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Vivian McCaughan dies of cancer

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (BP)–Vivian McCaughan, who was featured in this year’s Week of Prayer for North American Missions and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering emphasis, died April 18 at her home in Missouri after a long battle with cancer. She was 62.

McCaughan “had a missionary heart from an early age and lived that out every day in the lives of those she encountered,” said Richard Harris, interim president of the North American Mission Board. “Our hearts are heavy when we think of the ministry and encouragement that will no longer take place now that Vivian is absent from this world.

“We also share in the grief her husband Jim is walking through right now, as his companion and best friend is no longer by his side,” Harris said. “But we also celebrate with Vivian as she now knows the physical embrace of the Lord and Savior she so loved — the one to whom she dedicated her life’s work so that others could one day know that embrace as well.”

McCaughan, who sensed a call to missions at age 13, is the daughter of a former Missouri Baptist Convention staff member, the late Billy Hargrove.

She served as a missionary journeyman in Ghana from 1969-70. She attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where she graduated before returning as a career missionary to Ghana, where she served until the end of 1977.

McCaughan began her state missionary work in 1988. In Missouri, she joked about how hard it was to keep up with the numerous titles she held in her 22-year tenure, but MBC Executive Director David Tolliver said she managed to do it all with diligence, wisdom and passion.

As leader of the MBC missions & evangelism team, McCaughan’s most recent assignments included ministering to those living in multihousing as well as to the hungry and to women. “It is taking five people to replace her,” Tolliver said. “We will go forward, but we will sorely miss one of the most effective members of our team.”

When called upon to strengthen the convention’s ties to historic missions education work, McCaughan worked closely with then-Missouri Woman’s Missionary Union President Lorraine Powers from 2004-09 as more conservative leadership took control of the MBC. She is credited with playing a significant role in restoring the relationship between the two organizations.

“She is irreplaceable,” Powers said, noting that McCaughan, as a former elementary school teacher, included an emphasis on children’s missions education as a key part of the missions enterprise.

McCaughan’s burden for multihousing ministry, which also started when she was teaching, included backyard Bible clubs in a trailer park in Holts Summit, Mo., where several of her students lived. She continued to lead the clubs for the 12 years she taught elementary school. With 37 percent of the state’s population living in multihousing, she carried a burden for reaching people where they were.

In 2007, McCaughan was diagnosed with ovarian cancer yet continued with her work. On April 15, just days before her death, Baptist Building staffers viewed a four-minute video of her life before MBC Associate Executive Director Jerry Field led in prayer.

McCaughan is survived by her husband Jim and three stepchildren.

Memorial services for McCaughan were held April 23 at Parker Road Baptist Church in Florissant, Mo., and April 24 at First Baptist Church in Jefferson City.

To view a video about Vivian McCaughan and to learn more about her ministry in Missouri, visit www.anniearmstrong.com/mccaughan.
Compiled by Allen Palmeri of The Pathway, newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention, and the communications staff of the North American Mission Board.

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