McDonnall: We should put kingdom work above comfort
Missionary to Iraq recounts tragedy
By Allen Palmeri
November 9, 2004
RAYTOWN — Carrie McDonnall may have gotten the longest standing ovations of the 170th annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) at First Baptist Church, Raytown — both before and after she spoke on the evening of Oct. 26.
“What you’re witnessing tonight is a miracle of God in a spared life,” said MBC Associate Executive Director Roy Spannagel by way of introduction. That helped trigger the first standing ovation as she walked to the pulpit.
After listening to nine minutes of testimony from a missionary who was the sole survivor of a March 14 shooting in Iraq in which her husband, David, and three other Southern Baptist Convention relief workers were killed, messengers and visitors responded with another standing ovation. It appeared as if every able-bodied person in the sanctuary was stand-ing in honor of McDonnall, who said that her multiple gunshot wounds have healed.
“I am forever grateful for your prayers,” she said. “Without them, I would not be doing as well. The Lord has answered your prayers.”
McDonnall and her late husband were integral in the formative days of the Missouri Baptist partnership in Iraq. They hosted a team led by Spannagel and were planning on hosting more teams in northern Iraq when tragedy struck. The McDonnalls were to have been the primary missionary contacts for Missouri Baptists in Iraq, and Carrie’s presence before Missouri Baptists was a reminder that the work in Iraq will continue.
“Why are we concerned with our comforts rather than kingdom efforts?” she said. “It is time to work now.”
Eight days after the shooting, McDonnall learned that her husband was dead. Her life turned into a saddening mixture of injuries, trauma, grief and sorrow until God sent joy.
“It’s a joy unexplainable,” she said.
God spoke to her, saying, “This is not your home.” He encouraged her to look up from her hospital bed and out over the Dallas, Texas skyline, watching people move, scurrying about their business.
“We’ve got to quit living like this (Earth) is our home,” McDonnall said, remembering those pivotal days in her life as she related them to Missouri Baptists.
“It is time to adjust our thinking. It is time to adjust our view.”
In Zephaniah 3:17, God encouraged McDonnall from her hospital bed, reminding her that He is near, saving her, rejoicing over her with gladness, quieting her with His love and rejoicing over her with singing.
“We serve a loving and sovereign and faithful God,” she said.