Iraq, Romania: Mission frontiers for Missouri Baptists
July 1, 2003
"…and ye shall be my witnesses… unto the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8
With Iraq God has opened a door into the very heart of the Muslim world for us! We must step through this historic opportunity. This is an unprecedented ministry opportunity of epic proportions.
First, I want to thank you for praying for us as we journeyed in Iraq. Roy Spannagel, Missouri Baptist Convention associate executive director, Jay Scribner, pastor, First Baptist Church, Branson, Ralph Sawyer, pastor, First Baptist Church, Wentzville, our IMB field servants (which I will call JB and JS for security reasons) and I all felt your prayers. My wife, Suzanna told me that she has never felt so "prayed for" in her whole life either. God answered your prayers.
As there is no in-country network of churches, we prayed and relied daily on God to open doors and to bring us in contact with the people with which we needed to network. I could fill this publication with stories of answered prayer and divine appointments.
In short, we need people to start ministry there TODAY! The strategy will include five pillars that support our effort to reach Iraq. We have published a diagram of those strategies on page 2 in the July 1 print edition of The Pathway. The basic platform will be prayer. This will under gird humanitarian/servanthood efforts.
If we could have a person, couple or family that would be willing to live in Mosul, Iraq for a year at a time as our in-country coordinators, this would be perfect.
The ministries that we can start today will continue for decades, but these same ministries could be closed to us in 12 months. The first ministries in-country are the ones that will have the most credibility in the years ahead. This is why timing is so important.
We need churches and/or associations to adopt a local school or project in Mosul and each month send in small teams of six to 12 people to clean, repair and restock the schools. This platform will develop long-term relationships with families. They need to see we are REAL! And care about them.
In a meeting with all the Mosul, Iraq medical staff, they were desperate for rabies vaccines. "Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have promised things, but no one has really brought us any help," they said. I was happy to raise my hand in that meeting and tell these doctors that only hours before the meeting; we delivered to their central pharmacy rabies vaccines which we brought with us from Jordan. They saw that Southern Baptists were the REAL DEAL.
(Note: we have found a pharmaceutical company who will give us a shipping container full of medications … retail value, $20 million … if we will pay the shipping costs. Cost: $32,500. This would be a 3- to 4-month supply of medications for Mosul. We welcome your designated gifts for this opportunity.)
Our military is welcoming us with open arms! They are longing for your ministry to Iraq.
So how do you get involved? Call Linda Stockton, ministry assistant in the Partnership Missions Office at: (800) 736-6227 ext. 621 for more details. We are also going to try to keep you informed in The Pathway and on our Website www.mobaptist.org. You may also call Roy Spannagel at ext. 601. We want to link up churches and associations with a strategy that "fits" you and will bring the "Good News" to Iraq.
Meanwhile, genuine revival swept Romania as a result of tremendous persecution to our fellow Baptists there. I can remember when my heart was filled with gratitude to our Lord Jesus when I heard, then President George Bush, Sr., say that the fall of the Iron Curtain and communism in Europe was not the result of politics, but rather to a spiritual revival in Romania.
Some pastors did not stand in the persecution, but collaborated with the communists. After the fall of communism, a number of these pastors repented, some did not. The pastors who repented of their sin and the pastors who survived the persecution are in full fellowship together in the Baptist Union. Roy Spannagel and David Tolliver, pastor, Pisgah Baptist Church, Excelsior Springs, reported awe-inspiring testimonies to us of how this God-given revival changed lives, culture, countries and brought great spiritual freedom. These testimonies will thrill your hearts and bring tears to your eyes.
We want YOU to go to Romania with us Sept. 22-30 for a wonderful kick-off to our partnership with our IMB and the Romanian Baptist Union. We want 100 (yes, that’s 100) Missouri Baptist pastors (and wives) to attend an historic Pastors Conference in Oradea, Romania.
This conference will be filled with worship, testimonies, teaching, fellowship and strategy for the future church-to-church partnerships. Then each Missouri Baptist pastor will be sent with a partnering Romanian pastor to his church to preach all day Sunday. We will then all meet in Budapest and return home.
Missouri Baptist Churches: SEND YOUR PASTOR! I promise, you will get a man back whose life will be changed! Take up a special offering, have a church-wide garage sale, sell the boat you have in the garage that hasn’t been used but once this year and invest it in missions and the life of your pastor. We want to invite laymen to come as well. We will have opportunities for you to preach, teach, evangelize and testify. This will be a historic partnership ministry beginning! Details will be in The Pathway, or call Linda Stockton for more information. Scholarship help through the International Mission Board of up to $800 is available for pastors taking their first out-of-country mission trip.
Soon and very soon, we are going to SEE the KING! Let’s be about Empowering Kingdom Growth while we can!
You are loved!