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68 new missionaries appointed to carry light into darkness

DEL CITY, Okla. (BP)–The vast majority of the world’s people live in spiritual darkness, but Jesus came as the light of the world — and gave believers a command to carry the light into darkness, a group of 68 new Southern Baptist missionaries were told during a Nov. 16 appointment service at First Southern Baptist Church in Del City, Okla.

Living without a knowledge of Jesus is like being in a windowless room when the electricity goes off, International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin told the new workers during the service, which was held in conjunction with the closing session of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s annual meeting.

“There’s pitch blackness around you. You grope for familiar surroundings, struggling to put your hand on a flashlight, desperate to bring light back into your world,” he said. “That describes the spiritual condition of most of the people in our world.

“As one new believer said, ‘When you are born in the dark and live your entire life in the dark, you don’t even know what light is.'”

As the new missionaries shared testimonies about how God called them to overseas service, several echoed Rankin’s message.

“An all-night festival for a Muslim saint was an opportunity to meet a young man who invited us to visit his family,” said one couple. “Walking the dirt roads of a completely Muslim village, knowing that no one there had ever heard the Gospel, our hearts were forever burdened to bring the truth to them.”

The Scripture helped one new missionary understand God’s desire for her to leave her circle of light and carry a candle into the darkness.

“Five years ago, I started seminary, and there God opened my heart to think beyond my comfort level,” she said. “Isaiah 49:6 taught me that I was thinking too small. God wanted me to be a light, to bring His salvation to the ends of the earth.”

God expects all His people to help carry the light, not just a select few with special qualities, said another couple.

“Twelve years ago … we were simultaneously called to missions at a conference,” they said. “It was there we first realized that missions is simply ordinary people doing ordinary things for an extraordinary God.

“Today, two children and a lot of perseverance later, we are the ordinary people, prepared to do ordinary things for our extraordinary God.”

Deep darkness may cover the peoples of the world, but the light has dawned on Christians in America, Rankin said, and God’s command is for them to “rise and shine” (Isaiah 60:1-3).

“Jesus didn’t come to be just our light,” Rankins said. “Jesus said He was the light of the world. But it was more than 2,000 years ago that the light came. Why does darkness still cover so much of the earth?”
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  • Mark Kelly