LEXINGTON, Ky. – Sixty-seven newly commissioned missionaries to the International Missions Board shared unique testimonies about their calls to the field, during the appointment service held at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, Nov. 11. Two additional missionaries remained anonymous, sitting among the crowd rather than on stage to protect their coming missions project.
John and Melanie Christerson, natives to Louisville Ky., recalled the stories they’ve heard and experiences they’ve shared that lead them to become missionaries.
John recalled "sharing the 'JESUS' film on a mountaintop with Filipinos. Preaching the Word, I saw a response from the Filipinos to trust Christ and it was at that time that I realized God's call for me to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth."
Melanie, who accepted Christ at the age of 11, was thankful to share the word of God to those in need.
"God used all of these in my life and burdened my heart for the nations to know Him," Melanie said.
Another missionary couple, Stan and Wendy Meador, plans to serve house churches in Brazil.
Stan said his call to missions “began on the pristine beaches of Belize, to church construction in Brazil and then to the persecuted church of Bulgaria,” where he served from 1993-1995.
Wendy said her call “began on the pink, sandy beaches in Bermuda, [then] to a small, tin-roofed shack church in Barbados to Hispanic migrant ministry in rural Kentucky."
"Now we go to plant house churches among the German Brazilians in South Brazil," Stan added.
Bryan and Deana Wolf, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary alumni, recalled how their 4-year old daughter, in 1999, figured her parents would become missionaries.
"As we have grown closer to Christ, He has given us the desire to reach others for Him," said Deana.
"November of 2002, God brought me to the realization that He had made me for such a time as this," Bryan said. "Our agricultural and my nutritional background have equipped
The IMB President, Jerry Rankin, commended the missionaries as the “champions of Southern Baptists.”
"They are the ones who have been willing to focus on that purpose -- to do whatever it takes to take the Gospel of Christ to a lost world," said Rankin.
"How impressive it is that these 67 are going in obedience to the command of our Lord to share the Gospel of Christ. They have a unique calling and sense of God's leadership to the places they are called to serve,” Rankin continued.
Citing Jesus' statement in Matthew 22:14 that "many are called, but few are chosen," he added, "It's obvious in the parable of the feast that those who were chosen are those who responded to the invitation."
Noting Isaiah's response to God's call, he said, "It was a generic call. He heard the voice of God saying, 'Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?' He heard it as a call to his life and his heart and he responded, 'Here am I, Lord; send me.'
"Why did Isaiah hear that heart cry of God when many of us have never heard that burden and cry of people who never knew that Jesus died for them?" Rankin asked. "He saw God in all of His holiness. He recognized the Lordship of God and that He had every right and claim on his life.
"We'll never hear that call of God until we see God in all of His exaltation and sovereignty and Lordship," Rankin emphasized. "God doesn't call the worthy, the adequate, the equipped. He equips the called ones."