Dear WMF members,
I am grateful for the time I was able to spend with so many of you during Convocation. Even if there was only time for a quick handshake and a short conversation, my faith increased and I was made bigger and better by what I learned of you, your families and your ministries. Standing at the helm of the WMF Missions, I can safely say that the members of Missions Board are enthusiastic about reaching the world with the Gospel. There are some gifted people on our side: Dwayne Lusk, Robert Mawire, Jerry Hardwick, Matthew Kuruvilla. The wisdom of Jim McCool is available to us. Even though he sits on the Executive Board, he will continue to attend our board meetings. Charles Rogers is accessible and can provide a wealth of information when needed.
Terri Clark now has assumed the role of Assistant Director of International Missions. Advisors for the vision we seek to implement will be temporarily assigned soon enough. Next year we plan to have a panel-session to report on the harvest of souls occurring internationally. It is a pleasure to work alongside individuals who have given so much of their time, energy and resources for the furtherance of the message of Jesus Christ around the globe. These persons practice what they preach. Enduring various hardships and separation from loved ones, however long or brief a period of time it may be, is always a challenge. And I am grateful that we have the full support of the Executive Director and Executive Board members.
Friday’s missionary luncheon on the last day of Convocation was a blessing. To be seated at the table with a few of God’s workers who have distinguished themselves through their world outreaches brought me great delight. Approximately 30 or so men and women gathered for fellowship and to share experiences regarding their labors. At the end of which I delivered a brief word from Acts 15: 16-17 on ‘World-wide Evangelism in the Last Days’; but it was humbling for me to sit, and later to stand around, and listen to the many stories of joy and pain encountered by the pioneering efforts of our WMF folk in the Philippines and beyond. God’s power to sustain his laborers is truly amazing! Be encouraged, I am convinced that our King, Jesus, is soon to come. Therefore we must work while it is day, and yes, there is much to do and many unreached people whom we should not forget. I am thinking of one such group presently.
Prisons in foreign nations need WMF ministers to come and to visit them, bringing a powerful word of the Lord to them who are locked up. Unlike the public and private systems of incarceration here in the USA, there are few rights and privileges for inmates overseas. I can give an example. Although this occurred over 25 years ago, I still remember going into a Saudi Arabia jail to visit a fellow underground church member. He was a Philippino brother who had recently married a Philippino girl. The two of them were devoted Christians; But the Saudi government refused to recognize their marriage since they had engaged in a non-Islamic wedding ceremony. The husband, for that reason, was arrested for illicit co-habitation. I was glad I went to see him. The conditions in which he was kept were deplorable. Once inside I realized that if monies were not provided for his meals (i.e. donations from outside the facility by friends and family), he would not have eaten. It is likely that by now such a punitive procedure has been abandoned; but Christians in our house churches were unaware of this harsh penal act. In the end, an inmate was made glad when something more than bread and water rations were provided.
As we strive to reach the nations through crusades, street evangelism, a strong church rally here or there or by whatever means made available to you, let us not forget that the Gospel also works mightily among detainees. Jesus came to set the captive free. It remains to be seen what He will do for WMF ministers even in a maximum-security penitentiary.
Brother Darrell Sutton
Director of International Missions