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!