This coming Sunday, December 9, Robert Fortenberry, one of our missionaries, will speak to us about how the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering directly affects the work of our many missionaries. He can speak first hand about the significance of the offering. Pray and ask the Lord what you should give this year.
This Sunday you should receive a copy of the Prayer Guide for the 2018 Week of Prayer for International Missions. Our missionaries will tell you that this time of prayer is vital to their work. Use your guide and pray daily for the Truth about Jesus to be shared effectively in every nation, to every people group, every day.
You all know that the month of December is the time we emphasize the work of our missionaries overseas and receive the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering supporting them. I read recently that about 50% of the support for our missionaries comes from this offering. When you give, you are part of reaching every nation with the gospel. And those gifts transform lives, from missionaries on the field to the people they are called to serve.
What your offering accomplishes…
At present, Southern Baptists are touching 896 people groups but there are about 3,000 that are untouched. Last year 108,714 new believers came to Christ; 14,817 pastors were trained; 12,005 new churches were planted.
The IMB sustains 3,551 (May 2018) missionaries and commissions about 300 new missionaries each year. New missionaries must be trained and attend language school in order to be able to communicate the gospel and learn to understand other cultures. Their children must attend local schools or be homeschooled. Security training equips them to serve in some of the most dangerous places in the world.
Your missionaries are involved with providing Bibles to the many who do not have one. There are 180 million people without any access to scripture in their language and another 1.5 billion who do not have a full Bible. They are engaged in learning sign language to communicate the gospel with the Deaf. New creative ways including Christian films, movies, internet are also used by your missionaries to share the gospel. In addition they are training national converts to make disciples through evangelism, discipleship and planting new churches in their homes. They can go where outside missionaries cannot. They are feeding the hungry by digging wells, planting gardens, setting up greenhouses. Some are medical missionaries and work in local hospitals and in small communities where there is no medical facility. They are providing mercy ministries in countries flooded with refugees by providing meals, warm blankets, hygiene kits. They are teaching sewing as a trade to provide an escape from a life of exploitation. I’m sure there are other means of sharing the gospel, i.e., teaching English as a second language (ESL).
WOW! Did you know all that? In each case, the missionaries carry the gospel message in word and deed. They need our prayers and they need our financial support.
If the LMCO provides about 50% of the support for overseas missionaries, where does the rest of the mission support come from? When you give your tithes and offerings each week, a percentage goes to the International Mission Board. Joined with other SBC churches all over the world, this is the other half of the annual support that our missionaries receive.
Cooperative Program Giving - a wonderful Southern Baptist idea that serves our Lord well.
Hats off to Terry Watts and the entire music ministry of Alta Woods for an excellent Christmas Musical Celebration. Great job, ALL