MBC seeks to achieve $2 million goal in giving
JEFFERSON CITY – With the spring thaw each year comes Easter and with Easter comes the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions.
The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) has set a goal of $2 million, while the nation-wide goal is $57 million.
The offering helps support more than 5,200 North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionaries, including 243 missionaries in Missouri alone, 19 who work on staff at the MBC. Forty-four percent of NAMB’s operating budget comes from the offering; the remainder comes from the Cooperative Program.
Each year NAMB suggests churches set aside March 4-11 as a special week of prayer emphasis for North American missions and specifically for eight missionary couples. One of the couples this year is Thira and Montira Siengsukon of Kansas City.
The offering honors the life and work of Annie Walker Armstrong (1850-1938). A tireless servant of God and a contagious advocate for mission efforts around the world, Armstrong led women to unite in mission endeavors that eventually led to the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) in 1888. She served the new organization as corresponding secretary until 1906.
Having a heart for home missions, she worked with Indians, immigrants, blacks and children. In 1882, she helped organize the Woman’s Baptist Home Mission Society of Maryland. She was this society’s first president. She remained active in missions for her entire life; she died on Dec. 20, 1938, the year of the WMU’s 50th anniversary.
Armstrong spent a great amount of time typing and handwriting letters in support of missions. Many of these letters were quite lengthy and all were filled with conviction that more could and should be done in our mission efforts. In 1893 alone, she wrote almost 18,000 letters. She also never hesitated to use her hands to reach out to hug a child or distribute food and clothing and the Word of God to those in need. Her hands held her own Bible as she studied to know how to best share God’s love with others. And, most importantly, Annie was a woman of prayer, interceding for the missionaries and for those they were helping others discover Christ.
She rallied churches to give more, pray more, and do more for reaching people for Christ. Today, Missouri and Southern Baptists unite to make her vision a reality in North America.
Rick Biesiadecki, a church planting specialist with the MBC and NAMB, receives funding through the offering.
“If it were not for the Annie Armstrong offering and the Cooperative Program, I don’t know where our financial resources would come from,” he said. “I would have to spend most of my time raising support instead of being on the field in Cooter, Steele, Fenton, Cape Girardeau and all over eastern Missouri. I simply could not do that without Ole Annie.”
Biesiadecki said there’s more to working in Missouri through NAMB and Annie Armstrong than just the financial help. It forms a bond between him and people across the country.
“The financial support is great because I can take care of my family and do the ministry,” he said, “but there’s also the connections I get to make with Southern Baptists across the country. I get letters and cards of support that just make my day.”