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one to one: doing the impossible


Keith Burden is the executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists. Email Keith at


To learn more about the National Association of Free Will Baptists, visit


I WAS RETURNING FROM THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the International Fellowship of Free Will Baptists. The long flight from Paris to Philadelphia was uneventful and arrived on time.

After clearing immigration and customs, I claimed my bag and proceeded to the ticket counter to get my boarding pass for Nashville. I removed my used claim tag, set my suitcase on the scales next to a kiosk, and moved to the counter a few spaces down when an agent offered to assist me. After obtaining my boarding pass, I returned to retrieve my bag and have it re-checked.

To my surprise, the bag was gone. When I expressed concern, the baggage handler assured me he had taken care of everything. “Your bag will be waiting for you in Nashville.”

“But it didn’t have a claim tag on it,” I protested, holding up the old claim tag I removed earlier.

“Sir,” he said defiantly, “Listen to me. I cannot put a bag on that conveyor belt unless it has a claim tag on it.”

In a courteous, yet firm tone, I replied, “My bag did not have a claim tag on it. There would be a claim stub on my ticket jacket.”


Baggage Claim


Exasperated, the baggage handler again emphatically stated, “I cannot put a piece of luggage on that conveyor unless it has a claim tag on it. It is impossible!” Unconvinced, I made my way to baggage claim and explained my predicament. Eventually, we located my bag on a carousel for “unclaimed” luggage. Just as I expected, the suitcase had no claim tag on it.

I considered taking the bag upstairs and showing it to the mistaken baggage handler; however, I exercised better judgment. After rechecking my bag and clearing security, I reached my gate for the final leg of the long journey home.

I must admit that I experienced a degree of satisfaction knowing I was right, and the baggage handler had done the impossible.

This issue of ONE Magazine focuses on world outreach. Some in our ranks are convinced we can never reach the world with the gospel. Like the baggage handler, they believe it is impossible. Carrying the message of salvation to the ends of the earth is, admittedly, a daunting task; however, Christ would not have commissioned the church to do so if it were not possible.

It is my prayer that all who read this issue will recommit to the Great Commission and find their place in fulfilling it. Nothing would please God more than to empower us to do the impossible.

A Personal Word of Thanks

Rev. Roy Harris served in the executive office for a little more than year. As executive administrator, one of his duties was managing the annual national convention. Planning this meeting is an enormous task. It requires painstaking attention to a myriad of details, volumes of paperwork, and meticulous communication. The learning curve is very steep!

The 2007 convention in Little Rock, Arkansas, was successful. The meeting went off without a hitch, due in large part to the Roy’s efforts. The representatives at the Statehouse Convention Center, hotels, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau were very complimentary.

Additionally, Brother Roy traveled extensively, representing the executive office at state meetings; helped organize the denominational disaster relief program; and assisted in coordinating Building Kingdom Steward seminars. As executive secretary I want to give Roy the recognition he deserves and say “thank you” for a job well done.


©2007 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists