Tuesday, December 27, 2022

It's That Time!

Here I am sitting at home anticipating warmer weather (it's Christmas morning with temperatures around mid 20's). We as a people take luxuries as a right sometimes. For this cold attack has frozen my water pipes so now I am praying for a heat wave to thaw them out. As I think on my"problem", I am reminded of the late David and Elwanda Fields who for decades worked among African peoples in Kenya, East Africa. Their ministry goes on with pastors they trained thus ministering daily… all during a drought in East Africa going on over 4 years. And I growl about a few hours with frozen pipes?


That glimpse at the work in Kenya is just one of many ministries GBC supports worldwide. With New Years now upon us, let us take a moment to look at, remember and pray for all of our mission family.


Chestley Howell in Columbia, South America: He has been busy to say the least. On a recent survey trip to western Columbia, Chestley and his entourage looked for locations to start churches, worked on the actual cost of building a church and went down river to see if they could have a mission extension down stream. But the high mark was the 5 youth who were saved at a camp he was working at. The 5 were there directly due to Chestley teaching them in an English class.


Bret and Faith Anderson doing work in Santander, Spain: From language school to daily meetings with local folk, Bret tells of countless opportunities to witness to neighbors and friends. Not all contacts he, or we for that matter, that are made are done in church or a church function. Don't let opportunity to help and witness to someone pass you by.


Bibles International is a part of Baptist Mid-Missions of Cleveland, Ohio. Jim and Jenna Wright are just one family working diligently to get all languages into a translated Bible. To date, there are 46 completed projects (read: completed translations) with another 46 in the works. This has impacted 16 countries and over 135 million people.1 Remember, there are slightly over 8 billion people in today's world with 1,700 languages.

Only 636 have a completed Bible in their native language.


Freedom House in Greensboro will be opening its third thrift store very soon. It will be located on Battleground Ave. All monies raised go to helping women and children from abused situations. They also assist opioid addicted individuals.


Obedience to God's Word is always the right thing to do no matter what is asked of us. So continue to work hard. Remember, God may be teaching you to step out in faith. For God uses ordinary people such as Gideon (see Judges 6) to fulfill large tasks. Whether it be near or far, the battle is the Lord's. Don't try to carry it yourself, but do give God all the glory!!



Mission Fact: GBC supports the Winston-Salem Rescue Mission. Calendar year 2022 saw them supply over 50,000 meals as well as 20,000 nights of safe shelter.2 Let us continue to keep our eye on Jesus and work while there is still time.


1BMM:Bibles International newsletter 2022

2WS Rescue Mission. prayer letter/statement December,2022


Bob Idacavage, Missions Director

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

No Retreat

 New Jersey singer Bruce Springsteen wrote a song in the 80's telling his story of rising up and continuing on. Now I am not here to promote any secular singer/songwriter but Mr. Springsteen's message does help lay a foundation for our lives. For we are to continue on despite circumstances. I realize that it's easier said than done but lean on this... "He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deut. 31:8. There is reassurance if there ever was any.

That said, let's get going. There is a lot going on at GBC and elsewhere with our missionaries. First of all, I hope you got to hear Jeff Smith, the Cowboy Preacher, speak at the Bible Conference. He is an excellent example of God using a unique skill set to reach the lost. What unique ability do you have that can be used for the Lord? Keep in mind that our mission field is right in front of us as well as in Africa, Argentina, and England.

Still close to home: events such as the Fall Festival and the various outreach ministries to the high school students and the Burmese children are mission events focusing on our neighbors and the city of Greensboro. We will be accountable for opportunities to help people and how we did or did not join in. That's a somber, sobering thought, huh?

Ok then… the Samaritan's Purse Shoebox collection will be over November 13. That is only a couple weeks away. As well, the people of Kentucky are still picking up the pieces from the epic flooding that hit them recently. There is a planned collection time for them of gently used clothing, household articles and other items. More on this soon.

As we ease into winter here in North Carolina, missionaries Daniel Elmer family and our own Bryant Crane family in South Africa prepare for summer. Both ministries saw them on furlough this past summer but the work continued. They report baptisms as well as professed salvations! Bryant asks for prayers and wisdom as they search for a car to replace the one now in use.

Chris and Faith Anderson returned to Romania in early September and hit the ground running. Their home upkeep, coffee shop ministry and schooling of the children seems overwhelming but they continue on moving forward… no retreat.

There is so much more to report. Please see a Mission Mediator or myself for more info or to point you in the right direction on how to get it.

I opened by telling you about the Bruce Springsteen song. The actual full title is "No Retreat No Surrender".1 We need to apply that song title to our lives work for Christ. Remember, we do not need to be perfect to be useful. Just be available!  Know your foundation, then trust, then continue on for He will never falter who has called us! Humbly, all honor and glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus!!!


Mission Fact: Though GBC does not directly support any mission work in Afghanistan, it still is a country in desperate need of the Gospel. The total number of Christians in Afganistan is currently estimated at between 15-20,000 according to the International Christian Census. Almost all Afgan Christians are converts from Islam.2 Let us not in our daily lives forget these brothers & sisters for Christ died for all of us.
 

1"No Retreat No Surrender".   1986.  Born in the USA, Bruce Springsteen
2Christianity in Afghanistan Wikipedia, August 2021

Bob Idacavage, Missions Director

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Why Wait?

The apostle Paul wrote "I have learned in whatever state I am in, therewith to be content." (Phil. 4:11) Now Paul was not talking about the state of New Jersey or Texas but rather where he was in his life's work/journey… could be anywhere physically. On this thought, Paul was not telling us to be docile or lazy. Quite the contrary.


All of us can bring to mind various situations that slow our work for God down. Most are valid reasons yet not insurmountable. For instance: many of us are up there in age. Louise Champlin (Surinam) has been on the mission field for around 80 years and still working for our Lord. She started memorizing Bible verses at age 4 which she still uses.

 

Which brings me to (and a lot closer to home) one of our own, Kaylee Millen. Kaylee is the daughter of Pete and Jessica Millen here at GBC. She had a desire to help our missionaries so she made crafts, small items and beautiful ornaments to sell. All the money raised has gone to Tabernacle Children's home in Greenville, SC. This is a GBC supported children's home of 24 young people and staff. This is a fantastic example of one of our young church members having a desire to help… and then doing something.

Opportunities are everywhere.


Going overseas now. [names redacted] are from Pakistan. They have reported that as of this writing, about 60% of the country is under water due to epic monsoon rains. This has displaced around 55 million people. GBC will soon be having a donation period for Pakistan relief as a $25 donation will provide various food stuffs and hygiene essentials. More to come on this effort.


As you can see opportunities are literally everywhere. Need more proof? From a TransWorld Radio mailing: "How can I meet Jesus?" That was written by an Arabic listener. Seeing that our mission world/field/calling really is everywhere, what are we waiting for? To use the trendy catch phrase of a popular shoe brand… "Just do it."


And finally, please contact me if you wish to be a mission mediator. This is one who contacts, on your timetable, one or more missionaries. Why? To encourage, pray for and generally uplift those here and abroad… so...


Wherever we are, whoever we meet today may they see Jesus Christ in us! To God be the glory!


Mission Fact: GBC supports not only foreign field missionaries but ministries here in the USA. From Kentucky to Winston Salem/Greensboro to High School ministries all are part of our family. Plan on attending the Bible Conference in 2 weeks as on October 16 and hear the Cowboy Preacher, Jeff Smith. He too is one of our mission family.


- Bob Idacavage, Missions Director

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

La Vie Dansante

There is a plaque in my kitchen that states "Dance like noone is watching." Now exchange dance with the word "live" and you have a mantra to go by. As you probably know, we are in a tech filled society so deep that we often lose the personal contact with others. Facts, figures and pictures zoom around the globe in seconds yet we can't seem to witness, to the next door neighbor.


Tech is not intrinsically bad but the tech can lend itself to the habit of laziness. That is, being lazy talking to people one on one, face to face and heart to heart. It has become easier to Facebook something than to knock on a door and hand them a tract. Please understand that I am not against social media platforms. I am saying that we need to use all methods necessary to deliver the Gospel to a dying world! What other methods? Like praying without ceasing. Ask any of our missionaries what they covet most and they will say prayer; not a new smartphone, though they may use one.


Now some of our missionaries more recent updates and success stories: Dr. John Sircar in Islam-heavy Bangladesh reports their Bible College thrives as well as the 20 orphans they shelter and feed. Speaking of Bible Colleges… I hope you had the chance and pleasure to have heard Josh Florence in Papua New Guinea speak recently. They are in the process of building a Bible College and it is progressing well. He and family are presently on furlough in the USA.


Ed and Anita Hoagland in Mexico gave a glowing report of their recently concluded summer camp program. They report 958 campers claiming salvation and over 375 baptisms through 5 camp events! So you see, people are coming to our Lord and we have a hand in it as we pray and give. Remember why we keep going on. "...who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." 

1 Timothy 2:4


Quick final note: Chestley Howell in Colombia, South America is to be married soon. Pray for them as they plan and continue to minister and work on a church plant in Bello, Colombia.


Warren Wiersbe wrote: “Unbelief says, ‘let's go back to where it's safe,’ but faith says ‘Let's go forward to where God is working.’1 That's the best way for us to be for our Lord. So let us continue to move forward in whatever manner God has for you; whatever tech device/platform you choose. Time is short… "And behold I come quickly." Rev 22:12. To God be the glory!


Mission Fact: This brief article mentions 4 countries where we support missionaries. The total population of those 4 countries are 355 million souls2. Yes, the work is great and the reward greater.


1Jordan River Rules.   Robert J Morgan.  pg 52

2Wikipedia World Demographics   2022 

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Even So....

 Let me ask you this: What, if anything, can you change for lasting good? I'm not talking about temporal, momentary changes. Rather the things that matter for all eternity. As carnal, weak and short sighted beings we often only see no further than our immediate front. Time to expand, No?

 

Memorial Day is upon us. A solemn day of remembrance, thankfulness and reflection on the sacrifices of others which allows us to gather and worship. Take it to an even higher plane and let us honor and remember our front line mission workers.

 

GBC helps support over 60 field missionaries, active and retired, from Alaska to Zambia, Africa. They have the same trials, COVID issues, back aches and budget problems we all have. As well as other problems we will never see or fully understand.

 

There is a need for security in our lives, as well, an inherent need for encouragement. This Missions Minute is an intro to just that. Let us as a church body rise up and encourage our 60 plus missionaries and ministries who we call our "mission family". All it takes is a willingness to contact 1, 2, or more missionaries and initiate a dialogue. See what they go through, what are their specific concerns and obstacles and how can we at GBC pray for them. Remember my initial question to you? What can we do and promote for lasting change? This is something we all can do. Let us be a praying church body that uplifts and remembers these hard working people who strive to spread the Gospel. More to come.

 

Time to be more specific. I mentioned GBC supports individuals and families of missionaries all over the world. Ten of these missions are in Central, South America as well as the Caribbean region. Should I give you a pop quiz and asked..."What is the capital of Surinam?" (hint: It's not $42.00) Would you know? or "what is Peru known for?" Not trying to confuse, boggle or perplex anyone here. Just want to make the point that we support families in Surinam and Peru and that 25% of our church budget goes to missions. Shouldn't we be aware of where it is going? All this centers around effective and timely communication. Again, this leads back to my request to the church body to help contact the missionaries we support.

 

As we remember our service members who sacrificed themselves for our benefit; let us remember all of our missionaries, mission boards, and ministries home and abroad. For we are all in it for life. Always, always, all glory and honor to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!!

 

Mission Fact: Almost half a billion people live in South and Central America and more than 600 million live in Latin America (Mexico and Caribbean)1 The 10 missionaries we support have their work cut out for them. Pray! For with God nothing is impossible.

    

1JakubMarian.com. Population Density/Source World Bank


Bob Idacavage, 

Missions Director


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Work Ahead

 We often forget that the Lord's imminent return can be at any moment. James 5:8 says..."the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." Need we any further reason to get moving? to serve? to humble ourselves and serve the Lord?


As 2022 moves along, numerous opportunities have risen to serve.Always remember the mission field is everywhere,it's every person and every moment.With that in mind, what are we waiting for?Occupy our time with others' needs.


There are many avenues of service here at GBC directly. Everything from maintenance, cleaning, nursery, choir, greeters, the Burmese ministry, GriefShare, and more .All is mission work when done for our Lord's glory. Pray and find your calling… then jump in!


Moving along to a more traditional concept of missions:


  1. Dexter Kirby on St. Vincent/Grenadines writes that "we have renewed our in person services and seen an uptick in the number of people attending." This was info from his last prayer letter post volcanic eruption.


  2. Bibles International (BI): They have been translating the Word for over 40 years now. Check out their web site at www.biblesint.org for the list of ongoing works. GBC supports a BI Representative, Jim Wright and family.


  3. Andrew Garcia/family to Honduras continue to raise support. Currently at 34% plus2. He is trusting in God for security so writes… "True safety is found in God." We all can lean on that.


  4. Trans World Radio (TWR): Their program TWR360 started in 2013 and today is heard in over 1,000 languages. It is a web portal with the biggest number of visits coming from India, the US, Ukraine, Bangladesh, and Brazil3.


Flashback time.... "Your mission… should you decide to accept it.." This was the opening line from the weekly TV show "Mission Impossible". Well,it doesn't work for us. It is too late to decline your mission once you accept Jesus as Savior. Let God show you a plan and then execute that plan until God directs otherwise. I encourage you to pray without ceasing and follow God's guidance. We should have the greatest sense of urgency to proclaim the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles each day. We can do no more than that nor any less. To God be the glory!    

 

Mission Fact: As of November, 2021: There are 7.9 billion people in the world. Unreached people groups (UPG) make up 41.5% of the world's population. UPG means they have had zero exposure to the Gospel in any form4. Now is not the time to be idle… There's work ahead.


  1. United Nations statistics/www.worldometers.info

  2. Garcia Family prayer letter/Fall 2021

  3. TWR360 Facts December, 2021

  4. joshuaproject.net.   November, 2021

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Look Back… Go Forward

It is appropriate that Thanksgiving and Veterans Day are so close to each other. We all need to be thankful for the veterans now and in the past who sacrificed for our freedom, lifestyles, and relative ease of modern living.


One of the greatest freedoms we have is the license to worship Jesus openly. This is why we live. So think on this… if you are saved and truly practicing your beliefs, you too are a veteran. That being a veteran of the life and freedom Jesus died to provide for us. Military veterans sacrificed for freedoms and Jesus sacrificed himself for ALL mankinds freedom.


Lot to report here: Jim and Carol West (UK) are in their 87th year now. God can use the "old-sters" as well as the youngsters. From the Philippines… Margarito Cabrera reports that they had 22 baptized this year with more planned. Margarito also mentioned several new converts. And from Surinam, South America… remember Ethan Champlin, that was here a few months ago? He mentioned raising funds for radio towers to get the Word out through the jungle. Well, funds are there for the towers and they are awaiting His provision of additional equipment needed. Progress!


Staying in South America: Chesley Howell is about 1 month away from departing for the mission field of Columbia. Pray for a smooth transition at this hectic time. Josh and Allie Miller along with new baby Corban are on the verge of leaving for Peru. Passage funds are still needed. Bret Anderson and family are adjusting to the culture and language of Spain. They have been there for several months now. 


GBC supports 2 missionaries in Israel. Both are at the epicenter of major religions, cultures and end time events. May they have numerous opportunities for effective witnessing. Chris and Faith Anderson in Mangalia, Romania continue to raise funds for their ministry house.


On a broader scale: mission board ABWE had 82 new mission appointees last year to more than 20 countries. As well, 3 new fields opened. ABWE now has 1000 missionaries in 70 countries.1


Each bullet statement above has much more background info to it. Please note that these are only a few of our mission family here at Gospel. Always remember they live rich, dynamic lives yet are subject to illness, flat tires and bad weather… just like us. Pray for them, reach out however you can and remember… time is short… eternity beckons.


In closing, General George Patton had an uncle killed during Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. On his tombstone is the quote… "In Christ Alone, Perfectly Content". How true… how true. As always, humbly we give God all the glory!


1ABWE International. / Year in Review


Mission Fact: About 227,000 long term missionaries went to the field in 2020. This is down from 430,000 in 1970. That is a 47% drop and that is all denominations claiming to be Christian. Many factors are to blame such as a rise in short term service, governmental politics and a changing financial world.


Delusia Sage journals/International Bulletin of Mission Research