September 2010

Students lifeblood at Gardner-Webb

September 8 2010 by Gardner-Webb University

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Each North Carolina Baptist college was invited to submit an article for a feature package in the Sept. 11 issue of the Biblical Recorder. Scroll to bottom to find links to all the stories.)  

“At Gardner-Webb, we believe that students are our purpose, our mission and our product,” said Frank Bonner, president of Gardner-Webb University (GWU).

Students are the lifeblood of Gardner-Webb and a $5 million gift for a new student center acknowledged that fact. Long-time university benefactors Robert and Carolyn Tucker made the largest donation in GWU history this year for a project scheduled to be complete in 2012. Groundbreaking for the Tucker Student Center will take place this fall, and the facility will be much more than a building, it will become in many ways the heart of campus life. The three-story complex will be a functional atmosphere for activities and entertainment with meeting space for student organizations, conference rooms, mail facilities, student dining, the university campus shop, multipurpose facilities, and lounges. It will also house student offices and work space for organizations that include Student Government, Campus Ministries, Leadership Development, Community Engagement and Service Learning.

Garnder-Webb University photo

Leaders at Gardner-Webb University consider the students the lifeblood of the university.

When speaking about the gift, Carolyn Tucker shared why the family has been so supportive of the university over the years: “I’ve seen so many instances of young people, including my daughter Lisa, who went to Gardner-Webb and they were changed by being there. Now that’s what I want to be on board with — an organization that is changing lives.”

Life changing and life saving is what the Gardner-Webb School of Nursing has been doing for over four decades. GWU nursing alumni are serving throughout the world in hospitals, missions and in educational settings. This year, the School of Nursing took another major step as a true leader in education with the addition of a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. 

Gardner-Webb Provost and Senior Vice President, Ben Leslie, says  “The doctoral level program allows us to round out our offerings with an opportunity for upper level leadership training for the nursing profession,” said Leslie.

The primary target audience for the DNP is nurses holding a Master of Science Degree in Nursing who are working professionals with experience in nursing education, nursing administration, or advanced nursing practice in a specialty area. 

The GWU School of Nursing’s long list of degrees already includes the Associate Degree Program, a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, and the Master of Science Program.  The addition of the DNP Program will allow students to complete their entire nursing education at GWU. “Our goal remains unchanged — to provide the best education we possibly can in a context of faith, service, and leadership preparation,” said Leslie.

Gardner-Webb has been fortunate in this time of a struggling economy. Enrollment stability and even growth has been reported in several areas. This fall, Gardner-Webb celebrates its largest student body to date with 4,338 students (undergraduate and graduate). Due to consistent enrollment increases over the past few years, especially in our on-campus population, two new suite-style residence halls have been added to the Gardner-Webb campus. These buildings house an additional 176 students. With these facilities in place, GWU can now serve 1,282 resident students with on-campus housing.

The new residence hall facilities are not the only upgrades and enhancements to the Gardner-Webb campus this fall. At Dover Memorial Library, a redesigned and renovated user-friendly open learning space has enhanced the relaxing atmosphere of the library for study and reflection. Extended library hours to 2 a.m. now offer students more time for research and academic development. A new self-service coffee shop has also been added to the library.

The John Henry Moss Stadium officially opened this fall and will serve as the home for Gardner-Webb baseball and provides opportunities for more university and community events and activities. Moss, a baseball legend, accumulated numerous regional and national awards during his lifetime. Included among his achievements was selection into five Halls of Fame, including - the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and the North Carolina American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame.

Since 1972, Dover Memorial Chapel has been a graceful and inspiring structure, marking the formal entrance to campus. Last summer, the interior of the chapel was completely renovated. The 336-seat sanctuary is used for a number of events including Divinity School chapel services, campus ministry gatherings and prayer services for students, faculty and staff.

Visitors to campus will also notice a new Stadium Drive gate and entrance. The Bridges Gate was finished this fall and includes digital billboards, a water feature and a unique architectural design with arches and a tower. This new structure welcomes all who come through the south gate of campus for athletic and cultural events. The digital billboards are utilized to promote university events and activities to the community.

Gardner-Webb University
Location — Boiling Springs 
Founding date — 1905
Enrollment in fall 2010 —
Separate grad and undergrad enrollment; Total = 4,338 (largest ever)
President — Frank Bonner (2005-present)
Motto — For God and Humanity

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9/8/2010 6:17:00 AM by Gardner-Webb University | with 0 comments

Mars Hill offers ‘tranformational’ education

September 8 2010 by Mars Hill College

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Each North Carolina Baptist college was invited to submit an article for a feature package in the Sept. 11 issue of the Biblical Recorder. Scroll to bottom to find links to all the stories.)  

The Mars Hill College experience creates a transformational education, through rigorous academics, civic engagement, and a Christian worldview. At Mars Hill, students benefit from personal attention from faculty and staff, demanding intellectual experiences and an atmosphere which encourages service to one’s fellow man. Together, these elements are the building blocks of character and well-rounded education.

Mars Hill College was founded by Baptist families of the region in 1856. Its name is taken from Acts 17, in which Paul ascended the Aeropagus (or Mars’ hill in the King James Version) to proclaim Christ to the intellectuals of Athens through reason and persuasive logic. “Mars Hill,” then, represents more than a location or a point in history. The name is a metaphor for that place where reason and faith intertwine and lay a foundation for nurturing intellect and character.   

Total enrollment at Mars Hill in 2009-2010 was 1,237 students. Of that number, 1,002 were traditional students while 230 were students in ACCESS (Accelerated Credit, Continuing Education, Summer School), Mars Hill’s degree program for working adults. 

Mars Hill photo

Around 41 percent of Mars HIll students are athletes in one of 19 NCAA Division II sports, including football.

In recent years, diversity has become a hallmark of the Mars Hill traditional student body. Approximately 23 percent of the traditional student body last year was composed of minority students, including African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and foreign students. Last year, 59 percent of traditional students were from North Carolina, 35 percent were from 33 other states, and 6 percent were from 22 other countries. Approximately 31 percent of last year’s traditional students self-identified as Baptists, while 30 percent self-identified simply as “Christian” or as other Christian denominations. Around 41 percent of Mars Hill students are athletes in one of 19 NCAA Division II sports or a young, but very successful, NCCA cycling team.

Mars Hill College offers a wide variety of majors, including several that are unusual for an institution of its size. This summer, Mars Hill became one of only two institutions of higher learning in the state to offer an Integrated Education major, allowing graduates upon completion of a single major to be fully certified in both general elementary education and special education.

In all, Mars Hill offers 31 majors, with 61 concentration areas. Those include majors in the core subject areas like math, history and English, but also those hard-to-find majors, like fashion and interior merchandising, athletic training, musical theatre and zoology. 

In addition to the intellectual challenges offered in the classroom, Mars Hill College offers its students various venues for deeper spiritual study and worship. 

Three Christian ministry organizations give students opportunities for worship, service and fellowship. Christian Student Movement (CSM) is sponsored and directed by the Campus Ministry Office at MHC. CSM, as well as Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Blueprint are designed to provide students with encouragement, support, and knowledge in living a Christ-centered life. Ethos is Mars Hill College’s only interspirituality club. The group participates in weekly dialogues on various topics concerning the connection between spirituality and social justice.

As members of the campus community, MHC students may participate in on-campus community events, like the second annual Church Youth Day, planned this year for September 25. Guest speaker will be Will Graham, grandson of Billy Graham, and son of Franklin Graham. The Annie Moses Band will provide music for the event. 

Civic engagement and service are integral aspects of life at Mars Hill. Freshmen will learn that quickly when the year begins with “Service September.” This event provides an opportunity for Mars Hill students to become involved in service activities in their new community. Integrating civic engagement and service into the life of the campus is the role of the LifeWorks Learning Partnership. Through LifeWorks, individuals can participate in short-term service experiences, or become connected to service learning opportunities.

An inescapable part of the “Mars Hill College Experience,” is its beautiful location. Situated in the Blue Ridge region of the Appalachian Mountains, Mars Hill College affords its students one of the most stunning locations in the eastern United States.

That beautiful Appalachian location is also home to a wealth of rich musical and cultural history. Celebrating and preserving the history of the region is the work of the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies, named for long-time N.C. Speaker of the House and MHC alumnus Liston Ramsey. 

The Ramsey Center houses the Southern Appalachian Archives, and plans and implements such events as the annual Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival, now in its 43rd year. This year, the Ramsey Center will do the crucial planning as Mars Hill hosts a traveling Smithsonian Institution Exhibition Sept. 25-Nov. 6, called New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music. Mars Hill is one of only six sites in the state, and the only institution of higher learning chosen to host the exhibition, which examines the roots music which forms America’s unique cultural soundtrack.

Mars Hill College
Location — Mars Hill
Founded — 1856
President — Dan Lunsford (2003-present)
Motto — “Pro Christo Adolescentibusque” (For Christ and Youth)
Contact info — P.O. Box 370, Mars Hill, NC 28754

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9/8/2010 6:12:00 AM by Mars Hill College | with 0 comments

Wingate University begins 115th session

September 8 2010 by Wingate University

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Each North Carolina Baptist college was invited to submit an article for a feature package in the Sept. 11 issue of the Biblical Recorder. Scroll to bottom to find links to all the stories.)  

It has been an historic and bittersweet start of the school year at Wingate University. The fall semester began as the school mourned the loss of incoming freshmen Mi’Shawn Miller and Arielle Parker who were killed Aug. 14 in a tragic car accident.

A memorial service recognized the lives of these fine young people just as the rest of the student body was arriving on campus excited to begin the year. 

Ten days later Wingate President Jerry E. McGee welcomed 670 students in the incoming class of 2014 at the 115th opening convocation. The group of first-year students makes history as the largest freshman class that has ever entered through the gate. Representing 11 foreign countries and 25 states, the class holds high achievements with an average weighted GPA of 3.6. Some of these new students are off and running as they prepare to compete on the new track and field team or new diving team starting this year.

The university also has also broken records in terms of total enrollment, which exceeds 2,300 at the main campus and the Matthews Campus for graduate and adult education. The number also includes 78 new pharmacy students and 21 physician assistant students.

During his convocation address, McGee encouraged the freshmen by relating a statement from recent alumni. “As you grow as a person your values change,” he said. “Life is not about the things you have but what you are willing to give. Alums always talk about the experiences here.”

He also gave an update on campus improvements, including the construction of a new residence hall to open in January. To handle the fall overflow, 100 students are living off-campus in university provided transitional housing four miles from campus. After the new residence hall is built, these students will move back on campus.

In other developments, the new Wingate University Levine College of Health Science building is under construction. The $16 million project, built by CM Black Construction of Concord, is scheduled to be completed fall 2011 to house the School of Pharmacy, the Department of Physician Assistant Studies and future health sciences programs.            

Over the summer, Wingate University finalized its plan to help the town encourage economic development by funding $58,000 for the Wingate town plan for 2020.

The plan will enable the university and the town to collaborate and promote economic development and improved quality of life for all residents. Details include creating accessible green space along with organized and controlled growth, housing options, four parks, a university-affiliated pharmacy, senior housing and more. 

In other academic news, this fall the School of Business added a new master of accounting program to its graduate offerings. The accounting program is designed to prepare students for the CPA exam. Nine students are enrolled in the program.

Upcoming events for the semester include: Author Kelsey Timmerman on Sept. 21 and CNN News Anchor Fredrika Whitfield Oct. 28.  

Other featured events are: Grammy Award Winner Kathy Mattea Sept. 25, The Blind Boys of Alabama Dec. 3, and Orpheus in the Underworld Nov. 19. For any information regarding these events please visit or call (704) 233-8316.

Wingate University
Founded — 1896
Wingate offers 32 undergraduate majors in arts and sciences, business, communication, education, fine arts, music and sport sciences. It also offers graduate degrees in business, accounting, education, physician assistant studies and sport administration. In addition, the school awards doctor of pharmacy and doctor of education degrees.  

9/8/2010 6:06:00 AM by Wingate University | with 0 comments

Coleman’s 50 teaching years inspires at Wingate

September 8 2010 by Jennifer Gaskins, Wingate University

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Each North Carolina Baptist college was invited to submit an article for a feature package in the Sept. 11 issue of the Biblical Recorder. Scroll to bottom to find links to all the stories.)  

After teaching religion for 50 years, Byrns Coleman is a Wingate institution.

In the classroom, at faculty devotionals, carrying the mace at baccalaureate and commencement, comforting peers or talking to students Coleman is there for moments big and small.

Coleman is an eternal optimist and his emotional roots in Wingate run as deep as his long career and perhaps were planted when he met his future wife, Alice, upon his arrival on campus at age 25. Alice was an assistant librarian and the two hung out with a group of new faculty members. After 47 years, the couple is still happily married.

Rather than talk about himself, Coleman points out the people most important to him — his family, friends, former pastors and teachers. Their photos and newspaper articles about them adorn his office walls.

A family photo shows the entire Coleman clan, including the three children, all of whom graduated from Wingate into medical careers. Bookcases from floor to ceiling are stacked full of books by some of his favorite authors William Barclay, C.S Lewis, Paul Tournier. It’s easy to feel at home and inspired in the office of Byrns Coleman.

He chuckles when he recalls the early days sharing a basement office with Dean Donald Haskins. Back then, accommodations were sparse and the two professors had only one chair for students to sit in when they visited.

“When a student came in one of us would have to leave,” he said.

Mars Hill photo

“I have had opportunities to leave, but each time, so many exciting things were happening around here that I decided to stay to see what would happen next,” said Byrns Coleman of his longevity at Wingate University.

How does a professor stay engaged and fresh for 50 years? “I’ve kept reading, and I attend a lot of workshops,” said Coleman. “Teaching in itself is a constant learning experience because the teachers always learn more than the students.”

Greek and the Gospels are his favorite courses to teach because they help with interpreting the New Testament. Not only has he taught the subject at Wingate; Coleman has been an adjunct professor at Gordon Cornwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte for seven years.

Coleman’s influence extends far beyond campus and into local churches where he has been interim pastor of some churches as many as four times.

This year, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina honored Coleman with the Baptist Heritage Award, given to individuals who represent exemplary giving and service to organizations associated with the Convention.

Despite many requests, Coleman resisted the temptation to be a fulltime pastor. “I have too many emotional hang-ups to do what pastors do,” he said. “I have had opportunities to leave, but each time, so many exciting things were happening around here that I decided to stay to see what would happen next.” 

When people ask Coleman if he is ready to retire, he says, “Every morning when the alarm goes off.” Just to stay on his toes as chairman of the religion department, he assigns himself an 8 a.m. class each day and teaches four classes a semester.

Outside the classroom, Coleman teaches a weekly Bible study program on Wingate University television. As he recalled his pilot show for the station 20 years ago, he pulled out of his desk a letter written by a 78-year-old woman who had watched his program and requested his Bible study planner. “She was so inspired by one of the programs we did with Rev. Darrell Smith that she thanked us for helping her realize that her life is not yet over and that she can still be useful,” he said.

He has performed the weddings for so many former students he has lost count. Coleman has taught his share of former students’ children and has even had his own children in his classes “Haskins and I used to laugh and say when the grandkids show up in class, we’re leaving,” he said.

He recalled a mother who recently introduced her son to him and said she wanted him to take Coleman’s class like she did 20 years ago because some of the things he said changed her life.

“It’s kind of frightening how influential we are without even realizing it,” Coleman said.

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9/8/2010 6:02:00 AM by Jennifer Gaskins, Wingate University | with 0 comments

Haiti trip will change, challenge, bless

September 7 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

In the first two minutes on the bus from the airport in Port-au-Prince, disaster relief volunteers from North Carolina learn three things about Haiti from on-site coordinator Scott Daughtry: Haiti will break your heart; it will bless you, and it will change your life.

In 36 consecutive weeks hosting teams from a rented missionary house on the 66-acre compound started 27 years ago by Global Outreach, Daughtry has been right every time.

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Brenda Barker, a member of Scotts Hill Baptist Church in Wilmington, takes blood pressure at a Haitian medical clinic. See photo gallery.

For the first few weeks following the devastating earthquake Jan. 12 that killed an estimated 230,000 in 30 seconds, North Carolina Baptists responded by sending emergency medical teams, operating out of roadside clinics and teetering hospitals.

Sometimes, Daughtry said, volunteer medical personnel didn’t leave the hospital until they caught their plane home.

Daughtry and his wife Janet arrived Feb. 1 while bodies still lined the streets of Port-au-Prince, everything was covered with dust, chaos reigned, relief materials backed up in port, the top floors of crumbled buildings lay atop the bottom floors.

Today the bodies are gone.

Most of the bodies — government estimates 80,000; locals estimate 200,000 — are buried in a mass grave in an unremarkable depression between hills on the road to Titanyen.

A simple, hard to see cross marks the spot.

Since an estimated one-third of Haiti’s 9 million people live in and around Port-au-Prince, the capital city receives most of the attention and many of the estimated 3,000 NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) operating in Haiti concentrate on Port-au-Prince. Florida Baptists have a significant presence there as they have for decades and are about to begin construction of 1,000 permanent homes.  

Village work
Since the initial medical team response, North Carolina Baptists — coordinated through the disaster relief office of N.C. Baptist Men — has sent a constant stream of carpenters, mechanics, doctors, nurses and general handymen to help however they can.

Currently construction crews are assembling on site 12x12 shelters made with 2x4 frames, a metal roof and wrapped with durable tarp. These shelters are prefabricated at two Samaritan’s Purse construction sites.

Daughtry is given all the shelters volunteers can assemble and his Haitian crew delivers them to the build site.

Of the 17 Haitians employed by Baptists in the relief effort out of the Titanyen compound, all but one live in a tent or shelter, including two doctors.

During the week of Aug. 22-28 a 22-member team organized by Scotts Hill Baptist Church in Wilmington was on site, the largest team so far. It included enough medical people for two teams, and enough construction people for three teams.

Medical teams saw more than 1,000 clients in tent cities, orphanages and remote villages with no other access to medical care. Construction teams built 25 shelters during the week for people in the village of Titanyen, which lost many homes in the quake.

“When we don’t have help it’s very difficult,” said Francise Milien, who conducts the clinics when no medical volunteers are available. “We must stay later and most of the time we must send patients home but when we have help, we can see everybody.”

Patients are waiting when medical teams arrive at whatever church, tent or makeshift shelter they will hold clinic in that day. While volunteers set up the pharmacy they’ve carried with them, Milien addresses waiting patients with a brief lecture on oral health, hygiene or the importance of abstinence to avoid sexually transmitted diseases. Young girls blush and boys snort, either from embarrassment or from bravado.

Then Milien or a volunteer leads in song and prayer before patients take a number and wait for their turn before the doctor, physicians assistant or triage nurse.

“Lots of organizations do good, but if those who proclaim Christ are not at the forefront of the effort, we’re not doing what we should be doing in Christ,” said Jimmie Suggs, missions pastor and administrator for Scotts Hill.  

In the 1967 movie The Graduate, Dustin Hoffman’s character Benjamin Braddock was advised to seek a career in plastics.

That must be Haitians’ favorite movie as Haiti is awash in plastic. Shelters wrapped in plastic, water bottled in it, water carried in plastic buckets and all manner of goods carted in thin, strong plastic bags. Plastic bottles tossed and flattened into shoe leather by truck tires loosely pave roads.

There likely is no Creole word for “littering” because littering implies some places are off limits to trash.

BSC photo by K Brown

Haitian boys explore their new shelter provided by North Carolina Baptist Men volunteers working through Samaritan’s Purse. See photo gallery.

That evidently is not true in Haiti as the ditches, roads, intersections, dirt yards and every wind break is awash in trash. Most of it plastic. Other refuse taints the air in what can be a suffocating mix of diesel fumes, dust, sewage, fried food, spices and the sweet sick smell of sweat leaking from your body as if your skin is a sieve.

Recognizing the immediate post quake need was shelter to get people out of the elements, donor nations flooded Haiti with tents. They are the primary shelter in 1,300 refuge camps that popped up like weeds and are still growing as refugees move out of the city where hope for improved services is slipping away.

A tent city recently blossomed on barren hills just a couple miles from the Global Outreach compound. N.C. Baptist volunteers hold clinics there, among a thousand tents where there is no visible water or sanitation source, and no intentional roads — only meandering footpaths.

Samaritan’s Purse designed a more stable structure and has a goal of erecting 10,000 of them.

It has engaged dozens of partner organizations like N.C. Baptist Men to put them up and has met nearly 70 percent of its goal.

They have surpassed their goal of 500 in Titanyen, and citizens on the short list there are getting very nervous that volunteers will leave for another village before their own shelter is built.

That led to some arguments but volunteers simply referred the distressed citizens to their own mayor, who made all decisions about who would get a shelter and in what order.

Call the disaster relief office at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5605, or visit to inquire. North Carolina Baptists are continuing to form teams to help in Haiti.

After several days working in dusty, dry conditions in which the heat index reached 120 degrees, and beginning to comprehend the scope of the problems in Haiti, volunteers wondered if their efforts were the most effective response.

“I don’t know the right response,” said Daughtry. “But the wrong response is to do nothing.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Jameson wrote about his experience while in Haiti. Follow his daily blog by reading the first entry.)

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9/7/2010 7:31:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 1 comments

Daughtrys: ‘We’re just like anyone else’

September 7 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

Don’t make Scott and Janet Daughtry out to be heroes of the faith: they’re not buying it.

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Janet Daughtry, who helps coordinate the N.C. Baptist Men's disaster recovery project in Haiti, is warmly received at Victorious Kids Orphanage, built in part with recovery funds donated by North Carolina Baptists. See photo gallery.

If they are anything more than ordinary Christians fulfilling a God-called task, Scott says, then other Christians will avoid taking on similar tasks.

The Daughtrys are on-site coordinators for North Carolina Baptist disaster relief efforts in Haiti, operating from a rented house on a 66-acre missionary compound owned by Global Outreach. With just one break since Feb. 1 to attend the North Carolina Missions Conference, the steady duo has hosted 37 teams: feeding, housing, coordinating and transporting them as they conduct medical clinic and construction projects in the area north of Port-au-Prince.

“When you’re in a place a long time people start to think there’s something special about us, and there’s not,” Scott said while hosting the largest team so far, 22 people who came with Scotts Hill Baptist Church from Wilmington. “There is nothing special about us except Jesus, and He’s what makes us all special.”

From Selma, Scott is a retired North Carolina Parks Service ranger and area supervisor, and Janet is a retired Wake County Schools kindergarten teacher. They’ve coordinated or been involved in disaster response efforts in Honduras, Sri Lanka and Gulfport, Miss., as well. They were working at the Baptist Conference Center in Hawaii when they got the call to come to Haiti.

“When missionaries spoke at church when I was little, I was the one on the front row drinking in every word — dreaming of faraway places,” Janet said while grabbing a stand-up tuna fish lunch in her kitchen. “I never thought I’d be in those faraway places.”

Scott, on the other hand, says Janet is the motivation half of their team. “The Lord tells Janet, and Janet tells me,” he said.

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Scott Daughtry buys another supply of bread for the ministry team from Wilmington, helped by Rodney, his driver and interpreter. See photo gallery.

Janet, 62, and Scott, 63, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in June. She laughed, recognizing where they are and said, “Scott always promised to take me to the Caribbean for our anniversary.”

Their Caribbean getaway is a long way from her grandparents’ farmhouse on 22 acres in Selma that they renovated for their own retirement home.

They harbor no doubts about their role in Haiti, which is likely to extend through next August — the current timetable for N.C. Baptist Men to remain there. It is hard, relentless work. After they carry a departing team to the airport on Saturday, they go immediately to two or three grocery stores to find enough food for the next team, which arrives the following day.

“That’s the hardest part, the 24/7 schedule with never any down time to do anything different,” said Janet. “Not that there is anywhere to go to do anything different.”

She is a professional basket weaver and quilter, and led classes in those arts. Scott loves to hunt and fish. And he is a Shriner, walking in parades as a raccoon to raise money for hospitals. But pressing priorities push aside personal pursuits. Scott would like to go home, play with the grandkids and have a “normal life” for a while after Haiti, Janet said, “whatever normal is.” She admits to a strain of gypsy blood and realizes after she lists her dream vacation spots, they are all international locations.

Scott says everything in Haiti is “just hard.” A trip to a new hardware store to get a refrigerator took three hours over bumpy, rutted roads, although the store was just 15 miles away. Two clerks count the roofing screws he bought one by one. Parts for the vans are not available and have to come in with the next volunteer team. Delays go on for weeks for things that could be accomplished overnight back home.

“The hardest part is being gone from home,” he said. “I miss my grandchildren, my church, Wednesday night activities, my garden. My grandson Scott had his first piano recital and I wasn’t there. He’ll have other piano recitals, but he’ll never have another first one.” “The Lord never promised in any part of the Bible that following Him would be easy,” said Scott, turned theologian. “He said ‘take up your cross.’ I’m pretty sure that’s symbolism for a pretty hard walk.”

He understands why people question the mind of God concerning the devastating earthquake and the death and misery it wrought.

“We won’t have that answer on this side,” Scott said. “Beyond ‘why?’ the right question is ‘what?’ What do we do now? And we have a whole instruction book on that.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Jameson wrote about his experience while in Haiti. Follow his daily blog by reading the first entry.)

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9/7/2010 7:25:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments

Mission trips enliven Scotts Hill members

September 7 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

Some of the 22 persons who joined the Scotts Hill Baptist Church team volunteering in Haiti Aug. 22-28 needed to get home, wash their clothes and repack in time for a two-week trip to their ongoing mission in Accra, Ghana.

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Pediatrician Pam Taylor checks a reluctant toddler in a Haitian medical clinic. See photo gallery.

Scotts Hill, a fast-growing church just north of Wilmington, is directly involved in missions at many levels. Its mission pastor and administrator Jimmie Suggs organizes the mission efforts and leads many of the teams.

When he put the word out that medical personnel were needed for the Haiti team some members that anticipated going could not make it. Medical members widened the net and enlisted several colleagues for the team.

They ended up forming the largest team since Feb. 1, with enough people to accompany Haitian staff to two medical clinics each day, and to make up three shelter construction teams.

Bud Goolsby, a relentless servant at 62 who is always looking for something to do even when other team members are resting, said his mission trips to Ghana, Haiti, Ecuador and Honduras have provided a “practical view.”

“You’re not just giving and praying for something you’ve never seen,” he said. “You’ve been there.”

Now, he said during a lunch in the Miami airport on his way home from Haiti, “I can’t see children anywhere without seeing the heart of God broken over the need.”

He appreciates meeting committed people, utilizing their God-given talents in God-ordained work. He mentioned specifically Scott and Janet Daughtry, the on-site coordinators for the Haiti relief effort. “You probably have to be out of your mind to go down there and work as hard as we did,” he said. “But I’d do it again.”

Dana Ferrell who was sharing the lunch in Miami, encouraged people to go at least once. Recalling a frustrating two and a half hour experience trying to get out of the Port-au-Prince airport that morning, with jostling crowds shoving for position in stifling heat, he said Satan will throw up roadblocks at every turn.

“Even today,” Ferrell said, “Satan would have liked to see us get frustrated and not want to go back.”

BR photo by Norman Jameson

When Scotts Hill Baptist Church volunteer Dave Lucas learned one of the interpreters was also a barber, he submitted to a haircut the Haitian way. He drew a crowd and future customers Daniel Lee from New York, back, and Bill Barker, right. See photo gallery.

Brandon Lisk, a young father newly emboldened for missions and encouraged by his wife, Amanda, plans to be involved in an international trip each year, “just make it a part of my life.”

In addition to the ministry he provides, it is a good opportunity to “turn off the phone and not have the responsibilities of work and family,” for an extended period to concentrate on ministry and spiritual things “away from selfish desires.”

The best part of a trip is “bonding and fellowship with team members” he said, pointing out that not all the team members to Haiti knew each other before being united by common task.

A week earlier Chad Hodges, who was embarking on his first international mission trip, discussed the expected heat and hardships facing him and the team in Haiti. He was unfazed.

“I want to go somewhere where I have to suffer to serve Jesus,” he said.

The Daughtrys ameliorated the “suffering” as much as they could, providing good food and cold drinks on a conveyor belt that dropped its contents into the dehydrated and hungry stomachs of team members.

“One thing about teams is God only sends the good ones,” Scott Daughtry said. “Not many bad folks will spend $1,000 to travel halfway around the world to help somebody.”

Such work is not without risk. Scotts Hills’ pastor Phil Ortego is on temporary leave, suffering from an undefined illness he evidently picked up in April during a mission trip to Ecuador.

Team members were moved when they delivered 20 cots and 20 blankets to children at the Victorious Kids Orphanage in Titanyen. Hodges’ wife Amy thought far enough ahead to send a suitcase packed with flip-flops and toys with him.

Director Oscar Jeanmendes and his wife Christine first started the orphanage a year ago in their home to get pregnant teens off the dangerous streets. In July, they moved into a cement block, tin roofed building constructed in large part with North Carolina Baptist Haiti relief gifts.

Children were sleeping on the cement floor, getting damp and sick. There is no electricity, plumbing, or kitchen. Cooking is over charcoal in an alcove outside and on the morning of a visit, some wandering goats were helping themselves at the pot of rice.

But today the children sleep on cots, under roof, wearing flip-flops, in the care of a loving Christian couple and sing with joy. (See video of children singing as well as other video footage from Haiti at the Biblical Recorder’s YouTube channel:

Volunteers who see, hear, feel, taste, smell and touch that moment understand the difference between supporting missions and being on mission.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Jameson wrote about his experience while in Haiti. Follow his daily blog by reading the first entry.)

Related stories
Haiti trip will change, challenge bless volunteers

Daughtrys: ‘We’re just like anyone else’

Mission trips enliven Scotts Hill members
6 months & counting: Volunteers toil, shed tears
Editorial: What difference does it make?
Photo gallery
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9/7/2010 7:17:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments

6 months & counting: Volunteers toil, shed tears

September 7 2010 by Barbara Denman, Baptist Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Tattered red, yellow and green umbrellas edge Port-au-Prince’s broken and battered roads, providing shade for street vendors who struggle to eke out a day’s wages by selling everything from groceries and clothes to tires.

Gleaming buildings bearing such names as CitiBank and Hertz and a myriad of automobile dealerships stand in stark contrast to the rubble and garbage still strewn throughout Haiti’s capital city.

Even as signs of commerce have reappeared in the more than six months since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake of Jan. 12, Port-au-Prince residents are forced to scrounge for life’s basic necessities. Seas of tents and blue tarps form makeshift cities covering open fields, barren lots and river beds as the nation grapples with providing housing for the estimated 1.5 million homeless.

A former police headquarters stands vacant, its parking lot now home to relief agency tents.

Across the street, a collapsed multi-storied building is tackled by workers with sledgehammers and hauled away in buckets. For their efforts, they receive only $5 a day in wages.

By some estimates, 3,000 NGOs — non-government organizations — are operating in Haiti. Yet despite their massive efforts, there is much work to be done to help the crippled nation inch toward recovery.

“Life has improved” since the earthquake, concedes Phito François, the Confraternite Missionaire Baptise d’Haiti (CMBH) director of missions for the Port-au-Prince area.

“The people are still living a difficult life, living in the streets and existing with no food,” the Baptist convention worker acknowledged. “They fear their life will never be like before. They believe they will die in the streets.”

The tens of thousands who live in tents cope with daily seasonal rains that soak their belongings and leave them susceptible to diseases and pneumonia. People bathe in the streets and many young women turn to prostitution for money, which results in unplanned pregnancies, François said.

Yet a spiritual movement is gaining momentum as Haitians cry out to the Lord, François said.

“There are no places to sit in the churches, more benches are needed to hold the people.”

François and his fellow CMBH pastors have held crusades and revivals throughout the country appealing to the Haitians’ need for spiritual restoration and salvation. As a result, more than 150,000 people have made professions of faith and 135 new churches have been started where the new believers are concentrated.

“They know only the power of God can save them now,” François said.  

At the mission house
It’s “Day 156” according to a sign taped to the dining room wall at the Florida Baptist Convention Mission House in Port-au-Prince. The reminder is needed. In Haiti, days run together. Only Sundays stand out as volunteers put on clean clothes for worship in a nearby Haiti church.

More than 1,000 volunteers representing 30 state conventions have been lodged at the mission house as they minister to the Haitian people.

There they eat together, pray together and sometimes weep together. They begin each morning holding hands with their Haitian brothers and sisters in devotions. Prayers are offered in English and French Creole. At day’s end, they reflect on their labors and insights.

“I don’t usually cry easily, but I have shed a tear every day since I have been here,” Ryan Melius of Santee, Calif., said during one evening meal. He and a team of fellow California Baptists spent the week building temporary homes in Jacmel, south of Port-au-Prince.

“The poverty here is heartbreaking,” Melius said. “Yet the gratitude of the people and the presence of the Lord is inspiring.”

As the mission team lifted hammers and drove nails in Jacmel, neighborhood residents were spellbound by the Californians’ presence and sense of purpose. At the end of the week, their witness had stirred 106 Haitians to accept Christ. The volunteers also taught construction skills to a Haitian man who then found employment to construct other homes. Before departing, the team left all their tools — as well as their work boots — for the Haitian workers.

In the past six months Southern Baptist volunteers have performed a wide variety of ministries, “filled with God stories,” said Fritz Wilson, director of Florida Baptists’ disaster relief department and on-site incident commander for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.

Florida Baptists have been in partnership with the CMBH for 15 years, starting more than 1,000 churches and then assisting the congregations in their growth and ministry.

It is the CMBH organization of directors of missions and pastors that has allowed Southern Baptist Disaster Relief to flourish throughout the country, Wilson said. It is the churches that have given Southern Baptists an opportunity to be there while other agencies are unable to respond.

“We are six months into this and have done an amazing amount of work,” Wilson said. “All around us are God stories, of Him placing people in Haiti to have the right skill set that we needed — even without our knowing we needed it.”

Wilson has coordinated a team of Haitian employees as drivers, security guards and translators to accompany each volunteer team when they go beyond the gates of the Florida Mission House compound, which also serves as the CMBH offices. As many as 100 volunteers sojourn in the house each week.

Immediately after the earthquake, volunteers met emergency needs — food and medical care — while inspecting homes and counseling pastors in how to help their members.

Volunteers also have journeyed beyond Port-au-Prince to outlying cities and towns where as many as 600,000 people fled to escape the devastation and danger from the earthquake. The city of Jeremie, like others in the country, with a population of 30,000 before the disaster, has swollen to more than 100,000 residents.

In the heat of the summer, temporary shelters for the homeless were built and collapsed buildings were demolished with sledgehammers. Volunteers unloaded shipments of Buckets of Hope, containers filled with food and cooking products from Southern Baptists throughout the United States, and distributed them to needy families. Other teams ministered in churches, leading revivals, discipleship training and sports clinics to boost the morale of Haitian children.  

Village revival services
Four bare light bulbs provided the only illumination at the nightly revival services at the CMBH church in Deloge, except when the electricity was malfunctioning in the tiny village located between Port-au-Prince and St. Marc.

Each night four young adults from Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., climbed precarious rocks on a slippery and obscure pathway to arrive at the remote church.

One Sunday night, Richard Kerins, 24, shared with those in worship, as well as those who stood outside peeking through openings of the cement blocks, his own spiritual struggle and attempted suicide. The strapping, good-looking blond told the Haitians he found hope to keep on living through a renewed faith in Jesus Christ, beckoning them to follow the Savior.

At the end of the worship, a teenage girl came forward to accept Christ and returned the next morning for discipleship training.

It was a night Kerins said he will long remember — the first time he had led another to Christ. Pastor Renuad Charles called the night “extraordinary. You don’t know the value of this one soul.”

By week’s end, the team, ranging in age from 21-27, saw 35 conversions, including 12 children who prayed to receive Christ.  

Range of ministries
Through Southern Baptist cooperation, state conventions, associations and individual churches have adopted specific ministries in locations across Haiti.

Southern Baptists also are partnering with other evangelical relief agencies, including the Salvation Army and Samaritan’s Purse, to construct temporary homes for the displaced. These two organizations have donated building materials while Southern Baptists volunteers supplied the labor.

At a village invisible from a highway east of Port-au-Prince, Marie Carme Jean is among those who lost their homes in the earthquake. The mother of five, ages 15, 13, 11, 6 and 4, was forced to move in with relatives. But through the efforts of her church, New Eglise Baptist d’Haiti, Southern Baptist volunteers cleared the debris from her damaged structure and built a temporary shelter for the family from materials donated by Samaritan’s Purse.

“The yellow shirts came to help,” she said, describing the attire worn by the Baptist disaster relief volunteers.

In a week’s time, 10 temporary homes were built in the village, obvious by their tin roofs, wooden beams and bright blue tarp walls, and concrete blocks from their original homes have been salvaged to rebuild permanent homes.

Herman Charles, a deacon in the New Eglise church, lingered outside the new dwelling for the family of 12. His young son stirred beans in a pan over an open charcoal fire while, nearby, an old woman sat on the ground washing clothes in a simple wash bucket in her lap.

The interior of the home is distorted by the sun bearing down on the vinyl walls, casting an indigo hue. The family suffers through the oppressive heat of the afternoon, their only ventilation from air pockets at the roof. Yet it provides shelter for the youngsters and his five-day-old newborn, Charles Evan, who slept quietly in a bed while his siblings rested on bare shelves constructed from plywood and 2x4s.

The father expressed concern that the blue tarp can be cut by thieves with a sharp instrument to harm his family. But he says it is better than being out in the open where they had lived the past five months.

When the fall begins, Florida Baptists will take on a new ambitious task of building 1,000 new permanent homes to replace the temporary homes and help other homeless families. The work will be done by Haitians trained with job skills and given wages to improve both their lives and the economy.

Details will be announced in the near future, Wilson said.

“What people in the U.S. may not understand about relief work is that it is a marathon,” Wilson said. “That is especially true in Haiti. We are not in a sprint, we have only gone the fifth mile. Now it is time to shift gears.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Denman is director of communications for the Florida Baptist Convention. Biblical Recorder Editor Norman Jameson wrote about his experience while in Haiti. Follow his daily blog by reading the first entry.)

Related stories
Haiti trip will change, challenge bless volunteers

Daughtrys: ‘We’re just like anyone else’

Mission trips enliven Scotts Hill members
6 months & counting: Volunteers toil, shed tears
Editorial: What difference does it make?
Photo gallery
YouTube videos
9/7/2010 7:07:00 AM by Barbara Denman, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Ezell’s heart beats for church planting, adoption

September 3 2010 by Mike Ebert, North American Mission Board

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — When Kevin Ezell invited Buff and Cissy McNickle on stage at the 2010 SBC Pastor’s Conference in Orlando with newborn son Jedidiah, it became an emotional highlight of the two-day event.

Ezell led the conference to establish a fund for pastors who wanted to adopt, and Buff, a Florida pastor, was the first to benefit from the fund. But the couple still had $10,000 in outstanding costs associated with the adoption of Jedidiah and his twin brother, Judah.

“They don’t know this,” Ezell said to the audience with his arm around the tearful couple, “but the generous sponsors that we have for the pastor’s conference are going to pay your adoption off in full.”

Ezell’s family has been greatly impacted by adoption. He and his wife, Lynette, have adopted three children, each from different nations.

“It has made a huge impact on our biological children because it has made them more missions-minded,” he says. “And I tell people our family always has someone to cheer for when we watch the Olympics.”

On Sep. 14, trustees of the North American Mission Board will hold a special meeting in Atlanta to consider making Ezell the new president of the entity. The 48-year-old currently pastors Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.

Ezell first sensed God’s call to ministry when he was a high school sophomore.

“My parents and pastor didn’t really push me into it at the time,” he recalls. “They believed that if it was a true calling of God, I would pursue it on my own.”

That call was confirmed and solidified during his time as a student on a tennis scholarship at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.

Photo courtesy of Highview Baptist Church

North American Mission Board (NAMB) trustees will meet Sep. 14 in Atlanta to consider the unanimous recommendation of NAMB’s trustee search committee to approve Kevin Ezell as NAMB’s next president.

“I thought at the time that I would go into student ministry,” Ezell says. He had served in student ministry at First Baptist Church, Paducah, Ky. The church’s pastor at the time, J. Robert White, serves today as executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention.

With financial help from First Baptist, Ezell attended seminary at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Nearing completion of seminary, God began turning Ezell toward senior pastor roles, although he says his first attempt at preaching was not exactly a success.

“It was a miserable experience,” he now recalls, laughing. “My wife called her mother and said she was praying about what kind of work she could do to support us.”

But soon after that came a call from Hilltop Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, and Ezell became pastor of the congregation of seven. He specifically reached out to the growing Hispanic community near the church and by the time he left in late 1988, half of the church’s 50 members were Hispanic.

Ezell pastored First Baptist Church, Hartsville, Tenn., from early 1989 to 1991. He led First Baptist Church, Marion, Ill., from 1991-1996. 

When Ezell came to Highview in 1996 the church met on a single campus and averaged 1,200 on Sunday mornings. Today, Highview consists of seven campuses, one that meets across the Ohio River in southern Indiana. Two of the campuses consist of Hispanic congregations. One meets on campus at the University of Louisville. The church now averages more than 3,000 in worship attendance.

“We realized we were not going to reach Louisville from where we were located,” Ezell remembers. “So we were faced with staying where we were or relocating. We decided to do both.”

Highview’s separate campuses each have their own teaching pastors, but weekly staff meetings and accountability from Ezell keep the Highview culture and standards present on each campus.

“What has happened at Highview is that I have surrounded myself with great people,” Ezell says. “I don’t mind being the dumbest guy in the room.”

Highview’s 2010 missions giving goal is $1.4 million with $582,000 being spent locally, $150,000 nationally and $700,000 internationally. The church web site includes a calendar with more than two-dozen mission events and trips scheduled for 2010. Last year more than 500 of Highview’s members participated in a mission trip.

Ezell has led Highview to start several new churches since becoming pastor. The church is currently funding eight church plants in Atlanta, Boise, Idaho, Clarksville, Ind. (a Louisville suburb), Cleveland, Indianapolis (two churches), New York City and Philadelphia.

“All of our church plants are in major cities,” Ezell says. “For too long Southern Baptists have put their churches in the same places while the Northeast, the West and Canada are underserved. When people have been in the same place too long, they can get stale. There is something invigorating in doing something new.”

Ezell believes church planting success is more about finding high quality planters and focusing on quality churches rather than quantity.

“I like to invest in young leaders and church planters. I like to find the right people more than invest in a particular city. We’ve focused a lot on quantity and I’m not sure Southern Baptists are buying that as the best way to measure it.”

Ezell says his heart is in finding pastors and churches who want to plant churches and finding ways to get resources to them.

“The greatest unused resource we have are the pastors and the people of the Southern Baptist Convention. We need to get them invigorated to start churches. What we should focus on is developing sending churches and finding passionate pastors and allow them to plant churches,” he says. “There are people out there who are passionate about seeing people come to know Christ and passionate about starting churches. It’s not about being a funnel but being an amplifier for those who are doing it anyway.”

Ezell says his excitement about NAMB’s new potential grew after passage of the Great Commission Resurgence recommendations at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention in June.

“The messengers really sent a message that they want NAMB to be focused on church planting. That really excited me—to look at North America and get as many people engaged in this as possible and give it our best shot.”
9/3/2010 7:57:00 AM by Mike Ebert, North American Mission Board | with 1 comments

Pastor, wife killed at Lottie Moon’s church

September 3 2010 by Baptist Press

PENGLAI, China — A Chinese pastor and his wife were slain Aug. 31 at Penglai Christian Church, where Lottie Moon, an icon of Southern Baptist mission work, served in the early 1900s in Penglai, China.

Pastor Qin Jia Ye and his wife Hong En He, both in their 80s, were killed in the church’s office on Wednesday. The suspect — a 40-year-old former church member — was arrested within an hour of the early morning incident. The couple’s violent death is a shock to many, both in China and the United States.

The church was closed for 49 years after communists came to power at the end of World War II, reopening in 1988 with only 20 people. Qin reported 300 baptisms several years in a row. Today, there are 3,600 members.

Chinese newspaper accounts state that the suspect entered the church office carrying an axe and struck the pastor and his wife, killing them both.

The church eventually outgrew Moon’s original structure and built a modern 1,500-seat sanctuary next to it with the help of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga.

“From the moment I met Pastor Qin, I could sense a Christ-like spirit,” said Bryant Wright, Johnson Ferry senior pastor and current Southern Baptist Convention president. “We are incredibly saddened by this tragic event, but we know one of the Lord’s faithful servants is with Him forever in Heaven.”

Qin graciously acted as tour guide for a large number of Southern Baptist leaders passing through Penglai who wanted to connect with the community where Moon served.

Wanda S. Lee, executive director-treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union, visited the church during a 1997 China tour. In spite of numerous church responsibilities, Qin and his wife welcomed the group warmly, Lee said, and it was obvious they were well-loved and respected.

“We are deeply grieved at the news of (the) death” of Qin and his wife, Lee said. “It is a great loss to the Christian community.”

Candace McIntosh, executive director of Alabama WMU, took seven college students to China in 2008 to experience firsthand the history and work of Southern Baptists. Penglai Christian Church was a stop on the tour.

McIntosh remembers admiring Qin’s humble and quiet strength as he prepared for worship, as well as his ability to state the message clearly for all to understand. After the service, Qin spent a great deal of time talking with the team of young women about Moon’s legacy.

“He was so encouraged that younger women were there, learning about the history of Lottie Moon and the Chinese church,” McIntosh recalled. “I know the legacy of Lottie Moon will live on, but one of its greatest communicators is no longer with us. I know Qin’s legacy will live on, too.”
9/3/2010 7:55:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments

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