Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Missionaries are relaxing on the campus of Baptist International Missions Incorporated in Harrison now through July 27.
Thirty-three adults, 15 teenagers and 10-plus children are taking a brief break from mission work.
The families are from mission fields all over the world taking a one week break for spiritual rejuvenation. The missionaries and their young children are staying in the main building and the teens are residing in the lodge supervised by chaperones.
“My wife and I stayed in Japan for 35 years as missionaries,” said Baptist International Missions Inc. Director of Enrichment Bill Griffin. “We raised our children there. This is the 16th year we’ve had Enrichment Week for missionaries. It’s stressful being in the mission field so they can come back here for a week of encouragement. It’s a shot in the arm at no cost to the missionaries.”
He said BIMI staff stay on the Harrison property to cater to the missionaries throughout the week. The theme of the week is taken from Philippians 3:14 that reads “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
BIMI volunteers and staff will take missionary teens bowling, whitewater rafting, to Ruby Falls, Cloudland Canyon and Six Flags.
He said children ages 5 to 11 go to Lake Winnepesaukah with chaperones and play on a water slide on the BIMI campus. The adults get to go for a ride on the Southern Belle and bowling. Christian laymen will work on the missionary families’ vehicles to provide tune-ups and minor repairs to keep the cars running to return to the mission field.
“We have missionaries in Central America, Europe, Africa, Canada and various islands,” said Griffin. “We have 1,000 missionaries in 100 different countries. We also work on starting churches in the Northeast and Northwest United States.”
Looking back at Griffin’s personal missionary experience in Japan, he resided there from 1969 to 2003 with his family. Since returning back to the United States, he has served periodically in Japan filling in for a few months at a time for pastors in the mission field. He said in Japan’s 125 million member population that one half of one percent of residents are Christians. Japan is home to a Bible Institute supported by BIMI.
“Our goal as missionaries is to introduce people to Christianity and organize a church,” said Griffin. “The missionary starts the church for a few years and then finds a national pastor that’s from that country to continue the church.”
He said support for BIMI missionaries comes from church donations.
“I became a Christian as a teenager and I felt the Lord leading me into missions,” said Griffin. “There’s a peace that comes from doing the right thing. The Bible says to go unto all the world and preach the gospel. That’s what our missionaries do.”