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Missionary to Uganda urges obedience, `Christlikeness’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)-The best place in life for a Christian is not necessarily the safest nor most comfortable, according to a Southern Baptist missionary to Uganda.
Mark Pierce, missionary doctor with the International Mission Board in the east African nation, told employees in chapel at the SBC Building March 6, Christians often pray to be in the center of God’s will. However, he said, one must realize that the center of God’s will is not necessarily the safest nor physically the most comfortable.
Pierce and his wife, Elaine, are participating in a missions conference in Franklin, Tenn. The former director of research in infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Hospital was invited to speak to the monthly chapel of SBC employees.
Using Ephesians 4:1, Pierce challenged the employees with two keys in being “worthy … of your call.”
Obedience and `Christlikeness’ are most important, Pierce said.
Growing up in Illinois as the son of a Baptist preacher, Pierce said he knew the call to the Christian life was not a “trivial thing.” But after getting married, then with a family while working in AIDS research at Vanderbilt, Pierce said there was a comfort zone. But obedience to his call to medical missions was prioritized when he went on a short-term missionary project to Uganda in 1992.
Later at a marriage retreat at Ridgecrest (N.C.) Baptist Conference Center, Pierce said the conference leader, Henry Blackaby, helped him realize the importance of his call to medical missions. One year later, the Pierces were in Kampala, Uganda.
In Uganda, Pierce has worked in difficult, poverty-stricken areas and once faced a devastating cholera epidemic while at the hospital in Kampala where he teaches and practices medicine.
Citing Romans 8:29, Pierce called Christians to be “conformed to his likeness.” As a physician, Pierce said he is aware he can be a help in healing physical problems but always in “Christ’s name.”
Our purpose is not so much to find where God wants us, or to find to what he has called us, but to be like Jesus Christ wherever we are and at whatever we are doing, Pierce told the employees.

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  • Herb Hollinger