The Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 77, No. 7, Ed. 1, Friday, May 4, 1990 Page: 1 of 8
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Volume 77 issue 7
May 4 1990
Radical changes fop concerns
by Roy Jones II
and Charles Richardson
Radical changes in the political
situation in Eastern Europe have
been on the minds of leaders of the
Southern Baptist Foreign Mission
Board R. Keith Parks president
said at a two-day "MissionFest
Texas" program on the Hardin-
Simmons University campus.
Parks said he's convinced that
"God intervened in history"
creating the rapid changes in
Eastern Europe because of the fer-
vent prayers offered by the op-
pressed Christians of those coun-
tries and the concerned Christians
of the world.
He and nearly 80 Foreign Mis-
sion Board missionaries and per-
sonnel came to the HSU campus
April 20-21 for the only event of its
type in Texas during 1990.
"MissionFest" was sponsored
jointly by the FMB Baptist General
Convention of Texas and HSU.
Joining Parks on the program were
Dr. William M. Pinson executive
director of the BGCT and Dr.
Jesse C. Fletcher HSU president.
In explaining to a group of
pastors and directors of missions
why Baptist are not sending
money and missionaries into the
fertile fields of Eastern Europe any
faster Parks said "We are com-
mitted to the indigenous approach.
"We feel that it is extremely im-
portant that we not be stampeded
that we not jump on our horses and
ride off in all directions but that
we keep our purpose and direction
central so we can maximize those
things that are the most important
to us as Southern Baptists."
Southern Baptist efforts to help
spread the gospel in order for the
world to know about Jesus cannot
be done only with missionaries
"We prefer to plant and cultivate
indigenous or the homegrown
churches" he said.
Many Southern Baptists he
said are asking why the Foreign
Mission Board isn't moving faster
In Eastern Europe. Some have sug-
gested taking up a special offering
for Eastern Europe which he said
. he has resisted.
"I don't really think we can take
a special offering every time
something suddenly happens" he
said. The FMB has set aside $2.1
million for evangelism and relief in
Eastern Europe but is not rushing
into spending it all at once he
"We are committed to an in-
digenous approach which means
we are trying desperately to help
the Europeans plan and get
something that is their's that we
can partner with them rather than
rush in and do something
American" he repeated.
"It is frustrating to everyone in-
volved" he said noting that Euro-
pean Baptists have given the FMB
a "shopping list of building and
equipment needs that runs into the
hundreds of millions of dollars."
"We're working as rapidly as we
can but at the same time trying to
honor the fact that it is their coun-
try and they are the ones who will
be there after we've come and
gone" he said.
Slowing the efforts is the
smallness of Eastern Europe's
Baptist unions comprising
pastors who obviously had to be
bivocational-which means less
time to devote to moving ahead.
"Plus they have not had a
chance to exercise their planning
skills for 40 years. They don't have
trained leadership. It is taking
them a while to put it together" he
Parks said Baptists are pro-
viding evangelistic tracts public
address systems and Bibles and
also teaching "desk top printing"
to the eager Europeans.
"And we're providing a 600-seat
tent that the East Gemans re-
quested. They want to go town to
town having a revival" he said
"They are on fire for the Lord. They
haven't been able to do that for 40
"In this time of flux and change
there are more things to do than
anyone can do so we've come
back to our basics" he said. "We
operated on the axiom 'When the
unexpected occurs you have to go
back to your basics or you'll miss
Eventually Baptists will infuse
Eastern Europe with the FMB
mainstay the career missionary
he said. "Already we have career
missionaries living In Hungary
Yugoslavia. We'll soon have some
living in the Soviet Union. We have
some assigned to East Germany
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Baptist Student Union Director Palmer McCown visits with
participants during the two-day MissionFest held on the HSU
and they are already working there
although they still live in West Ger-
many" he said.
This summer 48 Baptist
students will go to Leningrad in
12-man teams to refurbish a
building for a church in the Rus-
sian city he said.
"In all the opportunities that are
there we have to focus on what we
are supposed to be about to keep
out targets clear and simple" he
said. "We're committed to trying to
reach the whole world."
Many of approximately 250 na-
tions of the world remain closed to
both career and volunteer mis-
sionaries "but you can't keep God
out" Parks said. He urged Bap-
tists to pray for unsaved souls in
the "otherwise inaccessible" na-
tions and trust God to work more
of the miracles He already has
worked in Eastern Europe in the
past few months.
"Not all can go but all can
pray" he said adding that the
FMB has a toll-free Prayer-Line
(1-800 ALL SEEK) which lists the
latest prayer concerns from mis-
sionaries. One popular location on the
HSU campus was the "Global
Walkaround" which was located in
Moody Student Center where the
"sights and sounds of missions"
were on display and missionaries
in native costumes of countries in
which they serve talked "on a one
to one basis" with people.
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The Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 77, No. 7, Ed. 1, Friday, May 4, 1990, newspaper, May 4, 1990; Abilene, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth97502/m1/1/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Hardin-Simmons University Library.