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Southeast Georgia Baptists and Puerto Rico Baptist Convention forge long-term partnership

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Meeting with the Puerto Rico Baptist Convention, church planters and other partners in San Juan through our partnership with North American Mission Board, we were excited to see the first vision tour come about.

Billy Brinson, pastor at Hines Missionary Baptist Church in Swainsboro; Jarrod Everson, pastor at Deenwood Baptist Church in Waycross; David Lamm, pastor at First Baptist Church Collins in Collins; Mark Santana, youth pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Jesup; Greg Benfield, associational mission strategist of the Piedmont-Okefenokee Baptist Association in Waycross; Freddy Gardner, associational mission strategist of the Tattnall-Evans Baptist Association in Metter; and Louis Pearce, associational mission strategist of the Emanuel Baptist Association in Swainsboro were the pioneer team for the southeast region of the Georgia Baptist Convention.

Our goal for brotherhood and long-term partnership between the Georgia Baptist churches of southeast Georgia and the 50 churches in the Puerto Rico Baptist Convention is to encourage a dual convention-to-convention and church-to-church model facilitated by missions consultation in Georgia and under the direction of the executive director of the Puerto Rico Baptist Convention.

  1. Church-to-Church

We want to see each of the 50 Puerto Rico churches partnering with at least one church in the Georgia Baptist Convention. This partnership will include the following:

  1. Mutual prayer support between the partnered churches.
  2. Commitment to long-term partnership seeking to build relationships with Puerto Ricans.
  3. Opportunity for participation in the financial recovery of churches and their ministry expansion.
  4. Preparation of new church planters and missionaries through possible internships.
  5. Strategic missional projects: adoption, literacy, evangelism, counseling, theological education, construction, English as a second language, sports ministry and meeting human needs, girls’ orphanage.

  6. Church Planting Support

Churches that want to be in partnership with the new planters will start next year. Trips to bring moral and tangible support in one of the following ways:

  1. SEND Relief- through one-week trips hosted by NAMB, churches can discover the opportunities for further partnership
  2. SEND Puerto Rico- through connection to specific church planters under the direction of Felix Cabrera and the Puerto Rico Baptist Convention, longer-term partnerships can be established.
  3. Existing Puerto Rico Baptist Convention churches that have not yet moved into planting other churches, potential partnerships to encourage church health and further planting under the direction of the local convention.
  1. Convention-to-Convention 

Georgia Baptist Mission Board can provide encouragement and support in these three ministries: 

  1. WMU -- Relational encouragement through trips, instructional leadership development

 opportunities, and joint missions’ projects.

  1. Collegiate Ministry -- campus-to-campus relationships, strategy training for campus

engagement, and summer/semester missionaries through Baptist Collegiate Ministry.

  1. Chaplaincy -- networking with Disaster Relief, shared resources for training, and deployment of chaplains for special needs. 

As we are seeking opportunities for our pastors and churches in the southeast region in Georgia, seeing the need to come alongside of our church planters and other partners in Puerto Rico, we are encouraging Acts 1:8 churches in all four fields!

In asking about what some next steps are to join and help reach the families and communities in Puerto Rico, this is what I have heard:  They ask for some to go back and help with building a ramp for the new first-time guests that are in wheelchairs in Puerto Rico that wants to attend church services. Pastors and churches can start planning trips for 2022 and forward! They are also asking for some teams go to support a girls’ orphanage in Puerto Rico in the Summer of 2022!

Pastors and churches are joining together to fulfill the Great Commission according to Mathew 28:16-20 and Acts 1:8 and helping churches reach the lost in all mission fields!

If you want more information on how to connect with planters, churches, and the leadership team in Puerto Rico, please contact me, Sam Ayala – sayala@gabaptist.org.

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