World Missions is the Reason for the Season

During the Christmas season we are frequently reminded that Jesus is the reason for the season. We could extrapolate this by saying that missions is the reason for the season. Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given…” John 3:16 presents this gift to the world, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…” That first Christmas God gave His Son “that the world through him might be saved.” Jesus was sent to save sinners; likewise, we are sent to save sinners through the preaching of the Gospel. Thus, since the proclaiming of God’s gift to the world is called missions, practically speaking, world missions is the reason for the Christmas season.

Since missions is the reason for Christmas, our celebration and gift giving should be directed towards and result in more people hearing the good news—God loves people and has given His Son for the reconciliation of the world. Here are some ways that this can be fun and effective.

The White Elephant Gift

The white elephant gift party is a fun gift exchange where everyone brings inexpensive or funny gifts. Numbers are drawn and gifts are taken or stolen in number order until all the gifts are gone. This gift exchange can be focused towards missions by requiring all gifts be something that is from another culture. This slight adjustment to a popular event can shift the focus of Christmas towards missions.

Picture of a snow-covered office building.Donate to a Missionary or Missions Ministry

Many churches and individuals give their first gift of the Christmas Season to God by donating to a missionary or missions ministry. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Christmas than by supporting those who are taking God’s gift to the world.

Send a Care Package to a Missionary

Care packages are popular with college students and military personnel. What about those missionaries who are away from home and family? Your gift could be what God uses to encourage them. Imagine feeling loneliness during the holidays only to find a package of heartfelt goodies from home. Many favorite foods and luxuries cannot be found overseas. This would be a special treat indeed! Make sure to do your homework. What are the missionaries’ likes and dislikes? What are they missing from home that they cannot obtain on the field? Check with the missionaries’ agency. It may not be wise to send a missionary a package in some restricted access nations.

Throw an International Christmas Party

My family will never forget the Vietnamese Christmas party we had in Samoa. Decorate, and prepare special food from a country where your missionary serves. During the party play an appropriate international game and then Skype your missionary and love on them for a while. Not only would you encourage the missionary, but your family and friends will be redirected to the reason for the season—missions!

Decorate a Christmas Tree with International Ornaments

Christmas trees are not only beautiful; they are also very sentimental. Each ornament can hold memories that represent relationships past and present. Set up a tree in your home, church or Sunday school class and decorate it with ornaments from around the world. Some of these ornaments could have been bought during short-term mission trips or, perhaps, brought by your missionaries when they visited your church. These ornaments could serve as a reminder of the real reason for the Christmas season; later, perhaps, they could be auctioned and sold with the proceeds going towards your favorite missionary or mission project.

Let’s remember, rejoice and revel this Christmas season, but let’s not forget the reason for this wonderful season—“the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” Missions is the reason for the season!

Posted in Missions | Comments closed

Messages From the 2017 November Meeting

We had a wonderful BIO Conference on World Evangelism and Church Planting in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Dr. Milton Ker was presented with the Faithful Man Award by Baptist International Outreach. Dr. Ker preached alongside Missionary Tim Carte and Pastor Steve Craft.

You can listen to the messages below or right click the message title to download the sermons.

The 2018 November Meeting will be hosted by Rock Springs Baptist Church in Morrow, Georgia.

Posted in Media, News | Comments closed

Last Words

When Sir Isaac Newton died he said, “I don’t know what I may seem to the world. But as to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” Leonardo da Vinci was heard saying, “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.” Last words are often reflective and very important.

The Lord Jesus breathed, “It is finished!” as He died on the cross. What a statement! Those three words are the apex of human history! Jesus then rose again and ascended into Heaven. Again, His last words before He ascended are most profound. Let us look at these last words.

The disciples heard Jesus speak His last words on this earth in a mountain in Galilee. We find these words in all of their profundity in Matthew 28:18-20. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

All Power

First of all, Jesus said, “All power is given unto me.” The word translated power here is exousia. It means authority. Jesus declared that God the Father had given Him all authority. The type in the Old Testament representing this relationship with the Father is Joseph ruling under Pharaoh in Egypt. This statement that Jesus made emphasizes and enforces what He would say next. He had the authority to say it, and we have every right and obligation to obey.

All People

Next, upon the premise of His absolute authority, Jesus commands that all people must hear the Gospel. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations…” The word for nations is ethnos. Nations does not refer to political nations, but, rather, to people groups. What exactly is a people group? “For evangelization purposes, a people group is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance (language and culture).” [Joshua Project Definition]

There are currently 16,825 people groups. Out of these, 6,989 are unreached with the Gospel. This means that roughly 42% of the world’s people groups do not have enough of the Body of Christ represented among them to begin a church planting movement. Imagine 42% of the world with no Bible, no church, and no missionary to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that He had all authority, and with that authority He commanded His followers to take the Gospel to all peoples!

All Places

The last thing that Jesus did was give His disciples a promise. He promised to be with them even unto the end of the world—in all places! Often we interpet this promise to mean protection and peace. While God does protect His followers, many missionaries have been martyrs for the cause of Christ. A fuller understanding of this promise can be found in Mark 16:20, “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” After Jesus ascended into Heaven He worked with them through His Spirit. He did the work! This is the only way for the Gospel to make it to all people—through His power and strength! The work must be done with Him.

We must take heed to the last words of our Lord Jesus. He declared His authority. He issued a command, and He gave us His promise. We must meditate on these last words and understand how we are to carry them out. Then, perhaps, our last words would be similar to that of George Whitfield’s: “Lord Jesus, I am weary in Thy work, but not of Thy work. If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for Thee once more in the fields, seal the truth, and come home to die.”

Posted in Missions | Comments closed

Into All The World: Volume 6, Issue 10

The Gates Of Hell Shall Not Prevail

By Berhanu Yoseph

Many times we easily forget what Jesus has said about His Church. When something bad happens we worry too much. Recently we lost two, well experienced pastors. When both of these churches’ pastors went home to the Lord, I began to think that these churches would not continue. However, both churches continued in a very special way because these churches do not belong to the pastors! They are His local churches! The Church in Benara, in fact, invited me to their baptism program after they lost their pastor eight weeks ago. I was informed that more than 28 people were ready to be baptized. Praise the Lord and glory to Him! The Gates of Hell shall not prevail!

Our work with the South Sudan people in Ethiopia is going very good. We have a great opportunity to serve. It is truly promising to plant many churches. There are nine churches we have planted in the different villages of the Gambela region and four additional churches in the refugee camps. These are the work of God’s amazing grace. The places are very remote and far from where we are living, almost 1,000 km. The Gates of Hell shall not prevail!

Note: If you would like to receive Berhanu’s prayer letters please email us.


Office News

By John Yingling

I praise the Lord for the opportunity to travel to Indonesia and the Philippines last month. It was exciting to see what God is doing in both countries. I was thrilled to be a part of an ordination ceremony on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. I was equally thrilled to see what God is doing through Nap and Shirley Donado and Chris and Carol Woodley in the Philippines. The Donados are working on their sixth church plant. There is a wonderful movement of God beginning to develop around these ministries. God has given the Woodleys access to an unreached Aeta people group in the Philippines besides their work with the Deaf. Many are being saved!

Brother Terry Childers had a great opportunity to be at West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster, CA last month. This month, we are looking forward to representing BIO at Pensacola Christian College at the Campus Church missions conference. We will also participate in Ambassador Baptist College’s annual missions conference at the end of October.

Please remember our annual Fall Meeting is November 16-17. This year it will be held at the Music Road Resort in beautiful Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Dr. Milton Ker will be our main speaker. Our theme this year is Missions in the Twenty-First Century. Please make plans now to attend. To reserve your room call 1-800-429-7700 and tell them you are with BIO. I hope to see you there.


The Smiths Return To Cambodia

Map of Cambodiaby John Yingling

We praise the Lord that Ron and Sara Smith had a profitable furlough. They have returned to Cambodia to begin their third term.

Ron writes, “Upon our arrival in Phnom Penh, we must look for a new place to rent as our current facilities will no longer be available. Location is very important to our church. Please join us in prayer about this. We thank God for His mercy and protection as we traveled and visited with supporting churches. God is so good to us! Continue to pray that He will use our lives in Cambodia, that the millions there without Jesus Christ will come to know His wonderful grace and His saving power.”

Posted in Into All The World | Comments closed

Deaf Churches: A Three-Country Africa Visit

During the months of August and September I had the privilege of visiting three different African countries as BIO’s Director of Deaf Ministries. These were Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia. In each of the places I visited I spent time with BIO missionaries working with the Deaf.

Ethiopia

Photo of conference crowd.The late pastor Bizuayehu Assefa started an annual conference in Addis Ababa in which he invited the deaf churches in Ethiopia to come together for a time of learning and encouragement. This year was the 28th year for the conference. Ebenezer Baptist Church for the Deaf invited me to be one of the speakers for the conference. I preached four times and enjoyed the preaching of several deaf pastors in Ethiopia.

There were 18 different churches represented in the three day event with over 250 people attending. It was a great time of Christian fellowship for these deaf saints. Many of the attendees came from smaller villages and would not normally have as much opportunity to fellowship with other believers back in their home town.

During the conference there were 2 Deaf saved and many came forward in the invitation with a desire to be a greater witness for the Lord. I recently wrote about this trip in my personal prayer letter.

Tanzania

Photo of Deaf kneeling at the alter.Pastor Frank Laurent has been doing a wonderful work in his home country of Tanzania. The Bethel Baptist Church of the Deaf in Dodoma, Tanzania was in great need of a larger place to meet. I was privileged to preach the first service they held in their new building. On that special Sunday morning 13 Deaf came forward in the invitation to accept the Lord as their Savior!

The building is far from complete, but they are able to use the space. Their old meeting location was large enough for about 40 people to sit, yet they regularly had 60 coming to church. Now they have plenty of room with room to grow.

Bro. Frank is doing a wonderful job in training young men to do the work of the ministry. His one request for me was to return home and tell others to take time to visit the work in Tanzania. He wants you to have a burden for the need of more workers so that you will pray for their ministry effectively.

Zambia

Photo of Sunday School classMy purpose for going to Zambia on this trip was as much personal as it was ministry related. Bro. Yohannes Getaneh has become a good friend through the years as we have worked together through BIO. I was deeply curious to go see the ministry God has him doing among the Deaf. God has used Bro. Yohannes to train and help start 25 churches for the Deaf in Zambia.

I preached both Saturday and Sunday to the deaf church in Lusaka. After the Saturday service we all went out in front of the church and handed out tracts to people passing by. After a short time Bro. Yohannes and I sat down in the shade while the church members continued to pass out tracts. We were not sitting there just to rest out of the sun. No, we were there so that the Deaf could invite the hearing people passing by to come chat with us about the Lord. The Deaf kept us supplied with people to talk with. I prayed with about 8 people concerning spiritual needs. None that I talked with accepted the Lord, but Bro. Yohannes was able to pray with 3 hearing people who put their faith in Jesus Christ. It was a wonderful team effort on the part of the deaf congregation and two hearing preachers.

Your Involvement

Most missionaries would love to have a visit from a supporting church or individual. Don’t hesitate to contact a missionary and see if you can work out a time to visit them on the field. If you need help connecting with one of our BIO missionaries please contact us and we will help in any way we can.

Posted in News | Comments closed