One by one, black missionaries stepped to the podium of Destiny ’92, held in late July outside Atlanta, and told stories of witnessing for Christ in foreign lands. In some cases, their stories mentioned the influence of Destiny ‘87, the first such convention called to mobilize the evangelical African-American community to global missions.

For 40-year-old Michael Johnson, Destiny ‘87 helped change his life. In 1987, Johnson was beginning a thriving medical practice after serving as chief surgical resident at the Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia. But he and his wife, Sandra Kay, were feeling the tug to be missionaries, a tug that had originated during a 1984 short-term mission trip to Zaire.

“We felt called to missions and weren’t really sure what commitment the Lord would have us make,” Johnson explains, adding that he thought he would end up doing periodic short-term trips.

“When we were at Destiny ‘87, we just got the message that indeed God had prepared us [as African-Americans] to go in missions because of the fact that we were better educated and better equipped than any time in history.”

At Destiny ‘87, speakers noted that the barriers that had long blocked unrestricted travel by African-Americans throughout the African continent were largely erased with the collapse of colonial empires in the 1950s and 1960s. Speakers said that the late twentieth century was God’s prime time for African-American Christians to take to the mission field.

“All of this kind of hit us square in the face in Destiny ‘87,” Johnson recalls.

The result? Since 1989, Johnson has been the only resident doctor at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya, where he conducts or supervises 1,500 major surgeries and 3,200 minor surgeries a year. In addition, he leads ...

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