VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 5/20/13)—On Monday, May 20, three American Baptist college students embark on a month-long mission trip to the Republic of Georgia, in eastern Europe. These students have been working for several months in anticipation of this trip – filling out paperwork, fundraising, and praying for God’s power and love to be experienced by all.
For the first time ever, the IGNITE team will also include two young Baptist leaders from the country hosting us. These two team members will participate fully in all of our activities and stay with us throughout the trip.
IGNITE is sponsored by American Baptist International Ministries (IM) Team members include:
Sarah Coots of Hamilton, Ohio
Tamuna Gogaladze of the Republic of Georgia
Ina Osikmashvili of the Republic of Georgia
Alexander Toro-Maradiaga of Cumberland, Rhode Island
Victoria Zeiner of Clayton, Indiana
IM Global Consultant for Peace and Refuge and team leader Dr. Daniel Buttry has commented, “Some of my best experiences in mission have been working with the young adults first in the Xtreme Teams and now in IGNITE. These folks are already leaders or they wouldn’t have been chosen for the teams. To see their leadership grow as they engage in cross-cultural mission keeps me young at heart and always growing. The relationships often continue long past the dates of the mission encounter because of the depth of sharing and the impact upon the shape of lives and ministry.”
The Republic of Georgia is a country of about 4.7 million which borders Turkey and Armenia to the south, Azerbaijan to the east, Russia to the north, and the Black Sea to the west. While in Georgia, IGNITE team members will love and serve the least and the forgotten. This will include particular ministry with the elderly, with long-since-displaced refugees, and with orphans in a state-run boarding home.
Says Buttry, “The Republic of Georgia as a mission context will ignite a heart for serving Christ, not just because of the needs to be met, but because of working alongside the Georgian Baptists. The Georgian Baptists, though a tiny percentage of the total population of the country, are creatively and courageously involved in transformative mission in their own culture. All of us on the IGNITE team will learn much from them as we serve together in the Lord’s name.”
Please pray for Sarah, Tamuna, Ina, Alex, and Torie while they are working together in Georgia from May 20-June 19. You can read bios and stay informed on the progress and experiences of the team by visiting their blog regularly: http://internationalministries.org/teams/570.
American Baptist International Ministries was organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America. It began its pioneer mission work in Burma and today works in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas serving more than 1,800 long-term and short-term missionaries. Its central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationship with God, and change their worlds through the power of the Spirit. It works with respected partners in over 70 countries in ministries that meet human need.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.