Do you know Carol?

Meredith Flynn —  March 10, 2014

Guinea_boats_blogHEARTLAND | Meredith Flynn

Mark Emerson had spent several hours on a boat off the coast of Guinea, looking for the Mbotini people group. It was getting late, and the group would eventually have to turn around. But Emerson had a good reason to find the Mbotini.

They were Carol Stewart’s people.

Before his trip in January, Emerson talked to Stewart about the people group she and her church adopted several years ago. Stewart, a member of Lincoln Avenue Baptist in Jacksonville, Ill., had visited Africa’s west coast. But still, it was surprising how many times
Emerson heard the question:

“Do you know Carol?”

From two missionaries and a local pastor, on the other side of the world. “This Illinois Baptist is known in Guinea because she went there in representation of her church,” Emerson said.

He’s hoping others will follow her example. The International Mission Board is calling congregations to be “engaging churches” who will adopt an unreached, unengaged people
group (UUPG) and send small teams several times a year.

Reaching unreached people groups will require a long-term investment. “This was my first mission trip I’d ever participated in that we didn’t win anyone to the Lord,” Emerson said of
his time in Guinea. Referencing William Carey, he said, “We forget that these hall of fame missionaries of the past spent years before they saw anyone come to the Lord.”

When he joined IBSA’s missions team, Emerson said he had a goal to get as many Illinois Baptists to the mission field as possible. Now, “I’m thinking we need to get the Gospel
where it’s not.”

Read more Africa stories in the newest issue of the Illinois Baptist newspaper, online here.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.