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news around the world
View excerpts of General Director James Forlines' report to the National
Association online at www.fwbgo.com.
Seminary Property Purchased in Panama
CHAME, PANAMA Eight acres of property in Chame, Panama, were purchased on Friday, September 15, 2006, for a permanent Bible seminary facility.
The Chame property, previously owned by New Tribes Mission (NTM) as a school for missionary children, became available in 2005 when NTM determined their strategy in Panama no longer made the facility necessary. Bids were solicited from five denominational groups. NTM accepted the FWB proposal based on an evaluation of need and plans for use of the property.
The property, located one block off the Trans-America Highway, is centrally located in Panama and will allow the current decentralized Bible institute program to expand to include a two- or three-year Bible seminary degreed program. Pastors and church leaders seeking to increase their biblical knowledge and understanding under the existing method may spend 15-20 years working to obtain a Bible diploma. A permanent facility will allow young people called to ministry to receive adequate, accredited training in a fraction of that time.
The property includes a dorm with supervisor quarters, four apartments, a common meeting room and kitchen, two educational buildings, a large workshop, various maintenance buildings, a basketball/volleyball court, a soccer field, a softball field, and playground equipment. NTM is donating a large quantity of existing equipment, appliances, and furniture with the purchase.
Although the primary purpose is to provide a facility for training pastors, church leaders, and missionaries, the property also offers ample resources for retreats, youth camps, etc. Monies collected for such events will help pay for maintenance of the property.
Panamanian Free Will Baptists are striving to raise funds to pay a significant portion of the purchase price. The initial installment of $50,000 was due October 15. Additional payments are due annually and the association anticipates the property will be free and clear in 2010. Those wishing to partner with the Panamanian church may send funds earmarked “Chame Seminary” or “VISION Chame” to Free Will Baptist International Missions, P.O. Box 5002, Antioch, TN 37011-5002.
J'CROIS Encourages French Youth
NANTES, FRANCE J'CROIS 2006, an annual youth conference for French students, took place August 25-27 in Nantes, France. The weekend event featured the testimony of a Sudanese man who is a former Muslim, Al-Qaeda recruit, and persecutor of Christians. The man challenged the 35 high school and college students to reach out to Muslims around them.
The 2006 theme, “United Colors,” focused on educating students about Islam, Buddhism, Jehovah’s Witness, and other religions prominent in their culture. Students learned to effectively communicate their faith to those from other religious backgrounds.
The Sunday afternoon concluding service resulted in one girl’s salvation, a student answering the call to missions, and many young people praying for unsaved friends and family.
JCROIS, slang for “I believe it,” began in 2002. With only one and a half percent of French people claiming to be evangelical Christians, most Christian students in France experience isolation from other Christians while attending college and even high school. Missionary Dennis Teague began the event to encourage and equip students to stand firm in their faith.
Marincek Church Blitzes Community
Ribeirão Preto, Brazil Members of the Marincek FWB Church in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, spent weekends in September making sure everyone in their community heard about Christ and their church. Tracts were distributed, extra services held, films shown, etc. Church members were also trained to share the gospel by giving their testimonies. The congregation received assistance from other FWB churches in the area as they made evangelistic contact with every person in their neighborhood.
As a result of the month-long emphasis three people accepted Christ as Savior and members were encouraged to make evangelism of friends and neighbors a daily part of their lives.
Toxic Waste Threatens Health in CI
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire Toxic waste from a cargo ship was dumped in eleven locations around Abidjan in August. News reports indicated seven people dead and tens of thousands ill from the hazardous material.
Clean up began Sunday, September 7, with French experts coming in to evaluate the situation and participate in the clean up. It is expected to take several weeks to complete the process.
Christians were among those living in the vicinity of the dumps and many experienced symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, respiratory distress, and vision problems. Free Will Baptists’ first African medical doctor, Dr. Gabriel Dongui, was forced to close his clinic because of its proximity to a dumpsite. Some people, like Pastor Amiezi Paul, sent family members out of town for a few weeks to minimize their physical difficulties.