The power of your own story…

The power of your own story…

Helping people in India come to faith means sharing what God has done at every opportunity.

BMS worker Ben sits on a boat.
BMS worker Ben is helping people share the gospel in India, with your support.

Travel to India and it’s unlikely you’ll meet a Christian on the street. At least, that’s what the statistics tell you. In the world’s second most populous country, just over two per cent of the population openly identifies as Christian. But that’s still around 28 million people, a good foundation for those working hard to share the gospel in a nation that’s 80 per cent Hindu.

The challenge of telling people about Jesus remains daunting, however. It requires boldness, stamina and, critically, an approach that gets results. Thankfully, the church planters you support in India have it all. They’re led by BMS World Mission worker Ben Francis, a man who is never found silent when given the chance to express his passion for Jesus. Ben is at the forefront of an exciting disciple-making movement in his country, and has an inspiring hunger to see people come to faith.

A man raises his hand in worship in front of a lectern.
Thousands of people across India are committed to sharing how Christ has transformed their lives.

Around 45,000 people became Christians last year through the work Ben leads in India. It’s a number that’s easier to understand when you learn that over 8,000 people, who his church planters led to faith, attended training sessions on how to spread the gospel. And at the heart of the training is a simple lesson – never miss a chance to share how the love of Christ has transformed your life.

You can help Ben

Sign up to support Ben Francis as a 24:7 Partner today! Hit the button below to find out more.

“People need to share their story whenever they can,” says Ben. “They need to be in the habit of talking about what the Lord has done at every opportunity. To friends, family, neighbours, colleagues, acquaintances, or even people they’re buying things from.

“The conventional method was to go out and bring people back to church. Now, we go out, start a group and tell people to go and start one somewhere else. Multiplication can take place much faster this way.”

Sharing stories is at the core of this multiplication. As is getting to the point quickly. Ben encourages church planters to share their stories of transformation in just three minutes. “Not everybody you talk to will respond,” says Ben. “But some will, and then you tell them more about God.”

Top tips for evangelism graphic
Men and women sit together with bibles.
Ben says that the growth of people coming to faith seen in India can happen anywhere in the world.

One place where there has been an extraordinary response to the gospel is the state of Odisha (formerly Orissa). You may know about it because you supported our recent appeal focusing on church planting there. Or perhaps you followed the brutal persecution that happened in Odisha a few years ago.

Christians are still persecuted by extremists today in Odisha. They’re beaten. Intimidated. Humiliated. Murdered. Yet, in spite of extreme opposition, Christians continue to preach the Word of God – gently, respectfully and boldly. You’ve been supporting more than 40 church planters in the state, and in recent years, they’ve taken the gospel to over 1,600 villages.

And while the work you support in India is amazing, you’re going further, too. By supporting BMS, you’ve been helping Christians in other countries expand their church planting. Ben has been equipping churches in Europe and Asia to better communicate the love of Christ, just as he does in India. Soon you may even get a chance to learn from him in person about how you can start a disciple-making movement where you are.

“If the growth of people coming to faith can happen in India, then it can happen anywhere,” says Ben. “The principles of the Word of God do not change because you’re in India, or China, or anywhere. The Spirit of God energises.”

That energy is sweeping through towns and villages in India. Through homes. And through lives, as disciples make disciples. You’re already making it possible. And we’re excited for what comes next.

Watch Ben’s simple explanation of how to share your story of transformation

This story was originally published in BMS’ magazine, Engage. Subscribe to Engage today to get more stories like this delivered straight to your door for free!

Liking this? Click here!
icon

Original article featured in Issue 44 of Engage, the BMS World Mission Magazine. Edited for the website by Laura Durrant.

The most inspiring young people you’ll meet all year: Action Team Tour 2019

Action Team Tour 2019:

The most inspiring young people you’ll meet all year

Get young people from your church passionate about mission!
Bring them to the Action Team Tour 2019

There’s no stopping them! They’ve brought people to Jesus in Peru, they’ve inspired children in Mozambique, they’ve even moved people to meet Christ in Buddhist parts of Thailand. And now our seven amazing teams of young people are coming to a church near you – it’s the great Action Team Tour of 2019!
Inspire your  young people to go on their own Christian gap year.

Team Peru – Bethan, Becky, Katie and Marika
Team Peru – Bethan, Becky, Katie and Marika
BMS Action Teams: a Christian gap year jam-packed with adventure.
  • Open to 18 to 23-year-olds
  • A month’s training, followed by six months serving overseas
  • Two months in the UK visiting churches on tour

We can say with absolute certainty that lives across the world have been transformed through Action Teams this year. Team Mozambique has taught vital English skills to local children. Team Kolkata has supported projects helping women find employment. Team France has shown how to live out faith boldly in a secular nation. Every single one of these young Christians has leapt out of their comfort zone.

And they’ve been used by God to leave an eternal legacy.

In inner-city Peru, where drug addiction, homelessness and poverty are rife, three people gave their lives to Christ after the Peru Action Team spent a morning on the streets sharing the good news! And in rural Thailand, BMS worker Wit Boondeekhun has amazing news: against all odds, in an almost entirely Buddhist village, a young woman called Prang has come to know Jesus. How did she become interested? Through a friendship with the Thailand Action Team!

Wow – talk about transformation! Could you see the young people in your fellowship doing great things like this? Anyone can hear these inspiring stories from our 2019 Action Teams, by catching them on tour.

Team Thailand – Anna, Jonny, Keziah and Paul
Team Thailand – Keziah, Jonny, Anna and Paul

Action Teams are hopping on trains, cars and buses to visit churches from Aberdeen to Torquay, from 22 April to 17 June 2019. They’ll spend a week with each church, sharing stories of their time overseas, and no doubt eating great food and drinking plenty of tea along the way. Sounds superb, doesn’t it?!

And the best part is, you can get involved! We’d LOVE for you (and the young people from your church) to have a chance to meet these amazing young people, so we’ve listed the tour dates for each team below. Contact the nearest church to you, and take your youth group along to hear them speak.

Don’t miss your chance to meet the teams, and prepare yourself to be inspired!

Tour dates

Team France wearing purple action teams sweatshirts

Team France - Jonny, Esther, Caitlin, and Tafadzwa

22-29 Apr,  Macduff Parish Church, Macduff

29 Apr-6 May,  Peterhead Baptist Church, Peterhead

6-15 May,  Gerrard Street Baptist Church, Aberdeen

20-27 May,  Alive Church, Lincoln

30 May-6 Jun,  Folkestone Baptist Church, Folkestone

6-13 Jun,  Maidstone Baptist Church, Maidstone

13-20 Jun,  Apostolic Faith Mission, Southend

Team Dehli - Amy, Cody, Hannah and Orla

Team Delhi - Orla, Amy, Hannah, and Cody

22-29 Apr,  Tabernacle Baptist Church, Penarth

29 Apr-6 May,  St Leonards, Eynsham

6-13 May,  Catterline Community Church, Catterline, Stonehaven

13-20 May,  Cornton Baptist Church, Cornton, Stirling

20-27 May,  Pollok Baptist Church, Glasgow

30 May-6 Jun,  Portishead Methodist Church, Portishead

6-13 Jun,  Upton Vale Baptist Church, Torquay

13-17 Jun,  Bromsgrove Baptist Church, Bromsgrove

Team Kolkata

Team Kolkata - Erin, Emily and Cameron

22-29 Apr,  Lincoln Baptist Church, Lincoln

29 Apr-6 May,  Hendon Baptist Church, London

6-13 May,  South Harrow Baptist Church, South Harrow

13-20 May,  New Malden Baptist Church, New Malden

20-27 May,  Oundle Baptist Church, Oundle

30 May-6 Jun,  Evesham Baptist Church, Evesham

6-13 Jun,  Fuller Baptist Church, Kettering

13-20 Jun, Bilston Baptist Church,  Bilston, Birmingham

Team Mozambique – Alex, Andrew, Jack and Rebekah

Team Mozambique - Jack, Rebekah, Alex and Andrew

22-29 Apr,  Bervie Parish Church, Inverbervie

29 Apr-6 May,  Galashiels Baptist Church, Galashiels

6-13 May,  St Thomas’ Church, Edinburgh

13-20 May,  Viewfield Baptist Church, Dunfermline

20-27 May,  Broughty Ferry Baptist Church, Dundee

30 May-6 Jun,  Rayleigh Baptist Church, Rayleigh

6-13 Jun,  Central Baptist Church, Chelmsford

13-20 Jun,  Yeovil Community Church, Yeovil

Team Peru – Bethan, Becky, Katie and Marika

Team Peru – Bethan, Becky, Marika and Katie

22-29 Apr, Disley Baptist Church, Disley

29 Apr-6 May,  Ebenezer BC, Scarborough

6-13 May, Catterline Community Church, Catterline, Stonehaven

13-20 May, Moortown Baptist Church, Leeds

20-27 May,  Christ Church, Fulwood, Sheffield

30 May-6 Jun, Teignmouth Baptist Church, Teignmouth

6-13 Jun,  Dawlish Christian Fellowship, Dawlish

13-20 Jun, Highfield Church, Southampton

Team Thailand – Anna, Jonny, Keziah and Paul

Team Thailand – Keziah, Jonny, Anna and Paul

22-29 Apr,  Windsor Baptist Church, Belfast

29 Apr-6 May,  Weymouth Baptist Church, Weymouth

6-13 May,  Kilmington Baptist Church, Kilmington

13-20 May,  Nailsea Baptist Church, Nailsea

20-27 May, Oakhall Church, Caterham

30 May-6 Jun,  St Helens Baptist Church, St Helens

6-13 Jun,  Hazel Grove Baptist Church, Stockport

13-20 Jun,  Shrewsbury Baptist Church, Shrewsbury

Team Kosovo - Hermione, Niamh, Jeff and Sarah (pseudonyms)

22-29 Apr,  Stirling Baptist Church, Stirling

29 Apr-6 May,  Cemetery Rd Baptist Church, Sheffield

6-15 May,  Delves Community Church, Walsall

20-27 May,  St Swithins / Dunholme St Chads,  Lincoln

30 May-6 Jun,  Ashford Baptist Church, Ashford

6-13 Jun,  The Hub, Upper Beeding

13-20 Jun,  Leigh Park Baptist Church, Havant

Like this story? Click here
icon

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.

Like this story? Click here
icon

*Names changed for security reasons.

Looking back: top 5 stories of 2018

Looking back:

Top 5 stories of 2018

Your faithful prayer and giving touched life after life last year through our work at BMS World Mission. We look forward to bringing you more stories of transformation and the power of God’s love in the months to come. But for now, we’d love for you to check out our five most-read articles of 2018.

1. You can help end modern slavery in the UK

An illustration of a man washing a car with Help written about it
A victim of modern slavery might have washed your car, paved your driveway, or painted your nails.

Did you pass by a victim of modern slavery today? It’s certainly possible, given that there are thousands of people in the UK being forced to live in inhumane conditions, working long hours for very little or no pay. But there are Christians working to help victims of modern slavery. You can play your part by reading how to spot the signs of exploitation.

2. Ten reasons why you should serve with BMS

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.

Here’s one reason why you might consider serving overseas with us: you’ll transform lives around the world in the name of Jesus. We could have easily come up with dozens of other great reasons, but in the end, we chose to pick ten. You can read them all by hitting the button below. And if you feel God calling you to serve, there is a link in the story to our current vacancies. We’d love to hear from you!

3. Sleeping on the pavements, studying on the streets

A girl walks towards other children standing under a bridge in India
School is being brought to street children in Kolkata, giving them the opportunity to learn.

Tens of thousands of children live day and night on the streets of Kolkata, India. To survive, they often have to beg, steal or sell alcohol and drugs. Going to school is not an option available to them. But thanks to your support, some street children are receiving an education, and they’re getting to learn about Jesus too.

4. Five ways you’re making the world a healthier place

Taban, a mother from Afghanistan and her daughter Chehrah
Thanks to your support, Taban can focus on giving her daughter, Chehrah, a future that wouldn’t have been possible before.

You’re helping to save the lives of mothers and babies in Afghanistan by supporting BMS. You’re also providing critical medical care in Chad and giving children with disabilities in Thailand the support they need. Find out more today by reading about our healthcare work.

5. The seven must-read chapters of an extraordinary mission worker’s life

A mature woman with grey hair sits at a table in a hospital cafe with an elderly man on one side, and an elderly woman on another.
Ann Bothamley catches up with friends at the Christian Medical College in Vellore. Friends back home support her too, ringing her to chat and ask for her prayer requests.

“I think God planted it in my heart that I was going to India. I knew, too, that it was going to be for life.”

Ann Bothamley has been serving with BMS in India for 50 years. We were delighted to hear more of her story when we caught up with her in Vellore, where she provides pastoral care to patients at Christian Medical College. Many of you who read our story about Ann commented on our Facebook page about being inspired by her. Receive fresh inspiration today by hitting the button below.

Other powerful stories you made possible in 2018

1. He preached the gospel and they poisoned his daughter: David’s story. Thousands of people in India have come to know Christ through the work of BMS church planters such as David.

2. Spiritual workout advice from the heart of the red light district. BMS worker Ashleigh Gibb shares how she stays spiritually strong while working in one of the world’s most unloving places.

3. The cursed boy, the better Muslim and the long game. Boys are learning valuable life lessons through football and are becoming model students in the process.

4. They’ve lost so much: don’t let families freeze in Ukraine this winter. Families are fighting for survival in Ukraine this winter. You can help them.

5. The North Korea you never see: and seven prayer requests for this isolated nation. Check out images of life in North Korea, and join us in prayer for people in this secretive nation.

The work you’ve just read about was made possible by your brilliant support for BMS. Right now, in 30 countries around the world, there are more stories of transformation developing. We can’t wait to share them with you throughout this year as we work together to show the love of Christ where it’s needed most.

Want to help us do more? Give today
icon

Fearless: taking on the Sahara Desert, raging rivers, and the sex industry

Fearless:

taking on the Sahara Desert, raging rivers, and the sex industry

There’s nothing overstated about the headline above. BMS World Mission workers enter isolated, extreme and often dangerous places because God has empowered them to change people’s lives for the better. They tread fearlessly knowing you are standing alongside them in prayer. So please read on for some of their latest blogs.

1. When you get lost, stuck and weary in the desert

Nightmare journeys home usually consist of heavy traffic, train cancellations, or flight delays. Not so for BMS surgeons Andrea and Mark Hotchkin. For these two brilliant mission workers, along with their children Ruth and Rebecca, the journey home to Bardaï in northern Chad involved getting lost in the Sahara desert, camping outside as lightning struck, and digging for hours to release their vehicle from sand. And if that wasn’t challenging enough, a dust storm then hit. Read the Hotchkins’ blog to find out how they got home!

Truck stuck in the mud in a desert
The Hotchkin family not only faced flooding in a desert, they also had the problem of sand becoming mud.

2. Cable bridges, landslides and a lot of walking – just to reach schools

Simon Hall holding a book as children surround him
Children’s books (and Simon Hall) are clearly popular at this remote school in Lamjung District

It’s fair to say that Simon Hall put in a lot of effort to reach the school in the photo above. That’s what’s needed in Lamjung District, Nepal, where BMS teacher trainer Simon serves. The school you can see was one of 15 that Simon and three of his colleagues visited in just one week. Reaching them involved crossing cable bridges over raging rivers, walking for hours up steps, and then travelling in jeeps up to altitude-sickness-inducing heights. The journey was understandably draining, but it was nothing compared to what was to come for Simon. Please read his blog today and pray with him using his prayer points.

3. Joining the fight to eradicate TB

Can you imagine being part of history? BMS mission workers James and Ruth Neve don’t have to. As part of the Indian Government’s plan to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) from the country by 2025, James and Ruth are going to be giving training to people who have been cured of the illness. Their training courses will teach vital skills to help some of the poorest and most marginalized people in India generate a better income and turn their lives around. Read James and Ruth’s blog post about the day they decided to help change the world.

Ruth Neve signing TB agreement
Ruth Neve signs a life-changing agreement

4. ‘I want women to understand that God created us beautiful’

Ashleigh Gibb witnesses pain every day. She serves with BMS in the red light district of Bangkok, where she enters bars and brothels to speak words of love and kindness to women who have been trafficked. She also works in a coffee shop, that gives women who have managed to escape the sex industry the chance to learn new skills. Ashleigh’s blogs are always very powerful and heartfelt, none more so than her latest post in which she writes about the importance of loving those around us, even those who are hard to love.

Ashleigh Gibb in Bangkok
BMS worker Ashleigh Gibb takes the light of Christ into the darkness of Bangkok’s sex industry.

5. ‘May you know that you are loved with a constant and eternal love’

The Ovendens sit together with new baby Eleanor
Please keep Joe, Reuben, Lois, Eleanor and Connie Ovenden in your prayers.

This may not be the frontline of mission work, but we’re confident you’ll want to read about it. There was much joy in the BMS family when news came through about the newest Ovenden. Eleanor Ada Joy was welcomed into the world on Tuesday 18 September, a third child for BMS workers in Uganda, Joe and Lois. We give thanks today for the blessing of new life, and for everything that Joe and Lois do for BMS. They’ve posted a prayer for Eleanor in their latest blog. After you’ve read it, please pray for Eleanor.

God is with our mission workers, as are you. It is your faithful prayer and giving that enables them to be on the frontline of mission, helping the sick in Chad, children in Nepal, women who have been trafficked in Thailand, and many others in need around the world. Our mission workers across the globe write blogs about their work and we often post them on our Facebook page, along with prayer requests and videos. Please check it out, and please do comment on the blogs with words of encouragement for our workers! We love to hear from you.

Like this story? Click here
icon

How football is being used to share the gospel

More than just a game:

how football is being used to share the gospel

The best part of the World Cup has already happened, even if your team wins.

We’re in love with football right now at BMS World Mission, and it’s not just because of the action on the pitch in Russia. The reason is far more important than any goal or victory. The gospel is being shared, accepted and lived out thanks to the powerful combination of your support and the beautiful game.

The World Cup mission field: introducing fans to Jesus

One-to-one chats about Jesus. New Testament distribution. Booklets answering questions about Christianity. It’s not the usual build-up to a game that football supporters have, but it’s what fans from Iran and the Arabic nations of Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia experienced at the World Cup.

Thanks to a BMS grant, and support from churches and Christian organisations around the world, evangelists from the Middle East and Europe travelled to Russia to meet these fans. In the days before matches, the volunteers approached supporters, and in their own language, shared their faith. Then on match days, they handed out New Testaments in Arabic and Farsi, along with booklets and SD cards that explained more about what it means to be a Christian.

And though none of these five countries made it to the next stage of the tournament, many of their supporters will be heading home having experienced Jesus’ love for the first time, and with the Scripture our Father desires them to read.

The Brazilian footballer in India: outreach goals

Joshua* sought fame and glamour when he started his professional football career in Brazil.

After his worldly success, his passion for football still remains, but Joshua’s focus has changed. He’s now a coach and a Christian, and he’s combining these two influential parts of his life to help children who have next to nothing.

Thanks to your giving, Joshua held training sessions in Delhi last year for children aged seven to 14. The children received coaching for the first time, got to play on a first-class training pitch, and sense, often for the first time, the joy that playing sport can produce. But it’s not only the children who attended those sessions who will benefit from Joshua’s work. Christian football coaches from across India were also there to learn so that they could return to their communities and hold training sessions that will help young people.

Young people with footballs at their feet listen to a man talk.
Children in Delhi take in every word that Brazilian football coach Joshua says, as do the local coaches behind him. From Brazil to the world: football is carrying mission, with your help.

With your support, Joshua’s work has made an impact in India and he hopes to work in Guinea and Thailand later this year too.

“I know I can get a ball, go on a field and share the gospel with more than 50 children,” says Joshua. “It’s amazing when you go into a place, leave a legacy, and see people becoming Christians.”

The club that teaches a whole lot more than how to play football

It takes more than skill to be part of Blessed Boys Football Club in Guinea. Players need to show teamwork, discipline and a commitment to putting school first.

BMS worker Ben takes deprived children under his wing and shows them a different way to the one taken by other managers in his community.

Whilst others use aggression and violence to get results, Ben does not. If one of his players needs someone to advocate for them in school, Ben is there. And if they need extra help, they can receive it at the summer classes he helped set up with his wife, Isabelle, a passionate teacher.

Here, football often leads to learning – both academically and values.

Boys of the Blessed Boys Football Club in Guinea play football.
These young players in Guinea are becoming better footballers (and people) with the help of BMS worker Ben.

The team that warms up with worship

Most teams start their preparation for a game with sprints and ball drills. Not so for the team that youth worker Ajarn Tah formed in a village in northern Thailand. For these players, preparation begins with Christian songs in a local church and a short message before they head to their match.

Supported by BMS, Tah formed the team to stop young people from falling prey to alcohol and drugs, like others are in the village of Wang Daeng. It didn’t take much to start the side, just a few hours in fact, and enough players had come forward.

But had it not been for your giving, those ten-to-13-year-olds would have not been able to enjoy the thrill of winning their first game, or the joy of worshipping Jesus together. And this wholesome hobby is, in a very real way, keeping them safe.

Young football players take the ball round cones on a grass field
Children in a village in northern Thailand had little to keep them busy until a football team was formed with your help.

Jesus’ love has been felt at the World Cup and on football pitches in Delhi, Guinea and Thailand.

Even if football is the last thing on your mind, consider this: there are people stepping into the freedom of a life in Christ through sport. What a victory that is. What a reason to cheer. That’s something we can all support.

Pitch in to help us reach our goals Click Here
icon

* Name changed to protect identity

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.

Want to support the Neves? Click Here
icon

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.

He preached the gospel and they poisoned his daughter

He preached the gospel and they poisoned his daughter:

David's story

When you give to BMS World Mission, you’re supporting people like David. Read his incredible story today and be inspired by the way God is at work in India.

David wanted to end his life. His unhappiness ran so deep, he was desperate for a sense of peace. His father was an alcoholic and, despite promising to quit, he couldn’t break the addiction that was destroying his family.

A church gathering in a tent in Odisha, India.
Thanks to you, people are able to worship God in an area where it's difficult to be a Christian.

The situation quickly got even worse for David, who lives in Odisha (formerly Orissa) in India, when he suddenly got very sick. “It seemed like I had many heavy things on my head,” says David. “I could hardly breathe and my heart used to beat very fast.

“I was told that I had serious problems with my brain and I might not live.”

As David’s health deteriorated, his family did everything they could to make him better. They took him to several different doctors, but none of them knew what was wrong with him or how to improve his condition. Next, they tried magicians and witch doctors. But their attempts were futile. No-one knew how to heal David.

“Everyone in my family thought I was going to die and was very upset,” says David. “I was unable to recognise people because my brain was not working. I had become bedridden and completely senseless, more like a dead person.”

As they prayed, I felt a kind of touch like an electric shock in my body. God touched me and gave me new life.

One day, as David lay on his bed in despair, his father met a Christian pastor. The pastor started to tell David’s father about Jesus, and when he heard about David’s sickness, he offered to pray for him. David’s father was desperate to save his son’s life, and said that if God could heal David he would give up drinking alcohol forever. The pastor gathered his church, and together they prayed and fasted for David for seven days. Then they came to see him.

A man baptising a woman in a lake
A woman gets baptised in Odisha.

“As they prayed, I suddenly felt a kind of touch like an electric shock in my body,” says David. “At that very moment I sat up on my bed and was healed. God touched me and gave me new life.”

Everyone who watched on was amazed. Just moments before, David had been like a dead man. Then, in an instant, his senses were restored and he was professing his faith in Jesus Christ and surrendering his life to Christian service. It was completely unbelievable. It was a miracle.

Knowing that he owed his life to Christ, David decided to train as a pastor. He began to tell Hindus in his district of Odisha about Jesus. As they heard David’s testimony, people gave their lives to Jesus, and David planted three churches in the area. His life had been completely transformed and he wanted everyone to know about it.

But his newfound faith was about to result in the greatest sadness he had faced yet.

People are looking to kill me.

A fundamentalist group began to target David, angry that he was converting people to Christianity and away from Hinduism. They sought an opportunity to harm him. David’s daughter got sick and was admitted to hospital, and while she was there she died. “She was poisoned by the fundamentalists as they came to know that I had become a follower of Jesus Christ.” She was just three years old.

“My daughter’s death was very tragic to my wife and myself,” says David. The couple were forced to leave their home and move to another district in Odisha, fearing for their lives. They’d lost their daughter, but they held tightly to their faith in Jesus and have continued telling people about him to this day.

Man spreading the gospel in an Indian village on an island in the north of the country
You're supporting church planters all over India, including in the Sundarbans, where people are hearing about the gospel for the first time.

David is a BMS-supported church planter and has been involved in starting 50 house churches in Odisha since his conversion. When you give to BMS, you’re helping people like David share the gospel with people who have never heard it.

“Though I lost my daughter and I am deeply sad, the Lord is using me greatly to win souls for him,” says David. “Many new people are coming to the Lord and many miracles are taking place. People are still looking out for me to kill me, but so far God has protected me and my family. So please pray for me, that I may be faithful to the Lord at all times.”

Give to support people like David Click here
icon

BMS supports 48 church planters in Odisha – a region known for persecuting Christians

These pastors are risking their lives to tell people the gospel message. By giving to BMS, you’ve helped them to plant 1,700 new house churches in the region since 2010. Thousands of people have come to know Jesus through their work.

Please keep praying for these church planters. Pray that God would protect them and give them boldness to continue proclaiming his good news and sharing his love.

Please also make a donation to support our work by clicking the big red button above.

The seven must-read chapters of an extraordinary mission worker’s life

The seven must-read chapters of an extraordinary mission worker’s life

“Is this going to be short-term, or for life?” For BMS World Mission worker Ann Bothamley, there was only one answer.

She stared down the devil when she was weak. Overcame dysentery, major spinal surgery and crushing loneliness. She founded a hostel for children of mission doctors, helped thousands of people through her nursing service, and returned to work after retirement to give pastoral care to patients. Ann Bothamley has been an ambassador for Christ in India since 1968. We’re inspired by all that she’s done in the past, and all that she continues to do. We know you will be too. This is Ann’s story.

Chapter one: The beginning

I gave my heart to the Lord when I was nine years old. After Sunday School one day I went to the superintendent and said, “I’ve decided I want to follow Jesus.”

I then went in for a Bible quiz and won a Bible. It had, ‘Presented to Ann Bothamley’, and at the bottom was the verse from Matthew 28: 19, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel”. I remember saying to my mother, “I think that means me. I think I have to go.”

So even then, I knew in my heart that God wanted me to go out as a medical missionary somewhere.

A black and white photo of Ann Bothamley smiling in her nurse's uniform
Ann in 1967, months before leaving for India, where she has been serving with BMS for over half a century.

Chapter two: The call

I was quite sure that God wanted me to be a doctor, but I didn’t do terribly well at school. I went to work in the microbiology department of St Thomas’ Hospital, and one day the professor said to me, “why don’t you go in for nursing?”

Within six weeks, I was in. I really enjoyed it and knew I was in the right place. I wanted to have more qualifications, so I did a ward sister course, but twice during my training I slipped a disc in my back. After the second time, the matron said, “I think you might have to give up nursing”, and I thought, ‘no way’.

I ended up having a laminectomy [the removal of part of a vertebrae] after my fourth year. There was a lot of waiting and I wondered what God was saying to me. But I got through all that and got better very quickly. I did midwifery in Glasgow, and then did a year as a night sister in a large hospital in Croydon. I decided then that it was the time to go to BMS.

Chapter three: The journey

I think God planted it in my heart that I was going to India. I knew, too, that it was going to be for life. I was asked at the candidate board, “is this going to be short-term, or for life?” That was how it was put in those days. I said, “no, for life”. And so I was accepted by BMS.

The journey to India was a very long one. We travelled across Europe to Venice, where we boarded a boat to Brindisi, and then went on to the Canary Islands, and down to Cape Town where we boarded the boat to Mombasa.

You can’t send me home. My God is greater than you.

From Mombasa we went to Karachi and on to Bombay, as it was then. I got on the train about 2 pm and arrived the next afternoon, about an hour from Vellore. I was met by someone called Miss Thompson. We were sitting squeezed up on the front seat of the car and she said to me, “well, I hope the Lord has brought you here. Because if not, you might as well go back now.”

A view from high up on a hill of a city in India, with homes and many trees in view.
Vellore has been Ann Bothamley's home since she arrived in 1968, after a gruelling journey that began at Victoria Station in London.

Chapter four: The attack

There was no question of going back. I was where God had put me. I had quite a few problems to begin with. I had dysentery and it was a very horrible thing.

I also remember being sent up into the hills after suffering sunstroke. I was sitting in a garden and it was as though the devil was saying, “I’m going to get you home.” I can remember telling him, “no, God is with me and I am not going home, and don’t think you can send me because God is greater than you.”

One of the amazing things in those first six months was that every so often Miss Thompson would hand me a little note with a verse of Scripture on it. It was quite amazing, and always seemed to me that God was saying, “I am with you.”

Chapter five: The loneliness

There have been times when I have known great loneliness. Sometimes one can be in a huge institution and still be very lonely.

But every so often God would send somebody I could pray with. I’d be tremendously encouraged and God would say to me, “I want you to rely on me more. Just keep relying on me.”

A mature woman with grey hair sits at a table in a hospital cafe with an elderly man on one side, and an elderly woman on another.
Ann Bothamley catches up with friends at the Christian Medical College in Vellore. Friends back home support her too, ringing her to chat and ask for her prayer requests.

Chapter six: The blessings

God has blessed me through some of the experiences I’ve been through. Three years ago, when I had major surgery on my spine, two families I didn’t even know were amazing to me, absolutely amazing.

God has been so faithful to me over the years, and blessed me so much in enabling me and giving me the privilege to meet such a diversity of people and patients.

Watch the moment when Ann is presented with a gift to mark her 50 years’ service with BMS.

Chapter seven: The support

I could not be here, but for the support and prayers of people at home. I have two friends who phone me about every two weeks and jot down all the things I would like them to pray about. And there’s a church too that does the same thing.

Prayer makes a difference, a huge difference. I’m sure there have been difficult times when I’ve been carried by the prayers of people at home.

If you're praying for Ann Click here
icon
Could you be the next Ann Bothamley?

BMS has mission workers all over the world showing people what following Christ looks like, just as Ann is doing today. If you’re sensing God calling you overseas, you need to read the article 10 reasons why you should serve with BMS.

You can confront injustice. Free women from trafficking. Teach children robbed of an education. And you can introduce people to Jesus. We’ll be with you every step of the way. Start by getting in touch here. We would love to hear from you.

Sleeping on the pavements, studying on the streets

Sleeping on the pavements, studying on the streets:

helping children in India to thrive

Begging, selling alcohol and stealing – this is how street children in India survive and provide for their families. But thanks to BMS World Mission, a school on the street in Kolkata is providing these children with an education, teaching them life skills to help them succeed.

Tens of thousands of children live day and night on the streets of Kolkata. With no access to education or healthcare, begging or selling alcohol and drugs are often the only ways they can survive. Countless families live in absolute poverty, and it can often feel like there is no way out.

A girl walking on the side of a busy road next to the bridge where the street school takes place.
This is where the street school takes place, underneath a bridge.

But lasting change sometimes starts with something small. Underneath a bridge in the bustling city of Kolkata, next to a traffic-filled road, 50 children who call the streets their home are getting to go to school. Because BMS worker Ben Francis and his team have brought school to them. Calling themselves Street Servants, our team teaches the children reading, writing and arithmetic – important lessons from the government kindergarten syllabus. And once they’re ready, the team help get the children into a government school to earn essential certificates. They’re also learning about Jesus. Every day, the children sing songs about God. They learn to read through parables and Bible stories, and they pray.

These children, who have only ever known life on the streets, are gaining new opportunities to learn, and new skills that will set them up for life. And it’s all because of your support for BMS.

Nawab was begging outside a horse racing track when the BMS-supported Street Servants met him. After meeting with his parents, the team invited Nawab to come to the street school, along with his two sisters. He excelled. Thanks to the school, Nawab’s life has changed dramatically. Along with seven other children who were taught by BMS-supported teachers in Kolkata, he’s now in a government school. Sat in a busy classroom of children in school uniform, after a life without much structure, the adjustment has not been easy. But now, Nawab has the opportunity of a full education. A way off the streets.

All 50 children at the street school are learning the skills they need to get into government schools. As well as learning the right curriculum, they’re also being taught wider life skills. “We’re giving them the habit of discipline,” says BMS worker Ben Francis, who helps oversee the project in Kolkata. Street school is preparing these children to sit in a classroom, to listen, and to learn to change their own futures.

Nawab, a serious boy looking straight into the camera. Wearing a cream buttoned shirt.
This serious boy is Nawab. Thanks to your support, he's now in a government school along with seven other children from the street school.

And we aren’t just stopping with 50 children. We want more children like Nawab to receive a quality education, and our team is working hard to set up a second school. “We want to see more children get into government schools,” says Ben. “We want more communities changed, and more families leaving the streets.”

BMS worker Ben Francis smiling into the camera. A man dressed in a long white shaul.
BMS worker Ben Francis, who helps oversee the Street Servants project in Kolkata.

And it really is all about families. The Street Servants team go and meet parents, offering counselling and advice. For many, having their child in school means a loss of income, as they often beg to help support the families. “It’s about changing the mindset of the parents,” says Ben. “We tell them, ‘today you want 40 pence from your child. But if you let them study, some day they will bring back four thousand pounds.’” By getting the parents on board, the children can go to school and become more equipped to support their families in the future.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone in the UK,” says Ben. “You’re enabling underprivileged children to touch love, and helping us show Jesus’ love in the most tangible way that people will understand.”

It’s not just about supporting one child. It’s about changing generations.

Please pray for the street school, for Nawab, and his seven classmates as they continue to thrive in the government school, getting an education that any of us would want for our own children. And you can do something to help them – and people like them – right now. By clicking our donate button and giving, you will give help and hope to people who the rest of the world wants to forget. Do something small today to let them know they’re not forgotten. Click the big red button and give right now. You really can make a difference. As Ben Francis says, “it’s not just about supporting one child. It’s about changing generations.”

Inspired to give? Click Here
icon
Want to share this story in your church or small group?

Download a PowerPoint with photos below.

Street Servants PowerPoint

Women around the world need you to pray

Women around the world need you to pray

Freeing women from the sex trade. Giving women a voice in Afghanistan. Equipping women to start their own businesses. These are just some of the ways that BMS World Mission is working to empower women around the world. And to thrive, these women and these projects need your prayers.

Empowering women to set up businesses in Guinea

Guinea, where Caroline and Victor are empowering women by setting up self-help groups.

Women in Guinea are underprivileged, often not having the same standard of living as men in society. BMS workers Caroline* and Victor* are helping these women to set up self-help groups, where around 20 women come together each Sunday to save money corporately, which can then be loaned to members of the group. This then lets women borrow money to set up small businesses, so they can provide for their families and the community around them.

Caroline and Victor’s prayer requests:

– Pray for the woman who is borrowing £80 every two months to finance a restaurant, so she can continue to provide for her family and those around her. Pray for success.

– We’re looking for four stakeholders to form a committee, who will then provide training so more self-help groups can be established. Pray that we would find the right people for the job.

Freeing women from the sex trade in Thailand

Paul and Sarah Brown are reaching out to survivors of sex trafficking and women who’ve been sexually exploited in Bangkok, Thailand. They’re empowering these women by teaching them how to make jewellery and cakes, as well as giving them opportunities to receive business training.

Their prayer requests:

– Pray for ways we can support, empower and enable women who are survivors of trafficking.

– Pray that more traffickers will be brought to justice and that Bangkok’s local authorities will become better equipped to find them.

Paul and Sarah Brown, who free women from sex trafficking.

Giving women a voice in Afghanistan

Women in Afghanistan often don’t have a say in what goes on in their village, where men are generally the key decision makers.

Afghanistan, where our team give a voice to women by setting up women's councils.

BMS partners in Afghanistan are working to change this by creating a women’s council in every village they work in. Making sure that the council is representative of all women in the village, it regularly meets alongside a men’s council which often already exists. This allows women to have a say in important decisions that will affect them, like where the water pipelines and latrines should be built.

BMS workers Catherine* and Rory* are part of our team in Afghanistan.

Their prayer requests:

– Pray for women-headed households in these villages, where men are away working and send money back when they can. Food shortages are predicted this year, and these families will be the ones hit the hardest.

– Give thanks for the local female staff that work with us in Afghanistan – they’re amazing role models. They are showing that women can work and empower people.

Empowering women in France

It’s dangerous to be a homeless woman in France, as many face abuse or are at risk of being forced into prostitution. Christine Kling, alongside a group of volunteers, set up a day shelter for these women. It gives homeless women a place to stay, rest and eat a meal, and it’s a place of dignity and respect.

As a pastor, Christine also wants to see more women in France step into Christian leadership. Through training and mentoring, more women are becoming confident in their gifts and calling.

Christine’s prayer requests:

– The homeless shelter requires many volunteers to keep it running. Give thanks for the people currently volunteering, and pray for new volunteers to come forward to join the project.

Christine Kling, a pastor of a church near Paris.

– Pray that more women in the new generation of Christians in France will feel confident and supported in their calling as pastors.

Providing employment for survivors of sex trafficking in India

Kolkata, where we work to provide employment for women wanting to leave the sex trade.

Thousands of women from rural villages in India have been trafficked into Kolkata to work in the red light district. BMS works alongside local partners offering employment to those wanting to leave the sex trade. The women also receive training – including learning how to read and write – as well as one-to-one counselling.

Prayer requests:

– Pray for the health and safety of foreign staff in India, as they do what they can to help empower women in challenging conditions.

– Pray for wisdom and guidance as our partners look to create a further 200 jobs over the next three to four years for women wanting to leave the sex trade.

– Pray for BMS volunteers Annette and Ron Salmon as they work alongside vulnerable women in India.

We have many more workers and partners who are involved in empowering women. From projects in Uganda and Mozambique that work to educate women on their legal rights, to workers in Nepal who provide teacher training, leading to better education for girls. Please continue to pray for our workers all over the world as they help women see their God-given value. Let us know you’re praying by hitting the big blue button!

*Names changed to protect identity

If you're praying for this Click Here
icon

Top 5 stories of 2017

Looking back:

Top 5 stories of 2017

Last year was filled with inspirational stories of lives being transformed through your giving. Here are our top five most-read articles from 2017.

Students being baptised in barrels. Young French Christians finding community. Nepali children excelling at school. These are just a few of the incredible things your gifts and prayers have made possible this year, through BMS World Mission. There were so many stories to choose from, but only five could top our news story charts! We hope you’ll be inspired as you look back at what we achieved together in 2017.

1. Big thinking for little minds

Children in Nepal are benefiting from Annie Brown's teacher training programme.

Millions of children in Nepal are getting the opportunity of a better education, thanks to your support for BMS worker Annie Brown.

With her teacher training programme being adopted by the Nepali Government, every teacher of students aged between five and 13 in all government schools will have the chance to receive Annie’s training. They’ll be better-equipped to teach, and Nepal’s children will face brighter futures!

2. Pray for our new mission workers

James and Ruth Neve, who are preparing to move to India to work with us.

Tucked away in our centre in Birmingham, new BMS mission workers are busy preparing for overseas service. For them, it’s daunting, but also exciting, as they get ready to serve God abroad in different ways. From a family heading to Nepal to help with disaster relief, to a couple heading to Albania to teach children of mission workers, there are plenty of things we can be praying for.

Loads of you loved catching up with our new mission workers’ prayer requests, making this our second most popular story last year.

Pray for them today by clicking the link below.

Want to help us do more? Give today
icon

3. 5 ways you're fighting violence against women

We're working in Uganda to help primary schools devise and implement child protection policies.

For thousands of vulnerable women and girls around the world, gender based violence is a daily part of life. But, thanks to your support, BMS is taking a stand against it. From helping girls know their rights, to freeing women from prostitution, you’re helping to empower women and prevent trafficking, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Find out more by reading the story.

4. Baptised in a barrel in Phnom Penh

Students are meeting Jesus in Cambodia! We loved witnessing the amazing moment when Srei got baptised in a barrel and by our stats it looked like you did too. Read about how she and Chan came to find God at a BMS-supported Christian hostel in Phnom Penh, and how, thanks to your support, more and more people are finding Jesus.

5. Feeding of the 400

You’re helping to build Christian community in France – where young Christians often feel isolated and lonely.

Connexion 2017, an event put on by BMS worker Sue Wilson and her team, helped young French Christians realise they’re not alone. Watch the video above to find out about what it meant to the people who were there, and click the link below to read how you’re helping bring young French Christians together.

Want to help us do more? Give today
icon

Thank you for supporting us in 2017. Your gifts have helped people find God, and have transformed countless lives. With your continued support, we can’t wait to start doing even more in 2018!

Other great stories made possible by you

Five stores aren’t enough to sum-up how much you did last year. So here are a few extra ones we’d love you to read too.

  1. Meet the inspiring Mozambican Christians you’re supporting: they’re bringing justice to abused women and teaching communities their rights.
  2. From witch doctor to church planter: the story of a witch doctor who found God, and then started planting churches.
  3. Baptist church brings light in Uganda: one simple action is raising money, helping people’s lungs and introducing people to Jesus.
  4. Refugees are like you and me: BMS worker Ann MacFarlane has seen God at work in the lives of refugees in Italy.
  5. This is what a life transformed looks like: meet Joshua. You helped give him a reason to smile.

5 ways you’re fighting violence against women

Me too.

5 ways you're fighting violence against women

Trafficking, sexual abuse and domestic violence: these are just a few of the huge issues women face around the world. BMS World Mission is working to change this, and your support is vital. Here are five ways you are empowering women and making an impact in the battle against gender based violence.

Everybody’s talking about it. Gender based violence (GBV). And it isn’t just Hollywood that’s affected. For thousands of vulnerable women and girls living in different parts of the world, it’s a common occurrence and a daily part of life. It’s always wrong, wherever it takes place. BMS, along with local partners, is taking a stand, and your support is making it possible. Here are five ways you are fighting GBV and empowering thousands of women around the globe.

1. Keeping girls in school

Children at a Ugandan school we're working with.
Children at a Ugandan school we're working with.

Education should be a fundamental right for everyone. However, in Uganda acts of violence towards young girls stop many from receiving the education they so desperately deserve. It’s not uncommon for girls to be abused by teachers while their friends are playing outside, and this abuse often leads to pregnancies that force many to leave school. BMS is working in Uganda to help primary schools devise and implement child protection policies. By putting these safeguarding measures in place, we hope that more girls will be able to enjoy learning without fear of abuse.

2. Freeing women from prostitution

Khao San road in Bangkok, one of the red light districts in the city.
Khao San road in Bangkok, one of the red light districts in the city.

Prostitution is degrading to women, but unfortunately for many it’s the only way to earn a living. BMS works with local partners in India and Thailand to free and empower women who have been trafficked into the sex industry and give them employment. They are trained as bakers and jewellery makers, or taught to create bags and t-shirts, with profits put towards a salary, health insurance and a retirement plan. These skills set women up for a future without sexual exploitation. A future of freedom. We also support Freeset in India doing similar work.

Click here If you're praying for this
icon

Become a 24:7 Justice Partner

By partnering with BMS and our justice ministries, you can help more women around the world access justice and learn their rights. Commit to regular prayer and giving. Click here to become a 24:7 Justice Partner today.

3. Helping women to know their rights

Corruption and a lack of understanding of the legal system prevent many women from knowing the rights they have as human beings. In Mozambique and Uganda, widows are some of the most vulnerable people in society, frequently having their homes stolen by their husbands’ relatives and completely unaware of their rights. BMS-supported lawyers in these countries are educating women on their property rights and rights as citizens. They also educate local churches on the legal issues that members face as well as helping to advocate for clients in domestic abuse cases. By teaching women to understand the law, you are empowering them to take a stand against injustice.

Annet Ttendo Miller is one these lawyers. She decided to become a lawyer after being raped at the age of 13. Annet is pioneering our justice work in Mozambique and previously worked with BMS as a Christian lawyer in Uganda. Watch the video above to hear her inspiring story.

4. Saving mother's lives

A prop used in a BMS safe birthing training coursein Afghanistan
A prop used in a BMS safe birthing course in Afghanistan

Maternal health is a woman’s issue, according to men in Afghanistan. With childbirth being considered a dirty business and men being the key decision makers in society, women often end up giving birth in the filthiest room in the house. This, combined with traditional practices such as pushing on the stomach to make the baby arrive more quickly and smearing animal dung on the umbilical chord after it’s cut mean that Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous places in the world for new mothers and their babies. BMS is working to train men and women in safe birthing practices and challenge the culture around pregnancy. This training is empowering pregnant women and can save the lives of mothers and babies who might otherwise die in childbirth.

5. Making churches safer places

Domestic violence poster used for an event in an Indian Church
A domestic violence poster used for an event in an Indian Church

GBV is often a topic that is brushed under the rug in the Church. We are involved in raising awareness of the injustice (and its presence in the Church) in churches in the UK, India and Mozambique.

In India, BMS has educated and engaged churches with the reality of domestic and sexual abuse, training pastors and giving them the opportunity to discuss the topic which, for many, has never been talked about before. This has resulted in a changing culture within these churches, challenging the beliefs around abuse and standing up against it.

Being quiet on the topic of GBV is often the case for the UK Church too. Here at home, BMS has been engaging churches through our Dignity initiative – encouraging Christians in the UK to continue to fight against abuse and to seek to make our churches a safer place for everyone. To get your church involved, click here.

Thank you for helping us empower women and stand against injustice around the world.

From witch doctor to church planter

From witch doctor to church planter

The gospel is bearing fruit in India. BMS World Mission church planting projects are seeing men and women from all kinds of backgrounds, ages and places coming to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Including witch doctors.

There aren’t words strong enough to describe the impact the gospel is having in India. Its reach, depth and power is incredible. It’s even more impressive in the face of the real, dangerous and sometimes violent persecution and opposition Christians there are facing.

296 - Sundarbans

Selim* had wanted to be a witch doctor since childhood. He was fascinated. He was committed. He studied under a master and honed his witchcraft. He practised where he lives in West Bengal, making his livelihood selling potions and charms to heal the sick.

Selim’s sister Maya* is a BMS-supported church planter. She always tried to convince her brother to come along to church with her. They would fight, and He would refuse. He had always been resistant to hearing the gospel.

Click Here To support this
icon

BMS’ involvement in church planting and leadership ministries in India goes back a long way. Indeed, back to some of our founding mission work. We want to see the local Church continue to be empowered today.

BMS Associate Team Leader for India Ben Francis and his team of BMS church planters travel across the country, sharing the good news of Jesus with men and women, young and old, in cities, towns and villages. They are able to share the gospel with some of the least evangelised people on the planet. And the Spirit is using their work in powerful ways.

Watch this video to hear an update from Ben on what’s happening in India.

Here is the story of how Selim and Maya’s lives have been transformed by Christ. Here’s what knowing Jesus has meant for them, for their relationship and for their communities. Here is their story, in their own words:

My life has been completely changed.

“My sister, the church planter. The local fellowship she leads meet faithfully. I can hear people singing and praising God.

“One member had been severely ill for a long time. He was dying. His family members had bought him to me many times for healing, but I had not been able to help him.

“Unable to walk, the people of the village carried him to the fellowship one day and the members of the church started to pray for him. They prayed without ceasing. After three days of prayer he was completely healed and started walking and eating and doing everything that he had before.

“I thought I was healing people by myself, with black magic and witchcraft, but I knew I had witnessed something amazing; this was a miracle. I understood my sister’s faith in this Jesus. My eyes were opened to the truth and I started to ask questions of my own.

“With Maya’s encouragement, I started going to church. I heard the word of God, and wanted to know more. My sister gave me a Bible to read. The words transformed my heart, and I understood that there is no power greater than the power of the Lord Jesus.

“I decided to abandon the wicked ways I knew and give my heart over to the one and only true God. I was baptised. I even changed my name.

“My life has been completely changed. I am now running my own fellowships, as well as supporting my sister, sharing the gospel. We are part of a wider team, proclaiming the good news and worshipping our Lord together.

“I am thankful to the Lord for leading me to my new work as a church planter.”

Selim and Maya’s story is just one of many of God’s power changing hearts and minds in India.

BMS is excited to be a part of God’s plan for this great nation. Lives are being transformed thanks to church planting ministries your giving to BMS is supporting. We are seeing incredible things happening.

Keep praising God for these wonderful works. Keep praying for safety. Keep praying for growth. Keep supporting this ministry.

India: church grows despite persecution

India:

Church grows despite persecution

Acid attacks, beatings and arrests can’t stop the love of God reaching Indians.

A man blinded in a fight hears about Jesus and is now leading others to Christ. A woman becomes a Christian soon after seeing the Jesus film and is healed of Hepatitis B. The stories of lives transformed by the gospel in India are inspiring. And BMS World Mission is helping these stories happen.

The sheer number of those becoming Christians is amazing too. In 2016, 80,000 non-believers were introduced to the gospel and 4,000 home groups were founded by BMS worker Ben Francis and his team. The church planters have learned that connecting with people, rather than throwing Bible knowledge at them, is key to changing hearts. “It’s a lot about building relationships,” says Ben. “People on the streets of India don’t care how much people know, they want to know how much you care.” Thanks to this approach, God’s love is spreading like wildfire throughout India.

Inspired to give? Click Here
icon

Seeta is part of the church planting team. In this short video, she explains how she started planting churches and what God is doing through her ministry, which is supported by BMS.

No matter what they are doing, we are reacting with love

What makes the impact of BMS church planting in India especially impressive is the backdrop of persecution that challenges it.

Attacks on Christians in the country are on the rise. A report published by the Evangelical Fellowship of India stated that between January and June 2016 there were 134 incidents of Christians being targeted across the country: from burning churches to assaults against believers. A leader of the Hindu extremist organisation Dharm Jagran Samiti in Utter Pradesh said in 2014: “Our target is to make India a Hindu Rashtra [realm/country] by 2021. The Muslims and Christians don’t have any right to stay here” (Daily Mail).

As Ben and his team of evangelists are planting churches in unreached areas, they often face hostility. “When you go to a new place, there is always persecution,” Ben says. “So we are used to all of this. If you say to my guys, ‘have you ever been beaten up?’, they can’t count how many times.”

Unlike in the Middle East, where many Christians are leaving their region to escape persecution, for Christians in India it is often impossible to go elsewhere.

“In India, Christian communities are poor,” says Ben. Many Christians are from traditionally lower caste backgrounds. “Where would they go? They have nowhere to go. So they stay, which is a very good thing. If they leave, then they have lost the battle.”

One of the most shocking cases Ben has seen is a woman who had acid thrown in her face by extremists in her village for becoming a Christian. Ben and his team are supporting her and are trying to arrange some plastic surgery for her. Despite the attack, she is staying in her village.

“Her husband has left her. She’s lost everything,” says Ben. “She is surrounded by non-believers who are saying, ‘Give up Jesus or we will kill you.’ But she’s still strong. She’s not going to leave Jesus.”

A Christian couple Ben works with were arrested and the husband was held in prison for several days. This is becoming a common occurrence.  “Now to put a Christian into prison, you don’t need a reason,” Ben says. “All you have to say is: ‘They are forcibly converting us.’ These Christians have never forcibly done anything in their lives.”

Despite increasing persecution of Christians, many seek to hear the gospel in India.

But there are signs that the peaceful stand Christians are making for their faith is beginning to have an impact.

“A lot of people who were persecuting Christians are realising that we are not resisting. No matter what they are doing, we are reacting with love,” says Ben.

Contrary to extremists’ plans, Ben and his team are finding that persecution can often lead to a greater response to the gospel. When church planters from Ben’s team were briefly arrested in a village for showing the Jesus film, they returned 48 hours after their release to show the film again. Many more people came to see it than when they showed it the first time.

Every time they show the Jesus film, Ben or other leaders like to ask a simple question: ‘how many of you want to be a friend of the Jesus that you just saw?’ “Hundreds of people usually lift up their hands,” says Ben. “It’s wonderful.”

How, then, can we pray then for these incredibly brave men and women who, supported by BMS, are growing the Church in India and transforming lives, risking their own lives to save others?

“We want to speak the love of God throughout India,” says Ben. “Pray for justice, for peace, for strength and for determination. Pray that Christians experiencing persecution will look to the Lord for help.”

Pray for open hearts and open doors in India as BMS continues to share Jesus with people in the country.