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Insight: Passion for missions key for faithful workers

A passion for missions. It has been around for 2,000 years. And the need for that passion will never go away.

When I was in high school studying Latin American history in school and the missionary journeys of Paul at Bible class, I dreamed of going to Mexico and serving the people, teaching them about Jesus and about sanitation. The dream included my majoring in Spanish in college so I would be prepared “to go save Mexico.” My first semester of college, I enrolled in Spanish and discovered my ear did not hear many of the sounds and my tongue could never shape some of the sounds.

In time the dream shifted to Nigeria. I read and reread the detailed and inspiring reports from Howard and Mildred Horton. I was dreaming of going “to save Nigeria,” a country with an indigenous restoration movement at least 25 years old. The dream faded as people I had hoped to work with changed their plans. Way led on to way and here I am late in life reflecting on my dreams.

I am thankful that many young men and women have a passion that is more substantial than my youthful dreams. I have confidence that a new, young generation is being called to mission fields around the world. I am praying that older, experienced generations will believe in the passion enough to share their resources (money, prayer, wisdom) to send families to the field.

The World Mission Workshop, a phenomenon that goes back to 1961, continues to inspire new generations of college students to consider all the possible mission fields. A steady flow of young people meet missionaries who have served the Kingdom in many places. Many evangelistic efforts around the world began as far-away dreams at one of these workshops. The dream grew into a plan and then became a work in progress. Those who eventually make it to the field have a powerful faith that they must be doing God’s work.

They have faith in God and determination to stay the course in order to make the plan a reality.

Do you have any idea how hard a would-be-missionary family has to work to have the support to go do the work they feel called to do? They write hundreds of letters. They make phone call after phone call to arrange meetings with elders or mission ministries. They are left dangling for weeks and sometimes months. They travel miles and miles, spending money and time they can’t really spare to solicit funds. They often meet with elders and never hear anything until they desperately make a call only to learn that the elders have committed funds to some other work.

I wish churches could maintain their autonomy but find ways to pool resources so that missionaries would have an easier time going to do God’s work wherever they are needed.

In August 2002, I wrote about Mel and Becky Latorre’s needing a sponsoring church so they could go to Brazil to be part of the Curitiba team. The North Macarthur church in Oklahoma City accepted the challenge. They are completing two fruitful years with that growing church.

Now I want to share that Mel’s father and mother, having educated their boys in the U.S., are ready to return to Brazil. At the end of the 1980s, I sat around a table with Mel Sr., the late Allen Dutton Sr. and several other church leaders as they planned a program for training and encouraging Brazilian preachers by traveling to work with those preachers. They both worked that plan — Latorre until he moved to the States to educate his boys and Dutton until his health made travel impossible. Now Latorre is ready to return to his homeland and begin traveling the county to encourage and train national preachers. He has support, but he needs working funds and moving costs.

Whit and Adrienne Gatewood have decided to become part of the Mission Miami team being organized by Continent of Great Cities to preach and teach in the densely populated areas of Miami. They will work at two universities with large populations from Latin America. I have known Whit all his life, enabling me to see his spiritual maturity. Adrienne is the daughter of the Malans who are working with the Peninsula church, north of Sydney, Australia. Adrienne has lived in the U.S., South Africa, and Australia. For the past few years, the Gatewoods have worked closely with the international ministry at the Memorial Road church, Oklahoma City. They are both warm and personable with great faith and determination. They need a sponsoring church.

My thoughts of living on a mission field have dissipated, but my passion for missions only increases each year. Daily I understand more about the importance of saving lost souls. My greatest joys come when I learn that one more person or family has decided to take the high road of service on mission sites around the world. If you want to know more about the senior Latorres or the Gatewoods, contact me.

Contact BAILEYMcBRIDE at [email protected].

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