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A special weekend for Special Friends

by Leah Allen — October 25, 2014

CEDAR HILL—The 2014 Special Friends Retreat, hosted by Texas Baptists’ Preschool and Children’s Ministries, brought lots of smiles and laughter along with the opportunity for participants to share their talents on-stage.

The retreat for the mentally challenged of ages 12 and older took place at two locations – one in Floydada on Sept. 12-13, with about 90 campers, and another in Cedar Hill on Oct. 3-4, with 350 campers.

Participants made crafts, learned about parts of the world in Bible studies, performed their talents in a talent show and engaged in worship and music.

In Cedar Hill, at Mount…

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Inspiring the next generation, youth ministry as a divine appointment

by Leah Allen — October 21, 2014

ARLINGTON: Youth ministry is a calling that comes along with great trials but even greater rewards, including seeing the salvation of young souls and the opportunity to inspire a generation of future leaders.

Speakers at the 2014 Youth Ministry Conclave on Oct. 13-15 focused on youth ministry as a calling and encouraged leaders to recognize it as a divine appointment. Conclave is sponsored by Texas Baptists and supported through the Cooperative Program with ethnic scholarships provided by Mary Hill Davis Offering for state missions.

“It’s not about your ability, but your availability,” said Ed Newton…

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Now is the time: Texas Baptists winterizing refugees in Lebanon

by Leah Allen — October 17, 2014

In Lebanon, millions of refugees are trying to figure out how to survive brutal temperatures as the winter months approach. Through the development of a winterization project, Texas Baptists are sending necessities like blankets and heaters to help refugee families prepare for the winter.

Since early 2011, when the Syrian conflict began, more than 1.5 million refugees have fled to Lebanon seeking safety. At least 10,000 Iraqis have also sought security in the country. Most of them have little money and no place to live.

Lebanese churches from various denominational backgrounds have embraced many of the refugees, displaying…

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Ebola crisis leads to starvation; Texas Baptists send 570,000 meals in response

by Leah Allen — October 9, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri – Though media is flooded with news of the Ebola crisis, a calamity nearly as fatal—starvation—has risen in West African countries due to the virus. In response to this dire need, Dallas-based Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR), in partnership with Convoy of Hope in Springfield, Missouri, shipped 250,000 meals to Monrovia, Liberia on Thursday, Oct. 9, to help bring relief to the crisis.

When the container of food, holding 44,000 pounds of prepackaged meals, arrives to Monrovia in four to six weeks, Liberian Baptist churches will distribute the supplies to rural communities and to hospitals. An…

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Christian Life Commission adopts statement on Islamic state and religious persecution

by Leah Allen — October 7, 2014

The Christian Life Commission (CLC) has adopted a statement on the Islamic state and religious persecution, inviting leaders to continue protective efforts and encouraging churches to pray.

The terror group ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has been coercing people to choose between fleeing their homes and living in fear of oppression that can ultimately lead to death. Media reports have recorded brutal persecution of many individuals living in Syria and Iraq, including Christians, since early June 2014.

CLC Commissioners are monitoring situations of religious persecution around the world. The CLC deals with…

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Texas Baptist Hunger Offering and Disaster Recovery help bring relief during Ebola crisis

by Leah Allen — September 29, 2014

DALLAS - Through funding from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery (TBDR) and Restore Hope are sending food and supplies to areas that are experiencing starvation due to the Ebola crisis.

In Liberia and Sierra Leone, many farmers have contracted the Ebola virus and died causing farm workers to lose their jobs. In-country prices have escalated since less food is being produced.

CNN reported in a recent article that the number of Ebola cases could rise to between 550,000 and 1.4 million by January if there are no additional interventions or changes in community behavior, an estimate derived from…

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Southern Dallas historic freedman town welcomes cowboy culture

by Leah Allen — September 25, 2014

Just six miles south of downtown Dallas is Joppa Community, an area where former slaves gathered to celebrate their first taste of freedom in the 1860s and now is the present-day home of Buffalo Soldiers Cowboy Church.

When the freedmen settled there nearly 150 years ago, they named the area after the biblical city of Joppa, which means “beautiful.” They bought property and built homes on the banks of the Trinity River. Though the area is now less than thriving, the residents embrace the rich culture and history and nickname the community of 17 streets “Joppy.”

On a recent hot August day, some of those residents put…

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Texas Baptists promote educational initiatives for Sept. 18 giving day

by Leah Allen — September 17, 2014

DALLAS -Texas Baptists are taking part in North Texas Giving Day on Sept. 18 by highlighting two initiatives in the North Texas community. Funds given toward the Baptist General Convention of Texas will help build an outdoor classroom at Truett Elementary School in Dallas and a new Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) building at the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton.

As stated on northtexasgivingday.org, “North Texas Giving Day is an online giving event that provides nonprofits opportunity to gain expose to—and start relationships with—new donors, and for people in North Texas to come together to raise as much…

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Conference inspires ministry leaders to “catch the boomer wave”

by Leah Allen — September 12, 2014

More than 250 individuals from churches across the country “caught the boomer wave” at the second annual National Boomer Ministry Conference on Sept. 4-5 at First Baptist Church in Dallas.

Hosted by Texas Baptists Bible Study/ Discipleship Team, the conference shed light on the need for better ministry amongst the baby boomer generation.

Conference leaders pointed out baby boomers, born in the years 1946 to 1964, are now turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day, and will continue to for the next 18 years.

Keynote speaker Amy Hanson spoke on various subjects such as the changing landscape of adult ministry, how to begin a…

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TBMF celebrates 30 years of making a difference

by Leah Allen — August 29, 2014

DALLAS—The Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF) celebrated 30 years of giving toward missions and ministries with a luncheon held at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas.

In 1984, TBMF began as a two-year experiment to raise additional funds for new churches. Thirty years later, the Foundation has worked with over 33,000 different donors to support 250 mission projects all over Texas and around the world.

Outlining the beginnings of TBMF, Dr. Bill Pinson, former executive director for Texas Baptists, described the time when the need to raise more funds first became apparent and the vision began to focus on…

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Attorney named CLC’s director of public policy

by Leah Allen — August 25, 2014

AUSTIN – Kathryn Freeman has been named director of public policy for Texas Baptists’ Christian Life Commission (CLC).

The CLC helps Texas Baptists, churches, communities and government leaders give voice to critical issues in society from a Christian and biblical perspective. Freeman will lead the CLC’s efforts related to government and legislation.

“I’m very encouraged that we will have Kathryn alongside Dr. Gus Reyes and Ferrell Foster as a strong presence in Austin at the legislative session this next spring,” said David Hardage, executive director of Texas Baptists.

Freeman earned her bachelor’s…

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Victoria church embraces its Jerusalem

by Leah Allen — August 18, 2014

VICTORIA - Through discovering a community need and a partnership with the local food bank, Greater Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Victoria has begun a feeding program that is making an impact in both the city and the church.

“We believe that the church is not supposed to be an institution that caters to itself,” said Montari Morrison, pastor of Greater Mount Calvary. “The church is always supposed to be a resource to the community. Our message is supposed to go outside of the walls and not only be a spiritual help but also a physical help.”

Since April 2014, volunteers from Greater Mount Calvary, as well as neighboring…

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Embracing Central American families in Laredo

by Leah Allen — August 12, 2014

LAREDO - As River Ministry Coordinator Mario Garcia drives Central American families back and forth from the Greyhound bus station nearly every day, he cannot help but think of the paralyzed man Jesus healed in Mark 2.

“It’s not that he needed to walk. It’s that he needed salvation,” he said. “The people I’m working with need Christ.”

Garcia, director of missions for Laredo Baptist Association and River Ministry coordinator, is one of many Texas Baptists who have opted to embrace the families that have been seeking refuge from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Cuba.

Maria*, from Honduras, told Garcia she fled her home after…

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BSM nears $2 million goal for new facility

by Leah Allen — August 5, 2014

The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma has issued a $400,000 challenge grant to Texas Baptists to complete the funding for a new Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) building on the campus of the University of North Texas (UNT). The building, which will cost $2,000,000 to construct, will be built on the site of the old BSM building.

The Texas Baptist Missions Foundation has been coordinating the fundraising effort. “Added to what Texas Baptists have already given, we need only $100,000 to reach the goal so construction can begin,” said Larry Thomas, vice president of the Foundation. “If we can get the additional…

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Pastors rally in prayer at the border

by Leah Allen — August 1, 2014

MCALLEN-Over 50 Hispanic pastors, leaders and family members gathered in McAllen July 26, to pray over the current circumstances regarding the Central American families and unaccompanied minors crossing the border.

The prayer event served as the kickoff of “For His Children,” an initiative of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Convoy of Hope, Buckner International and Somebody Cares International to help meet physical and spiritual needs of the minors and families.“God’s word affirms His people working, worshiping and praying in unity,” said Gus Reyes, director of the Christian Life Commission…

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Texas Baptists offer aid for border crisis in Rio Grande Valley

by Leah Allen — July 28, 2014

MCALLEN-The border issue: some call it a crisis, some call it a disaster, but to many Texas Baptists, it is an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.

All eyes turned to the doorway as Daniela Cruz* and her two daughters, Lorena* and Carmen*, stepped inside Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas. Volunteers with various religious backgrounds clapped and cheered as the girls entered.

It is a welcoming gesture, said Nadia Chapa, volunteer coordinator for Catholic Charities who is hosting the relief center in McAllen. It is how they greet each family who enters the facility, assuring them it is a…

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Sixty quilts handmade and delivered with love

by Leah Allen — July 22, 2014

VILLA FRANCA, Spain - Even when verbal communication seems impossible, there’s one language that is spoken by all: love. It can be spoken through hugs, laughter and 60 quilts hand-made by Texas Baptist women.

The quilts were a part of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) of Texas initiative “Covered with Love” in which they presented the request for 50 quilts for the Evangelical Baptist Retirement Home in Villa Franca, Spain.

Together women within WMU, Texas Baptist staff, and local Baptist churches, donated their time and their stitching skills to the cause. Within five months, they finished more quilts than needed and prayed over…

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African American Fellowship hosts conference, elects officers

by Leah Allen — July 15, 2014

FORT WORTH — Powerful worship, thought-provoking sermons, and enlightening workshops made this year’s African American Fellowship Conference on July 8-10 one to be remembered.

Over 200 guests representing 35 churches received a challenge at each of the three worship services held at Great Commission Baptist Church in Fort Worth to be armed and ready for spiritual warfare. Even children were taught to be ready for battle through daily games and lessons at “Camp Battlefield.”

At the Culp Banquet, Dr. Howard E. Anderson, pastor of The Exciting Singing Hills Baptist Church in Dallas, presented a sermon on Ephesians 6…

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African American Fellowship takes charge to be armed and ready

by Leah Allen — July 9, 2014

FORT WORTH — Applause and “amens” resounded as African American Baptists were charged to be armed and ready during the 22nd annual James W. Culp, Sr. Banquet on July 8.

The African American Fellowship and Evangelism Conference welcomed guest speaker Dr. Howard E. Anderson, pastor of The Exciting Singing Hill Baptist Church in Dallas, as he challenged the audience to be ready for spiritual warfare.

“When you have an invisible enemy, you don’t have time to get ready, you have to already be ready,” he said. “When we put on the whole armor, we are ready for wherever he is.”

Though struggles come and the…

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YEC students learn to get the Word out

by Leah Allen — July 8, 2014

BURLESON — Over 1200 students lifted their hands and hearts in worship at this years’ Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC) at Venue 510 in Burleson, Texas on June 27-28.

The theme, “Speak His Name,” was evident as students heard Christian artist Propaganda rap, worship leaders Dara Maclean and For King and Country sing, and speaker Dave Edwards share a message, all about God’s name.

“It’s a call to evangelism,” said Leighton Flowers, Texas Baptists’ youth evangelism director, about the theme. “When we experience God at our events like Super Summer or YEC, whatever happens there doesn’t stay there — You take it…

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Singing Women of Texas Celebrates 20 Years

by Leah Allen — July 3, 2014

DALLAS — Blissful women’s voices echoed across the walls of Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas on June 28 as the Singing Women of Texas (SWOT) commemorated their 20th anniversary with a free concert.

Over 200 women from eight SWOT chapters across the state gathered together for a three-day event of fellowshipping and rehearsing together before Saturday night’s concert where family members, friends and fans packed inside the church.

Uniformly dressed in black attire, the women performed 12 gospel ballads, a combination of songs chosen by the directors from each chapter.

An offering taken up during the…

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