Women’s Center in Ivory Coast

The Celebration of the Women’s Center

in Ivory Coast

On Saturday, March 7, the women’s ministry of Ivory Coast (women of good news) inaugurated its conference center in Bondoukou. In addition to a large hall for conferences, the center also has accommodation for visitors and girls from villages in the region who come to study in Bondoukou.

As part of the inauguration celebrations, women made a parade around the city. Almost 1,000 women were present for a women’s retreat that was followed by a THP team from the United States arriving a few days in advance to help finish the building, clean up, and prepare to receive the women’s retreat. The team stayed to participate in the opening. Representatives of local authorities, the Free Will Baptist Association, IM, Inc., WNAC, and the Free Will Baptist Foundation were also present.

The FWB Foundation had made two gifts that totaled to be around $100,000 to complete what had been raised by women in the Ivory Coast and the United States for the construction and equipment of the new center. When women in the Ivory Coast planned this project, many thought it was too great and that it would not be possible. Glory be given to God by the united efforts of many different groups!

 

 

Special thanks to Pastor Amiezu Paul for the photos and Kenneth Eagleton for the written statement.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Coronavirus – A Statement From Clint Morgan

Lauren Biggs

Coronavirus – A Statement From Clint Morgan

The IM leadership team has been closely following the ebb and flow of information about the number one world concern at this time…the coronavirus.

While it is impossible to find a one size fits all response we want to assure our IM family and FWB constituency that we are making decisions we believe reflect due diligence, precautionary actions, and protection of our field and stateside personnel as well as short-termers (eg. THP projects, CMP team, etc.). We are giving our field teams the right to stay or leave based on their situation and sound reasoning. However, we reserve the right, and certainly bear the responsibility, to exercise our fiduciary charge to safeguard the well-being of our staff and those who serve in any capacity with or for us which may mean we recall staff and impose a quarantine in certain situations.

We ask for your prayers and God’s unfathomable wisdom as we navigate these somewhat precarious waters.

Clint Morgan, IM General Director

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Aligning Magnetic and True North

Clint Morgan

Aligning Magnetic and True North

In September 2019, a once-in-a-lifetime event occurred. At the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, United Kingdom, the magnetic North pole, as indicated on compasses, pointed directly at the geographic North Pole, or true North, for the first time in 360 years.

A compass, if functioning properly, points toward the Earth’s magnetic north pole, which is generally not the same location as the geographic North Pole. Earth’s magnetic poles exist because of its magnetic field, produced by electric currents in the liquid part of the earth’s core. The location of the magnetic north pole is constantly changing and can move as far as 1,000 km away from the true north pole.

On the other hand, true north is calculated using an imaginary line through the Earth rather than a compass. Outside forces do not cause it to vary. True north is always in precisely the same location.

I see this as a good analogy of us at IM as we align our plans with God’s plans.  He is the true North and we are the magnetic North.  We, as humans, have a propensity to follow the magnetic pulls of this life and its imposing culture.

The IM leadership team (IMLT) is charged with leading the Mission in the right direction, and along the best paths, at all times. We believe our true North is simply God’s will. However, we must deal with the magnetic pulls as we move through our times and the cultural continuum of life. We must keep our eyes fixed on the true North.

As we enter 2020, our vision is guided by one overriding principle: we want to ensure our magnetic north (our plans) is properly and completely aligned with the true North (God’s plans).   As mission leaders, it is imperative we align our plans, strategies, and actions with His plans and strategies, and not attempt the opposite.

We need your prayers as we pursue the path He desires we follow.

Photo: ID 49731568 © Olivier Le Moal | Dreamstime.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Finish

Dr. Neil Gilliland

Finish

Mark your calendars: January 12, 2020. It will prove an important date for many people. Research suggests 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions give up on them by that date. About half of all New Year’s resolutions revolve around health issues (eating less, getting more exercise, etc.). Our goals are seldom reached simply because we lack personal discipline. I am not trying to be critical or harsh, just truthful. Anyone who has ever made a resolution can identify with those who “give up.” What we began with great enthusiasm now lies in the heap of the unfinished.

The disciples gathered around as the Lord shared some last instructions just before His Ascension. A few simple words, and He was gone and a new era began. 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. (Acts1:8-9, ESV)

I wonder if Peter turned to his companions and said, “Boys, we’ve got a job to do.” Nearly 2000 years later, we are still about the task. Why? The answer is simple, the task is unfinished. As long as there are those who need our witness in Jerusalem we can’t quit. As long inhabitants of our Judea remain in darkness the task is unfinished. As long as the people of Samaria have not heard a clear presentation of the gospel the mission is uncompleted. And as long as men, women, boys and girls in the ends of the earth do not proclaim Him as Lord and Savior, the task rests unfinished.

That small band of men grew exponentially in the ensuing years as the Church put its shoulder to the task. Undaunted through the winds of adversity and persecution, the flame of the gospel spread across the known world and to the ends of the earth. They did not quit. The flaming arrows of the evil one came to naught as the Church moved forward.

The gospel moved from Asia Minor to Europe, and its flame became a mere flicker. Then a monk in Germany tacked his theses to a monastery door and the gospel’s flame once more burned bright. It was transported to the new world and was the basis for the foundations of the new country, eventually called the United States of America.

And in 1935, a small fledgling denomination sent out its first missionary to the ends of the earth and we have not turned back. We have not quit. Many January 12s have come and gone and we are still about the task. Why? It is simple…the task is unfinished. As long as it is unfinished, we will keep on praying, sending, and going.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Pray for ETEAMs

Dr. Neil Gilliland

Pray for ETEAMs

Every summer since 1992, ETEAM has welcomed Free Will Baptist students from around the country (and even other countries) as they gather in Nashville. Anxious but proud parents say goodbye, leaving their teens to be trained and sent to the four corners of the earth to minister alongside our missionaries.

Now, 27 years later, it happened again. Nearly 100 students along with their leaders boarded planes bound for life-changing experiences across the globe. Some will minister with career missionaries who began their own journey to reach the nations on ETEAM.

The ETEAM staff has prayed for these students since the day they were selected. Their parents have prayed for them since they received the letter with their destination. We invite you to join us in praying for these students. You might even want to follow their journeys.

You can pray specifically for:

  • Safety. We do everything to make these trips safe but we can’t guarantee it.
  • Good health. The students will eat new foods and be in a new environment.
  • Travel. Flights, connections, and various forms of travel can be a challenge.
  • Effective ministry. Even though they will be limited by language, these teams can play a significant role in the ministry of our missionaries.
  • People. ETEAM is designed to reach people. Pray for the people who will meet our students and pray they will sense the love of Christ through them.
  • Spiritual revival and renewal. Often ETEAM students’ lives are radically changed by these experiences. Pray they will hear and obey God’s call on their lives.
  • Parents and Grandparents. The most difficult role may be as the parents of ETEAMers. Some, though very proud of their children, are anxious as their “little” ones have flown the nest and are in other countries.
  • Thanks. Thank the Father for students willing to answer the call to go and parents and grandparents who let them.
  • ETEAM staff, especially coordinator Hanna Mott. Hanna and her team spend thousands of hours preparing, planning, attending to myriad details, training, sending off, and debriefing each team.
  • Free Will Baptists. Thank the Lord for IM and a denomination willing to invest in the youth of our denomination.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Thank You

Don Matchett

Thank You

Every year, a sense of anticipation overtakes the IM office as we eagerly await your generous World Missions Offerings. And, for good reason. So much depends on them. Budgets are finalized. Plans are made. Our ministry partners are in place, eager to see if we can reach even further this year. Everyone is praying this year’s offering will be record-breaking—not because breaking records is a priority. But because, the greater the offering, the more Great Commission work we can accomplish.

A mission partner recently wrote, “We would not have a church if it weren’t for our generous friends in the United States.”

Thank you for ensuring more churches will be planted. Thank you for empowering trainers to train and leaders to lead. Thank you for funding medical supplies to treat the body, opening the door for Christ to heal the spirit.

You are so much more than a “donor.” You are a family member, a team member. In fact, you are included in our mission statement: We exist to labor with the Body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission. Together, we empower men and women around the world to preach the gospel to the sin-sick and hopeless. What an exciting opportunity to be part of what God is doing around the world!

So, whether this was your first year to give to the World Missions Offering, you participate annually, or your offering is still in the works, thank you. We look forward with great anticipation to what God will do with our generous gifts.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Planting Churches

Don Matchett

Planting Churches

Church planting efforts are advancing in Brazil, Cuba, Ivory Coast, India, Nepal, and Central Asia as a result of gifts to the World Missions Offering. Evangelism and church planting are the lifeblood of missions ministry. Without the World Missions Offering, evangelism and church planting in these countries and among our partners would be severely hampered.

Recently, the national association of Free Will Baptists in the Ivory Coast sponsored a new church plant in Burkina Faso. Located just north of Côte d’Ivoire, Joshua Project indicates Burkina Faso is home to 81 people groups. Among those, 27 people groups are categorized as unreached. They have no gospel witness.

Islam, at around 60%, is the largest religion. Let that sink in. This majority-Muslim country has a church plant begun by Free Will Baptists.

Because Free Will Baptists have been faithful to give, our Ivorian partners have been empowered to plant a church in a majority-Muslim African country.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

From Rock Thrower to Church Builder

guestblog

From Rock Thrower to Church Builder

Nerieda didn’t attend church with her husband and four daughters when they began attending the church Stan and I were starting in Parita. She had other, more pressing things she thought she needed to do. She and others in the town felt we were trying to destroy their traditions. They wanted Stan and me to leave. Along with others, she threw rocks at our building during the services.

Nerieda helped develop and motivate an antagonist group. They marched around the town chanting “ni un bloque más” (not one more block) as we tried to build cinderblock walls on the church. They also planned to vandalize the property. At the same time, an ETEAM was in Panama. The students intended to help construct concrete pillars for the fence around the property. The police stopped the protestors that day—just as the ETEAM arrived. We found our chairs had been cut up and the pillars destroyed the night before.

Only God could change Nerieda’s heart. And, He did!

Eventually, she began attending services. Through Bible teaching and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, she became a new creature in Christ. She now teaches Sunday school at the new Chame FWB Church.* Her daughter, who was in my class as a preschooler in Parita, also teaches Sunday school. God’s Word is so powerful and it blesses me to know I had a small part in their growth.

* IM has approved an Impact Panama Chame Church project which is helping this newly-formed congregation purchase a property previously owned by New Tribes Mission.

This is an excerpt of an article written by Brenda Bunch for ONE Magazine. Read the complete article here.

Brenda Bunch and her husband Stan were appointed to overseas missionary service in Panama, Central America, in 1983. While in Panama, the couple and their three children Jonathan, Alicia, and Amanda helped to start three churches. The most recent officially organized August 27, 2011. Today, the ministry in Panama is under the leadership of Panamanian Free Will Baptists.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

All Nations, Kindreds, People, and Tongues

Clint Morgan

All Nations, Kindreds, People, and Tongues

Before leaving the United States to go to France for language study, then on to Africa to serve as a missionary, I had never been in a worship service where more than one language was used. Needless to say, those first days and months in France church were pretty miserable at times. French was “la seule langue” (the only language) spoken. I have to admit my worship experience was tested. Perhaps, to an even greater degree, my theology of worship was under scrutiny.

This pushed me to examine my basic understanding of worship. I know it is an oversimplification, but I reduced my foundational thoughts to three solid criteria for determining whether or not I was truly worshipping God. They are:

  1. True worship must be focused on God (Exodus 20:3, Luke 4:8).
  2. True worship must be done in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
  3. True worship must be orderly (I Corinthians 14:26-40).

As I began to understand French, the fear and frustration dissipated. But long before I reached an understanding of the language, I reached a new plateau in my worship.

Arriving in Africa, my language learning began all over again as I tackled the Lobi language. This was one of the major people groups in our area. My worship among the Lobis began long before I reached a level of being at ease in worshipping in the language.

The language challenge for worship hit a crescendo one day in a service when people from seven language groups, plus English, were present. For one song, we were asked to sing in our own heart language and voices lifted in praise in eight languages.

In that joyous moment, my mind focused on the future found in Revelation 7:9, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” In this passage, the worshippers are focused on God, controlled by the Holy Spirit, and praising Him in an orderly manner.

Establishing the three criteria helped me realign, not only my thinking about worship but also my worship experience. It became evident the first two criteria can only be determined by God and me. Only He and I know if I am truly focusing on Him and if I am worshipping in spirit and in truth.

The orderly aspect is fundamentally bound and controlled by our culture. This aspect addresses our means and methods of worship and must also bring honor and glory to God. However, the definition of “orderly” changes from country to country and culture to culture.

Ultimately, worship of the true and living God is the only true worship experience.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

What criteria would you add to the three I proposed?

Could you worship God in a service with more than one language being spoken?

How should missionaries determine what is “orderly” in their new culture?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Christmas Memories

Don Matchett

Christmas Memories

I have many great Christmas memories. Christmas cards, Christmas trees, ham and turkey, and special deserts that only seem to appear this time of year are just a few.

As a kid, we searched hours for a tree—a just-right-size-and-shape tree. For some reason, it never looked as good in the house as it did in the mountains. On Christmas morning, we raced to see who could get to the tree first. It was the only time of year I remember being up before Mom and Dad.

One year, I received a race track for Christmas. It must have been a very good year for us; such lavish gifts came rarely. My brother and I played with that track every day of our Christmas break. Surprisingly, Mom and Dad did not mind the noise it made. In fact, I remember seeing the joy on my parents’ faces as they watched us watch the cars go around and around the track.

Margo and I married just two days before Christmas. I don’t recommend having a wedding so close to a holiday, but this makes Christmas a special time of year for us. We actually spent our first Christmas in a small cabin on Pettit Jean Mountain in Central Arkansas. It was ridiculously cold. I don’t think the temperature reached more than ten degrees, but the cabin’s wood-burning fireplace provided a glow that warmed our hearts while the fire itself kept us toasty.

Seven years later, our daughter was born on December 15. You can’t imagine the fuss and gifts a 10-day old child can receive. We continue to try to make her birthday special. As you can imagine, with all the Christmas festivities, we have failed more often than we’ve succeeded during her 22 years. She has adapted well, though. Keeli often calls her birthday gifts her pre-Christmas, Christmas gifts.

Since our son was born in February, he was much more alert on his first Christmas. Yet, of all the gifts we bought him that year, his favorite gift was the box that held the actual gift.

Most people love summer vacations. It seems our schedules are the busiest then. For us, it is easier to get away at the end of the year. Christmas provides the time and opportunity to build our own traditions such as breakfast with my father’s family, four-wheeling to Yellow Rock, homemade BBQ sauce, and our yearly trek to places unknown.

God has been good to us. I am thankful for every wonderful memory He has provided and I look forward to creating many more.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
1 2 3 4