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GOBGR/Promise of Hope Radio - Francis Horton

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Join us as Chuck Mcalister from Adventure Bound Outdoors Television and Promise of Hope (POH) Ministries talks about Baptist Global Response (BGR) and the work that is going on in disaster relief all over the globe. This week, Chuck interviews Francis Horton who is area director for BGR in South and Central Asia. You don't want to miss this great show!

Transcript

0:15 Tim Stafford

Hello there. This is Tim Stafford with BGR POH BlogTalkRadio. It's May 23, 2011 and we have got an exciting show for you today. We hope that you are doing well. In the Kingdom of God, we are just very excited about what God is doing all across the world with Baptist Global Response and Promise of Hope and so without further ado, I wanted to let you know that you want to call in and be a part of our radio show today, the number is 1323-784-9605; that's 1323-784-9605. I want to give that one more time, 1323-784-9605, and if you want to be a part of our show, call in, we'd love to talk to you. Also, we have a chat room open at the BlogTalkRadio, our homepage there, so you just go to BlogTalkRadio and look for Promise of Hope and you'll find us. We got that going on and so without any further ado, I certainly want to turn it over to my buddy, Chuck McAlister. Hey Chuck, are you there?

1:23 Chuck McAllister

I'm here, Tim. It's great to hear your voice and we're excited about our show today. We have with us Francis Horton who is the BGR team member and director for Central and South Asia. Francis, we're excited to have you all the way from Singapore and we're thrilled that you're going to take some time to be with us. I know you're very busy with everything you have going on there, but tell us a little bit about your background and how you got connected to Baptist Global Response

1:57 Francis Horton

Well, thank you, Chuck. It's good to be with you guys on the show today and I appreciate the opportunity just to have a few moments to let people know what BGR is doing at least in this part of the world. Well, Chuck, I'm originally from Mississippi, grew up there in Central Mississippi and went to the university there, in Mississippi State, graduated from there, went to law school in Mississippi College School of Law there in Jackson and then practiced law there for a few years in Jackson with the Department of Justice, and long about 1993 or so, God just made it clear for my wife and I that we needed to move overseas and work with other folks in different parts of the world and that's what we do. So, we've been overseas since 1995. We got hooked up with BGR along about in 2007, that's really when BGR started, and we had been doing some disaster response work in Sri Lanka with the tsunami and then earthquake up in Pakistan, and then as a result of doing those things, we were asked to come on board with BGRs Area Director for Central and South Asia and that's where we are today.

3:13 Chuck McAllister

That's awesome, Francis. Well, tell us a little bit about, for the benefit of our listening audience, what exactly is an area director for Baptist Global Response and what exactly do you guys do and how many of you are there?

3:29 Francis Horton

Well, Chuck, when BGR got started, it looked at the world to see just how it's sort of divided into bite-sized pieces so that we could somehow get as much help to people as we could. Obviously, what we want to do is connect to people in need with people who care and so we divided the world into five different areas around the world and each one of those areas has an area director. That area director is responsible for the BGR work that goes on within that context and so there are five others around world located in different places and we are responsible for the list of countries there and areas geographically. We work with a lot of different people in those areas in disaster response. Certainly, we do a lot of disaster response but we also do a good bit of community development and that is working toward obliteration of poverty and hunger around the world and addressing those more chronic needs. In fact, Chuck, about 70% to 75% of all the projects that BGR has out there about 400 a year are community development projects addressing more chronic needs and the rest are those disaster response kinds of activities that we do, which are most of the ones that hit the news and people know about the most.

4:59 Chuck McAllister

Yes. The disasters are the ones that draw everyone's attention of course, but tell us a little bit also, Francis, what area are you responsible for and then tell us a little bit about some of the projects that you're excited about in your area.

5:18 Francis Horton

Well, Central and South Asia includes - basically from Turkey over to Bangladesh and then from Kazakhstan in the north to the Maldives in the south. It's about 16 countries in there and we were just thinking today, my wife and I, about the different kinds of projects that are in BGR generally, but in our area in particular and we cover a wide range of projects. It's kind of amazing for us to sit back and look at those things. It's quite a breath of projects and partners and obviously the disaster response cuts things like in Pakistan with the recent floods there. We had about - we work with nine different partners in Pakistan and ended up in about 29 different projects trying to get help to folks who are in need. That was a huge, huge event, Chuck. Twenty million people were displaced in the country of Pakistan and million-and-a-half homes were destroyed in the country.

6:23 Chuck McAllister

Wow.

6:24 Francis Horton

In fact, there's a good parallel to that right now with the Mississippi River. How we've seen flood over the Mississippi River come from the north to the south, and that's basically what in this river in Pakistan did. We went all the way from the north of the country to the south. We had projects stretched all along on that river working with national partners and expatriate partners there as well. So, it's about $900,000, Chuck, in help that we have appropriated to reach those folks in need with food and seed and land rehabilitation and health care and a variety of ways that we've tried to reach out to those folks.

7:08 Tim Stafford

Hey guys, we've got a caller. Oh, I'm sorry. Hey, we have a caller on the line, and so let's find out who is this caller. This is BlogTalkRadio BGR POH. We want you to introduce yourself and ask your question. Caller are you there? No? Okay, let's try - let's try this other one then. Let's see. Caller are you there?

7:40 Jason

Yeah. Hello.

7:41 Tim Stafford

Hello. I want you to introduce yourself and ask a question.

7:45 Jason

Great. My name is Jason and I called in once before but something got my attention when Francis was talking about how they are doing community development in some of these areas and Chuck also mentioned that a disaster brings our attention to that area. I was curious as a Christian business owner. What ability do you have to enter those communities as businesses first before evangelical efforts can start, kind of tagging along with the idea of business as mission? Do you find that you have to enter that way sometimes?

8:29 Chuck McAllister

Francis, you want to talk a little bit about the platform possibilities or some of those things and recognizing that we have some security issues here that we have to be careful about.

8:40 Francis Horton

Sure. That's a great question Jason. In fact, that's one of the issues that workers around the world have to deal with - it is access to communities and how to gain that access. There are obviously a variety of ways to do that. Business is one as you have mentioned. Business as a mission is really a hot topic right now. It's in a lot of places. It's a really good way to access people and access communities and that we've seen that work, we've seen that not work. It just depends on the people that go there and the people they're trying to gain access to, and in the businesses there, there has to be a market for any business to work. Some of the other ways that we've found to enter communities as well is through, for instance, health initiatives and health awareness, bringing some good health teaching to communities that have never had, basic teaching before like "you should wash your hands before you prepare food, you should brush your teeth everyday, you should do those kinds of things that most of us take for granted". So, those are ways to get in to communities as well with - as well as water needs that are out there and trying to help communities design solutions for their water needs, more long-term solutions, permanent-type water solutions like water wells and water systems, capping springs and storing that water for later use, and we've got several projects right now that are along that line and that is capping springs from 4 to 5 miles away from a village and piping that down to a community. We've got health and issues as well. What a great way to enter a lot of poor communities in the world. We've got projects right now that we're involved in that I'd love to talk about because they're making a huge impact in people's lives and that's tuberculosis, TB projects. TB is still a large problem in some of the poor places in the world. We've got projects that have been going on for three or four years now that are reaching out to those TB patients. More than 3,000 people have been cured of TB as a result of those projects and 600-plus community health workers have been trained to see those cases and to then help those people to begin to take their medicines and make sure they stay on course and get the nutrition that they need, and improving their lives all the way around, and including the opportunity to tell some great stories that come from a book that's absolutely true and inserting moral and Biblical lessons along the way as well. That's a great way to enter a lot of communities, it's providing something that the community needs. When we talk about community development, we're talking about not working for a community but working with a community, enabling the community to really help itself, sort of a motto that we go by is that "If someone can do it, don't do it full". And so, that's part of community development and for the most part, whether it's business or humanitarian efforts or any other kind of access tool that we might be able to use, there has to be by and by the community. So, if the community doesn't want you there, it doesn't see how you can benefit them by being there, then we won't be there or at least not for long. So, business certainly is a way to do that but there are a lot of other ways as well, and some part of our business is very difficult.

12:26 Tim Stafford

That's a great question and we appreciate the caller. If you want to be a part of our show today, call us 1323-784-9605.

12:38 Chuck McAllister

Francis, I really appreciate just some couple of things that we at BGR are able to do to meet people's needs. I think I'll throw one more in there too. There are some significant sports initiatives as well in your particular area, haven't there been?

12:57 Francis Horton

There have been. Someone told me one time, Chuck, that if a doctor goes to a place to help people, people say, "Where's your degree from? Where are your credentials?" If a teacher goes, they say, "Where's your diploma? How are you certified to teach?" But you can walk out with a basketball or a soccer ball or some other ball and throw it out on the field and all they say is "let's play". And so, it's a great way to access communities, it's a common language. We've got a great project that is just getting kicked off up in Northern India. That is all about soccer. It's all about using soccer as a tool to really give some guys a leg up. These are primarily young men that would be on the streets and maybe would be militants and radicals if they didn't have the soccer academy to go to. So, they're there, they're learning great skills in a sport but they are also learning great character traits and they are learning great moral lessons, and so their families are also benefiting by the fact that these guys take those lessons home and teach them to their families as well. So, it's really a community effort up there that originated with one guy that just has a passion for soccer and a passion for people and helping people to change their lives. It's a great way to reach into a community. That particular project has needs for volunteers as well if there are soccer players out there that are listening and want to go and be part of a clinic, help teach some of those skills or if there's a whole soccer team that's listening that wants to go and play exhibition matches up in North India, we can arrange that as well. So, there are ways that people can be involved.

14:49 Chuck McAllister

Many churches today actually have soccer leagues and play soccer among themselves. What a great opportunity for a church to utilize its soccer league for the purpose of doing mission work, and I'm sure that if there anyone is listening, I would be more than happy to get you in touch with Francis so that he can get your information on that and you could actually take your soccer skills and use them to make a difference for the Kingdom of God. That's really what it's all about, isn't Francis?

15:26 Francis Horton

That's exactly right. What we're looking for is transformation of communities in every way, physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally to help themselves to be transformed, and there are a lot of ways that people can help.

15:44 Chuck McAllister

That's what I think is one of the primary strengths about what we're doing with BGR. There are a lot of people who respond to disaster by sending a donation to the Red Cross or by doing something through maybe another relief organization and while those are certainly worthy organizations regarding meeting the need, what we get to do with BGR is a little bit different. We not only meet the need but our ultimate goal is to help people encounter Jesus as well, and I'm sure you've seen some successes in regard to that, don't you, Francis?

16:18 Francis Horton

Yeah. The thing about it, Chuck, as you access people and access their lives then you build those relationships and it's through those relationships that truth get shared. It's through those disaster responses, it's through those community development efforts that pathways for truth are opened up and it's through those pathways that Jesus can walk. And so there are great, great opportunities out there, we just have to capitalize on them. You know, Chuck, I was amazed that we went to India recently and we were talking to a partner there and we think about disaster response and all these things and the really big terms most of the time like a Japan kind of thing or a Pakistan flood sort of thing where massive help is needed, but it's the little things that really change people's lives that we often take for granted. I was told by one of our national partners there who does some literacy training about a woman he had been working with and she had learned to read and write. She went to a government office to apply for something and all the paperwork was lying there before and ready to go and the man on the other side of the desk there, the government worker, brought out an ink well for her to give her thumb print on the application which is what they normally do when they can't read and write, then she looked up at him and she said, "No sir, I need a pen." He said, "What?" She said, "I need a pen." And so he handed her a pen and she signed her name and she floated out of that government office. That one little act of being able to sign her name to an application, the dignity and the hope that was instilled in her, nothing is impossible for her now. She can do anything for her and her family. So, it's those little bitty things that you and I do a thousand times a day that we never think about.

18:20 Chuck McAllister

That is tremendous. We are watching in many cultures the repression of women or minorities of others who maybe do not fit in with the controlling group and how wonderful to be able to go into those communities where those people are located and to give them that sense of dignity and that sense of hope and to help them come to an understanding that not only can they have that dignity and that hope right here in this world but they can have it for eternity in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

18:54 Francis Horton

That's right, that's exactly right. You know, Chuck, when dignity comes, hope is soon to follow and when that hope steps in the door, there's an opportunity to see other source of hope.

19:07 Chuck McAllister

That's tremendous. I heard someone say one time that you can try to talk to a hungry man about Jesus but he's not going to listen to you until his belly is no longer growling and I tell you through BGR, being the ones that help meet those particularly needs as we connect to people who care with people in need so that ultimately, we can help those people encounter Jesus and Francis we're just so excited that you are such a vital part of leading that initiative in the South and Central Asia. You and Angie have just done a great, great job there. What are you most excited about right now in terms of what's going on in your particular area?

19:56 Francis Horton

Well, I'll tell you, Chuck, that we're excited about some of the - we're excited about all the partnerships that we have across our area but we are particularly excited about some of the national partners that we've been able to meet and began to work with, national partners that are part of local churches, that are part of local Christian organizations and being able to help, to encourage them and maybe enable them a little bit with some training, with some one-on-one discipleships, and one-on-one encouragement over Skype and face to face and other things, and to see those national partners really stepped up and say "Hey wait a minute, we can do this," we don't need people from outside anywhere, so much we can do it ourselves and see that local church rise up to reach out to the people around it. And so, that just excites us. If I can go and train 10 guys in India, to go out and reach out to people, access people through community development principles or recent disaster response training and they can access those areas, my goodness, what an impact they can have. That is God's church at work and having a real impact in the lives of communities and so that just excites us when we see those kinds of things happening.

21:22 Chuck McAllister

As I hear you talking, as I have heard others talking who are working with BGR in impacting people's lives, we tend to emphasize the response of the American Church through BGR to disasters and community development projects but it would seem to me and I would really appreciate your response to the statement that one of the great strengths of BGR that separates it from other relief organizations is the relationship that we share with the indigenous people through the evangelical works that are already going on there and that probably one of the most significant things that we're engaged in doing if not just meeting the need that exists that is addressed through these projects and disaster relief but empowering the local Christians to rise up and also meet those needs and thereby we are furthering their impact on their communities so that it enhances their evangelistic outreach. What's your response to that, Francis?

22:32 Francis Horton

Oh it's the Bible, Chuck. It's absolutely necessary that local believers take ownership in reaching out with people around them and if we can help them help and able them to do that, I think this is kind of what the Bible is all about.

22:48 Tim Stafford

Amen.

22:49 Francis Horton

We're excited about doing that. We work with a national partner there in India, working in northeast India last year with some disaster response training. They wanted to set up a disaster response network among the believing community out there and over the year, we were able to help them, not only training about 700 people, mostly Christians up there in disaster response and how to do it right and how to do it effectively, but we were also able to help train 12 of their people as trainers and so even after we quit, even after we are no longer going back up there because we're not needed anymore, that team of trainers is going out and they are up to over a thousand now that have been trained, building a network of God's church to be the first to respond to disasters when it happen. Man, what a witness.

23:44 Chuck McAllister

That is tremendous. Would you agree, Francis, that is the distinctive that separates BGR from other relief organizations, that other relief organizations maybe going in and do projects and address relief needs, but they do it as an outsider helping others while BGR does it from the inside?

24:07 Francis Horton

Absolutely, absolutely. We have, for instance, in Pakistan. We lived in Pakistan for about seven years and so, we would have never been able to mount the kind of response to the floods of Pakistan without those connections, without those contacts in Pakistan, Pakistani people, into a large extent that we are partners there and they just - they stepped up to the plate and did a wonderful job of responding and they still are, they still are today and that's ongoing. Chuck, I think that's one of the biggest benefits of working very closely with national people and that is if they stay there even if we have to leave or get kicked out or whatever, they're there for follow up. They're there to keep ongoing back to that community, keep that relationship going and keep on sharing the truth through those relationships and so, it's just vital to everything that we do.

25:06 Tim Stafford

Guys, we have about four minutes left and I just got a Skype internet message and they're asking - this is the person who says that they are teachers and you talked about literacy and getting involved to some of these things - how does a person find out how they can get involved?" That's the question. How does a person find out how to get involved in something like that where they could go over and help that woman that you talked about, help her or sign her name, and how to be a part of this. I mean, obviously, there's a lot of people out there who are teachers or they have skills in some profession and they could be giving to the global community so maybe you could talk about that for a minute?

25:52 Chuck McAllister

I would encourage them to go to bgr.org and they could get some information there, some contact information and also, if they go to promiseofhope.org and go to the GoBGR tab, we will make sure that they can get some information there as well. Francis, do you have some things maybe they could look at?

26:14 Francis Horton

We do, Chuck. There are some opportunities on the BGR website but we also have some opportunities that are not there because of the places that they are located, that is not really suitable for broadcasting across the internet, but if they will get in touch with me like this lady who is a teacher, my goodness, how many places can we use teachers? In a lot of places where they can be used the most or in those closed places, closed areas of the world that are difficult to access but teachers can walk into a lot of places where you and I can't go, Chuck. It's just because they have the skills of a teacher and so, Chuck, you've got my email address and if that lady or other callers, you could give that to them then contact me and I can give them more details on those kinds of opportunities.

27:04 Tim Stafford

Actually, I'll open the chat room but I'll also broadcast it out as well to our listening audience, and we have an ability to do that. So, I'll open the chat room, if people are interested then they can do that and I'll answer her as well with that.

27:20 Chuck McAllister

Great.

27:21 Francis Horton

That would be great.

27:23 Chuck McAllister

Well, Francis, we've just recently formed a relationship between Promise of Hope Ministries and Baptist Global Response. Talk to us a little bit about the benefits that you see from that relationship.

27:33 Francis Horton

Well, we already talked a little bit about hope and how that opens doors and I think that's really what it's all about, Chuck. The partnership that we're excited about with Promise of Hope and how we can - together can work toward really connecting those folks in need with people who care. Those people in the US and Singapore and other places that really care about people's physical and spiritual conditions, and we can help those folks out with opportunities to do that. Promise of Hope is doing that all across the US for sure and in other parts of the world as well. So, it's just a natural thing for BGR and the Promise of Hope to come together to do that internationally and globally. So, we're excited about it. We think it's a good deal on both sides, we certainly know it is for BGR.

28:22 Chuck McAllister

Well, we certainly know it is for Promise of Hope as well and we're excited about being a vehicle by which the word gets out in the sharing. Francis, we appreciate more than we can say you taking time to be with us on the show today. We are excited about all that's going on in your part of the world and we know that God is going to be continuing to bless you as you make a dramatic difference for the Kingdom of God in your area, and I would say to our listening audience, if you're interested, we're going to be putting Francis' email up and you can get in touch with him. There are some areas that we are not open to discuss via radio that he would be more than happy to correspond privately with you about. Opportunities where doors can be opened and you can make a dramatic difference with your life. You know, Francis, the thing I love about this is that you have modeled the very thing that we're asking people to do, to give up your law practice there in Mississippi, to roll up your sleeves, to go to Asia and to begin the process of letting God use you and Angie to touch many people there in the world for the Kingdom of God. We are just excited to be a part of this journey. Thank you for taking time to be with us.

29:38 Francis Horton

You're welcome, Chuck. Thank you.

29:42 Tim Stafford

Alright. Well, this is Tim Stafford and with BGR POH BlogTalkRadio, and this has been our Monday 5/23/11 show. Join us next week and we'll have more to talk about, about this global response. God bless you. Thanks for being with us today and we're praying for you.

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