Spring brings the annual Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American
Missions and a reminder that every dollar given to the offering goes directly
to the field to help fulfill the Great Commission in North America. In the
following pages we introduce you to eight NAMB missionaries who represent their
5,176 colleagues serving in the United States, its territories and Canada.
Please join millions of Southern Baptists during the Week of Prayer for North
American Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, March 7-14, and all
year long in praying for these eight dedicated missionaries. Pray for their
effectiveness in reaching those around them for Christ, and for God to confirm
your own mission in bringing the gospel to your world.
Week of Prayer missionary profiles by Adam Miller.
North American Missionary Categories
1. MissionaryThe missionary category is for a qualified
person in long-term service appointed and supported in full or part by
2. Missionary AssociatePersonnel working toward sufficient
experience and theological education to become missionaries.
3. Nehemiah Church PlanterSpends two years planting a
church or multiple congregations and are partially supported by NAMB.
4. US/C-2 MissionaryPersonnel appointed to serve two years
in the United States or Canada.
5. Family and ChurchThis category is for the approval of a
spouse whose mate serves as the primary worker.
6. National MissionariesPersonnel who are funded and
selected exclusively by NAMB. They serve in either a national, regional or
7. Field Personnel AssistancePersonnel who serve in a
8. Interim MissionaryPersonnel who serve temporarily, for
less than a year.
9. Contract MissionaryPersonnel who contract with a state
convention to perform a specific mission or evangelism project.
10. Seminary Student InternSeminary students who serve in a
short-term church planting mission.
11. State Administrative PersonnelThose who serve in a
missions or evangelism capactiy on a state convention staff.
12. Mission VolunteersShort-term volunteers who serve from
one week to four months. They include student summer and semester missionaries,
Sojourners, Innovaors, and volunteers for World Changers and Disaster Relief.
For more mission volunteer opportunities call 800-462-8657.
13. Mission Service CorpsServing four months or longer, MSC
missionaries are everywhere traditional missionaries servechurch planting,
resort/leisure, collegiate evangelism, youth/student ministry, urban and
multihousingplus new and entrepreneurial assignments.
For more information about NAMB missionary qualifications visit
DAY 1An Van and
An Van and Lienhoa Pham
photography by paul obregon
An Van Pham learned church planting in a communist prison in Vietnam. During
his time there he taught the gospel to other prisoners and trained them to tell
others the good news. Pretty soon he had helped start a number of cell groups
that sprung up throughout the camp.
He and his wife Lienhoa are only a few decades removed from their life in
communist Vietnam, from which they escaped with their first child on a tattered
and crowded fishing boat camouflaged by a fish net. After days at sea, the
group of 120 refugees was set adrift by engine failure. Many died of starvation
and dehydration aboard the boat, and An Van and his wife ended up in a refugee
camp until they were able to immigrate to the United States.
A former Buddhist, An Van now works with more than a hundred Asian and
dozens of other multi-ethnic congregations around Atlanta through the Georgia
Baptist Convention (GBC), where he has served since 1987. Jointly funded
through NAMB and the GBC, his objective is to assist the associations and local
churches to start new work with Asians and other ethnic groups.
The Asian population in Georgia has doubled and even
tripled in some areas over the past ten years, An Van says. We cover about 11
languages and dialects in this area, and we are seeing a greater need for
churches who can reach these different cultures.
An Vans primary strategy for reaching the lost sheep among the multi-ethnic
population in the state is to help establish leadership to shepherd the flock
of believers who can reach their communities for Christ. An Van says it is also
important to train the co-laborers in leadershipthe pastors wives.
I believe that more than 50 percent of missions and churches that have not
grown in the last 10 years are at a standstill, because their leadership team
is so weak, he says. This is why I am working with seminaries and convention
leaders to train church leaders who have had no seminary experience or very
little formal Bible training. Strong leaders need to be well educated. We are
also working to train their wives.
An Van has worked with institutions such as Boyce College at Southern
Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, through which students can earn bachelors
degrees in a distance-learning program. Pastors also have the opportunity to
earn master of divinity degrees through Southern Seminary. A teacher himself,
he is often able to teach classes locally and has helped develop the
Contextualization Leadership Development program, a certificate program that
trains pastors who havent had the opportunity to earn a high school
So, the program has trained more than 100 leaders, most of whom have gone on
to start churches. An Van also helps host an International Youth Camp where
youth from local churches can take their unsaved friends to have a good time
and hear the gospel. Over the years many young people have rededicated their
lives or made professions of faith.
Many of those kids make commitments to serve as pastors and missionaries, An
Van says. These kids will be the generation that takes over as the leaders.
Mission: To work with mission pastors, church planters,
their leaders and the Asian congregations across the state convention to help
strengthen leadership in existing churches and place effective leadership at
the forefront of multi-ethnic church plants.
Prayer request: Pray for the leadership of our ministry,
for protection for our family and that God would raise up a new generation of
leaders both out of those were training and the many childrenwere reaching.
DAY 2Mike and
Mike and Ana Daily with Lauren and Justin
photography by ken touchton
Mike and Ana Daily help Southern Baptist churches find needs to fill.
Serving in the largely Hispanic population of Miami-Dade County, the Dailys
have little trouble finding what theyre looking for in the way of a community
whose physical and spiritual needs seem to mount with each new season.
Director of Church and Community ministries for the Miami Baptist
Association, Mike has helped churches pinpoint ways to reach their communities
by doing everything from handing out thousands of New Testament Bibles at the
Dade County fair to offering tutoring at after-school programs to going
door-to-door handing out shoes to kids who would otherwise play barefoot in the
streets. Most immigrant families supported through day labor are living off
$7,500 to $12,000 a year, often supporting families of four or more.
Our first task is finding out from the churches what are the needs of the
community, says Mike. Then well find resources from the state convention, the
North American Mission Board or other churches or from foundations. Then well
go in and show the love of Christ to the community by meeting them at their
Mike Daily distributes Spanish Bibles with pastor Iazaro Guzman at
Redlands Community Migrant Camp in the Miami-Dade County community.
In Miami-Dade County, churches are confronted with language, culture
barriers and religion barriers. Miami supports a population of 3.5 million, and
nearly 90 percent of the communities are unchurched. The seasonal labor
population combined with the influx of Haitian, Cuban and other Hispanic
populations has brought with it a nominal form of Catholicism that Mike says
increases the need for more churches to minister to people from these languages
We also have what we call the up and outs, those who are very wealthy, Mike
says. But nobodys doing an effective job yet of reaching them. So Im working
with the churches to strategize and develop ministries to reach into these
communities with the gospel.
The majority of the population is near or below the poverty line. This means
benefits such as healthcare are out of the question. This is where Ana has
stepped up to meet some of the medical needs with the Good News Care Center, a
free clinic for low income individuals and families. The Center is where people
who cant afford medical care can get check ups and shots as well as New
Testaments and Jesus films in their own language, which is also usually playing
in the waiting room. Its also a place where the Dailys are able to reach the
People come here not only from the surrounding area but also from all over
South America and other parts of the world, Ana says. Theyre trying to find new
life in this country, and they come here with their sicknesses.
The Good News Center sees more than 200 patients a week, which means each
year more than 10,000 people have the opportunity to be healed physically and
Mission: To work with churches in the Miami Baptist
Association, helping them find and meet the needs of surrounding
Prayer request: Pray that God would bring more
opportunities for churches in the Miami Baptist Association to meet the needs
of people in the community, and pray for discernment for Mike as he helps
churches meet these needs. Also pray for the Good News Center that more
opportunities would open up to share the gospel and that God would provide
someone full-time who can share the gospel at the center.
photography by gibbs frazeur
Debbie Wohler thinks of herself as an unlikely missionary. With a degree in
physical education and her love of outdoor sports and elementary school
students, she may fit the profile of a teacher or a coach. But Debbie has been
able to use her gifts of skiing and working with children as ministry tools in
Tahoe City, California.
Tahoe City is a tourist-heavy town with six ski resorts, many wealthy
landowners and more than 12 million visitors a year. Tahoe City also is
spiritually deprived and infiltrated with New Age beliefs.
Debbies ministry years in Tahoe City began in 1975 when she worked as a
Summer Missionary. She returned later to work at the Olympic Training Center,
and even after the center had moved to Colorado Springs, Debbie continued to
call Tahoe City home. Now, even after 24 years of work there, the possibilities
for ministry continue to amaze her.
Since moving to Tahoe City, Debbie has been able to minister at seven
Olympic Games and hopes to attend the upcoming games in Athens, Greece. She
also has helped start a ski ministry, ministries at Olympic Games and several
ministries to children. She hopes soon to reach into the local public schools
with the gospel.
No one is more surprised than I am that Im a missionary, Debbie says. But I
decided early in life that I wanted either to be a missionary or an Olympic
athlete. And here I am working as a missionary not only to children and
students but to outdoor athletes and skiers.
During ski season, Debbie and her trained team of ski chaplains visit in
pairs the local ski resorts. On Sundays, theyll hold 15- to 20- minute church
services, which they advertise in local newspapers, with flyers and with large
crosses planted in the snow.
Some resorts even let us put up permanent crosses, she says.
The great thing about having services in the open is that people see us, it
makes them think about God, and they have to make a decision at that
Debbie also uses the ski lifts as a place to share her faith. Dozens are
baptized each ski season. In addition to her resort and sports-related
ministries, Debbie also ministers to children and their parents throughout the
With the A Plus after-school program parents are provided inexpensive
alternatives to daycare or kids being home alone. Parents Night Out gives
married parents an opportunity to rekindle relationships and single parents the
opportunity to take a breather. The Big A Club, Vacation Bible Schools and My
Morning Out are other ways Debbie and the on mission Christians who work with
her get to show their community that they care. They also are in the process of
forming a full-time preschool program.
Debbie also sees her ministry as a missionary training ground. Each summer
she works alongside Sojourners, Summer Missionaries and other students involved
I dont want to raise another generation who doesnt know God. I dont want to
be a part of that, says Debbie, agreeing with Truett Cathy who says, children
are a message we send to a generation we do not see.
Debbie has seen a number of kids shes known since elementary school grow up
and go to the international mission field.
She estimates that the ministry reaches about 17,000 children a year. This
year, the ministrys mailing list includes 635 families.
Debbie credits much of her ministry success to Gods working through Southern
Baptist churches who have given her support through labor and finances.
In fact, she was able to purchase two passenger vans with the 3 million soup
labels sent to her by more than 3,700 SBC churches.
Mission: To reach the tourist population and the residents
of Tahoe City, California, as well as to recruit and train local Christians to
take on the ministry of the area.
Prayer request: Pray for wisdom in meeting the changing
needs of the community. Pray for opportunities as God brings the world to my
doorstep. Also pray for safety on the ski slopes and safety for the children.
Pray that Debbie and other Christians in Tahoe City would use every opportunity
to boldly proclaim the gospel. Pray that God would supply four to six
volunteers in August.
4Mark and Christine Hobafcovich
Mark and Christine Hobafcovich with daughters Hadassah Ruth and
photography by paul obregon
A native Romanian fleeing the communist clutches of the former Romanian
dictator Ceausescu, Mark Hobafcovich knows what it means to need a ray of hope.
As people groups coordinator for the North American Mission Board (NAMB), Mark
hopes to provide Eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners and other ethnic groups a
ray of the hope he has found in Jesus.
We have so many people we havent touched yet, Mark says. There are groups of
Bosnians, Muslims and many others who have come to North America and are
seeking freedom and peace here.
Mark was 20 years old when he and six friends escaped Romania in 1980.
Risking imprisonment and even death, the group made its way to Yugoslavia and
then to Australia, where Mark received Christ at First Romanian Baptist Church
To help others find the freedom and peace he found,
Mark says churches need to be more intentional about planting healthy
reproducing churches with evangelistic passion that can reach out to specific
people groups with their language and culture. If such a church hadnt taken in
Mark and his friends in Australia, Mark may never have accepted Christ.
If you believe you can just evangelize a people group without providing them
with a church, youve left the job half done, he says. They need a place they
can go and grow and eventually bring other people to hear the gospel.
Mark estimates there are one million Romanian-speaking people in North
America and only about 49 Southern Baptist churches dedicated to reaching
Marks job is to form relationships with pastors reaching various people
He worked with associations, state conventions, churches and ethnic
fellowships to assess the need throughout North America for culturally specific
The greatest need across the board is for churches and resources that can
reach people in their native tongue. Mark says that while the message in
English will communicate the gospel, it may not reach them as deeply as if they
could hear the truth of the gospel in the language they were taught even as a
We need to proclaim the gospel in the heart language of the people rather
than the mind language, he says. Thats why I believe the Lord allows people to
come to the United States and Canada. Not only does it bring more believers
from the culture and language, but it also brings nonbelievers into an
atmosphere with the freedom to respond to Christ more openly. You dont have to
go anywhere else to reach the world for Christ. Just step outside your house,
and you are basically able to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus
Mission: To reach language groups through church planting
and outreach by communicating in their heart language.
Prayer request: Pray for Mark and Christine that God would
give them discernment in how to spend their time and resources, pray for
protection from spiritual attack, and pray that God would raise up leaders who
will take the helm as evangelists and church planters.
DAY 5Michael and
Michael and Michelle Dean with children Lauren and Nathanael.
photography by gibbs frazeur
By serving in a place where great minds come together, Michael and Michelle
Dean have the opportunity to see the world in their own front yard. Boston is
home to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University as
well as more than 70 other colleges and institutions, which all attract a large
number of international students.
International students are some of the most strategic people to reach out
to, Michael says. If you reach one student, they could, in fact, return and
change their entire country.
In other words, when Michael reaches an international student, that student
could become a missionary to the country he or she will return to after
As International Ministries Coordinator for the Greater Boston Baptist
Association, Michaels job is to develop and implement ministries that will
reach, teach and disciple internationals living in the Boston area. With
thousands of international businesspeople and more than 50 consulates
representing their countries in Boston, its very possible you could cross paths
with the leaders of other nations. What makes Boston a challenge is that people
have such limited access to the gospel.
Michael Dean speaks with Caryn Bullard of Lafayette, Louisiana, who he
hopes will help get the Baptist Student Fellowship going at MIT.
I say that Boston is a lot more like Beijing than Nashville or Dallas, he
says. People here have little opportunity to meet an evangelical Christian.
The Deans are trying to change this by taking the Bible to the students of
Bostons institutions and with great response. For example, in one of his Bible
studies, Michael was teaching about the apostle Pauls message to the people of
Athens where he used the unknown god as a way of sharing the gospel.
To take advantage of the opportunity to reach the world in Boston, Michael
and Michelle have tried to make themselves available on a personal level to the
international population as much as possible.
We have internationals in our home, Michelle says, who works side-by-side
with Michael. I find it important to have international students in our home,
because at least 70 percent of internationals never get into an American home
while they are here studying in the States.
The couple also has reached many of the students by helping them learn
English. In addition to starting Bible studies on campuses and in local
churches, the Deans have helped start English classes in churches, on campuses
and even in Chinatown in Boston. Theyve been successful in forming
relationships with churches, and with encouraging fellow believers to begin
international ministries themselves.
How do you make friends with internationals? Just go say hello, Michael
says. Oftentimes they have a need, and if you help them meet some of those
needs you have a friend for lifeif you want it.
The Deans ultimate vision is for churches across the continent to begin
international ministries. Later this year Michael will chair a national
committee to form a strategy to do this. With roughly 30 million internationals
in the United States, Michael says, Christians can do foreign missions without
leaving the country. The Deans are looking for long-term volunteers to serve
with them. For more information visit bostonbaptist.org.
If we dont share the gospel with internationals while they are here, a third
of them will return home and never hear the gospel, Michael says. We dont have
to just talk about them or pray for themwe can build relationships with
Mission: To develop and coordinate a ministry to
internationals living in the Boston area.
Prayer request: Pray for the Dean family that they would
stay close-knit, for partners who can join them in outreach efforts, for more
opportunities to reach out to internationals and that the hearts of
internationals would be changed as a result.
6Stephanie and Ross Smith
Ross and Stephanie Smith
photography by gary chapman
Stephanie Smith knew nothing about hockey in 1993, the year she felt called
to share Gods love with the hockey community in Minnesota. In a state nicknamed
the State of Hockey, the sport is a way of life and Stephanie and her husband,
Ross,are bringing real life to the sport.
There are 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, which become natural ice arenas each
winter, Stephanie says. With several indoor and
outdoor rinks in each community, ice sports have had a major influence on
In a state where only one out of every 1,400 people attends a Southern
Baptist church, one out of nine is affiliated officially with a hockey team. In
the rough-and-tumble world of hockey, the name of Jesus isnt often talked about
in the context of the gospel, and a significantly higher percentage of those in
the hockey community report that they have no church affiliation or evangelical
influence compared to the rest of the state population.
Most times all theyve heard is Jesus as a swear word, Stephanie says. Sports
travel, practices and games conflict with traditional church times and without
seeing a need for religion, its rare for a hockey family to go to church and
hear about Jesus, which means we need to go to them.
After Stephanie worked in hockey for nine years, the Smiths
acquired operational control of a Junior Hockey teamthe Northern Lights, a team
that serves as the training ground between high school and college hockey and
as a platform for their faith.
While Stephanie works as a trainer strengthening players and preventing and
treating injuries, Ross handles administrative duties as general manager and
president of the board of directors for the Northern Lights. This gives the
couple the time they need to build relationships and be a light to players,
their parents and the league.
The Smiths also have success reaching young athletes through their summer
hockey camps. At one camp, they witnessed 115 professions of faith.
The couple works with 16- to 20-year-old aspiring athletes who are in the
process of making critical life decisions. Before joining the Northern Lights,
players are required to sign a contract agreeing to maintain good grades,
refrain from using tobacco, alcohol or drugs and to complete 100 hours of
community service. Because of their positive choices and involvement in the
community, the players have had a major impact on the next generation of
Hockey is a sport known for violence, anger, lack of self-control and just
acting out, Stephanie says. Christianity is about God transforming us, giving
us control and meekness. Once people notice the difference, they want to know
more. They find that we have a different personality, ethic and different way
of looking at things. Then they want to know what makes us tick, and that gives
us the opportunity to talk about a relationship with God.
The Smiths have reached international athletes and many athletes across
North America through their work with the Northern Lights and Stephanies
position with USA Hockey and the Winter Olympics. With the privilege of serving
in Salt Lake City during the past Olympic Games, Stephanie looks forward to
finding Gods place for them to reach hockey players and fans in Turin, Italy,
Mission: To create bridging activities where Christians and
the hockey community can meet and develop relationships through which the
gospel can be presented and new Christians can be discipled.
Prayer request: Pray for the Smiths and the team staff that
they would continue to act with integrity. Pray that God would open hearts and
continue to create opportunities to share the gospel.Pray that others would go
to serve where doors are open at specific hockey venues and events.
DAY 7John and
John and Kim Piepmeier
photography by gibbs frazeur
John and Kim Piepmeier are not the first Southern Baptist missionaries whove
tried to reach the people of Kiana, (pronounced kigh-anna) Alaska, a village of
400. The Inupiat Eskimo people of Kiana have become their people and have even
given them Eskimo names: Qayaaqpaq (pronounced ki-yuk-puk) and Ayagiaq
From the very start its been about building relationships and building
trust, John says. This means taking on some of the native culture things like
doing what they do, eating what they eat, and just being part of their
Literally near the ends of the earth at 35 miles within the Arctic Circle,
Kiana might make a good study of how geography affects a people. John has
learned to hunt and skin caribou. Kim has learned how to sew native clothing
out of animal skins. They have both acquired a taste for muktukwhale blubber
dipped in seal oil. Because the weather during the winter is so harsh in the
Arctic Circle, the Piepmeiers supplement their diet during winter with foods
that might include salmon fillets, a freshwater fish called Sheefish, black
bear and other meat to help sustain them as temperatures drop to as low as 60
degrees Fahrenheit. To heat their home and Kiana Baptist Church, the only
Southern Baptist church for many miles, John and Kim transport hundreds of
gallons of fuel to the house and church. But the weather affects more than
The lack of light during an Arctic Circle winter has contributed to suicide
and alcoholism in the town. Since John and Kim arrived, the yearly number of
suicides has dropped and some people are trading drinking for faith in
John and Kim came to Kiana, Alaska, from Missouri
where they conducted campground ministries. The Kiana Baptist Mission hadnt had
a pastor in nearly 20 years when the Piepmeiers took over there. On average
between 12 and 15 people attend church services, and many others participate in
the churchs different ministries.
The exotic locale of Kiana drastically affects the types of ministry done
there. Johns sermons on Sunday are only the beginning of their full-time
ministry. John and Kim also have to deal with septic tank backups, replenishing
the heating fuel at the church, updating and repairing plumbing and performing
other repairs. During the week the couple will meet people to sew animal skins,
to skin animals, to fish or simply just to fellowship. This is when John and
Kim are able to reach the most people.
Every year were here we see barriers break down, John says. Every year were
here we lose our identity as the untrustworthy whites from Missouri and gain
more of our identity as the couple who loves the people of Kiana.
Mission:To strengthen the existing church in Kiana and to
reach the people in the village through ministry evangelism and other
Prayer request: Pray for protection from spiritual warfare
and discouragement. Also, pray for wisdom and opportunities for John and Kim as
they build relationships, share the gospel and disciple the people of Kiana.
Lift up Johns health problems and pray for strength and perseverance for John
DAY 8Gregg and
Gregg and Janine Farah with daughters Elaine, Rachael and
Kaitlynphotography by ken touchton
When Gregg Farah came back home, his home had changed. During his 15 years
on the West Coast, his hometown of New York City had grown in its influence as
a media, arts and financial center, had developed more than ever into a symbol
of all that is good and bad in America and had become a target for terrorist
attack. In the latest blow to the city, the monoliths of the World Trade Center
were turned to dust and thousands of Greggs fellow New Yorkers had lost their
While he was still living on the West Coast God made it clear that it was
time to return home. So, in 2002, Gregg, his wife, Janine, and their kids left
Saddleback Church in Southern California and joined NAMB as a missionary.
In spring 2003, God used Gregg and Janine to plant Mosaic Manhattan, a
congregation that meets in a school near their apartment building only two
blocks from Ground Zero. A church planted as part of Strategic Focus Cities
emphasis for 2004 and 2005, Mosaic Manhattan aims to be just what its name
impliesa church for all pieces of society.
Its not that we want to come up with a new way of doing church, Gregg says.
We just want to redefine in peoples minds what church is.
While the church is geared toward reaching young
professionals, artists and students, the doors are open to anyone in the
community near the church which has more than 130 language groups as well as
Jewish and Catholic populations. In part because of its proximity to the World
Trade Center, the church has attracted a number of people who have questions
they havent been able to answer.
Ive seen a lot of people open up and talk about the tragedy of 9/11, Gregg
says. Thats good, but it also produces the wounds that folks have had hidden
for the past several years. They have a lot of questions and often a lot of
Dispelling these doubts often means being consistent in the messages of the
church and being a solid part of the community. This means excellence in
message and quality in everything from the printed materials and website to the
music and activities at the church to the quality of coffee the church gives
away on a cold day. And while Gregg, Janine and their kids have already made
Manhattan their home, their hope is also to have a ministry team living in the
community as well, an ideal that costs have so far prohibited.
New Yorkers expect excellence, but they dont expect it from the church, he
says. We want to raise their expectations.
Modeled after the original Mosaic, a Los Angeles congregation with its
emphasis on experiencing God through the arts, Mosaic Manhattan is establishing
itself as an arts-conscious fellowship. Often a church service at Mosaic will
include graphic elements and visual art on a screen to illustrate a point in
Storytelling is a main way of communicating scripture and, for the sake of
illustrating a point, roller-blading across the stage is not out of the
question. Stretching himself to become all things to all people, Gregg has even
enrolled in a comedy class, so he can communicate more effectively. You might
even catch him at a comedy club with his friends. For now, though, as his
friends have suggested, Gregg plans to keep his day job.
Mission: To reach the diverse population of Manhattan
through church planting and community outreach.
Prayer request: Pray for the spiritual climate in New York.
Also, pray for wisdom and love as Gregg, Janine and church members share the
gospel, and pray that they would think strategically about reaching the
community of Mosaic. Pray that they would be a reflection to the community that
Christ is alive.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC