Advance Magazine
Spring 2023

From Sea to Shining Sea

Church Planting

Staten Island, New York

When Liberia’s civil war made it impossible to continue ministry in-country, Nate and Karol Watkins went to where many Liberians relocated: New York City. They found a high concentration of Liberian refugees living in an apartment complex on Staten Island. Repentance Baptist Church began meeting in the apartment’s community room but was quickly outgrowing its space. With astronomical real estate costs in NYC, purchasing a building seemed impossible. But as Nate scanned the real-estate listings, he came to a dead stop on a storefront selling for under half a million dollars—a head-turning bargain in their neighborhood.

The Lord enabled the little church to buy the property, which they are continuing to renovate. In the meantime, Nate and Karol work hard to draw Liberians to the gospel. During a ferry ride last spring, Nate caught up with a contact and got into such an impactful conversation, they both rode the ferry right back to continue talking. There on the ferry, Nate led the man to Christ. At Thanksgiving time, when Nate and Karol were unable to spend the holiday with their family, they invited a new believer, his uncle, and his friends. One of the unsaved friends commented about the warmth he was shown, “I feel like I’m in a movie or something. Like, this is what real families do.” Repentance Baptist Church is giving many who feel lost and unconnected a taste of the love and acceptance Jesus Christ offers.

23 Spr C2 C Staten Island
The Staten Island ferry

Boston, Massachusetts

In Boston, Toby and Susan Stevens frequently find themselves in settings where they are the only American-born people. Toby and Susan thrive on relationship building, their gateway to the privilege of sharing Christ with Boston’s international residents who grew up never knowing His name.

Invited to a gathering at a Muslim neighbor’s home last fall, Toby mixed with people from India, Kashmir, Palestine, Canada, and the Philippines. Toby was struck by the potential for the gospel to spread in each person’s country if they were to receive Christ. The church that Toby pastors is aptly named, International Baptist Church. This is the brilliance of ministry in Boston: through one church plant, the entire world can be reached.

23 Spr C2 C Alaska
Mike and Jeannette Clark (left) with Alaska appointees Aaron and Rachel Houtz

Specialized Ministries


Church planting takes many forms across North America as missionaries adapt to the culture and needs of their settings. In Alaska, missionaries take on the rugged savvy of native Alaskans to reach the people around them. Mike and Jeannette Clark use aviation to reach into remote villages through basketball camps and preaching points. Last fall they celebrated the baptism of a couple, Dean and Sarah, in frigid Lake Iliamna. This couple is unafraid to share their faith, and they are beginning a discipleship program at Iliamna Baptist Church where Mike pastors.

23 Spr C2 C Jewells
Paul and Sandy Jewell used outings, home Bible studies, and other ways to lead students toward Christ

Campus Bible Fellowship

What sets apart our ministries to secular university campuses is our missionaries’ connection to local churches. CBF ministry always takes place under the umbrella of a local church desiring to reach students for Christ. In this context, students are led to Christ and discipled to become growing members of churches. Paul and Sandy Jewell served 50 years at Syracuse University in New York. They recount the story of a football player trusting Christ through the testimony of a fellow player. Through CBF, this new believer experienced fellowship, teaching, and service in the local church as he grew in Christ. After pursuing a professional football career, he served as a church youth leader. Today he is a pastor in Florida. The Syracuse CBF ministry, started over 55 years ago, continues to reach students through BMM missionaries Tim and Beth Tanner.

Native American Ministries

In the US southwest, our Native American Ministries Team reaches America’s first peoples. In New Mexico, Joe and Dawn Lee faithfully reach Native Americans through camp and church outreach events. Their colleagues in Arizona, Jerolyn Virgillo and Johnny and Diane Woods, likewise employ camp, VBS, and other community outreaches to build Christ’s church among Native Americans.

There's room for you on BMM's North America team

Have you gotten a taste of the diverse opportunities North America offers? See how your gifting can be used to reach people for Christ right here in our homeland:

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North America

Did you know that North America is the largest unchurched English-speaking mission field in the world, the only continent where Christianity is not growing? Each year thousands of churches close their doors. At the same time, millions of immigrants arrive on our shores. We’re facing a critical need to pursue missions right where we live.

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