Karachi

In our Week of Prayer for International Missions, we are looking into the life situation of missionaries serving around the globe—today we are going to Karachi, Pakistan.  We will read the story of a man who came to Christ and set his heart to win his homeland for Jesus.

Aadam Channar* was only a boy when Baptist missionary Hu Addleton first brought the Gospel to his province in Pakistan. Today he is an evangelist trying to reach Pakistan’s largest city.

“Karachi is the largest city in Pakistan. When we arrived there [in 1956], it was 1 million population. Now it’s 17 to 18 million,” said Addleton, who retired after serving 34 years in Pakistan with his wife, Bettie. “It is a picture of the whole country, because you have every ethnic group living in Karachi.”
About 97 percent of Karachi follows Islam. Christians make up only about 2 percent of the city’s population, according to the US State Department.

Channar grew up in a tiny Hindu village very different from the bustling hub of Karachi, but that did not keep him from approaching the city with the intention of sharing the good news of Jesus among its many people groups.
“God gave me this vision: ‘Go [to] Karachi. Leave your home, area, village.’ So God sent me here,” Channar said. “That’s why I am in Karachi.”
Addleton, who discipled Channar, encourages Southern Baptists to continue giving through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

“We ought to continue to pray for [Pakistani Christians] and to challenge people to go,” Addleton said.

Please pray for Channar as he represents the Lord as His heart, His hands, His voice in the city of Karachi, and ask that more Pakistani Christians would respond to God’s call to do the same.
*Name changed

If you would like to follow all of the testimonies from the International Mission Board you can click here.

If you would like to contribute to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to help support missionaries all around the world, please send a check to:  Living Oaks Baptist Church, 8855 East 91st Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74133.  Please write “Lottie Moon” on the memo line. One hundred percent of all the gifts we receive will go to help missionaries share the good news of Jesus.

Streets of Danger

In our Week of Prayer for International Missions, we are looking into the life situation of missionaries serving around the globe—today we are going to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Eric Reese is a missionary who serves in the slums of Rio.  In 1992 I personally spent two months serving in one of the slums just outside Rio.  The Favelas (slums) in Brazil are unlike anything you have ever seen in the United States, so any missionary who lives and serves in these areas is in need of our prayers.  Here is Eric’s story from the IMB website:

It’s late at night and missionary Eric Reese can hear gunshots in the streets behind him. He’s heading home to his wife, Ramona, and two daughters, thanking God that he’s able to. Eric’s mission field, the urban poor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is often a dangerous one. “In these communities, it’s an ugly evil you’ve got to deal with,” Eric says, “but you’ve just got to deal with it. We can’t stand here and just let these people shoot and kill each other without the Gospel being preached.”

 A police officer from a church in Texas gave Eric a gift he still uses today—a bullet-proof vest. This isn’t a common tool for missionaries, but Eric and his family are thankful that someone cared enough to offer an extra measure of protection, especially during night ministry. “It’s important to note that I cannot use a bullet-proof jacket when ministering in slums run by drug dealers because they would see me as a snitch. In these settings, Jesus has been my covering,” Eric says.

 When we give to Lottie Moon, we provide for expected needs of our missionaries, like homes, cars and medical needs. But Southern Baptists are also dedicated to providing extra measures of protection for those who are willing to risk it all for the sake of Christ.

If you would like to follow all of the testimonies from the International Mission Board you can click here.

If you would like to contribute to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to help support missionaries all around the world, please send a check to:  Living Oaks Baptist Church, 8855 East 91st Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74133.  Please write “Lottie Moon” on the memo line. One hundred percent of all the gifts we receive will go to help missionaries share the good news of Jesus.

Life Saving Call

Each year at Christmas the Southern Baptist Convention takes up the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  One hundred percent of this offering goes directly to missionaries serving all around the world.  As part of this offering, we always have The Week of Prayer for International Missions.  Sometimes, they share stories of the challenges missionaries face.  Other times, we can read about the individuals they are ministering to or the people groups they are working with.  In honor of this week of prayer, I want to share with you some of the testimonies of those who have given their lives to serve far away from home in obedience to the call of Jesus.

Today, I want to share with you the story of Kiyoshi Sugioka, a 53-year-old man from Tokyo, Japan from the IMB website:

Kiyoshi Sugioka entered the busy Tokyo train station with a single purpose in mind – to end his life. Dressed in a business suit and dress shirt, the 53-year-old looked like any of the hundreds of Japanese businessmen crowding the station.

But on that day in July 2009, Sugioka’s life was dramatically different from those surrounding him at the station. He had hit rock bottom. In one year, Sugioka had lost two jobs, his family, his home, his honor and even his identity. Sugioka was unemployed and homeless.

He stood at the edge of the platform, preparing to jump. Then he remembered a phone number he had in his wallet. IMB missionary Josh Park had given him his cell phone number when he had met him two months before. Sugioka called Park from the station.

“When I saw him … he was in really bad shape,” Park said. “He look tired, weary and worn out. “I just listened to him talk,” Park continued. “I remembered that he wasn’t interested in hearing the Gospel … then he said, ‘Tell me about God.'” After Park shared the plan of salvation, Sugioka prayed to receive Christ. Following a few weeks of discipleship, Sugioka was baptized in Tokyo’s Tama River in August 2009.

“He introduced me to God and Christ,” Sugioka recalled. “It was a world I didn’t know. I felt like I was born again.” Park didn’t learn until later that Sugioka had been on the brink of suicide when he called. Southern Baptists provide Park with the cell phone service that costs about $50 a month. Thank you for giving so Sugioka could make a life-saving call.

To read more about Kiyoshi Sugioka story click here. If you would like to follow all of the testimonies from the International Mission Board you can click here.

If you would like to help support missionaries all around the world please send a check to:  Living Oaks Baptist Church, 8855 East 91st Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74133.  Please write “Lottie Moon” on the memo line. One hundred percent of all the gifts we receive will go to help missionaries share the good news of Jesus.

Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart (Part 3)

In order to help you understand why I am so thankful for the next person on my list I need to take you back to 1980.  I was sixteen years old, working at McDonalds, never missed a Sunday or Wednesday of church, and was already thinking about my future.  In particular, I was thinking about my wife!  I grew up in such a wonderful home with my parents that I couldn’t wait to have a family of my own.  So, at the age of sixteen I started praying for my wife.

At first, my prayers were as shallow as most boys my age, you know, I wanted her to be pretty, have blonde hair, blue eyes, and head over heals in love with me.  As the years began to add up and I was still single, my prayers began to change.  Oh, I still prayed for everything as before but I added that she needed to love Jesus, have a wonderful testimony, want to be on mission for the Lord, and once again be crazy about me. 

I would like to say I patiently waited for the woman who perfectly matched up to my prayers, unfortunately my fear of being alone was greater than my trust in God’s timing.  In spite of my impatience, God was faithful and continued to prepare the perfect wife for me. I had to wait thirteen years to finally meet her in my first New Testament class, but it was well worth the previous heart-break, loneliness, sadness, and seemingly unanswered prayers. I am so grateful for God’s wonderful gift of my wife Shirley. 

Because we were both college students and poorer than a church mouse we went to Subway for our first date.  We sat at a table drinking a soft-drink, eating chocolate chip cookies, and sharing our personal testimonies.  As she shared about her life before and after meeting Jesus I was stunned at how she was listing off all that I had prayed for over the last thirteen years.  It was during the time I had been praying for her that she became a Christian.  She had already been on two mission trips, one to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the other to Trinidad and Tobago. It was quite clear that night just how in love she was with Jesus.  It was so clear I convinced her marry me six months later.

Since we have been married she has taught me so much about God’s love.  Shirley loves me unconditionally in spite of all my idiosyncrasies.  I don’t have to perform, serve, or love her in any special way.  She just loves me!  She has a great desire to demonstrate her love of God by teaching others about Jesus.  She has taught toddlers, children, and youth Sunday School.  She has taught and led Children’s Choir, and has even been willing to do secretarial work for me as long as it wasn’t a permanent job.  Without a doubt I am the second man in her life; which is exactly what I was praying for all the way back in 1980.

So, today I wanted you to know how thankful I am for my wife.  She truly is an answer to prayer and a gift from my Father in heaven.  I love you Shirley!