February 14 2013 by
Tess Rivers, Baptist Press
RICHMOND, Va. – This is not your father’s Southern Baptist Convention (SBC
That’s a message SBC President Fred Luter wants an increasingly diverse generation of young evangelicals to hear.
“Our challenge as Southern Baptists is to let young believers know that you are welcome at the table,” said Luter, who met recently with International Mission Board (IMB
) leadership and staff at the home office in Richmond, Va. “We want you to come, sit at the table and tell us what we can do to help you fit in more with this convention.”
Photo by Chris Carter
Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter, left, and IMB President Tom Elliff greet each other at IMB offices in Richmond, Va. Luter, who will be going on his first overseas mission trip this year, hopes to encourage African-American congregations to take a more active role in international missions.
The SBC’s first African-American president, Luter also is encouraging ethnic minorities, particularly African Americans, to look to international missions as a means of expanding God’s kingdom. Of IMB’s 4,900 missionaries, 27 are African American, 79 are Hispanic and 317 are Asian.
For African Americans, that’s one-half of 1 percent of the total IMB missionary count, explains Keith Jefferson, IMB’s African American church missional strategist.
When compared to an estimated 1 million African Americans included in the SBC’s 16 million members, “that’s a disproportionately low number of African Americans serving overseas,” he said.
Although African Americans have served in spurts with the IMB (formerly the Foreign Mission Board) since shortly after the SBC began in 1845, the low number serving overseas today doesn’t surprise Luter.
“A lot of our African American churches are in the ’hood,” said Luter, who pastors Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, La. “It’s a daily fight every day. [People ask me], ‘Why do I need to go to Africa, Asia or Europe? We need to get people saved in this community.’”
Luter aims to change that mindset. Jefferson hopes to help him.
“It’s a both/and approach,” Luter said. “We need to reach the people in our neighborhoods and get African Americans out on the foreign field.”
Jefferson agreed. “Charity begins at home, but it doesn’t end there. The command begins in Jerusalem, but we don’t stop at the beginning.”
A renewed commitment
As SBC president, Luter has three specific goals to promote the importance of international missions: model a personal commitment, educate churches about needs and instill a vision for the world in the hearts of young people.
To accomplish goal No. 1, Luter is excited about going on an international mission trip – his first – to Ethiopia and Uganda later this year.
“I’m like a kid in a candy store,” he said, laughing. “I’m going to enjoy the time and learn as much as I can.”
However, the vivacious pastor hopes to do more than simply model and learn. He also plans to leverage his international experience to educate his church and others about overseas needs.
“I’m going to bring it back to my people and light a fire in them,” Luter said. “Next time, I want to bring a group from Franklin Avenue. Let’s keep this thing going!”
Photo by Chris Carter
IMB missionary Troy Lewis, left, and other workers head out to visit a man with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Lewis’ primary focus involves ministering to those impacted by the AIDS virus. He is one of 27 African-American missionaries serving overseas through IMB.
A third goal is to encourage and challenge young people – particularly African Americans – to consider international missions as a career choice. Both Luter and Jefferson agree that the missionary challenge is under-communicated in many black churches. It’s one Luter is now taking personally.
“Granted, some (young people) want to be nurses, doctors or attorneys. Some want to be football players or basketball players, but a lot ... can be missionaries,” Luter said. “I never heard that all my life in the church I grew up in ... I don’t hear it being said in the church I pastor now.”
“As SBC president, I will let African American churches know that we desperately need more African Americans on the mission field,” Luter continued. “I want to challenge pastor[s] to start with your young people.”
A rich history
It isn’t that African Americans haven’t been open to serving overseas, Jefferson said. In fact, as early as 1783, freed South Carolina slave and preacher George Leile moved his family to the Caribbean. By 1784, he had founded the First Baptist Church of Kingston, Jamaica, and grown it to more than 400 members.
“We have a rich history in missions,” Jefferson said.
The historical record bears that out. While Leile and others like him were early pioneers, most church historians – including David Cornelius, a former IMB missionary who now serves as an IMB consultant for African American mobilization – credit Lott Carey, a former slave and Virginia native, as the “first” African American missionary because mission societies of the day sent and supported him.
Writing in the fourth edition of Perspectives on the World Christian Movement
, published in 2009, Cornelius describes how Carey sailed for West Africa with his family on Jan. 16, 1821, six years after organizing the African Baptist Foreign Mission Society, the first such organization founded by African Americans in the United States. This group, along with the General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States (known simply as the Triennial Convention because it met every three years), helped support Carey as he shared the gospel and planted churches in Liberia.
Carey died in an explosion in 1828, but African Americans continued to participate in international missions over the next two decades. Then, after the issue of slavery reached a critical stage in the 1840s, Southerners formed the Southern Baptist Convention, which included establishing the Foreign Mission Board in 1845.
Although pro-slavery in its sentiments, the SBC was committed to the “spiritual welfare of blacks and slaves,” Cornelius writes, and within a year the Foreign Mission Board (FMB) appointed its first black missionaries – John Day and A. L. Jones. Both men were already serving in Liberia with other organizations but came under the auspices of the FMB in 1846. An 1855 article from the The Home and Foreign Journal notes that Jones died before news of the appointment reached Africa.
African Americans continued to go overseas as missionaries through the 1870s, Jefferson explained. Then, as Jim Crow laws enforcing racial segregation began to take root, many opportunities for blacks and whites to work together ended. Segregation also shut down sending black missionaries.
It wasn’t until the 1967 appointment of Sue Thompson – the first black female missionary – that opportunities for blacks to serve internationally through the FMB resumed. Since then, a small but steady stream of African Americans – both men and women – have followed the examples of Leile, Carey and Day.
“Our ancestors didn’t say, ‘We’ve got to take care of Jerusalem before we go,’” Jefferson, who served 16 years with the IMB in Brazil, said. “No, some of them had the call and they went.”
While Jefferson reminds blacks of these early models of commitment, IMB President Tom Elliff acknowledges that the FMB’s history was “monolithic” during the years of segregation. He isn’t proud of it, he said, but he’s pleased that today the IMB looks more like the family of God than ever before.
“We should look like God’s people, rather than what some people thought God’s people should look like,” Elliff said. “That’s why every orientation for new IMB personnel includes some from ethnic churches.”
A sleeping giant
Revolutions in transportation and communication, increased affluence of African Americans and a growing number of black congregations in the SBC reveal that African American evangelicals are a “sleeping giant,” Jefferson said. A recent North American Mission Board study supports this – reporting that since 1998, the number of African American congregations within the SBC has increased by 82.7 percent.
With 1 billion people of color around the world, Jefferson also understands the urgency of taking the gospel to the people of the world who do not know Christ.
Whether they serve in East Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe or Africa, “today is the day for African Americans,” Jefferson said. “Yesterday was the day for African Americans, but today is the day for African Americans to become more involved in world missions.”
To learn more about how African Americans can get involved in international missions, contact Keith Jefferson, African-American Missional Church Strategist, at (800) 999-3113, ext. 1422, or email email@example.com.
to view a multi-media package about “Celebrating African Americans on Mission.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tess Rivers is an IMB writer.)
Guest column: A new generation of black missionaries
2/14/2013 3:50:04 PM
February 6 2013 by
Hope Livingston, Baptist Press
Tess Rivers, Baptist Press | with 0 comments
BANGALORE, India – A barren tract of land marked the spot in India – no trees, no fences and no buildings, only a dream.
Forty years later, a countless variety of trees and buildings have multiplied on that same tract of land where, now, the Bangalore Baptist Hospital (BBH) has garnered a lasting legacy.
Past and present physicians, staff and students filed into the new Smrithi Auditorium in mid-January. As the strains to “Great is Thy Faithfulness” faded, Benny Woods, director of chaplains at BBH the past five years, delivered three concise points: We can give God thanks for past accomplishments; we can enjoy a sense of His peace in the present; and we can look to the future with hope.
“Our hope is found in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. As symbolized behind me [by a cross], Jesus died for the sins of the world,” Woods said.
The hospital began with the gospel and a high school essay. They inspired the dream of Jasper McPhail, the first Southern Baptist missionary to India, who eventually obtained permission from the government to build a Baptist hospital.
Photo by Will Stuart
Rebekah Naylor, in her nearly 40 years at the Bangalore Baptist Hospital in India, performed innumerable surgeries, delivered countless babies, trained physicians and administrators, served as director and began the nursing program. Naylor returned to the hospital for its 40th anniversary celebration.
With the general region chosen, Ralph Bethea arrived, searched for and chose the site – a dusty 13-acre strip of land.
John Wikman arrived in 1967 as the first surgeon who supervised the beginnings of the hospital – first as a clinic out of his home in Bangalore, then in a converted cow shed on the property.
“When we got here, we hit the ground with evangelism work,” Wikman said. “We had medical clinics in slum areas where our church work was going on.”
BBH planted its first church in 1968 in Sonnen Halli, known as “Mosquito Village.”
“Before we had the hospital, we couldn’t go into the villages,” Wikman said. “It opened the door to share the gospel.”
As church planting progressed, architects had designed plans for a 200-bed general hospital when an unforeseen messenger arrived.
Franklin Fowler, medical consultant with the then-Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board, brought news that the board would prefer an outpatient medical clinic rather than a hospital.
Wikman took Fowler to the state health minister to discuss the proposal.
The minister stated that Southern Baptists received an invitation to build a hospital and anything less would probably result in a revocation of the invitation.
“That meeting saved the hospital,” Wikman said. The architects altered the original plans to begin with 80 beds instead of 200.
BBH broke ground on Feb. 27, 1971, and celebrated its grand opening on Jan. 15, 1973, with Wikman in charge of hospital administration.
Arriving in 1974, William C. Mason, who later took over administration of the hospital, said, “As we were putting the finishing touches on the hospital, I wanted a Christian symbol to put on the wall.”
Today the carved plaque with the scripture – “I am the way, the truth and the life” – can still be seen in the hospital.
After the hospital was completed, the contractor, Arasekia Vasudavan Paramashivan (AVP), would visit every day. “He would come at 10 a.m.,” Mason said, “and ask before leaving if anything needed to be fixed.
Photo by IMB/Kelvin Joseph
Gift Norman, a physician at the Bangalore Baptist Hospital in India, sees a patient at a community clinic. In a densely populated area of urban Bangalore, doctors and staff from the hospital hold an evening community health clinic in a local church.
“I don’t know of any contractor in the United States who would do that,” Mason said. “They usually disappear when a job is done.”
When asked why he was willing to do this, AVP told Mason, “There are many contractors in India but only a few are chosen to build a temple.
“This is God’s temple, and it is my responsibility to make sure God’s temple works perfectly.”
In keeping the hospital doors open, Rebekah Naylor dedicated her life – beginning in 1973 – to BBH.
“I and BBH sort of grew up together,” she said.
The first day Naylor went to work, there were 12 patients.
As BBH expanded, Naylor arrived early and stayed late – performing surgeries, delivering babies, teaching doctors, mentoring one-on-one, training staff, taking up administration, planting churches and more.
“I loved what I was doing, so I was happy in the work,” Naylor said.
Among her many accomplishments, she served as director, trained physicians and administrators, and began the nursing program; yet she managed to make time to write family every other day.
“Letter writing was just what you did, and I did a lot of that – it recorded history,” Naylor said.
During the early years, Van C. Williams came to develop the pediatric department in 1975 and served nine years alongside Naylor.
By 1976, the hospital began to sponsor students from the Christian Medical College in Vellore for medical training.
“One of the students we sponsored is Dr. Naveen Thomas” and another is the current chief executive officer, Dr. Alexander Thomas, Williams said. “That’s what’s helped build the hospital staff – by sponsoring these students.”
In 1978, a nutritional rehabilitation center opened, made of traditional mud brick and a thatched roof.
One day, a lady carried a child covered in a cloth to the pediatric clinic. The 6-year-old weighed only 15 pounds.
She experienced many complications before Williams was able to move her to the nutritional rehabilitation ward.
“I’ll never forget being able to discharge her,” Williams said of the child who then weighed about 30 pounds.
Handing over management
One of the biggest turning points in the hospital’s history was the request – which came to Naylor in 1986 – by the mission board to sell the hospital.
“That was a very bad time for us,” Naylor recalled.
After three years, the International Mission Board (IMB
) handed over management to the Christian Medical College (CMC
) and on Jan. 1, 1989, a partnership formed among IMB (then Foreign Mission Board), CMC and the leadership at BBH.
In retrospect, “I think the hospital could never be what it is today without that,” Naylor said. “God turned a seeming bad thing into something good.”
Some of the expansions and schools may never have happened under the leadership of the IMB, which did not allow fundraising.
Without proper leadership, the change of management “still could’ve been bad,” Naylor said, but the IMB remained present, the CMC is a “great place” and by 1989, “the ethos ... was pretty well imprinted” like a child who reaches the age of 16.
“Adding all that together, it has turned out to be a remarkable partnership and it’s been working 24 years,” Naylor said.
Once the partnership formed, Naylor quickly learned how to fundraise in order to find $400,000 to build a private wing, which opened a couple years later in 1991.
“I’m still raising money today for the hospital,” Naylor said.
Alex Thomas, the current CEO, became the first houseman (junior doctor) under Naylor.
During the opening anniversary event on Jan. 11, Thomas said, “It is my pleasure [to introduce Naylor] because I had the privilege of serving under her,” and he recounted with laughter having to be at BHH at 6:30 a.m. every day.
Near the start of his leadership, a man offered to give BBH $1.5 million for the next five to six years on the condition of being allowed to serve as a member of the board.
Thomas refused his offer.
“God has been able to give us much more,” he said.
With the growth of competitive hospitals nearby, BBH began to train medical students from Malaysia. BBH also has focused on making every division more patient-focused; keeping each department aware of its finances; and instituting performance-based salaries.
Today, BBH is considering additional private beds, increasing its intensive care beds, adding a nine-story hostel for the staff and “looking at whether we need to start a medical college,” Thomas said.
Even as BBH leaders look to the future, former CEOs Naylor, Williams, Mason and Wikman traveled to the hospital’s anniversary in memory of the past.
BBH leaders honored the special guests in traditional Indian fashion with the draping of shawls.
The honorees cut ribbons during their visit to inaugurate a new auditorium annex, hand surgery unit and plastic surgery unit. Before cutting the ribbon, Mason said, “This is the first time I have been back to Bangalore Baptist Hospital in 35 years. I am absolutely stunned.”
Later, over a cup of tea, Carolyn Woods, wife of Benny Woods, said to Mason and the others, “I’m just so happy to be here with all of you who went before.”
That evening, a lamp lighting and a special dance honored the visitors with a cultural flare.
The anniversary celebration concluded Jan. 15 with the planting of 40 trees – one for each year of the hospital’s existence, a groundbreaking ceremony for a new nurses’ hostel and a trip down “Memory Lane” by the guests.
A final testimony by Michael Dean, pastor of Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, brought the gathering to a close.
During one of his trips to BBH, Dean visited room-by-room, prayed along with the staff and shared the gospel. One man, who was not doing well, accepted Christ as his Savior during that room visit. The next day when Dean returned to the man’s room, the bed was empty.
“In the night, he went to heaven,” Dean said. “That man is in heaven today because of the ministry of Bangalore Baptist Hospital.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Hope Livingston is a writer in South Asia. For more stories on Baptist Medical Missions, go to www.asiastories.com.)
2/6/2013 2:11:34 PM
December 18 2012 by
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
Hope Livingston, Baptist Press | with 0 comments
Their conversation moved from the street, to the front yard and out to the car; the woman did not seem to want their time together to end.
The woman told Brieanna Carlson that many people still needed help getting back on their feet after Hurricane Sandy, especially in the Rockaways area of Queens where she lives.
Carlson described the woman – like so many others she talked to that day – as broken and looking for something.
“I know what that feels like; to be looking for something,” said Carlson, who only 10 months ago prayed to receive Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior.
Carlson works with the young adults ministry at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Gastonia, N.C. She was one of about 30 volunteers from the church who participated in Coats for Queens Saturday, Dec. 1.
Boto Joseph, left, talks with volunteers outside an Islamic center where the group was giving out coats. Volunteers from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Gastonia joined with members of Joseph’s church, House of Worship Church, to distribute the winter wear.
During Coats for Queens, volunteers spread out among seven different sites throughout Queens and Brooklyn and gave free coats to anyone in need. When they had opportunities, volunteers prayed with people and shared the gospel. Last year Coats for Queens was held in Jackson Heights, Queens, and all the donated coats (about 600) were distributed in less than three hours. This year about 7,000 coats were collected, most donated by Bethlehem church members.
This is the second year Bethlehem has partnered with House of Worship Church in Jackson Heights to host the event.
The event came together when Bethlehem began a partnership last year with House of Worship and pastor Boto Joseph.
Bethlehem pastor Dickie Spargo met Joseph during a vision tour with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Office of Great Commission Partnerships.
Through the Office of Great Commission Partnerships, N.C. Baptist churches across the state are forming partnerships with churches and church planters in the metro New York area. Spargo wanted to find a way to help Joseph and House of Worship reach their community for Jesus Christ.
“Boto has such a call on his life to be in this area. We wanted to partner with someone who has a godly vision,” Spargo said. “Partnership is all about relationships and the brotherhood we now have. Our church has embraced pastor Boto.”
Their community of Jackson Heights is situated in one of the most diverse areas of the world.
More than 130 languages are spoken in Jackson Heights and Greek Orthodox, Sikh, Roman Catholic, Hinduism and Buddhism are all represented.
Coats for Queens is one way House of Worship lives out its mission to love God and to love people.
“Being in a setting with so many other beliefs and religious pluralism, I am so convinced that the only way we will win darkness is true love,” Joseph said. “We see that in the life of our Lord. We have to build bridges to cultures and other religions.”
Bethlehem volunteer Jaron Moss, 24, spent the day serving in the Rockaways. Like Carlson, Moss is a new believer in Jesus Christ and is excited about sharing his faith with others.
“I led a rough life,” Moss said. “God saved me from this life. He was all I needed. I never had excitement about life – now I do.”
Moss met people in the Rockaways who are depressed, anxious and even angry.
Yet, because of their brokenness, Moss said people were very willing to talk with him and to listen when volunteers shared the gospel or asked to pray with them.
Bethlehem and House of Worship volunteers also passed out coats in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, which is a predominantly Pakistani and Russian area with a high Muslim population. One Pakistani businessman in his 50s wanted to know why volunteers gave up a Saturday to help strangers.
He also expressed interest in learning more about the gospel.
Two Muslim young adults also had questions about the gospel. They asked the church members to meet with them another day so they could learn more.
“The way of relationships is very strong with conversations,” Joseph said. “After Coats for Queens, we have a lot of areas and people to follow up with.”
At Moore Homestead Park in Queens, in the heart of Elmhurst, it wasn’t long after the team set up that Joseph was sitting on a park bench and using an Evangecube to share the gospel with a man from Nepal.
Spargo met a woman from Bangladesh who worshipped the Dalai Lama.
He also prayed with a Jewish woman who shared that she was feeling depressed.
“I’m always looking for divine appointments,” Spargo said.
Joseph and members of House of Worship, along with volunteers from Fusion Church near Fayetteville, N.C., also distributed coats Saturday, Dec. 8, in Jackson Heights.
Joseph asked people to pray for Queens, especially Jackson Heights.
“Some of the most well-known temples in the United States are in Jackson Heights,” he said. “It is the stronghold of Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus. The church of Christ must have a single vision of serving the King and His Kingdom. I so desire to see that happen.”
Joseph also asked that churches pray about joining God at work in New York.
“I pray God will stir hearts to come and co-labor with us,” he said. “We need laborers. We need partners. We need churches like Bethlehem. I can’t tell you what a blessing that partnership has been to us.”
To learn how your church can get involved visit www.ncbaptist.org/gcp
or contact Michael Sowers at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5654, or firstname.lastname@example.org
12/18/2012 2:30:28 PM
December 18 2012 by
Laura Reid, BR Editorial Aide
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments
Your church can help victims of human trafficking find true freedom both physically and spiritually, said Larry Martin. As believers, he added, it’s our duty.
Martin, the Southeast Director of Church Mobilization for International Justice Mission (IJM), shared about the organization’s fight against human trafficking at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
in Wake Forest earlier this fall. Southeastern’s Center for Faith and Culture hosted Martin for a seminar on “The Unfamiliar Passions of God.”
IJM is a human rights agency that helps rescue victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. Read more at http://www.ijm.org
When Martin first took a position with IJM in 2001, he was traveling around 300,000 miles a year to support the ministry. Now, as a director of church mobilization, Martin spends most of his time in the United States informing churches about the organization’s work and how they can become involved.
Because of the work of the International Justice Mission (IJM) thousands of people have been freed from slavery. IJM is made up of Christian lawyers, criminal investigators and social workers. They learn the ins and outs of local governments and seek justice for victims of human trafficking.
Martin said too often people forget about God’s passion for the world because it’s a “great big mess,” which at times can seem overwhelming.
“1.5 billion people have no medical care,” he said. “They just don’t get a doctor. I’m seeing children wake up on the streets.”
Referencing 2 Corinthians 5:20, Martin said Christians can engage the world by showing the impoverished the glory of God and offering all they can to help.
IJM has handled many cases of injustice in South Asia and has helped rescue thousands out of slavery. IJM is made up of Christian lawyers, criminal investigators and social workers. They work in foreign countries, mostly the poorest countries, in order to help victims of injustice.
These workers learn the ins and outs of local governments and their justice systems and then work with the local officials to seek justice for their clients.
IJM handles all of its casework overseas because some governments don’t have the resources of trained lawyers and court systems that Americans are able to access.
IJM workers persistently pursue local officials with cases of injustice, Martin said. Workers also have seen impactful responses of progress in local governments taking action on their own, and this is one of IJM’s goals.
Some of the lives impacted by IJM’s work include Shama and Jvoti.
Shama was sold into slavery as a child when her family was unable to pay the medical bill for her sibling’s delivery. For her new master, she had to roll 2,000 cigarettes a day or suffer beatings.
Jyoti was held captive for years in sex trafficking. Women in her hometown drugged her and sold her to a brothel when she was 14. She was beaten and forced into the sex trafficking life.
One day in her brothel a believer shared Jesus with her. Jyoti believed and Christ transformed her life. An IJM investigator showed up a week later and led a raid into the brothel and freed Jyoti.
Referencing the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, Martin said the Lord asks Christians to give what they can to help those, like Shama and Jyoti, who are in need of rescue.
“All He asks is that we would come forward … to offer up what we have,” said Martin adding that in the end, Jesus feeds the masses.
“If you want your light to shine brightly, you have to take it into these dark places.”
Martin recommended several resources to aid churches interested in international and national justice issues. Some of those resources included “At the End of Slavery.”
It’s a kit designed to inspire people to take action against slavery. It also provides helpful tips on writing senators about legislation that fights slavery.
He also recommended two books. They include The Just Church: Becoming a Risk-Taking, Justice-Seeking, Disciple-Making Congregation by Jim Martin and Gary Haugen. Haugen, IJM’s president and CEO, also wrote Just Courage: God’s Great Expedition for the Restless Christian. Both books address how Christians can take on the topic of injustice and become involved.
12/18/2012 2:22:01 PM
November 7 2012 by
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
Laura Reid, BR Editorial Aide | with 0 comments
Although Renee* lives in Raleigh, she often feels like she is living in a different country. Her friends speak different languages and come from different religious backgrounds. Some did not attend her wedding because the ceremony was in a Christian church. They are nervous to have their cars seen in a church parking lot.
When she visits in the homes of her friends she sometimes has to be careful what she says about Jesus; if someone from the mosque drops by unannounced that kind of conversation could get her friends in trouble.
Among Renee’s friends are Muslims from the horn of Africa, atheists and agnostics from Central and Eastern Europe, and Buddhists from Southeast Asia.
“Christians are not allowed in some of their countries. In some of their countries, there’s almost no doubt they would be killed for being a Christian,” said Renee, who is a church planting missionary catalyst with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC
For others, being a Christian in their homeland or even converting while living in the United States would mean being completely ostracized by family and friends.
Renee’s friends are curious about her faith, but not yet hungry to really know more.
Photo by Kelvin Joseph
A Muslim man ceremonially washes his hands before praying at the historic Jama Mosjid (mosque) in Delhi, India. Renee* tries to reach immigrants and other unreached people who are living in Raleigh.
They accept her and love her, and therefore will listen when she shares her faith, but earning the right to do that took time.
Really, life isn’t much different for Renee here than it was while living overseas as a missionary with the International Mission Board (IMB
). She is still trying to reach unreached people with the gospel.
She is still facing a long road ahead because conventional methods such as inviting people to church or outreach events don’t work.
She builds relationships with people in order to earn their respect, their trust, and hopefully a willingness to hear the gospel. “They invite me to birthday parties, graduation parties, and to the hospital for a baby’s birth. They treat me like family,” Renee said. “Whatever they need, they know they can call.”
They know to call because Renee has made it clear that she cares about them and wants to invest in their lives.
As a church planting missionary, Renee is receiving financial support from the BSC just as other BSC funded church planters, but she is not serving in a preaching or teaching role.
Rather, Renee works alongside a team of volunteers to help facilitate the planting of new churches among unreached people groups, explore areas for possible church plants, and develop strategies for planters to use when initiating new church plants.
“What I do is not possible without God’s provision of help from my team and the support of the Convention, association and churches,” she said.
The ministry is challenging, Renee said. Many people she builds a relationship with strongly object to the gospel. Some think she is arrogant to say that faith in Jesus is the only way to salvation. Others believe doing good works is what religion is about.
“There’s a lot of spiritual warfare with this type of work. It’s continual; there’s always something. But you have to keep going. Hebrews 12 tells us not to lose heart,” Renee said.
Renee is not giving up. The theme verse for her and the team is 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, which reminds them that Christ’s love compels them to continue reaching out, to continue sharing their faith.
“If you are a disciple, you are a disciple 24/7. You should be ready in season and out of season,” Renee said.
“Always be watching to see who Jesus wants you to love and where you can truly invest.”
Long road home
Renee knew she needed to leave the mission field in Central Europe in order to attend seminary, but her plan was to return as soon as possible.
“I came kicking and screaming off the mission field. Southeastern was the closest seminary to my family and friends in South Carolina. I prayed, ‘Lord, get me out of here as fast as I can so I can go back,’” Renee said.
It wasn’t long before Renee learned God had not brought her away from the mission field, but brought her closer to it. In her own neighborhood she met people from Central Europe, from the very people she once worked with.
After seminary Renee thought about getting a full time “regular” job, but “that didn’t sit right at all,” she said.
As she began building relationships and serving people in various ways, such as leading English as a Second Language classes in homes, she knew God was calling her to remain in North Carolina to help share the gospel and facilitate new church plants.
“I’m praying that they will develop a hunger for the gospel, and not just have a curiosity about it, so that they can carry the truth of the gospel to their community” Renee said.
Renee has learned that ministering and serving the people God has called her to serve is going to be a long process with fruit coming slowly. “If you push and push, you will lose the relationships,” she said.
“But they know who I love and who I serve. Whenever I am talking with them, I’m imparting the Word to them. God’s Word does not return void.”
Renee is committed to doing what it takes to be faithful to serve among those who need to know Jesus Christ.
“It’s about dying to yourself daily for the cause of the gospel, and serving the needs of others, not just yourself,” Renee said. “It’s about being a Christ-centered, missional disciple all the time.”
To learn more about Renee’s ministry efforts, or about BSC church planting efforts and how you can get involved, visit ncbaptist.org/churchplanting
11/7/2012 3:25:00 PM
October 16 2012 by
Laura Moore, BR Editorial Aide
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments
Emma Morgan’s ninth birthday was not like any before it.
After hearing about a big need for children living in the Mathare slum in Nairobi, Kenya, Emma wanted to do something to help.
With her birthday approaching, the girl decided to ask friends and family from Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., and beyond to donate money to Mission of Hope instead of giving her birthday presents.
“I learned … God can use me,” Emma said.
Emma first heard about the financial need of Kenyan children when someone from Snyder Memorial visited her Sunday School class and shared how the church was helping meet that need.
The church has been working in the Mathare slum for the past four years. A team from the congregation has gone each year to aid the Mission of Hope School in Bondeni.
Emma Morgan asked friends and family to give $9 for her ninth birthday to buy a stove to help Kenyan children at Mission of Hope. One cooking facility was preparing meals for two campuses. The school had to transport 500 meals to the other campus. Now both campuses will have stoves.
Mission of Hope has two campuses in the Mathare slum with only one cooking facility between them to provide meals. The school has been transporting 500 meals each day from one campus to another.
With a growing population of children to support, the school was in dire need of two new stoves.
Through Snyder Memorial’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) this past summer, children raised $1,000. This covered the expense of one stove but wasn’t enough for both.
After searching for ways to raise money – such as having a yard or bake sale – nothing seemed practical for Emma to manage. Then, she remembered how her grandmother gives her the amount of dollars to match her new age each year for her birthday. She thought, at least she had $9 to give. But she wanted to do more.
With the help of her parents, she created a Facebook “event” asking for $9 to go to stoves for Mission of Hope.
As people responded with donations, Emma updated the event with videos of her progress. Through her efforts, she raised $660.
“Emma set the example of what giving is all about,” shared Susie Reeder, minister of education and missions, in the church newsletter.
Emma and other children from VBS helped pave the way for Mission of Hope’s two new stoves. Snyder also was able to provide the ministry with Internet routers and financial resources to cover Internet for a year.
Emma said her birthday this year, “was very very good.”
10/16/2012 2:41:06 PM
September 7 2012 by
Caroline Anderson, Baptist Press
Laura Moore, BR Editorial Aide | with 0 comments
KATHMANDU, Nepal – The Tibetan men and women begin to weep as the believer’s hands slide over the guitar strings. It’s their hearts’ melody – put to music in their own language.
The gospel came alive to these believers when they realized God speaks to them in their language and culture, said James, one of 12 leaders in the Tibetan church among the Lhomi people group.
“When we sing the song in our own context, and own style, people start to cry in our church,” James said. “They found the message of God in their own melody.”
Today between 250 and 300 believers worship among the Lohmi people group in Nepal. The International Mission Board’s Global Research reports a total Lhomi population of nearly 5,000.
The Lhomi believers love to worship, and their worship is an expression of the freedom from dreams and demons they’ve found in Christ. When they worship, it paints a picture of their rich cultural heritage.
James remembers when the gospel came alive for him.
His mother had an illness everyone attributed to demons, and he was possessed with a fear of demons. But when he and his family believed in Christ, they learned Jesus was stronger than demons. His fear evaporated and his mother was healed. Today, he expresses his freedom in Christ in his music.
“The Lord gave me the heart to create the song,” James said.
Between 250 and 300 believers worship among this Tibetan people group who live in Nepal. James, one of their leaders, plays an indigenous instrument. He wrote the first praise and worship songs for the Lhomi Tibetan language.
James, a singer, songwriter and worship leader, plays the Tibetan guitar and has composed between 60 and 70 hymns.
The gospel came to the Lhomi through Finnish Bible translators. Portions of the Lhomi Bible first were printed in 1976. As the Lhomi became believers, some like James began writing music in their own context.
James studied ethnomusicology at a university in Thailand. He has produced several CDs and his music already has been translated into Dzongkha, one of the languages in Bhutan, and Managi, the language of another Tibetan people group in Nepal.
Lhomi culture, language and worship are very different from that of the surrounding Nepalese culture. Tibetan music is based on the pentatonic scale, meaning they use only five notes per octave instead of the standard seven.
The Lhomi and other Tibetan people groups have tried to worship in Nepali, but they say it doesn’t feel authentic.
Worse, “Many ... just [become] really confused because they don’t know the melody,” James said. “They come from the mountainside and they never try to sing the Nepali song.”
Non-Christians enjoy the Christian music, too, James said, “because we borrow the tune from the southern culture and language. Melody is very important in our culture.”
Because most Lhomi have heard the gospel, Lhomi believers are planting churches among other Tibetan people groups, partnering closely with IMB representatives and Tal and Janice Bratcher* and Kendrick and Jewel Deckard*.
The Bratchers and Deckards came to Nepal to see the gospel saturate the other 25 Tibetan people groups as it has the Lhomi.
“God has done something amazing in the Lhomi people. They are really an anomaly among the Tibetan Buddhist peoples in the Himalayas,” Bratcher said.
“We’re trying to tap into the Lhomi people and encourage them, to mobilize them to go and reach culturally similar groups in different areas in the Himalayas,” Bratcher said.
“Working with the Lhomi people has been incredible for us because they don’t have some of the barriers that we have going into some of these remote, isolated villages that it takes days and days and days to get to.”
U.S. churches also play a role in reaching the Himalayas with the gospel. Several churches partner with the Bratchers, Deckards and the Lhomi to reach Tibetan people groups who have yet to hear the gospel. Some churches adopted people groups and committed to see the gospel penetrate hidden Himalayan villages.
Many times, James Lhomi and other Lhomi believers travel with short-term teams from churches in the United States. The short-term teams and Lhomi believers work to each others’ strengths to make sure the gospel reaches all.
Short-term teams draw an audience and cultivate an interest in the message that James and other Lhomi believers bring. Most Americans that these people groups meet are more interested in Nepal’s mountains than they are in the people. When Americans come and want to hear about their lives, it creates an opportunity for Lhomi believers to share their faith.
James focuses much of his time on sharing the gospel with the Managi people group, which has only two families of believers. He’s writing music in the Managi language so they, too, can hear the gospel in their hearts’ melody.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Caroline Anderson is a writer for the International Mission Board who lives in Asia. For more stories specific to Asia, visit AsiaStories.com. Pray for James as he brings his music and the gospel to Tibetan men and women among the Managi people group. Pray for the Tibetan people groups who have yet to hear of their Creator.)
In Nepal’s Himalayas, 7 students engage Tibetans in conversation
9/7/2012 3:12:50 PM
July 25 2012 by
Caroline Anderson, Baptist Press | with 0 comments
WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department’s refusal to categorize China as one of the world’s worst countries at combating human trafficking continues to receive criticism.
In its annual Trafficking in Persons Report, the State Department again placed the communist power on the Tier 2 Watch List instead of dropping it to Tier 3, the designation reserved for governments that fall short of standards established by U.S. law and are not making meaningful attempts to reach them.
A spokeswoman for a leading anti-trafficking organization told a Senate committee July 17 the ranking for China and other countries was based on “political considerations.”
“There are a handful of countries on the Tier II Watch List for the second year right now, including China, Russia, and Uzbekistan[,] that certainly do not meet the Tier II standard,” said Holly Burkhalter of International Justice Mission (IJM) in written testimony prepared for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “But the State Department because of political considerations unrelated to trafficking may feel that they should be moved up to Tier II.”
While Burkhalter commended the quality of the State Department report as “very high,” she told the panel, “[P]olitical considerations occasionally erode the ranking system.”
The report, which was released June 19, ranked 185 countries on their efforts against slavery. The State Department analyzes governments regarding “prevention, protection and prosecution,” said Luis CdeBaca, ambassador at large of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
It is estimated between 21 to 27 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking, which involves such forced activities as prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, labor in sweatshops and on farms and child service in the military. Sex trafficking includes the abduction or coercion of women for prostitution, as well as the sexual exploitation of minors by “tourists” from other countries.
Some members of Congress criticized the State Department’s handling of China even more sharply than IJM’s Burkhalter when the report was released.
“China has remained on the ‘Watch List’ for eight years now, evading a downgrade to Tier 3 – and sanctions – by stringing this president along with empty promises,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who drafted the original federal law to combat trafficking in 2000 and also authored subsequent laws that strengthened it.
“China was granted a waiver last year because its government allegedly had a ‘written plan that, if implemented, would constitute a significant effort to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards’ and it was allegedly ‘devoting sufficient resources to implement that plan’ – it is the exact same story this year, except ... we still do not know the contents of the plan and its release has been postponed yet again,” Smith said in a written statement. “Where are the results? When will the Administration say that enough is enough?
“Our obligation is to the victims of trafficking, not the dictatorship,” Smith said.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chair of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a written release she was “extremely skeptical” about China receiving a waiver to stay on the Tier II Watch List, “where it has been parked for the past 8 years. Real progress, not paper promises, should be required to keep abusive regimes from receiving deserved Tier 3 designations.”
In its report on China, the State Department said it was “unclear what efforts” Beijing made to protect victims and reported the government “made minimal efforts” regarding prevention of trafficking.
Last year, a provision went into effect that limits countries to two years on the Tier 2 Watch List before being demoted to Tier 3, unless the secretary of State grants a waiver. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has issued such a waiver for China the last two years. The secretary can issue a waiver for only two consecutive years. Afterward, the country must go to either Tier 2 or Tier 3.
While China evaded Tier 3 status, 17 countries did not – including Algeria, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe. Under the law, the United States may refuse aid that is not humanitarian or trade-related to governments on Tier 3.
In addition to China, Russia and Uzbekistan, the Tier 2 Watch List’s 42 countries this year included Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Belarus, Burma, Cyprus, Ecuador, Haiti, Iraq, Jamaica, Kenya, Lebanon, South Sudan, Thailand and Venezuela.
The Tier 2 Watch List is for governments that fall short of the minimum standards required by U.S. law but are making significant attempts to achieve them. Watch List countries also have sizable numbers of trafficking victims, have provided no evidence of greater efforts against trafficking or have made commitments to improve their work.
Tier 2, which is different from the Tier 2 Watch List consists of governments that have made important attempts to comply, has 93 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Laos, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine and Vietnam.
The 33 Tier 1 countries that fully comply with the standards included Australia, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
It is estimated as many as 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year.
Twenty-nine countries gained upgrades to higher tiers in the latest report, which “could mean enacting strong laws, stepping up their investigations and prosecutions, or simply laying out a roadmap of steps they will take to respond,” Clinton said upon the report’s release.
The report showed increases in some important categories: Prosecutions increased from about 6,000 in the 2011 report to more than 7,900 in the new report; convictions grew from 3,619 to 3,969, and victims identified escalated from about 33,000 to 42,000.
Burkhalter is IJM’s vice president for government relations.
The trafficking report may be accessed at the State Department’s website, state.gov/g/tip
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.)
7/25/2012 2:29:29 PM
July 25 2012 by
Baptist Press | with 0 comments
July 2 2012 by
K. Allan Blume, BR Editor
TAIPEI, Taiwan – It started off as a typical Tuesday morning in Taipei for Southern Baptist missionary Erin Pendleton*.
After cooking breakfast for her husband and sons and getting the boys off to school, Pendleton started down her to-do list for the day, which included a trip on her bicycle to buy a Dustbuster. The young mom cycled past familiar neighborhood sights such as vegetable and fruit markets, Starbucks and the modern subway system in Taiwan’s highly developed capital city.
Then she froze – partly because the road was blocked and she had to stop, but mostly because she was shocked by what she saw.
For 45 minutes, she watched a parade of idols, transported on floats, proceed down a main road in Taipei. Blue utility trucks decked in flowers and colorful tissue paper pulled the heavy idols in celebratory fashion.
Worshipers pray before an image of Guan Yin, the goddess of mercy, at Taipei’s Longshan temple, which was founded in 1738 and now contains images of more than 100 deities. Most Chinese temples blend a variety of religious traditions including Buddhism and Taoism.
The eerie music, loud firecrackers and haze of smoke caused her to shudder. She looked around at the crowd. Some people exuded the kind of enthusiasm she had seen in America at pre-game parades. Others looked bored. She was confused at first by what was happening but then realized she was seeing a manifestation of idol worship.
“Jesus, You are Lord!” she cried out in anguish to God.
“Show them, Lord,” she prayed, only to have her voice drowned out by the fireworks and music so loud that even those closest couldn’t hear her.
She returned home later that day, heartbroken and disturbed at the reminder of how modern Taipei is steeped in traditional idol worship.
The main religions – Buddhism, Daoism and animism – have a stronghold in the city’s urban culture along with secularism and materialism.
Pendleton learned from her Chinese language tutor Chen Li* that the parade was a joint celebration of five temples. The idols were being carried through the streets to raise awareness and promote more visits to the temples.
“That’s the one we worship in my home!” Chen suddenly exclaimed, pointing at one of the photos.
She and her parents have an “earth god” idol statue sitting on an idol shelf at their home, along with the ashes of her ancestors. Chen, a graduate of one of Taiwan’s most prestigious universities, chose this idol for herself. Each morning and evening, the 28-year-old helps her mother make the climb to the third floor where the idol shelf is located. She bows to both the ancestor’s ashes and the idol. She talks daily to the unhearing effigy about her problems.
Although the “earth god” is not considered a powerful idol, Chen likes him because of what she describes as his warm face; because he is here on earth rather than far away in the heavens; and because she believes he once smiled at her.
Chen has heard the gospel many times, and Pendleton* believes the young woman is interested in knowing Christ and is in the process of counting the cost. She’s very close to having the courage to turn from her family’s beliefs and follow Christ.
Pray that Chen will truly make this decision despite her family’s resistance, Pendleton asked, and that she will be a witness in her family so they may all believe in the living God.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Emily Stockton is an International Mission Board writer living in East Asia.)
Churches in Taipei sprout from student ministry
Dan Cathy oversees one of the country’s most successful businesses. As president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, Cathy leads a business with 1,608 restaurants that had sales of more than $4 billion dollars last year. They sell chicken and train employees to focus on values rooted in the Bible.
His father, S. Truett Cathy started the business in 1946, when he and his brother, Ben, opened an Atlanta diner known as The Dwarf Grill (later renamed The Dwarf House). In 1967, his father opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta. Today, they are the second largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States based on annual system-wide sales.
Cathy’s success has not erased the biblical values he learned as a child in a Baptist church. He is a warm, common man who is deeply committed to being a faithful Christian witness. And he is fully involved in New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ga. He drives Chick-fil-A’s efforts to provide genuine hospitality, ensuring that customers have an exceptional dining experience in a Chick-fil-A restaurant. Based on Matthew 5:41, Cathy is on a mission to provide customers with “second-mile” service – exceeding even the highest expectations of a typical fast-food restaurant.
Photo from Chick-fil-A
Dan Cathy, in a promotional photo from Chick-fil-A, says the company’s business model of being open six days a week makes more money than most do when open seven.
In a recent visit to North Carolina, Cathy said, “We don’t claim to be a Christian business.” He attended a business leadership conference many years ago where he heard Christian businessman Fred Roach say, “There is no such thing as a Christian business.”
“That got my attention,” Cathy said. Roach went on to say, “Christ never died for a corporation. He died for you and me.”
“In that spirit ... [Christianity] is about a personal relationship. Companies are not lost or saved, but certainly individuals are.” Cathy added.
“But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles. So that is what we claim to be. [We are] based on biblical principles, asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have. And He has blessed us.”
Rather than leading from his corporate office in Atlanta, Cathy chooses to spend the majority of his time traveling to the chain’s growing family of restaurants and interacting with Chick-fil-A’s committed team members. His actions stem from a belief that working in the field provides a clearer understanding of the needs of Chick-fil-A customers. Leading from the front line also enables him to personally convey his servant spirit to the chain’s 61,000-plus employees.
Cathy believes strongly that Christians are missionaries in the workplace. “Jesus had a lot of things to say about people who work and live in the business community,” he said. His goal in the workplace is “to take biblical truth and put skin on it. ... We’re talking about how our performance in the workplace should be the focus of how we build respect, rapport and relationships with others that opens the gateway to interest people in knowing God.
“All throughout the New Testament there is an evangelism strategy related to our performance in the workplace. ... Our work should be an act of worship. Our work should be our mission field. As long as we are stateside, let’s don’t think we have to go on mission trips by getting a passport. ... If you’re obedient to God you are going to be evangelistic in the quality of the work you do, using that as a portal to share [Christ],” he said.
When asked if Chick-fil-A’s success is attributed to biblical values, Cathy quickly said, “I think they’re inseparable. God wants to give us wisdom to make good decisions and choices.” Quoting James 1:5, he spoke of how often he asks God for wisdom.
“Frequently Jesus challenged us to just ask ... we’re simply not asking as often as we should. We need to be more faithful to depend on a God who does love us and wants to have a relationship with us, and wants to give us the desires of our hearts.”
There is another success story attributed to Cathy’s organization. They have a positive influence in the world of Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Southeastern Conference (SEC) football.
There was a time when the bowl game that is now named after Chick-fil-A was called the Peach Bowl. The bowl features teams from the ACC and the SEC. It struggled for a long time. Then 15 years ago the Chick-fil-A organization got involved. It was rebranded as the Chick-fil-A Bowl and has been incredibly successful, second only to the BCS championship.
“We are the only bowl that has an invocation. It’s in our agreement that if Chick-fil-A is associated in this, there’s going to be an invocation. Also, we don’t have our bowl on Sunday, either,” Cathy pointed out.
Cathy excitedly pointed out that the 2012 college football season will feature a first-ever opening with marquee games sponsored by Chick-fi-A on consecutive days at one venue. (See story
“That’s never been done before,” he said.
The pair of Chick-fil-A kickoff games is expected to generate more than $60 million in economic impact. The bowl website describes the event as “a college football celebration of epic proportions.”
When questioned about Chick-Fil-A’s “Closed on Sunday” policy Cathy responded, “It was not an issue in 1946 when we opened up our first restaurant. But as living standards changed and lifestyles changed, people came to be more active on Sundays.”
The policy has not changed over the years as malls began changing their policies by opening on Sundays. Cathy said,
“We’ve always put in our lease that we will be closed on Sundays. We’ve had a track record that we were generating more business in six days than the other tenants were generating in seven [days].”
“While developers had no identity whatsoever with our corporate purpose to ‘glorify God and be a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and have a positive influence on all that come in contact with Chick-fil-A,’ they did identify with the rent checks that we wrote to the mall, that were based on our sales.
“So, they would make an exception for Chick-fil-A when they wouldn’t make an exception for anybody else, simply because they knew we would pay them more in rent than any other tenant would that was open even seven days a week.”
The company invests in Christian growth and ministry through their WinShape Foundation (WinShape.com
). The name comes from the idea of shaping people to be winners.
It began as a college scholarship and expanded to a foster care program, an international ministry, and a conference and retreat center modeled after the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove.
“That morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries,” Cathy added.
Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about this opposition.
“We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
“We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families – some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.
“We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
Guest Column: Dan Cathy’s views are in the majority
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Editor ‘recounts’ positive Chick-fil-A story; some reports ‘distorted’
7/2/2012 3:55:14 PM
K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 6 comments