New missionaries join God's 'unstoppable mission'

HOUSTON (BP) -- The only interest David Kizziah had in church as a youth was the gym at Circlewood Baptist Church. He and his friends broke into the gym to play basketball several times before being caught. But the youth minister showed grace that Kizziah wasn't expecting. He offered Kizziah and his friends an open invitation to play basketball if they would come to church.

"This we did, and all of us found our hearts being convicted by the Holy Spirit of our need for a Savior," Kizziah recalled of those days at the church in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Mission trips and continued spiritual growth through college raised his awareness of unreached people groups.

"My missionary calling came primarily from being bombarded with the biblical fact that God is a missionary God," Kizziah said. He said he began to see clearly in Scripture God's desire to be worshipped by all nations.

"Those who have already tasted and seen the beauty of Christ must do all they can to either send others to those who still have not heard or go themselves," Kizziah said.

On Feb. 25 at Sagemont Church in Houston, David and his wife Katie, who met as youth on an International World Changers trip, were appointed as IMB missionaries. From the platform, the Kizziahs told the congregation, "We are David and Katie and our stories are now linked to the Author of the Great Story as we join Him in extending His Gospel to the peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa."

The Kizziahs, along with 23 other candidates who were appointed, heard IMB President David Platt's charge to emphasize the proclamation of the Gospel.

"That's exactly what these brothers and sisters are being sent out to do, to speak the Gospel all around the world," Platt said.

"It's what every one of us who has put our faith in Christ has the spirit in us to do -- to speak. We have the power of the Spirit of God that we might speak words that cause eternal change in people's hearts."

Of those appointed, nine had served previously with IMB as journeymen or through International Service Corps. The group also included a medical doctor, a veterinarian, a farmer, several business professionals and others already serving in ministry positions.

Speaking from the Book of Acts, Platt said he hoped to encourage the new missionaries, but was directing his comments to those in the congregation who believed they must be "super-Christians," like Peter and Paul, to be used by God.

Pointing out that the Gospel spread into Judea and Samaria through unnamed believers, Platt described the movement in Acts as "ordinary people with extraordinary power preaching, praying, giving and suffering for the spread of the Gospel to the ends of the earth."

Many of the missionaries were in tears as they each publicly stated their intentions to spread the Gospel to the unreached. The words were not always the same, but the message was clear: "We will go."

Platt assured them that people would be praying for them, especially in the moments of suffering, which would surely come.

"We're praying tonight for grace for you in that moment when that valley comes or when that hardship comes, or that tragedy comes -- that in those moments you will cling to Christ as your life," Platt said. "And it will be evident to the peoples around you that Christ is better than life itself."

"Our suffering may be inevitable, but brothers and sisters, mark it down, our mission is unstoppable."

Marie Curtis is an editor and writer for IMB.
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