Michael Stuart Pineda, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Greece, the United Kingdom and Uganda, died Feb.14, 2023, in Lenoir, North Carolina. He was 65.
Mike was born Jan. 31, 1958, in Nashville, Tennessee, to the late Henry Stuart Pineda and Shirley McElroy Pineda. He graduated from Avondale High School in Avondale Estates, Georgia, and received the Bachelor of Arts degree from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee, and the Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee School of Law in Knoxville, Tennessee.
In 1985, Mike married Julia White.
Mike practiced law for 20 years in Chattanooga, Tennessee, first interning at the Tennessee Court of Appeals. He was an associate with Stophel, Caldwell & Heggie, and became a partner in 1988 with Brown, Dobson, Burnette & Kesler and was a partner in Samples, Jennings & Pineda, P.L.L.C.
Mike was active in the churches he attended. He taught Sunday School and Royal Ambassadors, was the chairman of the personnel committee and served as deacon.
Their calling to the mission field came slowly, over the course of 12 years. Mike sensed the Lord calling him to missions on a short-term mission trip to Honduras. In the 1990s, the Pinedas took more than 20 short-term trips to Honduras, Nicaragua and Romania.
“God worked in our lives over the years to show us that He was calling us,” Mike wrote in his letter seeking missionary appointment.
Mike felt called to missions first. It took Julia longer, but the Lord confirmed in her a calling to the mission field.
In 2002, the International Mission Board appointed Mike and Julia missionaries to Greece.
The Pinedas went on to serve in the United Kingdom and Uganda.
Mike often told family and friends who noted the sacrifices he made going to the mission field that the adventure God called him to overshadowed what he left behind.
He surrendered the courtroom for coaching baseball in Greece, Austria and Bulgaria. He mentored new Christians and missionaries.
The couple retired from missionary service in 2020 after serving for 18 years.
In 2020, Mike began working at Samaritan’s Purse in their human resources department. He was an active member of Hudson First Baptist Church in Hudson, North Carolina.
In his obituary, loved ones wrote, “Confident that the call to the mission field was for his entire family, one of the great joys of his life was leading and serving alongside Julie and the boys in pursuit of the Great Commission.”
Mike was also known for the daily devotionals that he began sending his son before the list expanded over more than 15 years to include more than 200 people. He never missed an email, so when the first time in 15 years an email didn’t come, his friends knew something happened.
Mike is survived by his wife, Julie, of nearly 38 years; his sons, Sam (Teeny), Ben (Christina), and Caleb (Hannah); and four grandchildren.
A celebration of life service was held Feb. 19, 2023, at Stuart Heights Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and a time of visitation and fellowship immediately followed.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering, IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at Generosity Resource Center – IMB Generosity.