I enjoyed an outstanding time the past few days, fellowshipping with Josue Marroquin, the vice-president of the Guatemala Baptist Convention. I flew from Kansas City to Dallas last Thursday for a meeting of the Guatemala Affinity Group at the headquarters of WorldconneX. Representatives from a number of interested churches as well as the Baptist University of the Americas and Buckner Orphan Care International were present. I went to represent the Baptist General Convention of Missouri. We had a great time of sharing what each group has been doing in their focus on Guatemala as well as engaging in some strategic planning.
Josue had flown up the previous evening from Guatemala and he accompanied me back to Missouri on Thursday evening. On Friday I exposed him to a cross-cultural experience as I conducted a funeral that morning for one of our members. We traveled back to the airport Friday night to pick up Bill Tinsley, the leader of Worldconnex. On Saturday, we all traveled early to Columbia, MO for a missions conference. Bill spoke about new paradigms in missions and Josue and I were able to present the details of the BGCM's three year partnership with the Guatemala Baptist Convention.
We stayed over that evening so Josue could preach the next morning at the Parkade Baptist Church in Columbia. In another cross-cultural experience for Josue, he got to witness my passion for college football as I cheered for the UT Longhorns as they won a tough game on the Texas plains at Lubbock against Texas Tech. The Parkade church was launching their world missions emphasis Sunday morning so our visit was great timing for them. We had a wonderful time with the congregation and enjoyed lunch afterwards with pastor Chris Cook, his wife, and Alberta Gilpin. Josue and I traveled back to Lee's Summit that afternoon and he preached in our church that night. He's a gifted preacher and communicated a clear call to missions involvement in both messages.
On Wednesday I'll be traveling to St. Charles, MO for a West Africa Summit that the IMB and the Missouri Baptist Convention are sponsoring. We have a couple that are members of our church that serve with the IMB in Togo and we want to pursue some missions projects with them in addition to our focus in Guatemala. The only ironic part of this process is that our church will be one of 18 at least that will be (or perhaps has already been) excluded from the MBC during their annual convention meeting in Cape Girardeau October 30-31. Because we have chosen to partner with the Baptist General Convention of Missouri, we are no longer considered "singly aligned" and are thus being ousted by the MBC. We will continue to support Missouri Baptist endeavors, including our direct support of the Missouri Baptist Children's Home and other entities, despite the MBC's decision to sever ties with us and many others churches over the single alignment issue.
I'm looking forward to seeing at least 3 families that are listed on the program for the West Africa Summit that we were appointed with back in 1986. It will be good to renew old acquaintances and hear of the Lord's work in their lives.