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Dear Praying Friends,
We continue to visit churches, presenting our ministry. We finished a swing through the southwest, then we spent several weeks in the St. Louis, Missouri area. After a trip to Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio, we are now preparing for a visit to the northeast.
I often hear people lament on our behalf about the "drudgery of deputation". They tell me how "terrible" it is that missionaries have to spend a few years raising support. They wish that we could do like the big denominations do - just get appointed and go. I strongly disagree with these sentiments. Here are some thoughts on benefits of the deputation ministry:
1. It helps the missionary develop his preaching, teaching, and organizational skills. I am gaining valuable experience as I speak several times a week to a wide variety of groups, while I manage my time to schedule and meet a nationwide itinerary of meetings.
2. It exposes the churches to missions in a personal way. This is much better than meeting your missionaries through a slick publication from denominational headquarters.
3. It trains the missionary to live by faith. It's good practice for the field, and tends to weed out those missionaries who won't trust the Lord before they ever reach the field.
4. It helps remind the churches of their missionaries on the field.
5. It helps break the missionary family away from a normal life in America before they have to leave the country. Deputation is a form of culture shock for the family, but it takes place in an environment that's more familiar and supportive than the mission field will be.
6. It's very educational for the missionary's children. My kids are seeing the country, eating new foods, hearing different accents, and enjoying some wonderful tourist attractions. They are learning about the good Baptist brothers and sisters we have in churches all over America.
7. It helps the missionary learn where his support is coming from. Deputation puts the support decision where it should be - in the local church, dependent on the Lord's leading.
8. It gives the missionary ideas for the ministry. I pay attention when I go into a church. Pastors out there are full of great ideas! In one church, I learned about a unique type of military ministry that might help us reach the Russian Army, in another, I found some ideas about a training institute that might help us train national pastors efficiently. I also get to read other missionaries' letters for ideas.
9. It allows the church to meet the missionary and his family and "check them out".
10. It gets the church and the missionary praying for each other's success.
Don't feel sorry for us because we are out here on deputation. We are having a great time, and God is taking good care of us. We are hoping to get to the field as soon as possible, but we are enjoying this productive ministry of being a blessing to the churches, and advancing the cause of worldwide evangelization. Rejoice with us as you remember to pray for us.
In the service of the King,