SBTC president sees CP and Lottie Moon dollars at work in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya?A whirlwind tour of Central, Eastern and Southern Africa impressed the president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Steve Swofford said he wished every Southern Baptist could experience and see what he and his wife, Brenda, did.

“We saw Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon dollars at work and Southern Baptists would be proud of how it’s used,” Swofford, who is also an International Mission Board trustee, said. “How Southern Baptists do missions is very impressive. When you go out and see it, it just reinforces how important it is to give to the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.”

A percentage of money from the Cooperative Program goes to support international missions. All of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering supports international missions. Brenda said she sees the offering in a new light after her trip to Africa.

“We’ve seen people sacrifice to get the gospel out,” she said. “That’s important for Southern Baptists to see and for us to report back. Many in our churches sacrifice to give to international missions and they should know that those using the offerings sacrifice.”

Swofford said he was impressed with many missionary families who chose to move closer to the people they worked with. This meant leaving the comforts of a city, considered modern by African standards, and living in the middle of the bush. Many don’t have electricity and have to carry water to their house. It touched the Swoffords that missionaries cared that much about telling the gospel to make sacrifices.

“No one is living in luxury. The mission board takes good care of their people, but there’s a point when you have to be with the people to share and it impressed me that we have missionaries willing to do this,” Swofford said.

This single-hearted devotion by missionaries was something the Swoffords said they found all over the region. They watched a missionary translate the Bible. At another stop, they met the cast getting ready to dub the Jesus Film in a new language. They traveled up into the hard-to-reach mountain areas of Tanzania where some college students spent their summer working.

They met missionary after missionary with stories about the people they worked with. Sometimes the stories told about conversions, other times, the stories told of persecution or a closed door. No matter the story, Swofford said the missionary always ended the story by asking the couple to thank Southern Baptists for the part they play in international missions.

“They (missionaries) thanked me for what we, as Southern Baptists, do in allowing them to share the gospel,” Swofford said. “They asked me to tell Southern Baptists thank you for what they do! Even the national believers thanked me for investing in their nations.”

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