Throughout my missionary career I have invested time in the preparation of the next generation of missionaries. In forty years that my wife and I have worked in Colombia, this fall will be the fourth time I have worked for a semester at one of our Bible colleges to encourage young people to consider missions and to train those who plan to become missionaries. I feel that is my responsibility to do so, in fulfillment of the injunction of the Apostle Paul in II Timothy 2:2 where he instructs Timothy “The things you have learned from me, teach to others who are dependable so that they might then instruct future generations.”
As I was training to head to Colombia more than forty years ago, I was privileged to learn from some of the great missionaries of that time: LaVerne Morse, Tom Thurman, Bill Gullick, and Howard Crowl. I took every class by every visiting missionary, even when I already had that class credited towards my degree. I did not see it as wasting time or money but as an opportunity to learn from those who had been there and who had “paid their dues” by risking their lives in missionary service for our Lord. Each and every one taught me valuable lessons that meant a great deal to me as my wife and I would later serve in the very dangerous country of Colombia. I left Bible college owing them a tremendous debt of gratitude.
Such a debt must be repaid. It is the only honorable thing to do. And so over the years, I would repay them by teaching the next generation of missionaries just as they had sacrificed their time to teach me. It was what each one had asked me to do as I expressed my appreciation for them having taken their time to invest in my life and future ministry. While it is never easy to find the time to be away from the field nor is it easy to discipline oneself to develop the syllabi for teaching classes that will be taught only one semester to one group of students, it is an extremely important element of the missionary ministry. It is something I do with great enthusiasm when I am invited to teach for one of the Bible colleges.
This fall semester, now for the third time, I am teaching as the missionary-in-residence at Kentucky Christian University. I returned from Colombia only last Thursday and by Saturday I was on campus preparing for my classes. On Tuesday of this week I taught my first class; more than fifty freshmen in the Christian Heritage class. That is a class in basic Christian beliefs and you can rest assured that the commitment to the missionary outreach of the church will be taught as a basic Christian doctrine! I want to encourage them to consider dedicating their lives to the missionary ministry or at very least to be totally committed to encouraging and supporting missions in their own lives and the churches where they will one day become members. My second class is the class on world evangelism, or missions. It is almost entirely of more advanced students and all are planning on going into missions in some manner.
I have only just begun my classes, but I am very much looking forward to this semester. It will involve a tremendous amount of effort on my part, but it will be worth it in the lives that I will have the opportunity to influence. During this fall I will also be available for some speaking dates. So if your church would like to have me come and present the work that the Lord is doing in Colombia please write a soon as possible as the available Sundays are filling up fast. And as a bonus, I can share the excitement of serving as a missionary, and a missionary-in-residence all in one visit!