Historic Together for the Nations conference empowers Florida Baptists for global missions

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MIAMI— In a historic event, the International Mission Board’s Together for the Nations conference, conducted in both Spanish and French Creole, drew more than 600 Haitian and Hispanic Florida Baptists to a day-long gathering aimed at exploring strategies for taking the gospel to the nations.

The Sept. 30 event, a collaboration between the Florida Baptist Convention and IMB, unfolded in two parts. The morning session, conducted in French Creole, was hosted at Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church in Miami, while the afternoon session, conducted in Spanish, took place at Florida Baptists’ Southeast Regional Center in Hialeah. Each conference boasted an attendance of approximately 300 participants, and the Spanish session welcomed representatives from more than 60 Hispanic Florida Baptist churches.

Paul Chitwood, IMB president, delivered a biblical message to both groups, emphasizing each church’s and each person’s pivotal role in advancing the gospel worldwide. Grounding his message in Revelation 7:9, Chitwood underscored that the work of evangelism remains unfinished because the vision presented by the Apostle John in Revelation has yet to be fully realized.

The mission field is open; we need you to come.

Myrna Pagan International Mission Board missionary to Mexico

“John saw heaven as it will someday be … He saw people from every nation and tongue. … We are not there yet,” Chitwood said.

Statistics from the IMB reveal that more than 3,000 people groups have yet to hear the gospel. Chitwood told attendees, “Lostness is the world’s greatest problem. It’s a universal problem. It is the only problem that doesn’t disappear when you die, and we cannot keep the good news to ourselves.”

The conference also featured a diverse range of breakout sessions, designed and led by IMB missionaries who are actively serving in various corners of the world. Each session delved into different facets of how churches and individuals can actively engage in global missions and collaborate with the IMB.

Myles Dowdy, Florida Baptists’ missions and ministries lead catalyst, expressed the heartfelt desire to empower local churches to reach across the street and around the world, with the IMB as their trusted international missions partner.

“God is bringing the nations to Florida to prepare Florida Baptists to take the gospel to the nations,” Dowdy said.

God is bringing the nations to Florida to prepare Florida Baptists to take the gospel to the nations.

Myles Dowdy Missions and ministries lead catalyst, Florida Baptist Convention

Dowdy’s perspective was echoed by Al Fernandez, Florida Baptists’ Southeast regional catalyst. Fernandez envisioned the conference as the inception of South Florida churches partnering with the IMB as their first choice for international missions support. He emphasized the significance of building lasting relationships between local congregations and the IMB, fostering a sense of unity in the mission to reach the unreached.

Paul Chitwood at Bethel Baptist Church in Miami with Pastor Keny Felix.

Jaime and Myrna Pagan, IMB missionaries in Mexico, shared their personal journey and encouraged pastors and leaders to respond to God’s call to missions through heartfelt prayer.

“The mission field is open; we need you to come,” said Myrna Pagan.

Missionaries serving in Colombia emphasized that more than 200 unreached people groups remain in the Americas alone. They reminded pastors and leaders, “There is space for more missionaries.”

John Voltaire, Haitian Ministry Catalyst for FBC, shared his perspective, saying, “Our Haitian churches and pastors are now more motivated to help serve and take the gospel to every corner of the globe.”

Emanuel Roque, Florida Baptists’ Hispanic ministries catalyst, affirmed the role of Hispanic Florida Baptists in advancing God’s kingdom globally. He encouraged each person present to seek God’s will and answer His call with courage and determination.

“God is advancing His kingdom all over the world, and Hispanic Florida Baptists are a vital part of God’s work,” Roque said.

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