Sending workers overseas to do what matters most

By Robin Talley* | Oct 21, 2021

Working with a team that includes missionaries and national partners, IMB missionary Rachel Joy* teaches Bible storying and other evangelism training, encouraging believers to share their faith.

Some of the last recorded words Jesus spoke to his followers are in what we call the Great Commission, “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19a). Arizona Southern Baptists have a history of keeping that command the focus of their mission by supporting individual church members who serve as international missionaries.

Rachel Joy*

Rachel’s parents have served Arizona Southern Baptist churches for decades. However, her parents were not the only ones who influenced her decision to spend her life sharing the gospel with the nations. She’s a longtime member of Happy Valley Baptist Church in Glendale, and individual Southern Baptists have been pouring into her life since Rachel was 3 years old.

Over the past few years, Rachel has been working with churches in the capital city of a country in West Africa. Her focus is discipling and training women from the local church. Rachel uses oral storytelling to get God’s Word into their lives, as many are unable to read a Bible.

In addition to teaching the women the limited stories that have been created, Rachel is training groups of women to develop new stories so that they can share God’s Word with other women. Discipling women to disciple other women is what matters most in Rachel’s day-to-day life.

“I find joy in being faithful to be obedient, regardless of the outcome, and remain focused on God’s glory,” Rachel says. “Through it all, the Lord has been my steadfast rock and foundation.”

Some have compared Rachel to an Arizona-grown Lottie Moon, the single woman who spent 40 years sharing the gospel with the people of China beginning in 1873.

Just as Rachel stays connected with Arizona churches with periodic updates and prayer requests, Lottie wrote letters to churches in America pleading with them to financially support their Southern Baptist missionaries. For more than 100 years, Southern Baptists have contributed to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to support missionaries all over the world.

Women in a country in West Africa practice telling a Bible story.


“The call to go make disciples means we have the opportunity to share the most awesome gift with the nations,” Vera says. “Why wouldn’t we want to do whatever we could to share it?”

Vera has been about the mission of making disciples for years. With a background in education, there was no shortage of opportunities for Vera in the refugee camps where she served. She worked as a school administrator, ESL teacher and high school curriculum developer. Whatever role she found herself in while working with refugees, Vera has been sharing the good news of Jesus’s life, death and resurrection with whomever will listen.

While Vera’s sending church is Sabino Road Baptist Church in Tucson, five other Arizona Southern Baptist churches have committed to be prayer partners with her.

“I couldn’t do any of what I do without prayer support,” Vera says.

Next Steps

Pray: Contact the International Mission Board ( for names of other Arizona-based missionaries. Ask to be added to their newsletters and updates. Pray for them individually and corporately.

Give: Consider giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering this year.

Go: Pray about going to a place outside of the United States, either for a short- or long-term assignment.

Share: Pray for the nations represented in your community. The world has come to America through international students and immigrants. Share the love and good news of Jesus with your neighbor.

*Name changed for security reasons

Robin Talley*, longtime Arizona Southern Baptist, is a Last Frontier missionary with the International Mission Board.

Share This Article:

Recent Articles:

‘Forever Changed’: College team serves in Sub-Saharan Africa

July 10, 2024

Goodness comes from obedience. This simple statement had a profound effect on a group of college students from Arizona and Hawaii this summer while serving in Sub-Saharan Africa. More than…

God changes lives at Zona Camp

July 10, 2024

For the past 21 years, Arizona churches have sent leaders along with middle and high school students to Zona Camp. While locations and people have shifted over the years, one…

After months of preparation, Northwest Chinese sees gospel responses at concert

June 24, 2024

The “God without impossibilities” brought famous Taiwanese performer Huang Kuo-Lun’s evangelistic concert to Phoenix June 9, and before the event was over, more than 70 attendees made a profession of…