When Paul was getting later on in life and he knew the end of his ministry was closer than the beginning, he admonished his young coworker, Timothy to continue to missionary ministry of training the next generation of missionaries. He instructed him by saying “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” It was obvious, if the church were not continually recruiting and sending out new missionaries, the church would soon stagnate, wither on the vine, and then begin to die off. Paul considered the training of new missionaries to be an integral part of his own missionary ministry. And those of you who have heard me preach know that Paul is my hero and my model in my own missionary ministry.
In Colombia we have tried to emulate Paul in the way he established indigenous churches that soon were self supporting, self governing, and self propagating. We have been honored to see churches growing to maturity and taking on the responsibility for their own ministries and now even starting new churches on their own as well. We have been blessed to see the Lord bless the ministry in that way. At the same time, I have been concerned that many new missionaries going out do little or no evangelism or church planting. When I question why, I realize that it is because they are not receiving proper training in the area of missions in their Bible college training. So eight years ago now, I agreed to work with KCU and help change that.
At their request, I began teaching on campus every other year for one semester. I then teach one class online the three semesters I am not on campus. The school did not have the finances to support a full time missions professor since their were not enough students to pay the costs. The dean of the ministry department did not want to drop the program, so he asked if I would teach without a salary. Since I saw it as a ministry and not as a job, I gladly agreed. KCU does give me free housing and a meal ticket in the cafeteria. They provide a stipend to cover my gas milage in and out of town as I need to continue traveling and speaking to my supporting churches on the weekend. I am in my fourth such cycle now and have done this for eight years.
I have classes that start at eight in the morning and my last class of the day ends at three o’clock. I then jump in the car and drive to Rittman and arrive home about eight in the evening and do some housework and gardening on Saturday morning. Then I leave about noon and head to my speaking date. I spend Saturday night with a host family from the church and then speak at Sunday School and preach at church. Normally, after a lunch with the missions committee or some people from the church, I hit the road again and head back to KCU for my next week of teaching.
It is an exhausting schedule, but I enjoy teaching and I also enjoy visiting with you and sharing the work that the Lord is doing in Colombia. It is exciting to see what is happening there and I want to share that excitement with you! It is also exciting to work with the next generation of missionaries who will in the not too distant future replace me when I am no longer able to serve. I thank you for supporting not only the work in Colombia but my efforts to teach here at the Bible College as well. May God bless you for that partnership in this ministry!