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65 NAMB missionaries commissioned during South Carolina convention

COLUMBIA, S.C. (BP)–Sixty-five new North American Mission Board missionaries were appointed to serve in the United States and Canada during a commissioning service Nov. 14 at First Baptist Church, Columbia.

The appointment service was held in conjunction with the 180th annual session of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The event — which featured anthems by First Baptist’s choir and a flag processional led by Girls in Action, Acteens, Royal Ambassadors and Youth on Mission from across the state — was the first such service held during a meeting of the state convention.

“The commissioning service gave our people a chance to encourage these newly appointed missionaries, assure them of our prayers and financial support, and teach our people where their monies are going,” said B. Carlisle Driggers, SCBC executive director-treasurer.

Missionary appointees Amy Brady of Jackson, Tenn., and Omar Irby of Spokane, Wash., shared their testimonies with the crowd of about 1,500 South Carolina Baptist messengers, guests, missionaries and their families.

Describing herself as “passionate about seeing God’s people learn how to minister to the poor,” Brady said her own “pivotal moment” came during a mission trip to the inner city of her hometown.

“I was blown away by poverty, by the hurt, by the utter hopelessness I saw in the inner city,” she said. “I wanted to spend my life in some type of ministry to the poor.”

Brady, who now serves as director of church and community ministries for Madison, Chester and Crockett Baptist associations, told of her early disillusionment in finding a place of service, then said, “God has been so faithful to me and his purpose to bring me to a place where the vision he gave me can come to fruition. There is nothing else I’d rather do with my life.”

Irby, a former pastor for 28 years, told the crowd how God had prepared him for missionary service through the “valley” and the “mountain” years of his ministry. During the first 15 years, he served nine churches in four states. Frustrated, he left the ministry and became a handyman, before being called to a church where he has served the past 13 years. He led that congregation to increase Cooperative Program giving and triple in attendance.

“I’m grateful that when we give up on God, he does not give up on us,” Irby said.

The new missionaries join more than 3,260 career missionaries and about 1,760 long-term volunteers working across North America who are supported by Southern Baptists.

“When he called, you didn’t debate, but said, ‘I will go,'” NAMB President Robert E. Reccord said, addressing the new missionaries, “and we’re here tonight to celebrate God putting his hands on you and thrusting you into the harvest” of souls.
He charged the 65 appointees to always “be ready” to preach the Word and “be steady” through the times of trial they may face.

Calling the Bible an “owner’s manual” for believers, Reccord observed that an automobile owner’s manual is the least-read book in the world. “A car owner’s manual is written so that the vehicle will operate at optimum effectiveness and avoid major breakdowns. But when do you usually read a car owner’s manual?” he chuckled.

Reccord urged the missionaries and South Carolina Baptists, “Hide God’s Word in your heart” through studying and memorizing Scripture to avoid major breakdowns in life.

Asserting that “nowhere does God say that ministry will be easy,” Reccord encouraged the missionaries to find hope during their hardships by claiming God’s promise in Isaiah 43. “Don’t be afraid. I am your God,” he paraphrased. “When you walk through the flame, I will be with you … for I am your deliverer.”

At the conclusion of the commissioning service, many South Carolina Baptists responded by placing commitment cards on the platform steps, expressing a desire to be involved in short-term, volunteer missions projects or career missions service.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: NEW MISSIONARIES.

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  • Todd Deaton