Baltimore | Dozens of missionaries were commissioned this afternoon in Baltimore in a rare joint service held by the Southern Baptist International and North American Mission Boards.
The commissioning, part of the annual meeting of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), was the first combined service in at least 25 years, said National WMU Executive Director Wanda Lee. Leaders from state WMU chapters, including Illinois’ Jill McNicol, carried in flags and torches as a packed ballroom sang “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations.” Then, missionaries walked to the microphones and told why they’re going to Alaska, Canada, and to the ends of the earth.
Our lives were well-established, said one couple, but we’re “surrendering in faith becoming uncomfortable for His glory.”
“Why not retire? Just take it easy,” another couple recounted the advice they’d heard. The 69- and 71-year-old, who’ve served in several places around the world, are going again. “So, don’t let your age keep you from doing what God wants you to do.”
And don’t let your past hold you back either. A former inmate out of prison for almost 30 years told the audience how he’s making a difference for families of incarcerated people through “restorative re-entry ministry.”
After the missionaries shared, mission board presidents Tom Elliff and Kevin Ezell gave charges to them and to the churches committed to support them. Elliff shared the advice Paul gave in Colossians 4:17: “Pay attention to the ministry you have received in the Lord, so that you can accomplish it.”
Ezell told those gathered for the commissioning: “This is not the end but the beginning of your support.
“We must continue to give and pray and to support these who are going where very few people will go.”