When most of us think about BMA Missions, at least one name quickly comes to mind: Jerry Kidd. Bro. Jerry has embodied BMA Missions for many years and inspired countless generations of missionaries. Not only has he served as a North American church planter and a foreign missionary, but he also served for several years as director of International Missions and was the first director of Missionary Care. He has truly been a “Pastor of Missionaries” through his spirit of encouragement to those serving Christ worldwide. Bro. Jerry has a long legacy of faithful missionary service within our association. It is no surprise that he was included in the inaugural class of Legacy Missionaries for BMA Missions.
For several years under his leadership of Missionary Care, Bro. Jerry has dreamed of having an opportunity to gather all our missionaries in one location for a care conference. Bro. Jerry said, “My hope has been for us to get all the missionaries together in one place so they can experience the same spiritual blessing as a team. There is a spirit of solidarity among our missionaries. BMA Missions has become a worldwide effort of advancing the gospel. We have the witness that is going out all over the world. And when our missionaries can all come together, they will easily see the global aspect of their team’s far-reaching effect.”
Since its earliest days, conferences have been an essential aspect of the Missionary Care ministry. Several regional conferences were held to encourage BMA missionaries. Bro. Jerry stated, “Our people understand that missionaries make tremendous sacrifices when they leave home to serve on a foreign field, but one thing they may not fully realize is that often our missionaries work in isolation. When they have the opportunity to come together, they can exchange stories about their work. Sharing both their accomplishments and disappointments with each other is important for our missionaries because no one else can completely comprehend what they are going through except another missionary.” Although there have been regional care conferences in the past, there has yet to be a Missionary Care conference for all the missionaries at one time and in one location.
Bro. Jerry’s goal of bringing all BMA missionaries together has become our own, as Missionary Care has started making plans for a global care conference in November 2022. We hope to make this truly a global event by providing every BMA missionary family the opportunity to attend this conference planned for Thailand. The primary purpose of this conference is to provide a time of worship, fellowship and mutual encouragement for our missionaries. We hope this event will be inspirational, refreshing and relaxing. In telling stories of past conferences, Bro. Jerry has always commented on how much of a bright spot these events have been in the lives of our missionaries.
In addition to the spiritual aspects of this care conference, our security consultant will be leading training sessions to help our missionaries review their security contingency plans. We are daily reminded by international news reports that there are growing dangers in many spots on the globe. According to Bro. Jerry, “The way things are going today, we need to continuously equip our missionaries to be aware of their security needs while still focusing on their primary need of sharing the gospel with the lost.” Several hours of the Global Care Conference’s schedule will address safety and security issues.
Because it is Missionary Care’s goal to gather all our missionaries for one event, we intend to cover their expenses for the flights and lodging of each missionary family. We are confident that God will supply the resources needed to accomplish this ambitious undertaking. We rejoice that the number of BMA missionaries continues to grow. The gospel is advancing in more areas of the world, and that is good news! But as the number of missionary families grows, so does the budget for this global conference.
While there is an immediate need to give toward Missionary Care so this conference can be fully funded, the work of this ministry is not limited to conferences alone. Bro. Jerry said, “I am sure our churches will consider sending an offering for this event. But I also hope many will think about giving regular support down the road to help with the ongoing ministry of Missionary Care. We have helped our missionaries in so many ways through Missionary Care. We must keep supporting this ministry as it supports our missionaries.”
The churches of the BMA are faithful to pray and support our missionaries serving at home and around the world. Let us all keep praying for the work being done to share Christ with those who have yet to hear about His love. And please pray for the Missionary Care team as they work hard to organize and plan this Global Care Conference. We trust that the dream of bringing all BMA missionaries together in one location for a conference will be fulfilled this November. And we are trusting God to lead us in that direction.
If you would like to contribute to the Missionary Care Ministry to help with this conference, you can visit bmamissions.org. From there choose “Give” and then “Designate My Offering.” On the next screen, you will need to click “Show All” and select “Missionary Care Ministry” from the list to designate your offering. You may also mail donations to Missionary Care Ministry, c/o BMA Missions, P.O. Box 878, Conway, Ark. 72033.