Worth a thousand words
Early in life Ted Wilcox knew God had given him a desire to make exceptional
photographs, and he knew photography was a powerful tool for conveying
information and ideas. He had no idea photography would take him to 16
countries around the world.
A member of Saddleback Valley Community Church in Mission Viejo, California,
Ted credits the church for giving him a clear vision and direction for using
photography in missions. God had been maturing me through Bible study for years
to prepare me for missions, says Ted. However, he didnt feel fulfilled or
directed. Then I started attending Saddleback, became involved in the childrens
ministry and volunteered with the communications ministry as a
Ted got his first taste of missions as a leader and group photographer on a
youth trip to Mexico. Ted has childhood memories of growing up in church and of
missionary reports. I would sit in the back and say to myself, No, not me, I am
definitely not called to go to Africa or China.
Name: Ted Wilcox
City: Mission Viejo, California
Mission: Taking Gods love to far off places.
The trip to Mexico changed those early apprehensions about international
missions. It planted the first seeds of desire to work internationally and to
use my photography talents toward that purpose, says Ted. Within one year I
traveled to Africa and Eastern Europe on mission trips.
Since then, Ted has taken several mission trips with teams from Saddle-back
and gone on assignment for organizations such as Samaritans Purse and the
Serving as a photographer in a foreign country can be challenging. Because
of language barriers, he communicates with simple gestures and smiles. I never
want to be perceived as just another member of the media trying to get a story,
says Ted. I want people to know Im there for a different purposeto share
Just being a westerner often provides special privileges and a platform for
earnest attention and discussion. Recently, on a trip to a remote village in
Tajikistan, Teds missionary guide told him that their visit with a family was a
huge honor that would be bragged about and discussed for a long time.
7 ways you can be on mission through prayeran essential ingredient
of any mission endeavor.
1. Call 800-554-PRAY (7729) for current missionary
2. Visit www.namb.net/prayerline for a list of
missionary birthdays and prayer requests.
3. Subscribe to the North American Missions Prayer-Gram by calling
4. To identify where missionaries are serving and how you can pray
for them visit www.namb.net
5. Subscribe to Missions Mosiac for a list of both North American
and international missionary birthdays by calling 800-968-7301.
6. Adopt and pray for a Strategic Focus City by visiting www.namb.net/prayerline.
7. Call 800-395-PRAY for international missionary
Teds most recent mission trip was to Afghanistan in 2002 to document and
help with the distribution of shoe boxes for Samaritans Purse Operation
Christmas Child. I never get tired of watching children as they receive their
gifts. Words cant describe the moment when a local leader explained to the
children that some of the gifts were from New York City children who had
suffered at the hands of terrorists. But most important, he acknowledged that
the gifts came from Christians who wanted to share Gods love, says Ted.
Sharing Jesus long
What would it be like to have a personal evangelism strategy where everyone you
talk to has spiritual questions and you never have to leave the comfort and
safety of your own home? Just ask Jeanie Huntshe loves it!
Jeanie works out of her home in Harrison, Arkansas, as a data entry worker
and babysitter. Jeanie is also a telephone encourager for the North American
Mission Boards Evangelism Response Center (ERC). The ERC in Fort Worth, Texas,
was designed to give Southern Baptists across the country a common phone number
for evangelistic responses. The national phone number1-888-JESUS-2000is used by
state conventions, churches and other groups and is included on evangelistic
materials, plus it can be found on television programs, radio and newspaper ads
or even magazine articles.
COURTESY OF JEANIE HUNT
When people call the toll-free number, the ERC routes their calls to
volunteer encouragers across the continent. The anonymous calls come to
volunteers like Jeanie, who has led more than a dozen people to the Lord over
the phone. Being a telephone encourager has given me a new boldness to witness
directly to people.
Jeanie read about the telephone ministry in 1999. I had been praying that
God would open a door to ministry for me, says Jeanie. Sharing Christ with
sitting in my own home was almost too good to be true! She inquired about
how she could be part of this incredible opportunity.
I was terrified the first time I logged on, but I soon realized it was the
Holy Spirit doing the talking, helping me remember my Bible study from that day
or the devotional I had read earlier, says Jeanie. I was only required to be
available, and the Lord equipped me.
Name: Jeanie Hunt
Location: Harrison, Arkansas
Mission: Using todays technology to share a 2000-year-old
Most who call Jeanie have questions, doubts and fears about their spiritual
life. Her goal is to help callers clarify their relationship with Jesus, and if
they dont have a relationship Jeanie encourages them to trust Christ.
I got a call from a six-year-old boy who wanted me to sing, Jesus Loves Me
to him, recalls Jeanie.
His father had walked out on the family, and he needed love from his
Jeanie finds that most people who call and are led to the Lord are ready;
they just dont know what they are supposed to do to have a new life in Christ.
Thats where the role of a telephone encourager comes in.
One time Jeanie answered the phone and a man said, I would like to ask Jesus
into my heart on this Thanksgiving Day. Jeanie made sure the man understood the
decision he was making and then led him in a prayer where he asked Christ into
In my spare time, in the comfort, safety and privacy of my own home, I can
extend my Masters hand to people I would never have met otherwise, she
For information on becoming a telephone encourager call Joy Neal at
817-570-1409 or email email@example.com.
outreachMike and Katherine Raether are two of the 80 people who
live in Zortman, Montana, where coffee is free at the local caf and people
laughingly refer to their climate of nine months of winter and three months of
relatives. Originally from Washington State, Mike and Katherine moved to
Zortman to start a church. Years ago God put it on my heart to be a church
planter, Mike says.
COURTESY OF THE RAETHERS
My wife and I visited Montana for the first time about seven years ago, says
Mike. We felt the Lord was preparing us for a move out of the Pacific
Northwest, and we had an idea He might have Montana in mind. As they prayed and
traveled, they drove through small towns without any evangelical churches. I
was distressed at the lack of a gospel witness and became interested in pioneer
missions. It became the deep desire of my heart to establish churches in remote
areas where others might not be willing to go.
It takes a certain type of person to live in such a remote place, Mike says.
Its 180 miles round trip to a decent-sized grocery store. But God has
tailor-made us for this place.
Names: Mike and Katherine Raether
Location: Zortman, Montana
Mission: Planting churches in the fertile soil of
Adopting the lifestyle of the locals, Mike and Katherine live in a mobile
home, drive a truck and stock their freezer with enough wild meat during
hunting season to last the year.
Because 50 percent of the Zortman residents live below the poverty level,
Katherine began a free store ministry in a donated mobile home where people can
choose from donated clothing and household articles.
Five months after Mikes arrival, with volunteers from Joshualand Ministries
in Florida, Little Rockies Community Baptist Church was built and dedicated,
debt free. A ministry that began with eight people in the Raethers living room
has seen 20 people come to faith in Christ and several baptized. On Sundays, 95
percent of the children in town are in church along with an equal percentage of
The Raethers responded to the call of God, left comfortable jobs and grown
children and went on faith to a faraway land. With Jesus as their model, they
simply trust and obey and expect God to bless. No place is too remote, no
church is too small.
goldMost visitors to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City,
Utah, came to see the incredible athletes pursue their dreams of Olympic gold.
Thanks to Southern Baptists like Toni Naylor, many spectators left with more
than memories of gold.
Toni, a US/C-2 missionary committed to two years of service in the U.S. or
Canada, spent two years in Salt Lake City serving with the Global Outreach team
responsible for preparing volunteer evangelistic efforts for the 2002 Olympics.
Toni led the team in the ski village of Park City that reached out to the
thousands of spectators who came to see events like the adrenaline-pumping
giant slalom and gravity-defying snowboarding events.
Toni coordinated the volunteers positioned at warming and hospitality
stations, efforts that resulted in many brief encounters with spectators. She
and the others shared Christ using the More than Gold trading pin and pocket
guide. Both tools use the colors from the More than Gold logo to present the
plan of salvation. Some of these encounters resulted in immediate professions
of faith while others were opportunities to plant seeds of Gods love and
Name: Toni Naylor
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Mission: Sharing Christ with visitors to the 2002 Winter
Toni learned about missions as a child through Mission Friends, Girls in
Action and Acteens. Throughout middle and high school, she went on several
mission trips with her youth group. It finally clicked by the time I was a
senior and making plans for college that I could actually be a missionary one
day. I felt a strong desire to devote my life to mission work, in some form or
During college Toni took advantage of summer mission opportunities that took
her to Anchorage, Alaska, and Vail, Colorado. By the time I graduated, I
couldnt imagine having a full-time job in anything other than ministry, says
Toni. God put a desire in my heart to go and share the gospel no matter what
the sacrifice, no matter the cost.
Toni felt God calling her specifically to Resort/Special Event
Ministryreaching people outside the four walls of the church. Through this
ministry, I am able to meet people where they are, and I can introduce them to
Jesus when they are not expecting to meet Him, says Toni. Im learning how to
creatively get peoples attention. Then finding ways to meet their needs so I
can earn the right to share my story about what God has done in my life.
Toni also felt God calling her specifically to the western part of the
United States, places in our country where there is not a church on every
corner, where people dont grow up hearing about Jesus. She found Salt Lake City
to be an incredible mission fieldespecially during the Olympics. Not only did
she touch the lives of people in the United States, but she also shared Christ
with people from all over the world.
People ask Toni when shes going home to Florida. She just smiles and says, I
am home. Home is where God sends you, where He calls you to be on
Breaking ground in pioneer missionsPolice
Chaplaincy is a pioneering field in Canada. Not all that long ago, the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had only one chaplain for the whole country.
Ben Yablonski came to Lake Cowichan, British Columbia, to pastor a small
Baptist church. After 12 years of pastoral ministry Ben felt the Lord was
directing him toward police chaplaincy. Ive been an auxiliary RCMP officer
[like a reserve constable] for many years, so I had a natural in with the
officers, says Ben.
COURTESY OF BEN YABLONSKI
Ben is now associate pastor at Victoria Baptist Church, the only Southern
Baptist church on Vancouver Island. His focus is chaplaincy care to emergency
service personnel. The North American Mission Board has appointed him as a
Mission Service Corps missionary.
As a chaplain, I go on ride-alongs with the constables and offer a listening
ear, says Ben. I think of this as preventive maintenanceproviding a sounding
board for the little problems before they become big ones. Ben employs morale
boosters like birthday cards and Smile File, a joke sheet with encouraging
quotes from Proverbs or Psalms.
Name: Ben Yablonski
City: Lake Cowichan, British Columbia
Mission: Ministering to the Royal Canadian Mounted
Emergency service chaplaincy is not outreach, but reaching in to a close
knit, even suspicious, subculture of our society.
Ben knows it took integrity and trust to move him through levels of
acceptance with the other officers.
I was told by a chaplain in the United States that it often takes two to
five years to break into a department, says Ben. My first day as a chaplain,
God had me in the front seat of a police car in the first 20 minutes I was
there. Most chaplains dont experience that kind of success so soon.
A little over a year ago, Ben was visiting one department of 30
officers. Today, he visits 330 officers across seven detachment areas. During
his career, Ben has been a firefighter, coroner and Justice of the Peace, but
none of those jobs was as rewarding as serving as chaplain alongside the men
and women in the RCMP.
Since September 11, doors have flung open for discussions about God and
faith, sharing who God is with those who are merely curious and those who are
truly searching, says Ben. Its been the most rewarding part of the
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC