Friday, June 21, 2024
Friday, June 21, 2024
HomeAll The NewsMissionaries Were Front and Center

Missionaries Were Front and Center

From the opening prayer by Joshua Phiri (Zambia) to the commissioning of new missionary families, missionaries were featured in every venue at the 2023 BMA of America Annual Meeting. BMA Global went to great lengths to have nearly all of our American missionaries from around the globe present at the meeting. Their presence had a profound impact on the tone and attendance at the annual gathering of messengers. 

Missionary Joshua Phiri welcomed messengers and guests in the opening session of the meeting on Tuesday evening, April 25. In addition, he led the opening prayer in his native language (Chichewa). The Phiri family serves in Zambia, Africa.

Following the Tuesday evening session, messengers and guests were invited to enjoy a time of fellowship with missionaries from around the world. As the missionary families scattered throughout the gym of Antioch Baptist Church, messengers had the opportunity to meet or reconnect with those serving through BMA Global. The fellowship time allowed for great conversations, fellowship, scheduling of speaking appointments and face-to-face connections.

During the second session of the meeting, Jack and Latrelle Bateman were recognized as legacy missionaries for their service to the people of Taiwan. In the 38 years of ministry in Taiwan, they established four churches in Taipei and helped Dale and Barbara Thornton in Taichung. Other ministries included a radio broadcast to mainland China and a mobile library on the back of a motorcycle. The Legacy Missionary Award was received by three of the Bateman’s children — John, Mark and Ann. Jack passed away on January 9, 2021, at age 92. Latrelle passed away on August 24, 2015.

Bobby and Ruth Bowman were also recognized as legacy missionaries. Bobby and Ruth served in Honduras for 20 years. During their tenure there, they planted nine churches, built a medical clinic and started a Bible institute. Later, he established BMMI — Baptist Medical Missions International — a ministry that hosts medical clinics around the world to open the door to sharing the gospel. Flanked by his wife and children, Bobby spoke on behalf of the couple. (Bro. Bobby also served as editor of the Baptist Trumpet from 2002-2005.)

Messengers were also introduced to three new missionary families. They included Cherry Gamboa as North American church planter to the Garifuna community in Bronx, N.Y.; Edixon Pina as a North American church planter to Phoenix, Ariz.; and Mkram Shahatit as North American church planter to El Cajon, Calif. 

On Wednesday evening, April 26, the 2023 BMA Global Dinner on the Ground event took place at the Conway Expo Center. With over 1,000 people in attendance, missionaries were front and center. Veteran Missionary Buddy Johnson delivered the annual message at the event. At the conclusion of the evening, all American missionaries, plus personnel from endorsed ministries assembled near the stage for the closing prayer. For the benediction, the CBC Choir shared a song written especially for the occasion to thank them for their faithful service to the Lord and the association.

During the final session on Thursday morning, April 27, BMA Global President Dr. John David Smith gave the annual report to the messengers of the BMA of America. He emphasized that in addition to American missionaries around the world, BMA Global supports nearly 400 Changemaker Missionaries worldwide. Changemaker missionaries are indigenous leaders trained by American missionaries to assume leadership roles in church planting and other ministries in their native country.

The middle name of the Baptist Missionary Association is Missionary. At the 2023 BMA of America meeting, the BMA certainly lived up to its name!