GLOBAL MISSIONS AT FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH JOHNSON CITY
2019: The 150th anniversary of First Presbyterian’s mission focus.
First Presbyterian Church Johnson City (FPCJC) is on a Mission to Glorify God.
To that end it is an imperative for us as individuals and His church to follow Christ’s commands. His Greatest Command and His Great Commission are foremost. Jesus will not be denied in these, His words of His commission, the last before He left His disciples to carry on their commissioned work.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14
“All the nations You have made will come and worship before You, O Lord; they will bring glory to Your name.” Psalm 86:9
“May the peoples praise You, O God; may all the peoples praise You. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for You rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth.” Psalm 67:3-4
Taking the Kingdom gospel to all peoples, not only individuals, is the task Jesus sets before us, making disciples who will make more disciples, in a strategic multiplication to “get the WORD out!” Yet, in the 21st Century, after 2000 years, there are still over 1,500 language communities, unreached peoples, around the world without even one verse of the Bible translated into their language. There is therefore no church to tell the gospel story to their own people. None may have heard the gospel or many may be following a belief other than the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Data from Wycliffe Bible Translators)
“Those who were not told about Him will see; and those who have not heard will understand.” Romans 15:21
We may tremble at His expectations. Are we left to our own frail and faulty devices to accomplish the task? We believe that can never be. Our God is neither capricious nor unmerciful. We revisit the closing words of His farewell:
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
With this promise often repeated in His ministry, Jesus provides the blessed assurance we seek. But there is more. Just prior to His ascension, He meets with His disciples assuring the gift of the Holy Spirit:
“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit…But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:5, 7
What follows is God’s story of how the gospel overcame and continues to overcome all obstacles. We are privileged to be included in that story.
GLOBAL MISSIONS TEAM
The Global Missions Team at First Presbyterian is an active group that meets once a month. We welcome visitors and new members at any time. JOIN US! For more information, please click here to contact Team Leader Mike McCalmont.
In addition to those called to make the gospel known to those who have never heard God’s salvation story, it is understood missionaries are called to places where the gospel is at least somewhat established, somewhat known, even well known. That kingdom service is essential, telling the gospel story to seekers, strengthening the faith of believers, making new disciples, and raising up those who would be called to minister to the unreached people groups throughout the world.
Our prayerful commitment to that ultimate mission then, both domestically and worldwide, is that all people may come to a life-saving, reconciled, loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In that process of extending His mercy and infinite love, God is praised, lifted up, glorified. AMEN.
THE WORKERS: GOERS and SENDERS/GIVERS!
“How then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.’” Romans 10:15
“Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.” III John 5-6
We appreciate the need to shine a bright light on our efforts, regularly reviewing and renewing our commitment to Jesus’ Great Commission and our responsibilities. That is the message and purpose of what has been our Fall Mission Conference, now referred to as our Fall Mission Focus.
- Are we teaching Discipleship and making Disciples?
- Are we preparing Goers?
- Do we Go?
- Are we honorably providing resources as senders to those answering God’s call as Goers?
- Are we responding in all manner that honors and glorifies God?
Our currently supported missionaries are listed below. Financially, our church, in most instances, contributes only part of the needed sustenance for them each month. Other churches and individuals do the same for these who sacrificially go. Together we partner in this Great Cause of Christ. Certain missionaries serving in high risk areas have asked not to be listed.
Doug and Ruth Baughman – Wycliffe, North Carolina
Lisa FORBES – Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, ETSU, Johnson City, TN www.intervarsity.org
Further information on our missionaries may be requested here.
OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH THE STRANGS TO PROVIDE CLEAN WATER TO THE MAASI PEOPLE IN INKUITO, KENYA
Beginning in 2016, funds were made available from our church to assist the Strangs in bringing essential clean water to the incredibly hot and dusty Magadi region. Funding provided guttering and downspouts and catchment as well as storage tanks for rain water. Pipeline development is underway to bring other communities through their leaders (photo 2) into the clean water network.
OUR PARTNERSHIP MINISTRY IN BELLEVUE, HAITI at ST. INNOCENTS SCHOOL
For a number of years our church has supported the Haiti Education Foundation (HEF) in El Dorado, Arkansas (www.haitifoundation.org). The Foundation in alliance with the Episcopal Church of Haiti strives to provide educational opportunities in the name of Jesus Christ to the children in the remote mountains of southern Haiti. HEF’s exceptional and faithful ministry despite monumental challenges, including recovery from the devastating earthquake of 2010, now operates 35 schools.
In 2012 First Presbyterian Church Johnson City embarked on an expanded commitment in Haiti through partnership with the Foundation, accepting the responsibility of financially supporting one of the 35 schools. This is St. Innocents School in Bellevue, Haiti, atop a mountain above the small city of Bainet on the Caribbean.
The school has three buildings, preschool through grade 6, and has an enrollment of 108 students. In addition to paying operational costs including staff salaries, our church was able to initiate a school day lunch program in 2014. This was accomplished through the excellent ministry of a second partner, Trinity Hope in Franklin, TN (www.trinityhope.org). This organization feeds over 24,000 children in Haitian schools every school day, employing Haitians for food management and delivery.
Poverty is heartbreaking in Bellevue, Haiti. Many of the students walk miles to and from school every day. Before the lunch program became a reality, often that trek was without nourishment. Now they receive a wholesome lunch. Trinity Hope accomplishes that for $.25 for each meal. The lunch program has increased enrollment significantly!
To defray daily lunch costs as well as plan for replacement of one of the two dilapidated school buildings (made urgent following destruction left behind by Hurricane Matthew in 2016), our church has generously supported a student sponsorship initiative each year since 2013.
In 2017, it was a joyous occasion when, on our 5th mission trip, the First Pres team (shown above) participated in the dedication of the new school building. The old and the new school structures are shown below. We now look to eventual replacement of the second building, which has no external walls and only hanging canvas dividing classrooms.
The old vs the new school.
A local artist was commissioned by the school principal to create a painting of the new building for presentation to the mission team. This painting now hangs in our church, a reminder each time we pass by of God’s provision and the joy of going and sending in obedience to His Great Commission.
To encourage students to seek higher education, in 2014 we also initiated a scholarship program for graduating 6th graders, providing for the two students with the highest test scores on the required government examination to go on to secondary school. Now 8 students are enrolled in Ascension Secondary School (termed college) in Bainet, Haiti. The November 2017 mission team was presented this beautifully handmade plaque of appreciation.
During the November 2017 mission trip, the team was privileged to show the “Jesus” film in Haitian Creole. The team hung a sheet and a battery-operated projector did its job. They invited townspeople who sat transfixed as they listened to the gospel of Jesus Christ, a message of forgiveness and hope where the dire message and images of voodoo are part of the social fabric. Freshly popped popcorn—many eating the snack for the first time—was an added delight.
We prayerfully are looking ahead to a next trip and welcome your interest in this ministry. To request more information about the children of St. Innocents School, please click here.