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International Mission Study, Week of Prayer rolled together

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Southern Baptists are in store for a power-packed week in November.
The Week of Prayer for International Missions and the International Mission Study have combined forces. Traditionally, the annual events were observed separately. Starting this year, the two emphases will be combined into the week traditionally set aside for the Week of Prayer.
The idea to combine the two weeks into one seemed natural to both the International Mission Board and the Woman’s Missionary Union, said IMB Executive Vice President Don Kammerdiener.
“Most churches were only using one week for both of the emphases,” he said. “We decided to combine forces and offer a package that would be cost-effective and far-reaching.”
The joint decision came after many denominational calendars were already printed for the years 1999 and 2000. These calendars still show the annual events on separate weeks. The correct dates will be: Nov. 28-Dec. 5, 1999; Dec. 3-10, 2000; and Dec. 2-9, 2001.
Kammerdiener said the materials will be designed so churches can still schedule the International Mission Study separate from the Week of Prayer.
Also beginning this year, the traditional boxed mission study will be eliminated. Free resources for the mission study will be found in the November editions of “The Commission” magazine, “On Mission with God” videos and mobilization fliers. WMU and North American Mission Board age-level curriculum for November will support the study, and WMU has produced age-level studies and special church guides for the emphasis week.
The theme for the special week will be “The Unfinished Task: Loving the Lost.” The International Mission Study takes church members to areas of the world which represent different categories of “lostness.”
In many parts of the world, including Latin America, cultural Catholics use words and actions that sound Christian but which really are only cultural expressions without deep spiritual roots. A prime example of this occurs each year at Carnaval in Brazil and Mardi Gras in the United States. Those participating in this year’s mission study will see missionaries and Brazilian Christians sharing Christ during Carnaval celebrations. The study also will feature work among two people groups traditionally closed to Christian activity, Arab Muslims in Sudan and the Han of China.
The Week of Prayer Guide will continue the same theme. Church members will pray during the week for eight different people groups or population segments ranging from the Bengalis of India to secular atheists in Russia.
To order products for the International Mission Study, call the IMB Resource Center at 1-800-866-3621. To purchase WMU’s study guides, call WMU customer services at 1-800-968-7301. Prayer guides for Week of Prayer for International Missions will be available Sept. 1 from WMU.