In an April 27 service at Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, International Mission board trustees appointed 76 new long-term missionaries for overseas service. The service marked the second day of the three-day International Board meeting.
IMB President Jerry Rankin told new missionaries and the attendants that "the world was not worthy" of the four IMB missionaries killed in Iraq almost six weeks earlier.
"That expression comes from Hebrews 11:38, toward the conclusion of that familiar chapter on the roll call of faith," Rankin said. Like the heroes of faith, the world was not worthy of Larry and Jean Elliott, David McDonnall and Karen Watson because their lives were focused on something beyond this life, something of eternal significance, Rankin said.
"Those of whom the world is not worthy are those who put the risks and dangers of following Christ into eternal perspective."
He challenged the new missionaries to imitate Abraham, who followed God even though he didn't know where he was going, to be like Moses, who rejected the comforts and riches of Egypt to identify with his people, and to emulate the heroes of faith who refused to shun suffering and death because they valued God's higher purpose even more than their own well-being.