Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Blessing Is in the Backpack

An excerpt from...

The Blessing Is in the Backpack

By Lisa Blount, Program Coordinator for Blessings in a Backpack, Stockton, California
January-March 2014

The Blessing Is in a Backpack
I started Blessings in a Backpack through my church because I felt God placed it on my heart to do something that not only had impact, but also met a practical need. As a school volunteer, I saw the great needs of many of our children. While I couldn’t meet every need, I could meet a specific one: feed the children.

First I had to set up a program and find an educational site to support, and then raise funds. My church had a relationship with The Center, Peniel Mission in Stockton, California, that became our educational site choice. Although it is not a school, they run an after-school academic program that allowed us to serve them as we would a school. It also helped that Bob and Lisa Margaron, WGM missionaries and directors at The Center, were my neighbors.

The children who attend The Center are from schools with 100 percent participation in Federal Free Meal programs and are in the poorest parts of our city. Kids in this program are fed during the week, but many do not have enough to eat over the weekends.

Blessings in a Backpack provides elementary school children with a backpack of food to take home for 38 weekends during the school year. Items include easy-to-prepare, ready-to-eat foods, such as beans, mac and cheese, oatmeal, and fruit. Better test scores, improved reading skills, positive behavior, improved health, and increased attendance have all been attributed to the success of this program.

My church held a month-long fundraising campaign to raise enough to support 50 kids for a three-year commitment, the minimum the program requests. Teachers have determined it takes about three years to see the gains in students in the program. We now have raised funds to support an additional 10 kids for three years. One hundred percent of the funds raised goes to buy food.

We handed out the first backpacks in January 2013. I do the shopping, my team packs the bags and delivers them to the Margarons, and they distribute the bags every Friday afternoon of the school year.

Anyone can start a group to serve their community!

More!MORE: Blessings in a Backpack is a nonprofit organization currently feeding nearly 62,000 children in 437 schools in 42 U.S. states and three countries. For more information, go to

Monday, March 24, 2014

Prayer Calendar: March 23-31, 2014

Your last missions prayer point inspired by the Partnerships issue of The Call is:

PRAY for World Gospel Mission to continue to grow in the area of partnerships. May God’s name be lifted up and glorified in each partnership, each relationship, and each connection that furthers His kingdom. 

Please join The Call readers in praying this for WGM the week of March 23-31, 2014.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Heart Matters

An excerpt from...

Heart Matters

By Jennifer BennettNigeria
January-March 2014

Heart Matters
The heart matters. When Jesus performed many of His miracles, He touched the body and then the soul. My entire career as an intensive care nurse has been in dealing with the physical heart. More importantly, though, is the matter of touching the spiritual heart. Six years ago, my life and heart changed drastically. I had the opportunity to travel to Lagos, Nigeria, to West Africa Theological Seminary on a dental trip with my church. During a chapel service, I felt called to return for full-time ministry by returning to school to obtain a master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner.

World Gospel Mission is forming a new partnership with WATS and sending Dr. Shelley Chapman and me to minister at the school. WATS is in an ideal location to have a great impact on the entire continent of Africa, as Lagos is home to 21 million people. All seminary students participate in missions outreaches to surrounding communities and countries. The school motto is “To train men and women for holy living, for carrying the gospel to the unreached, and for catalyzing national spiritual awakening.”

An aspect of community development and partnership is through the WATS clinic. Located on the campus of WATS, the clinic has the capacity to serve approximately 200 people per month. The clinic currently has two units with six beds and a laboratory that handles about 50 cases per month. A local physician visits weekly for consultations. In addition, the clinic coordinates with visiting medical providers and teams for community outreach projects. As a full-time missionary, I will be working with the visiting doctor and the matron of the clinic to manage patients’ cases. Health education will be a focus by creating and organizing health-related seminars and workshops for WATS and the local community.

Mark 8:36 (NLT) reads, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” The heart does matter. The students at WATS are posed for global impact. By working alongside, we can touch the body, but, more importantly, reach the soul. This is our call to action.

Pray!PRAY: Pray that God will use WATS to raise a generation of spiritual leaders for Africa.

More!MORE: Learn more about WGM’s partnership with WATS at

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Going for Gold with God's Love

An excerpt from...

Going for Gold with God's Love

By Mike ChuppKenya
January-March 2014

Going for Gold with God's Word
How do you motivate African children to study and memorize God’s Word? At Tenwek Hospital, we have accomplished this by  with encouraging their love for competing on a team.

In 2013, nearly 200 children from several local schools, orphanages, and churches joined the fun of our Children’s Bible Quizzing program. Five or six children form a team and compete in 20-question quizzes over Bible chapters studied with their team over a few weeks. Each team is assigned a coach who studies with them, asks them questions, and listens to them quote verses they have memorized, word perfect. 

In keeping with an Olympic theme, our quizzers earned gold, silver, or bronze medals at the end of the season by memorizing 50, 40, or 30 verses, respectively, from the book of Acts. Nearly 80 children earned gold medals after quoting, word perfect, all 50 verses we assigned. 

We added a second site for the competitions last year at a school/orphanage called Mosop Mission School. One girl who quizzed at Mosop School this year has a remarkable story that the headmaster (principal) told me during one of the competitions. Mary (not her real name) was raised in a Muslim home in Kenya and came in contact with missionaries who were working for Africa Gospel Church and were showing the Jesus film. She was in early grade school at the time and went home full of thoughts of who this Jesus might be. In the middle of the night, she had a vision of Jesus, who came to her and talked to her in a loving way. The next day, she went back to the missionary pastor and told him that the same Jesus in the film had come to her and asked her to follow Him. She gave her life to Christ and then heard of a special school in our area that caters to missionary kids and kids from mission fields in the church.
Mary started attending and became interested in the Bible quizzing program last year. I noticed that she was so full of joy and excitement over quoting scripture and studying the book of Acts. It was great to tell Mary (after the quiz competition) that God must have something very special in mind for her because she had such a personal invitation from the Lord to come follow Him.

Please pray that more children will become involved in our Bible quizzing program and be impacted by God’s powerful, life-changing Word. We are hoping for more than 250 kids in the program for 2014.

Pray!PRAY: Join the Bible quizzing team. Over this next year, each time you open your Bible, remember this group of kids in Kenya working hard to hide God’s Word in their hearts and say a prayer for them.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Prayer Calendar: March 16-22, 2014

Your missions prayer point inspired by The Call magazine for the week of March 16-22 is:

PRAY for children involved in the Bible Quizzing program in Kenya. Pray that they will be forever changed by memorizing and studying God’s word.

This request is inspired by the article, "Going for Gold with God's Word". Read more here:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Surprise Partnership

An excerpt from...

A Surprise Partnership

By Rachel Elwood, Support Staff
January-March 2014

A Surprise Partnership
On August 19, 2013, Berea Bible Seminary in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, dedicated newly built married-student housing, which will provide living space for families attending the seminary. As missionaries Rick and Lori Lampen attended the service, they marveled at the miraculous way the project had come about. Married-student housing had been desperately needed for years, but funding had been difficult to procure.

Almost two years ago, the World Gospel Mission headquarters office received a phone call from Bob Swales, who was acting as estate executor for his in-laws, Harold and Ruth Sipek. No one knew how Harold and Ruth had heard of WGM, but their estate entrusted over $300,000 to WGM. Bob explained that the family wanted to choose projects that would help the church grow, equip future leaders, and make a lasting difference for the kingdom.

“From my position as field director, special gifts and blessings such as this assist in relationship building between the mission and our ministry partners,” said Rick. “I appreciate the seminary, its vision, and its mission to prepare our future leaders. When I first told the rector of the seminary, Luisa De Nuñez, about the gift, her response was: ‘Amen, amen, and amen!’ She had been praying about this need for over a year now, and had no idea where the funds would come from, but had faith the Lord would provide. This gift has truly made a substantial impact in the lives of our young seminary students.”

And still, one of the most amazing things about this gift is that it came about completely unexpectedly. Although no one knows how Mr. and Mrs. Sipek discovered WGM, God had clearly laid WGM on their hearts years ago and He gave them a desire to leave a lasting legacy for the kingdom. Because of the Sipeks’ obedience and faithfulness, many people will find the light of the gospel throughout South America and the world.

GIVE: Be a part of building the church in Bolivia by daonting to Berea Bible Seminiary. Make checks payable to World Gospel Mission and write account #422613-CALL on the memo line. 

Send check donations to:
World Gospel Mission
P.O. Box 948
Marion, IN 46952-0948

Monday, March 10, 2014

Prayer Calendar: March 9-15, 2014

Your missions prayer point inspired by The Call magazine for March 9-15 is: 

PRAISE God for faithful men and women who desire to serve God with their resources after their lifetimes.

To learn more about estate planning with click here: 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Community Transformation through Partnerships

An excerpt from...

Community Transformation through Partnerships

By Larry OverholtHonduras
January-March 2014

Community Transformation through Partnerships
As facilitators of community transformation, missionaries can benefit by developing partnerships with other organizations. By working with others, they have increased potential for building bonds of trust in the community. Partnerships also increase our access to a diversity of resources. As a result of working together, we are ultimately likely to accomplish much more than we could by “going it alone.”

In Choluteca, Honduras, WGM missionaries and local church leaders are building strategic alliances with business leaders, educational institutions, and governmental agencies. The Choluteca collaborative involvement with The Ohio State University is one example of a valuable partnership that continues to develop beyond anything that we could have initially imagined. The working arrangement between World Gospel Mission and Ohio State began in 2000 when my wife, Angie, was studying for a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Out of a desire to expose fellow nursing students to the medical conditions in Honduras, Angie teamed up with her professor, Dr. Kathleen Stone, and one other student for the first nursing brigade to Choluteca.

The OSU nursing brigade has since grown to involve around 40 participants each year. Presently, students from the nursing, pharmacy, and medical schools have the opportunity to receive three hours of credit for participating in this study abroad program from Ohio State. Professors and medical professionals accompany the students to oversee the educational experience. Every year around 1,500 patients are seen in a five-day period. The local church helps organize the event in each community, and church members participate by offering spiritual counsel to patients.

Part of the advantage of networking is that our contacts and opportunities are multiplied when we work with others. The OSU medical connection is branching out to include other possibilities within Ohio State and also at other universities in the United States and with the university system in Honduras.

The OSU College of Engineering has started sending teams of students to design and build alternative energy projects at the vocational school and to work on a business model for the aquaponics projects. The aquaponics project has caught the attention of local businesses and governmental officials who would like to see the model become available to all of southern Honduras.

The OSU College of Agriculture plans to send teams of university students to help us work on vocational agriculture programs. This has led to developing a sister organizational relationship between our Choluteca vocational school and a vocational school in Ohio.
We appreciate your prayer support as we discuss with Ohio State and the Honduras university system ways we can work together to improve nursing education in Honduras. We are looking at the possibility of developing a nationwide vocational nursing program at the high school level as well as improving the Honduras university programs. 

Act!ACT: Create your own partnership and help expand the aquaponics model in Honduras. The Great Co-Mission Catalog offers you step-by-step directions on how you (and your personal network) can raise funds for this missions cause. Find the aquaponics project under community health and development at

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Will They Teach Her That God Loves Her?

An excerpt from...

Will They Teach Her That God Loves Her?

By Twana JohnsonMexico
January-March 2014

Will They Teach Her That God Loves Her?She was 2 years old with beautiful, big eyes; long eyelashes; and curly hair. She was sitting in a walker because she still could not walk. This was the first time I had seen her at the children’s home where our small church has started to go as an outreach. The home is run by a Christian couple, but it is sorely understaffed and underfinanced. A few of us try to go on a weekly basis to bring God’s Word and love to the children through songs, a Bible story, and snacks. They love all three things! Ten to 20 children come each time we visit.

As we went in this time, the director whispered to me, “She’s been abused and that is why we have her here.” My heart was broken as the little girl looked into my eyes and smiled. When it was snack time, a bowl of noodles was set in front of her, but I noticed she was having trouble getting it to her mouth. I sat her in my lap and started feeding her. I couldn’t get it to her mouth fast enough!When she had emptied the bowl, she was still hungry. My coworker went out and got some yogurt and baby food, and she downed that, too. In a home with so many children and being understaffed, time for individual help is not always available, so I imagine she didn’t always get done fast enough to fill up. I wanted to take her home with me, but I knew this was not possible.

The next time we visited the home, the little girl was not there. “She went with foster parents,” they told us. I pray they give her the care and therapy she needs, but will they teach her that God loves her?

Our Bread of Life church is reaching out to help this Christian couple that runs the children’s home. We pray, we give, we pray more, we teach, we pray more, and we love. Pray that God will give us wisdom to know how to give the right kind of help. Pray that the directors will not get discouraged.

Act!ACT: Look around. Does someone on your street, in your school, at home, or at work need encouragement and to know that God loves them? Take time this week to share a “bowl of noodles” or a cup of coffee with them, and be intentional about encouraging their heart.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Prayer Calendar: March 3-8, 2014

Your missions prayer point inspired by The Call magazine is:

PRAY that the many “unwanted” children around the world will find hope in their Heavenly Father.