Missionary Profile: Katie and Taku Longkumer

Taku and Katie serve as country coordinators for India, providing mission coordination of International Ministries personnel and partners in the country.  They also serve as advisors and consultants to the Bengal Orissa Bihar Baptist Churches Association and to the Council of Baptist Churches in North East India (CBCNEI).  Taku works with CBCNEI and its six member conventions to strengthen mission training, supervision, caring and support, while Katie’s focus is promoting worship and providing counseling training.

They ask for our prayers in these things:

  • That believers in Bhutan would have protection and courage to share their faith.
  • For church growth and the freedom to worship within the nation of Bhutan.
  • For protection, provision, wisdom and discernment for the leaders and members of the growing house church movement related to the project on line.
  • For protection and strength, as their ministry requires extensive travel, often in challenging conditions.
  • For Taku and Katie as they return to India following our U.S./P.R. Assignment, leaving their adult children and now a grandchild behind!

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7)

Missionary Profile: Rev. Dr. Paul Rollet

The Rev. Dr. Paul Rollet of Chatham, Illinois, has been appointed as an associate missionary by American Baptist International Ministries (IM) in 2016.  In association with Mission Ministries, Inc., Rollet is serving in the Philippines with Companion with the Poor (CWTP), a church planting organization and community working to launch holistic churches that meet the spiritual needs of the poorest of the poor living in metro Manila.

Through this ministry, Rollet aims to help strengthen and grow the capacity of CWTP to send missionaries to North and South America and other parts of the world. Rollet’s ministry of training Filipino believers to themselves be missionaries expresses IM’s commitment to mission from everywhere to everyone.  His home church is Cherry Hills Baptist Church in Springfield, Illinois and so, as a side note of interest, he has regularly attended the World Mission Conference in Green Lake, Wisconsin.

Rollet’s appointment with IM began in June 2016.  “However,” he notes, “I actually served with Companion with the Poor for two years in 2012 and 2013 while working on my doctorate through Bakke Graduate University.  After returning to the United States in 2014, I felt called to return to the Philippines and work again with Companion with the Poor.  My desire is to see holistic transformation in urban poor communities around the world and to invite more people to join the work.”

The Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chan, IM’s area director for Asia, India Hong Kong and China, says, “IM has always had a heart for the under-privileged.  Our partner, the Convention of Philippines Baptist Churches (CPBC), shares the same burden to send pastors to establish churches and provide social services in the urban poor communities in metro Manila.  Paul’s appointment will connect IM, CPBC and CWTP to multiply our capacity to transform underprivileged communities.”

Missionary Profile: Aaron & Valerie Osterbrock

Valerie and Aaron Osterbrock of Hamilton, Ohio, were endorsed on December 13, 2016, by American Baptist International Ministries (IM) to serve at the Sabah Theological Seminary in East Malaysia.  They will be the only IM global servants currently serving in this Southeast Asian island country.

After they have raised the needed financial support and have been commissioned, they will teach theological education at the seminary with an emphasis on the Master of Divinity and Bachelor Degree programs.

Valerie was born in Boston, but grew up in Singapore and Australia. “I’m a cultural mongrel,” she explains. “I trained as a high school and middle school English and Humanities teacher. She holds a Master of Divinity degree and a Master of Theology degree.

When asked why she feels called to this ministry, Valerie said, “God has given me both the passion and the training for this. I am excited about what God is doing to grow his church in the developing world, and I love being able to come alongside local leaders and playing a part in equipping and encouraging them.”

Aaron is an ordained American Baptist pastor.  He participated in mission trips to Africa and Thailand. “The Lord had stirred my heart to serve,” he recalls, “but I didn’t know what that would look like.” He now holds a Master of Divinity degree and a Master of Theology degree.

“I am excited about helping students develop in their understanding of the Word of God,” said Aaron. “Ultimately, I desire to see students grow in their relationships with the Lord and see my relationship with him grow in the process.”

Valerie and Aaron will move to Sabah, Malaysia, with their children: 18-month-old Theophilus and a second child due to be born in May 2017.

Please pray for the Osterbrock family.  Thank you!

Missionary Profile: Amanda and Jon Good

The Rev. Dr. Jon and Amanda Good are endorsed to prepare for ministries of evangelism, discipleship, education and theological education in partnership with the Baptist Union of Hungary.  Amanda will assist with music education at the school managed by the Baptist Church in Debrecen, as well as those managed by Hungarian Baptist Aid (HBAid).  She will also assist with discipleship ministries of the Baptist Church in Debrecen.  Jon will assist the Baptist Church in Debrecen with its evangelistic outreach, church planting and church development ministries, and will assist in the training of Christian leaders through the Union’s seminary.  Amanda and Jon will also work with the church planting efforts of HBAid.  An excerpt from Jon Good’s April 10, 2017 journal entry:

“ True freedom is only discovered through experiencing and yielding to Christ.

“When Amanda and I visited Budapest last summer, we had our photo taken in front of a symbolic iron curtain.  The Iron Curtain was a historical barrier that separated parts of Europe from the rest of the world.  Today, there are no occupying armies or cruel dictators, yet the Hungarian people still yearn for freedom.  Captivity is widespread in the form of addiction, economic hardship, and hopelessness.

“This is why the gospel message is ‘good news’ for the Hungarian people.  As Christians give witness to a hope-filled life, people see that Jesus is the key to freedom.  They are enthusiastically embracing the message of Christ.  Enrollment in Baptist schools continues to climb, there is a need for more outreach ministry, and new churches are being born.  Praise the Lord!  People are being set free by the deep and abiding truth of Jesus.”

Languages used in ministry: English and Hungarian

Missionary Profile: Sue Hegarty

Sue Hegarty serves in Costa Rica in partnership with the Baptist Federation and the Pastoral Care for Women ministry.

She teaches seminary courses for training pastors with the Costa Rican Baptist Federation, as well as serving as liaison with American Baptist mission teams.

Sue also teaches in the leadership development program for the inter-denominational ministry of Pastoral Care for Women.  This ministry seeks to give Christian hope to women in a male-dominated culture by teaching them of God’s love for them, which then empowers them as they seek to reach their potential as women of faith.

Previously Sue served for 12 years in Cuba where she taught at the Baptist Theological Seminary and directed an editorial group responsible for writing and publishing Bible study materials for all age groups for the Eastern Cuba Baptist Convention.  Prior to that she worked for five years in Nicaragua as the Christian Education Promoter for the Baptist Convention, where she and other national leaders led teacher training workshops and published Sunday School curriculum.

The Pastoral Care for Women program in Sue’s ministry specializes in courses that help women, especially those in abusive situations, find hope and personal growth from a liberating Christian perspective.  Many of the program graduates go on to minister to others.  Sue develops and teaches courses for this ministry and is revamping current class content and materials for republication.  With the Baptist Federation, Sue works to strengthen the ministries of churches and their pastors by teaching classes, Bible studies and workshops.  She is a liaison with American Baptist mission teams that visit Costa Rica to develop fraternal relationships and assist with in-ministry projects.

In addition to praying for Sue’s work, please pray her family’s physical, emotional and spiritual health and a good balance between school, work and family time.  Thank you!

Missionary Profile: Ann and Bill Clemmer

Bill and Ann Clemmer serve in South Sudan, the world’s newest nation.  Bill’s work has involved training South Sudanese health care workers and establishing health centers; Ann is involved in literacy and helped establish a Christian school in the nation’s capital.

The past few years have been extremely challenging for South Sudan, which since the end of 2013 has been embroiled in a devastating civil war that has left over 200,000 dead and over 2,000,000 seeking refuge.  Less than a month after the war began, Bill visited the regional capital, where government and rebel forces had fought a fierce battle two weeks earlier.  A hundred thousand persons had fled the city, including health care workers.  Clinics and hospitals had been pillaged or burned to the ground.  The dead still lay where they had fallen.  The Clemmers wondered if it was time to seek an alternate calling.  But God had not called them to South Sudan to quit when things became difficult. Jesus acknowledges that we will face difficulties, but reminds us that he has overcome the world.  They elected to remain in South Sudan.  With their partner, IMA (Interchurch Medical Assistance, Inc.) World Health, Bill recruited eight teams of doctors and nurses from within the refugee camps and equipped them to provide health services to fellow refugees.

Meanwhile, the Christian school in the capital of South Sudan has moved forward.  It’s growing despite the conflict.  In all such endeavors, Ann and Bill acknowledge the power of God and trust in him alone for their needs.  God is more than able to bring to completion all that he has begun. 

Please pray for the Clemmers and for a true and lasting peace in South Sudan and the eventual and safe return home for the millions who have been internally displaced.

Missionary Profile: Johnny Walker

Because February is the month for the America for Christ Offering, this month we feature Johnny Walker, Executive Director of Kodiak Baptist Mission (KBM), in Kodiak, Alaska.

Johnny reinvigorated and expanded Heritage Farms, the organization’s equestrian program for children.  All of their horses are all friendly and safe for kids.  However, as they teach children to care for horses, they also teach them to be safe around such large beasts.

Kodiak Baptist Mission was established in 1893.  In addition to Heritage Farms, KBM’s other programs include summer day camp, Sonshine Preschool, after-school program, food bank, and pastoral retreat center.

At summer camp, children in grades 1 through 8 are provided a safe, friendly, Christ-centered environment in which to use their imaginations to discover hidden talents and abilities, experience new adventures, and learn about the wonderful world around them.  Activities range from kayaking, pottery, fishing, and gymnastics, to name a few.

Kodiak Baptist Mission is committed to providing the utmost care to developing minds through preschool programs.  Sonshine Preschool cares for children aged 3+ in a safe and intentionally-structured setting.  Children learn social skills by playing together and caring for others; pre-academic skills (math, writing, letter names and sounds); music and art; and, most importantly, they learn about Jesus’ love for them.

Johnny hails from West Virginia, where he was middle-weight state wrestling champion in 1979.  He graduated from West Virginia Institute of Technology in 1982 and married his high school sweetheart, Robin, in that same year.  Robin is a full-time volunteer with KBM’s various children’s programs.  Johnny and Robin are parents to Johnny III, a medical doctor; and Jenna, a nurse practitioner.

Please pray for Johnny and Robin and their work at Kodiak Baptist Mission.  Thank you!

Learn more about Kodiak Baptist Mission by visiting this website:  www.kodiakbaptistmission.org.

Missionary Profile: Mylinda Baits

baits-01Mylinda Baits is a pastoral artist, activist and advocate. She is passionate about the prevention of all forms of exploitation, particularly human trafficking; the healing and transformation of trauma survivors; and the resilient witness of the people of God in the Iberoamerica-Caribbean region.

Traveling extensively throughout Latin America, Mylinda partners with IM colleagues, national church leadership and various social change organizations to address the exploitation and trafficking of women and children as well as to use restorative art-making for trauma recovery.  Compelled by Jesus’ invitation to come, grow and change, she strives to embody grace and seek justice through accompaniment, mentoring and modeling the use of the expressive arts in community worship, trainings and trauma care for survivors.

Mylinda uses her gifts of hospitality and pastoral care to create sustainable and safe spaces where servant leaders and those who do the hard work of rescue, relief and restoration can be nurtured and renewed. Mylinda also works directly with those who have experienced or are at risk for exploitation and trafficking.

Mylinda states that Revelation 7:17 illustrates some aspect of her ministry: “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Please pray:

  • For wisdom, strength and commitment to maintain balance and healthy habits of self and relational care during her busy travel seasons.
  • For sustained energy and creativity for partners in ministry in Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Bolivia and Chile as she and others collaborate to provide educational and empowerment opportunities for underserved women and children in each locale.
  • For the continued growth of creative communities of support, collaboration and mutual care among women colleagues both in International Ministries and among international partners throughout Latin America.

Thank you!

Missionary Profile: Ann and Bruce Borquist

Ann and Bruce Borquist serve as regional missionaries with partner Baptist conventions in Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. They work alongside national leaders to build capacity in servant leadership, church-based community and economic development (including social entrepreneurship) and cross-cultural missionary training. Ann and Bruce have served since 1987 (that’s 29 years) in the Philippines, the U.S. and Brazil. Most recently, they have worked with the National Baptist Convention of Brazil as co-coordinators of the Integral Mission Network and the office of Leadership and Ministry Development. They also have helped equip Brazilian missionaries to share the good news of Jesus Christ in Brazil and around the world.

They praise God for the opportunities they have had to encourage God’s people. Looking ahead, they see that God is preparing new opportunities for service and learning.

The Borquists have two adult children, Elena and Asa.

Ann and Bruce ask us to please pray:

  • For yourself and your church.  Ask God to kindle in you a passion to declare and be the good news of Jesus to those who need it in your community and your world.
  • For us as we adjust to a new ministry in a new place.   Leaving Brazil after 11 years was hard, but we are excited to see what God will do in and through us in SE Asia.
  • That God will use us to build up the partner conventions of SE Asia that invited us to strengthen their programs in servant leadership training, evangelism and discipleship, church-based community development, and cross-cultural ministry.

Read more about the Borquists on their webpage, as well as about how they touch the lives of so many who need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ:

www.internationalministries.org/teams/51-borquist

Missionary Profile: Corenne and Philip Smith

smith-01Corenne and Philip Smith serve as missionaries in Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil.

In Brazil, poor youth often choose life on the streets to escape the poverty of the slums and, more often, to escape abusive families.  On the streets, they are exposed to HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, child prostitution, substance abuse, and violence.

With the blessing of the National Baptist Convention of Brazil, Corenne and Philip minister to children who are part of a residential program that rescues homeless street children and youth, ranging in age from 8 to 18.  The program provides guidance, education, and training for future employment.  All students have completed a paid internship and are employed before they leave the program.  Corenne works mainly with the older children, working with them on life skills so that they can eventually transition away from a boarding school to independent living.  She also serves as a surrogate mother to many of the children, sharing with them the love of Jesus.  After experiencing day-to-day living in a safe, caring Christian environment, most of these children make decisions to follow Christ.

Philip is president and CEO of the residential program, Hope Unlimited for Children, which was founded in 1991.  He is an associate missionary serving in Brazil in a joint appointment by International Ministries and Hope Unlimited International.

Philip and Corenne have two children: Marc and Isabella.  Please pray for the ministry of Corenne and Philip Smith in Brazil:

  • For the adolescents who have experienced unimaginable traumas in their lives.
  • That the house parents would have the patience and wisdom needed to minister to a household of kids who each have their own sets of baggage, of joys, and of sorrows in their short lives.
  • For the graduates who are married, working and parenting their families’ first generation living off the streets.