In Spring 2017, we invited American Baptists from across the country to share their Transformation Stories – this is a part of the Transformed by the Spirit initiative. Videos and written stories are included as provided by local churches and American Baptists. Want to share your story? Submit written and video submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. View the full list of Transformation Stories here.
Transformation Story: Health Care Kits – Migrant Ministries North Capital Area Baptist Association, ABC of New York State
As people from the churches in the Capital Area Baptist Association of the American Baptist Churches of New York State gathered together for the ordination of George Stefani into pastoral leadership, their gathering became a moment also of working together in mission. An offering of personal hygiene items had been collected for migrant workers and their children. After the service of ordination, during the reception, the personal care items were sorted and built into sixty-eight health care kits. The kits were given out through Migrant Ministries North.
The missional imagination of this Association of churches began to form through conversations about “Mission from the Gospels” training with Dr. Ron Carlson and Rev. Sam Brink, sponsored by the American Baptist Home Mission Societies. As part of the training, the Association created six teams among the participants. Each team intends to explore and engage in mission together within these six focus areas: partnering with the race track ministry in the Saratoga Spring area, creating health care kits, partnering with an urban congregation and their food ministry, creating a clearinghouse ministry to connect people in need with resources to help them, and creating a community meal ministry. Each team has access to “seed money” from the Association.
The needs are great. And as Rev. George Stefani noted, “the size of the need can paralyze people. So we tend not to do anything. But Jesus said, ‘go and see what you have’” to give. The Association is attempting to do that as they listen to their neighbors in need. Rev. Stefani recently sat and talked with the principal of the elementary school in his neighborhood. She was surprised when he asked the simple question, “How could the churches in the area help you?” With surprise, she responded: “What has changed? Since when do churches want to help people?”
No doubt, as these churches of the Capital Area Baptist Association continue to work together in the mission of Jesus, they will surprise many others!
(written by Marty Carney)