Published March 21, 2013
LAS VEGAS (BP) — Amid a celebration with a South African flair rivaling a Las Vegas stage show, International Mission Board trustees appointed 62 men and women as overseas missionaries.
The Feb. 27 service at Hope Church in Las Vegas increased to 4,894 the number of IMB missionaries worldwide.
For Jessica Breckenridge*, God used the painful experiences of her mother’s death from cancer and her father’s subsequent suicide to help her understand the urgency to be God’s hands to those who are spiritually dying. Although her mother was a Christian, her father didn’t claim to follow Jesus. His death in particular made “heaven and hell very real,” Breckenridge said.
“I never want to waste this precious life that God has given me,” Breckenridge said. “I want people to experience the restoration and deliverance I have experienced in knowing God.”
Such experiences prepared these appointees for God’s special purpose of reaching the nations, said John Brady, IMB vice president of global strategy and, like several of those commissioned, a child of missionaries.
Brady recounted personal challenges as he struggled with the deaths of 14 colleagues who served among North African and Middle Eastern peoples between 2001 and 2004. While assassins targeted seven, others died from illnesses or accidents. In the months that followed, Brady questioned his role and purpose, finding hope in Jesus’ prayer in John 17.
However, simply understanding God’s purpose isn’t enough, Brady said. Facing the challenges of being God’s heart, hands and voice cross-culturally requires tenacity and faith.
“It may be hard. It may be long.... You will go through suffering,” Brady said. But, “there will be results” because Jesus has already paid the price.”
*Names changed. Tess Rivers is an International Mission Board writer.
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