Tuesday, November 20, 2012

84 new missionaries appointed by IMB

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (BP) -- A deer meat processor and a doctor. A nanny and a nurse. A soldier and a statistician. These are just a few of the jobs previously held by 84 men and women appointed by IMB trustees Nov. 15 at Second Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo.

From as far away as Thailand and as near as the hills of Tennessee, the appointees shared testimonies of being called by God to a journey -- a journey to be the heart, hands and voice of Jesus to the nations.

Prinna Puakpong was born in Thailand, where she was raised in a Buddhist home. Her journey led her first to Atlanta, Ga., and then to Chattanooga, Tenn., where she earned a master's in business administration with an emphasis in finance. Disillusioned by the stock market crash of 2000, Puakpong prayed that God would reveal Himself to her.

"I prayed, 'God, I don't want to be confused anymore,'" Puakpong said. "'Please reveal Yourself to me in a way that I can understand.'"

In a Bible study for international students in Chattanooga, Puakpong met Christians who showed her God's love, and the direction of her life changed. Now, more than 10 years later, her journey will take Puakpong and her husband, Jack Wattanawongsawang, to Japan to be the voice of Jesus among those who have not yet heard the Gospel.

For pharmacist Sarah Smythe*, her journey entailed a series of personal challenges during her college years -- a time when she came to understand what it means not just to follow Jesus but to rely on Him.

"I realized my need," Smythe said. "I needed to rely on God. I needed to be in community with His people and I needed to loosen my grip on academic excellence."


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