Texas churches prepare 11 new IMB missionaries

RICHMOND, Va. The call to serve God came at a young age for Ethan Dupree*. He answered it through military service and fell in love with a people group while on deployment. Not long after leaving the military, this same people group popped into the Texan’s life again.

Ethan and his wife, Kris*, discovered that all around them were people from Central Asia. Friendships ensued along with a desire to see unbelievers read the Word of God for the first time.

“We were able to do life in the states and learn to love them and their culture,” Ethan said. “We were sent to Central Asia as journeymen in 2015 … we rejoice to be sent back.”

The Duprees, along with nine other Texans, took part in the IMB’s Sending Celebration Nov. 14, in Richmond, Virginia. The mission board honored 42 new missionaries. The 11 missionaries from Texas could not share their real identities due to security concerns in their appointed regions. For many in this group, the passion to take the gospel to the nations was fostered by their churches.

A local church opened the eyes of Rebecca Waters* to a world much bigger than Texas as a child in Girls in Action (GAs). An “Experiencing God” class taught her how to see God at work and pray boldly, all the while learning about the world of missionaries and people groups. Then, short-term mission trips with her church opened Waters to serving in a long-term capacity.

“Years ago my pastor challenged our church to dream about where God might be calling us,” Waters said about her sending church, High Point Fellowship. “I have been living that dream for the last 14 years in the bush of Africa in search of peoples and places who have no gospel.”

Rickie and Isabell Forrest* worked closely with their church, Grace Bible Church, to pursue a calling to missions. Isabell grew up overseas where the Lord burdened her heart for the nations. Her husband, Rickie, had a passion for “all peoples to hear” about the King of kings. The church prayed them through the process and will continue as the Forrests head to the North Africa and Middle Eastern peoples.

When Robert and Mary Fields* look back at their upbringing, it’s clear to them that all of their experiences led to serving South Asian peoples. In college, Mary met people from different nations and cultures. It was on a short-term mission trip with their church when Robert felt the same nudging for the nations. Their church, Calvary Baptist Church, McAllen, and a perspectives class, fostered this to fruition.

“I discovered that the heart of poverty is often spiritual,” said Robert, adding that spiritual redemption is always God-centered and transformative.

Watching this process firsthand is what moved Casey and Layne Tucker* to work among the people of Southeast Asia. It was through participating in refugee ministries with their church, Southcliff Baptist in Fort Worth, that God fostered a burden for the lost.

Jeffrey and Susan Cartwright* took a class at Rock Creek Baptist Church, Crowley, designed to expose people to God’s heart for the nations. The class ended with a short-term trip and the couple feeling that God had called them to full-time cross-cultural ministry to the people of South Asia.

“We praise God for our church that has equipped us to serve the nations through teaching, discipling and displaying for us biblical hospitality,” Jeffrey said.

For information on the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, visit imb.org/lmco

*name changed for security reasons

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