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Consider hardships a ‘privilege,’ McDonnall says to missionaries

TYLER, Texas (BP)–The hardships of missionary service can be discouraging, but worshiping God in a spiritually dark place is a privilege beyond compare, Iraq shooting survivor Carrie McDonall told 58 new missionaries July 12 in Tyler, Texas.

McDonnall, the lone survivor of a March 15 shooting that claimed the lives of her husband, David, and three other Southern Baptist workers, spoke during an International Mission Board appointment service at Green Acres Baptist Church.

“As I was preparing for tonight, I thought about what I could say to encourage you,” McDonnall said to her new co-workers. “One thing I knew was that I wanted to share a Scripture with you, a Scripture that David clung to and referred back to on those days when he needed encouragement.”

She quoted Psalm 108:3-5: “I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth” (NIV).

“One night, this verse sunk in as we worshiped on a rooftop in a village where there had not been a believer for centuries,” McDonnall recalled. “Many of you are going to find yourselves in places like that, where there are no believers or possibly never have been.

“Consider it a privilege that you may worship the one true living God in a place where there is only darkness.”


McDonnall warned the new missionaries not to be surprised when everything goes wrong and life gets hard.

“There are times when you will need to focus on the Lord’s faithfulness,” she said. “He is the one who is called ‘Faithful and True.’

“In those times when nothing seems to go right and all you can cling to is the call you have obeyed, remember this: God is faithful. That is His name. He will do what He put you there for.

“He will be exalted among the nations. The earth will be filled with His glory. Your work is not in vain, nor does it go unnoticed.

“In this world, you will have tribulation, but take courage. Jesus has overcome the world. Not will overcome. He has overcome this world.”


Overseas service can be extremely difficult, and many people don’t understand why missionaries go, said Gordon Fort, the board’s new vice president for overseas operations.

The truth, he said, is that the love of Christ compels missionaries to go — and compels them to stay when things get difficult.

“People will ask you why you are doing what you are doing,” Fort said. “The reason is that, deep in your heart, you are compelled by the love of Christ. There is something inside of us that says if we don’t go, those who have not heard will spend eternity separated from God.

“One of the things that keeps us on the mission field is that when God calls, we cannot help but obey,” Fort said. “We lay our lives on the line, in obedience to the call of God.

“Never forget to walk in that obedience every day you are on the field. It’s an unending quest. You might have a victory today, but the victories of today will not guarantee tomorrow’s battles. You have to fight them each day. Obey your master.”


Every Christian — even new missionaries — know they aren’t spiritual giants, Fort said. The only hope anyone has of being used by God is to “live a sacrificed life.”

“You know you’re not a spiritual giant. In fact, some of you are wondering, ‘How did I make it through this process?'” Fort said. “You know you are human beings like everyone else in this room.

“But if you will remember to live a crucified life every day, you will experience the power of God flowing through you. That is what will make the difference wherever you go.

“Do you want God to do something great with your life?” Fort asked. “Do you want God to use you for sake of His Kingdom?

“Then just spiritually see yourself climb up on an altar, there to be consumed by the fire of God’s Holy Spirit until He burns you to ashes. Then let Him take what is left and let Him mold you with His hands into an instrument He can use.”

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  • Mark Kelly