BURLESON, Texas — A vibrant mix of believers from Southeast Asia, India, Africa and Latin America gathered in this Fort Worth suburb for the recent Global Missions Conference, hosted by Sunset International Bible Institute.
A few highlights from the three-day event, held at the meeting place of the Burleson Church of Christ:
- “What do I say?” Mark Blackwelder, a former missionary to Slovakia, talked about the challenges of cross-cultural communication. He used the apostle Peter’s interaction with a Gentile, Cornelius, in Acts 10 as a guide. Blackwelder is dean of the College of Biblical Studies at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn.
Gary Ford talks about the complicated process of producing specialty coffee blends in Southeast Asia.
- “Coffee isn’t just coffee; coffee is community”: Gary Ford, who serves in Bangkok, Thailand, with his wife, Michelle, talked about their coffee business and the opportunities it has provided for ministry. “Business as Mission (BAM) is about living your life the way Jesus would live his life if he were in your shoes,” Gary Ford said. (Learn more about the Fords’ Replicate Bangkok ministry.)
- “How did I get here?” That’s a question Brandon Price has asked himself more than a few times — especially this year. He wonders if Peter ever asked that question as he became a leader in the first century church. The Reno, Nev., native has served as a missionary in eastern Ukraine and now directs the Ukrainian Bible Institute, operating from Poland and online as the war with Russia drags on. “God works through imperfect people to bring about his perfect will,” Price said. And, much to the missionary’s chagrin, “I don’t think he’s a perfectionist,” he joked. See his presentation here.
Michael Cantrell talks about the challenge of evangelizing the deaf worldwide with limited resources and few workers.
- The most under-evangelized people group on the planet? Michael Cantrell shared some shocking statistics on the lack of evangelism — and evangelism resources — for the deaf. Cantrell, who is deaf, and his wife, Kim, worked missionaries in Mexico City. He talked about the challenges of preaching Jesus in LSM, a sign language used in Latin America.
Javier Leon, director of the Avanza Líder ministry in Dallas, shares a laugh with Trey Henry, a minister for the Hillcrest Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas, and (via phone) Mathew Munsanda, a mission worker in southern Zambia.
- “This event makes me long for greater unity.” Jay Jarboe of Missions Resource Network talked about new mission initiatives involving multiple ministries associated with Churches of Christ. He also talked about his time as a missionary — and the tendency in ministry to become so busy that workers lose focus on the purpose of ministry. Though he was busy, “there (were) times in my missionary life I was doing nothing,” he said. He stressed the need for a robust prayer life. “The thing that keeps me from praying is thinking I have the power,” he said.
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