Last week, I had the privilege of attending the first annual World Evangelism Fellowship hosted by our sending church, Vision Baptist Church. It was an encouraging time hearing from seasoned, veteran missionaries about how to get further involved in the cause of world evangelism.
One very encouraging aspect of the fellowship was being able to spend time with the pastors of many of our supporting churches as well as other pastors that we have met along the deputation trail. The fellowship provided a great environment to reconnect and fellowship with them before heading to the field.
We are often limited in our time to get to know preachers as we are constantly traveling from church to church, so it was refreshing to have the opportunity to get better acquainted and discuss ministry.
All of this got me thinking of how the Lord has so greatly blessed me and my family on deputation. We have certainly been blessed by wonderful partnerships and supporters, for whom we are extremely grateful. However another aspect of deputation that I am tremendously thankful for is the ability to get a “lay of the land” of churches around America.
As our time on deputation is beginning to reach its final stretch, I look back and am beyond encouraged at what we’ve witnessed traveling around America these last couple of years. We have been in a multitude of churches that are in many ways different. Some are rural, some are urban. Some are older, some are younger. Some are recently planted, some are over 200 years old. Despite these differences, these churches are united in doctrine and in mission. They hold to the fundamental truths of God’s Word and are busy about the work of the Lord to publish the gospel in their communities and around the world. They all have a heart for world evangelism.
As we prepare to head to China, I draw much encouragement from the fact that we have innumerable brothers and sisters scattered in churches from coast to coast that pray for us, support us, and believe in us. But more than believing in us, they believe in our mission and they believe in the Lord that commissioned us. As I labor in China, I imagine there will be many times of discouragement. I imagine there will be many times that I will despair and be lead to think, as Elijah did in 1 Kings 19, that I am the only one left serving the Lord. It is my prayer that in those times the Lord would allow me to remember deputation, the partnerships built, and time spent at events such as the World Evangelism Fellowship and remind me of the “seven thousand” who are still faithfully slugging it out for Him. It will be encouraging to know that we are not alone in this mission but have brothers who share in our heart to see China and the world reached with the gospel.
For those pastors that I saw at the fellowship, thank you for taking your time to come and be a part. It was great seeing you! For those who weren’t able to make it, thank you for all you do as well for the cause of world evangelism. May we stay busy accomplishing the task He has set before us until He returns.