Russia’s Kremlin is a fortified citadel overlooking Red Square in downtown Moscow, Russia. The Kremlin can be seen in the distance from this shot taken just outside the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
IMB Photo

Your Voice: Missions efforts continue despite difficult global trends

By Todd Lafferty
IMB executive vice president

As we enter a post-pandemic world, several challenging trends confront Christians as we seek to reach the nations with the gospel. Some of those challenges include the rise of nationalism, a growing multi-polar world, the fragmentation of the web, and booming population growth.

While the world was quarantining over the past two-plus years, nationalism across the world grew.

Many countries set policies to protect their people, canceling visas for foreigners or not renewing visas when the expired.

Unique cultural heritages

Some countries began to reassert their unique cultural heritage to resist the flattening of the cultures of the world.

Coming out of the pandemic, a separation of major powers into competing spheres of influence for economic and diplomatic dominance seems to be emerging.

China and Russia are holding war games, Russia has invaded Ukraine, and China is threatening Taiwan daily. For the first time, Japan has the votes to remove Article 9 from its pacifist constitution, which would allow it to raise a military and declare emergency powers to defend itself.

Multiple countries are erecting privacy and regulatory barriers that create separate digital silos, thus interrupting what used to be a world-wide web.

Ireland handed down a $400 million judgment against Meta for their advertising strategies, and China is siphoning off the world’s data through TikTok.

At the same time, China is blocking the global internet from entrance into their digital space.

On top of all that, global population passed the 8 billion mark on Nov. 15, 2022, and India is now the most populous country in the world.

Africa’s population will double by 2050 and triple by end of the century.

Urban population will grow by another 2.5 billion people by 2050, and over 80% of the world’s population will live in urban centers by the end of the century.

Todd Lafferty.


The number of refugees is on the rise. Over 100 million people are now displaced around the world — either inside or outside their country of nationality status.

In Matthew 24:9, Jesus reminds us that spreading the good news is costly: “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.”

Much work still to do

Despite these global challenges, IMB missionaries are reentering countries, engaging the lost with the gospel, building strong disciples and planting healthy churches.

Digital strategies help missionaries find seekers and train leaders.

Our personnel engage in refugee ministries across the globe and work in tense and dangerous places.

Why? IMB’s vision is to see a multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language knowing and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ.

The work is not over until we hear that trumpet sound.

Letters to the Editor

I read the July 13 Rashional Thoughts editorial about your missions experience and the connection to Bill and Audrey Cowley with great joy and wonderful remembrances. I never met the Cowleys, but I too have a Nigeria connection.

Mary Frank Kirkpatrick was a missionary from my home church in Mississippi — Noxapater Baptist Church. She served in both Liberia and Nigeria with the then-Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board), and I’m sure she and the Cowleys met, as Mary Frank was a school teacher.

Mary Frank retired and moved back home around 1980, but it was evident her heart remained with the people of Nigeria, and she even has an adopted son there.

In my teenage years, Mary Frank helped instill a love for missions in my life, and she made Lottie Moon come to life for us.

Interestingly, over the past few years, through my wife Beth’s work with Baptist Campus Ministries, we’ve met several Nigerian students who have come to the University of South Alabama to work on post-graduate degrees.

Several of them we’ve talked with are believers, and I’ve wondered on many occasions if missionaries like Mary Frank and the Cowleys may have had an influence in the lives of their parents or grandparents to bring them into the Kingdom of God. Perhaps they sat in a classroom that the Cowleys helped start and where Mary Frank taught.

I thank God for missionaries like the Cowleys and Mary Frank Kirkpatrick and the influence they’ve had on lives at home and abroad.

And thank you for reminding us of how we are all working together for the Kingdom.

Pastor Jeff Gardner
Daphne Baptist Church

Editor’s Note — We love to learn about the connections and impressions of readers of The Alabama Baptist. Thanks for sharing with us.

We often assume that if sufferers are bringing God’s glory into their suffering they will not scream or bleed, but sit quietly, hands folded and smile peacefully. Glory is never found in such pretense. Our glorious Lord screamed and bled.


X (formerly Twitter)


When evangelist Billy Sunday became a Christian, an older believer gave him some advice. He said, “William, there are three simple rules I can give to you, and if you will hold to them, you will never write ‘backslider’ after your name.

  1. Take 15 minutes each day to listen to God talking to you.
  2. Take 15 minutes each day to talk to God.
  3. Take 15 minutes each day to talk to others about God.”


X (formerly Twitter)


I did not know the bad decisions I would make or how many times I wouldn’t turn to Him for help. But God did, and He chose me anyway.

Amy Hacker

“Like little children”


Sixteen-year-old Ava Coulter said her advice to other teenagers needing to stand up for their faith is to “pray about it because God is going to lead you where you need to be.” “It is better to listen to God rather than to listen to peers,” she said.

“Peers might go for the revengeful answer more than the peaceful.”


A danger in a successful ministry with great results where God is obviously at work is that too often those who lead that ministry begin to believe more in their leadership ability and insight than in the Holy Spirit and the anointing.

This is not a condemnation; it’s a warning.


X (formerly Twitter)


The world says it’s over. God declares not until He says so.

The world says give up. God says look up.

The world says all is bad. God declares He turns bad into good.

God is with you. He will not leave you, and He absolutely will see you all the way through this.


X (formerly Twitter)


“I can tell you our phones are ringing off the hook, so to speak, from viewers who were moved and want to do something to stop this depraved slavery of children,” said Phaedra Galloway of Blanket Fort Hope, on the movie “Sound of Freedom,” which spotlights the atrocities of human trafficking.

My central claim is we can become like Christ by doing one thing — by following Him in the overall style of life He chose for Himself. —The Spirit of the Disciplines


X (formerly Twitter)


“God speaks to those who are prepared in their hearts to listen. Discern the voice from heaven above the noisy din of earth’s confusion.”


X (formerly Twitter)


The gospel of God’s grace bids us to define our worth by what He says and not by the shame of our failure or pain of our burdens.


X (formerly Twitter)

Holding on to hope in uncertainty

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

—Romans 15:4

By George Wright
Pastor, Shades Mountain Baptist Church

Hope is hard wired into our DNA. It is a longing of every human heart and is expressed in a variety of life situations.

From the mundane (I hope we have tacos for dinner) to the serious (I hope he doesn’t walk out on me and the kids).

The question is not if we look for hope, but where we look for hope.

The tumultuous events in our world remind us that the places we often look for hope aren’t as sturdy as they seem.

Biblically speaking, hope is rooted and grounded in God. It’s not just wishful thinking or positivity. It’s a confident expectation in who God is and what He has done for us.

Most of us like the idea of looking to God as our source of hope, but we often struggle to live it out in everyday life.

Paul gives us some very practical advice: read the Scriptures. It’s [a simple] concept, but how many of us are actually doing it?

Encouraging source

The word of God has been given to us for our instruction, endurance and encouragement … but it’s hard to remain hopeful when your Bible remains closed. Replace the content that is fueling discouragement, fear, division and hopelessness with content given to you for encouragement and hope.

If we did these things, our perspective on life would change and our attitude toward others would dramatically improve. (An excerpt from the post at