CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF MISSISSIPPI- January and July EVERY YEAR
We bring food items in January and July for the waiting areas for the families of children who are in the hospital. Many of these children spend months at the hospital with critical illnesses. This is an opportunity for us to minister to their parents who may have to stay at the hospital with their child for that entire duration. The response by the AWBC family every year is better than the year before. We always fill up the back of the church bus with your donations. I appreciate your reaching out with the love of God to touch many families who are hurting. God bless you!
The Margaret Lackey State Offering supports ministries in Mississippi such as initial funding to start new churches, camps (Central Hills Baptist Retreat for boys and girls; Camp Garaywa in Clinton), collegiate outreach (Baptist Student Unions), men's and women's job corps(discipleship and job skills at 14 sites in Mississippi), and literacy missions ministry (training for volunteers in basic literacy). The offering trains and mobilizes volunteers in North America and international missions, disaster relief (physical labor, hot meals, counselors of comfort), criminal justice (discipleship materials and seminary classes in jails and prisons), and cross-cultural outreach (to different language groups and cultures). It also provides training for volunteers to minister to the Deaf; offers a Christian witness and warm hospitality to seafarers in Pascagoula and Gulfport; assists in sending short-term workers in North America and other countries to work alongside missionaries.
It is received each September in all our Southern Baptist churches in Mississippi and expresses our Caring in Local Communities; Reaching out with a Helping Hand; Ministering at Camps and Campuses; Serving in and Beyond Mississippi.
This mission project is also known as the Shoebox Ministry of Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse. Shoeboxes filled with age appropriate gifts for the children are delivered at Christmas time to children around the world by Samaritan's Purse. Alta Woods participates by packing shoeboxes every October for delivery in November to our local central collection church. Our Missions Committee will head up this mission project for Alta Woods. Thank you to everyone who participates in packing shoeboxes for children whom you will never meet unless you meet them in heaven one day.
Our deepest appreciation to Rufus and Velma Stevens who led the church in this mission endeavor for many years. Our heartfelt sympathy is extended to Velma in Rufus' passing in January 2021.
Every year at Christmas our Baptist Convention collects a nationwide missions offering from local churches for missionaries who are serving overseas. Every penny goes directly to the missionaries, nothing is kept for administration costs. Administration costs are covered by our cooperative giving each week and month. The offering is named for Lottie Moon who was a missionary to China from 1873 to 1912 and literally gave her life sharing Jesus with the people there. Seeing the hunger of the people, she pleaded for money from the foreign mission board but they were too deeply in debt to help. So she gave her Chinese friends her food and her personal money and starved herself until she weighed but 50 pounds. In 1912, her fellow missionaries sent her back to the United States but she died before she arrived.
Our missionaries serving all over the world today serve at personal sacrifice to themselves and their families. They receive a monthly stipend for their living expenses and ministry needs. This offering gives them additional support for carrying the good news of Jesus Christ to the people in their country.
This offering accounts for 49% of NAMB budget, with 100% of offering gifts going directly to the field for missionaries and their ministries. None is kept for administrative purposes. Your generous giving will help equip them for God's call on their lives to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Missionaries and chaplains serving in the Southern Baptist North America Organization need our prayers and our support. Pray for the power of God's Holy Spirit to help them be effective. Pray for their personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and their families and their ministries. Many are seeing God move in remarkable ways.
Some areas of service include - Denver, Seattle, Atlanta, Portland, Canada, Boston, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Puerto Rico, Toronto, Las Vegas, Cleveland, etc.
Joseph is a fairly tenured seafarer from the Philippines. He has a wife and two children that are age 11 and 8. When I arrived on his ship, I was welcomed inside and brought into the mess hall where Joseph and others began questioning me about the services we offer. They were ecstatic that we offered free transportation. In fact, Joseph even mentioned that the other transportation providers were like the mafia by extorting the seafarers for large sums of money for short rides. Although the mafia comparison was a joke and exaggeration, there is a lot of truth in the fact that many people take advantage of seafarers because their options are so limited. After a while, it was just Joseph and I in the mess hall and he began to talk to me about religion. He said he was Catholic but wanted to be Christian. I asked him why he wasn’t a Christian and his response was shocking and heartbreaking. He said he wasn’t a Christian because he was told by “Christians” in the Philippines that he couldn’t be a Christian since he spends too much time on the boats (doing his job) far from the church. He said, “they won’t let me be a Christian until I can be a full-time Christian.” Seafarers are used to being isolated from their families, friends, and hobbies, but now Joseph is being told that he is isolated from God.
I began to tell Joseph that God is everywhere and desires a relationship with him. I shared that the way to God is not through being a “full-time Christian” (making sure you're in the church doors a certain amount of hours a week), but through God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Joseph agreed and I told him that He can come to God even now on the ship in the mess hall. He casually said he believed in Jesus but changed the subject. He began to tell me that he struggles with sinning even though he knows it’s wrong. He told me he wants to stop and feels guilty about it but can’t. It was at this moment that it hit me, I am not just an evangelist or just a humanitarian, but I am a chaplain. These seafarers are isolated from the world and from any kind of spiritual nurture and care and they are in need of these things just like anyone of us. I tried to counsel him and tell him about the sanctification of Christians through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and the persevering power of Jesus Christ. We talked for an hour about justification, sanctification, and glorification. At the end, we prayed together. We were praying aloud and Joseph started his prayer in English for my sake and then asked, “can I pray in Tagalog?” I told him that it was fine with me and he continued his prayer in Tagalog. It is always so cool to hear someone pray to God in a different language than yours. It is a glimpse of Revelation 7:9-10 where every language is crying out “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” After we finished praying Joseph kept telling me how encouraged he was from our conversation. I really feel like the Lord was working in Joseph's life that day. I left not knowing if I’d see Joseph again, but thankfully a few days later, he scheduled a transport with us and so I had the opportunity to meet with him again.
When we met again, he greeted me with a large smile and much joy. He began to tell me that he was very encouraged after our conversation and prayer, and that he no longer felt the anxiety and “coldness” he felt before. He then told me that he and his wife think it’s because he now has the Holy Spirit. I pray that he truly does have the Spirit. As I drove him and one of his crew mates to the store, I was able to discuss the Scriptures with him and I was very impressed with his knowledge of the Bible. When I dropped him off, we were both very encouraged by each other. Even though, at the time, I only saw it as a conversation, I later realized it was essentially a moment of discipleship and growth for us both. I often think to myself that the nature of this ministry is evangelism more so than discipleship but every moment where Jesus Christ and His goodness is discussed there discipleship is taking place. We, as believers, do not always need a scheduled program to have discipleship moments. Opportunities to grow in our faith abound if we are willing to look for them.
Alta Woods Baptist Church
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:3-6
David Watts has been operating a bicycle ministry for some time now. There are others who are involved, but he is the Main Man! He is always on the look out for bicycles that are new or used that he can give to needy boys and girls. He fixes old ones and gets them ready to ride. I have seen his handiwork and am very impressed. Christmas 2020 he gave away about 50 bicycles! Perhaps you have a bicycle in your attic or basement or just lying around in the yard that needs a little tender loving care and could be a blessing to a child that doesn't have one. Maybe your neighbor or brother or sister or cousin has one that their child has outgrown and they no longer need it. David can turn it into a blessing for some boy or girl today. You can call him directly or call the church office and we will put him in touch with you.
The workers at the New Orleans center continue to witness to the seafarers from all over the world. A recent crew was entirely from China.They have strict limitations on what they can say and do. He contacted a Chinese Church in New Orleans, whose members were allowed more permission to speak to them since they shared the same culture and language. After breaking the ice they all had a time of smiling and greeting the church members. Eventually the church members opened a Bible and read and share with them. It was a serious time and God's Holy Spirit moved among them. Two of the men decided to give their lives to Jesus Christ. After praying with them and giving them some Bibles and reading material. As time passed the ship came again to New Orleans and the relationship has grown. The Lord still works even under the most difficult of circumstances. Another witness came with a group of seamen from the Philippines. God continues to bless this ministry and the good news is traveling around the globe because of their faithfulness.
Some of the greatest needs that seafarers have is basic personal hygiene items. For years Alta Woods has ministered to the New Orleans center in various ways. This year we are going to help with toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors and deodorant. They are very short of these items. They also use prepackaged snacks when they visit on the ships in port. You can bring any of these to Sid’s office for the next several weeks.
We will make a trip to New Orleans May 18 after we have completed our collections.