Mission Update!

Check out this update from some of our missionaries! Be in prayer for the needs they mention, as well as for God to open doors to them, for the Holy Spirit to soften hearts for the Gospel, and for God to receive glory through Jesus Christ in everything they do. If it helps you, print this out and post it on your mirror or somewhere else you'll be sure to see it as a reminder to pray.

Janine and John Gravley, Hong Kong

American Baptists relate to a number of different partners in Hong Kong. One of our partners is Haven of Hope Christian Service. This group began as a medical clinic serving TB patients in Hong Kong. In the 1950's we began offering some financial support for this work. Over the years we have provided funds for the development of this clinic. Haven of Hope now includes a hospital, medical and social services for elderly, disabled and special needs members of our community. Recently Haven of Hope decided to open a Nursing Home to care for the increasing number of elderly in Hong Kong. It was decided that this nursing home would develop a full range of caring services consistent with Haven of Hope's purpose.

Haven of Hope's Mission - “Through a ministry of holistic care, we strive to share the Gospel and develop a Christian community. In the love of Christ, we deliver our service in a caring, professional and progressive spirit so that the lives of those serving and being served are mutually enriched.”

The Sister Annie Shau Nursing Home opened on 9 May 2005. The very next day God provided an opportunity for the staff to fully realize their hope for this service. This is their report:

“A healthy elderly lady, was supposed to join her daughter, a Christian translator, to stay in China. However, due to a hand fracture, she was hospitalized and was directly discharged to the Nursing Home on May 10th. Our nursing home was chosen by the daughter because of Haven of Hope's Christian traditions. The daughter requested daily “Quiet Time” for her mother. Every day staff read the Bible and sang hymns with her and very soon this attracted other residents to join the activity. From then, quite quickly, a daily fellowship group of residents was formed. This lady is now recovered and in China with her daughter. It seems that the Christian work of our nursing home has been started by the help of an elderly lady with a fractured hand in the period of 8 weeks while she stayed with us.”

God began working even before Haven of Hope had anticipated but they were ready to see God's activity in their midst. What a wonderful example of being ready and open to God's work in our midst!

Please pray for Haven of Hope and the various ways they share God's love in Hong Kong.


What is Prayer?

prayer1 (prĂ¢r)
    1. A reverent petition made to God, a god, or another object of worship.
    2. The act of making a reverent petition to God, a god, or another object of worship.
  1. An act of communion with God, a god, or another object of worship, such as in devotion, confession, praise, or thanksgiving: One evening a week, the family would join together in prayer.
  2. A specially worded form used to address God, a god, or another object of worship.
[Middle English preiere, from Old French, from Medieval Latin precria, from feminine of Latin
rius, obtained by entreaty, from precr, to entreat.]

So, this is what the dictionary has to say about prayer -- not very exciting, is it? I mean, a "reverent petition"? What does that even mean? As Christians, we can sometimes get caught up in a mental definition of prayer, or in a formula for prayer (like "God is great, God is good, and we thank Him for our food" or the Lord's prayer), and it can really keep us from experiencing God's blessings in our prayer lives! It's not that the Lord's prayer is a bad thing, or that the bedtime prayers that we learned as children are evil, it's just that our creative God expects us to turn our brains on when we talk to Him -- and that's what prayer is really all about. Whenever you talk to God, whether out loud, or in a song, or inside your head, you're praying.

When we love people, we tell them so. When we get a gift, we say thanks (at least I hope so)! When we're frustrated or afraid, when we want or need something, when we can't get through a situation on our own, we talk to someone about it. Maybe our friends can't help or understand our problems, but we tell them anyway because it brings us closer to them. It's the same with our Heavenly Father: prayer builds our relationship with Him because we are taking time to focus completely on Him, even for just a moment. And when we pray, we can have the confidence that comes from knowing that God loves us, has a good plan for our lives, and wants us to experience the joy of living with Him every day.

But I have a question for you all: what is prayer in your life? Is it something that happens at meals occasionally or at bedtime with your younger brothers or sisters? Do you remember to pray when you're not at church? God wants us to talk with him all the time and about everything, not just on Sunday mornings or during mealtime.

So what do you need prayer for? Are you nervous about school this fall? Do you wish you and your siblings got along better? Do you need help with a decision you know you need to make but have been putting off? Stop worrying, stop wishing, and stop procrastinating. God loves you, and He wants you to climb up into His lap and tell him all about the things you care about. And we will come alongside you by praying for you, too.


Day One of the Rest of Your Prayer Life

Well, campers, you've been home for a little while now, and it's time to start living what you've learned. So, with the help of my family, I'll be keeping this blog up to date, posting an article about prayer, or some info about prayer needs for missions. Then you all can post comments with updates about your life along with specific prayer requests for yourself and your friends and family. It will be a great way to keep each other accountable about staying in the Word, sharing our faith, and living a lifestyle of prayer.

There is one catch, however...

Anyone who posts a comment or a prayer request has to promise two things: first, that they have already read or will read their Bible that day, and second, that they will pray for the other people mentioned on the blog.

Isn't technology grand?

The first post will follow very soon!