DENVER, Colo. — Twelve people with North Carolina ties were among 101 missionaries appointed by the International Mission Board (IMB) May 20 at Riverside Baptist Church in Denver, Colo.
Six appointees are considered code 3 by IMB standards and are unable to share their names with the general public.
Of the other six, all are considered apprentices and one is a N.C. native. Marissa Leigh Hess is a native of Charlotte. She and her husband, Kenneth Douglas Hess, will be taking their three-year-old daughter to South America. Most recently, they have been living in Kentucky.
The other two couples are connected with Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest. Steven Michael Gillum and his wife Emily Jean Gillum, will also be going to South America. They are members of First Baptist Church in Durham.
Brent Lewis Turner and Amanda Sue Turner will be living in Central, Eastern, Southern Africa where he will be a church planter and evangelist. They have a one-year-old daughter. The Turners are members of Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh.
This service was the fourth-largest appointment in the organization’s history. The appointees will join more than 5,600 others already on the field.
Jonah and the whale
The story of Jonah and the whale is at times overshadowed by its uniqueness, IMB President Jerry Rankin told the new appointees, noting that the story’s message is not about the whale swallowing Jonah, but rather of a “rejected call, a second chance and God’s compassion being revealed.”
The message of this Old Testament story is still relevant today, Rankin noted. And it is a challenge to those who go in obedience to God’s call. His urgent concern for Nineveh is the same He has for the cities of the world today, Rankin said.
Some people who sense God’s call to overseas missions try to bargain with God, saying they’ll serve Him in America by being faithful church members and witnesses, Rankin said.
“The only problem is, God was calling you to Nineveh,” he said. “Meanwhile multitudes of unreached people groups perished without anyone to tell them of the hope they would find in Jesus Christ.”
According to Romans 10:14-15, “But how can they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent?”
“That is why we are appointing you and sending you out — to answer that call,” Rankin said. “Like Jonah, not to save the nations through your efforts, through anything that you can do or through your advice, but as Jonah, to proclaim the Word of the Lord.”
Future appointment services
Because of an anticipated shortfall in the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and a decrease in Cooperative Program giving during the current economic downturn, the IMB will limit the number of new missionaries appointed for the rest of the year after a July appointment service in Lebanon, Ohio.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Brandon is a writer for the International Mission Board.)