Day 8 — Lottie Moon prayer guide
    December 5 2008 by International Mission Board

    Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008
    Eric and Ramona Reese
    Urban poor of Brazil

    It’s 9:20 p.m. when Eric Reese maneuvers his truck through the dirt roads of a slum in Rio de Janeiro. With frequent shootouts, prostitution, and drug trafficking in the streets, the favelas (slums) are a rough place to share the gospel. He taps on the ceiling light of his Chevy pickup as he drives. It’s a signal to everyone outside the cab that he’s not a threat.

    “In these communities, it’s an ugly evil you’ve got to deal with,” Eric says, “but you’ve got to deal with it. We can’t stand here and let these people shoot and kill each other without the gospel being preached.”

    Seeing past the violence and corruption is a challenge for the Reeses. But the self-destruction that keeps some from receiving Christ is precisely what compels the Georgia natives to share.

    “Communicating the gospel with these folks cannot wait until tomorrow,” Eric says. “You’ve got to share it with them today because you don’t know what their tomorrow holds.”

    Ask God to use the difficult conditions in Rio de Janeiro’s slums to show people their need for a Savior. Pray for Eric and Ramona’s personal safety as they work to share the gospel in this dangerous place.

    12/5/2008 7:27:00 AM by International Mission Board | with 1 comments
    Filed under: Brazil, Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, pray

Dr. James Willingham
It is reports like this that move my heart to profound gratitude to God for having led me to study African American History (it was Black History when I began in the 60s). A high school principal in my first pastorate advised me to attend Lincoln U. in Jefferson City, Mo (a school integrated in reverse) which I did and came under the influence of one of the truly great African American Historians, Dr. Lornzo J. Greene. While I got training in that area, I also received first class, up close, personal tutoring in how to do history, a subject I loved from childhood (I read Doublas S. Freeman's 4 volume biog. of Robert E. Lee and his 3 volumes on Lee's Lieutenants between the ages of nine and 12). Due to Dr. Greene's influence I began to do research in Baptist Church History, accumulating some 5000 5x8 notecards covering more than 250 sources and writing an M.A. thesis in American Social and Intellectual History on the subject, "The Baptists & Ministerial Qualifications:1750-1850." While doing that research and reading Baptist Church Records (e.g., FBC, Charleston, SC), I stumbled upon a plethora of primary source materials on African Americans. I had Black History at Morehead State under a another noted African American Historian, Dr. Broadus Jackson (later chairman of the Dept. there). He recommended me to teach history at S.C. State College. While teaching there, I attended Columbia U in NYC where a professor sought to recruit me for a Ph.D. He heard that I knew of a great body of primary source materials on the Blacks which no one had ever tapped. I told him, "Yes, it was the Baptist Church Records." He said, "Tell me about it." I said, "Well, when they were sold from one part of the country to another, they moved their church membership just like they were free." Along with some other information about how they had exhibited some of the greatest Christian characters which I had ever come across, I found I could have earned a Ph.D. from an Ivy League University. I even wrote a prospectus for a Doctoral Dissertation in the field of Black History titled, "The Baptists and Slavery." I also delivered a lecture in an afternoon lecture series at Columbia, "A Critique of the Elkins Thesis." Suggestive of the possibilities inherent in the materials was the example of a slave who felt the call to preach and whose freedom was purchased by a white church which then called him as pastor where he served for at least ten years. (if memory serves correctly after 37 years). Then at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, I did my project for the Doctor of Ministry on the subject, "Christian Love and Race Relations," in a small rural church, the Gum Springs Baptist Church of Moncure, NC. I think the seminary staff must have been biting their fingernails, apprehensive that I might make a mess. Thank God for some splendid Tarheel Baptists, I got the project done without getting fired or creating a fuss and graduated with my doctorate in 1976 (the 25th anniversary of the seminary and the 200th anniversary of the American Revolution an you have to think of what that meant to me as an American Historian). The great thing about it all was to find how what tremendous Christian personalities God produced and inspired in those precious African Americans who were being held in bondage by my own ancestors. Now we have African Americans as our missionaries. I say praise God as I weep.
12/8/2008 10:14:48 PM

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