ARNOLD – A Missouri Baptist husband and wife from First Baptist Church, Arnold, were among the new missionaries highlighted in the International Mission Board’s (IMB) Sending Celebration, Feb. 3.
Approved by IMB trustees, the 33 missionaries represent 12 states and will serve in eight of IMB’s nine affinities.
Eric and Lauren Coale will soon head to Europe, where they’ll serve with the IMB as church planters in the Czech Republic. With them, they take their two sons, four-year-old Hudson and two-year-old Raylan.
In a pre-recorded message featured during the Sending Celebration, the Coales shared how God opened their hearts to missionary service.
“We had our American dream all planned out, but through short-term mission trips and studying God’s Word, He made clear to us the lostness in this world and the great need for the gospel among the nations,” Eric said.
“God has given us a heart to live amongst and share with those who might not yet realize their need for Him,” Lauren added.
Lauren told The Pathway, “The greatest reminder of our call to Europe is just hearing the number of people there who will die each day, never hearing the good news of Jesus or knowing someone who is a believer in Christ.”
According to the IMB, 858 people groups live in the Europe, with a population of 803,774,275 people. Each day, 23,553 people in Europe die without knowing Jesus Christ. Many of them die, having never heard the gospel.
Yet many Europeans – like many lost people the Coales know in the United States – are blind to their need for salvation, finding contentment instead in careers, family, friends, entertainment and worldly goods. But the Coales realize these blessings won’t last.
“We know as Christians there is no true contentment apart from Christ,” Eric said. “God gave us a heart for these people (in Europe), because many of them are not so different from our lost friends here in the states.”
The Coales expressed appreciation for support from their church family at FBC, Arnold.
“Our church has not only encourage us in this process, they are walking through this process with us,” Eric said. Lauren added, “Truly, they are our partners to take the gospel to the unreached.”
Ben Schisler, missions pastor at FBC, Arnold, told The Pathway that Eric and Lauren have been longtime and faithful church members.
“We are so thankful for how the Lord has been working in their hearts over the past several years to prepare them for the mission field,” Schisler said. “We are so proud and grateful for their obedience to answer the call to bring the gospel to an area with very few believers or churches. Our own church family is already lifting them up in prayer and cannot wait to partner with them in the years ahead!”
The Coales asked that Missouri Baptists pray for them, especially as they learn the Czech language. Pray also that the country will open its borders amid the COVID-19 pandemic and that the Coales will find ways to connect with the Czech people, build friendships and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Visit imb.org/send to learn how your church can send missionaries like the Coales. Downloadable prayer cards about the IMB’s new missionaries are also available on the website.