EDITOR'S NOTE: This year's Week of Prayer for International Missions, Nov. 30-Dec. 7, centers on the theme of "GO TELL the story of Jesus." The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, with a goal of $170 million, will support the ministry of more than 5,300 missionaries worldwide appointed by the International Mission Board.
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)--As a member of Girls in Action, her view of the world soared far beyond the community where she lived. She dreamed of one day serving God in North Africa. Years later, as a physician, she delivered not only physical healing but also spiritual healing by teaching people about God's love.
When he went to RA (Royal Ambassadors) camp, he met his first missionary and heard God's call to missions service. Now he lives in a place where to even tell of his presence might bring harm to his family.
When they decided on early retirement from their secular jobs, this couple knew God had a place for them to serve where their life skills could be used to help others come to faith in Christ. Working in South America with a people group in need of job training, they find it easy to share their work skills as they tell people about the carpenter who gave His life on the cross for them.
The one thing all these people have in common is that at some point in their lives, they became aware of the needs of people around the world to hear the message of Christ. They realized that God was calling them to use whatever gifts and skills they had to open doors for sharing their faith -- and they went.
That's why we focus so much attention on international missions through the International Missions Emphasis each December. It is often said that what people know about, they pray for more regularly. And what they pray for often becomes the impetus for giving of their resources. During this season of prayer and giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, we each have the privilege of supporting these missionaries and thousands of others by providing critical resources that enable them to live God's call.
When my husband and I were appointed as international missionaries, it was the direct result of trying to help our church know more and care more about the needs of the world. Through teaching in the missions organizations, committing to a full week of praying during the Week of Prayer and hosting the International Mission Study each year, our church became a stronger supporter of international missions. When we asked the church to pray that God would call someone to career missions from our church, they did just that. What they didn't count on was that Larry and I would be the ones God called. But what a testimony to the power of a praying church and to a church committed to impacting their world for Christ.
The testimonies I shared in the beginning of this article are from people who experienced positive missions learning and involvement opportunities through their churches as well. The schedule of activities and the budget allocations of our churches speak volumes about where our priorities lie. If we commit to teach children about missions, they will grow up with a broader worldview than their friends. If we set aside money for sending kids to RA/GA camps and plan missions experiences where church families will learn the importance of missions giving, our churches will become truly missional churches. As we enter this season of International Missions Emphasis, let's be the voice for missions learning, giving and going in our churches so the world may come to know the Jesus we celebrate at Christmas and always.
Wanda S. Lee is executive director/treasurer for Woman's Missionary Union. Gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to support Southern Baptists' global outreach can be made at www.imb.org/offering.