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Last night I had the privilege of attending the Missionary Appointment Service for the International Mission Board here in Nashville. 101 men and women gave their testimonies of how the Lord called them from a life of self-service to a life of Kingdom-service on the mission field.

Some had known from their pre-teen years that they were called. Some have been called for less than a year. Some heard the call as individuals and were brought together in marriage to serve together. One couple even met at age 5 on the mission field and were reunited in college, now married and heading back to the field. Some were called in singleness. Some of those will know the goodness of remaining single as Paul was. Some will meet their spouse on the field. Some were called to sacrifice by takig their children to the field. Some were called to sacrifice and wait to have children.  Some calls came in the midst of despair and strife. Some came at the height of pursuing the American Dream. Every call was as unique as the hearer. And yet I was struck by one common factor that bound every new missionary: they weren't that different than me.


As I sat in the upper balcony, my eyes filled with tears of joy as I heard one account after another of how God had raised up ordinary men and women to do the extraordinary work of proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ to the unreached people of the world. A schoolteacher going to Scandanavia, a football coach to Africa, an IT worker to Central Asia. These were regular men and women, husbands and wives, moms and dads, who were endowed with a supernatural calling and a humble willingness to answer. And through these jars of clay, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ will shine in all the world.


IMB president, Tom Elliff, stated that this group of 101 missionaries had tied for the fourth largest group that the IMB had sent out at one time. After training, they will join the ranks of almost 5,000 other Southern Baptist missionaries around the world. Such sacrifice that each and every one of them has made.


But I could not help but think of the words of Christ, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2). We must (must!) pray that more and more ordinary people will listen for the call to enter the mission field. Currently, there are approximately 3,200 people groups in the world that have never heard the name of Jesus. Plenty, indeed.


As Rachel and I prepare to enter the mission field on the short-term, my prayer is that I will be open to hearing the prompting of God as to our next steps. I am confident that seminary is the direct next step for me, but after that is still wide open. I will continue to acknowledge that Lord and trust that He will direct my paths.

Check back tomorrow for a post with a list of ways everyone can get involved with local and international missions.
 


Comments

Daniel
05/25/2012 07:20

Eric & Rachel

I am so happy for you to and taking charge of what God has called for each of you to do. Not long ago (seems like yesterday), we all were somewhere for just a few days without luggage but had plenty in Him. Anyways the focus is the here and now and I want to just thank you both for being able to do something not many are capable of doing because the "laborers are few."

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    About the Author

    I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a husband to Rachel. I am a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I worship at Erlanger Baptist Church in Erlanger, KY.

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