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WEEK OF PRAYER: Calling realized through relationships

IMB missionary Roy Cooper presents at the missions conference hosted by Rose’s church. The conference focused on the IMB’s resource “8 Steps of the Missions Continuum: Building a Bridge from the Church to the Mission Field.” The resource is an interactive consultation that the IMB provides to sending churches and organizations to help them understand what Scripture says about the Great Commission, sending and sustaining their missionaries on the field, and how they can partner with IMB through the GMP initiative. IMB Photo

EDITOR’S NOTE: This year’s Week of Prayer for International Missions in the Southern Baptist Convention is Dec. 3-10. Each year’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions supplements Cooperative Program giving to support Southern Baptists international missionaries’ initiatives in sharing the Gospel. This year’s offering goal is $200 million. To find information and resources about the offering, go here.

Rose had a passion to reach a people group situated in the Horn of Africa. Accessing them was another question altogether. She knew she couldn’t do it alone.

Volunteers at the missions conference distribute the workbook for the IMB’s resource, “8 Steps of the Missions Continuum: Building a Bridge from the Church to the Mission Field.” Hal Cunnyngham and Amanda Dimperio Davis spent time with the church teaching them how to better support missionaries they send. Rose is one of them. IMB Photo

Rose is a member of a church in Mexico and a teacher by trade. As she grew in relationship with church leadership, they pointed her to the mission field. However, they couldn’t afford to send, equip and sustain her work as a missionary alone. They soon realized they didn’t have to be on their own. Her pastor recruited 15 other churches across Mexico and Panama and cast a vision for them to financially support Rose.

These Latin American churches are determined to see Africans come to know Christ. Recently, a small group from her church came to Africa to see how the Lord was working.

“My pastor told me to remember that when I’m on the field, I need to be focused on what I’m doing there,” Rose explained. “He said their work and ministry as a church is to share what the Lord is doing among nations through me, and how [God’s] calling the church to work together.”

On the other side of the world, Rose partnered with IMB workers Thomas and Lori Beth Bain’s team as a Global Missionary Partner. Before arriving, she worked on learning English; knowing if she wanted to partner with a team of Americans, she’d probably need to speak their language. Providentially, Thomas was fluent in Spanish. This helped Rose’s language studies greatly as she also had to learn the local language.

This bulletin board reminds the church to pray for their mission trip to Africa. This spring the church took their first international mission trip, where they saw firsthand what God is doing in Rose’s ministry. IMB Photo

Rose’s language lessons paid off, and missionaries describe her as a true asset to the team. This is a relationship that is advancing the Gospel in a hard-to-reach part of the world. Even though security issues have forced her to relocate with the IMB team multiple times, she’s remained laser-focused on reaching the diaspora of her people group. Her contributions to the team have been invaluable, the Bains said.

Rose’s Mexican passport allows her greater access to a hard-to-reach people than her American partners. The people she has been called to are farmers and tend livestock. They have no running water or electricity. Lately, their shepherds have replaced their staffs for rifles, as their land has been under attack.

Conflict and arid land aren’t the only hostile things among them. Their hearts are hostile to the Gospel. Those who do come to faith among them, Thomas likened “to the cactus where they produce fruit even in desert climates.”

Because of Rose’s relationship with church leaders, like her pastor, she was sent to the nations. Because of her church’s relationship with other churches, her work is being sustained. Because of the IMB’s relationship with this coalition of churches, Rose is connected to an IMB missionary team as a Global Missionary Partner. IMB Photo

Rose is dedicated to being out in the community, wherever she goes, making connections with these people God has laid on her heart.

Pray for ministry among Rose’s people group to flourish, even as they experience ongoing political conflict. Her passion is to see the lost come to saving faith.

Pray the coalition of Latin American churches grows in relationship with the IMB as believers reach the nations together.

Pray more of Rose’s family in Mexico come to faith as she pours her life out across the globe.

Some names may have been changed for security purposes.