|EDITOR'S NOTE: From the States, published each Tuesday by Baptist Press, relays news and feature stories from state Baptist papers and other publications on initiatives by Baptist churches, associations and state conventions in evangelism, church planting and Great Commission outreach, including partnership missions. Reports about churches, associations and state conventions responding to the International Mission Board's call to embrace the world's 3,800 unengaged, unreached people groups also are included in From the States, along with reports about church, associational and state convention initiatives in conjunction with the North American Mission Board's call to Southern Baptist churches to broaden their efforts in starting new churches and satellite campuses. The items appear in Baptist Press as originally published.
Today's From the States features items from:
The Pathway (Missouri)
Arkansas Baptist News
Trips to Africa
amaze Rock Church
By Susan Mires
ST. LOUIS (The Pathway) -- Preaching in a remote area of northwest Kenya, where warring tribes convened and even broke into fights in the middle of the service, Pastor Timothy Cowin urged the people to follow the Prince of Peace.
"At that sermon, I proclaimed that Jesus came with open hands and kept his hands open to the end," Cowin recalled. "I asked them to join the tribe of the open hand and follow Jesus."
The message was translated into the Swahili, Turkana and Pecot languages and at the invitation, hundreds of people came forward to make decisions for Christ. Cowin laid hands on and prayed for each person in line.
From a St. Louis suburb, members of The Rock Church had journeyed to Kenya. The church had prayed for years to partner with a specific location for missions. When Karen Smith joined the church and began describing their personal ministry "Getting The Word Out" in Kenya, they knew they had found their calling.
"We felt like in today's age, the church in America, because of how we've been blessed, can go on mission anywhere in the world," Pastor Cowin said.
Cowin went on the first trip to Kenya in 2009. In addition to peace rallies, they got to know Andrew and Sarah Kendagor, who cared for orphans in their tiny home.
Karen Smith prayed for an opportunity and was able to take 5-year-old Esther back to St. Louis. Doctors at Children's Hospital at Barnes removed a large tumor from her neck. The Rock Church then built Esther House, where the Kendagors are now able to care for orphans in better conditions.
The Kendagors' son, Peter, came to St. Louis with a family member who was receiving treatment for leukemia. While in St. Louis, he joined The Rock, was ordained in ministry and now serves as a church planting catalyst in Kenya.
About 15 members of The Rock have visited Kenya on numerous mission trips. They've prayed and provided money for Esther House and other projects. Cowin went on the latest trip in January.
"When I went back, I had heard about some people in remote areas of Uganda who had turned to the Lord and requested we go over there," he said.
Peter Kendagor introduced him to a man named Clement. The man described how he used to be known as Michael, a violent, drunken man that many believed to be demon possessed. He walked from Uganda to Kenya and attended the peace rally to get free food. He stood in line to receive a Bible and when Cowin laid hands on him, he felt a power fall over him and he has never been the same. Michael changed his name to Clement and has started five churches in Uganda.
"I didn't even know until three years later what God was doing," Cowin said with amazement.
Another man saved at the rally walked away and started singing. Today, his songs are heard all over Kenya Christian radio.
The Rock Church is amazed at how their prayers for a mission partner have been answered.
"We felt privileged that God wanted to do something among these people and blessed. He's chosen us to be part of it," Cowin said.
Another mission trip is planned for this fall. The Rock is raising money for motorcycles for church planters to use to visit churches.
In addition to the Kenyan partnership, the church, which used to be Rock Hill Baptist Church, has a Japanese congregation meeting at its facility and is working with an Indonesian pastor. They also partnered with a church that was closing and have a campus in Soulard. Cowin said missions is a mindset.
"God has raised up people in our church for particular ministries and people rally around them to do what God has called them do," he said.
This article first appeared in The Pathway, newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention (mbcpathway.org). Susan Mires is a contributing writer for The Pathway.
Volunteers share the Gospel
in Haiti's voodoo culture
By Meredith Flynn
HAITI (Illinois Baptist) -- Dan Gerard was hardly home from his first trip to Haiti before he started planning to go back. The plight of the impoverished country stayed with Gerard, a member of Living Faith Baptist in Sherman, Ill., after he first visited in the summer of 2011.
He returned in November with a mission: to help others in Illinois find ways to serve in Haiti, a spiritually dark country that has seen the light of the Gospel in the years since a devastating earthquake destroyed large parts of it.
Earlier this summer, Gerard took his third trip to Haiti, this time leading six young adults to minister in an area where 80 percent of the people adhere to voodoo practices and beliefs. It was a different experience from Gerard's other trips, which focused on rebuilding after the earthquake.
"It's nice to use work projects as a medium to witness to people, but I felt like God was calling us to go over there and meet people and be very deliberate about witnessing to them."
The team provided Vacation Bible School for 250 children who have never experienced it and also did hut-to-hut evangelism. They partnered with Pastor Evens, a Haitian minister who has declared war on the voodoo beliefs that are so prevalent in his country.
"We had 24 children come forward , and you wouldn't think that sounds like a lot, but one of the things Pastor Evens preached is that if you're going to follow the Lord, you have to give up all your other beliefs," Gerard said. "He made that very evident. You need to turn away from all of your other false gods, your voodoo and your other idols. overwhelming to see that many children come forward."
Gerard will head back to Haiti this fall with a team that hopes to help build a school for 200 students. The building will also serve as a church. The project will build on relationships Gerard and other Illinois volunteers have formed over the past two years. Partnership is key to all these endeavors, he said.
"It's not as effective when you go in, work and then leave. I think it's important that we make that decision to stand by them…and help them grow in their ministry."
For more missions opportunities, go to www.IBSA.org/Missions.
This article originally appeared in the Illinois Baptist (ibsa.org/illinoisbaptist), newsjournal of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Meredith Flynn is associate editor of the Illinois Baptist.