Catherine Nold
September 2015

Development Worker Endorsed to Serve in Lebanon to Work with Refugees from Syria

Melanie Baggao, from Placentia, California, has been endorsed for service as a development worker by American Baptist International Ministries (IM). She will serve in Lebanon with IM partner The Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development. Baggao is a member of Epic Church in Fullerton, California.  It is planned that Baggao will work as an IM development worker serving with refugees from Syria while studying at The Arab Baptist Theological Seminary for the purpose of becoming fluent in Arabic, learning the culture, building relationships and preparing for future work in Arabic-speaking cultures.

When asked why she feels called to this ministry, Baggao recalled, “On a short term mission trip in high school, God called me to be a part of drawing others into His Kingdom. Fast forward a few years and I spent a college semester abroad in Egypt where I was drawn to the beauty and complexity of the Middle East.  I believe that God has given me experiences in the Middle East and His desire [is] to see Arabic-speaking Muslim women come to know and embrace Him.”

"We thank God for the privilege to appoint Melanie to learn and serve with our partners in Lebanon; and we pray that God will grow her ministry among Arabic-speaking women in the Middle East!" commented Charles Jones, Area Director for Europe, the Middle East and Liberia.

When asked what excites her most about her ministry prospect, Baggao was emphatic, “I cannot wait to be fluent in Arabic! I look forward to joining other Christ followers in ministry in the Middle East. I cannot wait to grow alongside them in community, while seeking God’s will together in such a wonderful place. I cannot wait to have friendships with Muslim women seeking Christ. I cannot wait to serve in a place I’ve been praying for so long and among people who have burdened my heart for over a decade. I can’t wait!”

Her endorsement and planned ministry in Lebanon represents a major life change for Baggao who graduated from Biola University in 2002 with a B.A. in Intercultural Studies and Elementary Education. From 2005 to 2014, Baggao was employed as a middle school teacher in Santa Fe Springs, California. She also volunteered with refugees in the Southern California area. “Working with refugees is a ministry [for which] I think God has been growing my heart.”

As an endorsed development worker, Baggao will be working in the months ahead to build her Mission Partnership Network. She will be inviting individuals, groups and churches to partner with her by committing to share the spiritual, relational and financial support needed to begin her ministry in Lebanon.

Please join IM in celebrating this endorsement and praying for Baggao as she invites others to join her. Baggao is inspired by this scripture from 2 Corinthians: “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”

Words of encouragement for Baggao may be sent to Baggao invites readers to join her community on Facebook, Mel & Me, and to join her network on the IM website where her journals, photos and videos can be found: