International Mission Board missionaries Stephen and Erin Spencer minister in a region of Southeast Asia where tribal warfare is ongoing, civil unrest is on the rise and foreigners are blacklisted from entering certain regions. However, the good news is entering homes and hearts. One of these hearts is a woman who goes by the name “Momma.”
Momma has seen miraculous answers to prayer — a pig raised from the dead, rashes disappearing and a woman healed from paralysis. The Spencers say prayer transformed Momma’s village, and answered prayers are leading many to Christ.
When Momma heard Bible stories, she told her family, “There might be something to this Living God they’re talking about.”
One day Momma’s daughter came with the disastrous news that their pig had died.
In this area, a pig can be sold for the equivalent of two or three months of income. “Is there anything this ‘Living God’ can do?” her daughter asked.
God is real
“Momma marched down to the pigpen where a crowd had gathered from the village and didn’t know what else to do,” Stephen explains.
“She just crawled into the pigpen and got down on her knees and said, ‘God, if You’re real, then show these people that You’re real.’ And while she was praying, the dead pig stood up.”
Momma believed and was baptized the next day. Erin said one miracle after another keeps happening. When the Spencers visit Momma, they say, “So, tell me what He did this week.”
A woman in Momma’s village became immobilized and was bedridden in severe pain for four months. Village members began placing bets on what day she would die.
“I know you can pray, and God does things. Will you pray for my wife to die? Because she’s just in agony,” the woman’s husband asked Momma.
Momma asked him if she could pray and ask God to heal her. Momma shared the gospel and prayed. Ten minutes later, the woman was sitting upright in a chair. The next day, the woman walked out of her house to greet Stephen and Erin. She committed her life to Christ.
Power of God
“It was a testimony of the power of God because everybody in the village knew what condition she was in,” Erin said.
Though God opened hearts, many remained skeptics. “It’s hard sometimes being the only one out here, and everybody thinks you’re crazy, and there isn’t anyone who understands and can relate to me. Sometimes I get discouraged,” Momma told the Spencers.
When she heard hundreds of Christians in the Spencers’ partner churches were praying for her, her eyes lit up in appreciation and wonder.
“Now I know that I will never be alone,” she said.
Prayer support for the Spencers and their people makes all the difference — that’s why Southern Baptists observe the Week of Prayer for International Missions at the beginning of Lottie Moon Christmas Offering season every year. The Spencers are among the more than 3,600 IMB workers living and working around the world to take the hope of Jesus to people who haven’t heard it.
Their story — and Momma’s — is featured on Day 6 of this year’s week of prayer, set for Nov. 28–Dec. 5.
As they go, lives are changed, and churches are planted, thanks to the prayers and generosity of Southern Baptists. Their financial support comes in large part through Southern Baptists’ gifts through the Cooperative Program and to the LMCO. One hundred percent of the LMCO goes straight to missionaries who are making disciples and multiplying churches among unreached people groups.
The national offering goal this year is $185 million. The goal is an increase from the 2020 goal and is in keeping with one of IMB’s 2025 targets to increase giving to the IMB by 6% annually.
“Sending more missionaries and reaching more people and places requires sacrificial giving,” said Paul Chitwood, IMB president.
Chitwood said in recent years that about half of Southern Baptist churches gave to missions through the Lottie Moon offering. He hopes to see that number increase as more churches feel connected to missionaries and understand the urgent need to reach the nations with the gospel.
“We want to see every missionary connecting, every church participating, and all of us stewarding well the Revelation 7:9 vision,” he said.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Names changed for security reasons.