EDITOR’S NOTES: This year’s Week of Prayer for International Missions in the Southern Baptist Convention is Nov. 30-Dec. 7 with the theme of “One Sacred Effort — Find your place in God’s story” from Matthew 28:19-20 (HCSB). The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions in tandem with Cooperative Program gifts from Southern Baptist churches support approximately 4,800 international missionaries in seeking to fulfill the Great Commission. Gifts to the Lottie Moon offering are received through local Southern Baptist churches or online at imb.org/offering, where there are resources to promote the offering. This year’s goal is $175 million.
She wasn’t supposed to live.
Born more than a half century ago to a 17-year-old mother, the newborn was not expected to survive more than a few days, if that long.
Her mother, not yet a Christian, turned to the distraction of television, where a preacher inspired her to pray. She bargained with God that if He would save her baby, then her daughter could serve Him as a missionary.
As the baby grew stronger and was finally released from the hospital weeks later, nurse after nurse told the young mother the fragile infant should be named, “Miracle.”
The prayer guided the daughter’s life from that day forward.
“As a child in elementary school, I remember lining up my dolls on the floor, all over the bed, just everywhere in my room,” said the woman, reflecting on her childhood.
“I would pretend that they were from everywhere — even here in North America — and had never heard the name of Jesus before. I would stand in front of them and tell them about Jesus.”
Even as a young adult, “The Father grew me, as He still is growing me, and gave me a great love for the nations,” she said.
Fast forward decades later to today, and that miracle baby, Pam Whitehead, is a missionary.
While she’s not physically serving in a remote village on the other side of the world, she senses a call from God not only to live and serve in North America, but also to serve internationally.
“The Father called us (Pam and her late husband, John) to Conestoga,” an impoverished mobile home park in Monroe, Ga., where she has been serving the past 10 years.
“After the Father called John home (in 2010), He was still calling me to Conestoga,” Pam says.
“The Father told me when He called us to Conestoga that He would still be sending me to the nations, which He has,” she explained.
To Allen Hill, an International Mission Board trustee and interim director of missions for Appalachee Baptist Association, where the mobile home park is located, Pam’s missionary zeal is unmistakable.
“Pam has a heart for the world, not just for Conestoga Mobile Home Park,” he said. She has been on numerous mission trips throughout the world, including serving on mission teams to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, in 2008, and in London, England, in 2012.
Wherever she finds herself — either walking among the people who call Conestoga home or walking among people groups who are at home throughout the world — one thing is certain.
She will be praying.
“Prayerwalking is a lifestyle for me,” Pam said.
She defines prayerwalking as “praying on-site with insight — asking the Father to use all of our senses to lead us in how to pray — asking that we see through His eyes and with His heart of compassion.”
In addition to actual prayerwalking, the missionary says she also has tried “virtual prayerwalking” by looking at pictures, objects and even videos as she is praying.
“Then there is prayer-driving,” she added, “when we can’t actually prayerwalk the location or maybe physically you cannot prayerwalk — but you can prayer-drive!”
One missionary family for whom Pam and the Conestoga Christians regularly pray is the Kelley* family serving in South Asia. In 2008, as the family of four was preparing for service through IMB, they met and became fast friends with Pam.
A year later, Pam joined Joanna Kelley* and eight other women on a prayer journey to the country where the Kelleys would eventually serve.
“This was a time of God confirming my call to our country, even in our waiting,” Joanna said.
The Kelleys moved to South Asia in 2011, and Joanna says the prayers of Pam and the Conestoga Christians continue to strengthen and encourage them.
“We know that, because people are praying specifically for our people, God is opening doors for us, setting divine appointments and preparing the path for His people to respond to the Gospel,” Joanna explained.
The believers at The Lighthouse at Conestoga Mission ask fellow Christians to join them in praying for missionaries like the Kelleys. Here are a few other prayer requests Pam shared:
— Pray for more people who need to know Jesus to move into the trailer park.
— Pray for believers who live in the trailer park to grow in their faith and boldly share Jesus with others.
— Pray for volunteers to come to the trailer park to prayerwalk, help with Vacation Bible School and children’s camp, preach, make door-to-door visits, etc.
— Pray for Pam’s strength, energy, rest, good health, wisdom, discernment, spiritual growth and obedience to God.
— Pray for a doublewide trailer for the mission to meet in.
— Ask God to provide the mission with a minivan for ministry.
For more information about the ministry or opportunities to serve, email Pam Whitehead at email@example.com.