Watch Bishop Ward’s latest video above. Read the transcript below.
“It is my great joy and privilege to serve this quadrennium as president of The General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church and the very best thing about this responsibility and privilege is the joy of commissioning missionaries, who have been called forth from across the global United Methodist Church and are now being sent forth into mission in the world.
At the fall meeting of the General Board of Global Ministries, eight new missionaries were commissioned. We give thanks for each of these persons who have heard the call of God upon their life and who now will be our presence globally at work. Missionaries now are sent from everywhere to everywhere, from Cambodia to the Ukraine, from Congo to Europe, from Alabama to Zimbabwe. It’s a great great intermeshing of our lives and intertwining of our giftedness and our call to mission.
Two of the missionaries commissioned heard the call of God upon their life as they entered into the phase of life which could be, for them, retirement. They are headed to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they will be teachers among the people. Their home church prayed for them, made prayer shawls for them which they wore as hands were laid upon them in the commissioning service. Their home church have raised missionary salary support for them and are engaged with them in continued prayer and attentive connection as they go to take on this wonderful new responsibility. The wife of the couple said to me, “I’ve been waiting for this moment my entire life.”
Another of the missionaries commissioned is a young adult, being sent forth into ministries with Latino people. As we celebrated the commissioning of these missionaries into service, it was my great joy to place my hands upon their head and to say their name, and then to say, “I commission you to take the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ into all the world.” What a powerful phrase! This is what we do for one another in our global connection.
And I invite you to go to the webpage, umcmission.org and to search, do a search for the missionaries who now serve. 316 of them, an easy number to remember, like John 3:16, “God so loved the world that God gave God’s only beloved Son, that whosoever believes in Jesus Christ will have everlasting life.” 316 missionaries now increased by eight, these are your missionaries, sent forth from everywhere to everywhere, witnessing to the love of Jesus Christ in the world.
The number of young adult missionaries has increased in the last 2 ½ years from eight to eighty, a tenfold increase. In your congregation, share the invitation into missionary service and share the invitation toward generosity, so that our missionaries may increase in number and flourish in their work. This is our great opportunity. Thanks be to God!”