Grace Kitchen Offers Help, Hope
By Cameron Probert, Reprinted with permission by Tri-City Herald.
May 27, 2020
The years of use at the former Tri-City Union Gospel Mission men’s shelter are easy to see.
Decades of feet have worn away the flooring until the wood shows through. Walls, furniture and kitchen tools are well worn.
But Amanda and Devin Lorraine envision a place of hope for women stuck in poverty.
“This wall, this wall and that wall are all coming out,” Devin points around the entryway of what has been for decades the men’s shelter. “Underneath this old vinyl is all shiplap wood. It’s going to be sanded down and varnished and brought back to its original look.”
Churches Adjust as Members Shelter in Place
By Sheila Allen
May 27, 2020
The unlikely source of a burgeoning small group ministry at River City Church in Vancouver, WA, was the COVID-19 pandemic that upended the world in early 2020. Leaders at the young church had prayed about ways to beef up their small group discipleship ministry without much luck steering people to the groups, according to pastor Ryan Sidhom.
“We were also praying about ways to ‘open the eyes’ of our people to the realities that our brothers and sisters face on a daily basis in the global persecuted church and how they are forced to meet in small groups for fear of persecution,” said Sidhom. “When the suggestion came to limit gatherings to less than ten, we decided to come out with the strategy ‘<10 GATHERINGS.’”
Leaders that had been equipped in recent months were quickly mobilized and unleashed to begin new groups.
“Because of a potential exposure to the virus within our group, we decided to make these groups online from the beginning, utilizing the Zoom video chat software,” stated Sidhom. “So when the order came from Governor Inslee to cease all gatherings, we didn’t even miss a beat.”
Pastor Follows Call to Original Passion
By Tobin Perry, Reprinted with permission by SBC Life
Ma7 27, 2020
As he juggled a full-time job at a local warehouse in Pasco, Washington, and a pastorate in October of 2018, Troy Woolever knew something had to change—and quick. It wasn’t just the long hours. It wasn’t just the limited time with family or the lack of visible ministry fruit.
Above it all was the nagging question, “Am I doing what God called me to do?”
But something else was going on inside Troy at the time, something he wasn’t ready to talk about with anyone. For the previous month, chest pains had come and go. He didn’t tell his wife, Chellsey.
“I had noticed he had been sleeping all the time,” Chellsey said. “He would come home from work and go straight to bed. And he was very grouchy. I just figured God was dealing with him on something.”
Eager for a night out, the couple visited a friend’s church for a “worship night.” On the way home, Chellsey noticed that Troy kept rubbing his hands, but she still didn’t know he was experiencing chest pains. That night, as Chellsey was trying to fall asleep, the chest pains got worse until Troy sat on the side of his bed, holding his chest.
Refugees Choose Forgiveness and Friendship
By Caroline Anderson, International Mission Board
May 27, 2020
Editor's Note: This story features International Mission Board workers with ties toEastside Baptist Church in Springfield, OR.
Crispin woke to his mother’s screams. Rebel forces had broken into his home and were dragging his twin brother outside. Crispin knew he only had a few minutes to escape before the rebels came to his room to kidnap him. He jumped out of his bedroom window and fled into the night—wearing his pajamas. Because of his speedy escape, he had no ID or documents and no change of clothes.
Crispin comes from a church-going family and gives credit to God for providing sympathetic people who helped him as he fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In South Africa, he met IMB missionaries David and Julie Yngsdal in an English as a Second Language class. The Yngsdals minister among refugee communities by hosting free ESL classes.
During class one day, Julie asked Crispin and another student, Justin, if they’d be willing to share their stories of leaving their countries. Both men arrived in South Africa under tragic circumstances, but the similarities ended there.
Washington Church Springs into Action
By Colton Dodgson, Reprinted with permission by The Chronicle in Centralia, WA
May 27, 2020
While maintaining social distance and staying home remains the direction from medical professionals fighting the coronavirus, residents still need basic necessities. Dayspring Baptist Church in CHEHALIS, WA, are AMONG GROUPS HELPING those IN need.
Pastor Chris Kruger enlisted church members to serve meals out of the church’s, known as He-Brews Table Food Truck, at SouthCreek Apartments in Centralia. SouthCreek is one of Lewis County’s low-income housing facilities.
Kruger and his team decided they wanted to help SouthCreek thanks to a member of the congregation who lives at the complex. He also said the church has a history of helping the residents.
“(With) this pandemic rose the opportunity to reconnect with those people that are on a lower income and be able to use the food truck for that purpose,” Kruger said. “What we’re really trying to do is, on the weekends, the schools have been great at being able to feed lunches during the week, we’re just picking up the slack on the weekend.”
NWBC Executive Board Resets Meeting to Consider Budget
By Cameron Crabtree
May 27, 2020
A meeting of the Northwest Baptist Convention’s Executive Board, which normally convenes in late June, has been moved to September 1-2. Among the key agenda items is drafting a 2021 missions/ministries budget to recommend at the convention’s annual meeting in November.
Delaying the meeting to September is intended to allow the full board the opportunity to better assess financial impacts of the corona virus pandemic on Northwest Baptist churches and their overall giving to mission causes in the Northwest and beyond.
The 2020 NWBC budget, approved by convention messengers last November, totals $5,315,000. Through the end of April, NWBC executive director Randy Adams reported the convention has remained financially healthy.
“We very nearly met our budget, and we are still ahead of last year’s giving,” he told pastors in a recent update. He commended Northwest pastors “for your missions commitment and for shepherding your people in such a way that they are continuing to give the Lord’s tithe and offerings through your church. No doubt some of our churches are struggling financially, but we haven’t seen it in any large way. This is truly remarkable.”
IMB Appoints New Workers
Reprinted from Baptist Press
May 27, 2020
International Mission Board trustees approved the appointment of 59 new missionaries and received an update on the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, which has contributed directly to a shortfall of about $4 million in the IMB's budget and necessitated spending cuts and a hiring freeze.
During the May 13-14 meeting, trustees also elected Christy Roberson as vice president of human resources and Price Jett, vice president of finance, logistics and technology, as IMB treasurer.
In a statement, IMB Paul Chitwood noted that increased giving through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering had the IMB strongly positioned when the pandemic began, but said the impact on local churches -- and from there the IMB -- "is quickly becoming evident." Chitwood said revenue for March and April was $2 million below budget.
Meanwhile, the IMB has incurred approximately $2 million in unbudgeted expenses while "evacuating and relocating IMB personnel" because of the pandemic.
Gateway Board Approves Slight Budget Cuts, Participation in Paycheck Protection
Gateway Seminary trustees approved an $11.5 million budget for 2020-21 -- 2.1 percent less than in 2019-20 -- and authorized the seminary's participation in the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
The budget, approved in the seminary board’s April 28 spring meeting, reflects a $250,000 reduction from the 2019-20 operating budget of $11,750,000 and a 3.8 percent reduction from the original budget proposal for 2020-21 ($11,950,000).
The revisions came in light of the economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget retains current employees while accounting for anticipated declines in Cooperative Program support, tuition revenue and housing rental income -- particularly in fall 2020. Trustees expect to reevaluate the budget in October.