aimed at encouraging, equipping, and empowering persons to fulfill their calling as parents; the Single Adults Ministry that supports single adults of all ages, and other ministry endeavors.
Founded in 1856, Columbia, a Baptist World Alliance Global Impact Church, has developed a ministry to help in the elimination of world hunger. It conducts hunger ministries in Fairfax County in Virginia, one of the wealthiest counties in the United States but where "more than 105,000 residents are at risk of or are experiencing hunger." The church's work against hunger also extends to Southwest Virginia where, along with other congregations, it seeks out "creative ways to address the problem, from having community gardens to providing food through Community Supported Agriculture programs." Its hunger ministry also extends to Haiti and India.
The congregation also offers free legal advice to under-served persons. Volunteer attorneys, paralegals, law students and administrative assistants seek to address the spiritual as well as the legal needs of all who seek help.
Senior pastor Jim Baucom says, "four areas of intense focus define our mission of 'Igniting Passion for Jesus Christ:' Fantastic Worship (in multiple styles and languages), Family Ministry(through every phase of life), Feeding the Hungry (physically and spiritually), and Faith Formation(to make true disciples of Jesus)."
To Tichaona Dzinotyiwei, general secretary of the Baptist Union of Zimbabwe, and a member of the General Council of the Baptist World Alliance; on the passing of his wife, Diana; on June 12, in Harare, Zimbabwe.
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|Movements and Changes|
Greater Burn R. Marak elected president of the Garo Baptist Convention of India
Wungnaoting Konghar elected general secretary of the Manipur Baptist Convention
Dayal Masih elected president of the Baptist Union of North India, succeeding S.P. David
Niwatchai Suknaphasawat elected president of the Thailand Lahu Baptist Convention, succeeding Thawatchai Pornsakulphaisarn; and Kitichai Sopon-u-amnauy elected general secretary, succeeding Philip Singkor
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To Pamela Chisholm, Greenbrier Baptist Church, Arlington, Virginia, for Haitian Relief in honor of Everton Jackson, Regional Secretary for the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship
To Maegan Drummonds for gift in honor of Mary Lou Finney and in memory of Jay Finney
To Alicia Kirkpatrick-Brenner, Auburn First Baptist, Alabama, for Japan Relief in honor of Ms. Mary Jo Randall who served 20 years as a missionary to the people of Japan
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Baptist World Aid
|BWAid grants for the month of June 2011|
Grants recorded in United States dollars unless otherwise noted
Democratic Republic of Congo
Vegetable Farming- 4,845.00
HIV/AIDS Counseling - 5,000.00Cameroon
Education for girls - 12,444.00Middle EastLebanon
Refugee Program - 5,000.00Back to top
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 months of July and August we will remember the following:
July 3-9 Colombian Baptist Denomination
Baptist Convention of Ecuador
National Baptist Convention of Venezuela
Federation of Baptist Associations of Costa Rica
Baptist Association of El Salvador
Baptist Federation of El Salvador
Baptist Convention of Nicaragua
Panama Baptist Convention
Baptist Association of Belize
Convention of Baptist Churches in Guatemala
National Convention of Baptist Churches in Honduras
National Baptist Convention of Mexico
Antigua Baptist Association
National Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (Bahamas)
Barbados Baptist Convention
Baptist Convention of Western CubaBaptist Convention of Eastern Cuba
Fraternity of Baptist Churches of Cuba
Free Baptist Convention of Cuba
Baptist Convention of Guyana
Baptist Convention of Haiti
Baptist Haiti Mission
Jamaica Baptist Union
Baptist Union of Trinidad and Tobago
Bermuda Baptist FellowshipDominican Baptist Convention
June 31-August 6
Canadian Baptist Ministries
Canadian Convention of Southern Baptist ChurchesUnited States
American Baptist Churches in the USA
Baptist General Association of Virginia
Converge Worldwide (Baptist General Conference)
Baptist General Convention of Missouri
Baptist General Convention of Texas
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
Czechoslovak Baptist Convention of USA and Canada
Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Missionary Convention, USA
National Missionary Baptist Convention of America
National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc
National Baptist Convention of America
North American Baptist Conference
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc
Russian-Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Union, USA
Seventh Day Baptist General Conference USA and Canada
Union of Latvian Baptists in America
General Association of General Baptists
DC Baptist ConventionAugust 7-13
Baptist Union of Australia
Baptist Union of New ZealandAugust 14-20
Fiji Baptist Convention
Baptist Union of Papua New Guinea, IncAugust 21-27
Union of Evangelical Christians and Baptist Churches of Estonia
Union of Baptist Churches in Latvia
August 28-September 3
Union of Baptist Churches in the Czech Republic
Baptist Union of Poland
Baptist Union of Slovakia
Asia Pacific Baptist Federation Men's Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 1-2
Asia Pacific Baptist Federation General Council, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 4
BWA Youth Department International Program Committee, Singapore, July 11-13
Asia Pacific Baptist Federation Mission Consultation, Kohima, India, August 25-27