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Baptist missionaries' study brings Nigeria to the gospel

By JEAN JOHNSON
Published February 3, 2007


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BROOKSVILLE - First Baptist Church of Brooksville is offering the community a chance to visit the African country of Nigeria without ever leaving Hernando County.

Each year the Southern Baptist Convention conducts a series of mission studies for Baptist churches. The congregations raise money to bring the gospel to a particular part of the world.

"The previous two countries visited were India and Mexico," said Eddie Money, who is one of the local organizers. "We've also visited Ethiopia and Vietnam."

This year's Nigerian mission study will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 11 in an area of the church's Memorial Building designed to resemble a marketplace. There will be separate activities for preschoolers and elementary students between 4 and 7 years old, teens and adults, followed by a dinner of beef stew and side dishes of Nigerian food.

Educational materials will include maps, brochures and newspapers. The various age groups will read and learn about what missionaries do in Nigeria and hear about some of their experiences.

"Some of the young people will be encouraged to make a commitment to become missionaries in countries where there is such a need to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ," Money said. "The Bible says it's our responsibility."

Jeannie Crossan, another local organizer, said, "Southern Baptists are noted for mission efforts and work, and the taste of Nigeria is something that's helped us to understand the work going on there, as well as to introduce us to them (through mission trips). It makes the world smaller."

Pointing out how the program builds relationships, Crossan mentioned purchasing food prior to last year's program on India. She visited a grocery store, and an Indian woman helped her with her shopping.

"She made two fabulous dishes and finger food and brought them to the mission study as a gift," Crossan said.

It takes several months to plan one of the programs, Crossan said.

"Eddie does the work getting people to direct and has a team to make decorations, including posters and fliers. It takes a lot of prayer and consideration," said Crossan, who has done missionary work in Guatemala, Argentina, Canada, Haiti, Portugal, West Virginia and Eastern Europe.

But she said the work is a joy, "knowing other people are finding out about missions and the Lord. I enjoy trying to blend our people together. So many times everybody has their thing, but this is one where everyone is involved.

"The primary reason for the church mission trips," Crossan said, "is to tell other people about Jesus and share his love for other people and that he offers eternal life. That's what we hope people will be able to find, and that's what we do in these other countries."

Fast Facts:

If you go

Nigerian 'mission'

First Baptist Church of Brooksville's Nigerian mission study begins at 4 p.m. Feb. 11 at the church, 420 Howell Ave., Brooksville. At 6 p.m., after activities for various age groups, a dinner of beef stew and Nigerian side dishes will be served. Reservations are required and must be made by Tuesday. Call 796-6791.

Nigeria

- The most populated country in Africa, home to more than 140-million people.

- Twice the size of California, it is on the Gulf of Guinea, and ranges from rain forest to desert, and beaches to mountains.

- About half the population is Muslim; about 40 percent of the people have some Christian affiliation. The remainder practice indigenous religions including voodoo.

- Two-hundred fifty ethnic groups speak as many as 510 languages.

[Last modified February 2, 2007, 20:28:05]


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