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.

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Epic cycling and powerful emotions: the impact of Life’s First Cry

Epic cycling, powerful emotions and teddy bears’ picnics:

the impact of Life’s First Cry

It’s inspired tears in some and action in others – a simple video about BMS World Mission work with mums is having a powerful effect.

A humbling number of churches have already given to Life’s First Cry, and we know more and more of you are being inspired every day by the powerful work BMS is doing to save the lives of mothers and babies in Afghanistan. Thanks to you, we have trained local women to give safe birthing training in Afghanistan’s remote mountains. Thanks to you, families don’t have to fear for the lives of their children any more.

Some churches have used Life’s First Cry at harvest time. Others have shown the video on a mission Sunday or taken a special appeal for BMS work. Again and again, UK Christians are getting in touch to tell us how powerful and moving they have found the video. We believe that is because your gifts are making God’s work happen in Afghanistan. And we wanted to share some of the amazing things you’ve said and done in support of that work, in Afghanistan and around the world, inspired by Life’s First Cry.

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.

After hearing about Life’s First Cry, Stanley Road Baptist Church in Morecambe decided it was important to share its message of hope for mums and babies with their children. They had the brilliant idea of running a teddy bears’ picnic in their midweek toddler group, Toddler Time, as well as a Life’s First Cry service. We think this is a great way to engage young children with mission and the church. Thank you so much, Stanley Road!

Thank you, also, Ian!

Ian Richardson on his bike outside a leisure centre
Ian Richardson took on the highways and byways of the Scottish Borders to raise money for BMS work.

Ian Richardson is a bit of a hero in the BMS office. He watched Life’s First Cry and decided he needed to do something to help. His passion for cycling gave him an idea: why not do a sponsored cycle ride? And ride he did! Ian cycled a whopping 1,016 miles across the country and raised a massive £2,273.75! Thank you so much, Ian, for supporting life-transforming BMS work!

Selly Park Baptist Church decided to get creative to support Life’s First Cry. Their Sunday School created a display that was, by all reports, beautiful, about the work BMS is doing, including information about Afghanistan and pictures of the work going on there. The display was featured in their Life’s First Cry service, where BMS guest speaker and former worker in Afghanistan Elizabeth Lee was also speaking. To top off their service, they held a harvest lunch of soup, bread and cake.

Thank you so much for the creative ways you’re supporting Life’s First Cry!

These are just a few stories of the way in which churches around the UK are using Life’s First Cry. But we wanted to find out what people outside a worship service would think. We showed Life’s First Cry to mums and dads to see what they thought of the crucial work BMS is doing in Afghanistan. The video below captures some of their reactions.

Mums and Dads react to Life's First Cry

Losing babies and mothers dying in childbirth are not easy subjects to think about. We know they bring up hard emotions and painful memories for many people. We’ve heard such encouraging stories about the sensitive way speakers and churches have dealt with it. One BMS speaker, Wilma, told us:

``A number of women expressed how they were deeply moved by the video. An elderly lady had lost a baby over 80 years ago and was able to relate to the sorrow felt by the Afghan parents.``

Thank you, Wilma, for sharing so sensitively. We hope that the support that you have helped to inspire will mean that far fewer women, in a country with less medical provision than our own, will have to experience the pain that so many families around the world face because of lack of knowledge and support.

Thanks to your help, mothers in Afghanistan are getting that support. And we are planning to help more so that they don’t have to be afraid for their children’s lives. So that children don’t have to worry they will lose their mothers.

Every church service, every fundraising activity, every share on Facebook and special collection makes a difference, and we want to say a huge thank you to the UK Baptist Family for the love and support you’ve shown for Life’s First Cry and BMS work among those who need it most.

If you haven’t watched it yet, here’s the video again:

If you’ve been inspired by these stories and haven’t yet held a Life’s First Cry service, it’s not too late! Go to our Life’s First Cry resource page to find everything you’ll need to make sure this important story is told.

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We’d love to be able to personally thank every church that supports us, so even if your church isn’t mentioned here, please know that your supporting is always incredibly important to us. Get in touch by email at mail@bmsworldmission.org or on Facebook to tell us how you have used Life’s First Cry and whether you’d recommend it to other churches to show in the coming year.

Saving lives in Afghanistan: four mothers tell their stories

Saving lives in Afghanistan:

four mothers tell their stories

Christians in Afghanistan are saving mums’ and babies’ lives this harvest.

Can you imagine losing ten children? Many mothers living in remote villages in the mountains of Afghanistan don’t have to imagine. It’s been their life. Giving birth used to be a terrifying prospect for these women: they never knew whether they, or their babies, would survive. For hundreds of women across Afghanistan’s icy mountains that’s all changed, thanks to transformative training courses supported by BMS World Mission. Thanks to you and your support. Children born in these villages are far less likely to die before they’ve had a chance to live. Mums don’t have to live in fear anymore.
We want to introduce you to four of these mothers, so they can share in their own words the way that you have helped transform their lives.

1. Negar: ‘The men are really helping, they’ve had the lessons as well.’

Negar, a mother from Afghanistan

My children didn’t all survive. I’ve given birth to about ten children in all, but three of them passed away from tetanus. Us women used to keep carrying really heavy loads all through pregnancy. We wouldn’t be eating and drinking very much. And we’d give birth down in the barns.

The birthing lessons have really made a difference to the way we look after ourselves when we’re pregnant. The men are really helping, they’ve had the lessons as well. They’re the ones who are saying, ‘don’t do the heavy lifting’. They’ll bring water into the house, they’ll make sure their wives get a couple of hours extra sleep during the day. This has really made a difference to the way that men behave.

And it means our children come into the world healthy and whole. They are not passing away from hepatitis, and pneumonia, tetanus.

2. Maheen: ‘If we had known about this a generation ago, it would have made so much difference.’

Maheen, a mother from Afghanistan

Eight of my children passed away. I have eight living children as well. The others died from bleeding, from other complications, from getting sick after they were born. Even my children who survived had problems when they were young. One of my sons had problems with diarrhoea and deafness for about two years when he was younger, he’s still deaf in one ear. Another had problems with his heart, and other complications. We took him to the clinic and they managed to save his life. He’s a nice, big man now. This was before we had any of these lessons we have now.
I’m one of the local midwives, and since I took part in the training and became a facilitator I’ve delivered about 35 children and they’ve all been fine. I’ve applied what I learned in the lessons and those have been healthy deliveries.

If we had known about this a generation ago, it would have made so much difference. There are so many women from this village who are not here today, because they lost blood and died during childbirth. And children who died from infections. I recently helped my friend here with a baby that couldn’t breathe. We knew how to pat it on the back, how to give it the breath of life and to start it breathing. And he’s okay now. We’ve learned so much. And we want to learn more.

Life’s First Cry, our 2018 harvest appeal, shares the hidden struggles of families in rural Afghanistan.

Click the button below to download the video and visit www.bmsworldmission.org/cry find out more about all the amazing resources that you can use to share how women’s lives are being transformed.

3. Taban: ‘I’m happy to be a mum.’

Taban, a mother from Afghanistan and her daughter Chehrah

This is my daughter Chehrah. I gave birth at home and, because Chehrah was born after we started the lessons, we knew to make the place nice and clean. And, praise God, Chehrah’s fine. She’s really well. We didn’t know much about childbirth before we had the course. Some of my other children had problems with malnutrition and things, because we didn’t really have much idea about feeding ourselves well as mums. This time, I found it a lot easier. I wasn’t so worried, and we had a nice place to have the baby. Chehrah was born in the night, and the next morning we went to the clinic to get her vaccinated.

I’m happy to be a mum. It’s a nice thing. I am really hoping I can bring my children up well, and they will be healthy.

4. Andisha: ‘What we’ve learnt here is the reason that my children are alive.’

Andisha, a mother from Afghanistan

Our kids just kept dying. Some of them would live for a few hours. Some would live for a few weeks. And then they would pass away. And that was just terrible. You can’t really cope with that kind of feeling. But after the course we changed what we do, and our children have survived. Now that we have two living children I am very happy. It’s hard to describe the difference between then and now.

It’s really great being a mum. It’s a really joyful feeling. Our house feels much better. It really made a difference that my husband went on the course as well. He was a real help when I was expecting – he helped around the house and we’ve been more in agreement. It’s brought us closer together. I am really happy now.

What we’ve learnt here is the reason that my children are alive. The lessons you have given have made all the difference in the world.

For these four women, giving birth is no longer a terrifying prospect. But for many other women in Afghanistan, it still is. Please show Life’s First Cry in for your harvest service this year to support this extraordinary work and help keep more mothers and babies alive.

Visit www.bmsworldmission.org/cry to find all the resources you’ll need, including the British Sign Language and subtitled versions of our Life’s First Cry video, collection jar labels and gift envelopes. Thank you for supporting this powerful work and giving families hope for the future.

Give to Life's First Cry right now Click here
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Four-month-old Navid yawns in his mother's arms in his home in Afghanistan
Your gifts to BMS are saving the lives of babies like Navid.