Twenty-four missionaries participated in a Sending Celebration on Wednesday (Sept. 28) at Beaverdam Baptist Church in Beaverdam, Virginia.
The International Mission Board’s board of trustees approved the appointment of 22 new fully funded missionaries in their meeting, also held on Wednesday. One couple was approved by trustees in May but were not able to attend June’s Sending Celebration.
These missionaries represent those who made their way through the IMB’s pipeline, first as candidates, and then as approved missionaries. As the IMB celebrates these and the over 1,100 more in the pipeline, they also understand that the need is great, and in order to reach the nations, together, more are still needed to go.
Why we come together
“Why are we here tonight? Why have we come together?” IMB President Paul Chitwood asked attendees.
“We’ve come together because the world has a problem,” Chitwood said.
After noting that the world does, in fact, have many problems, he continued, “There’s one problem that rises above every problem.” That problem is lostness. “We’ve come together because we know there’s a solution to that problem. That solution is the gospel.”
Steadfast missionary presence among the nations is the means to solving the world’s greatest problem, Chitwood noted. He expressed gratitude to the missionaries being sent out during the Sending Celebration.
He then posed a question to those attending and listening online: “What gifts, what skills of yours might God be calling you to use among the nations?”
He encouraged those who feel the call of God to follow up with the IMB.
Struck by their kindness, broken by their lostness
Bryan and Whitney Jackson felt the call to missions as a couple while doing student ministry in Kentucky.
They’d been involved in short-term trips their whole adult lives. Whitney served for a time as a missionary with the IMB while she was single. She fell in love with the people of East Asia.
When a local church asked Bryan and Whitney to share about missions during VBS, they were more than willing to do so. As they taught kids about missionaries, “the Lord really impressed upon my heart that this is what we should be doing together overseas,” Bryan shared.
Bryan shared with Whitney on their drive home. “Instead of talking about it, we should be carrying this out together to the nations.”
The couple immediately said “yes” to God. Through a series of opened and shut doors, the Lord led them to Japan.
Bryan’s calling to the Japanese was further confirmed when he joined Whitney who taught ESL (English as a Second Language) to a Japanese family in a Starbucks.
He recounted: “I walked into Starbucks to meet the family, and the mother greeted me. She was so polite and so kind to me. I’d never been treated with that much hospitality and respect before. When I went back to the car, I was moved. This woman who was so sweet and so kind doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ. No matter how nice she is, that’s not enough. She needs the gospel; her people need the gospel.”
The Jacksons have served a four-year term with the IMB and will be returning as career missionaries to Japan to share the gospel. They are sent by Post Oak Baptist Church in Kentucky.
The next IMB Sending Celebration will be Nov. 13 in conjunction with the Georgia Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Augusta, Georgia.