Reaching the Nations in their Backyard
“My life is not my own,” Jonathan Edney said. While many believers may come to this realization at one point or another in their spiritual walk, Jonathan realized this while he was actively going through radiation and cancer treatment. “God had broken me physically through the illness and the treatment,” he said. He felt that as he got his health and received the clear from doctors, he was being called to missions. “God gave me another chance so I said, ‘here I am, Lord, send me.'”
When Jonathan and Rebecca Edney returned from Brazil, where they served as IMB missionaries for over ten years, they discovered hundreds of Brazilians living in the Charleston area with no church. When the Charleston Baptist Association approached Jonathan with the idea of starting a church plant, he initially felt that his “heart was still overseas,” but realized that the Lord was calling him and his family “to minister to an international family on different soil.”
They began by building relationships with Brazilians and Portuguese speakers in the area, visiting restaurants owned by Brazilians and internationals, being in the community, and advertising that there would be a church opening for Portuguese speakers.
In 2020, Comunidade Batista de Charleston began meeting at Northwood Baptist Church in North Charleston. They also began an ESL program out of the church to help individuals from over 14 different countries to learn English.
“In the Charleston area, we’re having folks from all over the world move in. There is a great need and opportunity to minister to people and countries I have never been to. And now they’re in our backyard,” Jonathan said. “Be the missionary you hope to be now and here.”
With over 280,000 foreign-born in our state, the FINISH initiative is one way SCBaptist can assist churches to engage unreached people groups that live in South Carolina. To help your church identify, engage, and begin to serve the diverse people that live in your community, visit https://www.scbaptist.org/missions/initiatives/finish-initiative/.