IMB's top pictures of 2011 reflect God's heart
What about His hands? What does His voice sound like?
Perhaps His heart looks a little like the expression of joy on the face of Shinichi Saito as he emerged from the baptismal waters last year in Japan.
Saito's beloved nation was seemingly crumbling all around him after the "triple disaster" of a killer earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency struck last March. Many thousands of Japanese were swept away by tsunami waves or killed as buildings collapsed across the northeast coastline. Multitudes were left homeless.
Yet Saito and his wife were adamant about being baptized. "If we didn't do it today, I don't know if I could be spiritually prepared in my heart for all that my work duties demand in the midst of this disaster," he said at the time. Southern Baptist missionary Mark Busby happily delayed leaving Tokyo during a post-tsunami evacuation so he could baptize the couple.
That's God's heart: filled with joy, filled with compassion and love, filled with urgency to reach those He loves.
Perhaps His hands look like the hands of a Southern Baptist worker gently touching an Asian slum dweller suffering from infected tattoos caused by dirty needles. Or the hands of a worker comforting a child ravaged by malnutrition in Central Asia.
Perhaps His voice -- or the choir of angels around Him, at least -- sounds a little like the voice of an Egyptian Christian woman worshipping amid the tumultuous political changes that gripped her land last year. Whether those changes bring more freedom or more persecution, she will continue to sing His praises.
Images of those moments in 2011 and many more were captured by International Mission Board photographers as they followed IMB workers and their ministry partners into the world. See them in a photo gallery at http://www.imb.org/main/news/details.asp?StoryID=10390&LanguageID=1709.
Written by the communications staff of the International Mission Board.