God’s greatness compels us, Platt tells missionaries in Louisville service
Louisville—Monica Morley* grew up in a Muslim home. She had many spiritual questions as a child and young teen. For a time she attended a mosque, seeking answers from the religious leaders.
“I wanted to know God and was curious about how sin can be forgiven,” Morley said. “I did not find the answers I was looking for.”
Because education in her language was outlawed in her country at the time, Morley attended high school in secret and later began studying law at a local university. War ended her studies, however, and took her and her family to Europe, where they lived as refugees.
There, Morley said, “I was befriended by a Christian girl who cared for me and my family.”
When she returned to her country after the war, Morley met a group of international Christian workers, including D’Angelo,* who would eventually become her husband.
“D’Angelo shared the gospel with me and helped me read and understand the Bible,” Morley said.
On May 13 at Highview Church in Louisville, the Morleys were two of 34 candidates appointed as missionaries by IMB trustees.
“Because D’Angelo came to my country, I had the opportunity to hear the gospel and believe in Jesus,” Morley told the congregation. Together, the couple will share the gospel in Central Asia.
“Why are they doing this?” an impassioned IMB President David Platt asked the congregation. He asked another new missionary couple, “Why are you taking seven kids to Zimbabwe?”
“Because we have an incomprehensibly glorious God,” Platt said.
Preaching from Isaiah 6, Platt offered four reasons why every Christian must say, “I will pray whatever You want me to pray; I will give whatever You want me to give; I will go wherever You want me to go”—because we have an incomprehensibly glorious God, because we are a sinfully lost people, because we have a scandalously merciful Savior willing to die in our place, and because we have an indescribably urgent mission.
With nearly 2 billion people without access to the gospel, Platt stressed the urgency of taking the gospel to unreached people in hard places, regardless of the cost.
Based on this urgency and with support of IMB trustees, Platt plans to open new pathways to send more missionaries to unreached people and places around the world. On May 13 IMB trustees approved streamlined guidelines for appointing new missionary personnel through the 170-year-old organization (see related story.)
The group of 34 new missionaries appointed in Louisville included pastors and worship leaders as well as nurses, teachers, an actor, a farmer, an engineer and a software consultant. Ten previously served with IMB as journeymen or through International Service Corps. Many first sensed God’s call to missions as children or teens. Through short-term trips, many already understand the cost of missionary service but are convinced the cost is worth it.
Three Kentucky Baptist couples were among those commissioned.
n Nick Moore, pastor of Redemption Hill Church in Fisherville, said God is sending him and his wife, Kyndra, to Zimbabwe. The couple, along with their seven children, plan to train the next generation of Sub-Saharan Christian leaders.
n Phil and Laura Metcalfe, members of Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, said God is sending them to Oaxaca, Mexico. There, with their two young children, the Metcalfes will seek to “share God’s glory with the spiritually poor.”
Metcalfe was on a summer missions trip to Southeast Asia through his university’s Baptist Collegiate Ministry when he first sensed God calling him to full-time missionary service.
“We lived in tents and did a lot of evangelism and in-home Bible studies in remote villages,” Metcalfe said. “An IMB missionary taught me about God’s heart for the nations and what it looks like to be committed to God’s global purpose.”
Metcalfe’s wife, Laura, was 8 years old when missionaries spoke at her church. “I remember thinking ‘I would like to help like that one day,'” she recalled. Over the years, God continued to refine her call.
n Ethan and Shelby Sterling* with ties to Marion Baptist Church will be working in an undisclosed location, which cannot be identified because of potential security risks.
The tear-filled eyes of loved ones fixed on the 34 new missionaries as they spoke of hearts broken for people in Africa, Asia and Europe. And, Highview Baptist Senior Pastor Les Hughes recognized the emotional tension likely felt by many of their family members as the missionaries head off for “dark places.”
“There will be generations that will be changed because of the gospel they will hear from ones who are sent,” Hughes said. “It’s better for your loved one to go to a very difficult place on the other side of the world if they are in the center of God’s will than to live across the street from you and be out of God’s will.”
Platt asked the congregation, “Is there anything greater to give your life to than this: Declaring the glory of this God among the nations?”
“This gospel beckons us to abandon plans and dreams and possessions and priorities and treasures and pleasures in this world,” he declared, challenging members of the congregation, regardless of their age or stage in life, to “rise before this God and say, ‘Here am I, send me.'”
(Robin Cornetet, of KBC Communications, contributed to this story. *Name changed.)