“Watch to see where God is working and join Him in His work.” – Henry Blackaby
When I was a young “whipper snapper” in West Texas (they really had those then), our little country church had missionaries who would visit. They would give stirring reports of how the gospel of Christ was being proclaimed in exotic lands of which I would never know. We saw them as modern-day heroes of the Christian faith. They had given everything to follow God’s call upon their life.
It wasn’t until I was in college that I began to meet people who were serving as missionaries in our own country. During that time, I was privileged to take a mission trip to Indiana, and then another to Washington, D.C. In doing so, my definition of “missionary” expanded to a job description that included me.
You may never have considered the fact that FAITH is perfectly positioned in a mission field. Church groups come to Maryland from all over the country to serve here on mission. This geographical area is teeming with people in desperate need of experiencing the love of Christ as expressed through His followers. God may not be calling most of us to serve as missionaries in a foreign land, but He is calling us to be one where we are now!
You and I have many opportunities to serve Christ in our neighborhoods, schools and work places. Beyond that, FAITH is sponsoring some God-sized mission events in the coming months. Time and space don’t allow me to give details for them all. However, please let me tell you about the one that’s allowed me to be a missionary for the last six years.
Westernport, Maryland is a beautiful three-hour drive from Glen Burnie - about 25 miles south of Cumberland. This coal mining community is one of the most economically depressed areas in our country. The poverty of many citizens there has led to hopelessness and addiction to alcohol and drugs. Yet, standing on a hill high over the town is a beacon of light. The large three-story building, which 15 years ago was Westernport High School, is now named Bruce Outreach Center. The entire facility was purchased seven years ago by a small Baptist Church, led by pastor Steffan Carr. FAITH was instrumental in supporting that decision and made a five-year commitment at the beginning to bring a mission team at least once each year to provide whatever ministry was needed. We’ve surpassed that commitment, but we are continuing to support and celebrate what God is doing there. You can go onto their website and see that they are averaging over 175 in worship each Sunday and baptizing new believers every month. BOC sponsors an extensive Food Give-Away and Clothes Closet each week. The church also leads sports programs and hosts discipleship meetings and support groups almost every evening.
Our mission team last summer completed the work, which enabled BOC to open their childcare center. This summer, our construction team will be retrofitting part of the school building to serve as three apartments, which will in turn be used to help three families break the cycle of poverty. Other team members will help in the various church ministries and community service events. Since housing and meals are provided at BOC, the financial cost is minimal, but the rewards are great!
If you want to check out some places where God is actively working, head over to the Missions page and take a look. There you’ll find some exciting opportunities close-by, where God will use you to make a difference for His Kingdom. Along the way, you’ll also discover the joy of serving with other missionaries. We’d love to have you join us!