Rose knew her calling. She had a heart to reach a majority Muslim people group situated in the horn of Africa. How to get to them was another question altogether. And she knew she couldn’t do it alone.
Rose is a member of a small but mighty church in Mexico. As she grew in relationship with her church leadership, they pointed her to the mission field. On their own, they couldn’t afford to send, equip and sustain her work as a missionary. They realized they didn’t have to do it alone. With a heart that beat for Africa, the congregation joined 15 other churches across Mexico and Panama to financially support Rose as they sent her to these African people.
International Mission Board leaders Hal Cunnyngham and Amanda Dimperio Davis heard of this coalition of churches who had formed and had a passion for reaching the nations — together — and they began equipping them for missions.
Last fall, Davis, along with other IMB missionaries, led a missions conference centered around the resource, “Eight Steps of the Missions Continuum: Building a Bridge from the Church to the Mission Field.” More than a book, it’s an interactive consultation that IMB provides to sending churches and organizations to help them understand what Scripture says about the Great Commission, sending and sustaining their missionaries on the field and how they can partner with IMB through the Global Missionary Partners (GMP) initiative.
Davis was struck by how focused and determined these Mexican churches were to see Africans come to know Christ. This relationship between the IMB and the Mexican churches flourished.
The churches entered into a relationship with each other with the goal of sustaining Rose and others like her. That’s eased Rose’s mind, she said, as she’s been able to fully focus on her ministry in Africa, fully equipped and supported by her church. Recently, a small group from her church came to Africa on a mission vision trip to see how the Lord was working in Rose’s life and people.
Rose said, “My pastor told me to remember that when I’m on the field, I just need to be focused on what I’m doing there. He said that their work and ministry as a church is to share what the Lord is doing among nations through me and how He’s calling the church to be working together.
She continued, “It just gave me rest because I know that there are other workers who are raising their support, but this is not a problem that I had.”
On the other side of the world, Rose had already partnered with International Mission Board missionaries Thomas and Lori Beth Bain’s team as a GMP. Her relationship with the family grew, and so did her relationship with the IMB.
Before she joined the team, she dedicated herself to learning English, knowing if she wanted to partner with a team of Americans, she’d probably need to speak their language. Then, when she arrived to join the team, she had to learn the local language. Providentially, Thomas had spent time in Ecuador as a Journeyman, and he was fluent in Spanish, which helped Rose’s language studies greatly.
Now, despite turmoil in the area that’s forced the unit to pivot, Rose is poised to reach the people who her heart beats for.
These people are rural, with a total population of less than half a million. They live off their farms and livestock, with a way of living reminiscent of the Old Testament. They have no running water and no electricity. These people are always vigilant to threats. Their shepherds have replaced their staffs with rifles, as their land has been constantly under attack in the last five decades. They’re resilient, living in the most arid and hostile landscapes on earth. Their land isn’t the only hostile thing among them. Their hearts are hostile to the gospel. Those who do come to faith “are likened to the cactus where they produce fruit even in desert climates,” Thomas said.
The Bains, now her former team leaders, gushed about her. Lori Beth described her spirit as sweet, her heart as willing and her passion to see the lost come to saving faith as fiery.
Pray for ministry among Rose’s people group to flourish, even as they experience ongoing political conflict.
Pray that the coalition of Latin American churches grows in relationship with the IMB as we reach the nations together.
Some names may have been changed for security purposes.