In the summer of 1995, we were making plans to return to the U.S. from Argentina for our second furlough. We had spent our initial furlough in the Dallas-Ft.Worth area as it was near my parents and also where we had lived for ten years during seminary. We opted to come to the Kansas City area for our second furlough to be close to Jason, our oldest son, as he began college at the UMKC Medical School. Before we left though, we had the unique opportunity to spend some time attending the Congress of the Baptist World Alliance that was held in Buenos Aires the week of Aug. 1-6.
The BWA meets once every five years in a different site in a celebration they call a “Congress” that brings together Baptists from around the world. The BWA is an outstanding organization that unites a very diverse group of some 38 million Baptists from more than 200 different unions and conventions worldwide. The week of the meeting in Buenos Aires was one of the coldest we’d ever experienced in that city and the delegates who had come from Africa were woefully unprepared clothing-wise for the bitter cold. Local churches took up collections of coats and blankets to help visitors stay warm during the meetings. The impact of seeing Baptists from around the world worshipping God as they sang praises in their native languages was a bit of a foretaste of what I believe heaven will be like.
Our church has the wonderful opportunity of hosting a meeting on October 16th at 7:00 p.m. in our sanctuary to introduce the new general secretary of the BWA, Dr. Neville Callam. Dr. Callam is from Jamaica, and is a direct descendant of slaves who were taken there from the African country of Ghana. In an interesting twist of history, Dr. Callam was elected to the BWA’s highest office this past summer in Ghana, the very place from which his ancestors had been taken as slaves. If you live in the Kansas City area, I hope you’ll make plans to attend the service on Oct. 16th. Our own choir and orchestra will be leading in worship. The BGCM website has a promotional poster about the event that can be downloaded and printed to share the news with others in your church or faith community.