By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
SEVERNA PARK, Md.—Dave Brown, pastor of Severna Park Baptist Church, and Robert (Bob) Rudman, pastor of Glen Burnie Baptist Church, both began ministering at their churches in December 2009. They met through the Arundel Baptist Association, and they struck up an easy friendship. Now the two pastors are preparing to lead their churches on a combined mission trip to Masatepe, Nicaragua, Aug. 16-23, where they will minister to around 1,000 children.
Brown said the upcoming trip is a natural extension of missions. In 1960, Glen Burnie Baptist Church started Severna Park Baptist Church in a local outreach effort to minister to the nearby Severna Park area. Now the two churches are combining to reach the world through international missions. Neither pastor was sure where God was leading them so they began to seek His direction.
“Bob and I were praying and we got the churches praying together,” Brown said. “We did that for two months and out of that we felt the Lord was leading us to South America…It finalized into Nicaragua,” he explained.
Severna Park Church has some mission experience. They’ve had several members individually participate in trips to Scotland, and Moldova. Since Brown’s arrival, they’ve done local trips to Baltimore and Appalachia.
This will be a new step of faith for Glen Burnie Baptist Church.
“We support the Cooperative Program and the convention fully, but to the best of my knowledge I don’t know of any team that has ever gone on an international trip,” Rudman said.
Ten people are participating, five from each church. It’s a multigenerational group with five women and five men, ranging in age from 16 to 70.
The teams will work with Steve Bakos, missionary with the Messiah Project, and with “Pastor Roberto,” the native pastoral leader. They’ll stay at “The Land of Judah” orphanage for abused and abandoned children. In the mornings and afternoons they’ll visit two different villages leading VBS-type activities including telling Bible stories, doing puppet shows, drama, crafts, face-painting and sports.
It will take the team about 40 minutes in a bus to travel the three kilometers to the villages due to the incredibly poor roads.
Mary, Rudman’s wife who has ministered in Nicaragua, several times, said one of the most exciting aspects of working with the children is that it is an entry point for reaching adults. Many of those adults are gang members.
“While we’re ministering to the children, these guys are standing around hearing it.
“In one village we’ve gone to they were overrun by gangs. Missionaries were going through, presenting the Gospel and gang members got saved and began witnessing to others. The town drunk is now a church leader,” Bob Rudman said. “Gang leaders who used to intimidate with fear are now church leaders.”
The churches have been raising funds through dinners, yard sales, a silent auction, a car show and a music program.
Children in VBS saved pennies to buy school uniforms for the children in Nicaragua who can’t attend school if they don’t have uniforms and supplies.
The VBS funds are donated to a back-to-school program to help the Nicaraguan children. Thirty-five dollars provides a complete uniform, shoes and backpack filled with supplies.
The team needs donations of bowls. Mary Rudman said village people come for food, sometimes hot soup, and have inadequate bowls to receive it.
“It can be something as simple as three for $1 at a dollar store,” she said.
They also need crayons and beads for outreach ministry.
The pastors are trying to emphasize 100 percent participation, encouraging all members to be involved in the trip in some way, either committing to pray, give or go.
“As new pastors, we want to cast that vision to spread the Gospel,” Brown said.