Southern Baptists Celebrate Sending 79 New Missionaries

The International Mission Board celebrated the appointment of 79 new missionaries in a virtual Sending Celebration streamed on Facebook and through the IMB: Advance the Kingdom app Wednesday (Nov. 18). The missionaries, who were previously approved by IMB trustees, come from 21 states and will serve in eight of IMB’s nine affinities.

The Sending Celebration was scheduled to be held in Alabama at the annual Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions meeting. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the celebration was held virtually.

The Alabama Singing Men and Women and the choir from Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., provided the pre-service music through a pre-recorded conference call. The Alabama Singing Men and Women performed “No More Night,” and Shades Mountain Baptist Church performed “Total Praise.”

IMB President Paul Chitwood expressed his thankfulness for Southern Baptists’ support for the IMB.

“We are excited that 79 new missionaries are being sent tonight,” Chitwood said. “Thanks to your generosity through praying and giving, we are able to send and sustain these missionaries.”

Rick Lance, executive director for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, prayed for the missionaries.

“The Great Commission is not on pause and is certainly not in quarantine,” Lance said.

“Our prayer is they will be encouraged by your Holy Spirit’s presence empowering them in their lives.”

Due to time constraints, 30 missionary testimonies were included in the Sending Celebration. Videos of all 79 missionaries, grouped by affinity of service, are available for viewing at imb.org/send.

As the missionaries move to their respective countries, they will join teams working to provide people the opportunity to hear the Good News. Every day, 154,937 people die without knowing Christ.

This staggering reality helped lead Robert and Elizabeth Bourne* to respond to the call to serve overseas. Robert traveled on a short-term trip where he met people who had never heard the name of Jesus.

“You hear that preached all the time, ‘people have never heard the name of Jesus,’” Elizabeth said. “But to have my husband tell me that he is walking with people, talking with people, who have never heard the name of Jesus, it really shook us.”

The Bournes will serve in Thailand on a team focused on medical missions. Robert, a pharmacist, will use his profession to offer physical healing and share the name of Jesus. The Bournes are being sent by Bethel Baptist Church in Norman, Okla.

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Source: Baptist Press