IMB Reunion Dinner

Approximately 15 missionaries who previously served or are currently serving with the International Mission Board gathered for the IMB Alumni Fellowship, Oct. 25. Sharon Pumpelly, the IMB Alumni and Parents Network associate, speaks to the group. SN5110

ROSWELL (BNM) - Approximately 15 missionaries who previously served or are currently serving with the International Mission Board gathered for the IMB Alumni Fellowship, Oct.  25. The fellowship dinner was one of the activities of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s 2021 Annual Meeting.

A trio of women, Adis Robertson, Guyla Maples, and Elizabeth Weeaks, from First Baptist Church, Roswell, decorated a room with a fall theme to foster an atmosphere for conversations and encouragement among friends and colleagues. Phrases like “you got the well-trained donkey” or “rode camels” were common among the group during the event.

The life of a missionary varies and includes things like having two-day birthdays (due to traveling through time zones); planting churches; doing maintenance; painting murals of Petra on school walls; teaching English, math, and science; or operating a guest house. Together, those in attendance represented 176 years of international service in at least five countries across four continents: Asia, Africa, South America and Europe. Their lives reflect the IMB’s vision to see “a multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language knowing and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Sharon Pumpelly, IMB Alumni and Parents Network Associate, expressed IMB's gratefulness to each individual who had served on the mission field and gave an update on the IMB's current operations. She noted, “We [the IMB] face the field and the church” thus, the IMB bridges the gap between Southern Baptist churches and the international mission field. To that end, Pumpelly also shared IMB new president, Dr. Paul Chitwood's vision for the future.

Dr. Chitwood and the Board's leadership have set goals to help get “the world involved in missions.” Currently, approximately 50% of Southern Baptist Church aid IMB and IMB missionaries, Pumpelly said. Dr. Chitwood would like to see this number grow, increasing the number churches financially invested in and prayerfully supporting IMB and IMB missionaries, she explained. “I think our world is the way it is because we have too many churches who do not see the Great Commission as ‘their’ mission,” Pumpelly said.

Pumpelly said any increase in financial support translates into sending additional missionaries. IMB wants to commission 500 additional missionaries worldwide. That number would not include those going overseas to replace missionaries who are leaving the field. IMB, several attendees noted, is the best missionary sending agency in the world and is striving to serve God more fully in multiple ways.

IMB is promoting awareness of international missions throughout the SBC by providing missionary speakers for youth camps during 2021. It hopes to do even more for the 2022 camp season. Similarly, the media team has begun consistently producing up-to-date stories of IMB missionaries, which are available on for personal or ministry use.

IMB also offers its assistance to churches seeking to engage in international missions and assistance for churches wishing to send student or other groups on short term mission projects. Around the world, 140 countries have Baptist conventions or unions. IMB actively partners with those groups and wants to develop those partnerships and provide training that equips missionaries from other nations.

Pumpelly also said IMB is working to involve alumni missionaries in achieving its goals; 18,000 alumni missionaries live in the United States. They can volunteer to help contact and encourage SBC churches, promoting awareness of international missions. They also can engage and prepare a new generation of missionaries by sharing their experiences and assisting prospective missionary candidates.

Pumpelly described how people come to IMB - desiring to become full-time international missionaries - but they still need specific equipping before being sent on the mission field. To address that challenge, IMB is initiating a mentorship program that will pair candidates with experienced missionaries. It has asked alumni to consider meeting with missionary candidates to provide encouragement, counsel, accountability, and vision. Pumpelly said, “I want to see our alumni saying, 'I want to invest in this person.'” Such a program would permit Southern Baptists to mobilize an increased number of new missionaries.

The fellowship concluded prayer asking God to continue sending workers into the field and to glorify His name among the nations. Mrs. Kay Holcomb, who served as a church planter and hostess in Thailand, urged the church to be “fervently praying for the Holy Spirit to be actively working in the lost hearts around the world.”


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