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Worldwide missions persists amid pandemic

A small group of believers gather together for worship in East Asia.

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) – The International Mission Board (IMB) started off 2020 with a historic announcement: the joining of Southern Baptists’ national and international compassions ministries under one umbrella: Send Relief.

Weeks later, the need for such ministries would skyrocket with the arrival of the novel coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic was a worldwide event, and missions personnel scrambled to continue their work amid tight restrictions in many places. Some baptized in bathtubs. Some engaged neighbors in a new way.

The IMB organized a task force to address the impact of the coronavirus on missionaries as well as churches planning trips. The task force would later recommend postponing travel. The IMB pulled many missionaries home to the U.S.; at year’s end, many still remained stateside, though plans to return to the field were underway.

An initial shortfall of $4 million led to spending cuts and a hiring freeze at the International Mission Board. In September IMB trustees ultimately approved a 2020-21 budget at 4.5% less than 2019-20.

To see the IMB’s year in review, click here.

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