In the place where Samuel and Abby Rudd* have lived for the past several years with their daughters Lia and Lilly, all they can see is concrete. It’s a big city. It’s full of millions of people.
And most of them are Muslim.
“When we were looking at where to go, people kept giving us the statistics on this place, and we were just convicted that we needed to be in a place like this that didn’t have as many gospel opportunities,” Abby Rudd said.
Her call started early — she had grown up in missions education in her north Alabama church. At first, she didn’t really think missions was for her, but then at a youth camp at 13, she sensed God asking her if she was willing to go and serve among people who had never heard of Him.
Answering the call
“I said yes, and I really held onto that commitment,” she said.
She met her husband, who had grown up overseas, in seminary, and the two felt a burden for the great need in this part of the Asian Pacific Rim.
And now, as they prepare to move to another city in the region with even grimmer spiritual statistics, they’re thankful for the support of Southern Baptists who have made it possible for them to sustain a gospel presence among their people group.
That support comes in large part through Southern Baptists’ gifts through the Cooperative Program and to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.
One hundred percent of the LMCO goes straight to missionaries who are making disciples and multiplying churches among unreached people groups.
The national offering goal this year is $185 million, and the Alabama goal is $12.25 million.
The Rudds are among the more than 3,600 IMB workers living and working around the world to take the hope of Jesus to people who haven’t heard it. As they go, lives are changed, and churches are planted, thanks to the generosity of Southern Baptists.
Season of giving
This LMCO season of giving begins with the Week of Prayer for International Missions, set this year for Nov. 28–Dec. 5. The week will highlight stories of missionaries who, like the Rudds, are supported by the LMCO (see descriptions at left). All of them benefit from the offering, and all of them need prayer support to stay strong in the work God has called them to do.
The Rudds say they definitely appreciate prayer as they adjust to a new city, that they would be able to connect with other young families. They also ask for prayer for God to “unblind our people so they would see the gospel as good news for them,” Samuel Rudd said.
International Mission Board missionaries Sean and Shelley Blacksten serve with Tim and Tina Louderback, leaders of the Americas Connect program. Both couples are passionate about equipping and connecting churches with opportunities to serve in Central America and the Caribbean.
The missions strategy of Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma was forever changed when their missions pastor read a startling statistic: “5% of missions work is done in North Africa and Middle East.” Now the church is actively engaged with IMB workers in that area.
Skip and Kim Meyer* moved to South Asia in 2004, but their lives on the missions field started in South America where they grew up as missionary kids. God is using their knowledge of the Spanish language and Latino culture to train and mobilize Hispanics and Latinos to serve in South Asia.
IMB worker Katee Sheppard* has seen firsthand the impact Bible stories in Africans’ heart languages can have. Now African orality trainers are traveling the continent and leading workshops for thousands of believers representing dozens of languages.
To find a way to support their families, many people from Turkmenistan, one of the most repressive countries in the world, move to places like Turkey, Cyprus and Russia. Some who move abroad are able hear the gospel for the first time, but that comes with persecution.
Stephen and Erin Spencer* minister in a region of Southeast Asia where tribal warfare is ongoing, civil unrest is on the rise and foreigners are blacklisted from entering certain regions. However, the good news is entering homes and the hearts of people like Momma, a believer who boldly witnesses to others.
When IMB missionary Jeremiah Farmer* moved to Taiwan, he recognized a need in the churches — no one was being sent out as missionaries. Jeremiah and other IMB missionaries focused on training Taiwanese believers, encouraging and equipping them to send.
When Larry and Melissa Lewis moved to Czechia as IMB church planters, they began a Bible study in their home. That Bible study outgrew their home and is now a vibrant Czech-speaking church that is planting other churches.
Prayer guides and videos with these stories and more are available for individuals, groups and churches to download or order for free. For more information visit alabamawmu.org/offerings.
EDITOR’S NOTE — *Names changed for security reasons.