“Texas Baptists saved the life of my son.” One man shocked me with this statement after I met with students at Truett Seminary in Waco.
He and his wife were missionaries to China. They went to China with one child and soon became pregnant with their second. In China, they were allowed only one child and were told they would have to abort. Of course, that was not an option. Texas Baptists brought them to Texas and provided him with a scholarship to study at Truett. He will graduate in May, and he and his family hope to return to China as missionaries with their 2 1/2-year-old miracle son. Sheila and I met Kati (Kathryn) at Buckner International’s annual donor dinner. She is a beautiful 4-year-old from Guatemala. Kati was born with facial deformities and was abandoned at birth. This little throw-away child was taken to a Buckner home in Guatemala. Baylor Health Care learned of her condition and brought her to Dallas, where she received numerous surgeries. Now this beautiful little girl has been adopted and has a mother, father and siblings. Scott Collins of Buckner said 100,000 children are cared for in Buckner facilities around the world.
During these last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to begin a tour of Texas to meet with our church and institutional leaders. Susan shared about her desperate situation when she was a single mother with two small children, no job and no place to live. She was directed to the BGCT’s ministry in Round Rock, where she and her two sons lived the next 11 months. The staff of Children at Heart Ministries introduced Susan to Christ, taught her how to manage a budget, got her a job, and she and her boys moved to her own apartment.
A few years later, Susan told her boys God was calling her to go back and help mothers who were having problems like she had. Her 6-year-old asked: “Momma, we lived there because you were having problems? I thought it was because it was fun!” Many mothers have been rescued through this ministry.
It has been exciting to visit many of our Texas Baptist universities. Tatenda Tanzeneva, the student body president at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, led a prayer for me after I spoke in chapel. This senior from Zimbabwe prayed the most sincere and eloquent prayer of blessing before his fellow classmates. His prayer represented the obvious fact that students from around the world are finding a place in our universities, where they are receiving an excellent Christ-centered education.
Individual churches perform incredible ministries. Yet no church alone can provide shelter, food and a Christian environment for 100,000 children. No single church can rescue single moms and orphaned children. Not even the largest church can provide college and seminary training for students in every part of Texas, but when we share our resources, prayers and passions through the BGCT, we can be a part of God’s work that is greater than our eyes have seen and our ears have heard. It is a privilege to serve with you in these kingdom opportunities.
Randel Everett is executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board.