Missions Emphasis Week:

Costly Call: Following Jesus in a Hostile World

October 4 - 6, 2016  |  Hamilton


Speakers  |  Event Schedule  |  Chapel  | Lunch Forums  |  Thursday Workshops  |  Evening Open Houses |   Missions Fair  |  Details & Directions  |  Contact

Following Jesus in a Hostile World

The word "sacrifice" is becoming less and less familiar to us, but the time may have come for our generation to be challenged and reminded to count the cost and bring the Gospel to places where following Jesus may require sacrifice. The GCTS community is invited to hear from mission workers who have followed Jesus in difficult parts of the world at great cost. They will be bringing us updates from the missions field as well as engaging in key issues in world evangelization. We hope this week of dedicated missions focus will inspire the community and renew our passions for God's church beyond geographical and cultural boundaries.

Tuesday and Wednesday day of Missions Emphasis Week, there will be a morning chapel session held in the Kaiser Chapel followed by a lunch forum in Alumni Hall.

Missions Fair will run throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, and Thursday lunch workshop sessions will feature different speakers on different topics.

Click here to download a schedule of the program

Keynote Speakers

Gary Witherall
Missionary in Germany among Syrian refugees
Author of "Total Abandon"

Gary grew up in my childhood years in Plymouth England, and later lived near to London in his teenage years. He gave my life to Christ at an early age making a decision at a youth camp, yet struggled to understand what it means to be a follower of Jesus. His life was changed after surviving a motorcycle crash at 17, re-dedicating his life to Him.

Gary’s first mission exposure was to hear from missionaries who had survived the war in Vietnam who came to my church. I saw a passion for something greater than what the world offered, and caught a vision to join the OM Ships to serve God. Amongst the many nations Gary saw, he was particularly impacted by the Cambodian war and refugee crisis in visiting several refugee camps near Aranyapathet Thailand. The journey to become a missionary began for Gary there.

After studying at Moody Bible Institute, he got married to Bonnie and left to live in Lebanon. Gary worked in a Bible Society bookshop and Bonnie began working in a medical clinic for refugees serving a nearby camp. In November 2002 a gunman came into the clinic and brutally took Bonnie’s life. This began a long journey of suffering and learning the message of forgiveness and hope. Gary married again on New Years Eve 2004 to Helena, and have four children based in Germany. Gary continues to challenge believers to live for Christ and to focus on the needs of the Mediterranean region, ministering particularly to refugees out of Syria.

Kenneth Bae
Missionary held captive in North Korea
Author of "Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea"

Kenneth Bae was born in Seoul, Korea on August 1, 1968. His family immigrated to the United States in 1985. Kenneth went to high school in California and attended the University of Oregon and Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He held multiple jobs in sales and marketing until he moved to China in 2006. After years of managing his cultural-exchange business and missionary work, he transitioned into travel and tourism industry in 2010 planning trips for the DPRK (North Korea). Kenneth had a passion to introduce westerners to the untainted beauty of the landscape and people of North Korea and was excited to contribute to their economic development. He is a licensed preacher in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), an ordained Southern Baptist pastor, and has been working with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) since 2005. Kenneth is a husband and a father of three children, ages nineteen to twenty-five.

Kenneth was convicted by the North Korea government, and was sentenced to 15 years in April 2013. He was released with Matthew Todd Miller on November 2014.

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Schedule of Events: Tuesday, October 4 - Thursday, October 6

Chapel  | Lunch Forums  |  Thursday Workshops  |  Evening Open Houses |   Missions Fair

Chapel Worship & Keynote   |  11:10 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. | Kaiser Chapel

All chapel sessions will take place in the Kaiser Chapel at the Academic Center, South Hamilton campus.

Tuesday 4 Oct: God of the Impossible: Acts 14:8-20 and I Thess. 1:5
Keynote Speaker: Gary Witherall

Wednesday 5 Oct: The Song of Joy: Acts 16:16-30
Keynote Speaker: Gary Witherall & Kenneth Bae (testimony)

Lunch Forums  |  12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Lunch forums takes place immediately after the chapel session. Lunch will be provided but RSVP required. Please RSVP to missions@gordonconwell.edu

Tuesday 4 Oct: Refugee Ministry in Europe
Location: Alumni Hall
Speaker: Gary Witherall

Wednesday 5 Oct: 735 Days in a North Korea Prison: The Kenneth Bae Story
Location: Alumni Hall
Speaker: Kenneth Bae
Description: Kenneth Bae was sentenced to fifteen years at a remote North Korean prison camp, Bae would withstand psychological torture, forced labor, and failing health, ultimately becoming the longest-held American prisoner in the DPRK since the Korean War. While the excruciating experience threatened to break his spirit, his faith in God’s unwavering love would not falter. Now Bae reveals his version of these events and shines the spotlight on those whom he hopes his supporters will remember: the people of North Korea.

Thursday Workshops |  11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Join us for different workshops led by different speakers from mission organizations during Thursday lunch. 

RSVP is required. Lunch will be provided based on RSVP.

#201: North Korean Refugee Ministry
Location: Academic Center #240

Speaker: Kenneth Bae
Description: North Korean refugees are often forgotten and neglected from the people’s attention yet there are over 100,000 refugees still living in China and Russia without any protecting. If they get caught by authority, they would be sent back and face hard labor or even death. Kenneth Bae will share about his new ministry: Nehemiah Global Initiative. Through this non-profit platform, he seeks to rescue, restore and rebuild hope to North Korean refugees and prepare the opening for them to return to their homeland. He hopes Nehemiah project would become a movement of prayer, worship,compassion, and action to reach the refugees and prepare the way for the unification of Koreas.

#202: Prayer as Spiritual Warfare for Leaders in Global Mission
Location: Academic Center #252

Speaker: Nana Yaw
Description: Prayer as asking God for the salvation of ‘nations’ and evangelization as bearing witness to the ‘nations’ about Christ are inter related and cannot be separated in His global mission. A reflection on the mission and commission of Jesus from the Gospel of Mathew.

#203: Face the Lions
Location: Academic Center #254

Speaker: Karen and Stephen Lynip (SIL)
Description: Current stories from 6 to 8 Christ- followers who are learning to "Chase the Lion" with amazing resolve (based on themes from Mark Batterson 's New York Times best seller) The two-hour workshop features storytelling followed by small and large group discussion related to reflection questions stimulated by the stories.

#202: What is God doing in the Muslim/Crescent world?
Location: Academic Center #242

Speaker: Rob Antonucci
Description: Based on many years of my and others experience in the Muslim world, we will look at what is God doing behind the scenes of tragedies and the headlines occurring involving the 1.7 billion Muslims, the Crescent World. There are unprecedented challenges, changes and opportunities for those when we begin to see things with a biblical worldview. Then we can understand, react, befriend, see how God is redeeming many of these people and pray for God’s Kingdom to continue to come. The harvest is becoming plentiful but will there be enough laborers?

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Evening Open House

Join us for a Missions Open House with our keynote speakers during Tuesday evening.

An evening with the speakers
Thursday, October 6 |  6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. | Wilson House

Come and spend a relaxed evening with our keynote speakers at the Wilson House, enjoying fellowship, prayer, and a time for you to ask them questions and hear more. Light refreshment will be served.
Location: Wilson House, 7 Ockenga Lane (on campus)
Speakers: Gary Witherall, Kenneth Bae

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Daily Missions Fair: Tuesday & Wednesday| 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

Come browse the missions fair displays and get connected with representatives from a number of global mission organizations and ministries that serve worldwide.

Location: Great Hall (Kerr Building)

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Missions Emphasis Week Details

This program is underwritten by funds made available through the Paul E. and Eva B. Toms Lectureship. The events and sessions listed are open to public free of charge.  Meals for the Thursday lunch workshops are sponsored by participating missions organizations.

Please click on the topics below to find out more information about general event details. 

Cost & Registration:

All the events during Missions Emphasis Week are free of charge and open to the public. The only RSVP required is for the Lunch Workshops on Thursday, October 9th. Please use this link to register for the Workshops that day.

Directions & Public Transportation:

Directions: Take Rte. 128 North (toward Gloucester) to Exit 17 (Grapevine Road). Turn left off of the exit ramp and continue past Gordon College. Take your first right onto Rte. 22 (Rubbly Road). Turn left at the first stop sign (Essex Street). The entrance to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary will be 200 yards ahead on the right. Follow the “Conference” and "Event Parking" signs. For more specific directions click here.

Click here to download a map of the Hamilton Campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Public Transportation: Gordon-Conwell is located near commuter rail stops, however, you must find transportation from the train stop to campus. The closest commuter rail stops are on the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Line at North Beverly or Hamilton/Wenham. Click here for a link to the MBTA and train schedule.

Campus Maps & Room Locations:

Missions Emphasis Week will take place on the Hamilton Campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Most of the locations for each session are listed next to the events listed in the schedule. Chapel sessions will take place in the Kaiser Chapel of the Academic Center. Lunch forums will take place in Alumni Hall, and the Thursday lunch workshops will take place in various classrooms in the Academic Center.


  •    Click here to download a map of the Kerr Building
  •    Click here to download a map of the Academic Center
  •    Click here to download a map of the campus
  •    Click here to download a schedule of the program

Directions to the Wilson House

The Wilson House is located on campus by the Bridge Street exit. Click here for a campus map.
Parking is available:

  • along the RIGHT side of John Harold Ockenga Lane in front of the Wilson House,
  • in the drive way by the side of the Wilson House, and
  • also in the lot by the Pump House on the left side before the campus exit.



If you have questions about Missions Emphasis Week at Gordon-Conwell or about the J Christy Wilson Jr. Center for World Missions, please contact us using the information below:


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