September 2009

We all can rejoice in some God-given privilege we are allowed to enjoy. One of our distinct privileges is that of a pastor and group of people who play a special role in our lives. This sending church is extra special because I had the privilege of being their first pastor as well as the first missionary whom they sent out to another country, in this case, Lebanon and then Australia.

Although practically all of the faces have changed in that church during these 55 years, there is still one heart and one mind. We feel something special every time we return to Temple Baptist Church in El Dorado, Kansas. Pastor Ron Jones has done much to foster and maintain that special relationship.

God has led us in a marvelous way to develop some Bible study resources the past few years. We can see clearly the Lord’s hand in this small endeavor that will allow us to leave some tangible small ministry for blessing to others that can continue after we are gone. The main thrust of this project has come to focus on Bible colleges using the two books for textbooks in Old and New Testament survey courses. Right now we’re praying for 1000 students to be using each of those books each year. All thanks to our faithful God Who has granted about 70% of that initial goal. It thrills us to no end that young people studying in Bible colleges can get some benefit from our labors.

The above goal only speaks of the USA and Canada. Other countries have or are using the materials too. We just sent 150 of the New Testament Handbooks to the Philippines last month! It cost us less than one dollar per book to ship them which is fabulous!

We started this letter talking about a sending church, and this is where Temple Baptist, its pastor and secretary have stepped up to the plate (if you like baseball). Without them this thrilling extension of our lives and labors could not get to first-base. But their commitment and efficient handling of the distribution of these materials have literally been a “home-run” that is putting runs on the board! To Pastor Jones, his people and Jodi (the efficient and dedicated coordinator of the project), we give thanks to them and to God for this most special church that continues to multiply our labors for Christ!

Not only did Temple Baptist undertake all the work of handling these materials, they look for opportunities to present them to others. At their recent Ladies’ Conference they set up a table and sold a good number of the materials! And it needs to be said that we do not take one penny of the proceeds  personally though it would not be wrong to do so if that were the way God chose to provide our personal needs. Every penny made is put back into the ministry of these materials.

What is a special sending church? It is not a right but a wonderful privilege given to us by God. For a church to have been a blessing to us 55 years ago and to be such a part of our lives now in these “sunset years,” just has to be of God! I could wish the same for every missionary!

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