More than 1,900 miles from home, two Arizona men discovered on an airport shuttle last spring they were headed to the same place. It wasn’t a coincidence.
Levi Thomason* and Jeff Canter* were both going for seven weeks of training with the International Mission Board in Virginia.
Thomason had just been appointed as an IMB missionary Journeyman. Canter, a veteran missionary who had been off the mission field for several years, was preparing to return to the same people group he had served previously but in a different part of the world.
They would be joining other newly appointed missionaries to learn and practice strategies for cross-cultural living, evangelism and prayer and be informed about administrative matters before heading to their respective mission fields.
Connection to home
“It’s always nice to have any form of connection when in a new context,” Thomason said. “Everyone with field experience is a great blessing to new team members, but finding any home state connection is special.”
Thomason is at least the eighth person from his Arizona Southern Baptist church to be appointed as an IMB missionary.
“The support of my home church is absolutely essential,” he said. “The church is the God-ordained, primary vessel through which He will spread His Gospel. Being raised up and sent out is a testimony to the faithfulness of my church. Also, being the first missionary from my church to go to this part of the world is exciting.”
Thomason is involved in church planting and discipleship training among unreached, unengaged people groups, helping national believers start healthy churches and teaching them to carry out the Great Commission.
“During the job selection process, I kept an open mind about where to go,” he said. “This led to conversations and connections with other team members. By being flexible and open, God was able to use me to fill the missing piece on a team.”
Thomason said he is grateful for the support of Arizona Southern Baptists, and he shared several prayer requests.
“Please pray that COVID-19 would not impede our ability to begin reaching these people,” he said. “Pray that we would find people ready and eager to hear the gospel. Pray for safety and good relationships with national partners. Pray for the language learning process.”
*Name changed for security