In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Roger V. Childres, 85

Roger Childres, 1936-2022. IMB Photo

Roger V. Childres, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Zimbabwe, died on Aug. 4, 2022. He was 85.  

Childres was born Dec. 24, 1936, in Drexel, North Carolina, to the late Bela and Minnie Childres. He graduated from Hildebran High School in Hildebran, North Carolina. Childres took classes at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas, and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (now Gateway Seminary), located at the time in San Francisco, California.  

Childres enrolled with the U.S. Army and served in the Security Agency in Germany in the 1950s.  

On Oct. 5, 1958, Childres married Rose Ann Barringer. Before moving overseas, Childres was a manager and machinist at Arlene Hosiery Mill in Hildebran. In the 1960s and 1970s, Roger and Rose Ann owned and operated Hickory Bible Center in Hickory, North Carolina. 

Roger and Rose Ann were appointed by the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) on May 21, 1985, to serve as publication missionaries in Zimbabwe.

The Childreses began serving at a Baptist book store and later joined IMB missionaries to serve at the Baptist Publishing House in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Roger served as the director, and Rose Ann served in finance.

Former missionaries said there was growth in ministry opportunities during Childres’s six years at the publishing house. In addition to quarterly Sunday School and WMU materials, the publishing house began printing for other Baptist missions in southern Africa and locally for other Christian ministries. Childres oversaw the enlargement of the publishing house, which gave a greater capacity to meet the growing demands. The Childreses later moved to Botswana to help with publishing needs.

The Childreses also served in South Africa before retiring in 2002. 

Childres was known for his quick wit and for how he loved people. Childres took joy in teaching his sons how to use tools and machinery and taught them construction. He was involved in counseling and teaching at a camp for missionary kids whose parents served in Africa.  

“He was a real soul winner, and no one came through the publishing house and his office without hearing the gospel,” a former missionary shared.

In recent years, the Childreses were overseers for the Hospice Bucket Project for Baptist Global Response (now Send Relief). Missionary coworkers said Roger and Rose Ann were “instrumental in promoting, collecting and shipping kits from their part of the U.S.” 

Childres enjoyed writing songs, poetry and children’s books. He wrote a memoir with Rose Ann titled “Two More into Southern Africa.”  

His ministry involvement in Penelope Baptist Church (Open Door Baptist Church) took many forms. He served as a deacon, taught Sunday School, led youth groups and sang in the choir.  

Childres is survived by his wife 63 years, Rose Ann Barringer Childres; children, R. Alan Childres (Karen), Andy T. Childres (Molly); 11 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. 

A celebration of life service was held Aug.7, 2022, at Open Door Baptist Church Longview, in Hickory, North Carolina.  

Donations in Childres’ memory may be made to the International Mission Board, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at Generosity Resource Center – IMB Generosity. 

Read an obituary here.