This is the 50th Year of Foreign Missions. Over these years the number of fields has grown from a single field in 1962 (Mexico) to 9 fields today. The Philippines was opened in 1969, India 1975, Nepal and Bulgaria 1991, Bangladesh 2005, Liberia and Guinea 2008, and Haiti 2011. We have developed over 200 churches and missions in these countries over the years. There was a setback in India in 2001, that greatly affected our work, but it is recovering. We still have churches in Nepal, but do not support them financially at this time.
In addition to the churches, we have a Children’s Home in the Philippines that cares for 16 children. We also have a Children’s Home in India that cares for 53 children. We support a Leprosy Home in India where 70 men, women, and children live. We provide them with food, medicine, and schooling, but most of all our aim is to share Christ with them. We have established schools in India, Bangladesh, Liberia, Nepal, and the Philippines. We also support a school in Haiti. In every country there are training programs to equip the workers for ministry. We have a fully staffed Bible College in the Philippines. Medicine, food, and relief are provided in times of sickness and disaster. We have feeding programs in the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Liberia, and for the Gypsies in Bulgaria. All of the ministries that we are engaged in are geared to reach people with the Gospel.
The Short-Term Mission Team ministry was started in 1995 and has proven to be a great blessing to our fields, as well as everyone who has been on a team. These teams provide a cross-cultural experience where one sees first-hand the needs on the field. This has increased the mission’s interest in many of our churches.
The work of missions has changed over the years from a dominant western missionary presence to a mission force of national workers who are empowered to minister through the financial and prayer support of our churches. Our Free Will Baptist work has moved in this direction, and today, rather than having a few workers in one country, we have over 350 pastors, teachers, and caregivers spread around the world on our mission fields. All of these are not paid workers or their churches have become self-supporting. These workers are engaged in ministry every day that is making a difference in the lives of many people. For a small missions program like ours, this is the most cost effective and efficient way to reach out. Our budget is limited, yet we are able to have a far reaching ministry by empowering the nationals to do the work of missions. These dear workers are our missionary representatives in their respective countries.
I have been privileged to serve as Foreign Mission Director since November 1981. I sincerely appreciate the support and prayers from all Free Will Baptists for this ministry over these years. This is your ministry. Sandra and I have been truly blessed to serve the Lord and the Original Free Will Baptist Church through Foreign Missions. As we look to the future, we are looking for our Lord’s soon return, but until He comes our challenge and task will always be to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.