FIRST PERSON: A Trip Around the World
Editor’s Note: Adam Covington is the videographer for Southwestern’s communications office. He produced a video promoting the Lottie Moon Christmas in August offering, which can be downloaded for free at www.swbts.edu/ChristmasInAugust.
At the beginning of July, I had no idea I would be traveling halfway around the world to shoot a video in a week's time. I also didn't know that I would have about 10 days to edit everything together when I got back. But the craziness, travel and editing is now complete, and Southwestern has launched a video and Web site to help promote the Lottie Moon Christmas in August offering.
I wanted to share the project with everyone, not because I want credit for the video, but because it is a project so close to my heart. Growing up on the mission field, I know firsthand what the support of Southern Baptists means to our missionaries. I had friends who were independent missionaries, and I saw them have to put their lives and ministries on hold for a year (or sometimes two) to fly home to America and travel to churches raising support.
As many of you know, every year IMB (International Mission Board) collects an offering called the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, which supports international missions. Southern Baptist churches partner together and give generously to send more missionaries than any other denomination in the world. In 2008, giving to Lottie Moon came up nearly $30 million short of the budgeted goal. It wasn't until May of this year that we really began to understand what this meant.
It means that IMB has temporarily had to suspend sending more short-term missionaries, and they may have to bring some home early from their places of service. It means people who have been called by God to go have to sit and wait until the situation improves. And all the while, men and women are dying every day with no knowledge of Jesus Christ.
At the Southern Baptist Convention this year, many hearts were broken over the situation. The president of the convention, impressed by a call to action by Danny Akin, a seminary president, called for churches to participate in a special offering, "Christmas in August." The call was for Southern Baptists to try and make up for the shortfall in the month of August.
So what can you do?
- Tell your pastor and bring the situation to his attention. Many pastors and missions committees in churches don't even know that we cannot send any more missionaries.
- Have your pastor or church leader visit http://www.swbts.edu/ChristmasinAugust. We've made free resources available for churches to use to get the word out. There is a video, bulletin inserts, PowerPoint slides and web banners for anyone to use.
- Pray about how you can be involved and what God might be leading you to give in August. The Southern Baptist Convention was created as a missions-sending agency and has a rich heritage of international missions. We can be a part of that heritage shining brightly into the future.
As I shot this video, I visited temples and saw people lighting incense and bowing down to silent, golden statues and a passage from Habakkuk ran through my mind.
It says, "What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols! Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it. But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” (Habakkuk 2:18-20)
I was broken and felt the burdens of those people who do not know that there is a God, one who breathes and lives and cannot be matched, and realized all the more the need to send missionaries and participate in sharing the Gospel around the world. How great is it that we don't have to say to our God, "Awake!" and "Arise!" because he has already done that. Let's get out there and share that with someone and make it possible for others to do it around the world.