In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Donald Ray McCain, 76

Donald Ray McCain, 1946-2022. IMB Photo

Donald Ray McCain, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Portugal, died Sept. 21, 2022, in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was 76. 

Don was born Sept. 3, 1946, in Greenville, Mississippi, to the late Paul B. McCain and Janie Keyes Ray McCain. He graduated from Granby High School in Norfolk, Virginia, and received the Bachelor of Science in Education from Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, and the Master of Religious Education and the Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

After graduating from university, and while completing his practice teaching assignment, Don married Rose Marie McGarrh. 

Prior to moving to the mission field, Don taught at Moss Point City Schools in Moss Point, Mississippi, and was an artist and illustrator for 5TC Company. While studying in seminary, Don worked as an insulator for Insultation Inc. 

In July 1981, the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) appointed Don and Rose as missionaries to Portugal.  

Don was appointed to serve using his giftings as an artist to work in a Baptist bookstore and publication house. He worked on the inventory and organization of the stock at the bookstore and helped the bookstore work more efficiently. Another store was opened in another city during this tenure on the mission field. 

He was a member of the Sunday school board in Portugal and wrote and designed Sunday school materials. He saw the reach expand to many churches. Don also trained Sunday school workers in the seminary. 

Don’s artistic skills were well-utilized throughout his time on the mission field. He designed the artwork for missions week and Week of Prayer posters and cassette covers. He enjoyed painting watercolor covers for a series to help people read the Bible through in a year.  

The McCains attended a meeting held by Henry Blackaby and received permission to translate “Experiencing God” into Portuguese. They used the study with great success in their church. 

Don and Rose were very involved in the local churches they attended. At the first church they attended, Oeiras Baptist Church, Don became the church’s pastor when the former pastor moved to the U.S. to attend seminary. They saw the young adult ministry grow during that time. 

The McCains rejoiced in their newsletters over the new members and decisions of faith. During a ministry campaign they celebrated the people who committed their lives to Christ. In the 27 months that Don was pastor, they welcomed 18 new members, nine by letter and nine by profession of faith. Don and Rose wrote that it was a dream come true to find and ordain a pastor for the church. 

“There was an outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord that night,” they wrote. 

The McCains retired after 26 years of missionary service.

Don is survived by his wife of 52 years, Rose; two daughters, Keyesy McCain Logan (Chad), and Amy Boone McCain White (Thomas); and five grandchildren.  

A memorial service was held Oct. 1, 2022, at First Baptist Church of Tupelo. 

Read an obituary here