Laying the groundwork for Missourians to minister to the war-torn nation
By Allen Palmeri
September 9, 2003
JEFFERSON CITY – Donald EKG (not his real name) is all about prayer. He has to be, because prayer right now is his very life—and safety.
Such is the mentality of an International Mission Board (IMB) missionary who is preparing to move his family, consisting of his wife and three boys, from their old home in Cyprus to their new home in Baghdad.
"We believe prayer has to come first, come in the middle, come last," he said. "It has to bathe everything we do. We need to pray intelligently and as specifically as possible."
Pray for good relationships among the team of IMB missionaries that God is assembling in Iraq, Donald EKG said. There may be as many as 15 in the country by the end of the year. His job is to be operations coordinator for the entire Iraq task force, he said.
Also pray that food containers make it out of port and into Iraq. For teams of Missouri Baptists who hope to distribute that food, pray for the Baghdad Airport to re-open. That would give our people more time to actually distribute the food and build more relationships, he said.
Iraq is open to the Gospel, Donald EKG said, but the fragile form of military transitional government right now is struggling to maintain order. "Right now it’s a lawless land," he said, mentioning that most of the lawlessness is recurring Iraqi-on-Iraqi crime.
The increased security risk led to a difficult decision on Aug. 27 to postpone all mission trips to Iraq. Roy Spannagel, associate executive director for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), said the revised plan is to send 10-15 team leaders to Iraq from December 11-19 so they can return to America and lead their teams in the first three months of 2004.
By that time Donald EKG will be on the ground in Iraq, eager to help in whatever way he can. He came to Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City, on his 33rd birthday (Aug. 28) to speak from his heart about reaching the nations with the Gospel. Iraq, he explained, is the heart and soul of the Arab world and thereby the key nation through which all Muslims can be reached.
"This is a chink in the armor of Islam," he said. "There’s a break. There’s a breach. There’s a hole."
Missouri Baptists can help Donald EKG by praying that he, and the Missouri Baptist teams that plan on coming, will be light and life. E-mail JoAnn at firstname.lastname@example.org to join the official prayer network, he said. The pulse of the Iraqi outreach will be at your fingertips five days a week.
"It’s powerful, strategic, purposeful and it’s open," Donald EKG said. "That’s our primary piece of our prayer strategy right now."
Spannagel ended the meeting by calling on Missouri Baptists to lay hands on Donald EKG for the purpose of sending him out of the room as a Spirit-filled warrior for souls. Steve Smith, leader of the team that was to have left for Iraq on Aug. 28, led them all in prayer for the IMB missionary.
"There’s power in prayer," Donald EKG said.