SOUTH ASIA (BP)–Frank Page went to southern Asia to minister to others, but he also was ministered to as International Mission Board missionaries extended their love to him, prayed over him and laughed with him.
Missionaries gathered around the newly elected Southern Baptist Convention president during a recent conference to pray for him, his family, his church and the convention that he now leads.
“Thank you,” Page said. “That is a moment I will never forget, for a lot of reasons.”
Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., was elected SBC president during the convention’s mid-June meeting in Greensboro, N.C., where he grew up, near the church where he accepted Jesus as Savior. The election was an experience he described as “really surreal.”
Within a few weeks of his election, Page and his wife, Dayle, flew to Asia to keep an engagement made several years earlier to minister to missionaries who serve in the IMB’s South Asia region, which encompasses India and six surrounding countries. Page led the spiritual emphasis, and his wife helped teach and care for the missionaries’ children.
“I needed this time away,” Page said on the last morning of the conference. “I needed this time with you, my brothers and sisters.”
His only regret, he said, was that he was unable to buy a sword at an auction the night before. Crafted in India and engraved with Hebrews 4:12, the sword was one of several items auctioned to raise money for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.
“I admit I have a slight competitive streak in me,” Page said. “My wife got me out before I mortgaged the house. I paid a hundred dollars for a teddy bear. I didn’t get the sword.”
Missionaries and volunteers bought all the items. A bag of marshmallows sold for $80, Velveeta cheese for $350 and more than one missionary handed over $400 for Dr. Pepper soft drinks. In all, the auction raised $23,043.25 for the Lottie Moon offering. The sword sold for $10,000, with several missionaries contributing to its purchase.
“The Word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword,” said David Garrison, South Asia regional leader as he drew the long sword from its leather sheath. “The word went around that someone needs this with him.
“Frank, this is for you, brother,” Garrison said as he presented the sword to the visiting SBC president. “That’s from the entire South Asia region, for Lottie Moon, to the glory of God.”
*Name changed for security reasons.