Missionary deaths call for new wave of prayer, obedience, Sprinkle says
EDITORS' NOTE: Following this report are links to short video excerpts from the interview with Randy Sprinkle, mission prayer strategist for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, regarding the death of missionary Bill Hyde. These links give churches access to an inspirational resource for worship services and Bible study.
RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--After the fourth violent death of a Southern Baptist worker in three months, mission prayer strategist Randy Sprinkle called on churches to "pray like we've never prayed before for those who hate us" -- and follow Jesus into the world to love them.
A terrorist bomb planted outside an airport terminal in Davao City, the Philippines, killed veteran missionary Bill Hyde, 59, and 20 others March 4. Three members of a missionary family Hyde was picking up also were injured. Hyde's death follows the Dec. 30 killing of three Southern Baptist hospital workers in Yemen by a Muslim extremist.
"The first recorded words [of Jesus] to the disciples are still the cornerstone words to every one of us today: 'Follow Me,'" said Sprinkle, director of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board's prayer strategy. "It's difficult for us to face the reality of this, but Bill was there because he had been obedient to those very words. Jesus said, 'Bill, you follow me,' and he said, 'I will.' And he's continued to follow for 25 years, reflecting and pouring out the love of Jesus for the Filipinos.
"[My] flesh weeps when suddenly in a violent moment that life is snuffed out. But the Spirit causes us to see through the tears that our dear brother Bill moved ... by the blood of Jesus into the glorious presence of his Savior."
Some of the last words of Jesus to his disciples before his arrest also still apply today, Sprinkle added.
"Jesus told the disciples in the upper room right before he left for Calvary: 'In this world you have tribulation....' It's not that we may, that we might, in some countries but not here. In this world as his followers we will have tribulation. But then he says, 'Take courage. I've overcome the world.'"
Those are words to live by, Sprinkle stressed, when terrorism, threats and violence against believers are increasing -- reflecting a rising intensity of "spiritual struggle of the forces of darkness" against the gospel as it spreads. The church must not retreat in the face of such darkness.
"What I want to see the church do is not shrink back, but stand up and be who we are, that those who do not know the love of God could hear it and see it," Sprinkle said. "What the Lord Jesus wants us to do as his church in this day is to pray -- like we've never prayed before -- for those who hate us and curse us and use us, and out of our praying to respond by obeying like never before."
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: PRAY & OBEY.
NOTE -- Each clip below is presented in three file sizes. For each clip, the larger the file, the better the quality of the video and audio.
Clip 1: "A life poured out in love for Jesus and for Filipinos."
Clip 2: "It causes my heart to ache, to cry, but it causes my spirit to soar."
Clip 3: "Our refusal to go and tell is telling the lost world to go to hell."
Clip 4: "In this world you have tribulation ... but take courage."
Clip 5: "Follow me."
Clip 6: "A Kingdom church"