“Travel is fatal to bigotry, small-mindedness and prejudice,” wrote Mark Twain, and it’s a true thing. We think we see the world plainly, but cross an ocean, visit a different political or economic system, or try to worship in a place where Christians are a persecuted minority, and the whole word looks different.
The Baptist World Alliance held their annual gathering in Zurich, Switzerland, this summer. If you think of Baptists as just Bible-Belt Americans, you should visit www.bwanet.org to see photos of the 1,320 Baptists from 46 nations and 51 members bodies that consider us — yes, you and me — to be family.
Four years ago, church member and BWA board member Duke McCall nominated Jim Dant to be on the Interfaith Commission and me to be on the Worship and Spirituality Commission. I made the trip this summer, and Jim will go next summer to insure that you are represented there and that we contribute in whatever ways we can.
Through the BWA, we support ministries that range from bringing fresh water to a village in India, to speaking out against persecution in Ukraine, to helping Baptists around the world to worship with a more global perspective. In 2017, the BWA provided 43 project grants totaling $375,000 to impact the lives of over 6,000 people in 30 countries. This year, we adopted three resolutions addressing the abuse of women and girls, religious oppression in eastern Ukraine, and the United States’ policy of separating immigrant families, and much more.
Worshipping together, working together, and breaking bread together with fellow Christians from around the world is a transformative experience, and I thank you for allowing me to be your representative! When you hear bad news from around the world, remember that God is at work. Through our collaborative efforts, we can both be a witness and make a difference!