news around the world
Free Will Baptist International Missions serves churches, pastors, and people by helping them fulfill their role in establishing churches beyond North America
so unreached peoples can know the joy of a
relationship with the living God.
To find out more about the ministry of Free Will Baptist International Missions, visit www.fwbgo.com.
Missionaries Assist in Japan Relief Efforts
Japan—Tokyo missionaries Dale and Sandra Bishop and Donnie and Ruth McDonald immediately responded to volunteer opportunities with C.R.A.S.H.—a Christian relief agency headquartered in Tokyo, Japan—following the March 11 earthquake. Often working 12-hour days to help handle logistical issues and coordinate other volunteers, they have lent invaluable support to the agency. “This is mind-bending, detail-oriented labor,” said Dale. “At times, we have been mentally and emotionally exhausted. Yet, we know our efforts make it possible for relief workers in the distressed zones to provide the right supplies for the current needs.”
Photo: Donnie McDonald in the CRASH control room.
Ruth McDonald returned to the States on March 21 with her daughters Amy (16) and Caroline (10). The departure was designed to alleviate some of the trauma and stress the girls were experiencing as they dealt with the almost 24-hour coverage of the devastation and hundreds of aftershocks. Ruth has used the time stateside to speak to ladies groups and churches, sharing updates and the opportunities to respond to the crisis.
In mid-March, Nathan Snow led a group of 27 pastors and other volunteers from Hokkaido to devastated areas. They helped clean large debris from neighborhoods and houses filled with mud. “Many homes looked like barn stalls with several inches of thick muck and mire,” Nathan observed. The Hokkaido team “served hot meals to hundreds who hadn’t had a hot meal since the earthquake.” They listened to stories from people whose relatives were washed away right in front of them and prayed with many of these hurting people. They distributed water, flashlights, batteries, heaters, camp stoves, warm clothes, infant care needs (diapers and formula), and personal hygiene supplies. “Meeting physical needs in Christ’s name during a crisis is the right thing to do,” stated Nathan, “but many of these people have never even heard the name of Christ. What a wonderful opportunity to introduce them!”
Photo: Dale Bishop works with other volunteers.
Free Will Baptist International Missions is partnering with The Hanna Project, Master’s Men, and C.R.A.S.H. to aid victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. “Funneling funds through these agencies will allow our workers in Japan to participate in meeting the physical needs of hurting people,” Clint Morgan stated. “At the same time, they will be available to share the gospel with those whose hearts may be open because of the disaster.”
Donations earmarked “Japan Relief” will be channeled to The Hanna Project and will allow missionaries to meet physical and eternal needs. Donations may be made on the Mission’s website (www.fwbgo.com) or by mailing checks to FWBIM, PO Box 5002, Antioch, TN, 37011-5002.
Griffin Granted Two-Month Leave
Antioch, TN—Debbie Griffin, missionary to Japan, was granted a two-month leave-of-absence from her Mission responsibilities by a unanimous vote of the board. Griffin requested the leave to care for her mother. “My mom has been ill, and I feel a need to take care of her,” stated Debbie. “Yet, I still feel my call to missionary service in Japan. Please pray with me as I use the next two months to determine where God wants me to be.”
Debbie returned to her home in Georgia toward the end of January at the request of family members. Using personal vacation time, she spent February caring for her mother. The board has granted a leave-of-absence through April to allow her to seek God’s guidance for her future.
“Debbie is a vital member of our missionary family in Japan. Her love for the Lord, many gifts and talents, love for Japanese people, grasp of the Japanese language and culture all blend together to make her a beloved fellow worker in the Lord’s harvest field of Japan,” affirmed Regional Director Dale Bishop. “We are praying for her, standing with her, and looking forward to seeing how God is going to continue to use her in His work.”
Debbie Griffin was appointed to missionary service in April 1985.
Power Struggle in Côte d’Ivoire Ends
Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire—On April 11, 2011, a five-month power struggle between former President Laurent Gbagbo and President-elect Alassanne Ouattara ended. Gbagbo had retreated to the bunker in the presidential residence as Ouattara's troops entered Abidjan. Days of intensive assault and negotiations ended on April 11 as Ouattara's forces broke through the bunker's defenses.
April’s events stem from presidential elections held in November 2010. Election officials, the United Nations, and most world leaders recognize Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the election. Sitting President Laurent Gbagbo alleged election fraud and refused to give up his position to Ouattara. Months of political posturing, threats, economic upheaval, and skirmishes between the opposing factions have culminated in Ouattara’s gradual, but effective taking of strategic cities throughout the country.
Snapshots Around the World
Brazil—Five young people accepted Christ as Savior, Saturday, March 5, while attending a youth camp held during Carnaval celebrations.
Brazil—Pastors Lucas and Osmír baptized eight people on March 27 at the First FWB Church in Campinas. A couple, five teens, and a boy made public professions of faith. Pastor Lucas also conducted a baby dedication for a baby who had been born prematurely.
Japan—Seichi graduated from seminary on March 15, 2011. He will pastor Taihei Chapel FWB Church in Sapporo.
France—Gilles Roger was installed as pastor of the St. Sebastien FWB Church on March 6, 2011. Gilles is pursuing Bible institute studies via the internet, works a full-time job, and serves the St. Sebastien community.
Panama—The Chame Seminary began a new year of classes on Monday, March 14. Eleven students are enrolled—five first-year, two second-year, and four third-year students. Panamanian leaders, a Cuban couple, and missionaries share teaching responsibilities.
Uruguay—Uruguayan leadership and missionaries are seeking new areas in which to plant churches. Pastors Gerardo and Julio made a survey trip to Tacuarembó and led someone to Christ while there. Jaimie and Tammy Lancaster are investigating the possibility of working in Salto, Uruguay’s second largest city.