As I continue my year of so much travel, and as 2018 begins to draw to a close, I find myself pondering themes. What are some of the themes I have seen or experienced as I’ve traveled 16 countries across 5 continents? What are some of the common elements I can identify?
I’ll have much more to say about this in the future, but for today I want to tell about the one that continually that rises to the top: the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. It seems that everywhere I go I encounter the IMB. In fact, the farther afield I go, the more likely I am to find evidence of its commitment to foreign missions. It has gotten so that I practically expect that no matter where I go I’ll soon come face to face with a smiling American. And, if not that, I’ll hear of how the IMB has built a building or resourced a ministry or funded a conference.
I wish I could tell a few of the stories, but in most cases I’m not at liberty to do so. Though some people have moved to these nations as pastors or missionaries, far more have had to move there as “workers.” They have gained access to nations hostile to the gospel through businesses or other enterprises. They are there legitimately, but carry on their missionary endeavors quietly and secondarily. But their stories are being recorded in heaven and someday we will hear how God called these very normal, very faithful people to fulfill his great commission.
Though I am not Southern Baptist and know too little about the IMB, its commitment to the world and its presence in so many nations has been one of the themes of this worldwide journey. It has become a deep and lasting encouragement to me. I thank God for the IMB.