When I became active in a local Southern Baptist church as a young adult, I remember my pastor often referencing the Cooperative Program from the pulpit and later explaining to me the beauty of what we do as Southern Baptists through CP.
Later, I would experience this gift personally as my seminary education was supplemented by gifts given through CP.
However, it was on a trip to Africa that the depth of what we do really took on an even deeper meaning to me. I was working with a friend of mine who serves as a missionary with the International Mission Board.
We had gone to visit a missionary friend of hers from another sending agency. For years, I had heard testimonies from our missionaries who were told by friends serving with other agencies how blessed IMB missionaries are because of the strong support of Southern Baptists.
On this day, I listened as this friend shared that her husband was preparing to head back to the United States to raise their support for the upcoming year. She would remain behind and alone for a few months to take care of their children while her husband was gone.
As I listened and saw the visible stress on her face and heard it in her voice, I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving for Southern Baptists and the foresight our leaders had in establishing a means of support that would give stability to our missions personnel: a testimony of what I had been taught years ago.
I can hear my pastor’s voice today, “Candace, we can do more together than we can do apart.” Thank you, Alabama Baptists, for your heart for missions and understanding that together we are strong for the sake of the Kingdom.
Candace McIntosh serves as Executive director of the Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union.