By Tess Rivers
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Monica Morley* grew up in a Muslim home. She had many spiritual questions as a child and young teen. For a time she attended a mosque, seeking answers from the religious leaders.
“I wanted to know God and was curious about how sin can be forgiven,” Morley said. “I did not find the answers I was looking for.”
Because education in her language was outlawed in her country at the time, Morley attended high school in secret and later began studying law at a local university. War ended her studies, however, and took her and her family to Europe, where they lived as refugees.
There, Morley said, “I was befriended by a Christian girl who cared for me and my family.”
When she returned to her country after the war, Morley met a group of international Christian workers, including Angelo,* who would eventually become her husband.
“Angelo shared the gospel with me and helped me read and understand the Bible,” Morley said.
On May 13 at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, the Morleys were two of 34 candidates appointed as missionaries by IMB trustees.
“Because Angelo came to my country, I had the opportunity to hear the gospel and believe in Jesus,” Morley told the congregation. Together, the couple will share the gospel in Central Asia.
“Why are they doing this?” an impassioned IMB President David Platt asked the congregation. He asked another new missionary couple, “Why are you taking seven kids to Zimbabwe?” He asked others, “Why are you going to this area or that area?”
“Because we have an incomprehensibly glorious God,” Platt said.
Preaching from Isaiah 6, Platt offered four reasons why every Christian must say, “I will pray whatever You want me to pray; I will give whatever You want me to give; I will go wherever You want me to go:” Because we have an incomprehensibly glorious God, because we are a sinfully lost people, because we have a scandalously merciful Savior willing to die in our place and because we have an indescribably urgent mission.
With nearly 2 billion people without access to the gospel, Platt stressed the urgency of taking the gospel to unreached people in hard places, regardless of the cost.
Based on this urgency and with support of IMB trustees, Platt plans to open new pathways to send more missionaries to unreached people and places around the world. On May 13 IMB trustees approved streamlined guidelines for appointing new missionary personnel through the 170-year-old organization.
“When you hear ‘pathway,’ think ‘possibilities’ — all the possible ways that people in the pews of Southern Baptist churches might serve overseas: as doctors, teachers, accountants, lawyers, fitness instructors, rickshaw drivers, students, retirees,” Platt told trustees during their meeting.
The group of 34 new missionaries appointed May 13 included pastors and worship leaders as well as nurses, teachers, an actor, a farmer, an engineer and a software consultant. Ten previously served with IMB as journeymen or through International Service Corps. Many first sensed God’s call to missions as children or teens. Through short-term trips, many already understand the cost of missionary service but are convinced the cost is worth it.
Phil Metcalf was on a summer missions trip to Southeast Asia through his university’s Baptist Collegiate Ministry when he first sensed God calling him to full-time missionary service.
“We lived in tents and did a lot of evangelism and in-home Bible studies in remote villages,” Metcalf said. “An IMB missionary taught me about God’s heart for the nations and what it looks like to be committed to God’s global purpose.”
Metcalf’s wife, Laura, was 8 years old when missionaries spoke at her church. “I remember thinking ‘I would like to help like that one day,’” she recalled. Over the years, God continued to refine her call.
“Instead of thinking, ‘I want to help people,’ (God) has shown me that His desire is for the salvation of the nations …” the young woman said. “My desire is to see Him glorified and to see others worship Him.”
Platt asked the congregation, “Is there anything greater to give your life to than this: Declaring the glory of this God among the nations?”
“This gospel beckons us to abandon plans and dreams and possessions and priorities and treasures and pleasures in this world,” Platt declared, challenging members of the congregation, regardless of their age or stage in life, to “rise before this God and say, ‘Here am I, send me.’”
“This is basic, elemental Christianity,” Platt said. “This is what it means to follow Christ.”
Tess Rivers is an IMB writer. Anne Harmon contributed to this report.