God’s call on the Christian Church extends beyond our own communities and into the entire world—sharing Christ without imposing our cultural expectations about dress, worship style, or standard of living. Often it is easier to practice developmental principles in our own communities, but difficult when overseas. We want to ensure we are working toward grace-based, community development both in our own community and abroad.
Southwood is privileged to partner with missionaries whom God has called full time to the field. Some have often left their own cultures, families, and comfort behind for the sake of the gospel. Others are indigenous people whom God is raising up to witness to their own communities. Take a moment to read about our partners, lift them up in prayer, and consider ways you might engage further with their ministry!
Place: Peru (Lima, Yungay, Iquitos, Cusco)
Org: Scripture Union, Peru
The Clarks have been missionaries in Peru for over 50 years. Paul, a 3rd generation missionary in Peru, began Scripture Union and served as her executive director before recently transitioning to staff and leadership development. Scripture Union Peru has a number of focuses including Bible teaching through the public schools, ministry to the deaf, medical care for remote villages, and orphanages for abandoned street boys. These “abandoned boys” are viewed by most Peruvians as no more than dogs. Scripture Union has established a number of boys homes (called Girasoles homes) to provide for their needs including food, shelter, education, marketable skills and a relationship with Christ. Southwood is most integrally connected to Scripture Union’s Girasoles homes, because this is where our senior high students have served on short term mission trips over many years.
Place: Yougall, Ireland
Seth grew up at Southwood and served with our children’s ministry as a summer intern before pursuing missions full time with Crossworld in Ireland. Seth and his wife Jessica are part of a church planting team in Youghal, Ireland - a small town in County Cork pronounced “ya’ll.” Seth and Jessica serve alongside the church planting pastor of Youghal Baptist as youth directors and outreach coordinators. Whether by hosting teens in their home for dinner and Bible study on Friday nights, or planning the summer, soccer camp program, the Lewises are working to share the gospel of Christ with the youth in their community and draw them into the body of Christ. Plans are already in motion for at least 2 other church plants in County Cork. The Lewises have 3 young children of their own, Daniel, David, and Rebekah. To learn more about their ministry and keep up with specific prayer requests, go to www.sethandjessica.com. To learn more about the Youghal church planting work visit www.youghalbaptist.ie.
Place: North Carolina and World
Language: English, French, Classified
Johnny and Becky have served with Serge (formerly World Harvest Missions) for many years. Beginning in Kenya, Johnny helped to develop and translate a discipleship curriculum for Africa based on World Harvest’s Sonship Curriculum. This curriculum, called Grace for Africa, is designed to help believers move beyond a theological knowledge of God’s grace to a heartfelt understanding and application of this grace in their everyday lives and ministry. Following their time in Kenya, the Longs spent six years in the UK, and recently relocated to North Carolina to serve on the Cross-Cultural Renewal and Leadership Development team. They are continuing the ministry of developing and teaching grace-based discipleship materials for Africa, the UK, and the USA. Johnny is currently writing for and traveling to sensitive areas, which means that we cannot give details about his current work here on our website - despite the fact that this may be the most exciting and challenging work he has ever done! If you would like to learn more about his present work you may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Place: Lyon, France
Org: Global Outreach Mission/MTW
Alex pastors The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Lyon under Global Outreach Mission and in partnership with MTW as well as the French Reformed Evangelical denomination. Alex is French as well as bilingual and bi-cultural due to a Scottish mother and French father. Suzanne was born in France as an MK and her father planted the church Alex now pastors. The Sarrans minister in an extremely depressed spiritual climate; Lyon has an evangelical population of approximately .5%. Alex began serving the church as a music director, youth leader and student minister leader. When the Fouchachons left the field, Alex filled his father-in-law's shoes as the senior pastor. Their congregation is small and no stranger to spiritual attacks, but both Alex and Suzanne are encouraged to see increased opportunities to share the gospel in their context.
Place: Vienna, Austria
Org: World In Need
The Spooners have been missionaries in Europe since 1983. Art is officially retired due to age and various health issues but continues to serve in supportive roles. Ursula continues to minister in two different areas. The first is a pro-family counseling and training practice. Her clients are Europeans, internationals and pastors/missionaries. This is a supportive role to MTW church planting in Europe to help keep missionaries on the field. The second is ministry to women caught in human trafficking in Vienna. There is a large population of women from Africa, Ukraine, and other Eastern European countries who are brought to Vienna for a "better life" only to find themselves forced into prostitution. Ursula and other women from their church take hot chocolate and cookies to the ladies at night - spending time getting to know them whenever possible. Often Ursula will have a chance to celebrate a young lady’s birthday or take some of the girls out to lunch during their “off-hours” - sharing the love of Christ and the hope of a different life.
“Jonah,” whose identity is protected for personal safety, operates officially as a business man who leads a Christian organization for university students in a restricted region of the world. “Jonah” reaches out to university students through Bible studies, one-on-one relationships, and business mentoring. Reaching out to university students allows “Jonah” to train potential missionaries who will return to many different home countries upon graduation - sending gospel ripples throughout regions of the world otherwise closed to foreign missionaries. These students are also highly educated and most will hold positions of relative influence in their various home countries.
Place: South Sudan
Language: Over 134 including Arabic and English
Justin grew up at Southwood, attended Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte and is an ordained, teaching elder in Providence Presbytery. He has spent the last six years teaching at Westminster and coaching cross country and soccer. He is passionate about working with students, and following a short term missions trip with Serge, he felt particularly called to minister with students in South Sudan.
Justin will be serving with the Serge team for three years in Mundri, South Sudan,* partnering with the local church as a youth pastor. Following twenty-two years of civil war, this young country is predominantly made up of youths - many of whom were orphaned by the war and in great need of spiritual as well as physical healing. Justin’s role will be sharing the Gospel and mentoring students, particularly young men, and equipping them to be leaders in their family, community, and church.
*Justin is currently serving with Serge missionaries in Kenya, learning the language and preparing to enter South Sudan when the current unrest settles and Serge administration feels it is safe to enter the country.
Place: Nagpur, India
Language: Hindi, 22 total
India is home to over 1.2 billion people, most of whom have never heard the gospel of Jesus. Reaching India Ministries International was founded by an Indian native, Saji Lukos, who is passionate about reaching every state in India with the Gospel and developing a sustainable church planting movement. RIMI’s primary emphasis is church planting, which they support through education, mercy ministry, and micro-enterprise opportunities.
RIMI’s primary seminary is located in Nagpur, India and trains church planters with a full two year program leading to ordination. RIMI also has one-year Bible colleges in many different states to equip lay leaders and missionaries. These one-year Bible colleges also offer vocational training as most pastors and missionaries must serve bi-vocationally. RIMI’s mercy ministries include orphanages in many states, as well as a hospital in Nagpur which serves the poor in the surrounding area who otherwise lack access to affordable health care. RIMI offers micro-loans for entrepreneurs in their congregations which helps these individuals because self-sustaining and also allows them to tithe back to the churches - making the church plants more sustainable.
Place: Santo Tomas, Peru
Org: Mission To the World
MTW's Hinterland Ministry is led by 3rd generation missionary, Keith Powlison who works among the Quechuas (one of the largest unreached people groups in all of the Americas and direct descendants of the Incas). The Quechuas in the region regard Keith as an OWL (Old, White Leader), and the respect he has gained has given him a powerful voice in the Quechuan community. His intimate knowledge of the culture also allows him to apply the gospel of grace in particularly compelling ways. Based in Cusco, Keith has been instrumental in helping a local, Presbyterian congregation plant a church in Santo Tomas - a prominent trading village 8 hours away in the Andes. The church currently meets in a plywood shack atop a rock quary in town. Thhis is the ONLY Protestand or evangelical church in the region. Southwood committed to provide money for the construction of a church, which will also contain a shop to help provide ongoing support for the church. The construction will be done entirely by Quechuans using local resources. Southwood also committed to pray that God would provide a full time, married pastor for the church.
Place: Monterrey, Mexico
Org: Mission To the World
MTW and the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico have partnered together to plant churches in Northern Mexico with Monterrey being the epicenter of a church planting movement. The leadership team for this movement is lead by a national, Andres Garza. The leadership of this church planting team is made up of both Mexicans and Americans. Their strategy includes training and mentoring for pastors on the field, with the intent to plant ten churches by 2015. These churches are to become self-sustaining and self-replicating within six to seven years. Vida Nueva, pastored by Teo Contreras, was the sixth church planted through this network.
Planted in a middle to lower-middle class neighborhood, Vida Nueva ministers to a population of Monterrey that works long hours and struggles to get ahead. Marriages are strained by twelve and thirteen hour work days that seem insufficient to move upward in society. The members of Vida Nueva, and their neighbors, are obsessed with getting ahead and climbing up the ladder - the trouble is that the ladder is incredibly difficult to climb.
Teo knows that in order bring the gospel to bear in this environment and begin answering the difficult questions about God’s goodness, he and the leaders of Vida Nueva must develop real relationships within their community. To this end, they have begun an outreach to youth through soccer camps and a network of small groups for adults. There is one small group focused particularly on gospel transformation in marriage, and the church has seen much growth as these couple learn to be honest with one another about their struggles while seeking to apply the gospel to their marriages.
Place: Kampala, Uganda
Language: English, Swahili
Org: Aggies Arts
Founded by Uganda native, Aggie Paech in 2007, Aggies Arts is committed to partnering with impoverished families in Uganda and engaging them in developing economic independence through meaningful relationships, high-quality education, and entrepreneurship. Aggie began by teaching women in Kampala slums about bead work and selling their goods through a single church in Huntsville. Since then Aggie’s Arts has grown to include not only the entrepreneurial development through bead making but also Kisoros Kids, a school for elementary students in Uganda.