In a July 12 service at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas, International Mission Board trustees appointed 58 new missionaries for overseas service. The appointment service marked the first day of the three-day International Board meeting.
Carrie McDonall, the lone survivor of the March 15 shooting that claimed the lives of her husband, David, and three other Southern Baptist workers, told new missionaries and the attendants that the hardships of missionary service can be discouraging, but worshipping God in a spiritually dark place is a privilege.
"There are times when you will need to focus on the Lord's faithfulness," McDonnall said. "He is the one who is 'Faithful and True.'
"In those times when nothing seems to go right and all you can cling to is the call you have obeyed, remember this: God is faithful. That is His name. He will do what He put you there for.
"He will be exalted among the nations. The earth will be filled with His glory. Your work is not in vain, nor does it go unnoticed"
Gordon Fort, IMB's new vice president for overseas operations told the new missionaries that overseas service can be extremely difficult and many people don't understand why missionaries go.
"People will ask you why you are doing what you are doing," Fort said. "The reason is that, deep in your heart, you are compelled by the love of Christ. There is something inside of us that says if we don't go, those who have not heard will spend eternity separated from God.
"One of the things that keeps us on the mission field is that when God calls, we cannot help but obey." Fort added. "We lay our lives on the line, in obedience to the call of God.
"Never forget to walk in that obedience every day you are on the field. It's an unending quest. You might have a victory today, but the victories of today will not guarantee tomorrow's battles. You have to fight them each day. Obey your master."
Fort concluded by telling the new missionaries to "climb up on an altar, there to be consumed by the fire of God's Holy Spirit until He burns you to ashes. Then let Him take what is left and let Him mold you with His hands into an instrument He can use."
The next meeting of the IMB trustees will be in Richmond, Va., Sept. 13-15, 2004. According to the Baptist Press, new emeritus missionaries will be honored during the service.