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2015 Missions Sneak Peek: India

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Last month, I went to Kolkata, India with our Student Minister, Frank Shimkus, to scout out new opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a country Shandon has never sent mission teams to.  In 2015, Shandon will send 2 teams--one youth and one adult.

This was my third trip back to India since my wife, Emily, and I finished our 3-year assignment in 2008.  It's always a thrill for me to take people to India for the first time. It's a long trip, and each person reacts differently to the pressures of international travel. India is a developing third-world nation that will capture your heart, and at the same time, assault your senses of smell, sight, and hearing.  Our boy Frank handled all of it like a pro! 

After a 21-hour trip from Columbia, to Atlanta, to Amsterdam, to Delhi, we finally arrived in Kolkata about 8am, and immediately, we were taken to a training for pastors.  We learned that there are 90 million people who live in an area the size of South Carolina (South Carolina's population is only about 4 million).  Yet among these 90 million people, only about 2% of them have heard the name Jesus!  It seems so hopeless, but after the training, we were inspired and encouraged by the national pastors who are taking Jesus' name to the far corners of India.  

We also visited Mother Teresa's Prem Dan, a facility that takes in and cares for those who cannot take care of themselves.  Prem Dan is located next some train tracks in a small community.  Shandon's two mission teams will have the opportunity serve "the least of these" and love those who will never be able to repay them.  

Rows of cots at Prem Dan
Rows of cots at Prem Dan

Serving at Prem Dan will mean changing soiled bed sheets, washing dishes, serving morning chai and cookies, shaving beards, and many other tasks that most of us would never choose to do but that give us the opportunity to serve in the name of Jesus and allow Him to do heart work on us.

In next week's post, you'll hear how Shandon will partner with organizations that fight human-trafficking and the sex slavery businesses and go to places where the gospel has yet to be preached.

Stay tuned...

Posted by James Roberts with
in Giving

What My Dad Taught Me about Tithing

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by James Bagwell, Director of Finance & Administration at Shandon

When I was a young child, my family was very poor. 

My father used to collect bottles (back when you could return bottles for a minimal refund), collect scrap metal and sell chicken eggs just to provide enough for us to get by.  At the time, we lived across the street from a Baptist church.

One day the pastor of the church invited my parents to attend.  My father explained to the pastor that we could not attend his church because we could not afford to tithe.  Interestingly, my father was not a believer at this time, but he at least had some head knowledge about tithing.  

The pastor challenged my father with this:  “Mr. Bagwell, we don’t need your money.  But I will tell you this.  If you were to start giving 10% of your income to the Lord, I assure you that you will not go hungry or go without other neccesities.  If you find by tithing, you do not have enough, you come see me and I will make sure you have the essentials.”

My father accepted the challenge and began attending church and tithing on his modest means, which included the money from bottles, metal and eggs.  My father never had to ask the pastor for help. 

We always had enough.

To see how my father chose to trust a God he didn't yet know was a life lesson for me.  How much faith do I have in the God I do know and follow?  Thankfully, my father did come to know Christ later in life and it was a great blessing, but I've never forgotten that example of faith.

I want to encourage those of you who may think you can’t tithe.  Our God is a loving God who seeks an intimate relationship with us built upon faith. 

Malachi 3:10 tells us “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.”

This year as you examine your finances and consider what you should do with your pledge card, I encourage you to have faith.  Pray.  Seek God’s will.  And join us on November 16 as we come together, trusting God, making an eternal commitment to support the ministry of our church to reach the world.

Posted by James Bagwell with

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