Missions at Fellowship Bible Church
Mark & Susan Smith
In December of 1985, Pastor Mark Smith, the founding pastor of Fellowship Bible Church was challenged by his mission mentor to take a team of men to the Amazon Jungle in Ecuador and build a system to provide fresh water for missionary Rachel Saint whom they had first visited in 1982. Rachel's brother, Nate Saint and four other young missionaries were martyred by a group of Ecuadorian Indians in 1956 and Rachel had felt a call from God to go back to the very people who had killed her brother and to live with their tribe translating the Scriptures into their language. Pastor Mark led a team of eight men from Fellowship who flew to Quito Ecuador and then arrived in the jungle by bush planes. First, they constructed a water system providing running water for Rachel and then they added a bathroom and a kitchen to her jungle cabin. Miraculous results began to happen. The lives of the men who went on this mission were forever changed. Money began to pour in for future projects and missions at Fellowship Bible Church had began an incredible journey. A year later, a new mission organization called Impact Inc. was founded by Pastor Mark Smith to help fund Rachel's ministry.
As the missions emphasis of Fellowship Bible Church and Impact began to grow, Impact became the mission arm of the church. We believe the Lord honored the sacrificial missions giving of Fellowship Bible Church by providing a debt-free facility. The opportunity for mission's projects miraculously began to surface. Impact Inc. began to build homes in Guatemala for the widows of the Guatemalan Civil War. Impact also built a medical clinic in Ecuador in a remote mountain community. The focus of Impact developed as it accepted responsibility for more and more fresh water projects, providing running water to villages that often had to walk miles for their water. As the water projects continued, nationals began to surface who wanted to align themselves with FBC and Impact.
Projects where pipe is laid and water is brought to villages that have never had a local water supply has always been the primary face of Impact Inc. As the ministry grew, Mark Smith, Fellowship Bible Church's founding pastor, decided in April of 2008 to devote himself to full time ministry with Impact. Miraculously, the Lord opened a great door to the remote mountain villages of Honduras. Mark was able to make a connection through a mutual friend with a national Honduran engineer. Arnoldo Alvarez had been doing water projects in Honduras for over 25 years and already had a complete team in place to identify villages in need of clean water. Today, Arnoldo prepares the village while Mark and his Impact Operation Team recruit the men to go on the project. Impact raises over $17,000 to underwrite the material cost of each village. Each team arrives to work side by side with the local villagers to build a complete water system which changes the life of the village forever. In the last three and a half years, Impact has completed nine water projects in nine mountain villages, laid over sixty miles of pipe, and brought water to three hundred and eleven homes for over 1500 people. Over 100 American men have participated in these projects.
There is a second phase of Impact Inc. that is life changing as well. Just as the face of Impact is water, the heart of Impact is discipleship. Mark has been a discipler of men for over 40 years. Water projects serve as a catalyst to disciple the hearts of the men that go on the projects. All the men work side by side with their village companero to build the water system.
In the afternoon they have Bible studies and great discussions. The men talk about how the lessons they have learned in these desperate villages can serve, along with the Bible studies, to transform their hearts in very concrete ways. Making a difference is more than a tag line, it's a profound reality at Impact.
With almost 30 years of mission experience, Impact is an asset in giving guidance and direction to the elders of Fellowship Bible Church as we endeavor to reach out to affect the lives of many from the poorest of the poor to government leaders through our mission outreach. Impact video
FBC mission trip: Honduras trip
DIEGO UTRERAS, QUITO, ECUADOR
Before being supported by Fellowship Bible Church, God brought this native of Ecuador into the life of Mark Smith, the founder of the church and Impact Inc. Mark's son, Jeff Smith, graduated from High School in 1989. He went to Ecuador and traveled with a Medical Team for the summer doing medical missions.
Jeff met Diego Utreras, a 30-year-old Chemical Engineer who was also traveling with the medical team. Diego had finished college and while he owned his own company treating water for businesses in Quito, his heart was actually in ministry. In 1990, Diego moved to San Antonio and lived with the Smith's so he could learn English and prepare to go to seminary. He became the janitor at Fellowship Bible Church. In time, he married his high school sweetheart, Mary, and the two moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where they attended seminary.
After graduation in 1995, they returned to Ecuador. Diego started a Marriage and Family Ministry to reach the lost and struggling families of his country and the mighty hand of God has indeed anointed this ministry, as thousands have come to know Christ. Today, Diego fills the largest convention facilities in Quito for his conferences. He has seven licensed professional counselors on staff who are all strong believers. In all this, the Lord is using Diego and his team in a great way to redeem, reconcile, and restore people to Christ and to bring healing to broken families. The outreach of Fellowship Bible Church to Diego and his ministry has served as a foundation making all this possible with continued support through the years.
In 1976 God spoke to Alice through a Bible verse found in Isaiah 61:1. "The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners." Alice felt the call of God to commit her life to full time ministry in helping people come to know Christ as their savior and to disciple women enabling them to grow in their faith. Today, Alice serves as a Life Coach with The Navigators serving right here in San Antonio.
The Navigators® is an international, interdenominational Christian ministry established in 1933. Navigators are people who love Jesus Christ and desire to help others know and grow in Him as they "navigate" through life. The Navigators are a community of hundreds of thousands of everyday people who impact others for God's glory in their normal pathways of life”where they study, live, work, and play. Navigators are characterized by an eagerness to introduce Jesus to those who don't know Him, a passion to see those who do know Jesus deepen their relationship with Him, and a commitment to training Jesus' followers to continue this nurturing process among the people they know. Navigators walk alongside Christ's followers on their spiritual journey, supporting them as they search the Word of God to chart the course of their lives. The hallmarks of the Navigators ministry are small-group studies and one-to-one relationships focused on discipleship.
The U.S. Navigators' ministry touches lives in varied settings, including college campuses, military bases, downtown offices, urban neighborhoods, prisons, and youth camps. Navigators help their community of friends to follow Christ passionately and equip them to:
apply the Bible to their daily lives,
pass on what they learn to others, and
train these new believers, in turn, to reach others.
Alice's passion is to share the gospel with women and teen age girls, helping them know Christ and be transformed by His love and grace. Her ministry has included women from diverse cultures including African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans. Some of these women and girls have been products of their inner city lives of abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse and teen age pregnancies. Discipling and mentoring these women and girls includes helping them grow physically, emotionally and spiritually. Alice ministers to them through counseling, teaching and serving.
Check out Alice's page on the Navitgators Web site for more information.
Stephen & Penny Sojourner
Stephen and Penny are committed to sharing the love and message of Jesus cross-culturally through Texas Baptist Missions.
Stephen serves as the Partnership Facilitator for the North American Azerbaijani Network. The network is a partnership of churches, mission organizations, and field workers who collaborate to promote evangelism, discipleship, leadership development and church planting movements among the Azerbaijani people. Azerbaijanis are a Muslim-background unreached people group of about 30 million people, who primarily live in Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
Penny serves as the Director for the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at Prairie Creek Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. The program serves immigrants from a variety of places, including Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Having lived overseas and learned another language helps Penny to have a warm, natural rapport with her students, and relate to their experiences.
Stephen and Penny have been married for 14 years, and have three bright, spirited children: Anna (13), Ella (11), and Zachary (8). Since 2012, they have been blessed by the generosity of Fellowship Bible Church and are grateful to be part of your faithful participation in Christ's Great Commission.
© 2016 by Fellowship Bible Church