VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 12/16/15)—Peter and Sarah McCurdy of Madison, Ohio, were commissioned to serve as American Baptist International Ministries (IM) missionaries in the Dominican Republic and Cuba on November 15, 2015. The couple’s four children, ages 6 to 14, will be serving with them.
In early 2016, the McCurdy family will begin a year of language study in Costa Rica. After that, they will join IM missionaries Madeline Flores-López and Ketly and Vital Pierre in the Dominican Republic. The McCurdys will be doing pioneering work providing pastoral care for Dominican families and pastors in this Caribbean nation of 10.5 million people, of whom 95% are Roman Catholic* (*World Fact Book, 2015).
Peter will also travel to Cuba at regular intervals to work with the leaders of Baptist groups in Santiago de Cuba and Havana.
The commissioning service was held at the First Baptist Church of Painesville, Ohio, where Peter served as senior pastor for seven years, beginning in 2007. During a portion of that time, Sarah, a French teacher, was on the adjunct faculty at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio.
The responsive call to worship, led by the Rev. Bryan Manary, moderator of the Northeast Ohio American Baptist Association, began by describing mission: “Mission is following the heart of God together with faith, hope and love. Mission is helping to send the McCurdy family–Peter, Sarah [and their children] Elisabeth, Nathaniel, Samuel and Elianna–to the Dominican Republic and beyond. Hallelujah!”
“There’s a big party in heaven as well as here on earth because we are celebrating the commissioning of the McCurdys,” announced the Rev. Adalia Gutierrez Lee, MD, IM area director for Iberoamerica and the Caribbean. “Jesus walked through both the small towns and the big cities, so our mission is to walk as Jesus walked. We are called to action everywhere we go–teaching, preaching and healing.” (Matthew 9:35)
The Rev. Reginald Mills, president of the IM Board of Directors, reminded the McCurdys of the challenges and joys of cross-cultural ministry: “There will be times when you feel inadequate. There will also be times when you feel the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. You are asked to do only that which you are able to do. Beyond that, the matter must be left in God’s keeping.”
During the traditional laying on of hands, Mills said, “As they go out from this place, we pray that they might be reminded every moment of every day that you are with them–that your love and power is resident in them–and that you’ll use them for your greater purposes. Give Peter and Sarah wisdom, courage and faithfulness; healing when they hurt; and deep joy when they are faithful. And grant that your will may come on earth even as it is in heaven. And so we trust them now to your care.”
Eight members of the couple’s Mission Partnership Team (MPT) were commissioned by IM’s Mission Partnership Coordinator, Ruthann Stevenson. These members will care for the missionaries and continue to build a network of individuals and churches that provide prayer and financial support. The Rev. Jim Bell, director of Vocational Development for IM, led the installation of the MPT members.
Mission-charged Scripture passages were read by four church leaders from northeast Ohio who are excited about the McCurdy’s work in the Dominican Republic: Wayne and Sherry Sanders (Chardon Christian Fellowship Church, Chardon), Kelly Irish (St. Anne’s Anglican Church, Madison) and Harry Pishcura (New Life Assembly, Geneva).
As the service neared its conclusion, Jim Wiegner, an IM development director, led congregational prayers of blessing for the McCurdy children: “May you today begin to understand how wide, how long, how high and how deep God’s love is for you. Now may God go before you to show you the way: above you to watch over you, behind you to push you into places you may not necessarily go yourself, beside you to be your companion and inside you to remind you that you are not alone and that you are loved beyond your wildest imaginations.”
The Rev. Dr. Lawrence O. Swain, executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio, gave the benediction: “Lord, go before them, helping them learn every word, every thought, every message they need as they serve in the Dominican Republic and Cuba to work with pastors and proclaim the gospel.”
The McCurdy’s mission partnership network is committed to providing 100% of their month-to-month financial support in the years ahead, but still welcome special contributions to cover the one-time and start-up costs of preparing for and starting missionary service. To learn more, go to their profile page.
Learn more about the McCurdy ministry and see photos and videos on their profile page on the IM website.
Download a bulletin insert with their ministry information, prayer requests and more.
American Baptist International Ministries is celebrating 200 years of ministry in 2014. Organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America, it began its pioneer mission work in Burma and today works in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas serving more than 1,800 long-term and short-term missionaries. Its central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationship with God, and change their worlds through the power of the Spirit. It works with respected partners in over 70 countries in ministries that meet human need.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.