A Message Worth Dying For?

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When you think of sharing your faith with friends, perhaps you’re a bit timid, maybe a little anxious, but are you ever afraid?

Our student ministry here in Southeast Asia consists of believers in Christ from a myriad of traditions—those who don’t believe in anything, as well as people who are committed to other faiths.

One of our students joins for Bible study, for semester retreats, and even went to church on Good Friday. She’s not a Christian and comes from a strict family. Brooke asked her best friend what would happen if she were to become a Christian. She said, matter of factly, “Her uncle would probably kill her.”

How much do you believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life? Is this message worth dying for?

- Mike and Brooke, CBF field personnel serving in Southeast Asia

Hannah James' Trip to Zambia

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This past May I had one of the greatest experiences of my life. With the support and prayers of my church family, and everyone around me, I was able to spend two life changing weeks in Zambia, Africa. I spent a week in a local village working on the educational curriculum of an elementary school ranging from Pre-K to 8th grade. I cannot express my gratitude enough for this experience. It has opened my eyes to the world, and shown me love that I have not yet seen. I plan on supporting the school in the village throughout college and hope to visit again for this truly opened up a whole new perspective of love, kindess, education, and fellowship.
- Hannah James

A Little More Neighborly

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Did you ever in your wildest imagination think you would have someone from the Middle East over to your house for lunch? I asked my friend, Larry. Pastor Knowles is a tall senior gentleman, full of Christian joy, quick-witted and a master of dickering if ever there was.

The Knowles' became American hosts to two young Arab students attending a local university. After lunch one day they gathered around a world map to share where their hometowns were and what countries they had traveled. Mary Kate, Larry’s 'better half,' shared with me that for a few hours every time they get together with the students, the world feels a little more neighborly. I have to believe home feels a bit closer to the students too.

- Marc Wyatt, CBF field personnel serving in Research Triangle, N.C.

Mission Bite #142: Partner, Engage, and Learn Together

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In April, we were able to host a few people from one of our Encourager Churches, First Baptist Church of Austin, Texas. They came for an exposure/encourage trip to learn more about our work here and encourage and minister to us.

It was wonderful getting to share about this place with our friends from First Austin. There is something so special about sharing all the things we love about Chinese life and culture with others. We feel called here, and opportunities to introduce our life and calling to our partners are affirming.

We spent the week having meals with some of our local Chinese fellowship friends and talking about how our group here can be connected with the folks at First Austin. It is neat when, not only does our Encourager Church get involved with our Chinese fellowship, but that our Chinese fellowship can encourage and share with our Encourager Church.

We, as Americans, can easily feel that we have a lot to give, but we also can learn so much from our Chinese brothers and sisters. It is amazing to see how God creates Beloved Community around the globe. We are so thankful to be connected to our Encourager Church and hope to continue to find ways to partner, engage, and learn together.

- Brittany and Casey, CBF field personnel serving in China

Succeeding in Loving Our Neighbor

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The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:34 (NIV)

One of my greatest curiosities is whether we, as Christians, are succeeding in loving our neighbor. Over the last year, I sat down with over one hundred Muslim migrants to Christian-majority contexts in this country to find an answer to that question. Over cups of coffee and tea, we chatted about their experience in their new “Christian” home.

Every single family said that they felt welcomed by their Christian neighbors. Furthermore, most had found a more pleasant and tolerant atmosphere when compared to their origin.

- Mike, CBF field personnel serving in Southeast Asia

Updates on Our Partner Church, Kerygma Baptist Church in Holguin, Cuba

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Let’s pray for Bautista Kerygma Iglesia which is celebrating its 13th year.  They have spent the past 3 years emphasizing family ministry and strengthening the family.  This has not been limited to their congregation but has been extended to the community.  This ministry has included marriage enrichment which is an ongoing program rather than a single weekend retreat.  Groups of Hope termed Walking with God in Difficult Times.  These groups provide support and emotional therapy for those experiencing depression, stress, anxiety or issues of self-esteem.  Pastoral care for teenagers and their age-specific problems.  This is a small sampling of things they are doing.  The church is growing as a result of these ministries but as a result of the growth, Ernesto is not able to meet all of the needs himself.  Pray specifically for a person to help with the children and youth this summer and also for an associate pastor to help Ernesto and Marisol in the many ministries of this very vibrant church. 

Additionally, the Kerygma Church is hoping to have a music ministry for the youth this summer and would be interested in having used musical instruments.  We could possibly send some with another group going to Cuba if anyone has an instrument that is not being used and that they would like to donate. Contact Judy Seago to donate: jcjsea@yahoo.com

Still Being Built

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On one of the islands where I work, there are hundreds of unfinished churches in various stages of completion. Sometimes the money ran out. Sometimes the supporters went a different direction. Sometimes the churches are simply still under construction. 

The first time I preached at the church pictured above, they apologized profusely for the state of their church. There were doorways without doors, wires dangled where lighting once was or eventually will be, and exposed rebar adorned the roof. 

I told them not to worry as I snapped a picture of the church. I said, “I think it’s a beautiful picture of the kingdom of God. The kingdom has begun, but it’s still being built.”

- Mike, CBF field personnel serving in Southeast Asia

Welcome Home

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Greetings are important in any missionary work. But special importance is given to greeting a newborn.

Koffi and Elisabeth had drifted from their Christian faith and were both living far from their own people group. Lomé, Togo, is a very big city and it is easy to get lost. But soon a group of refugees from Ivory Coast who are working with Togo House Ministries found them and took them in.

The newlyweds soon discovered they were parents to be, but with no family around to help, did not know how they would make it. Their new friends from Ivory Coast pitched in. A room was found for the couple to rent, a job was found for Koffi and daily prayers and visits shared with Elisabeth.

A week after little Gracia arrived it was time for her first coming out. The new parents choose Wednesday Bible Study, which meets in a garage in the Ivorians house for the occasion. Greetings and blessings in prayers and songs were shared over this newest family member by all of us—and in a real way by those who partner with CBF. Together, we greet Gracia and welcome her to her new home, the family of God.

- Lynn & Mike Hutchinson, CBF field personnel serving in Togo, West Africa

Loving with God's Love

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Recently I assisted a Karenni refugee family make a medical appointment and made sure they had the right address.

Thirty minutes after the appointment time, I received a call from the doctor asking if the family was coming. I called and discovered the family had walked into the wrong office on the same floor. They were in the process of getting costly physical exams and vaccinations they didn’t need!

After a couple more calls, I got them to the right doctor and the director of the wrong medical office waived the fees for the exams they had finished, but had to charge $225 for two vaccinations!

Because we have so many relationships with service providers and officials in the community, the doctor we knew could call us when something went wrong. Without that call, the Karenni family would have paid $1,000 for medical services they didn’t need.

As CBF ministers, the Karenni, Chin and Karen refugees know we love them with God’s love, welcoming and ministering in ways that help them survive and get stronger in America. Sometimes even the simplest of tasks go wrong for immigrants and refugees with expensive consequences, but God’s love and presence can turn things around and move us all in the right direction.

- Steve Clark, CBF field personnel serving in Louisville, Ky.