Josh & Allie Miller recently completed Book 3 of Spanish language school and have been able to help Love Baptist Church with a children’s outreach. Josh will also have opportunities to travel and preach in several churches around Peru this month. Continue to pray for the Millers as they learn Spanish and process their residency paperwork in Peru.
Supply chain disruptions and increased energy prices have become a source of steep global inflation in 2022 and many people are struggling with the long-reaching effects. In the Netherlands during the month of September, inflation increased by 17% making it the highest it has been in decades. This comes after a leap of 13% one month earlier in August. The surging energy costs are astounding, with an increase of 114% since September 2021. In an effort to reassure its citizens, the Dutch government has pledged 18 billion euros in assistance next year. In addition, electricity and gas prices have been capped.
Despite governmental promises and efforts like those made by the Dutch government, uncertain and fearful times grip the world and there is no comfort or peace to be found outside of Christ. The Netherlands, once a Christian nation, now leads the world in secularism and New Age views. The evangelical population numbers 4%, and the largest “religion” is non-religious. As dire the circumstances may be, hope is not lost. We can pray that this may prove to be a fruitful time for the Gospel to reach those living in the shadow of fear and stress over the future.
General elections took place in Italy during the last weekend of September. The turnout for voting was 64% — the lowest in nearly fifty years. In a speech on Sunday night, Giorgia Meloni, head of the elected leadership party, thanked voters who showed confidence in her party and emphasised her goal of uniting citizens. Meloni is set to become Italy’s first female prime minister but is facing criticism for her “far-right” conservatism. The elected party, Brothers of Italy, was formed by supporters of Benito Mussolini after World War II. Supporters of the modern Brothers of Italy party and Giorgia Meloni emphatically claim that they are not fascists. Despite these claims, some are concerned that although the modern party may not be fascist, their conservative leanings may influence them to implement policies that will lead the country into an illiberal democracy.
Beginning more than 2,000 years ago, this region has greatly contributed to world history through law and legal processes, the origin of many modern languages, as well as culture. In more recent history, the Italians suffered under the fascist dictatorship from the 1920s-1940s, and it is no wonder that many are wary of any government party with historical links to such a dictatorship. While Roman Catholicism has a strong foothold in Italy, it is more cultural than an active belief system with only 3% of professing Catholics practising the religion. Evangelical Christianity has even fewer followers with 1% of the 60,000,000 population. Please be in prayer for the following:
- the missionaries in Italy to be faithful and effective witnesses in sharing the Gospel
- that those who are seeking will find the Truth
- more missionaries to reach the millions in Italy
Earlier this year, Mitch & Jacqulyn McCormack began to help at El Salvador Baptist Church, a struggling church plant in Socobaya, Peru. They started English classes, outreach events, and even went on visitation several times a week. However, soon after, the pastor at El Salvador resigned. The McCormacks are currently leading and pastoring this young church plant. They have seen many visitors come, as well as a lady who recently made a profession of faith. Continue to pray for the McCormacks as they help this church!
On September 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II passed away. She had dedicated her life to the service of her people and the United Kingdom. With 70 years as monarch, she surpassed every other British ruler in the duration of her reign. The dignified and kind manner in which she presented herself made her well-loved, not only by her own people but also worldwide. Her passing initiated a period of mourning throughout the nation extended for a week after her funeral.
On Monday, September 19, in a funeral service at Westminster Abbey, much was said about the life and service of Queen Elizabeth II. An emphasis was placed on her promise made and kept to faithfully serve the people of her kingdom. It was implied that she believed her role as both a Christian and a monarch was to follow Jesus’ example of servant leadership. This belief is one that should be shared by all Christians no matter their sphere of influence.
In the United Kingdom, which was once a vibrant hub of Christianity, only 8% of the 68,207,114 inhabitants would claim to be evangelical Christian. The Church of England is the national church, however, it is not particularly a growing religion. Knowledge of the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ is shallow at best and in many cases, non-existent. This country is in desperate need of a revival and missionaries to carry the good news to the millions. Please pray for the United Kingdom as many mourn a beloved monarch. As millions of people watched the funeral and heard about the faith and hope of the Queen, perhaps this will lead some to seek after the Truth that is Jesus Christ.
Courtney Mathos has been in Bolivia for 6 months now and is continuing to learn Spanish, help in a new church plant, teach children, and disciple a young lady. Please continue to pray for Courtney!
One of the ways that Vision Baptist Missions helps to equip and encourage our missionaries is through Regional Conferences. These Regional Conferences take place every two years in each of the four overseas regions (Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America).
This past week, the VBM Africa Regional Conference took place in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), South Africa with VBM missionaries flying in for the week. Veteran missionaries taught several sessions. The whole team was able to spent time fellowshipping together and enjoying some fun. It was also a great blessing to see and participate in the ministry in South Africa.
Below is a short update from Mark Coffey, the VBM Africa Field Director about the week:
After more than 9 years since the day we landed in South Africa, we are reminded of how quickly time goes by and how much older we are becoming. When I stepped off that plane being 37 years old, I already felt like I was getting a late start on the work that lay ahead. At times now, I can feel a pit in my stomach when I think about how little time we have left to accomplish the work that God has called us to do in getting the Gospel to our city, to our country, to our world. There is a weight on me as we consider Africa and the many places and people that still don’t have a Bible-preaching church.
Our South Africa team tries to act like we’re still young like we are right out of Bible college but the grey hairs in my teammates’ beards are a sure sign we aren’t fooling anyone.
Although we see our days passing by, this past week was a time that invigorated the work we know we are called to do. We are getting older but God is raising up an army of young men to join the ranks of reaching this world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our Generation. Young missionary families from West Africa invaded our city of Gqeberha, South Africa this past week for the Vision Baptist Missions Africa Regional Conference. There is no doubt that this group of men and women are young in age, especially compared to us old guys, but they are definitely not young in their walk with the Lord.
Graham & Olivia Young just landed in Nigeria a few weeks ago and the devil has already taken aim to knock them out of the fight before they even get started, but this precious couple is aware of Satan’s attacks and is ready for battle. They have a maturity beyond their years that is inspiring to be around.
Nate & Emily Wilkerson are eager for the next stage of their ministry, preparing to enter a new battleground for our mission board in Benin where so far we haven’t been able to locate other like-minded missionaries. The zeal and mindset of this couple are an anomaly for people their age, really for people of any age. I can’t wait to see the Gospel spread through them to this new land.
Dallas & Ashley Brown arrived from plowing a very difficult ground in their first years as missionaries in Burkina Faso. This dear family who is yielded to the Lord as few as I’ve ever seen gives me hope that we can see the Gospel taken to every creature. The Brown family is a family that influences everyone around them and even challenges us old guys like we should be challenging them.
The days ahead for VBM Africa are bright and exciting. I’m privileged to work with this amazing group of people. Please pray as we go forward with the Gospel. We are reenergized for the work ahead. May the Lord be magnified and glorified in all we do.
This summer’s intense heat wave in Europe is continuing to leave a mark. Spain, not a stranger to hot summers, experienced record-setting heat that has greatly affected the Mediterranian regions responsible for mussel crops. Water temperatures soared, reaching 86° F, with the heatwave lasting 42 days–three times the average over the past decade. With the higher-than-normal water temperatures, the mussel farmers in the area are taking a big financial hit. It has been estimated that 150 tons of commercial mussels have been destroyed along with 1,000 tons of young stock for next year. The producers of the mollusc industry in this region estimate that they will lose around $1,000,000 between this year’s crop and purchasing next year’s young molluscs from elsewhere.
Whether heatwaves in the summer or freezing days in the winter, so much of life is unreliable and can be daunting for those depending on something as unpredictable as the weather. How blessed it is to depend solely on the One Who is completely reliable! While historically Spain was very Catholic, today less than 17% of the population attends mass. With a population of 46,745,211, 77% still consider themselves Christian, however, few are practising. A tiny 1% claims to be evangelical. Please pray for the country of Spain. Pray that the Christians there would be bold witnesses; for the hearts of those unsaved to be softened to the Gospel; and for missionaries to reach those in darkness.
While Patrick and Leslie Henry are currently on furlough in the US, the ministry in Argentina continues. They recently celebrated Children’s Day and also held a Family Conference now that the weather is warming up. Pray for these evangelistic efforts to bring fruit to Faith Baptist in Argentina. And pray for the Henrys as they travel on furlough.
Turkey and Greece have had a strained relationship for years, going back over 100 years. In 1922, Greek forces occupied the city of Izmir [Greek = Smyrna], but it was liberated by Turkish forces a century ago. Despite the neighbouring countries being members of NATO, peace has been fragile. Most disputes between the two originate over sea and air boundaries.
Turkish President Erdogan has been claiming that Greece has been positioning its military in demilitarized zones on some Greek Aegean islands. At the beginning of September, it is alleged that Turkish fighter jets had been targeted by Greece. During a reconnaissance flight, Erdogan claims that Greek air defence systems were locked onto Turkish jets in order to harass and threaten them. Erdogan’s advice to Greece was this: “do not forget Izmir”; a reminder of the Greek withdrawal from the city of Izmir [Smyrna] in 1922.
Turkey was once a bastion of Christianity. The first-century church spread the gospel throughout the land, and it was strong in this faith for about 1,000 years. The decline has been extreme, and today, 0% of the population are evangelical Christian. This directly correlates to the political climate, where today many are persecuted for opposing the current leadership.
Historically, Greece was the very first nation in Europe to be evangelised. Today, a high majority of Greeks would claim to be Orthodox Christians, however, of those, it is estimated that less than 3% regularly attend church. Only 0.4% of the population claims to be evangelical.
The political and financial uncertainties facing both Turkey and Greece no doubt give the citizens of both countries great concern. Much of what happens politically and financially is completely out of their hands. Please pray for the Christians of both countries to be vocal in their belief. Pray also for labourers to answer to call to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to these nations. Only in Christ can they find peace from the troubles of this world.
During the month of August, Montenegro accused Russia of conducting cyber-attacks on governmental servers. The first series of attacks reportedly took place on August 22, but the government claims to have taken quick action to ensure no damage was made. According to outgoing Prime Minister, Dritan Abazovic, the first attack came just hours after the parliament took a vote of no confidence. Montenegro’s once-healthy relationship with Russia has taken a turn within the last decade. In 2014, Montenegro, vying for NATO membership, joined the EU and US in imposing sanctions on Russia for annexing the Crimean peninsula. Later in 2016, Montenegro accused Russia of a failed coup attempting to prevent its joining NATO. On March 1, 2022, Montenegro again imposed sanctions on Moscow leading Russia to add Montenegro to its list of ‘enemy states’ on March 7. While the Montenegrin government accused Russia of the cyber attacks in August, investigations must still be made. The Minister of Defence, Rasko Konjevic, has asked the authorities to investigate and provide evidence for the Russian cyber-attack claims.
Montenegro is a small, beautiful country in the Balkans bordering the Adriatic Sea with an approximate population is 628,000. Orthodoxy is the main religion with only 0.1% of Montenegrins claiming to be evangelical. There is typically much animosity in the Balkans between religious and ethnic groups, and Montenegro is not immune to it. The trouble with Russia serves to show that even the smallest of countries have enormous problems and that will never truly end despite organisations and unions such as NATO and the EU. The lasting change that can be made is on an individual level. A missionary can share the Gospel with a Montenegrin; that person can then have a personal relationship with the God of the universe; that soul can be changed for eternity. Please pray for missionaries who will answer the call to go to Montenegro so that the 0.1% will increase for the glory of God.
This coming Saturday, Vision Baptist Missions is hosting a work day in preparation for a new semester of Training Center classes.
We could use the help of all who are willing. We will be mainly focusing on trying to complete the internal walls, ceilings, flooring, and trim of the Hudson Taylor building. There will likely be some outside work on the grounds as well.
Lunch will be provided at noon. Please come and give us a hand if you are able.
Location: 77 Hugh Stowers Drive, Dawsonville, Georgia 30534
Contact: Travis Snode (678-871-9610) or Jeff Bush (770-362-3795) if you have any questions.
July was the hottest month in Spain since 1961 when the meteorology register began keeping track. Due to the extreme temperatures, wildfires have been a much more serious threat this year. The yearly average of 70,000 hectares consumed by fires increased to 270,000 this year. In Valencia, the eastern region of Spain, hundreds of firefighters are working to contain the blaze of two wildfires and many people have been evacuated from their homes. Portugal is battling fires as well. The Serra da Estrela national park in central Portugal has been engulfed in flames since August 6, and 1,100 firefighters and thirteen waterbombing airplanes have been working nonstop to control the fire. The smoke from the wildfire in Portugal has reached Madrid, which is 250 miles away. This caused much concern for Madrid residents who were worried a fire had ignited in the capital city.
The imminent threat of an approaching wildfire is enough to cause panic and requires quick action. Even more looming and ominous is the reality of eternity for anyone who has not trusted Jesus as Saviour. In Spain, a heavily Roman Catholic nation, only 1% would claim to be evangelical Christian. While Portugal has a similar Roman Catholic leaning, 3% are professing evangelical Christians. In both countries, practicing religion in general has heavily decreased. Please pray for Christians who will answer the call to take the Gospel to two spiritually dry countries that are in desperate need of the Living Water.
God continues to use Lauren Grant in wonderful ways. She recently had the opportunity to teach 3 times in Spanish–at a children’s Sunday school, in a Bible study, and for the young ladies at Omega Baptist in Peru. We thank the Lord with Lauren for the chance to share the gospel with others and continue growing in the language!
Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine and a key player in the decades-long drug war. However, since electing its first leftist president and government, the country is proposing an experiment–to decriminalize cocaine and start a government-regulated drug market. Colombia argues that having a drug policy instead of drug prohibition would protect poor farmers and bring down drug profits and trafficking. Colombian President Petro has appointed a drug economist to reach out to other leftist cocaine-producing countries in Latin America–like Bolivia and Peru–to discuss drug decriminalization at the regional level before taking it to the international stage.
It’s a bold, unprecedented move in a country that used to be historically conservative. Pray for Colombia today.
During the month of June, the Bulgarian government collapsed, prompting quick political action. Bulgarian president Rumen Radev called for the country to vote in a snap election for a new prime minister after former Prime Minister Kiril Petkov was ousted. When Petkov left office, none of the four political parties was capable of gaining a majority vote, meaning that this will be the fourth parliamentary election in just two years in Bulgaria. In the meantime, the parliament will be led by Galab Donev, the former minister of labour. There is a possibility that the upcoming snap election will produce yet another split parliament.
Bulgaria is no stranger to political division. It was a nation dominated by communism from the 1940s until 1989, and today, political and racial tensions undercut the society. It is the poorest country in the European Union, forcing many citizens to emigrate; however, a new government is not the answer to the problems in Bulgaria. It is a very religious nation, but only 1% of the 6,896,655 people are evangelical Christians. Someone needs to take the Gospel to the other 99%. Will you pray for labourers for Bulgaria and ask if God wants you to become one of them?
David & Katie Gardner have found property for Omega Baptist and are in the midst of raising funds for this land and a building for this church. Pray for the funds to come in so that the details for this purchase can be finalized soon, and Omega Baptist can have a home!
Andrew & Amber Garcia bought tickets for Honduras! They fly out on January 24. Pray for the Garcias as they finish deputation while packing and working on their Honduran residency paperwork. They are eager to get to Honduras and start learning the language!
A lightning strike at an oil storage facility has caused uncontrolled fires in Matanzas, Cuba. Multiple explosions and flames injured 121 people and left 17 firefighters missing. Cuba has reached out to countries it considers friendly for help with the raging blaze. Pray for the people of Cuba as it struggles with deep economic, social, and spiritual poverty.
At the end of July 2022, the nation of Croatia unveiled a beautiful new bridge that has been in the making for nearly five years. It connects the mainland to the peninsula of Peljesac in the south. Peljesac is one of the most popular destinations in Croatia as it contains the well-known medieval walled city of Dubrovnik. Because tourists were required to pass through a tiny portion of Bosnia in order to access Peljesac, it created a hassle for travellers. This bridge eliminates the need for border checks and streamlines tourism, which many hope will boost the economy.
Croatia is a young nation that fought a war for independence against Yugoslavia from March 1991-November 1995. With the conflict being in the recent past, there is still lingering hurt between the peoples of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. As an example of this, the recent construction of the Peljesac Bridge was not supported by Bosnia as the government claims there is an unresolved border dispute between the nations. The Roman Catholic Church maintains a strong grip on the country, and statistically, only .4% of Croats claim to be evangelical Christian. Please pray for missionaries to go to Croatia, disciples to be made, churches planted, and Christian unity to prevail in a country accustomed to conflict.
The small nation of Slovenia is holding a presidential election in October 2022 to replace Borut Pahor, the current president. Pahor has completed two full terms, making him ineligible for another. According to polls, the two female candidates intending to run–Natasa Pirc Musar and Marta Kos–are strong contenders. The third announced candidate is the former foreign minister, Anze Logar. Many people are intending to vote for the popular lawyer, Natasa Pirc Musar. If a woman wins the election, she will be the first female president in Slovenia since it split from Yugoslavia and became an independent nation in 1991.
Slovenia is a tiny country with a huge need. With a population of just over 2 million, it is one of the smallest countries in Europe. However, the spiritual need is astounding. Evangelical Christians are estimated to be only .1% of the population, meaning many churches in the United States have more members than Slovenia has Christians. Slovenians need the Gospel, local churches planted, and discipleship. Please pray for this small nation to be placed on the hearts of Christians worldwide who will answer the call to become missionaries there. May the number of Christians in Slovenia drastically increase within the coming years.
Stephen & Leslie Carrier are continuing on with language school, and Leslie is now in book 2, while Stephen is in book 4. They are very involved in the ministries at Liberty Baptist in Santiago and will be helping with a winter VBS next week. Pray for the Carriers as they continue to learn the language and adapt to the culture.
Missionaries Kason & Bethany Bloom have featured a story on their Reaching Ecuador Instagram about what a day in the life of a missionary in Ecuador looks like. If you click on the “Day in the Life” circle, you’ll get to follow along a regular day with the Blooms and see what they do, where they go, who they meet with to study the Bible, etc. We are so thankful for the Blooms and their love for Jesus and dedication to telling people in Ecuador about Him.
On Saturday, July 16, the North Macedonian parliament voted to move forward with a French-brokered plan to end a dispute with Bulgaria. It was approved after days of heated debate when opposing members of parliament abstained from voting by leaving the room. The French plan involves North Macedonia changing its constitution in order to recognise a Bulgarian minority within the country and passing measures to prevent hate speech against Bulgarians and other minorities. In response, Bulgaria would presumably lift its veto on North Macedonia’s EU membership accession.
North Macedonia has been a candidate for European Union membership for 17 years, however, first Greece and then Bulgaria vetoed the movement forward. In order to satisfy Greece, the name of the country was changed from Macedonia to North Macedonia. In the current dispute, Bulgaria has disagreed with the origin of the North Macedonian language. Opposing politicians view this compromise as an endangerment to the North Macedonian national identity.
North Macedonia is a country very divided both politically and ethnically. There are large minority groups such as Bulgarians and Albanians that feel more of a connection with those neighbouring countries, which leads to bitter feelings between them and the North Macedonians. An EU membership is not magically going to fix the divide within the small nation. Statistically, only .2% of the entire population is evangelical Christian and 15% is totally unevangelised. Please pray for missionaries who will go to these groups of people with the only thing that can unite them –Jesus Christ.
Robert and Emma Becker recently welcomed a brand new baby girl, Kelsey! Mom and baby are doing very well. The Becker’s have been able to serve at Victory Baptist in Rosario, even as they continue on with language school. Pray for the Beckers as they work on paperwork to get their residencies in Argentina.
By Stephen Carrier, missionary to Chile
Before I even left the US to come to Chile as a missionary, my friend and pastor at Cross Baptist Church, John Moncada, asked if I’d be willing to help teach an English class at his church for eight weeks as an outreach opportunity. I was excited about the prospect of using something God gave me simply by virtue of where I was born, the English language, for His glory.
A month or so after my wife, Leslie, and I arrived, I began the classes alongside another missionary, Nate Beil. The first week, we actually just stood outside and helped get people walking by to come in and register for the classes. We had everyone from young people, to older men and ladies, to Haitians who have immigrated to Chile. It was truly a mixed group! I remember seeing many faces I didn’t know, but feeling excited about the fact that they could someday be saved and turn into a Christian who walked with God and got involved in the church.
We had a book we went through week by week. We had some drop out the first few weeks, but we soon settled into the group that was consistent and faithful. I really loved teaching them. Some of them were more reserved, and I had to drag them out of their shells. Others knew all the answers, and I had to hold them back from answering every question. There’s a store in Chile that sells a few American products at a marked up price. I went there and bought some treats (Airheads and Tootsie Pops), and they really enjoyed those. Leslie made some rice crispy treats for them one time, and they thought those were great.
One of the biggest thrills for me was when Pastor John told me he was really able to go into the gospel with a heavily Catholic family while I was teaching the second hour. Also, after the eight weeks, we had a graduation service on a Sunday morning in which we gave certificates to those who were in the classes. Several people attended, and it was an exciting time. But the greatest part is that some of them were coming to other events at the church, and one so far has trusted Christ as His Savior!
If you think about it, please say a prayer for these people who were in the classes, that they will be saved. It was great outreach, and one that’s actually going on in other Latin American countries via other missionary friends of ours. I know it’s something I’ll do again in the future, and perhaps depending on the area you work, one you could do as well!
Beginning July 25, Malta will no longer require travellers entering the country to produce proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test. Since countries began opening back up to tourists, Malta’s entry rules had been some of the strictest in the area, at one point requiring proof of vaccination for entry. This news also means that unvaccinated travellers will no longer be required to quarantine once in the country. Tourism is one of the top five contributors to Malta’s economy, with more than 25% of nationals employed in the industry. The potential for a resurgence in tourism is no doubt a relief to a country so dependent on that industry.
Malta has a unique history in that it was the first European country to encounter Christianity when the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked on the coast. It is the most religious European nation with a majority of the population regularly attending mass, however, only 1% of the people would claim to be evangelical Christians. This deeply religious country needs the truth of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Please pray that with the increase in travel comes an increase in missionaries to Malta.
By November 15, the United Nations predicts that the population of the world will hit 8 billion people! According to this article:
- In 2023, India will replace China as the world most populous nation.
- The population of the world will reach 8.5 billion by 2030 and 9.7 billion by 2050.
- Over half of the project increase in population up to 2050 will be concentrated in the countries of: Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania.
As we consider the vast multitudes of this world, may we like Jesus:
- Be moved with compassion!
- Pray for laborers!
But when he [Jesus] saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.Matthew 9:36-38
In the midst of protests and unrest, the Lord has continued to bless Liberty Baptist Church in Quito, Ecuador. Kason & Bethany Bloom have been hard at work, discipling many who attend. Two people recently put their faith in Jesus and 4 were baptized. The Blooms also had their 1st youth meeting with over 30 in attendance, and the church began supporting its first missionary in June. Praise the Lord for all He’s doing in Ecuador! Pray for the Blooms today and consider seeing the work firsthand!
Due to its proximity to Ukraine, Poland has been on edge since Russia invaded the neighbouring country. According to an article on Reuters, Poland is very glad to have a commitment from the US to establish an American military base in the country. It was announced at a NATO summit in Madrid on June 29 that the United States would establish a permanent military base in Poland in response to the Russian invasion. Polish politician, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, stated that they would welcome 50% more US troops as well as nuclear weapons as a deterrent to Russia.
While not officially involved in the conflict, Poland has been a crossroads during this struggle. Going west, more than 3 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to Poland since the end of February 2022. Going east, many needed supplies pass through Poland to Ukraine making it a potential target. Although a member of both the European Union and NATO, political leaders in Poland are not sure that those memberships are enough to prevent Putin from invading.
Poland is doing what is believed necessary to ensure the safety of its citizens by amping up the military, weapons, and supplies. Hopefully, the followers of Christ in Poland are doing what is necessary to ensure the spiritual safety of their fellow citizens. Let us pray for opportunities to be given to Christians in Poland to share the hope of salvation with the Ukrainian refugees as well as Poles who may be fearing invasion.
By Stephen Carrier, missionary to Chile
In Ecuador, two weeks of protests led by the indigenous organization CONAIE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador) began on June 13th in response to the rising cost of living and fuel. Thousands of protesters took to the streets to express their displeasure at the way things are going in the country, and soon the protests turned into violent clashes that some believe have resulted in at least six deaths.
Those displeased with the government wanted price controls on fuel and food, as well as more investment in healthcare and education. The leaders of CONAIE stated that they would not be dragged into another meeting with the government that would only result in a mockery of their demands, while the government declared that it wouldn’t allow the protesters to divide the country.
Finally, the two groups were able to come to a truce in which the government agreed to lower the price of gasoline, among other things. They now have 90 days to fulfill their obligations.
All of this comes as inflation rises worldwide and the pressure is felt more than ever by ordinary citizens. The world is desperately looking for solutions to its problems, and the only true source of peace is found in Jesus Christ. While we know according to Scripture that many will ultimately look to the Antichrist for help, that day has not yet come, and we must be about our Father’s business while there is time.
In Ecuador, while the cost of living may be outrageous, the cost of dying will be far greater for many if we don’t reach them in time with the gospel. Please pray that God will raise up laborers to this Latin American country, and that He will use those laborers to win many souls for Him.
On Sunday, June 26, a group of hikers were killed in the Dolomite mountain region of northeastern Italy. The hikers were on an access trail when a large glacier broke off from the pinnacle of the mountain. This rained down ice and rock, killing 6 and wounding 9 others. Several of the 9 have been in critical condition. Based on the number of unclaimed cars in the car park, around 17 people are missing.
Hiking in the Dolomites is a popular way to escape the heat in the warm summer months, but it has been an exceptionally warm summer with temperatures reaching 50˚ F on the mountaintop. Due to the unusually high temperatures within the past month, it is believed that the glacier melted significantly enough to cause it to break off and fall.
The world has reacted to this news with a focus on climate change and a stark warning about future implications. Christians know that other future implications should be emphasized. Looking to the future of every soul, we should be sharing the Gospel faithfully with those who cross our path. In Italy, many people are blinded by the false Roman Catholic religion. While this is the official state religion, according to Operation World, many Italians do not trust the Church and rarely attend. Some studies show that as few as 3% of the Italian population actively practice the Roman Catholic religion. At only 1%, evangelical Christians are by far in the minority. Please pray for people to take the Gospel to Italy and for Italians to be open to the truth of Jesus Christ.
Praise the Lord for the many souls that have recently been saved in Mexico! Jonathan and Rebekah Anderson are hard at work, helping young believers write out their testimonies and going through a lesson with them about how to share their faith with others. They have a busy summer ahead with several visiting families and churches. Pray for the Andersons and for the work in Mexico!
Since the pandemic, São Paulo’s homeless population has grown to over 30%, with roughly 35,000 people or more sleeping in the streets every night. Some 6,800 areas in the city now house people living in tents, wooden shacks, or simply blankets on the street. Many have resorted to eating trash and even scavenging through heaps of animal carcasses in order to survive.
São Paulo’s shelters are unable to cope with this burgeoning need, so city hall is planning to create a campground where the homeless can pitch their tents and have access to bathroom and laundry facilities. With the number of homeless people growing every day, this new campground can only be a temporary solution.
Pray for Brazil and its leadership as they seek solutions to this ongoing issue. And as you pray, consider the great need in Brazil, both economically and spiritually.
On June 27, fire crews responded to a road blocked with burning pallets and were targeted by a group of youths in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. While the fire crew was working to remove the burning road blockage, a group of young people threw masonry that damaged vehicles belonging to the NI Housing Executive and the fire crew. The act of aggression and vandalism has been sharply addressed by the chief inspector who called for community leaders to help keep the peace in the neighbourhood.
Northern Ireland is no stranger to conflict. The Troubles which occurred from 1969-1998 left a long-lasting mark and there continues to be tension between the Protestant and Catholic factions throughout the area. The fragile peace created by man cannot and will not last forever, no matter how many desire it. True and lasting peace can only be found in Jesus Christ, and Christians are needed to preach the Gospel to these people divided both politically and religiously. Please pray that the Northern Irish will meet the Prince of Peace Who can provide what they are searching for.
As the Syrian war has raged for the past ten years claiming nearly half a million lives, over 3 million Syrian refugees have left their homeland in search of asylum in foreign countries. Recently, Denmark has begun sending these refugees back to Syria. While the conflict has not entirely ceased, the Danish government has deemed parts of Syria safe enough for some refugees to return. Since men and older boys could be conscripted into the military and older women often have young children enrolled in Danish schools, the majority of those being returned to Syria are young women and the elderly. This policy has been the cause of much concern for many in Denmark. Much emphasis is placed on refugees and immigrants assimilating into the Danish culture. Many adult refugees find it difficult to learn the language and often choose to wear the same clothing they would in Syria. This could be a reason for the friction between the refugees and Danish government.
Denmark has historically been a Christian nation with Christian values, however, there are studies that show over half the Danish population to be atheist or agnostic. Statistically, only 3.5% of Danes would claim to be evangelical Christian. This spiritually dry country is in need of revival. Please pray for an abundance of missionaries who will answer the call to be a light to Denmark.
World evangelism is about reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ – discipling them, forming them into churches with biblical leadership, and seeing them repeat the process. Because world evangelism is about people, we want to know where people are so we can reach them.
The following map is an interesting insight into where people in the United States are moving and leaving. It was put together by Visual Capitalist and shows the counties with the largest declines and highest growth rates from 2010-2020.
For those who are praying about where God might have them serve Him, prayer over this map and consider church-planting in one of these rapidly growing regions of the United States.
If you have questions about how Vision Baptist Missions can help you plant churches in North America, get in touch with Jim Roberts, North America Representative for Vision Baptist Missions. He’d love to talk with you more about needy areas across the country and work alongside you to come with a planting a new church for the glory of God.
On June 17, the European Commission announced that they were recommending Ukraine and Moldova for European Union candidacy. This announcement was welcomed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as Ukraine is still being ravaged by war with Russia. The European Commission did not impose any requirements on Ukraine or Moldova before candidacy status could be approved due to the urgency presented by the war between Ukraine and Russia. This week, 27 governmental leaders will meet at an EU summit to cast a vote on granting the candidacy status to both nations. Should they be approved, both Ukraine and Moldova will have a long list of requirements to meet in order to continue the process of EU membership. President Zelenskyy sees this as a positive step towards victory in Ukraine.
In times of distress, people look for salvation. Unfortunately, many in Ukraine may think they have found it in the European Union. Salvation can only be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and statistically, only 3.8% of Ukrainians profess faith in Him. These desperate times may present Christians in Ukraine with an unparalleled opportunity to share their faith with their countrymen. Please pray that the Christians there have boldness in witnessing and that the unsaved have open hearts to hear the Good News.
Shawn and Emily Bateman recently started a new outreach project at their church in Rosario, Argentina called “Our Jerusalem.” They had 20 church members show up to help pass out the new information packets. This past week, they had their first visitors come as a result of the new visitation project–Cintia and her son, Maxi. Pray for the “Our Jerusalem” outreach project and for the Bateman family as they share the gospel in Argentina!
Gustavo Petro, the leftist former mayor of Bogota and an ex-member of the M-19 guerrilla group, has been elected president of Colombia. According to the BBC, Mr. Petro ran a radical campaign and pledged to fight inequality through free university education, pension reforms, and high taxes on unproductive land. He also promised to enforce agreed upon peace deals with the FARC and to negotiate with still-active ELN rebels.
Mr. Petro has a lot to deliver on. Pray for him and for Colombia during this transition of leadership.
The Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland has been experiencing near-daily earthquakes, leaving the population feeling uneasy. Iceland’s prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, announced that a response team had been formed and they are preparing to deal with the possibility of a volcanic eruption. Just last year, the people of Iceland witnessed earthquakes in Geldingadalur which resulted in a volcanic eruption in Fagradalsfjall, so they are understandably nervous about the duration of the quakes this year.
Iceland, nicknamed the “land of fire and ice,” contains 32 volcanic systems which work to make Iceland famous for its geothermal pools and hot springs. The island nation sits atop the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, whose shifting accounts for the large number of earthquakes felt regularly.
With a population of just over 343,000, Iceland is a relatively small nation. However, of those 343,000, only 3% would consider themselves evangelical Christians. At 5%, the Norse religion of ásatrú has more followers than Christ. Please pray for the Icelandic people and for Christians to carry the Gospel to this small nation.
Robbie Prater was recently accepted with Vision Baptist Missions as a missionary to Paraguay! Robbie has faithfully served and interned alongside his pastor at Lighthouse Baptist in Jackson, GA, for 2 years. He also did a 7-month internship in Peru and surveyed the country of Paraguay in November 2021. Robbie is engaged to be married to Lauren Herrell on September 9. Lauren and her family were missionaries to Peru for 5 years, and she has faithfully served in the Spanish ministry at Vision for the last 2 years.
Pray for Robbie as he schedules meetings and consider having him in your church–he will be a blessing to your missions program! You can reach Robbie at 931-841-2840 or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Courtney Mathos, missionary to Bolivia
My language school teacher recently took me to her hometown of Patamanta, Bolivia, which is about 30 minutes outside of La Paz with a population of about 3,000. Most of the people are of Aymara descent and speak both Spanish and Aymara. Because of its location and altitude, the climate can be very harsh in Patamanta, with a strong heat but also stinging cold. While there, I wore a t-shirt, sweater, and vest during the day and a heavy jacket in the evenings. To sleep, I wore slipper socks, sweatpants, and a hoodie, under at least five heavy blankets.
Despite the cold, I learned much during my weekend of being fully immersed in Spanish and Bolivian culture. The people of Patamanta are a village and help each other out as much as possible. Young people call everyone tío (uncle) or tía (aunt) out of respect. The family I stayed with opened two small stores in their home to help the community. One store sells food, drinks, snacks, and other grocery items. The other store is a small pharmacy that also sells school supplies.
More importantly, I learned of the great need for the gospel in Patamanta. In a town of about 3,000 people, there is not one, single church or anyone preaching the gospel. As I got to know the family I was staying with, they started asking me questions and telling me about what they believed in. I was asked, “Do you believe in animals?” I don’t think I’ve ever been asked this question before! They explained that many people in Patamanta trust animals, spirits, and even demons to guide and help them through life. Romans 10:13-14 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
How will the people of Patamanta hear about a God that loves them and sent His Son to die on the cross for their sins if no one goes and tells them? Who will go? Who will tell them that animals, spirits, and demons can’t hear them and won’t help them? Pray with me for more laborers for Patamanta and Bolivia!
Drug cartels are expanding their reach into Chile; this and the public safety it threatens are some of the government’s top challenges. Though Chile has been relatively stable politically and economically with low crime rates compared to other countries in Latin America, crime is on the rise. Prosperity, the pandemic, economic slowdown, globalization, corruption–all these and more have been blamed as reasons for the growing reach of Mexican, Colombian, and Venezuelan cartels into Chile. According to a 2021 report, the poor and working-class in Latin America are easy recruits to the drug trade because of few options for survival.
May such a report weigh on us. May it drive us to offer more than an option for survival, but the true gospel of salvation. May it move us to do more to share and serve Jesus and to teach others to do the same.
William Carey is often called the “father of modern missions” because of his zeal to evangelize the world and his dedication to reaching the people of India with the gospel. He became a missionary at a time when very few were going to the field, and he had a long and dedicated ministry despite many hardships.
While Carey is very well known, those who helped train and send him are often not as well known – men like Andrew Fuller and John Sutcliffe. Andrew Fuller pastored a church in Soham, Cambridge from 1775 to 1782, and Kettering, Northamptonshire from 1782 to 1915. Fuller led the way in setting up a Baptist Missionary Society that helped raise funds for William and other overseas missionaries.
John Sutcliffe pastored Olney Baptist Church for thirty-nine years, from 1775 until 1814. During his time in Olney, he set up a seminary to train preachers in a couple of houses close to the church. Two of those trained there, were William Robinson, a missionary to Serampore, and William Carey, missionary to India. John Sutcliffe helped ordain Carey to the gospel ministry, and Olney Baptist was the church that commissioned Carey to the work in India.
The influence and investment of John Sutcliffe and others in the life of Carey are a great example and inspiration to local churches, pastors, and Bible college teachers. The work that goes on behind the scenes to train and support others is not in vain and is a vital part of getting the gospel around the world. If you are in the role, keep on investing, giving, mentoring, and training. It will be worth it in the end!
Bonus: Below is a short video I recorded recently while on a visit to Olney. I apologize for the background noise, but I hope this video encourages you as much as visiting the church encouraged me.
Note: Special thanks to Olney Baptist Church for their helpful history section. (source)
A new semester recently started at the Peru Bible College, with 22 new students in the freshman class alone. One of the young men studying to be a preacher is at the Bible college through Mitch’s influence and encouragement. Jacqulyn has also recently started a Bible study with 8 young ladies, several of whom are not saved. The Lord is using the McCormack family. Pray for them as they minister in Peru!
According to reports made the last week of May 2022, a search was ongoing in Switzerland for the son of an Indonesian governor. Switzerland’s beautiful rivers and lakes beckon swimmers and those searching for water recreation in the warmer spring and summer months. The natural beauty welcomes many tourists, such as Eril Mumtadz, who are in search of experiences outside the ordinary. This year, no doubt, the residents of Bern are acutely aware of the risks involved in water recreation due to the unfortunate situation involving Emmeril “Eril” Kahn Mumtadz.
Ridwan Kamil, the Indonesian governor of West Java who was on an official trip to England, quickly made his way to Switzerland when he heard the news of his son. Eril was swimming with two others in the Aare river in Bern, just a few hundred meters from the city’s center. It appears as if some struggle in the water occurred, and while the two swimming with Eril were rescued, he was not. As of early June, Eril’s body had not yet been found, and he was presumed dead.
As sad and newsworthy as the disappearance of Eril is, it is a reminder that hundreds of others die in Switzerland daily and go into eternity. Most do not get coverage in the news, but they all have worth. Switzerland is a small nation with a population of 8,000,000, and the predominant religion is Christianity. However, most would fall into the Roman Catholic category, with only 4% claiming to be evangelical. Another 4% of the population is entirely unevangelized and needs to hear the Gospel for the first time. Please pray for missionaries to be trained and sent to this nation that desperately needs the Gospel.
The Open House at the Baptist Center for World Evangelism on Saturday, 14th May went very well! It was a monumental event with nearly 100 people in attendance including five pastors, missionaries, students, and friends! Thank you to everyone who prayed, gave, and help to make this dream a reality!
After several months of general clearing out, cleaning up, and yard work, the focus of work has shifted to the “Taylor Building.” This building is going to be the initial location of the VBM home offices.
Great progress has been made on the building with walls being erected, electrics being installs, painting, and flooring going in this week. The next step is to get a new Air conditioning unit. So far, God has provided all the funds, but the air conditioning and ceiling tiles will put this part of the project $7,000 over budget.
Please continue to pray for God to provide for, and if you would like to give, you can do so online or by sending a check to: Vision Baptist Missions, PO Box 442, Alpharetta, Georgia, 30009 (Memo: “BCWE”).
Blake and Bridgette Young are making good progress in their language studies and will be done by November this year! Blake is currently being given opportunities to preach one-minute messages during the services and will get to preach longer as he progresses in the language. Pray for the Youngs as they continue in language school and serve at the church in Medellin, Colombia.