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BWA Leaders Hear Reports of Growth

While discussing a threat that its largest member convention is pulling out, members of the Baptist World Alliance Executive Committee heard good news about Baptist work prospering on continents around the world.

In Mongolia, where there is not yet a Baptist convention, BWA president Billy Kim preached in a Harvest Mongolia crusade at which an estimated two-thirds of a crowd of 35,000 people responded to an invitation, according to a report from the March 8-11 Executive Committee meetings reported Tuesday in a news release. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
While 70 years of Soviet influence took their toll on church life in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Mongolia, recent political freedom has sparked renewed hope for the Mongolian people, according to the report. Missionaries have been working in the predominantly Buddhist and socialist country for the past 13 years.
 
Kim, pastor of Suwon Baptist Church in South Korea, described a “miracle of grace and healing” that occurred when he and other Korean pastors led a two-day revival meeting for 31 congregations in Japan. About 5,000 people gathered in the rain for meetings.
 
Asian Baptist Federation General Secretary Bonny Resu visited Sikhim, a Himalayan state on the border of India and China, last June. Populated mostly by Buddhist and Hindu Nepali peoples, some degree of religious freedom exists in the small state. Missionaries from Nagaland and Resu started Baptist work there. Resu said two of the Naga missionaries have planted about 20 churches in the last 10 years.
 
The president of the Baptist National Convention of Mexico, Gilberto Gutierrez, said Baptists in his country have set a goal of 1 percent of the Mexican population in the Baptist faith by 2010. Mexican Baptists are seeking to plant a Baptist church in each of 10 “unreached” tribes of Mexico and have a goal of 10,000 churches.
 
Alberto Prokopchuk, executive secretary of the Union of Baptists in Latin America, went to Egypt last October and worked with others to send missionaries from Latin America to Egypt.  “It is very dangerous for Christian Egyptians to share their faith,” Prokopchuk said, “and they often use Web technology and Arabic songs to preach.”
 
Theo Angelov of the European Baptist Federation said an indigenous missionaries program there has taken off, with programs in Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia and some countries in the Middle East. 
 
The news release said other discussion at the meeting included current conflict between the Baptist World Alliance and Southern Baptist Convention. Underlying those discussions were strong messages of support from around the world and a call for unity among the world’s Baptists.
 
A statement by the BWA Executive Committee stated the Alliance’s goal “is to ensure that all we do as the BWA will honor Christ, bear witness to his kingdom and contribute to the unity of his body as expressed through Baptists around the world.”