Why I Give to the LMCO
As Christmas season comes around again, people begin to think of decorated trees, tables and arches, mistletoe, manger scenes, and GIFTS! Eggnog, candy canes, cookies, luscious dinners, caroling, family visits, snow, ice skating, ski trips, tobogganing, and sledding. As an IMB SBC missionary for more than three decades out here — I pen these words on Oct. 5, 2020 in Chile, where spring has sprung — what do I think about? Well, for starters, heat, BBQ, watermelon, and firecrackers. Yes, we do put up a tree, and give gifts, but at the other end of the globe, and below the equator, it is summer. No turkeys are even available in most places where missionaries serve. What I think about more than anything is the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, the offering that Southern Baptist churches, partners, missionaries and their kids support at this time of the year, and which pays for our support and which keeps us, more than 3,600 missionaries and their children, on the field. At this time, of the year four key words come to my mind:
-GRATITUDE: How thankful we are for the billions of dollars that SBC churches and individuals have poured out over so many decades in an offering of gratitude and praise to the Baby in a manger. It is an offering of gratitude to the One who was incarnated, who grew up, set up His tent among us, led a sinless human life, and then gave His life for a lost world. He then rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven, where He intercedes at the right hand of the Father for all who believe in Him. We share Him with the lost world, and we do it because of faithful giving to the LMCO.
-LOSTNESS: I think of Kara and Bruno, Kara’s two-year-old boy. We met them on a prayer walk yesterday near our home in Chile. Kara was sitting on a bench. We approached her and found that she lives here and is married to a Chilean. She speaks English, and her father was a diplomat. She talked about how she often feels lonely, not knowing when she will see her family again. We gave her a tract, called “Steps to Peace with God,” and left. We now pray regularly for her and pray she will call us, or that we can meet again.
-OPPORTUNITY: Our Lottie Moon offerings — yours and mine — pay for missionary rent, missionary health care, medications, food, and fuel. They even pay for the tract I gave to Mrs. Kara yesterday. The offerings also pay for us to share Theological, Biblical and Pastoral training with pastors and leaders in the interior of a country. Many potential pastors have never been to the capital and cannot easily go there to study in the seminary. Many people, like Pastor Raul, studied that way. Pastor Raul is a seminary teacher and pastors three churches in Uruguay’s outback. He also serves as the Secretary of the Uruguay Baptist Convention All this happened because of gifts to the Cooperative Program and our faithful giving to LMCO.
-SACRIFICE: When God gave his son Jesus for a lost world, He gave his best. He gave his only, and He gave just what we needed. He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son (John. 3:16). When I give my LMCO offering, I want it to be my best. I want it to be sacrificial, and I want it to be something that costs until it almost hurts. I make it my most expensive Christmas gift. I do not want to give to the risen Lord something as an afterthought. I want it to be well thought out, planned and sacrificial. Is that not the Spirit of Christmas? God gave us the best, His only and just what we needed. So why do I — an IMB SBC missionary of more than three decades — give to LMCO? Because I believe the offering is well utilized and administered, and I believe that I am privileged to do so.
Tim Kunkel Santiago Chile
OCT, 15 th 2020