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Church-planting father, son among 88 new NAMB missionaries

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (BP)–“How many missionaries do we have here today?” Edwin Lamb asked as he looked out over the crowd gathered at Mountain Park First Baptist Church.

Seated before him were 88 North American Mission Board missionaries and about 800 friends and members of the suburban Atlanta church.

As a few hands slowly began to rise, the deacon quickly responded, “That’s right, raise those hands. We are all missionaries, today and every day.”

Those comments as Lamb led the congregation in the opening prayer set the tone for NAMB’s Nov. 7 missionary commissioning service. As missionaries introduced themselves and gave a brief summary of their ministry, the point was subtly and repeatedly driven home -– God has called all believers to be on mission for Him wherever they live.

While an emotional ceremony for the missionaries and their families, the event was especially meaningful for Samuel and Rebecca Caballero of Colorado -– they were being commissioned along with their son and daughter-in-law, Fernando and Donna Caballero. While the older couple will serve in Denver in church planting among a variety of ethnic groups, the younger couple will be statewide missionaries for multiethnic church planting.

“Dad and I have always worked together since I was 13. That’s when he first asked me to play the guitar for one of the new churches he was starting,” Fernando Caballero said. “It’s a real joy to be serving with him and mom as missionaries in Colorado.”

In his testimony, Samuel Caballero explained how he and Rebecca would be working among the 39 ethnic groups in Denver. With more than 100 languages spoken in the city, the challenge would be daunting without the prayers of Southern Baptists around the world, he added.

Cabellero and his wife have started 18 churches in the past 31 years in Colorado and look forward to being used of God to start even more. But he emphasized the need for more laborers to be called alongside them in the harvest.

“We are praying for you to respond to the call of God on your life, just like we read in Luke 10. We need you to join us in the harvest on the mission field, wherever that might be. If God has placed a burden on your heart, respond today to His calling. You will never regret your decision.”

The dual commissioning was the first for NAMB, missionary mobilization team director Jane Bishop said.

NAMB President Robert E. (Bob) Reccord told the crowd that the world of 2004 is identical to the world when Christ walked the dusty streets of Israel. It’s a world caught up in its own pursuits and is in just as big of a need for a Savior.

But in comparing the two worlds, Reccord noted that with all of the decadence and self-absorption, in a matter of months the Christian church exploded from a handful of disciples to more than 50,000 believers.

“In Acts 11:19 we read about the church going to the uttermost parts of the world. I want you to know that those who went were those laypersons who were sitting in the pews, just like you are doing today,” he said.

Reccord then said the church encountered such phenomenal success because it was focused on its mission.

“I want to remind you that the church does not exist for those who sit in the pews; it exits for those who do not yet sit in the pews. It exists to reach those who have not yet been reached with the Good News.”

Southern Baptists’ newest missionaries will join more than 5,100 current NAMB missionaries who serve in every state, province and territory in the United States and Canada, supported by gifts through the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

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  • Joe Westbury