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The Fruits of Giving

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   Below are excerpts from the IMB organization concerning our 2015 Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Our leadership in the IMB had to make some radical and difficult choices as did their employees and missionaries. But we have come through those initial trying times and are now declaring a witness that is more honoring of our LORD.

     On behalf of my family, I am grateful to be part of an organization that cares deeply about keeping their house in order so that more people can be reached for Christ. Because our churches gave, our missionaries are able to stay on the field and make Christ known to those who have no way of hearing about Jesus plus train them to take this Good News to their own people.

Finalized in early June, the 2015 Lottie Moon offering totaled $165.8 million — the highest total in the 127-year history of the offering. The offering surpassed the previous all-time record of $154 million in 2013 by $11.8 million. The 2014 Lottie Moon offering totaled just over $153 million.

“Southern Baptists have exhibited their commitment to God’s mission through these gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering,” said IMB President David Platt. “Especially after a year in which we have walked through many challenges together, the support Southern Baptists have shown through this offering will not only sustain but also encourage the thousands of missionaries sent from Southern Baptist churches who are spreading the gospel right now. As an IMB family, on behalf of unreached people around the world, we are deeply grateful for the generosity of Southern Baptists who have given for God’s glory among the nations.”   

Full-time missionaries are essential as leaders who continue to be the key strategic workers in some of the most difficult places on earth. More than 3,600 IMB missionaries depend on the Lottie Moon offering and regular missions giving by churches through the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program for missionary salaries, housing, medical care, children’s education, field transportation and other expenses. Supporting one fully funded missionary overseas costs an average of $141 per day, or about $51,000 per year.

The Lottie Moon offering enables missionaries to make a difference.

Consider the refugee crisis in Northern Africa and the Middle East. It’s hard to imagine anything but a continued descending darkness closing in on Syrian and Iraqi refugees. While images and reports of cruelty and pure evil continue to shadow refugees — numbering in the millions — from any light of hope, there is hope in the good news of Jesus Christ.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY, HERE’S THE LINK:

http://imb.org/updates/storyview-4516.aspx#.V1mFp4Rb-FI

Good news for 2017!

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   With all the resetting going on in our mission organization of late, I confess some concern as to  how the organizational reset plans were going to work out.  I was concerned as to how it would affect those, who I have become friends with through my son, who opted to take the volunteer retirement option and how their retirement would affect those continuing to serve. 

   I have been keeping up with my friends who have returned home and are busy resetting their lives here in the United States after serving on the mission field for several years, and I am encouraged by their reports. Thanks to technology, my own missionaries can stay in contact with these seasoned missionaries via long distance to benefit from the wisdom they have gleaned over the years on the field. 

  Therefore, I am grateful to pass along to you this updated report from the IMB concerning the organizational reset process.

Thanks to Southern Baptists, IMB in ‘much healthier financial position’

RICHMOND, Va.—The International Mission Board expects to operate a balanced budget for 2017 due to its 2015-16 organizational reset processes and the generosity of Southern Baptists who have given sacrificially, IMB President David Platt told the organization’s board of trustees during its February 22-24 meeting in Richmond, Virginia.

“IMB is now in a much healthier financial position,” Platt said. “Due to increased giving from Southern Baptist churches, Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering giving are trending upward.”

Click on the following link for more details:

http://imb.org/updates/storyview-4471.aspx#.VuG454Rb_FI

A Poem dedicated to retiring missionaries!

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In an open letter to Southern Baptist on 9/4/2015, David Platt, IMB President, made the following statement:

By now many of you may have heard that last week, IMB announced a plan to reduce the total number of our personnel (both here and overseas) by 600-800 people over the next six months…

   Some of the missionaries I have been honored to meet and now think of as friends during my travels to work in a bush camp with my son, have been directly affected by this drastic plan mentioned in the above letter.

   But I do not hear or read words of despair from these who have chosen early retirement. On the contrary, their words are awash with hope and trust in the God they have faithfully served through the years. I look forward to watching how Jeremiah 29:11 unfolds for them.

   My son wrote a poem that encapsulates the essence of what these unexpected retiring missionaries must be feeling about now. As you pray for them, for although their hope and trust will be their most formidable weapon against the fiery darts Satan will select for them, we need to dig deep into our pockets and hearts for ways that we can increase our support for them so that the Good News lacks no voice to proclaim it.

 

a Vintage Faith and Worn Out Clothes

 

Like young bulls eager to be in the throes,

they did not care, and they didn’t know

where they would live or where they would go.

Only a lamp unto their feet the path to show.

So, they took a vocation not a vacation,

to make disciples of every nation.

Bones burning with one proclamation

One vision, one Man–this Christ sensation!

And thus they left fools to the professors,

as they confused all their confessors;

Some were discouragers and others were blessers,

Sent out and away to cry forgiveness to transgressors!

Knowing The Way’s a hard road to travel

with smells of death, dying, and battle,

still they stayed for decades!

Hundreds of visas through Gospel blockades,

over years, weeks, thousands of days.

Now, youth to age and in the gray,

they ask should we go or should we stay?

Where should we, this grace debt pay?

My God come quickly, your children are turning

to the TV while America’s burning.

A melting flesh pot long since churning,

the wages of sin many years earning.

Then I raised my eyes unto the hills,

and into the wound the God that heals

His own bride from the world He steals,

from selfish pride and mortgage bills.

With a vintage faith and worn out clothes,

passion, and sacrifice their life does show,

our 6 to 800 go back into the throes.

These older and stronger mission heroes

for what is coming, you may not know.

They preach like warriors and pray like poets

We never even asked permission,

but now America has become the IMB’s number one field of mission!

How the economic downturn is affecting our missionaries, and how we can pray for them.

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During my time in the African bush, I met a wonderful missionary couple. I have asked them if I could share their concerns over the recent economic crisis concerning our missionaries and they gave their consent! Please read an excerpt from their newsletter regarding this subject, paying special attention to the prayer requests listed at the end.
The Financial Crisis at the IMB
The economic downturn of the last few years obviously hit the IMB very hard. You have likely read the news of the severe moves that the IMB is having to make in order to keep as many of our missionaries on the field as possible. This comes at a time of unprecedented access to the most difficult and hard-to-reach peoples of the earth. Voluntary Retirement Incentives are being offered to those who are over 50 years old and have at least five years of IMB experience. As we heard Dr. Platt and other top leaders announce this to missionaries and staff, you could hear the catch in their voices. (In case you’ve not read it, here’s the link to the open letter from Dr. Platt to Southern Baptists: Dr. Platt’s letter) Asking for our most experienced, well-connected, and culturally adapted personnel to voluntarily retire is certainly not the “A Plan,” but it was clear to us that our leadership has considered alternatives and believes this drastic move to be necessary at this time.
The Exciting Future of the IMB
This decision DOES NOT in any way dampen the vision for creating opportunities of service and pathways for 100,000 new overseas missionaries! We have worked with some of the “newer” missionaries and have met some of those who have been appointed recently. Their commitment to Christ, and their zeal to share the Gospel and the Word of God to the Unreached is so challenging! We are excited to know that our own gifts to the CP through our local church and those given directly to the LMCO are being used to support these men and women who are joining our experienced field personnel! As IMB missionaries, we are indeed “faith missionaries,” trusting God to provide through Southern Baptists who will passionately support IMB missions now and in the future! We are convinced that the best years of the IMB are ahead!
What now?
-Please consider today to be a strategic time to give to the IMB! Your timely gifts will be appreciated more now than ever before!
-Please pray for the IMB leadership as they seek to obey the Lord as well as meet the expectations of Southern Baptists by keeping our missionaries on the field.
-Please pray for all the IMB missionaries who are seeking God’s will in their decision about their future employment.
-Please pray specifically for us, as we strive to discern God’s best for us at this time. The reduction plan means that 1 out of 6 employees must find employment elsewhere. What does God want us to do? Jesus’ parable in Luke 19:6-10 reminds us that we are the Lord’s unworthy slaves and our desire is to be obedient to our Master. We rest knowing that His plans for us are always for His glory and our best!
-Please pray for us following Epaphras’ example in Colossians 4:12: that we would stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. We can’t wait to see what HE does next!

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