BUREAUS ATLANTA Martin King, Chief, 1350 Spring St.. N.W., Atlanta, Ga. 30367, Telephone (404) 898·7522, CompuServe 70420,250 DALLAS Thomas J. Brannon, Chiel, 333 N. Washington, Dallas, Texas 75246·1798, Telephone (214) 828·5232, CompuServe 70420, t t5 NASHVILLE Linda Lawson. ChIef, 127 Ninth Ave., N., Nashville, Tenn. 37234, Telephone (615) 251·2300, CompuServe 70420,57 RICHMOND Robert L. Stanley, Chief, 3806 Monument Ave., Richmond, Va. 23230, Telephone (804) 353·0151, CompuServe 70420,72 WASHINGTON Tom Strode, Chief, 400 North Capitol St., #594, Washington, D.C. 20001, Telephone (202) 638·3223. Compu5erve 71173,316
August 17, 1995
ARKANSAS--Evangelist Angel Martinez, 73, dies Aug. 17 in Ark. hospital. TANZANIA--'Are you a padre?' the abductor asked; photos. TANZANIA--Missionaries gather in Tanzania to give thanks for kidnap victims; photos. NORTH CAROLINA--Foreign board taps Bisagno for missions promotion role; photo. NEW MEXICO--Training enhances knowledge, skills of church secretaries; photo. FLORIDA--Youth toil at summer camp where work, not play, prevails. TENNESSEE--World Changers brings 'Christmas' cheer to family of six. DALLAS~~Mantle claimed Jesus as his 'hero,' former teammate tells mourners. Baptist Press 8/17/95
Evangelist Angel Martinez. 73. dies Aug. 17 in Ark. hospital
FORT SMITH, Ark. (BP)--One of Southern Baptists' most renowned evangelists, Angel Martinez, died early Aug. 17 in a Ft. Smith, Ark., hospital following a bout with a respiratory infection. He was 73. "If he had lived to Sept. 5, he would have celebrated 60 years in the ministry," said Steve Taylor, Brentwood, Tenn., music evangelist who worked with Martinez for 41 years. Shortly after his conversion in Texas at age 13, Martinez preached his first sermon and every member of his family, except his father, was converted to Jesus Christ, Taylor said. Conservative estimates are that more than 500,000 people were converted during his years of preaching, most in Southern Baptist churches, Taylor added. Martinez held more than 1,500 revival/crusades during his ministry, and returned to some churches as many as 10 times. "He was the most brilliant man in evangelism that I knew of," Taylor said. He memorized the New Testament -- took him seven years and was in the process of memorizing the New Testament in Greek, Taylor said. Said to be a very modest person, Martinez used "humor in the pulpit to cushion the blow when telling people about themselves." His younger brother, Homer, also an evangelist, said it was Angel who tutored him and taught him the scriptures. Martinez had been hospitalized two weeks with a viral infection affecting the respiratory system, a family spokesman said. A cardiac arrest claimed the evangelist at about 6 a.m. Aug. 17 at St. Edwards Hospital, Fort Smith. Services are pending. Martinez was born in Dallas but was raised in San Antonio, Texas. He was a graduate of Baylor University, Waco, Texas, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky. Martinez is survived by his wife, Robbie, Fort Smith; two sons, Kent, Dearborn, Mich., and David, Austin, Texas; two sisters, Virginia McGill, Irving, Texas, and Tony Caberra Pollard, Austin; and his brother, Homer, Dallas; and numerous nieces and nephews. --30-r'-
EDITORS' NOTE: On Aug. 5, in central Tanzania, three missionaries and two missionary children of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board were abducted, their lives threatened and then drugged while their vehicle was hijacked. Another missionary was left hiding at the carjacking scene. Missionary Steve Evans, FMB media consultant for eastern and southern Africa, interviewed them after their rescue by missionary pilot Mike Cannata and attended a service of thanksgiving h ld by Southern Baptist missionaries in Tanzania. The following two stories may be us d individually or together. 'Are you a padre?' the abductor asked
By Steve Evans
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (BP)-·"Are we going to shoot them all together or one at a time?" the abductor asked his two associates. Lined up on their knees with their backs to him were three missionaries of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board and two missionary children. They had been abduct d on Aug. 5, along with their vehicle, two hours earlier just outside a game reserve in central Tanzania. A sixth member of the group was left behind, hiding at the scene of the kidnapping. "Oh, God, they're going to shoot Sandy," prayed missionary David Moreland as the gunman grabbed another missionary, Sandy Harrington, from the line and forced her to kneel five feet away. "I was absolutely terrified," said Harrington of Newport News, Va. "My fear had b en escalating throughout the whole ordeal. But even then, there was a calmness in the midst of my terror .- a sense of heaven-wardness. 'If they killed me, I'd be with God,' I thought to myself." But she said to the gunman, "Please don't shoot me." "'We all grabbed one another's hand," Moreland said, with tears in his eyes. "I thought I was holding my wife's hand for the last time. 'We all tensed up, expecting the bullets to hit. I started to pray out loud and committed us to the Lord," he said. He prayed, "Lord, put your angels around us, but if it's time for us to go, then it's time. Do your will." "I truly had a peace that passed all understanding," Moreland's wife, Millie, said. "'We were ready to go. If we died, we died, but at least we were together. 'We had surrendered everything." The Morelands are from Monroe, La. Harrington, too, felt a similar peace. "During the calmness in my terror, I remembered the Bible verse in the book of Romans saying nothing could separate us from the love of Christ -- not even death." She recalled praying for God's angels to protect them. "'We were all kneeling, holding hands and praying out loud." At the same time, lO-year-old Joanna Giddens had two thoughts. "'Would we be saved or killed? Would they shoot us or would the police find us?" wondered Giddens, daughter of Foreign Mission Board missionaries Ed and Nancy Giddens of Sepulveda, Calif. "I wasn't scared, though, because I knew that with God, everything would be all right. When they lined us up, we held hands, thinking they would shoot us with the machine gun but we prayed for God to protect us with his angels." . "When I saw the gun, I felt scared at first," said Harrington's daughter, Christine, age 10, "but I knew I would go to heaven if I was killed, and that was better than being alive ... so, I didn't care." Lined up, kneeling, their backs to the gunman, holding hands and praying aloud, the five expected to die. Then one of the abductors leaned down and asked David Moreland a question. "Are you a 'padre?'" he asked. Sandy Harrington was confused. She had been torn from the group, then put back with them, told to stand, then forced to kneel. Afraid for her life, she overheard the kidnappers' discussion with Moreland. - -more--
"Yes, I'm a 'padre,'" Moreland rlsponded to their question. "I'm a missionary with the Baptist church here in Tanzania." "The next thing I knew," Harrington said, "we were all being told to drink this orange liquid they put before us. I was afraid it was poison and didn't know whether to drink it, but David said to drink it, that it was OK." "'When I saw the juice, I felt like shouting," Moreland said, "because I knew then that they wouldn't shoot us. I had read reports of other hijackings and knew that they drugged people. That's what they were doing." The abductors had two one-liter bottles of orange drink and told their captives, "Drink. Drink." Moreland was given the most -- four glasses. The two girls each were forced to drink a partial glass. The other two were given one glass each. A large cloth was spread before them, and they were told to lie down. nOh, God, what now?" Moreland prayed, thinking that they still might be killed. But one of the kidnappers said, "Lie down so you can sleep." The abductors rummaged through the vehicle, then drove off. "It was a great relief to have them gone," Harrington said. "After they left, we walked, then I don't remember much until the next day when I heard the plane" (flown by missionary pilot Mike Cannata, who found them). Moreland thought of getting back to the main road as quickly as possible. They walked awhile, then saw their vehicle with their belongings scattered all around it. "I told everyone to get off the road and hide," Moreland said. He then thought of trying to sneak up on the vehicle. "I took three steps and the full force of the drug hit," he said. "The next thing I remember was Millie saying, 'David, that's our airplanel'" That was 18 hours later. They had survived the drug and the threat of attacks by lions and other wild animals that roam the area. "I flew over and saw them (the victims) all lying on a dirt road," Cannata said. "The airplane woke them up, and when they saw me, they began to wave." Much later, Moreland said, "We crossed a line, the five of us, that most people don't cross. I had peace because I knew Jesus Christ and knew that he was my Lord and Savior. "I've been someplace in my life that most haven't been, and I'm going to tell them about it. Then I'm going to ask them if they can say the same thing about Jesus that I can say". --30-(BP) photos (one horizontal, one vertical) mailed to state Baptist newspapers 8/15/95 by Richmond bureau of Baptist Press. They may be used with both the story above and following story. Cutlines available on SBCNet News Room. Missionaries gather in Tanzania to give thanks for kidnap victims By Steve Evans & David Williard
Baptist Press 8/17/95
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (BP)--Southern Baptist missionaries from throughout Tanzania gathered in Dar es Salaam Aug. 9-12 to rejoice and give thanks to God after the safe return of five kidnapped "family" members. "We've worked through the crisis management phase of the situation," said missionary Jon Sapp, who led the retreat attended by 112 missionaries and missionary children. "Now we must deal with aftershocks," Sapp said. "The idea is to deal with what happened and get on with our lives." Missionary Sandy Harrington, 35, of Newport News, Va., one of the kidnap victims, agreed. "I'm ready to get on with life," she said. "I fe 1 grateful to be alive and have a great awareness of God's provision and mercy. It could have turned out differently -- we could be dead -- and God still would be great, but he intervened, and I'm very grateful to him." - -more--
Missionary David Moreland, 50, of Monroe, La., another of the kidnap victims, called the meeting "the beginning of the healing proc ss." For him, that led to a personal experienc in which he said he enc untered God differently than ever before. He explains: "After the evening worship of the last day, I was exhausted physically, but mainly just drained. I told my wife we need to go back to the room . . . . "In my Christian experience, time and again I pray 'Lord, fill me.' I prayed that again that night, and it was just like someone had taken a glass and was pouring water into it. It just filled up. I never really felt it that way before. But suddenly I realized something. God has got to empty you before he can fill you. "I realized that what I had prayed for in the past is that, 'hey, Lord, th re's two or three inches left at the top that I haven't stuffed anything into, so why don't you fill that." Kidnapped besides Harrington and Moreland were Moreland's wife, missionary Mildred Moreland, 43, of Monroe, La.; Harrington's daughter, Christine, 10; and Joanna Giddens, 10, daughter of FMB missionaries Ed and Nancy Giddens of Sepulveda, Calif. On Aug. 5 bandits hijacked the car the missionaries were driving in the Tanzanian bush, abducted them, threatened their lives, drugged them and stranded them among wild animals near a wild game preserve. Another missionary, Harrington's husband, Bill, of Richmond, Va., was left hiding at the carjacking scene. The next day missionary pilot Mike Cannata, flying a search and rescue mission, found them alive and still dazed by sedative drugs. Meanwhile, Truman Smith, retired senior family consultant for the Foreign Mission Board, traveled from Richmond, Va., at the missionaries' request to provide counsel and pastoral care during the three-day retreat. "Undealt with trauma will later resurface," Smith said, commenting on the necessity of the gathering. "Coming together to deal with it helps the healing process in an open atmosphere, with no hidden agendas. Evil can be faced head-on. " "Because of this week our lives will never be the same. We know and proclaim that our victory is in the Lord Jesus Christ," said Frank Pevey, administrator of the organization of Foreign Mission Board missionaries in Tanzania, during the retreat. Will Roberts, missionary neighbor to the Morelands and the retreat's closing speaker, added: "We've been in the valley, and we've been on the mountaintop -w 've even cried on the mountaintop -- and we've come to realize that in desperate situations, God is our only hope." "Bad things do happen to God's people, and they are not to blame, but he is there. You, who have walked through the valley, where God miraculously intervened, can now help others when they walk through it," Roberts said. "Everyone in the mission had a part in this situation," said Mor~land, who plans to be back in the United States, with his wife, on Aug. 22 to begin a two-month leave to visit his sons and engage in routine counseling ana medical tests. The bandits clubbed Moreland in the face and head with a gun butt, but his injuries are not believed to be serious. "We shared in this together," he said. "We hurt together, cried together, and rejoiced together. There are no individual heroes in this story. God is the one who did it." --30-(BP) photos (one horizontal, one vertical) mailed to state Baptist newspapers 8/15/95 by Richmond bureau of Baptist Press. Cutlines available on SBCNet News Room.
8/17/95 Foreign board taps Bisagno for missions promotion role
By Hark Kelly
RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)--John R. Bisagno, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Houston, will help the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board challenge Southern Baptists to new heights of missions awareness and involvement. Bisagno, 61, will serve as a special assistant to FMB President Jerry Rankin to promote foreign missions in churches, conferences and other speaking engagements. He also will encourage fellow pastors to give higher priority to missions involvement and support. He will remain senior pastor of the 22,OOO-member Houston congregation. Bisagno's new role was announced to Foreign Mission Board trustees during their quarterly meeting Aug. 15 at Ridgecrest (N.C.) Baptist Conference Center. The trustee meeting was held in conjunction with Jericho, the annual missions festival sponsored by five Southern Baptist agencies. "God is moving in power to evangelize our world, and, through the Foreign Mission Board, Southern Baptists have the opportunity to join God in fulfilling the Great Commission" (the biblical mandate to reach the world for Jesus Christ), Rankin told trustees. "It's a significant blessing of God that someone with the profile, influence and heart for a lost world of John Bisagno would be led to join the FMB in mobilizing Southern Baptists for missions." Bisagno has a passion for missions and serves as pastor of a true missions church, Rankin said. A 1966 evangelistic trip to Guyana ignited a love for foreign missions that has taken him to 30 countries in 29 years, Bisagno said. Since that trip, "there hasn't been a day in my life that foreign missions hasn't been the beating passion of my heart," he told the trustees. "I can't talk about it without getting choked up." Under Bisagno's leadership since 1970, First Baptist Church has grown into a model of missions involvement, Rankin said. "During his 25 years as pastor, the church has been at the forefront of missions support and involvement," Rankin said, noting the church gives more than $1 million a year to local and national Southern Baptist missions and exceeds $200,000 a year to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. "It also has sent more than 900 volunteers overseas and started 40 missions in its own city," Rankin said. "And at last count, 87 missionaries had gone out from that church to serve overseas. To have a pastor with this kind of track record and vision for missions in a local church would be one of the greatest assets we could have in promoting foreign missions." Southern Baptists must rise up and meet the challenge of bringing a lost world to Christ, Bisagno told the trustees. "I'm excited about the records we're setting in foreign missions, but when I hear we have six or seven missionaries in Hungary and Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses have 400 or 500 missionaries there, I say, 'Dear God, we've got to wake up! We've got to be stirred up and challenged to go!' "I'm excited about 4,100 overseas missionaries, but that ought to be 10,000 or 15,000 or 25,000 missionaries," he said. "When I hear about missionaries struggling for funds to advance the kingdom of God, something inside me says, 'We don't need an $85 million Lottie Moon offering, we need $250 million or $300 million offerings in our lifetime." A goal like that is not unreasonable, he added. "We have 15 million Southern Baptists. We control billions of dollars of resources," he said. "Yet we give only $7 each to the foreign mission offering. That's not even a good meal once a year. We can -- and we must -- do better." --more--
Bisagno is a native of Augusta, Kan. He was a full time evangelist and then past r of First Southern Baptist Church, p 1 C~ty, Okla., b fore joining the Houston church. A former president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Pastors' Conference, h sp aks frequently in state conventions, evangelism conferenc s, seminary and college classr oms and evangelistic crusades. H has written 18 books, including the b st-selling "The Power of Positive Praying." --30-(BP) photo (mugshot) mailed to state Baptist newspapers 8/17/95 by Richmond bureau of Baptist Press. Cutline available on SBCNet News Room.
Training enhances knowledge, skills of church secretaries
By Linda Lawson
Baptist Press 8/17/95
GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)--Betty Walker believes the Lord began preparing her to be a trainer of church secretaries 36 years ago on her first day as the educational secretary at her home church, First Baptist Church, Burlington, N.C. She walked into an empty office in 1959 with no job description, no instructions and no idea what she should do first. Today, Walker is pastor's secretary and administrative assistant at the same church. She also helped to establish an organization for church secretaries in North Carolina and the National Association of Southern Baptist Secretaries. She has been president of both organizations. Walker and Donna Gandy, church secretary consultant at the Baptist Sunday School Board led sessions Aug. 5-11 at Glorieta (N.M.) Baptist Conference Center for 28 church secretaries seeking basic and advanced certification. To receive certification, earned by about 3,500 secretaries since 1971, participants must complete 18 hours of class time in office management, communication skills, the secretary's role in ministry, personal development, information management, time management, Southern Baptist doctrine and polity and other topics. They also must pass a 90-minute exam. Certification benefits both the secretary and the church, Gandy believes. "They sharpen some skills and learn new ideas to make them more efficient and effective," she said. "Office ministry is the infrastructure of the church. You don't notice it until it's not there." Walker agrees. "Certification is important for the secretary to feel she is not just a support person but also part of the ministry." After completing certification, Walker said secretaries return home not only with increased knowledge but also greater enthusiasm and sensitivity. "Unless the secretary is sensitive to the needs of people and seeks to minister to spiritual and other needs, our textbook is of little value," she said. "We have some of the most professional ladies in the work force today. They are willing to go the second mile." Walker acknowledged the role of the church secretary has changed dramatically since she began her career. From a manual typewriter to an electronic one and now to a computer, technology and duties continue to change. "I no longer do correspondence for the pastor. He does his own on the computer," Walker said. She uses time she used to spend on that duty to compile ministry reports. She predicts the church secretary of the future will have more public relations duties, fewer traditional clerical roles and greater involvement in ministries of the church. "The secretary is now preparing for the next century and electronic age. We'll see vast changes," Walker said. --mor --
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"The thing I like to remember and work at is to be flexible," she added. "We teach that, along with th importance of secretaries knowing when to talk and when to remain silent. They must be vi wed as trustworthy." Walker praised her church for encouraging and supporting her in seeking training. She urges others to do the same. God calls people to be secretaries just as surely as he calls others to minist rial staff positions, Walker believes. A study of the "Experiencing God" discipleship course in 1992 led her to the realization that "all along God was preparing me for this." More information about the National Association of Southern Baptist Secretaries and the certification process is available by writing to Gandy at MSN 158, Baptist Sunday School Board, 127 Ninth Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37234-0101. --30-(BP) photo (vertical) mailed to the North Carolina state Baptist newspaper by the BSSB bureau of Baptist Press.
Youth toil at summer camp where work, not play, prevails
By Don Horine
Baptist Press 8/17/95
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (BP)--It's not a typical camp, but then these are not typical teenagers. Coming from allover the country, they paid $225 each, plus transportation costs, to spend a week building houses and doing other chores for the people of Palm Beach County. Over the summer, about 2,400 high school and middle school students and counselors arrived at Palm Beach Atlantic College to take part in the first Mission-Fuge camp, sponsored by the Baptist Sunday School Board. Besides helping Habitat for Humanity build and paint houses, the young people cleaned up neighborhoods, entertained at nursing homes, fed the homeless and put on vacation Bible school classes at area churches. A total of more than 48,000 hours of mission work to over 140 sites was donated during the summer. Why would a teenager want to go to a summer camp where work, not play, is the principal activity? "It's fun," said Jamie Bjornbak, 13, of Louisville, Ky., as he took a brief break from nailing shingles to the roof of one of the two Habitat houses under construction in north Boca Raton. Corrie Williams, 15, of Columbus, Ohio, added: "I wanted to do something for God. And I'm getting to do something I don't know how to do." Nathaniel Hamilton, 17, of Louisville, agreed. "I feel it's a good experience to witness to a lot of people," he said. The campers worked hard and well even though the temperatures on the roof reached 115 degrees, said counselor Michael Thedford, 21, of Newport News, Va. "It's unbelievable, the work we're getting done," he said of the 18 young people and four counselors at the Habitat project. After four days, he said, the group had put roofs on both l,100-square-foot houses, installed wall studs and cleared the grounds. The campers work five hours a day, then spent two hours at the beach. There are also recreational and religious activities at the college, where the students live in dorms. Mission-Fuge is an outgrowth of Centrifuge, the Sunday School Board's regular summer camp, which draws about 45,000 young people to camps across the country. Mission-Fuge was established because church leaders saw the need for a camp in which the focus was giving, not receiving, said camp director Missi Stewart of Columbia, S.C. --30-Reprinted with permission from The Palm Beach Post.
World Changers brings 'Christmas' cheer to family of six . By Shelley Smith MEMPHIS, Tenn. (BP)--Remember how you felt as a child, waking up early Christmas morning, xcited over what might b waiting for you under the tree? According to Daniel Elliot, pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Murphy, N.C., that's how the Floyd family felt after their home was renovated and repaired by a crew of 26 senior high World Changers and adults -- "just like children at Christmas." Nearly 400 senior high youth and their leaders gathered in Murphy, N.C., July 29-Aug. 5 to participate in a World Changers National Work Project. Sponsored by the Southern Baptist Brotherhood Commission, World Changers involves youth and adults in coeducational missions projects. Stressing "hands-on" involvement through participation in home construction and renovation work, participants learn about missions firsthand by becoming personally involved in ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of others. The Floyd family, which includes husband Edward, his wife Brenda, and their four children, Amanda, 14, Sharon, 12, Elisha, II, and Jonathan, 4, had not asked for any help. Instead, they made repairs on their home as they were financially able to, explained Elliot, their pastor. But the Floyds' needs far exceeded their means, and many repairs had had to go undone. "They needed help in every way to get going," said Elliot, who contacted Paul Crisp, construction coordinator of the'Murphy project, and shared with him the Floyds' needs. After going out to visit with the family, Crisp said he knew immediately their home should be one of the World Changers' sites in '95. "When I heard World Changers was going to work on my home, I was tickled," Brenda said. "We've been trying to do this work, but it's hard (financially) with four kids." Built in the 1940s, the home had probably been used as a storage place and possibly a barn at one time, said Elliot. Parts of the l6'x2l' tin~roof home, such as the door, the windows, and the back wall, had been constructed with previously used scrap materials and lumber. In addition, the home had no insulation. For heat during the winter months, the Floyds would move the couch and chair from their small living room area to the porch outside, in order to make room for a wood-burning stove. "We have six people in our family, and we need a bigger house," said l2-year-old Sharon. World Changers participants helped meet that need, in addition to many others. They built a 12'x2l' addition onto the home, providing Jonathan with his own bedroom and the family with a larger living room area. The work didn't stop there, however. Participants, along with the Floyd children who joined in the work and devotion time every day, insulated the entire floor and ceiling areas, put a new metal roof on the home, replaced the front door and all the windows, added a back door, and re-sided the entire home. "It's been fun working at this site because we have the kids around to help us and to talk to," said l6-year-old Katie O'Neil, of Snyder Memorial Baptist in Fayetteville, N.C. "I'm halfway through the week, and it's already been rewarding . . . . World Changers is a chance for me to do something for someone without expecting anything material in return. It's a chance for me to serve people as I'm serving God." "God is definitely using World Changers in this area," said Elliot. With many families in and around Murphy living in similar situations as the Floyds, the need for improved housing is great, he explained. "I hope World Changers will be around for a long, long time. It's the plainest way I know of for the average person to see Christ." --more--
The Floyds may have felt like children at Christmas, but the gifts they received were unlike most of the ones given at Christmas -- gifts that add to one's pleasure, but aren't necessarily needed. The gifts the Floyds received were basic necessities of life most people take for granted -- a secure roof over their heads, warmth during the winter, a house they could call a "home." "If it wasn't for World Changers, we couldn't have had this work done," said Sharon. "I thank them for helping us with our house. I love them, and I'll miss them. " Participants were quick to note they also received a gift for their labor. It didn't come in material ways, but in the excitement they saw on the residents' faces, the expressions of gratitude oftentimes shown, the friendships formed throughout the week, and the sense of accomplishment in knowing they helped to make someone's world a little better as they demonstrated Christ's love in action. "Take the opportunity to go on World Changers," said O'Neil. "It leaves a lasting impression because you're not just changing someone else's world, you're changing your own." ~-30--
(Shelley Smith is associate editor of World Changers at the Brotherhood Commission in Memphis.)
Mantle claimed Jesus as his 'hero,' former teammate tells mourners By Laura Horne
DALLAS (BP)--Mickey Mantle may have named organ donors as his heroes, but he claimed Jesus Christ as his true hero, said Bobby Richardson, who officiated at the New York Yankee slugger's funeral on Aug. 15. An overflow crowd of about 2,000 filled the sanctuary, chapel and hall at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, Dallas, where Mantle supported a family therapy ministry, to bid farewell to baseball great Mickey Mantle. Richardson, Mantle's former teammate turned lay pastor, ministered to the Hall of Famer during his dying days. He told those who gathered to say goodbye to the baseball great that Mantle had long resisted but finally accepted Christ as his Savior. "If Mick could hold a press conference from where he is today, I know that he would want to introduce you to his true hero, Jesus Christ." Richardson added the greatest tribute family, friends and fans can give is to receive Christ as their Savior as well. Richardson encouraged fans to support the Mickey Mantle Foundation which was set up to promote the need for organ donors. Before his death, Mantle chose the slogan "Be a hero. Be a donor." Mantle, 63, died at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Aug. 13 following a liver transplant on June 8 and a battle with liver cancer that spread to his lungs and other vital organs. --30--