Hundreds are expected to gather in Medford, OR, on Friday July 18 through Sunday, July 20 for the World Mission Conference of American Baptist International Ministries. The conference will is hosted by the American Baptist Churches of Oregon and Eastwood Baptist Church of Medford. It will be held at the Medford Red Lion Hotel.
Eastwood Church expects people from many churches from Oregon and beyond. The event will feature 20 workshops, and ten missionaries or international guests from many countries, including Lebanon, Costa Rica, Congo, Thailand, Nepal and Brazil, among other countries.
International Ministries Executive Director Reid Trulson said he was grateful for the opportunity to partner with Eastwood and the ABC region to bring the story of world mission to Oregon.
"Churches like Eastwood are central to what International Ministries is all about," said Trulson. "Almost 200 years ago, Baptist churches just like Eastwood and others came together all across the United States and said we can make a big difference in this world if we work together," Trulson said. "Today, thousands of churches are still vital partners, along with over 200 national churches and organizations with which we work around the world, sending more than 2,500 short- and long-term missionaries, including wonderful people from the Eastwood Church."
The surprises of people working together to share good news and meet human needs will be the focus on the weekend-long celebration of teaching, worship and interaction.
Several people on the local organizing committee have spent time in Lebanon, where missionaries Dan and Sarah Chetti work at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut. The Chettis have a powerful testimony of how they remained in Lebanon even during recent periods of war between militant extremist group Hezbollah and Israel, and recent violence between Hezbollah and government forces. Dan Buttry, an American Baptist global consultant for peace issues, will also share, having recently returned from Lebanon to participate in a Christian-Muslim dialogue at the seminary.
There will be a special opportunity for attendees to hear from Duane Binkley, a missionary who splits his time between Thailand and the United States, doing work with refugees. Binkley helps ethnic minorities who have fled Myanmar, a country in Southeast Asia, get out of refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar border and relocate in the United States. "Because of the experience of these refugees, our government is giving more and more of them the opportunity to find a new life in the U.S.," said Binkley. "The surprise for many Americans is that many of these refugees are Christians, and when they come to the U.S. they look for the closest church, and churches are seeing their congregations transformed in welcoming their new Christian sisters and brothers."
Binkley, who speaks the ethnic languages of groups coming to the U.S., will share with those who attend the conference how they can best prepare to help these refugees make the adjustment to life in the U.S.
Registration for the conference is $70 for adults, $60 for youth and students and $40 for kids. Child care will be provided. Get a $10 discount by registering online at www.worldmissionconference.org. Separately, you may call 1-800-222-3872 for more information.
American Baptist International Ministries, organized in 1814, is the oldest Baptist mission agency formed in North America. We serve more than 2,500 short-term and long-term missionaries annually, bringing U.S. and Puerto Rico churches together with partners in 76 countries in cutting-edge ministries that tell the good news of Jesus Christ while meeting human needs.