Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance

Kentucky WMU will send a team of seven to Malawi in July as part of the KBC Partnership Missions Department “Go Africa” focus.  The team came for a time of prayer, orientation and planning last week.  I shared a devotional based on Psalm 2, a psalm with clear Messianic references. My focus was on verse 8 – “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”  We know that this verse is fulfilled in Revelation 5:8-10 as we read of people from every tribe and nation gathered in praise to the Lamb.  But how this verse is fulfilled has been entrusted to us through the Great Commission.

I remember the first time that I read this verse  and heard God say to me – “The nations are your inheritance, too.  It started when you began praying for missionaries.  It started the first time you gave your own money to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.” 

My first overseas missions trip was to Rwanda in 1992.  As we drove out to visit one congregation, the missionary told us about the people and how they had built the building themselves out of mud bricks.  Almost as an aside he said, “And oh by the way, the tin roof on this building was put here by the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.”  I wept all the way through that service, remembering the first time I earned money and gave it to the Lottie Moon Offering.  That day, at least one nation became my inheritance.

But never would I have dreamed that God would allow me to be a part of His work in Rwanda, Kyrsgyzstan, Romania, Poland, Brazil, Tanzania, South Korea, North Korea, Indonesia, and now Malawi.  But those are only the countries I’ve visited.  The fact is, that through utilizing the missionary prayer calendar and through giving to our missions offerings, God has indeed made the nations my inheritance. 

Todd Deaton led chapel last week, and reminded us of a story told by Henry Blackaby  in Experiencing God about Ivah Bates who Blackaby described as the knee of one church.  This church would bring Mrs. Bates their prayer concerns and she would pray. One student, Wayne, said to Mrs. Bates, “Next Tuesday, I will be witnessing to Doug.  Would you pray for me.”  She agreed and the next Tuesday, at the time Wayne was to meet with Doug, she dropped everything and prayed.  Three months later, Doug made a profession of faith.  Dr. Blackaby saw Mrs. Bates weeping and learned that for three months, she had been praying for this Doug that she had never met.

We have all prayed for people that we have never met.   Through God’s grace, Kentucky WMU is sending a team to be a part of His work in another place through a team that will provide a week of training for minister’s wives.  We will teach Bible and classes related to health, family, and Christian life.  The team will travel July 4-16 and needs your prayers.  These women in Malawi and those they will touch can be the inheritance of all who will join us in prayer.

But my reflections on the nations did not end when the Malawi team left.  I immediately went to another meeting with representatives who work with NAME – North Africa and the Middle East.  Kentucky WMU is starting a prayer partnership with NAME and we are seeking people who will join us in praying.  We will post general information on our web site at:  If you would like to be among the pray-ers who take this to the next level, please email me and tell me of your interest.  We will distribute additional prayer information to those who want to pray for this strategic part of the world. 

A church planting movement among an unreached people group.  A religious leader of another faith turning to Christ.  A receptivity to the gospel in some of the most difficult to reach places and people.  What will our inheritance be?  Will you join Kentucky WMU in praying for NAME?  Will you ask the Lord to make these nations your inheritance?

Let me know of your interest in our NAME prayer partnership.  Email me:  [email protected].

Graduation – Oneida style

Two years ago some missionary friends contacted me to ask about Oneida Baptist Institute.  They were helping a student from the country where they serve to find a boarding school in the United States where she could come for high school.  They wanted to know if this might be a good place for this student, an outstanding young lady with great potential.  I assured them that Oneida would be a great school and I would be happy to be of help.

I learned that a church in Alabama had been sending mission teams to their country for several years, so there were already two families who were eager for her to come and would be the primary sponsors. I have been a part of the support team and provided transportation and overnights at our house on each end of school breaks for Mari, and also her brother who arrived this school year.

This weekend I attended graduation – Oneida style.  No airhorns or the raucous behavior I’ve experienced at the last few graduations that I’ve attended.  This was graduation as it should be.  God-honoring, dignified, yet fun and deeply emotional.  Every student in the 2012 class was individually recognized.  Granted, this is much easier to do with a class of 48, but it was still a three-hour ceremony!  I lost count of how many states and countries were represented in the class.  As each student’s name was called, there was a slide of pictures of that student on the screen, and his or her significant accomplishments as an Oneida student were noted.  And then Dr. Davidson read from each student’s essay about his or her Oneida experience.

The essays had a common theme – initial adjustment to a boarding school in “the middle of nowhere” was hard. Some students came with attitudes about school and authority.  Others had come from other countries and had to adjust to American culture and cope with homesickness.  But the common themes continued as over and over the students did adjust, discovered a “family,” learned the value of work (every student has a job), and made changes in their lives.  Quite a few spoke of their new faith in Christ as Savior or the spiritual growth that they had experienced at Oneida.

I was most impressed with Dr. Paul Davidson, the new OBI president, and know that this beloved school is in capable hands. His experience as a missionary is an asset in this setting which includes students from so many countries.  Dr. & Mrs. Underwood were there to celebrate the graduation of their grandson who was the 2012 class president.  It was so good to see the evidence of a smooth transition in leadership.

We “packed a pew” (actually one full pew and parts of two more) to celebrate with Mari.  The families from Alabama came with a few more folks and I did not quite learn all of the connections.  We were thrilled that she not only received the “most likely to succeed” award, but also received the Williams Evans Loving Cup Award, the TOP honor for an OBI graduating senior.  This award is determined by the faculty for an outstanding senior. 

I’ve always been impressed by the reports from Dr. Underwood about the ministry of Oneida Baptist Institute.  Today, I had a first-hand glimpse into the impact this school makes on students.  Not every student who attends OBI decides to stay through graduation. Some come for a season and then return home, often having made needed academic and social improvement.  Not every student who comes stays, but those who do find OBI to be strict, yet loving as evidenced in the essays shared today.

While waiting for graduation to start, I noted the “hall of fame” pictures hanging in the chapel  There was even a Kentucky governor in the mix of significant OBI graduates. In addition to helping students from Kentucky, there are students from other states as well. And above all, Oneida is touching Kentucky and the world with the gospel.  Students from countries like Ethiopia, United Arab Emirates, Iran, South Korea, Germany, Liberia, and others were part of the 2012 graduating class.  Every one of these international students has college plans and many will eventually be leaders in their home countries.  Who knew in 1899 when Oneida was established that God would use a school in the mountains of Kentucky to teach and share the gospel with students from around the world.  I am thankful for the faithful giving of Kentucky Baptists through the Cooperative Program which helps make the Oneida experience possible!

KBC Reorganization and Kentucky WMU

Many people are asking – Does the KBC reorganization affect Kentucky WMU?  The answer is yes and no.  Yes, we are affected as people that we have worked with in different roles will change.  No, in that we are an auxiliary to the KBC and as such, determine our own staff and finances.

As an auxiliary to the Kentucky Baptist Convention, our role has always been that of “helper” to the convention and to Kentucky Baptist Churches. So who we help and the missions priorities to be pursued will change in the months ahead, but our role as helper will continue.

Kentucky WMU will also continue to challenge Kentucky Baptists to be radically involved in the mission of God.  We will continue to equip believers to respond to God’s call.   And we will be partners in fulfilling the Great Commission.

WMU has six objectives which guide our work.  The objectives are our priorities and we set goals, plan events, and utilize our resources in fulfilling these objectives.  While the WMU objectives are familiar to many, it is vital that we revisit them often.  Everything we do in WMU should help us achieve one or more of these objectives:
– Pray for missions.
– Engage in mission action and witnessing.
– Learn about missions.
– Support missions.
– Develop spiritually towards a missions life-style.
– Participate in the work of the church and denomination.

Kentucky WMU will continue to partner with the KBC and all Kentucky Baptists to achieve these objectives.  We are grateful for Cooperative Program support that allows us to have a top-notch missions education staff and for the Eliza Broadus Offering which helps us provide missions materials, events and resources.  Above all, Kentucky WMU distributes Eliza Broadus Offering funds for Kentucky state missions through the KBC, as well as grants to Kentucky Baptist Associations, and a host of ministries across our state.  Here are some thank you notes recently received:
From Pauline White, MSC Missionary, Shepherd’s Pantry, Lynch, Kentucky:
“We were able to purchase 240 of the Outreach Bibles. We are working with the people who have received John/Romans and if they have need and are interested are giving a Bible. We expect to give out all before 2013.  Thank you.”
From Irvine Baptist Association:
“The $500 grant was given to East Bernstadt Baptist Church for tornado relief. The tornado tore through the community, destroying several homes,  and killed several people. East Bernstadt Baptist Church along with Laurel River and Irvine Baptist Association are helping the survivors.”
From the Food Pantry of Blackford-Breckinridge Baptist Associations:
“Our food pantry serves the community and in 2011 averaged serving 70 families a month…With your donation were able to purchase a freezer, eight cases of Bibles, and food items.”
From REACH of Northern Kentucky: “Just received our grant notification. Can you hear our hearts singing ‘O Happy Day’?”
From Haven of Hope Pregnancy Services:
“The EBO grant was used to purchase Spanish Bibles for Spanish-speaking clients, literature for new moms and dads, abstinence literature, and curriculum for moms about parenting.”

As is true of all KBC related work, including allocations to the KBC agencies and institutions (such as Sunrise, Oneida, our Baptist colleges, and Crossings), Cooperative Program funding to Kentucky WMU was decreased this year and will decline again in 2012-13 as we increase the funds going for missions beyond Kentucky.  At the same time, we have increased the EBO allocations for missions through the KBC.  Please keep us in your prayers as we are careful stewards of the resources entrusted to Kentucky WMU.  Wise management across the years has allowed us to continue our work in spite of budget cuts.  Continued diligence and reliance on the Lord will be required in the days ahead.

Your gifts to the Cooperative Program, Eliza Broadus Offering, and the Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund are all ways that you can support the work of Kentucky WMU and help us keep the vital missions objective of WMU as our top priority.

Learn more about the KBC Reorganization at