Published December 8, 2005
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (BP) — God has called missionaries to the nations to “declare they can be free in Jesus Christ,” International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin told 89 new Southern Baptist workers appointed Nov. 15, as well as the crowd assembled in the Von Braun Center in conjunction with the annual meeting of Alabama Baptist State Convention in Huntsville.
Among those being commissioned were Sonia and John Grady. The couple will be serving as apprentice missionaries in Peru for three years to complete John’s degree at Mid-America Seminary in Germantown, Tenn. After finishing on-the-field course requirements, the Gradys will be career missionaries.
“We’re thrilled to go,” said John Grady, a native of Villa Rica, where he grew up in Fullerville Baptist Church. “It’s exciting to be a part of what God is doing around he world.”
“God has used missions as a major part of our lives and relationship,” Sonia Grady said. In college, John felt called to missions on a volunteer trip; he and Sonia both felt the call on another trip; and on a third mission trip they were engaged.
John met his future wife, who was raised in Warner Robins, at the Baptist Student Union of the State University of West Georgia in Carrollton. In Peru they will be working under strategy coordinator missionaries to plant churches among the 2.3 million Aymara Indians, an unreached people group who reside at 13,000 feet in the Andes Mountains.
Against the background of a pounding storm and tornado watch, Tom Hatley, chairman of the IMB trustees, declared, “The storm we’re sending out today is more powerful. We’re sending out the next ‘front’ of God’s greatest missionaries who are going to be pushing back the edge of darkness and extending the Gospel. They’re going to take this world by storm – taking it away from the enemy and giving it to the Kingdom of our Lord.”
Rankin told the congregation that the 89 newly appointed missionaries come from 30 states, while six were born in foreign countries. They are businessmen and teachers, pastors, engineers, computer analysts, a farmer, accountant, building contractor and even a policeman.
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