Grizzled IMB missionary pleas for missions support
By Susan Mires
November 1, 2005
SPRINGFIELD– In nearly 40 years on the mission field, Wade Akins has traveled all over the world. Every person he has encountered, from Africa to Asia to America, faces the same issue: Is Jesus the Lord of their life?
“When we emphasize that Jesus is Lord, we’ll see revival in our cities, our nation and our world,” Akins told messengers at the Missouri Baptist Convention’s annual meeting at Second Baptist Church, Springfield.
During the missions emphasis earmarking the Oct. 25 evening session, Akins shared some of his experiences in a lively sermon. Before a person can be on mission with God, they must come to a point where Jesus is Lord, he said.
“But to get there – and I speak from personal experience – God has to use an experience we call brokenness,” he said. “And that ain’t fun.”
Akins’ first missionary assignment was in Vietnam during the war. Serving in Brazil for a number of years, he developed a pioneer evangelism strategy. But while on the mission field, Akin’s wife died. He has since remarried and he and his wife Barbara now travel year-round with the International Mission Board training church planters.
“We have no house, no apartment, no car; just a backpack and laptop,” Akins said. “We have eaten everything you can imagine. It has been a tremendous trip as we have been on five continents teaching nationals how to spread the Gospel.”
Using Luke 9:23, Akins urged the audience to deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Jesus. At the invitation, ministers and laymen were invited to fill out cards if they felt called to take a mission trip to one of the MBC partnership locations. In 2006, the convention is planning five trips to Romania, 10 trips to Turkey and one to Puerto Rico. Norm Howell, partnership missions specialist, said even more events may be planned, encouraging anyone interested in a trip to contact him.
But the first step, Akins said, is to begin telling “the Good News” where you are.
“You don’t have the right to go to Romania or Colorado or Turkey or anywhere else if you don’t do it here,” he said. “When God sees you working here, He will use you there.”
To be on mission, a person must deny themselves by willingly giving their rights, an issue most Americans have trouble with, Akins said. But in one hostile country, he met a house church leader who has been jailed 23 times.
Taking up the cross means coming to a place of death, Akins told the messengers.
“There are many times goin’ into a country, I do not know if I’m comin’ out,” he said.
Akins described a scene in the Philippines where 4,000 church planters came to a training conference he was leading. The Muslims in the area were so opposed to the spread of Christianity, the Philippine army posted armed guards around the campground to protect the people.
“Until you’re willing to say ‘Take my life,’ the Holy Spirit cannot really live and cannot fill you with His power,” Akins said.
A number of people responded to the invitation and came forward to pray and place response cards on the altar at the end of Akins’ sermon.