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NAMB commissions 15 young adults for shelters, housing projects, schools

FALLS CREEK, Okla. (BP)–Wanted: Southern Baptists who will go anywhere and do anything to advance the cause of Christ throughout North America and Canada. Must be willing to commit two years to the task. Expect long workdays with little vacation. Should possess a servant’s heart and willingness to be treated like one.

For more than a dozen 20-somethings, the want ad above is more than a job description; it’s a calling from God.

A calling to serve in shelters for abused women and children and in low-income housing developments, minister to migrants and other internationals, evangelize metropolitan areas, and develop ministries on high school and college campuses and vacation resorts.

Thirteen women and two men were commissioned by the North American Mission Board July 17 as US/C-2 missionaries in a service held at Falls Creek Baptist Assembly, a campground of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

NAMB’s US/C-2 strategy is designed for college graduates, 30 years old or younger, who have been an active member of a Southern Baptist church for at least two years and sense God’s call on their lives to serve full-time in evangelism and church planting in the United States and Canada for two years. Currently, NAMB has 92 missionaries serving in US/C-2 assignments.

About 7,000 youth participating in a week of summer camp attended the outdoor service held under the campground’s sheltered “tabernacle,” making it the largest audience ever to witness a US/C-2 commissioning service.

Youth carrying flags representing all 50 states, U.S. territories and Canada led a processional through the tabernacle while a youth orchestra and choir led the audience in singing the sacred hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

“Fifteen tonight have said, ‘God, I’m ready to hear what you’ve said, heed your call and go wherever you send me,'” said Robert E. Reccord, president of NAMB and camp speaker for the week.

“When [God] calls you to be on mission, he calls you to do two things — to go and to give,” Reccord said.

For 25-year-old Tina Duncan, that meant working at an orphanage in India for four and a half months. Now, the former fund-raiser will serve as coordinator of international student ministries and women’s ministries in Cincinnati near Xavier University where there are nearly 1,500 international students from more than 40 countries.

Duncan, of Gloucester, Va., said when she first sensed God calling her to be a missionary she replied, “I’m not a Timothy, I’m a Tina. What can you do with me?

“I’m excited,” she added, “because God is making it part of my job description to tell people about Christ.”

David Hicks of Millbrook, Ala., said his life’s purpose took on a whole new direction when he realized that “trusting Christ is more than knowing where you’re going when you die.”

“For my everyday life, my walk with [God], for my life in missions, to my budget, to everything is in his hands and my security is in him alone,” Hicks said.

This summer, Hicks, 25, has been leading an evangelistic “Kids Club” at several hotels in Orlando, Fla., where families from around the world often stay for two or three weeks while vacationing.

At night he takes his fire-eating and juggling act to the streets to draw large crowds for a gospel presentation. He’s also responsible for coordinating follow-up efforts to disciple those who made professions of faith in Christ in June during the SBC annual meeting’s Crossover Orlando outreach. And in his spare time, he helps area churches organize creative arts teams aimed at communicating the love of Christ.

“It will be two years of constant movement,” Hicks said. “I still don’t quite know what all to expect, but that’s OK. I like it when God surprises me. He sure surprised me when he called me to lifetime service.”

Anthony Jordan, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, described the commissioning service as a dream come true for the 84-year-old camp.

“This is a dream that God put in our hearts,” Jordan said. “This is an incredible place where God is constantly calling out young people. I am just absolutely convinced that [these missionaries] are a part of a new wave of young people that God is amassing for mission service around the world.”

Before introducing the US/C-2 missionaries, Tye Cope, a NAMB-appointed church planter now serving in Richmond, Va., recounted how he accepted God’s call to give his life to missions 15 years ago while attending summer youth camp at Falls Creek.

Orphaned at age 4 in war-torn Vietnam, Cope said he later realized “God’s perfect and miraculous plan that he has for my life,” when he followed God’s call to be a missionary.

Reccord challenged youth to follow the example set by those being commissioned for full-time missionary service. “In a world that is desperately needing change, [God] is sending people like you to change the world,” he said.

Reccord exhorted the audience to grab hold of God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11 of “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It’s a promise, Reccord said, that has proven true in his life despite a tumultuous childhood that included an abusive alcoholic father and a mother who died of cancer.

“But God had a plan for my life,” Reccord said.

Like Moses who followed God’s call to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Reccord challenged the youth to “seek first the kingdom of God.”

“Because it changed [Moses’] life, it changed a nation, and because it changed a nation it’s still changing the world.”

Those commissioned for US/C-2 service were: Katie Alexander of Casper, Wy., Strategic Focus Cities assistant, Massachusetts; Brooke Andrew of Cincinnati, resort and campus ministry, eastern shore of Maryland and southern Delaware; Jennifer Blackwood of Texas, resort and community ministries with Intercoastal Ministries of the Waccamaw Baptist Association, South Carolina.; Jamie Clark of Stockbridge, Ga., staff at the Montgomery Village Baptist Center, Knoxville, Tenn.; Tina Duncan of Gloucester, Va., international student ministries and women’s ministries coordinator, Cincinnati; Britton Elliott of Camden, S.C., migrant ministries director, St. Clair Baptist Association, Ashville, Ala.; Jeri Entrekin of Alabama, associate director of church and community ministries, Trinity Baptist Church, Oklahoma City; David Hicks of Alabama, resort missionary, Orlando; Christal Horner of Hayward, Calif., evangelism specialist, California Baptist Convention, Fresno; Louann King of Brookhaven, Miss., coordinator for saturation evangelism and follow-up, Strategic Focus City Team, Las Vegas; Amy Ledden of Kentucky, mission projects coordinator, Brunswick, Ga.; Jenny McKissack of Tupelo, Miss., director of volunteers, “Hearts4Boston,” Strategic Focus Cities, Massachusetts; Jarred Parnell of Greenwood, Miss., director of the Gano Baptist Center, Houston; Lauren Tucker of North Carolina, resident staff at DaySpring Villa, Sand Springs, Okla., a ministry to abused women and children; Jennifer Watson of Anderson, S.C., resort ministries, Charleston, S.C.

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  • Lee Weeks