Steve Ballew Headshot

Steve Ballew is executive director of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.

SN03851, SN03858, SN03917, SN4760

My first swimming lessons were at the Roswell Elks Pool. No matter how hard the lifeguards tried to teach me, I was not a very good swimmer. I spent most of the lesson times clinging to the edge of the pool. For most of my life, my primary objective related to swimming has been survival. I do not want to drown; I am against it. 

What makes this more curious is that I spent most weekends of my childhood at Alamogordo Lake. The area has since been renamed Sumner Lake State Park. They can change the name, but calling it by that new name is inconsistent with my childhood. So, Alamogordo Lake it is. 

We fished. We played. We skied. I spent a lot of time in the water. And, I still never became a strong swimmer. I was a survival swimmer and a firm believer in life jackets. 

I remember my grandmother trying to teach me how to float on top of the water on my back. She made it look so easy. I still think she cheated. She was a bit “roundish” and not too tall. I think she had some buoyancy that my little skinny frame (at least skinny then) lacked. Every time I tried to float, I folded like a taco and began a descent to the bottom. 

After many sputtering water misadventures, I learned one important lesson. The fish may be able to access the oxygen that is inherent in the water (after all it is H2O!), but I could not. I have been completely immersed in liquid that is highly oxygenated. That type of fish-like immersion has never been useful to me. 

Hope is absolutely necessary for someone to continue to exist. How many people have you known whose lives ended earlier than necessary because they ran out of hope? How many people have you known whose lives were extended because they held hope? Hope is absolutely necessary for life. 

However, most people have false hope. What they are attempting to “breathe” to give themselves hope actually hastens their demise. It is dying hope - hope that suffocates life.

The theme for your Mission New Mexico State Missions Offering this year is “Living Hope.” The theme is from 1 Peter 1:3-4. We possess a living hope because we have a resurrected Savior. That hope breathes life into the spiritually dead to bring people to real and abundant life. That hope sustains through the inevitable trials and difficulties of this life. And, that hope obtains for us a forever place called Heaven. 

Most New Mexicans do not have living hope. They have fabricated hope. They have false hope. They have dying hope. They are drowning in environments that promise hope but cannot deliver. They need you to introduce them to living hope.

Approximately 92% of New Mexicans do not have a living, hope-filled relationship with Jesus. They are drowning in false hopes. I know you want to make a difference. And, you can.

The Mission New Mexico State Mission Offering is a way to fast-forward the effort to introduce every New Mexican to our Savior and His living hope. This year the offering helps us start new churches, send collegiate summer mission teams throughout New Mexico and around the world, fund hunger ministries, improve Inlow and Sivells Camp facilities, underwrite the next Ministers and Family Retreat, and improve your Christian Challenge facilities. The Mission New Mexico Offering is not “icing on the cake.” Because of the changes in other funding sources, it is now baked into the cake. 

You make a difference now and for eternity in the lives of people when you choose to give them living hope. You make a difference when you choose to give to Mission New Mexico. Most of our churches receive this offering in September and October. If your church chooses not to emphasize this offering, you can give directly to the offering on our website (bcnm.com/give). If your church has not received materials to explain and promote the offering, please contact our office. We will correct that oversight immediately. 

Our goal this year is ambitious: $400,000. We have only given that much one other time. No, that is not a typo. This will be the second time we reach and exceed that amount. I know it. I know it, because I know you. I know you love our Savior Jesus Christ. I know you love New Mexico. Thanks, in advance, for your above and beyond generosity.

SN 4760

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