April 22, 2003
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Baptist Convention’s Executive Board has given its blessing to a partnership agreement between the MBC and the International Mission Board’s post-war efforts in Iraq.
The Executive Board took the action at its April 15 meeting after hearing David Clippard, MBC executive director, share his vision to take the gospel to Iraqi people after fighting stops and the country stabilizes.
Clippard will fly to Richmond, Va., on May 1 to meet with IMB officials and work out strategies for a three to five-year commitment.
The board meeting featured a conference call from John Brady, the IMB regional leader serving the Middle East. Brady told the Missourians that the Lord has been at work doing things that have been a matter of prayer for years.
“We’re beginning to see open doors that, six months ago, we wondered would ever be a possibility,” Brady said.
“In the north (of Iraq) we’re beginning to have opportunites to talk to people who are gatekeepers. We’re poised and the doors are beginning to open. But it’s going to take a lot of creativity and people who are willing to move forward.”
The Pathway reported in its April 8 issue Missouri had made a request to go to Iraq and had been given preliminary approval.
Clippard asked the executive board how many had current passports. “If you don’t have one, you had better get ready to go,” the director added.
Brady said Iraq is a “very complex” nation with many different people groups. The preliminary plan to evangelize Iraq, he said, is to concentrate first on the north, which is mostly inhabited by Kurdish people.
“In the north we see unparalleled opportunities to do things,” Brady said.
“There has been a little bit of seed sowing since the first Gulf War, and we’re meeting many Kurds who are interested in the Gospel.
“There seems to be some convergence for the future. In the next three to five years, we believe the Lord can do some incredible things in the North.”
According to Brady, early visits by Missourians to Iraq will of a humanitarian nature.
“Initially, we’ll be giving them water,” he said. “During the first three months, we’ll arrange for compassion. We’ll be moving food, water and a variety of things. Ultimately, however, we want to give them living water.
“We will be developing a strong prayer and partnership basis, seeking the mind of God so we will know what He wants us to do.”
John Stack, an IMB missionary home on furlough from Iraq and living at a missionary house in St. Louis, attended the executive board meeting, as did Hermez Moshi, who is planting an Arabic-speaking Baptist church in St. Louis. Moshi was an Iraqi soldier during the Gulf War of 1991.
Moshi became a Christian after watching a Billy Graham Crusade telecast in Jordan.