ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–The missionaries who will serve as the faces and voices for next year’s Week of Prayer for North American Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering were introduced to North American Mission Board staff members during a mid-October chapel service.
Representing NAMB’s 5,600-missionary force across North America, the Week of Prayer missionaries for 2010 are:
— Jim and Myrtle Ballard of Blackfoot, Idaho, who focus on planting cowboy churches for the Eastern Idaho Baptist Association.
— Mike and Vicki McQuitty of Syracuse, N.Y., who work in collegiate evangelism at Syracuse University.
–Vivian and James McCaughan of Saint Charles, Mo., who specialize in multi-housing and community ministries, working with Woman’s Missionary Union and the Missouri Baptist Convention.
— Craig and Suzy Miles of Duluth, Ga., Mission Service Corps missionaries for NAMB, ministering to hikers on the Appalachian Trail.
— Bill and Carol Lighty of Colorado Springs, Colo., involved in associational missions for the Pikes Peak Baptist Association.
— Michael and Marla Allen of Chicago, where Michael pastors Uptown Baptist Church.
— Luis and Lourdes Rodriguez of Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico, involved in Hispanic church planting.
— Louis Spears of Mesa, Ariz., a church planter for the Valley Rim Baptist Association.
Only the Mileses, who had just celebrated the birth of their second child, and McQuitty, who was traveling out of the country, were unable to attend the chapel service at NAMB’s offices in Alpharetta, Ga.
In introducing the Week of Prayer missionaries, NAMB communications team leader Mike Ebert compared the annual Week of Prayer observance to an alarm clock that “goes off each year to remind our churches that they’re living in a mission field in North America.”
“It reminds us that there are parts of the mission field and lostness in North America that a church alone will not be able to touch,” Ebert said. “That’s why we — all 45,000 SBC churches — need to come together to reach people for Christ. We couldn’t do it without these missionaries and NAMB.”
Ebert said NAMB chooses eight of the “best of the best” every year who are making a difference for Christ where they live and minister to serve as Week of Prayer missionaries. The 2010 Week of Prayer for North American Missions is slated for March 7-14. The Annie Armstrong Offering’s goal for 2010 will be $70 million.
“It’s hard to believe that a dirt-road country boy from southern Colorado would be standing here today in Atlanta thanking you for the opportunity to be a Week of Prayer missionary,” Ballard said. “The most exciting thing about it is that we’ll have more people praying for us than we’ve ever had before.”
Calling his selection an honor, Chicago’s Allen said, “It also means a lot of people will be praying for us, and that’s important to us because of the spiritual warfare we face. Plus, it will be exciting to have people partnering with us, wanting to join us in the mission field of Chicago.”
Through a translator, Puerto Rico’s Luis Rodriguez said he was surprised to be selected. “I feel quite emotional about it,” he said. “It will be a huge blessing back home when people find out what’s happening and how we’re being spotlighted.”
Wanda Lee, executive director of Woman’s Missionary Union in Birmingham, Ala., recounted to the 250 NAMB staffers at the Oct. 15 chapel service some of the history behind WMU, Annie Armstrong and the annual offering named for her in 1934.
“The Week of Prayer offering was born in a spirit of self-denial by Southern Baptist women,” Lee said. “For 121 years, we’ve partnered together in missions. Praying, giving and stewardship are intricately woven together. Our goal is the same as in 1888 — to stir up the missionary spirit among Southern Baptists.” But, Lee noted, “the need is greater today than in 1888.”
Mickey Noah is a writer for the North American Mission Board.