COMIBAM Reaching the Nations

Posted on November 12, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

A personal highlight of many diverse ministry opportunities this year was to be asked to present two keynote messages to the annual COMIBAM conference in the Dominican Republic. This Latin American Consultation on Evangelizing the World has been bringing together evangelical leaders from a wide variety of denominations and mission agencies from every country in South and Middle America as well as Spain and Portugal for 25 years.

It was delightful to arrive in the tropics after an early morning departure from Mississippi with temperatures a few degrees above freezing. I recalled previous trips to the DR and the beautiful drive around the bay from the airport into Santo Domingo. Swaying palm trees, papaya and fresh pineapple and tourists splashing in the pool defied the approach of winter we were experiencing in our northern temperate climate.

Departing Atlanta, I discovered long-time friend and colleague, Larry Reesor, to be on the same flight. Larry is president of Global Focus and partnered with the International Mission Board over the years to mobilize churches for missions involvement. His organization has spread globally with multi-national branches including extensive influence among the churches of Latin America.

Larry is pictured with Decio de Carvalho, Executive Director of COMIBAM who put together an inspiring program of worship and equipping. Over the years COMIBAM nations have sent out more than 15,000 missionaries with a growing focus on unreached people groups. Latinos are still finding an open door in a Muslim world that is becoming more restrictive to North American missionaries.

The worship was unrestrained and uninhibited and, in typical Latin fashion, sessions seldom started within half an hour of predetermined times set in the program. This was the first time the annual conference was held in the Caribbean. I enjoyed greetings from Baptist leaders I had known over the years and many acquaintances from other mission agencies as the fellowship continued late into the evenings. There was a clarion challenge for mobilizing churches and finishing the Great Commission with delegates declaring Latin America is no more a mission field but a mission force.

It would not have been possible to preach without enthusiasm and passion in such a focused and spirited context, but I was privileged to have a gifted translator who assisted me in the task. Daniel Bianchi has directed the mission program for Argentine Baptists for many years and serves on several international boards. He shared the passion and understanding of the challenge being presented; his interpretation became almost simultaneous as he anticipated every sentence and knew where I was going. Someone commented that I preached in 110 voltage and Daniel kicked it up to 220 volts!

It is evident that God is moving around the world through movements such as this. At a time our own missionary force in North America is diminishing, God is raising up His people from Korea, China, India and Latin America to take the gospel to the nations.

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