IMB commissions 26 new missionaries

ROCKVILLE, Va.—Asked to confront the lostness of the world, 26 new missionaries were approved by International Mission Board trustees Feb. 23 and commissioned later that evening at the International Learning Center outside of Richmond.

The event was broadcast via livestream, allowing friends, family members and churches a chance to hear the testimonies of the new group of missionaries. Only darkened profiles were shown in order to protect the security of Southern Baptist personnel who will be serving in dangerous destinations.

In making the recommendation as chairman of the Global Engagement Committee, Texas trustee Byron McWilliams of Odessa told board members meeting earlier that day, “The greatest power on the face of the earth is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are sending 26 heroes out into the world to confront the lostness.”

Of that number, seven are going to Central Asia, five to South Asia, 11 to North Africa and the Middle East, one to Europe and two to Sub-Saharan Africa. Five have ties to Texas by birth, education, or church membership, though only Josh Krause, a native of Abilene who will be involved in church planting in Poland, could be identified by name due to security concerns for the other four missionaries.

IMB President David Platt turned to Luke 9:57-62 to describe what it means to follow Jesus as he challenged new missionaries. “Apparently, the call to follow Christ is not simply a call to pray a prayer,” he said. “It’s a summons to lose your life.” Platt said the passage tells believers to love Jesus in a way “that makes our closest relationships in this world look like hate in comparison.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have found someone who is worth losing everything for,” he said. “Jesus is this good, this great, and this glorious that he is worthy of the surrender of our lives.

“Don’t doubt for a second in the valleys you walk through, the challenges you face, the questions and confusion you have, ‘How did I get here? Why is this happening?’ Don’t doubt for a second he loves you so much. He’s worthy of your total affection.”

Before closing the appointment service in prayer, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Danny Akin related a message from the president of Brazil’s mission board who asked him to thank Southern Baptists for their witness. “His great, great, great grandfather was led to Christ by a Southern Baptist,” Akin said, adding that the gospel was repeatedly shared with each generation that followed.

“Today there are more than 12,000 Baptist churches in Brazil with over 1,000 international Brazilian missionaries,” Akin said. “That’s because of our giving, our sacrifices, our sending, and your going.”

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