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Rankin: New journeymen born to finish Bold Mission Thrust

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–They were born in the mid-1970s around the time Southern Baptists launched Bold Mission Thrust — a set of goals and objectives designed to give every person in the world a chance to respond to the gospel by A.D. 2000.
On July 19, they were commissioned as missionary journeymen, 114 young adults whose two years of overseas service will stretch right up to the dawn of 2000.
As they stood in the sanctuary of Weatherford Memorial Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., someone had to ask: Does anyone think this is a coincidence?
“How many of you prayed for Bold Mission Thrust?” asked Tom Finken, who graduated from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary this year and will begin journeyman service in the Caribbean this fall. “Do you think it’s possible that the fact we’re the biggest group that’s ever gone out as journeymen is an answer to prayer?”
Since the Southern Baptist International Mission Board began its missionary journeyman program in 1965, 2,904 young adults have given two years’ service to overseas missions. The 167 sent out in 1998 exceeds even 1997’s record-breaking total of 132.
“It’s so exciting to think that you were born at the time you were born so you could go out and complete Bold Mission Thrust and touch the whole world with the gospel of Jesus Christ,” IMB President Jerry Rankin told the new journeymen. “Your youth, your energy, your enthusiasm all fit in with what God is seeking to do in touching a lost world.”
The new journeymen — all recent college or seminary graduates under 30 years old — will work alongside career missionaries in countries all over the world. This group will serve in widely varying roles: teachers and language students; nurses and speech pathologists; office and maintenance workers; computer specialists and administrative assistants; evangelists and church planters.
Though some might worry whether they are too young for the challenges of overseas service, their youth is the reason God is sending them to the ends of the earth, Rankin said.
“As much as 50 percent of the people in the countries you are going to are under 18,” he told the group. “They are intrigued with American life. They want to know English.
“Too many high school and college students have never considered using the phenomenal skill of just teaching English — even with a drawl — to take the gospel to people who are eager to know,” he said.
“It may be through adversity, but as you continue to yield to him and count it all joy, you will find yourself becoming a vessel that’s equipped to carry the light of the gospel to a world in darkness.”
To learn more about journeyman missionary service, call 1-800-789-GOYE (-4693).

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  • Mark Kelly