Ukrainian Relief

A Report from Gemma Mastromarino

The last few weeks have been not just life changing, but world changing to say the least. I’m sure you are all well aware of the war that has broken out between Russia and Ukraine, and many of you are aware of the fact that Romania shares a rather long border with Ukraine.

The border has changed hands so many times between Hungry, Romania, and Ukraine, that just 10 years ago it was not difficult to find many of the elderly generation who could speak a minimum of four languages, adding Russian in the mix, from simple necessity. Many people have family, friends and business partners just on the other side of the border, and often simply walk across to have tea, lunch or pick up a package. When war broke out, Romania stepped up within hours to help our neighbors in need.

Sighet, one of the main border crossings in my area, logistically is less than 30 miles as the crow flies, but it takes about an hour and a half to travel there because of the mountain range. When I first came to Romania I spent most of my time at the camp there, which was also a Bible school at the time. I still have a good relationship with the staff and often take kids to summer camps there.

The camp has opened its doors to the floods of refugees fleeing to our borders on a daily basis. They have about a 150 person capacity available during winter and have been offering a place to sleep, a warm meal, and a brief respite from the stress, noise and cold of the long roads they have traveled to escape the warzone. Most of these people are in transit, meaning that the situation in Sighet is very fluid. People just need a place to stay for the night or at most several days, as they have friends and family in other countries that are waiting for them. The camp staff goes down to the border at least twice a day. They have also officially registered with the local authorities.

As can be imagined, the need for financial, material and physical support is great. I just took a trip yesterday with two girls from my church with my car loaded with supplies (diapers, medicine, toys, clothes, etc.). We went down to the cafeteria that has been transformed into the main storage room. It was full of materials, food, and popular supplies, but it was completely unorganized. The three of us set to organizing everything into groups and then making them easily accessible. We helped make lunch—a warm meal of soup, rice and meat.

There are two families that I would like to share their stories with you, as personal examples will explain the situation much better. The first is a Christian family that escaped with four of their children, but they had to leave two of their older daughters behind. The father got some much needed rest and set out the next day back across the border to get his girls. Before he left, he just kept saying, “Our big Father will take care of me.” I met his wife and younger children yesterday. His wife is so thankful and yet so worried for the safety of our husband. She is clinging dearly to the staff at the camp, praying for the rest of her family to make it back.

The second story I would like to share with you is about a woman traveling with her mother and children. Her husband was not allowed to leave the country. You could see the fear and uncertainty in her eyes. It was clear that she had no idea what she was doing. She was just trying to keep it together for her family. She asked for some tea for her mother and warm food. She spoke relatively good English, and I was able to talk to her several times. Once, she just grabbed me by the hands and said, “This is the most beautiful place I have ever seen; you have no idea. I come from eight kilometers from the Russian border—bombs, soldiers, so much noise and fear. Here is so quiet and clean and nice. I am so glad we made it here.” Then she just began to sob as I hugged her. It was all I could do in that moment. But it was what she needed. She left a few hours later to meet with family in another country.

Each story is different, but the same. They need to leave. They need a place to sleep after long lines in awful weather at the border due to March’s cold rain. They pay the bribes put on them by their own border guards. They need a place to go.

Camp Hope for the Future is doing what it can. But we cannot do it alone. They are in need of financial help. Please pray—prayer absolutely works. If you would like to donate please do not hesitate to contact BIO, my mission board. There has been an account set up specifically for the Ukrainian refugees. Just mark your donation specifically for this need. I will pass any and all funds to the camp directors. You can follow me on Facebook for more updates.

We are blessed to be a blessing. Please continue to pray for me as I work in all the available avenues God has been opening for me. Please pray for Romania. Please pray for Ukraine.


You can send relief to these displaced people through our missionary in Romania, Gemma Mastromarino. Gemma works very closely with the camp. One hundred percent of any funds donated through BIO will go straight to the camp to help them give relief to the refugees. They will not only receive shelter, food, and water; they will receive Hope for the Future!

Please click on the PayPal link to donate or you can send a check to BIO (PO Box 587 Jefferson City, TN, 37760). Please make the check out to BIO and write Ukrainian Refugee Relief on the memo.

When this family arrived at the camp, they were destitute, without any direction. After almost a week of staying at our camp, they have finally found a future, a new beginning, in Germany.
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2022 BIO Fall Meeting

First Baptist Church of Ruskin, Florida will host the BIO Fall Meeting in 2022. Pastor Barry Rumsey, BIO vice president, invites you to attend the meeting on November 10 and 11.

More details about the various meetings each year can be found at the BIO Meetings website.

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Into All the World: Volume 10, Issue 12

SEIZING CHRISTMAS IN CANADA

James and Karen Howard

We are excited and pleased to announce our newest seasonal evangelistic initiative. As you read this letter, an estimated 107,000 Canadian immigrants (arriving between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021) have chosen to settle in Ontario. The Toronto area’s municipalities are places regularly recommended for immigrants to settle. No doubt, many of these new residents know very little about the meaning of Christmas. Added with the others, these immigrants represent a beautiful and culturally diverse mosaic.

We are attempting to seize this Christmas season as an opportunity to share Christ with them and others in a distinctive way. This season, we are conveying the message of hope and grace found in Jesus Christ through our new responsive website—ThisisChristmas.ca. The website’s purpose is to impact Canadians everywhere with the Gospel and to promote our church in the communities in which we serve. Its content conveys the truths of the human condition and the need for Jesus Christ with a collection of brief and engaging Gospel articles and other content. Please pray for this effort!


MERRY CHRISTMAS

Office News

While some BIO missionaries have struggled this year with COVID restrictions and travel difficulties, others have enjoyed tremendous spiritual success. We rejoice over the many souls that have been saved and baptized around the world, and we praise the Lord for the local churches that have been established. We are most thankful, however, that our God chose to become a man and dwell with us. “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) Hallelujah!

Thank you for your faithful partnership with BIO and with Joyce’s Kids. We hope that this Christmas season will be one filled with God’s richest blessings! “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)


LATIN AMERICAN DIRECTOR’S YEAR IN REVIEW

Jeff and Sandra Price

Merry Christmas friends and partners! We trust that the Lord is blessing you as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This year has passed by rapidly, and a lot is changing in the world in which we live. Fortunately, we worship a God who does not change, and we can remain confident in our salvation and calling! This has indeed been an interesting year that has seen us travel over 50,000 miles as we visited over 60 churches in 27 States. In addition to our travel in the US, we were also blessed to spend time in Bolivia.

Interestingly, the day we returned to the United States, our government put out warnings encouraging Americans to reconsider travel to Bolivia due to the unrest and the pandemic. The same is true in many areas of Latin America. That said, as the Lord opens doors we will be returning to Bolivia next year as well as ministering in Peru, Chile, and Mexico. While in these countries, we will be focusing on leadership development and pastoral training. We are thankful that God is allowing us to partner with you to reach people with the Gospel.

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Into All the World: Volume 10, Issue 11

FRUIT IN HAITI

Joel and Lottie Desir

Brother lclair is my assistant Pastor. He shared with me a salvation story about Marijo. She was a prostitute. He met her on visitation and invited her to church. She said she would not come. lclair asked her where she would go if she died. Marijo said she would go to Hell for the life she was living, and that there was no way she could be saved. Brother lclair showed her from the Bible how to be saved, and she received Christ as her Savior.

One Sunday she came to church while I was preaching on sin. After the service she came to me and said she needed to speak with me. So, the next day she came in to my office, and told me how the sermon convicted her. She thought everything I mentioned in the sermon was about her. She explained to me she was a prostitute, but would be one no longer. Later, she was baptized and is now continuing to serve the Lord. Please pray for her.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Office News

Thank you for your faithful partnership with us here at BIO. Like Paul, we can say, “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love…” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3) Happy Thanksgiving!

Please mark your calendars for next year’s BIO Fall Meeting. First Baptist Church of Ruskin, Florida will host this meeting. We have scheduled this meeting for November 10-11, 2022. The theme for this meeting is Taking Up His Yoke. Visit our meeting website for more information.


Paulo and Marilza Tavares

We have been continually blessed and encouraged on furlough this fall. We are having a wonderful time going to each of our supporting churches and giving a report of what the Lord has done with us regarding our ministry in Brazil. The pastors, brothers and sisters in Christ have demonstrated their love, appreciation and generosity!

We attended our mission board’s Fall Meeting in Fostoria, Ohio. During the meeting we were presented with a very nice plaque for 20 years of serving the Lord in Brazil. Our Pastor, Rodney Love, surprised us by driving all the way from Bensalem, Pennsylvania to present us with the plaque. We then visited several of our supporting churches in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont. In Vermont we had the privilege of being the key note speaker at the mission’s conference.

We still have some more churches to visit and share God’s work in Brazil before we go back to Texas. Unfortunately, we were on a short furlough and did not have the time to visit all of our supporting churches. During our next furlough, we will make sure to start with those that we could not see at this time.

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Into All the World: Volume 10, Issue 10

SEEDS PLANTED, GREAT STEPS IN ROMANIA

Gemma Mastromarino

Teaching English has been one of my primary outreaches in the community. On average, 27 young people come into my house every week for English classes, giving me a unique opportunity to create personal relationships with each one. Because I use a Christian curriculum, my students are introduced to Christian principles and thoughts. Many of my students ask questions about the vocabulary, we get into conversations about reading texts, and with my older students, we are including the history books to talk about rights and freedoms.

One of our activities during history class was talking about the four basic rights and freedoms and how each one affects the others. They then wrote in a journal which freedom they thought was most important, without any specific directions from me. Many of them chose to write about the freedom of religion, because they said that when you take away their right to believe in God, you take away their right to express their thoughts in speech, writing, and the ability to assemble with people of similar beliefs. “It takes away your soul,” as one of my students said. The seeds are planted.

Many of my elementary students also regularly join me in attending camps where they hear the Gospel and how to grow in their faith. This year, three of my kids who do not attend church told me they love coming to camp because they get to learn about God while having fun. They even asked if they could invite their friends next year. Great steps!


CONFERENCE, COLLEGES, AND COVID

Office News

The Lord blessed our BIO Fall Meeting. Dillon Road Baptist Church in Fostoria, Ohio went above and beyond in their ministry to us as hosts of the meeting. All of the messages hit the theme (Serving as Senders) and challenged us. It was a special blessing to have Dr. Charles Keen preach for us again. Over $11,000 was raised in a special offering for the office and $5,000 was given to help rebuild an earthquake ravished church in Bali.

Please pray for our ministry at Pensacola Christian College this week and at Ambassador Baptist College next week. We praise the Lord for the opportunity that we have to mingle with the students, teach classes, and challenge the students for missions.

Thank you for your partnership with us and our missionaries. COVID continues to be a challenge in many countries. In spite of today’s challenges, the work of God continues around the world through your prayers and missionary support. Please pray specifically for several missionaries who are in need of visas. Many countries have tightened their borders due to COVID.


PUSHING TOWARD BOLIVIA

Matt and Melany Parrott

Your prayers and support sustain us. We are on the road, having been in 11 states, to date. We have had the pleasure of visiting many precious churches and countless individuals as we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the ministry that we have received from Him to be His ambassadors in a foreign country. It’s been a busy summer, but God continues to go before us every step of the way. The Lord has seen us through an encounter with COVID, given us grace as we’ve added to our family when we rescued a dog, and He’s kept our home on wheels running in tip top shape.

We have big news to share with you! Our girls, Tallulah and Lilly have declared their surrender to Christ, and they both desire to live their lives in obedience to Him and His Word! Praise The Lord! What a joyous answer to prayer! Thank you for praying with us for the salvation of our children these months and years. Please continue to pray with us as we disciple and encourage them in their new walk and daily submission to Christ.

NOTE: Matt and Melany Parrott have attended language school and would love to move their family to the field next spring. Please prayerfully consider them as your missionaries to Bolivia.

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