RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — This week, the International Mission Board’s Sub-Saharan Affinity has committed to pray for and encourage missionaries serving with the North American Mission Board in the week leading up to Easter Sunday and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.
Just as the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering supports IMB missionaries, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering supports North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionaries. One hundred percent of each offering supports Southern Baptist missionaries.
This Monday, Daren Davis, the IMB leader for Sub-Saharan Africa missionaries, introduced their weeklong emphasis in a weekly devotional. Davis urged the group to keep their focus during this season on a gracious God who desires for the message of the Gospel to penetrate thoughts and actions. Missionaries were encouraged to read Galatians 6:9: “So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up” (HSCB).
Using the chapter and verse number, personnel in Sub-Saharan Africa were challenged to pray for NAMB missionaries at 6:09 each day. Leadership also encouraged missionaries to reach out, by email or phone, to a NAMB missionary to pray for and support them in the days leading up to Easter.
Many missionaries in Africa already had connections with NAMB missionaries. Those who didn’t were directed to NAMB’s website to find contact information.
Andy Pettigrew, the affinity stateside associate for Sub-Saharan Africa, said as fellow church planters, they want to stand in support and solidarity with missionaries in North America.
“In times of great struggle, I can’t help but think about the scene in ‘Lord of the Rings’ when the beacon of Minas Tirith is lit. When they sound the cry for help, the others around Middle Earth answered,” Pettigrew said. “As co-laborers in other parts of the globe, we want to say that, as we labor for the furtherance of the church around Africa, we are with our fellow workers in North America as well.”
IMB President Paul Chitwood echoed the need and desire to stand together.
“I am beyond thrilled to see so many of our overseas missionaries, of their own initiative, giving to the Annie Armstrong Offering, especially this year,” Chitwood said. “Never has the need for the Gospel been greater in our nation and we are seeing evidence that [the coronavirus] is creating a new openness to the Gospel.”
Stories of how the COVID-19 pandemic is opening doors to the Gospel are emerging from around the globe. NAMB President Kevin Ezell said the Gospel is advancing in virus epicenters in the U.S.
“Every day I’m hearing about how our missionaries are serving their communities and bringing the hope of Jesus in times of such uncertainty,” Ezell said. “Many are at risk themselves because they serve in some of the virus hotspots like New York City and New Orleans. We are doing everything we can to support them and keep them on the field. …
“It’s so encouraging to hear about the prayers and support coming from brothers and sisters in Christ in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our Southern Baptist family is so incredibly faithful, and we are grateful for each one of them.”
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Source: Baptist Press