“The Baptist Mid-Missions Family exists to strategically advance the building of Christ’s church, with His passion and for His glory, in vital partnership with Baptist churches worldwide.”
We invite you to read our story and view the timeline of how God has built Baptist Mid-Missions into a global sending agency. Learn about where we serve and about the men and women who are pouring their lives into the building of Christ’s church worldwide.
Missionary with BMM 1958 – 2008, serving first in Africa and then with Bibles International
Bibles International benefits greatly from the ministry of its volunteers. I joined their ranks when I retired from BI in July 2008. By then, volunteer Claire Hossack and I had worked together on French language literacy materials for eight years. This partnership has continued. In the past couple of years, Claire and I finished polishing the French models for the Bible storybook, Stories of the Nation of Israel. (The attached photo was taken during one of those work sessions in the BI library.) In the fall of 2013, we worked together via email to edit a new teacher’s manual that she was creating to use in Chad, Africa.
Claire is the daughter of BMM missionaries in France, and French was her first language. She was a welcome addition to BI’s literacy team headed for Chad late in 2013. One of the team’s goals was to prepare some of the earlier Chadian literacy materials for republishing. Years ago, I had been the literacy consultant to help get many of those first editions into print. Now, with stocks depleted, there was much work ahead to prepare the second editions. As the team started the process, some of their email questions were directed to me. A thank you note from the team leader came to me in November: “Thanks for all the help you continue to be as we see things move forward in Chad!”
Claire stayed on in Chad long after the others had returned to the USA. She was thrilled to be training Chadians who would be able to teach their people how to read God’s Word. As Claire tackled her first ever teacher-training sessions in Africa, she wrote to me, “Thank you for all you’ve taught me down through the years.”
I no longer go into the BI office on a regular basis, but proofreading assignments come my way from there. If a staff member should want my input, I’m as near as a phone call or email message. Occasionally, there’s a question about the history of BI’s literacy materials, or someone might ask where to search for a hard to find document.
I'm enjoying time to be more active in the church I attend here in Jenison, and I’ve learned much myself as I’ve done some one-to-one mentoring sessions. A new Bible study class is in the offing, and I’m looking forward to being one of the students. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
PO Box 308011
Cleveland OH 44130-8011
Phone (440) 826-3930
7759 Coachman Lane
Jenison MI 49428-8339
Phone (616) 457-5548
Dan has retired from the field of Brazil, but continues to actively work there.
Hye Ree Park
Hye Ree Park is a Bible translation missionary, serving with Bibles International, the Bible society of Baptist Mid-Missions. She is sent by Westside Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, MI.
She is originally from South Korea, where she grew up on a farm, regularly attending a church. From early childhood she learned to read the Bible and to pray. Yet, her knowledge unto salvation through Jesus Christ came later, when she was pursuing her dream to become a true farmer.
- Salvation: Having attended church most of her life, at the age of 23, while in Israel, She realized she didn’t really know Christ personally. It was then she searched the Gospels, and met Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God Who takes away her sins. She also found He is the way, the truth, and the life, without Whom none can come to the Father (John 1:29, 14:6).
- Preparation: A year later, she committed her life to Christ. Then God brought her into 14 years of schooling in the USA. She obtained an MS in Bible from Philadelphia College of Bible and an MA in Theology, a Specialist degree in Bible Translation, and a PhD in Old Testament from Bob Jones University. She recently obtained a M. Ed in Literacy Studies from Grand Valley State University.
- Call to Missions: God led her into the Bible translation ministry through her teachers at BJU and missionaries from Bibles International. She worked as a volunteer Bible translation consultant at the Bibles International headquarters for a year. She participated in five Bible translation projects: the Sango Bible (Central African Republic), the Haitian Creole OT (Haiti), the Tenek NT (Mexico), the Falam Chin OT (Myanmar), and Akha NT (Thailand).
- Ministry Description: As a Bible translation consultant, she will be focusing on two areas: consulting and developing Bible translation helps. The consulting work involves facilitating translation workshops and assisting national translators as they translate the Scripture into their own language. Secondly, developing translation helps involves researching and producing translation resources and tools which facilitate the Bible translation process.
She loves and desires to serve her God who challenges her from Jeremiah 33:3, `Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'
Both Mark and Anita Swedberg are missionary kids. Mark grew up in Brazil. Anita grew up in the Dominican Republic. They joined Baptist Mid-Missions in 1990 and arrived on the field of Brazil in February, 1993, with their oldest child, John. He was just 2. Originally they worked in São José do Rio Preto, a city of about 250,000 inhabitants in northwest São Paulo state. Their first ministry was to begin a Bible Institute at the church Mark’s dad was starting at the time. Shortly after arriving, an opportunity to start a church opened up in Olímpia, a smaller town about 35 miles away. Meetings began in a garage in August of 1993. Mark and Anita moved to Olímpia at the end of 2003 and began full-time services there at the beginning of 2004. Their daughter, Jennifer, was born in February of the year.
With generous donations by some of God’s people, a large piece of property was purchased and several buildings were eventually put up, including a parsonage, the beginnings of an education wing, and an auditorium that will seat over 300 people. The church grew and was organized, Finally, in 2008 the church, Igreja Batista Central de Olímpia, called its first full-time Brazilian pastor and graduated to independent status. Although he only stayed a year, they quickly moved to call their current pastor, Márcio Martins. He has been doing a fine job. The church is a lively place with many young couples and oodles of toddlers and young children. Several new families have been added.
In 2005 Mark was called to help with a difficult situation in Guaíra, a smaller city about 60 miles from Olímpia. The situation became a church split and Mark was asked to help those that remained faithful to the Scriptures to start a biblical Baptist Church. Mark and Anita spent over two years traveling to Guaíra on Tuesdays and often on Saturdays or Sundays, as well. The result is a Igreja Batista Boas Novas (Good News Baptist Church), a strong, doctrinally grounded church. They called a Brazilian Pastor, Clayton Maciel, in 2007. He is doing a very fine job. The church has recently purchased a piece of property and is looking to build its own building. They currently meet in a day care center.
Mark and Anita took and extended furlough from September, 2008, to September, 2010. During this time Mark completed a ThM degree at Detroit Baptist Seminary. It was also during this time that they spoke at First Baptist and were taken on for support.
When they returned to Brazil in 2010, they returned to a new city and in a new capacity. They currently live on the outskirts of São Paulo, one of the largest cities in the world. Mark’s main ministry is with the Editora Batista Regular, a Baptist Press that publishes good Sunday School materials and important books for our churches here in Brazil. In this capacity, Mark helps choose books to publish, speaks in several churches, hosts an annual Conference on Preaching and Preachers and teaches occasionally at different Bible colleges in Brazil.
In addition to that ministry, Mark and Anita are involved in church-planting. The church they have been working in called Pastor Arthur Mucilo at the end of 2012. The transition to Pastor Arthur’s ministry will be complete at the end of 2014. In 2015, Mark and Anita will fill in for missionary Roberto Coelho, while he and his family go on furlough. The church is Faith Baptist Church in Granja Viana, a suburb of São Paulo.
Mark and Anita have two children. John is taking an M.A. at Central Theological Seminary in Minneapolis, MN. Jennifer is a junior at Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, IA. They are both sacred music majors.
Fred & Rachel Whitman
While on deputation to go to Italy in 1972, Fred and Rachel Whitman came to the First Baptist Church of Newaygo, MI for the first time. On Jan. 1, 1973, with 100 % of their minimal support they left for Italy, the land of God's calling for their life of service. After two years of language study the Whitmans took a short furlough for the birth of Jonathan, their firstborn (May 27, 1975). In August they returned to launch their church-planting ministry. Home Bible studies were held with some interested folk and in June, 1976 a small gospel hall was opened as a preaching center. On May 7, 1978 Jeremy was born while they were on furlough. In February 1979 the Lord opened the possibility of a daily 10 min. Gospel telecast, La Bibbia Oggi (the Bible Today). After more than 10,000 programs this telecast is still seen daily in the central Italian region of Umbria as well as in all of Europe on the SKY network. On May 4, 1980 Joshua was born in Assisi, Italy and in December of 1980 we began our Christian radio station, RADIO LUCE, which is miraculously still on the air on three F.M. Frequencies in central Italy as well as in the entire world by streaming on the internet on www.radioluce.com. On August 7, 1983 Elizabeth was born in Perugia, Italy. By 1990 there was a group of baptized believers who were ready to sign a doctrinal statement and form a local Italian Baptist Church, the Centro Evangelico Battista. They would remain in that 950 sq. Ft. Storefront rental for a total of 33 years! After many ups and downs over the years (please read Fred's book, "HIStory in Italy"), in 2004 the twenty members decided to step out by faith and buy an available property with a 4,500 sq. Ft. Building to be remodelled. With a lot of help from our supporting churches the first phase of this project is nearing completion and we are looking to begin the second half of the building, which is presently rented. We now have an Italian head Pastor (Lucio), Pastor of Youth and Worship, Jonathan Whitman, Pastor of Media, Daniel Ransom and I am the Pastor of Evangelism, following up T.V. and radio contacts as well as developing outreaches into neighboring cities and several Prisons. Rachel is leading our Children's minstry as well as working with the discipleship of women with our Italian coworker, Maria Luisa.
Jonathan, Melodee and Noah, Jeremy Francesca and Sofia, as well as Elizabeth, Daniel, Cristina and Elisa are working with us in the ministry in San Sisto while Joshua, Sara, Rebecca, Samuel and Naomi are working on a church-plant at Imola, about two hours north of us. Thank you for your many years of faithful partnership with us for the Gospel in Italy.
Yours for Christ in Italy,
Fred and Rachel Whitman
Jonathan & Melodee Whitman
Equip the Italian Church of the Next Generation to Reach the World for Christ.
Ultimately we want people to know the good news that Christ came to pay the penalty for our sins and to give us a dramatically new life in him.
We find that the best way for people to know about this life-changing news is to train people to effectively live this out and communicate it to all the people around them.
Our method is to do this through local church ministry: evangelizing, discipling, training, planting new churches in Umbria and sending out missionaries.
Currently we are working with an Italian pastor, helping the church bring him to full support, cooperating with a Bible Institute, building the youth ministry and worship ministry.
James & Beth Wittenberger
I grew up on a dairy farm near Richfield, WI. My brothers are still farming there. Beth grew up in Newaygo, Michigan. James was saved during evangelistic meetings in Hartford, WI at the age of 13 and Beth was led to the Lord by her grandmother at the age of 7. Beth had dedicated her life to the Lord as a child in camp and James while at a youth meeting in West Bend, WI. James graduated from LeTourneau College in 1973 as an Aviation Tech major. We met while attending the Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music in which James was enrolled in Missionary Aviation and Beth in Christian Education. We were married in 1974 and I graduated from the Missionary Aviation Program in 1975. It was in 1976 we joined Baptist Mid-Missions. Baptist Mid-Missions was chosen based on their Biblical stand and was recommended by another missionary from Africa. In 1977 James was ordained to the Gospel ministry.
From 1979 to 1990 we served in Liberia until the tribal war forced all missionaries out of the interior in 1990 and soon out of the country. While in Liberia I flew and maintained both airplane and helicopter doing village evangelism and church planting in the NE section of Liberia. Along with that I also taught in the Bible School on the Mission Station. This all ended when the tribal war forced the sudden evacuation of missionaries and the conflict continued for 7 years until elections were held in the summer of 1997. However fighting continued until fair and open elections took place in 2005 under the watchful eye of 15,000 UN peacekeepers.
In 1991 a change in ministry occurred when it was evident that Liberia was not going to reopen and we were accepted by Bibles International, Baptist Mid-Missions translation and publication division located in Grand Rapids, MI. I am doing computer typesetting and editing on language projects mostly that have not previously been translated. I assist in maintaining the computer network system as the Information Systems Coordinator. Scripture printing is done around the world with some projects printed in Korea or India.
We are living north of Grand Rapids in the town of Newaygo where our home church is, First Baptist Church of Newaygo. I work in AWANA, serve on the Missionary Committee and serve on the deacon board. I also served on the Newaygo County Baptist Academy school board for 6 years. Beth works in AWANA and provides special music in song and helps with various projects and other committees.
We would like to challenge you with the opportunities and needs of Bible translation thru Bibles International!
211 Park St., Newaygo, MI 49337
Bibles International Address:
609 36th ST. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49548
phone: (616) 942-7712
PO Box 308011, Cleveland OH 44130-8011
phone: (440) 826-3930