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North American missionaries selected for 2007 Week of Prayer

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–The North American Mission Board has announced the selection of missionaries to be featured during next spring’s Week of Prayer for the 2007 North American Missions Emphasis.

The 2007 theme, “Change Your World,” is based on Ephesians 2:10 to help renew Southern Baptists’ awareness of the need to support those who are sharing the Gospel on the North American mission field.

Eight NAMB missionaries or missionary couples are selected each year to represent the work of 5,300 missionaries across the United States and Canada. The work of the missionaries selected in 2007 includes starting new churches, leading community ministries, serving as associational missionaries, evangelizing cross-culturally and ministering in resort settings.

The 2007 Week of Prayer missionaries are:

— Bill and Arlene Barker of West Virginia, who coordinate mobilization of volunteers to the Appalachian region of the United States.

— Thira and Montira Siengsukon of Missouri, who direct the Lao School of Ministry. Thira’s ministry involves equipping Lao-culture pastors and church leaders, many of whom are first-generation Christians who lack biblical knowledge and background.

— Gary and Joyce Irby of Washington, who supervise Anglo church planting for the Seattle area. Gary assists in identifying church planters and locations for new church starts and helps train and encourage church planters.

— Diana and John Lewis of Arkansas, who serve in ministry evangelism. Diana assists churches in identifying and developing community ministries and also plans and implements statewide Mississippi River Ministry projects.

— Ken and Cindy Wilson of Michigan, who serve in associational missions. As associational missionary for Northland Baptist Association, Ken’s vision is to encourage and equip Baptists to make a Kingdom impact in Michigan.

— Leroy and Carolyn Fountain, formerly of Texas, who served in church planting. Though the Week of Prayer emphasis focuses on Leroy’s work in Texas, he recently has joined the staff of the North American Mission Board. In his previous role in Texas and now nationwide, Leroy helps identify, assess and train church planters and works to match them with sponsoring churches.

— Anatoliy and Natasha Odnoralov of Colorado, who serve in church planting. Anatoliy plants churches among Russian-speaking people in the Denver area and also uses English as a Second Language classes as a method of evangelism.

— Jeff and Thea Ford of Alabama, who direct resort ministries for the Baldwin Baptist Association. Jeff’s ministries include campground chaplaincy, worship services for RV parks, outreach to “snowbirds,” disaster relief, beach evangelism and coordinating summer missionaries and mission team volunteers.

To assist Southern Baptist churches, a free promotion packet emphasizing the “Change Your World” theme will be mailed to every church by mid-January. Week of Prayer missionaries are featured throughout the packet, in video segments on a DVD (VHS available on request), in a daily prayer guide and on missionary prayer cards available for purchase.

The North American Missions Emphasis includes three aspects:

— The annual Week of Prayer, March 4-11, 2007, when churches are asked to focus on praying for the eight missionaries and their areas of service.

— The North American Mission Study, designed to involve all age groups in a study of the Change Your World theme and spark a desire to make a difference in North America.

— The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, which supports more than 5,300 North American missionaries and their ministries. The 2007 goal is $57 million, 100 percent of which is used for missionary support.
More information about the Week of Prayer for North American Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is available at www.AnnieArmstrong.com. North American mission study materials (lesson plans and supportive material) will be added in January.

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