VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/1/16)–A story of a great and surprising spiritual awakening taking place now in Baptist Churches in Cuba is the subject of the 2016 World Mission Offering (WMO) from American Baptist International Ministries (IM). The initiative is being launched today in congregations all across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
A free comprehensive packet of educational materials arrived in churches in August. It includes a 24-page Global Mission Study Guide, a full-color poster and a DVD with eight short videos (most in both Spanish and English), plus bulletin inserts, a newsletter article and much more. Click here to download additional materials or call 1-800-4JUDSON to request that a sample packet (Item #W934) be mailed to you.
The resources focus on the amazing stories of church growth in Cuba over the past 25 years. After decades of harsh restrictions, “the church of God has risen from the ashes,” says a retired Cuban church leader who witnessed the remarkable change first hand. “In God’s time, the hearts of so many people have been opened up to the goodness of the gospel.”
Since 1990, the number of churches in Cuba has grown by 450 percent, the number of baptisms has risen by more than 500 percent and the number of prayer groups and of total memberships have climbed in equally high numbers, according to the Eastern Cuba Baptist Convention.
The focus Scripture for the 2016 WMO truly captures the spirit of this age:
“on earth as in heaven”
Matthew 6:10 NAB
By participating in the WMO using the video and print resources provided by IM, churches in the U.S. and Puerto Rico will be inspired by stories of courage, resilience and unfailing faith in God despite very difficult circumstances. Videos bring to life remarkable stories of Cuba’s Baptists. For example, “Miracle in Jiguani” explores life in a small Cuba city where a house church has grown from seven people to 314 members in just nine years. “A Prayer for Cuba,” a video in both Spanish and English, features a heartfelt prayer written by Area Director Adalia Gutierrez Lee for the people and church of Cuba.
Many of the global ministries that IM supports and develops, as well as IM’s establishment of new areas of ministry, could not continue without generous contributions to the WMO. Individuals and churches can give to the WMO now and year-round. Gifts to WMO help IM touch lives in more than 70 countries around the world through the holistic ministries of inviting people to be disciples of Christ. Individuals can give through their churches. They may also give online or by sending a check to World Mission Offering, International Ministries, PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482.
New for this year: From now until September 30, when you give on line or by a personal check, your undesignated gift to I am IM – WMO will be set aside to create a Challenge fund. This will enable every undesignated dollar donated for WMO after September 30 to be DOUBLED up to the total of the Challenge fund. Gifts for the support of individual IM global servants are welcome but will not be doubled.
If you or your congregation is interested in learning more about how you can volunteer with Baptist partners in Cuba, contact email@example.com for general information, or firstname.lastname@example.org for volunteer information.
American Baptist International Ministries celebrated 200 years of ministry in 2014. American Baptist International Ministries (IM) was organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America. It began its pioneer mission work in Burma, (now called Myanmar) and today serves God through more than 1,800 short- and long-term global servants in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. Its central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationships 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 approximately 5,000 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.