For five years a Baptist church in Arkansas prayed that the Bedia people of South Asia would come to know Jesus Christ. Among this people group of more than 100,000 there were no known believers.
The congregation prayed, sent teams and trusted in the power of the gospel. After five years, the first Bedia believer came to faith in Christ and was baptized.
When a Baptist church in southern California decided to embrace an unreached, unengaged people group they didn’t have to go more than 20 miles down the road.
The church began engaging a people group in southern Mexico and soon learned that in a town near their church lived about 700 people from the same people group who had migrated from Mexico to work in the Central Valley.
These stories and many more are featured in the Week of Prayer materials for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO).
Through this offering the International Mission Board (IMB) is able to support about 4,800 missionaries. In 2011, IMB missionaries gave 1.4 million gospel presentations, helped plant more than 24,000 churches and baptized 266,000 new believers.
Missionaries also engaged 133 new people groups with the gospel.
Unreached, unengaged people groups (UUPGs) are people groups without continual access to the gospel through any evangelical church planting efforts, and with a population that is less than two percent evangelical.
This special offering also helps IMB missionaries share the gospel through evangelism and discipleship training, medical outreach and meeting physical needs.
Since 1918, when the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) named the annual Christmas offering for international missions after Lottie Moon, Southern Baptists have given more than $3.5 billion through the LMCO.
This year’s offering goal is $175 million and the theme is “Totally His … heart, hands, voice,” based on Matthew 22:36-39. Free resources, such as videos, posters and bulletin inserts, are available at www.imb.org. On this website you will also find a free prayer guide, and I encourage you to pray for the missionaries and the various people groups highlighted in this guide.
Last year Southern Baptists gave $149.3 million to the LMCO, marking the third-highest amount given in the history of the offering. Thank you, North Carolina Baptists, for giving sacrificially. You led the Southern Baptist Convention in your support for the LMCO in 2012. The churches of this state convention led all state conventions in gifts to this special offering.
With nearly 3,400 UUPGs still waiting for someone to come and tell them about Jesus we must increase our missions giving, and we must continue going wherever God calls us in order that more people will have an opportunity to hear about our Savior’s love.
I pray that as we enter this Christmas season we will each commit to giving sacrificially to the LMCO.
When you give you are investing in our Lord’s Kingdom and making an eternal impact.
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37