“We will never cease to be thankful for the members of Temple and for all they have meant and still mean to us. If you have not heard, we have received funds from the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering so we can begin building a hospital in Jibla. We are in the process of making the plans and hope to start building this spring or summer. Not yet on hand are funds to equip the hospital, and we want to apply the $500 gift toward this—as a matter of fact toward an anesthesia machine for one of our two proposed operating rooms.” This paragraph opened a letter from Dr. James M. and June Young to our former pastor, Dr. Robert Magee, on February 2, 1966. The Youngs had transitioned from their mission work in Gaza to the country of Yemen, where they hoped to establish a gospel witness that would resonate throughout the land. And how they did that! Even to this day, I receive reports of the Lord’s faithfulness to what the Youngs began there in Jibla. People continue to come to faith through the gospel seeds that were planted there years ago. And what’s more? You as a church made it possible through your generous, even sacrificial, giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) over fifty years ago. I’m convinced that is why the Youngs were such champions of that offering when they returned home. I remember sitting in their living room and sharing with them how our LMCO goal had been met. Mrs. June’s infectious, sweet smile would break across her face. Now that she has finished her race on earth, the baton of faithfulness falls to us. We must issue the clarion call of support for missions around the globe.
I give thanks daily to be a part of our church that embraces missions and supports it through praying, giving, and going. For example, this month is an opportunity for us to rally around international missionaries in prayer and financial support. I hope that we have specifically committed time to lift up our brothers and sisters in Christ who serve areas overseas. Many are in cultures that are openly hostile to the gospel, yet we believe that the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to convict and transform rebellious hearts. I say we should pray in faith to that end! And don’t stop there. Pray for God to grant safety, physical strength, wisdom, and spiritual empowerment to those missionaries. In addition, consider how you can give sacrificially to support our international missionaries and their ministries. This coming Sunday morning, we will be challenged by our former Minister of Missions, John King, who served in Central Asia as well as other areas here in the States, and we will be asked to participate in our March for Missions, where we visibly affirm our support by bringing our mission offerings to baskets around the Sanctuary and Gathering Space. Every dollar that we give to this LMCO goes to assist the field missionaries of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through our selfless giving, we will not only reach our $160,000 church goal, but we will far surpass it. And even greater than that, we will advance the gospel to the nations!
James M. once remarked, “How grateful I am for a Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for Foreign Missions that make it possible for any church to have apart in making our entire missionary program around the world a reality. And how especially thankful June and I are for having had a church to grow up in which nurtured us in its activities, which challenged us to do God’s will. We have indeed been blessed.” No doubt, we at Temple have been blessed with a spiritual heritage! For that, I say thanks! But we must not simply memorialize that history; rather, we ought to allow it to motivate us to greater heights! And we can! Let’s seize the opportunities that God gives us as we pray, give, and go! See you Sunday!