Testimonies of faith, courage saturate WMU meeting

by Barbara Denman, posted Tuesday, June 12, 2018 (10 days ago)

DALLAS (BP) -- Kempton Turner grew up in gang- and crack-infested neighborhoods in East St. Louis, Ill. Destined to follow his parents' lifestyle of addiction, during a wild and wanton trip to New Orleans' Mardi Gras, Kempton was approached by a couple who shared the life-changing gospel with him. At that moment, "The Lord revealed Himself to me," Kempton said, sending the young man on an unshakable pursuit of his faith.

North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell, left, interviewed Kempton Turner and his wife Caryn, who are planting their lives on the same East St. Louis streets he once prowled for easy fixes.
Photo by Van Payne
Now as North American Mission Board church planters, Kempton and his wife Caryn are planting their lives on the same East St. Louis streets he once prowled for easy fixes. Through the City of Joy church, the Turners and their five children are making inroads for Christ by helping neighbors rehab homes and learn job skills, bringing hope to the devastated community with little hope.

Testimonies of faith, courage, boldness and devotion, unshakable in the pursuit of God were the focus of "A Night at the Theatre -- Mission Style," during 2018 National Woman's Missionary Union Missions Celebration June 11 in Dallas.

After the Cuban government seized her family's home, businesses and bank accounts, Irma Moss and her family determined they must seek refuge in South Florida. Her father once owned several restaurants in their homeland, yet he arrived in America to find work as a dishwasher. When the last plane for America left the island in the mid-60's, Irma, her mother and sister took the last three seats to their new homeland in America.

Photo by Van Payne
Now the dedicated Christian worker in South Florida seeks to follow her mother's daily faith "keeping my eyes only on Him, to be courageous and stand firm -- not to be shaken."

International Mission Board missionaries C and S* know what it's like to stand on shaky ground -- and firm ground. Foundations they cling to while reaching lost people in Germany, Central and South Asia are prayer, pursuit of Scripture and accountability.

"One heart, one purpose, one Lord and Savior," C* said. "We stand on one foundation. We are unshakable because Jesus is our foundation."

During the Monday-evening event, several hundred in attendance prayed for missionaries -- many dressed in traditional clothing representative of their mission fields; gave offerings to support the mission work; and grieved over the 2.8 billion people in the world who have never heard the name of Christ. They worshipped through the ministry of The Sounds of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's School of Church Music, and a local Hmong choir.

David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, told of a recent trip to the Amazon River region where stories about a man named Jesus, the one true God, convicted many in the villages.

"God is seeking and saving the lost, and this gospel has the power to change lives," Platt said. "May we be a people of unshakeable pursuit."

David Melber, president of the NAMB's Send Relief outreach, shared how NAMB is focusing on areas of poverty, refugees and internationals, foster care and adoption, human trafficking and disaster response. He told of the work of ministry centers in Clarkston, Ga., Appalachia, and coming centers in Puerto Rico, Las Vegas and New York.

Speaking on behalf of thousands of missionaries across North America, NAMB President Kevin Ezell thanked WMU leaders for their prayer and support. "You are helping us mobilize churches to meet desperate needs in poverty in North America, helping others see the needs of those caught in human trafficking, boys and girls in foster homes."

Kempton Turner echoed Ezell, "Thank God for NAMB, the Send network and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. Without gifts from the offering, we would not survive."

*Name changed.

Barbara Denman is a freelance writer for Baptist Press.
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