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ABC President’s Report June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015

God in Northeast India

I had second thoughts. I wondered why I accepted the invitation to speak in Tura. What was I thinking—India is a long, long away from home! But in faith, I went alone by being on a total of 9 different flights going and returning. And what I discovered, I am still amazed! As the result of ABC missionaries 180 years ago, the Baptist churches are thriving with over 7200 churches in 6 conventions and 3 associations totaling more than 1.2 million members! Everywhere I went visiting 3 of the seven Baptist colleges and 3 of the six Baptist hospitals, I knew God’s Spirit was present. I am exploring how Judson Press can automatically send complimentary books to all historically related Baptist colleges and how retiring pastors like me can donate our libraries to these school libraries. I am encouraging First Chinese, SF to send a medical mission team to work side by side with the physicians and nurses if nothing else but to say, “We are praying for you.” We have many “Baptist Mother Teresas!” For 2 weeks, I was moved by the Spirit and believe that American Baptists here at home would be transformed and renewed when they can witness how God is alive in this place. Along with Dr. Anjo Kiekung who will be our guest at the Biennial Mission Summit, I visited the site of the proposed Northeast Christian University located in Nagaland but for all students. As American Baptists, we are invited to share in this vision of establishing a Christian liberal arts college through our support and prayers. Perhaps like Jonah, I didn’t want to go. Perhaps like the Israelites in Egypt, I was too comfortable being in California. But now that I have seen the workings of God, I can’t wait to visit again. I have been invited to speak at the Nagaland Baptist Church Council’s convention on February 5-7 next year. Would you like to join me and be ready to become transformed?

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GS Search

The work of the search committee has been active and will be continuing after the BGM meetings this June. There have been a number of challenging developments that will be addressed prior to our board meetings. When we meet in Overland Park, I will have an update for you. We welcome your strong prayers on this journey.

Anniversaries

On June 6th, I’ll be delivering the message at my home church’s 350th Anniversary at First Baptist, Boston. This is the church where Thomas Goold in 1665 opened his house for worship under the persecution of the Congregational church. This is the church where Obadiah Holmes was whipped in front of the Old State House and said, “You have struck me with roses.” This is the church where People’s Baptist Church grew out of and Dr. Wesley Roberts is currently the Senior Pastor. And later on this year, First Chinese Baptist, SF will be celebrating its 135th Anniversary on Oct. 24-25 when I will give the message as the recently retired pastor. Like Simon & Garfunkel’s song, Old Friends say, “Old friends, sitting on the park bench like bookends.” First, Boston and First Chinese, SF are now my bookends.

Biennial Mission Summit

By the time you get the chance to read this, you are probably getting ready to come or having arrived in Overland Park. I thank you for your support and attendance at this BMS! I pray that as we “Share the Journey,” we would be transformed by the Living God to be God’s faithful people in the world. Special thanks to all the staff members who worked endless hours and used incredible creativity to pull together our gathering! I pray that all of our goals and hopes for this Mission Summit will be realized. With God’s help, I pray for it to be so.

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