Letter from our Director

June 2017


As I write this month's letter, we are just about two weeks away from the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix. Holding our meeting every June has been a trend since the 1968 event in Houston, but prior to that, it wasn’t uncommon for our messengers to gather in May.

At the May 1918 meeting of Southern Baptists in Hot Springs, Arkansas, one of the agenda items was a recommendation to establish the Board of Ministerial Relief and Annuities. The two parts of that name have been the focus of our work for the past century as we have provided benevolence assistance to ministers and their families in need due to old age, death and disability, while managing a comprehensive program of retirement savings and investment.

In that Hot Springs meeting, Dr. William Lunsford, our first executive secretary said, "The men who have consecrated their lives to the work of the ministry until they have become old and feeble are entitled to the love and care of their brethren."

Your gift this month is one way of showing that love and care to those who have sacrificed much over a lifetime for the sake of the Gospel. Richard and Margaret Cline are just two of the many who are blessed because you and others give and you can read their touching note of gratitude and testimony on the back of this letter.

In Southern Baptist life, we may meet in June but we work together all year long to more effectively carry out missions and ministry in the name of Jesus. Thank you so much for your gift for Mission:Dignity as, together, we glorify God by assuring that no retired preacher or his widow should have to live in poverty.

Grace and peace,

John Ambra 

John Ambra

Director of Development


Dear Donors of Mission:Dignity,

My wife and I want to thank you so much for the money you are giving us. Thank you all for following God’s leadership to give to the Mission:Dignity program. What a blessing you all are. It helps pay our huge medicine bills and our rent. God is so good to us. I am disabled so I can’t do a lot. But I can, and I do, a lot of praying and I pray for you all. Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I first pastored a small church in the foothills of North Carolina — Edgemont Baptist Church. We would go up and spend Saturday nights there. We had a camper we called our “parsonage on wheels.” We lived about 20 miles from the church, 10 miles was gravel road, so on our way up there we would stop at homes and invite the families to church.

There was one man named Jesse I’ll never forget. He lived alone and I had a burden for him. God would want us to stop there almost every Saturday and ask him to come to church, but he would never show up. We kept praying for him and visiting him for about nine years. So, in God’s timing, one Sunday morning he came walking up the steps of the church. He came for a few Sundays and God began to deal with him about giving his heart to the Lord.

One Saturday morning, Jesse called me and said, "Preacher, I need to get saved now, can you come up?"

I can say that is one of the best calls I have ever gotten. We got there, got down on our knees and Jesse prayed the sinner’s prayer. He got up and said, “Preacher, I’ve got to be baptized.” So that very day, my wife and I took him to the creek and I baptized him. What a blessed day!

One year to the day of Jesse’s salvation, he went to be with his Lord and Savior.

This is just one of God’s blessings He has let me be part of in my ministry journey. Please pray for me and my family. My sweet wife and I have been married 51 years. God is so good to us.

I pray God’s richest blessing on each and every one of you. Thanks again for all you do.

Love in Christ,

Richard and Margaret Cline

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