NAB UPDATE - December 6, 2012
The North American Baptists have a missionary heart for people around the world. This update will focus your attention on three recent missions related interactions.
In late November and early December, Dr. Rob McCleland and Tony Dunaway invested their time and talents in training leaders in two Russian cities—Kharbarovsk and Vladivostok. These cities in the Russian Far East—not far from the Chinese and North Korea borders—are major population centers with over 500,000 people living in each. Having spent years assisting in training pastors in Rostov, Russia, church leaders in the far eastern region of Russia have welcomed NAB’s leadership development and Biblical training with open and gracious arms.
Dr. McCleland says this about our Russia Ministry:
“Most people don’t understand what a critical decade this is in Russia. Twenty years ago, when communism ended in Russia, people who were taught to think like communists led all the ministries. Right now, the church in Russia is experiencing a major shift. Leadership transitions in most major ministries are happening this decade. For the first time for those alive today, non-communist thinkers are taking the leadership reigns in the church, so the work of developing leaders in Russia is critical.
This generation of younger leaders—they are now the agenda-shapers—are developing the future strategies. They must trust God fully and love Him with all of their hearts and minds and soul and strength. They must also understand the role of discipleship and leadership development in the church context. The door is open to us in Russia. The training we offer right now will shape Russian Christianity throughout the next century."
We recently had the opportunity to spend a day with Dr. Dennis and Nancy Palmer in the International Office of the NAB in Roseville, CA. When we host missionaries on Home Assignment, part of our time together is spent on the details and logistics of having missionaries serve in other countries. But the real thrill comes when we talk about what God is doing, and what we are anticipating in the next few years. The Palmers are catalytic leaders of a vision that is already establishing the Mbingo Baptist Hospital as one of the premier teaching and referral hospitals in central Africa. Dr. Palmer’s bold vision together with the evident blessing of God have already brought dramatic changes in the past few years. It is a rare privilege for an African hospital to be training surgeons and internists. Perhaps even more rare is the Histopathology lab established by NAB at the Mbingo Hospital with NAB‘s own Dr. Rick Bardin developing that department. With all of this growth comes the need to increase the capacity of the Mbingo hospital. Increasing the number of beds, resident housing for medical students, and even developing a hydroelectric dam to provide clean constant electricity to support this work. What a privilege to see how God is using NAB to bring sustainable training, quality care, and of course the increased opportunities to share Jesus Christ with patients.
Ron and Jeannie Seck are doing a work in Hungary that you will want to keep on your radar screen. Through the initiative of Ron and Jeannie, NAB has had the privilege of introducing CHE (Community Health Evangelism) into the country of Hungary. CHE is a ministry focusing on people in systemic poverty and asks the question that Jesus asked of the man at the pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6). It is a question that empowers individuals to participate in finding solutions to their own needs.
Hungary has an enormous population of gypsy’s called the “Roma” who live in systemic poverty as a despised and rejected people. Amazingly, through the training and strategies of CHE, Ron and Jeannie are finding leaders among the Roma who want to change! They are discipling these believers not only in scripture, but in community health, industry, microeconomics and most importantly, in passing these skills on to the NEXT generation of Roma leaders.
We are partnering with the Hungarian Baptist Union and equipping their pastors and leaders in CHE. By applying an array of biblical principles to directly address community health, we are seeing many Roma people come to know Jesus Christ!