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Fifteen with Southern Seminary ties among IMB appointees
November 24, 2003
By Jeff Robinson
About 40 people gathered at the altar to pray about missions Nov. 11 at a missionary appointment service in Lexington, Ky.
Nearly one-fourth of the 67 missionaries appointed to service in foreign nations on Nov. 11 by the International Mission Board have ties to The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Each missionary briefly told the story of their divine call to the mission field during the IMB’s commissioning service held in Lexington, Ky.
Twyla Fagan, director of Great Commission Ministries at Southern, said the school is encouraged to see its students take their education and apply it in proclaiming the Gospel to the nations.
“We are pleased that these students are going to be representing God first of all and also Southern Seminary across the world,” she said.
Following are excerpts from the testimonies of some of the 15 new missionaries who are current or former students at Southern Seminary:
* For Bryan and Deana Wolf, it was the mouth of a babe that foretold their surrendering to Gospel missions. The Wolf’s daughter, at age four at the time, told her parents they would become missionaries to South America. The couple was appointed to serve on that continent. “In November 2002, God brought me to the realization that He had made me for such a time as this,” Bryan Wolf said. “Our agricultural and my nutritional background have equipped us to serve Christ in the rural villages of the Andes Mountains in Chile.” Bryan is currently studying missions at Southern.
* Holly Henson began to develop an unquenchable desire for the mission field some years ago as a youth at Girls in Action camp. “Missions became stronger in my life through short-term missions,” Henson said. “After spending three years in east Europe in an oppressive and dark country, I am called to tell the people of the light of Jesus for a lifetime.” Henson will serve in central and western Europe. Henson prepared for IMB service last year at Southern.
* Stan and Wendy Meador have served on various mission fields and will now plant churches in southern Brazil. “For me it (missions work) began on the pristine beaches of Belize,” Stan Meador said. “[Then moved to] church construction in Brazil and then to the persecuted church in Bulgaria. Now we go to plant churches…in southern Brazil.” Stan received an M.Div. from Southern in 2000 and Wendy worked toward a master of missiology degree.
* Garry and Lori Jones spoke of godly influences, of laying down their resistance and surrendering to God’s call. “ I was influenced by my grandmother’s example [and] I gave my life to Christ as a child,” Lori Jones said. “I am very thankful that although she has gone on to be with the Lord, God, in His perfect plan, saw fit for me to be appointed as a missionary on her birthday.” Garry is pursing a master of divinity in Christian education at Southern.
Three other couples with ties to Southern Seminary will serve in regions that are sensitive and have restricted access. Their names could not be published for security purposes.
The service was held at Rupp Arena, the home of the University of Kentucky (UK) basketball team, a perennial national power. Following a welcome by UK basketball coach Tubby Smith, IMB President Jerry Rankin glanced about Rupp Arena at the numerous championship banners hanging from its rafters and said the missionary appointees are the “champions” among Southern Baptists.
“As I look at these championship banners and how these crowds have gathered here to cheer these championship basketball teams, the men and women seated before you tonight are the champions of Southern Baptists,” Rankin said.
“They are the ones who have been willing to focus on that purpose in dedication and commitment to whatever it takes to carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world. These are your missionaries.”
Carl Stam, associate professor of church music and worship, led the mass choir and orchestra.