Missions, Lottie Moon and Romania
My heart is always blessed when I hear that our MBC staff has been a particular blessing to a church, a person and in this case, at least two nations. Just a day ago, I received a wonderful letter from one of our International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries, Larry Carnes. Bro. Larry is our missionary in Romania who has been so strategic in making Missouri’s partnership with the Romanian Baptist Union such a success over these years. I wanted to share his very encouraging note with you …
“I want to thank you for the effective ministry that Missouri Baptists have had in Romania during the past three years. We rejoice that you have voted to extend the formal partnership for one more year and look forward to what God is going to do as we work together for His glory in Romania and in Missouri and beyond.
“I especially want to mention what a great blessing Norm Howell and the rest of the team were this past week as they came to minister both to Romanians and to our IMB missionaries serving in Romania and Moldova. Norm’s teaching in missions’ conferences at local churches and the Bucharest seminary came at a critical time. God is doing a deep work among Romanian Baptists and they are seeing the significance of Acts 1:8 in reaching out in all these areas simultaneously. There is developing a genuine mission’s movement in Romania and Norm was able to help encourage this movement. I appreciate very much Norm’s heart for the lost and his practical and strategic approach to missions.
“Norm and the team also provided an invaluable ministry of encouragement to our missionaries at a three-day retreat they led. Several of our missionaries commented that even though we have had great speakers at past retreats, Norm spoke more deeply into their hearts because he spoke from personal experience into the difficulties and opportunities of mission life. I feel that his and Karen’s ministry may have even saved the missions career of one of our couples who was struggling more than we ever imagined and had almost decided to go home. Because of the transparency that Norm and Karen displayed, this family was able to be transparent and confess their own hurts and disappointments and feeling of defeat. We were able to pray for them and will be encouraging them more in the days ahead.
“Thank you again for allowing Norm the freedom to have this ministry among us and to Missouri Baptists who provided the financial resources to help make this retreat possible.
“May the Lord continue to use you as you lead Missouri Baptists to fulfill the mission He has placed before you and may He fill your lives with His richest blessings in Christ Jesus.
It is field missionaries like the Carnes family that make partnership missions most effective. Without their in-country guidance, expertise and partnership, this would be monumentally more difficult.
I trust you were as encouraged by Larry Carnes’ note as I am. Your Cooperative Program gifts are what made all these ministries possible. This note also comes at a strategic time for us. December is the month that everyone in Southern Baptist life has their attention turned to international missions. This is our time to prayerfully consider what role each of us might have in giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions.
One hundred percent of the Lottie Moon offering is used in the overseas budget to support missionaries and their ministries. As of Aug. 15, this offering and the Cooperative Program gifts supported 5,072 field missionary personnel. Their ministry and their partners reported 459,725 baptisms.
From country to country, the cost to keep a missionary on the field varies, according to the local cost of living. But the average cost to support a missionary on the overseas field is $40,866.61 per year; $3,405.55 per month; $785.00 per week and $111.96 per day or $4.66 per hour. You can see why every gift large or small is so vitally important. We can only support this mission force together!
I recently read a statement about missions from a man who said, “The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity.” The ingenious part of the Cooperative Program is that it is not based on the raw dollar amounts, but on the percentage of gifts … which puts every church and member on a level playing field with regard to missions. I had hoped that this letter from one of our own missionaries would be a blessing to you.
Now the question is, “What would God have you and your family to do this year in this Lottie Moon Christmas offering for international missions?”