Beau Carpenter is the pastor of Vision Baptist Church Cobb County.
I asked Beau Carpenter to answer the following questions. I want you to know the heart of a young man working to plant a church in Smyrna, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. No matter how old you are you can be used of God. No need to wait to be older to be used of God. Today is your day! Step out and get started.
How did God confirm to you that you should be a missionary?
After becoming a believer at the age of 15, I really began reading the Bible and learning about the Lord. I remember reading through the Gospels and acts and seeing that we are told to be witnesses and preach the Gospel to every creature. Around this time I really became involved serving in my church.
At the first missions conference that we had at our church, I was faced with the fact that God had a huge plan to take the Gospel to the world. At that time I was close to graduating high school and deciding what to do with my life. I realized that there would be no greater cause to devote the life God had given me.
As I started thinking, praying, and searching for a place to Get training, a missionary invited me to come to the www.visionmissions.com“Our Generation Summit where I further surrendered to serve God wherever he would have me go.
Looking back, I see how God used His Word, people, and situations to direct me to serve him full time.
What in your childhood prepared you to be a missionary?
Growing up I was a very shy and introverted child. I never liked speaking in front of people or even talking to people. However, when I was involved in 4-H everyone in our club did a demonstration relating to their project. I did not want to do it, but my mom helped me prepare and practice and I ended up going to the state level to present my demonstration.
I didn’t realize it, but looking back, I believe God was using these situations to help me overcome the fear of standing and speaking in front of people.
Another vital influence was that of various men who informally mentored me as a new Christian. From the time I became a christian to when I moved to Georgia to begin training, there were approximately 6 men who had a significant impact on my life. They were my examples that showed me how to walk with and serve God. We used to talk together about the Bible and Ministry. We would pray together, go visiting together, work at the church together.
I considered these men, all above 30 years of age, to be my friends. God used them to help me learn to walk with God and that has been invaluable since I began serving the Lord as a Church planter.
How did your family react?
When I decided to begin training for full time ministry, my family was very supportive and encouraged me to follow the Lord. They loved me and missed me when I moved to Georgia from Ohio, but never once tried to stop me from following where I believed the Lord was leading.
Who or what has been the most helpful or encouragement, person, book, or whatever?
There are so many books that I could point to that have helped me in my walk with the Lord, but I would have to say none of them compare to the change that consistently reading God’s word has made in my life.
I have been outrageously blessed to have many people in my life who have been an encouragement and help all along the way. It would be almost impossible to narrow it down to one or even two people who had the most impact.
There are some consistent qualities that have been present in those who have had the most profound impact on my life:
1. They love and follow God above all else.
2. They are men who are in the Bible.
3. They are men who loved me and would take time for me.
If you could start over what would you do differently about your preparation and all that has brought you to where you are right now?
If I had to prepare differently, I would spend more time working to help encourage and help someone else in their walk with God. I am often too much a task oriented person, I will sometimes not be the most personable because I am trying to get something done.
In short, I would devote more energy to becoming personable and helping others along in their walk with God.
Kevin White, missionary in Bolivia shared his answers to the following questions.
What is your most treasured memory?
I think my most treasured memory on the mission field was probably the most convicting. I was at the large statue of Jesus that overlooks our city. An elderly lady and a young child walked up to the statue and crossed themselves. The little girl was looking at the large cast iron Bible at the foot of the statue and asked her grandmother what it said. The grandmother looked for a min and said. Jesus saith unto them, I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but ny me. The little girl asked her grandmother what it meant and the grandmother stood there for about 30 seconds to a minute and they walked away without her giving an answer.
Are there any special people or groups in your field that have blessed you in any way specially?
I would say that the people that have been the biggest blessing to us have been the people of our church. It can be hard sometimes being away from family and for our children to not be with their grandparents very much. Many of the people from our church have been like second grandparents to our children. They often spend the night with some of those people and of course they spoil our children just as much as their grandparents.
Give us a funny experience about traveling with your children.
When we were back in the US for our first furlough our kids were more familiar with Spanish than with English. When we would pass cemeteries they would say, “look mommy there is one of those death things.”.
What is something that you are concerned about dealing with on your field?
One of the difficult things that we deal with is trying to balance between being open and relaxed with our children but at the same time protecting them. For a period of time kidnapping became very common here. It was almost weekly that we heard of someones child being kidnapped. While we tried not to scare our children and still let them go to friends houses etc we tried to keep a closer watch on them and not let them be alone in the street.
What sort of strange custom would there be on your mission field that people might enjoy reading about?
Here the people still practice many of the customs that come from the time of the Inca people. For example they still worship the earth god which is called the pachamama. One of the biggest things they do here is every first Friday night they burn incense all over the city and where ever you go you can smell it. They think by burning this incense they can apease the earth god and be blessed in their family, business etc. This is in spite of the fact that they can be very religious Catholics but at the same time worshiping the devil.
What do you do to keep encouraged in the testings and trials that you face?
I think it is good to have a hobby or something that you like to do to relax and clear your mind. It is even better if it is something that is strenuous like a sport or working out because you can destress. Along with this of course it is important to spend time with the Lord and have close friends to encourage you in the ministry.
How long were you on deputation before leaving for the field?
We were on deputation for a little more than a year and a half. That meant being in a church almost every service the entire year. Often we would be in one church Sunday morning and drive several hours to be in another church that night. We were also in mission’s conferences during the week like Friday and Saturday if the churches allowed.
Tell us a little about yourself and your experience.
I grew up in the country on a farm in South West Virginia. We didn’t farm for a living but we had animals and planted gardens. Looking back I think it was a great place and time to grow up because I didn’t have a lot of the influence that today can lead kids astray. My fun was going outside and playing in the creek or woods.