news around the world
Free Will Baptist International Missions serves churches, pastors, and people by helping them fulfill their role in establishing churches beyond North America
so unreached peoples can know the joy of a
relationship with the living God. To find out more about the ministry of Free Will Baptist International Missions, visit www.fwbgo.com.
IM Board Holds Year-End Meeting
Antioch, TN—The FWBIM Board (pictured below) met December 6-7, 2017, in the Antioch, Tennessee, office. Jeff Manning, board chairman, said, “This year’s meeting brought tears to our eyes…because of stories about the undeniable, providential hand of the Lord working.”
Staff reorganization necessitated changes in the Mission’s Official Handbook of Operational Policies and Procedures. The board reviewed and accepted the proposed changes.
Missionaries who retire or resign under designated giving often have a balance left in their accounts. The board voted to funnel any remaining funds into a “restricted reserves” account. Missionaries resigning or retiring with a deficit account will have their deficit “erased” through the account. At the end of each calendar year, any balance over $50,000 will be dispersed among missionary accounts.
General Director Clint Morgan stated, “While the Mission continues to encourage candidates to make every effort to graduate without student debt, we also desire to provide a student debt relief system for those pursuing service with IM.” The board voted to allow (within parameters) missionaries to include a budgetary line item to offset student debt.
The board approved two couples as two-year interns to work with Heath and Joni Hubbard in Tokyo, Japan. They plan to begin a bilingual (English/Japanese) church plant in the Tokorozawa City area of greater Tokyo. Daniel and Shelby (Blake) Culwell and their two sons live in both Tennessee and Arkansas. The couple, both employed by a family business Daniel helped start, works with youth in Ashland City, Tennessee, and Rose Bud, Arkansas. Jack and Ashley (Carter) Ketteman, and their three children, live in Bristol, Virginia. Jack serves as family pastor of the First FWB Church in Bristol.
The board approved Daniel and Katie Speer for a second two-year internship in Tokyo, Japan. Their first internship period ended in August 2017. However, their daughter Audrey’s battle with bacterial meningitis and other critical health issues, as well as Katie’s health struggles, complicated the last eight months of their internship. The couple will work with Don and Ruth McDonald.
The board regretfully accepted Dale and Sandra Bishop’s request to retire. Dale and Sandra, in a letter dated October 1, 2017, reflected on 44 years of service with IM saying, “It has been our privilege to minister with you these many years.” The couple will live in Georgia and care for Sandra’s mother. They requested their retirement be effective December 31, 2017.
The board approved an operational budget of $6.35 million for 2018. Projected self-funded programs carry the total budget to $9.9 million. IMpact projects, The Hanna Project trips and projects, student missions, etc. require fundraising separate from the operational budget.
All board members (Jeff Manning, chairman, NC; Jeff Nichols, vice-chairman, TN; Mark Price, secretary, OH; Janice Banks, OK; Nelson Henderson, AR; Robert Posner, TX; Will Harmon, AR: Cameron Lane, AR; Rodney Yerby, AL) participated.
Snapshots Around the World
Bulgaria: Jonathan and Amy hosted their first monthly “gathering” in their apartment Sunday, October 22. People from various English clubs, Bible studies, and other relationships they have formed attended. Their November meeting drew 10 people.
Panama: Five people were baptized at Camino de Santidad FWB Church, in Las Tablas, Sunday, October 1.
Côte d’Ivoire: Pastor Edmond baptized eight people in Nassian, Côte d’Ivoire, October 22.
Panama: On November 28, a national Panamanian holiday, the Free Will Baptist seminary in Chame set up a display (pictured above) in the town square near the parade route. Students met and talked with people, then offered them a free cold drink and a free Bible.
Côte d’Ivoire: Pastor Silas Noufé baptized 12 believers from the Panzarani area of Côte d’Ivoire on Friday, October 27.
Brazil: Campo Alegre FWB Church in Conselheiro Lafaiete, Minas Gerais, Brazil, hosted a retreat (pictured below) November 24-25, 2017, for single women. Twenty-seven women, ages 14-30, from three churches participated. “The Secret of the Rose” theme addressed biblical sexuality and encouraged the young women to live pure lives.
Côte d’Ivoire: Alexis Hien pastors 13 growing congregations in northern Ivory Coast. The Bougou congregation reaches into nearby villages, sharing the gospel with people who have never seen white-skinned people, opened a Bible, or heard the name of Jesus. Though villagers erect buildings for church services, several congregations have outgrown their buildings. Some congregations are constructing new buildings. In November, the Kobolodjan Church began meeting outside under a shade tree.
Bulgaria: On October 19, the Varna New Life Church hosted a community event about a new community center. According to Trif Trifonov, 31 of the 37 people present had never been in the church before. One lady asked to meet later to discuss questions she has about faith. Some took Bibles from a shelf and read during the meeting. Many took church flyers home with them.
Brazil: Pastor Lucas Lima baptized three young people, including his daughter, at the First FWB Church in Campinas, Brazil, Sunday evening, October 29. Across town, Pastor Paulo César baptized three people at Nova América FWB Church on November 26. One of those was a young man who testified of God freeing him from drug addiction and crime.