Singing for joy – and success!

Singing for joy – and success!

Christian children in Bangladesh are being set up to fail. But with your support, BMS World Mission can help them to change their futures. It all starts with a song.

A rickety bus winds its way around Bangladesh. It started the journey in Dhaka, the country’s restless capital. Many hours later it reaches a village, where a little girl called Ariysha is singing a rhyme:

Boys and girls come to pick flowers
Make a garland of flowers
Place it around your neck
And go to Uncle’s house

Ariysha is at preschool. For children like her, singing songs at school is a novelty. She is used to memorising for her primary school entrance exam. If she fails, she has little chance to continue her education. Doors of opportunity will swing shut. Her world will shrink. The pressure is on for Ariysha and her classmates. And it’s a wonder they’re in preschool at all.

With cramped classes and repetitive learning, many children don’t want to attend school – especially in poor, rural areas. Instead of going to school, children from the age of four collect heavy firewood or work out in the fields. Parents are also afraid that if their children don’t get into primary school, they will need to send them away to work and support the family. Girls as young as eight can be sent to work as live-in housekeepers, whilst boys can be hired out as manual labour.

Christian children, especially, are falling behind. Christian preschools in Bangladesh lack the most funding as Christians are a minority group in the country. There are simply not enough Christians to fund the preschools. This means children like Ariysha are often in large classes, don’t have the materials they need, and don’t pass the primary school entrance exam.

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Christian children are a minority and not a priority. Without the education they need, it’s harder for them to gain further education and therefore, stable jobs, in a country where they already face persecution for their faith. But BMS is changing that.

A Bangladeshi teacher stands in front of children wearing green school uniform.
Teacher Asio Kubi now teaches his class using songs and games.

Back on the rickety bus we find BMS educational consultant, Louise Proctor. Thanks to your support, she trains teachers in 25 Christian schools across the poorest, most rural parts of Bangladesh. Travelling for more than 15 hours to reach some schools, Louise shows teachers how to use games and songs in their teaching. Research has repeatedly shown that learning through play is much more effective than by rote.

“The very small children didn’t want to come to school before because they were scared…now they come every day. They are much more eager to learn than before!” teacher Asio Kubi says. Now parents are happy, seeing their children flourish. “I learnt to teach with joy, love and encouragement,” describes Asio. When a teacher enjoys teaching, children enjoy learning.

Children who enjoy going to school and learning are more likely to succeed.

Louise’s vision for the future is to coach local trainers. With their increased insight, they will be able to apply what they’ve been taught specifically to their villages. It’s a method of multiplication, meaning more schools will provide better quality education.

A man in a blue shirt and a woman in a pink top sit together and talk about education.
Louise Proctor and Asio work together to discuss the best ways to teach the class.

Thanks to BMS supporters, Ariysha now attends school with a smile. She learns by singing, by having fun and by understanding what she’s taught. But there are still children who are being left behind. Help to make Christian children in Bangladesh a priority. Help to give them a future that doesn’t include child labour or being sent away to work. Give what you can and pray for Bangladeshi children today. You may just give them the chance to succeed where no-one else could.

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Words by Melanie Webb

Made in God’s image

Made in God’s image:

celebrating World Down Syndrome Day

Mothers in Gulu, Uganda gathered together on 21 March 2019 to celebrate their children and tell their stories. Stories of raising children made in God’s image. Stories of raising children with Down Syndrome.

It was a party with a purpose. Eight mothers arrived at St. Philip’s Health Centre, Gulu, and stepped into a room strung with blue and yellow bunting, photos of their children displayed on each wall. A beautiful piped cake waited on the table. As the children began to mingle and play, and guests arrived, a ribbon was handed to each person. Its colours matched the bunting on the walls: blue and yellow for World Down Syndrome Day.

A woman wearing a blue t-shirt for World Down Syndrome Day pins a ribbon to the t-shirt of another woman.
Party-goers wore blue and yellow ribbons to raise awareness of World Down Syndrome Day.

Finding themselves part of a worldwide celebration came as a surprise to mothers like Alice, Lucy and Everlyn. After all – they had been so used to handling everything on their own. Before they joined a support group led by BMS World Mission worker Lois Ovenden, each of these mothers had felt adrift – left to care for their child’s particular needs alone.

Even medical professionals had struggled to identify these needs, let alone explain them clearly to each mother. Rocked by rumours, misinformation and worry as their children grew, it was testament to the strength of each woman that they’d made it to the celebration thrown by the group. They had come because of their conviction that there was so much to celebrate.

A woman in a blue t-shirt holds out her hands to catch her young son.
Alice holds out her hands to catch her five-year-old son, Innocent.

In many parts of Uganda, Down Syndrome isn’t widely understood. Doctors are reluctant to identify it, as diagnostic tests aren’t generally available. Medical professionals refusing life-saving treatment for babies with Down Syndrome is not uncommon. Many mothers have to fight for their children’s safety and well-being. It can be a lonely calling.

A man in a blue t-shirt smiles and takes care of a young boy with Down Syndrome.
Some parents are told their children will never be able to read, write or have a job.

Videos of the mothers telling their stories played around the room, alongside videos of parents from across the world. Speech and language therapist Isaac Ojok invited Vision TV and radio station Mega FM to the event, and members of a local church arrived too. It was a courageous choice for the mothers, to celebrate something with family and friends that they had been told to keep hidden. And the presence of local media gave them confidence that their stories were something they could share with the world.

A group of mothers in blue t-shirts stand around a white cake and prepare to cut it.
Mothers of children with Down Syndrome came together for the first time in the BMS-led support group

The party on 21 March was a special day, but it was just one day in BMS worker Lois Ovenden’s ongoing-work, serving as a speech and language therapist and running the support group in Gulu. The mothers at the party also returned home to busy weeks, looking after their children as they juggle work, home and family life.

But each time the support group meets, the mothers grow in confidence. They tackle misconceptions about their children and encourage each other. And they feel part of a bigger story – one that your support has connected them to. One being told all over the globe for World Down Syndrome Day.

Don’t miss out on hearing more from these amazing mothers when we catch up with them for World Down Syndrome month in October. Sign up to Engage magazine today.

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From the frontline: stories to inspire you

From the frontline:

stories to inspire you

From giving critical medical aid at night, to helping a rural community grow crops, our mission workers have had a very busy, challenging and blessed start to the year. We thought it was time to share some of their news with you.

The surgeons in Chad who came to the rescue after dark

Andrea and Mark Hotchkin in traditional Chadian dress in front of a sand coloured wall
Andrea and Mark Hotchkin dedicate every day to helping others in Chad, no matter where they are in the country.

We’ll paint a picture for you. One day you’re in a fancy hotel in Chad’s capital city, N’Djamena attending a Ministry of Health meeting. Then just a few days later you’re hours from the nearest town, it’s late and you’ve spent the day driving from village to village assessing healthcare provision. Word reaches you that two local people are seriously unwell and no-one has made any effort to get help.
This is what happened recently in the lives of BMS World Mission surgeons, Andrea and Mark Hotchkin. If you didn’t already know how amazing they are, you certainly will when you read their latest blog.

Giving hope for a better future

A woman dressed in black stands behind a table covered in neatly arranged clothing
You’ll probably never meet Shama, but thanks to your support for BMS you’ve helped her and her family.

Consider this: you have five children, your husband is unable to find work and one of your children has tuberculosis. You have to spend every day not knowing how long you have to make the small amount of income you do have last. This is the life that Shama has known in Delhi. But thanks to your support for BMS workers James and Ruth Neve, Shama and others have been given hope of a new life-changing income. To find out how, read the Neves’ latest blog by hitting the button below.

A night of praying with women in pain

Evening street scene in Bangkok with neon lights
The light of Christ is being received in Bangkok’s red-light district, helped by BMS worker Ashleigh Gibb.

In the red-light district of Bangkok, women are learning they are children of God and that he loves them. BMS worker Ashleigh Gibb writes in her latest blog about a special event at a hotel where women who work in some of Bangkok’s bars gathered for a meal and prayer. Please read Ashleigh’s blog, and please continue to pray for her and the people she meets in one of the world’s darkest places.

‘The seeds we received are a gift from God’

Carlos Tique stands in front of a house and some green foliage
By supporting BMS worker Carlos Jone, you’re helping people in Chassimba, Mozambique not only fight hunger, but also earn their own money.

There’s a rural village in Mozambique called Chassimba, where your faithful support for BMS work is transforming lives. Men and women are not only being given seeds to grow crops, they’re learning how to take care of them better. And with increased production comes an income. BMS worker Carlos Jone visited Chassimba recently, and shares in his latest prayer letter the beautiful response he received from villagers.

News in brief from around the world

  • In Guinea, BMS worker Ben*, along with a professional football coach, visited football training sessions to strengthen links with non-Christians. Ben has also started to meet with a prison group as he continues to show God’s love among the marginalised.
  • In France, the BMS Action Team has been helping at a refugee centre for women, supporting youth work, forging friendships and developing their language skills. Check out all their news on their blogs page.
  • In Peru, BMS worker Laura-Lee Lovering has been kept busy through attending the Peruvian Baptist Assembly (her seventh!), catching up with BMS short-term volunteer Becky Richards, and meeting Action Teamers.
  • In Mozambique, BMS worker Sergio Vilela has put in a lot of miles (around 3,000 in two weeks) meeting people through our partnership with the Mozambican Baptist Convention. Meanwhile, fellow BMS worker, and Sergio’s wife, Liz Vilela has been doing great work with child protection training, which she touches on in her latest prayer letter. Please check it out and pray for the Vilelas!
Want your church to support life-changing mission work?

Your church can get behind our mission work by becoming a Church Partner. It’s ever so easy to join and gives your church the chance to focus on a region or ministry, or on specific people.

We’d love to talk to you, so please don’t hesitate to contact Jo in the Church Partners team with any questions. Call her today on 01235 517600 or email her at churchrelations@bmsworldmission.org

If your church isn’t in Church Partners, talk to your minister today. Get involved, be inspired, express your heart for mission!

These stories are just a snapshot of what our mission workers and partners have been up to. In countries like Uganda, Kosovo, Bangladesh, Nepal, Ukraine, Albania, Lebanon and India, your support is being felt through training, nourishment, heating, education and much more. We thank you today for all that you do for BMS, for your giving and prayer, and your encouragement. Thanks to you, God is meeting the needs of people like you and me around the world. We praise God today for your support and give thanks for our incredible mission workers.

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*Names changed for security reasons.

The kingdom builders: meet six BMS workers giving it all for Christ

The kingdom builders:

meet six BMS workers giving it all for Christ

Today, they’ll face everything from apathy and suspicion to persecution. Yet nothing will stop these BMS World Mission workers sharing Jesus’ love in hostile, remote and hard-to-reach communities.

The couple opening minds in a secular nation

Names: Samuel Duval and Valérie Duval-Poujol

Location: Mus, southern France

The challenge: serving in a country where evangelical Christians are almost non-existent, the Muslim community is the largest in Europe, and secularism is a hallmark of national identity.

The ministry: Facebook. YouTube. Email. And also in the church they planted. Pastor Samuel Duval and theologian Valérie Duval-Poujol embrace every way possible to tell people about their faith. People from across France are sending them questions about the Bible and Jesus, reaching out for answers. BMS workers Samuel and Valérie are listening, engaging, and telling them about Jesus.

A man wearing glasses and in a jacket and wearing a waistcoat, stands next to a woman with glasses and wearing a light blue shirt
Church planters Samuel Duval and Valérie Duval-Poujol embrace traditional and modern means to communicate their faith.

“The one thing that French people have is that they are thinkers,” says Samuel. “The French Baptists are just a few, but we have a massive impact with theology. When someone is a Christian in France, he can’t just be a regular Christian, he is a strong Christian.”

The youth worker using football and music to share his love for Jesus

Name: Ajarn Tah

Location: northern Thailand

The challenge: alcoholism and drug taking are destroying lives in the Thai Buddhist village where youth worker Ajarn Tah works. BMS workers Helen and Wit Boondeekhun brought him in to try and stop young people from drifting into addiction.

The ministry: starting a football team takes hard work, patience and, critically, players. Tah managed to form his team of ten to 13-year-olds in just one afternoon. Clearly the recruits knew what to do as they not only won their first match, they did so 6-1! And more than just the beautiful game, young people are hearing about a meaningful life. Before each match, the entire team goes to a local church to sing Christian songs, play games and hear a short message.

A woman in a white t-shirt stands next to a man in a white t-shirt in a forest.
Football ministry is helping Ajarn Tah, pictured here with his wife Ajarn Baeng, connect with young people in a village in northern Thailand.

Tah’s work in the village of Wang Daeng also sees him teaching guitar to pupils at the village school, using Christian songs to share his passion for Jesus.

The multi-tasker who's all about bringing new light

Name: Isaiah Thembo

Location: Kasese District, western Uganda

The challenge: helping people turn their lives around when they’ve dropped out of school and have no qualifications, money or hope.

The ministry: teaching skills like tailoring, carpentry, mechanics and hairdressing at a BMS-supported training centre.

“People have businesses now,” says project manager, Isaiah. “And that means they can earn money, rent a house, and send a child to school.”

A man wearing a smart suit and tie stands in front of trees, smiling at the camer
BMS worker Isaiah Thembo is supporting projects in western Uganda that help bring people out of poverty.

And Isaiah has not only helped to turn lives around at the skills centre. He’s also helped to install solar powered lighting in churches in western Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains, where communities have no electricity. People use the churches to read and study because they have light, instead of burning kerosene lanterns which produce a toxic smoke.

“These projects are connecting the community to God,” says Isaiah. “They are helping people, and transforming hundreds of lives.”

Watch: this is the difference your support has made to a mountain village

The pastor who takes on the Amazon to connect with believers

Name: Pastor Luis Alvarado Dolly

Location: the Peruvian Amazon

The challenge: reaching rural communities accessible only by boat or through dense rainforest where Christians are very isolated. There’s also the very real threat of being bitten by mosquitoes, tarantulas and snakes.

The ministry: providing theological and leadership training to rural pastors who have never received it. Pastor Luis visits river and jungle pastors, inviting them to stay at the BMS-supported Nauta Integral Mission Training Centre where they get biblical training and lessons in how to care for their land.

Pastor Luis Alvarado Dolly looks at a camera
Pastor Luis is strengthening pastors in rural Peruvian communities.

Combining a relentless passion for the gospel with a brilliant smile and a heart for the poor, Pastor Luis is inspiring Christians to be stronger, better leaders in their communities.

The woman resisting persecution to help people find Jesus

Name: Gillian Francis

Location: Kolkata, India

The challenge: working in communities where Christians are persecuted, threatened, imprisoned, and killed. Hindu and Muslim fundamentalist groups attack Christians, angry that people are believing the gospel and accepting Jesus into in their lives.

The ministry: Gillian helps lead a huge church planting movement in villages in West Bengal by overseeing the critical and complex administrative work that’s needed. With her support, tens of thousands of people have heard about Jesus for the first time, giving their hearts to him and opening their homes to become places of worship and transformation.

A woman wearing a grey top and holding a microphone sings
Gillian Francis is playing a key role in helping house churches to flourish in West Bengal, India.
Partner with us in mission

We’re so proud to call Samuel, Valérie, Tah, Pastor Luis, Gillian, and Isaiah our colleagues. All this work can only happen with your help. If you commit to giving regularly to BMS, you can help us to plan ahead and meet the needs, both spiritual and physical, of people who would otherwise have little hope.

Become a 24:7 Partner today and commit, at whatever level you can, to stand with us every day in mission. You will also be standing with Samuel, Valérie, Tah, Luis, Gillian and Isaiah.

Joy, burnout and leaving: Q&A with James and Ruth Neve

Joy, burnout and leaving:

Q&A with James and Ruth Neve

They’ve said goodbye to family and friends, and are on their way to India. James and Ruth tell us about how that feels.

The Neves are almost at the Heathrow check-in desk. It’s taken months of preparation to get this far. James has left his job as a debt advisor and Ruth has left her role as a senior Baptist minister in Southampton. It will be 42 degrees Celsius when they arrive in New Delhi, their new home. They’re ready for it, and their Hindi is coming along nicely. Life as long-term BMS World Mission workers is about to move up a gear.

A man in a patterned shirt stands next to a woman with light coloured hair
James and Ruth Neve have been studying for months in preparation for their new life as BMS mission workers in India.

LET’S START WITH SOME BACKGROUND – WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MUSIC ARTIST AND SONG?

Ruth: Well, the other day in chapel I played Celebration by Kool & the Gang.

James: I like Coldplay – am I allowed to say that? I do, there, I said it out loud.

Ruth: But which song? They did Paradise.

James: Yeah, Paradise, that’ll do.

SO, HOW DID YOU END UP AS BMS WORKERS?

James: We had a chat many years ago with [former BMS General Director] David Kerrigan about the possibility we might offer ourselves to BMS one day. The honing in on India happened about this time last year as we began to explore the possibility of whether BMS could make use of people like us.

Ruth: Because we had our children young, we thought we would still have some life in us towards the end of our working careers. It was a sense of: would we, as people in our 50s, have something to offer? This experience in India will certainly broaden our horizons, and we may be better grandparents as a result.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’LL BE DOING IN DELHI?

Ruth: No. We’ve been given as much carte blanche as possible to learn about the people and discern where God is already working and where his heart is beating.

And BMS has given us tremendous affirmation to do that discerning process, and come back and say, “this is where we think we should invest our time and energy”, and hopefully leave a legacy.

Joy will be extinguished if you just keep working. God doesn’t want us to live like that.

JAMES, YOU WENT TO DELHI WITH BMS IN 2007 – WHAT DID YOU DO?

James: I went as part of an Insight team. We worked with an existing partner, looking at women’s empowerment and children’s education in a slum area. There was a team of seven or eight of us, and it was a sample of, ‘this is what BMS is about’.

HOW DID YOUR FAMILY REACT WHEN YOU TOLD THEM YOU WERE MOVING TO INDIA?

Ruth: Naturally, there’s been a mixed response of sadness and support due to the separation.

A woman in a yellow dress and a man in a suit in a church
James and Ruth Neve are leaving their loved ones behind to serve God in India.

JAMES, HOW WILL YOUR EXPERTISE IN DEBT ADVICE TRANSLATE TO INDIA?

James: Personal debt is becoming an increasingly worrisome issue in India’s burgeoning middle class. If, for example, a debt and benefit advice service is planted within these next three or four years and is sustainable, then great, but it could take another form.

WHAT IS GOD’S HEART FOR THE POOR AND THOSE IN DEBT?

James: God is concerned about those burdened by debt and has made specific provision for relief of debt. Given his consistency of character, that should be the case in India.

RUTH, YOU’VE WRITTEN OPENLY ABOUT EXPERIENCING BURNOUT. HOW DESTRUCTIVE IS BURNOUT, AND HOW CAN IT BE AVOIDED?

Ruth: Many ministers are in burnout because a lot of them are workaholics. You lose your joy if you keep being that way, because what often gets squeezed is your time with God. The pressure of Sunday will take over, and unless you are very intentional you’ll stop hearing God.

My advice is for people to be careful because your soul is at stake. We need to sleep and have rest patterns, and have the Sabbath. Joy will be extinguished if you just keep working. God doesn’t want us to live like that. It’s not how Jesus lived. If you are stretched to elastic point, you will snap, and it’s not pretty, and often the church is a victim of it.

These past months have served as valuable preparation for the future, reflecting and drawing breath, and just being able to make a new start.

If you want to commit regularly to supporting James and Ruth, you can become a 24:7 Partner by clicking the box on the right.

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HOW HAVE YOUR FOUND STUDYING AGAIN IN PREPARATION FOR OVERSEAS MISSION?

James: These past months have served as valuable preparation for the future, reflecting and drawing breath, and just being able to make a new start.

A woman takes a photo of herself and friends in the background
James and Ruth Neve made new friends during their preparation time for mission work in India, including this group in Birmingham. Each week they were taught a phrase of Hindi and given Indian etiquette advice.

WHAT WILL MAKE YOU SAD WHEN YOU’RE AWAY?

James: Distance from family and friends.

Ruth: Notable occasions, such as when our grandson does something specific and we can’t share in it.

WHAT WILL BRING YOU JOY?

Ruth: The joy will be in sharing our lives with some lovely, generous people in India.

James: I think I’ll get great joy from going to a Twenty20 game in the IPL.

Ruth: Me not so much.

(For any non-cricket fans, the IPL is one of the most prestigious cricket competitions in the world.)

FINALLY, WHAT CAN PEOPLE BE PRAYING FOR?

Ruth: Please pray for the practical stuff of life to be taken care of. We want to go to India without having to think about things such as finding a tenant for our house.

James: Please pray for our language learning and finding a community. And pray for what will become the work that we invest ourselves in, and that makes a difference.

Could you be called to mission overseas? There are many ways to serve God with BMS, so keep praying and explore our mission opportunities today.

10 reasons why you should serve with BMS

10 reasons why you should serve with BMS

Choosing to serve with BMS World Mission could be the most incredible, life-changing step you ever take, and it might just be around the corner. If you’re wondering if God can use you overseas, here are ten reasons why you should push that door open right now and find out more.

1. You'll help transform lives around the world in the name of Jesus

A woman uses a sewing machine at skills centre in Uganda.
When you serve with BMS, you’ll witness the incredible joy that a transformed life brings.

When you serve with BMS, you get the chance to show people what Christ’s love feels like, and looks like, and it will be one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever do.

From accountants and doctors to development specialists, our workers are helping bring life in all its fullness to some of the world’s least evangelised and most marginalised people – and you can join them. You can confront injustice. Teach children robbed of an education. Alleviate poverty. Free women from trafficking. Introduce people to Jesus. This is what we do at BMS, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.

2. You won't be going alone

People stand and worship at the Baptist Assembly in 2017
During your challenges overseas, remember that Christians back home are praying for you.

BMS has been supported by Baptist churches across the UK for hundreds of years, and we still are today.

Christians you may never meet will pray for you every day, lifting you up to God, because when you serve with BMS, you’re part of a big, beautiful family.

The training is second to none and is of vital importance for preparing you for long-term overseas service

3. You don't have to be rich

Money is not everything. But it’s not nothing, either. Being able to take care of your family and think about your future are not things you need to sacrifice to serve with BMS.

That’s why we cover housing costs, living expenses and even pension contributions for our workers.

4. You’ll get to work in some amazing places

Afghanistan is beautiful. Seriously, seriously beautiful. Just take a look at the photo below, at those magnificent colours, and remind yourself how stunning God’s creation is.

An aerial view of mountains in Afghanistan

Well, you could be in Afghanistan, making a very real difference to people’s lives.

“Hearing first-hand how the work you have been involved in has helped change lives is both humbling and rewarding,” says BMS development worker in Afghanistan, Tim*. “You also experience amazing hospitality, and share in the joy and the heartache that your local friends, colleagues and neighbours are going through.”

And if you don’t find yourself in Afghanistan, you could be in Chad, where BMS is making a huge impact on the health of local people, and where the sunset over the River Chari is stunning:

The sun sets over the River Chari in Chad.

Or, you might be in Guinea, working on projects to empower women and children, and you’ll get to see scenery like this:

A tree in Guinea

Mission isn’t tourism. But it is an opportunity to see parts of God’s creation most of us never encounter. We should also mention that your annual travel costs to and from the UK are covered, you receive a generous leave allowance, and when you return home we will help you travel round UK churches telling people about what God has done in and through you.

5. You’ll join an amazing, global team

Members of the BMS-supported legal team in Mozambique stand in front of their office entrance
The BMS-supported legal team in Mozambique speaks up for the poor and needy, and is made up of BMS workers from the UK, Uganda and Mozambique.

This is one of the very best parts of serving overseas with BMS. The people you work alongside are some of the most passionate, wonderful Christians you could ever hope to meet. They are our fellow workers and partners overseas. They’re the World Church. They’re our brothers and sisters, and you will learn so much from them.

Want to find out more?

Just click here to get in touch and find out more about serving overseas with BMS.

6. You'll be well prepared

Language studies. Living in community. Biblical and mission training. We will help you with it all, in the field and at our mission training and hospitality centre. You’ll learn about God, you’ll learn about yourself, you’ll be discipled for service in another culture. Tempted yet? Let pharmacist Claire Bedford tell you more.

“The training is second to none and is of vital importance for preparing you for long-term overseas service,” says Claire, who is serving at a BMS-supported hospital in Chad. “Many months of UK training gives time to adjust to the fact that you’re going to be leaving the UK for quite a while, as well as learning how to live in community.”

Unconvinced? Let our very own Mission Bros address your concerns

7. You'll make history

Albania was a closed communist state until 1991. Nepal, a Hindu kingdom hostile to the gospel. When they opened to mission, BMS was there. And you’ll be serving in countries where we have faith that God has more exciting plans in store.

8. We take security and your welfare very seriously

We have someone on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ready to answer your call in an emergency.

We have protocols for evacuation and kidnapping should either situation ever arise, and measures to protect your identity in sensitive countries.

Mission can be dangerous, but we’re risk-aware, not risk averse.

You’re looked after so well, with all aspects of your life cared for

9. Worried about your children? We care about them too

We pay for your children’s education overseas, help them learn the local language, and take care of any medical needs they have, just as we take care of yours.

And some of the happiest kids we know grew up with mission families, learning first-hand what it means to serve the least of these. Take Graeme in the video (above), he grew up as a mission kid – and just look how much good work he is doing now!

10. We've always got your back

You’ll always have someone to turn to at BMS. We pride ourselves on our pastoral and professional support, no matter where our workers are. And we want you to thrive.

“BMS is great to work for,” says Sophie*, who is helping to run the communications of a BMS partner organisation in Tunisia.
“You’re looked after so well, with all aspects of your life cared for, not just the job you signed up to do.”

Click here If you're praying for people to serve with BMS
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Do you feel God could be calling you?

We are urgently looking for people to serve in Afghanistan, Chad and Guinea. We also have other exciting mission vacancies all over the world. If you would like to find out more, email opportunities@bmsworldmission.org or call 01235 517651 and speak to Tom, our Mission Personnel Organiser.

Don’t put off the new adventure God has waiting for you. If you feel God is calling you, and if you have the skills we’re asking for, get in touch today!

* Names changed

Stitching a better future

Stitching a better future

Learning a new skill has transformed the lives of people who felt hopeless in Kasese Town, in western Uganda.

It’s hard to know what to do about the problem of poverty in the developing world. We who have been blessed with advantages in the UK can’t simply solve it by giving away our possessions to the world’s poor – that would not be sustainable. But what is sustainable is helping people to help themselves. That is what BMS is doing, through your gifts, in a small town in Uganda – and the impact we are seeing is wonderful.

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“I had no hope. I was just there.”

“I had no money to help my family.”

“I wasn’t doing anything.”

Young men and women, young mums and dads – people who had never had a chance in life and had no money, hope or motivation – have found ways to provide for themselves and their families. They have found a future.

Meet Sarah, one of Kasese’s new tailors, in this short video.

BMS workers set up the Kasese Baptist Skills Training Centre, in partnership with local churches and the Kasese Association of Baptist Churches’ Development Committee (KBAC-DC), to help people like Sarah break themselves out of poverty.

The skills centre is in one of the poorest areas of Kasese Town, where many people are unemployed and struggle to get by day-to-day. Before the centre opened in 2012, BMS workers and partners noticed a general sense of despair amongst young men in the area, who felt they had no way out of their poverty. Single mums were having to leave their young children alone to go and look for work. People had no options. No choice. No power.

For the last five years, the BMS-supported skills centre has been offering training in skills such as tailoring, carpentry, mechanics and hairdressing, as well as advice on practical elements of running a business, such as budgeting.

The BMS-supported skills centre, where so many are receiving training to help build better futures

The centre also runs a day-care for preschool children, so that parents can come and learn a profitable skill, knowing their children are being safely cared for.

Pastor Alfonse, who is head of KBAC-DC and helped to set up the centre, believes that this project is bringing people independence and hope.

“The most important thing I have seen in the people who have come is that they have been given hope,” he says. “They were hopeless, but now they can stand on their own.”

Kisupeho Zoneat putting her new skills to good use

Kisupeho Zoneat is a 25-year-old mother of two from Kasese Town. She became a mum when she was just 17 years old and, until now, has never had the opportunity to learn a skill to help her provide for her struggling family. Learning to sew has given her ambition and a way to improve her life.

“This tailoring is going to help me,” she says. “After this training, I’m going to manage to support my family, I’m going to manage to rent my house, I’m going to manage everything.”

Aziz Muhind hard at work making a table
Aziz Muhind hard at work making a table

Aziz Muhind is 24 years old and now runs a small carpentry business in Kasese Town, thanks to the training he received at the BMS-supported centre. “I am making some tables and cupboards – a lot of furniture,” says Aziz. “I am okay now. I can look after myself. I am seeing a future.”

Thanks to the BMS-supported training, Aziz, Kisupeho, Sarah and many, many more Ugandans have discovered that they have gifts and talents. They have been given the opportunity to pave their own futures and lift themselves out of poverty.

“Now I tell others to come and learn to have skills,” says Kisupeho. Having a skill really can change your life. And giving our money to help people help themselves can change the futures of so many. Thank you so much for supporting BMS and making life-transforming work like this possible.

Baptist church brings light to its community in Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains

When one simple action raises money, helps people’s lungs, gives children a better chance at an education and introduces people to Jesus as Lord, it’s probably worth doing.

Kayanji village used to be plunged into darkness when the sun went down, but now Kayanji Baptist Church is sharing the light.

Solar power is transforming the life of the church and the entire village, which is nestled in western Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains. Since solar panels were installed a few years ago through a BMS World Mission project, the church’s membership has more than doubled – from 30 to 80 people!

“The Bible says, ‘let there be light’,” says Isaiah Thembo, a BMS worker and the man who helped to install solar powered lighting in Kayanji Baptist Church. “Through the project, people are coming to see that God is love. Because the church is connecting the community to God.”

We are seeing new members in the church because of this project. They are seeing that love is here.

Watch this video to see the impact your gifts are having in Kayanji village:

Kayanji Baptist opens its doors every evening for people to come and use the light to read and to study – the whole village is welcome. The pastor also uses the light to run a Bible study every morning, that more and more members of the community are attending. Solar power is also charging local people’s mobile phones, at a small cost. The money raised through phone-charging maintains the church and is used to help widows, orphans and other struggling people in the community.

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Only seven per cent of the whole of Kasese District, where Kayanji village is, has access to mains electricity. For the vast majority of the district, the only source of light comes from burning kerosene lanterns or candles. Until a few years ago, this is what everyone in Kayanji village was doing. But kerosene is expensive and dangerous. It produces a dim light and toxic smoke, which irritates the eyes and skin and is a major cause of both respiratory diseases and harmful CO2 emissions.

In rural areas that are in darkness or reliant on this kind of light for nearly 12 hours a day, a safe source of light can completely change people’s quality of life.

Isaiah Thembo is a BMS local worker in Kasese District. He helped to install the solar panels in Kayanji Baptist Church.
Isaiah Thembo is a BMS local worker in Kasese District. He helped to install the solar panels at Kayanji Baptist Church.

“My kids come here for [school] preparation every evening,” says father-of-ten Kambala Limengo. Kambala is a member of Kayanji Baptist Church and is excited about the change the solar project has had, both for his family and for the wider community. “Our children used to learn from home using candles,” he says. “But this solar light is bright, and it doesn’t give out smoke – it doesn’t use firewood or kerosene to burn, it is just using the sun.”

Kambala Limengo has ten children and is benefitting from the BMS solar project in Uganda's Rwenzori Mountains
Kambala Limengo says that the solar-powered lights are bringing new people to Jesus.

Kahoja Murugire, who has nine children, is also thankful for the light and the opportunities it is bringing. “This solar has a bright light, and it does not spoil eyes,” he says. “I think it is going to help my children, because they come here daily. I am giving a lot of thanks for this light.”

Kahoja lives in Uganda's Rwenzori mountains and is standing outside his church, which now provides light to its community thanks to BMS.
“This solar has a bright light, and it does not spoil eyes,” says Kahoja Murugire, who sends his children to the church to study safely in the evenings.

Church members like Kambala and Kahoja believe that the huge growth in the church is a direct result of the light. “We are seeing new members in the church because of this project,” says Kambala. “When it is dark, these newcomers come in. And then the pastor meets them for a Bible study and it changes their lives.

“They are seeing that love is here.”

Kayanji is one of eight rural villages that have had their churches and their evenings transformed thanks to this BMS solar project. The lights are helping children thrive at school, they are providing income for practical outreach into the community and, perhaps most exciting of all, they are providing a way to introduce people to the Light of the World.

Springs of water in Afghanistan

Springs of water in Afghanistan

In one of the most beautiful and broken countries in the world, BMS World Mission is helping to save lives by training communities in hygiene and sanitation and providing them with access to clean water.

A girl died from typhoid the first day the team visited the Afghan village.

Two months later, when they returned, fewer people were getting sick. Typhoid has been stealing lives there for years, but training and practical help from a BMS-supported water and sanitation team has made things better. Teaching people about washing their hands, about building their toilets away from the river, about making sure waste doesn’t contaminate the water their people need to live.

BMS has been supporting the construction of community toilets (like the one pictured above), wells and piped springs
BMS has been supporting the construction of community toilets (like the one pictured above), wells and piped springs

These simple lessons are having huge impacts in villages across rural Afghanistan. Men, women and children whose faces we can’t show you for security reasons can now save their children and themselves from the suffering that disease brings. And it’s happening because you give.

It’s also happening because of the way we do it. BMS doesn’t parachute help in without consultation, deciding what’s best for locals, throwing money around and hoping for the best. We assess needs. We get the people we are trying to help to help themselves.

Twelve households in one village were surveyed before and after they were trained in water, sanitation and hygiene. And the impact of helping with sustainability in mind has been wonderfully encouraging. Before the training, less than half of the families involved said they washed their hands before cooking. After the training, over 90 per cent said they would. And while all those involved in the training now say they wash their hands to keep them clean, fewer than 10 per cent of people did so before.

The training sessions are run for both children and adults, and people’s perceptions are being changed. They are hearing things they have never heard before, and putting them into action.

“It’s preventing disease and the causes of diarrhoea,” says a BMS development worker in the country. And preventing diarrhoea, which kills 1,400 children every day worldwide, is an amazing thing to achieve. It’s something we’ve been able to do in these communities because of your support. Every pound you give makes a difference in a place where it is desperately needed. And it’s because of this need that we try to intervene in holistic, sustainable ways.

Rural Afghan villages now have access to clean water thanks to your gifts to BMS
Rural Afghan villages now have access to clean water thanks to your gifts to BMS

Our approach in Afghanistan is two-pronged. While we are training families about water, hygiene and sanitation, we know that all the training in the world can’t stop the spread of disease if people can’t access clean water. That’s why we are also building wells and laying water pipelines, building toilets for families and communities who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them.

“One of the things that makes the biggest difference is when we pipe a spring,” says one of our most experienced development workers based in Afghanistan. Usually communities wait for the water to flow down to their village, but this means a lot of water is lost on the way and the water that does reach them has been contaminated by running through fields where animals defecate. “By capping the water at its source and piping it underground so it doesn’t freeze, these villages have more water and better water.”

A woman washes her clothes in clean water
A woman washes her clothes in clean water

This is a huge task, and involves a group from the village digging the pipeline from the water source to the village – which can be miles away. A lot of this work is done by hand. However, when the pipeline is finished and the pipe installed, clean water runs constantly at various points in the community. Graeme Riddell, BMS Team Leader for Mission Personnel, recently visited a few villages that now have access to clean water thanks to this project.

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“Seeing pure, clean water constantly running; seeing a woman washing her clothes under the tap without having to walk for miles and miles; knowing that people are not getting sick anymore as a result of this project – that’s a very touching thing,” says Graeme. “This work actually is life-transforming.”

When you think of Afghanistan, you probably think of war, of the Taliban, of bombs. But hidden between the mountains and the stories and the fear are families who are just trying to live and to create the best lives possible for their children. By giving to BMS, you’re helping us to improve the quality of life for people in these Afghan villages. And you’re helping us to stop these people dying.

You hear this a lot from charities, but those of us who’ve seen the difference you make can confidently say it and mean it: you are making a difference. Thank you.

100 families drink clean water thanks to UK Christians

A community and school in Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains have access to safe water thanks to UK churches and BMS World Mission.

Imagine having to walk for three hours to collect river water so that your children can have something to drink. Some hot food to eat. A way to be clean.

Imagine carrying a full 20-litre jerry can on your head up steep hills in the hot sun, because if you don’t your whole family will suffer.

We all need water – but for many communities in Uganda, accessing it is a daily struggle. That’s why people in Musyenene, a village in Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains, are so thankful for the rainwater tank UK Christians have provided for them.

By supporting BMS, you’ve helped to transform lives in Musyenene. Find out how by watching this two-minute video:

Every time it rains, families in Muysenene and surrounding villages can access to up to 10,000 litres of water. People who used to have to walk for hours to collect river water can now get clean water much closer to home. This is not only saving time – especially for mothers and children who are generally responsible for collecting the water – it’s also affecting the spiritual and physical health of the community.

“Because of the tank, sanitation is okay here now,” says Ezra Muhind, a teacher at Musyenene’s school, which educates around 300 children from the surrounding area. “The tank has improved the health status of people in the community.”

Asumini Namatovu, a mother of five, says that the water tank has helped her family a lot. “My children are now healthy. They are drinking safe water,” she says. “I send a lot of thanks to the people who gave us this tank, because for a long time people did not have water and were suffering.”

School teacher Ezra Muhind says that the water tank has improved the health of the community
School teacher Ezra Muhind says that the water tank has improved the health of the community

Musyenene Baptist Church, which is the custodian of the water tank, is also noticing a change. Pastor Kasoro Tadeo, who leads the church, says that the tank has opened up opportunities for him to meet new people and invite them in. As a result of supplying free, no-strings-attached water, the church has welcomed more people into the family.

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Villages in the Rwenzori Mountains have access to clean running water thanks to UK Christians
Florence and Namatovu no longer have to walk for miles to get water for their families

Pastor Kasoro and the team looking after the water tank make sure that each person in the community takes only their share so that no-one in need goes without and everyone benefits from the water. The result is that families who once went to sleep without drinking or bathing don’t have to anymore. They now have access to clean water close to home.

“Water is life,” says Pastor Kasoro, “and without it, nothing can be done.”

Thank you for bringing life to Musyenene!

 

With special thanks to St Cuthbert’s, Rye Park, for their support of this project.