Kentucky Flood Update, Arabic Baptist Conference & “Gospel Hooks”
The clean up of devastating flash floods in Kentucky the last week of July continues, and volunteers from 16 different Southern Baptist state conventions have been engaged in the clean-up and recovery process so far. For 38 years, hundreds of Middle Eastern Christians have come from nearby communities in New England and places far away to worship together for one weekend. And, Daily conversations hold possibilities for sharing the Gospel, and International Mission Board missionary Josh Oakes is looking for each opportunity across Central Asia.
The clean up of devastating flash floods in Kentucky the last week of July continues, and volunteers from 16 different Southern Baptist state conventions have been engaged in the clean-up and recovery process so far.
The late July floods claimed at least 37 lives, caused millions of dollars in damage and left multiple counties in a state of emergency. Send Relief’s crisis response director, Coy Webb, visited the region this week.
Much of the population did not have flood insurance, according to Coy Webb, according to the crisis relief director for Send Relief.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers have completed 97 flood clean-up jobs so far and served nearly 15,000 meals.
For 38 years, hundreds of Middle Eastern Christians have come from nearby communities in New England and places far away to worship together for one weekend. Since 1984, the Arabic Baptist Church of Boston has hosted its annual conference around the July Fourth holiday. The event draws attendees and online viewers from around the world.
The first conference saw around 80 to 100 people, said Samy Ibrahim, one of the organizers. This year’s event drew more than 450 – attendance made up of Arabic Baptist’s local congregation as well as visitors from around the U.S., Canada and the Middle East, who gathered July 1-4 at the Doubletree Hotel in Danvers, Mass.
English speakers wanting to participate in the Arabic-language sessions could do so with headsets for English translation. Sessions were also live-streamed across multiple online platforms, and thousands tuned in to watch on Facebook and on “Alkarma,” a free Arabic Christian satellite channel that broadcasts worldwide.
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Daily conversations hold possibilities for sharing the Gospel, and International Mission Board missionary Josh Oakes is looking for each opportunity across Central Asia.
Small talk about the weather? Oakes will introduce God as the Creator and Sustainer of life.
A comment about politics? Oakes sees an open door to talk about the fallenness of man and our need for a Savior.
Day to day Oakes uses what he calls “Gospel hooks” to start spiritual conversations. Turning quickly to deeper topics, he listens to discern whether someone is searching for truth or closed and uninterested. In this way, he is using the Gospel as a filter to determine where God is working in people’s hearts.
Gospel hooks vary depending on cultures. Missionaries who live and serve among the lost learn the culture and develop long-term relationships with the people. This presence leads to an understanding of how the Gospel can best be shared to a particular people group.
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