A Letter to a New Friend
Recently, I received an email from a new friend who desires to pray for us. He asked for information which would enable him to pray wisely. Below is my edited reply to him. I thought it might be good to remind all of our supporters of where we have come from, and where we are going.
Thanks for taking an interest in us. I remember you from the BMM family gathering last summer. I will just start writing until I get tired or boring.
Deb and I came to Christ through the ministry of Campus Bible Fellowship and Hal Miller. Deb was a high school track star, academic achiever, all-around good person who came from a conservative family in small town Iowa-
she was protected in many ways. I, on the other hand, was an Iowa wrestler whose father died while I was in the eighth grade. My mother was not able to control me, so I lived the rebellious life characteristic of the 60’s and 70’s in the USA. My gods were myself and wrestling. It was my worldview that one was either a wrestler, a cheerleader for a wrestler, or your life did not amount to much-seriously. However, the party life and wrestling success did not satisfy. It was my loneliness that drove me to search for meaning. It was Hal Miller who opened the Word and introduced me to Christ. It was the fall of 1975 that I placed my trust in Him. Deb also came to Christ at the University of Northern Iowa through the ministry of CBF. Both of us are products of BMM ministry.
We have five children and eleven grandchildren who are spread all across the country (missionary kids). We are thankful to God that all of our children and their spouses desire God, (their ecclesiastical affiliations vary). Mostly, as a father, I remember all of my short comings . So all I can do is thank God that our children desire Him at all, and for Deb who did an awesome job raising them. Our family gathers every other year at Christmas—quite a time for sure.
After training for ministry at FBBC and the Baptist seminary in Broomfield Colorado, Deb and I raised support to serve with CBF/BMM at Notre Dame. After 10 years with BMM, we resigned in order to accept the pastorate at the church we were attending in South Bend, Indiana. Deb thought it was a bad idea, and it was. The next three years were brutally hard, evil, but character building. When the dust settled, I was teaching at FBBC&TS. I taught there for three years. It was a time of recovery, and systematizing ministry thoughts necessary to teach courses on local church ministry. However, it was not long until it was clear to most involved that living life and teaching at FBBC&TS (however important) was not our calling.
One vision has always captivated us. This common vision for ministry came to Deb and me very early in our budding relationship. While still at the University of Northern Iowa, we accepted an invitation to have supper with a family from India. From that day forward, we have been impressed with the potential to speak the gospel to the global-world from our local-world. We have come to understand that it is not only the mobile academic communities that are missiologically strategic, but also the immigrant communities that are connected globally. We came to understand that globalized cities are “prepared by God” cities, enabling us to do what God has called us do: disciplize the nations. And this is what we are endeavoring to do.
I have burdens for ministry and abilities to minister, but the two do not perfectly match, which is a source of frustration, prayer and soul searching. What I would like to do-my unrelenting passion-is to join God in building a multi-ethnic church that mirrors the demographic of Boston. How God seems to have gifted me is like a Philip the evangelist type, able to meet people where they are at and draw them to Christ. Most of those who come to Christ in Boston eventually leave Boston. Actually, this is why we came here, ( to minister to people who will minister to their other world by returning to it), but we would like a few to stay:-)
We have a few folks who represent our core group, with others staying for several years before moving on to other parts of the world. This is our second church plant and a third plant is beginning under the ministry of Toby and Susan Stevens, who trained with us. Our joy of life is our world atlas, which doubles as our guest book. It contains hundreds of names of folks who have visited our ministry home, many who have been engaged in evangelistic relationships.
I have come to understand that my burden of ministry, to minister the gospel to all kinds of people in the city, will only be fulfilled by networking, recruiting, mentoring, and teaching others the principles that must energize such an endeavor.
A couple years ago, while bending over to itch my ankle, I was drafted into the team leader position of the Church Planting and Development division of Baptist Mid-Missions North American ministries (true story). Although understanding the importance and honor of the appointment, I did not desire or aspire to it. But I have come to understand that this place of servant leadership could be used to network global church planting. So until my brothers realize their mistake, I intend to do just that: network for global church planting by effectively ministering in the cities of North America. Yup, that’s what I will do if the Lord enables.
This may be more than you desired. I just want to say thank you for your service to the Lord. Such service has resulted in the rescuing of folks like Deb and me. Men like you have made a meaningful life possible for folks like us.
I will put you on our email prayer letter list. You can reference our Supporters Website at interglo.org
Please pray for Chris who was recently baptized and returned to China, Peter who is preparing for baptism, Jason who has finished evangelistic lessons, but has not yet received Christ, Haomeow, Luke and Jun who have just begun evangelistic lessons; 11 weekly studies (8 online, some to China), my wife, Deb, who has multiple ESL partners, cooking classes, and evangelistic Bible studies. Finally, I have a thyroglossal duct cyst that need to be removed. I will have throat surgery on June 10.
June 10-15, Dr. Jeff and Sherry Newman will be joining us for a week in ministry.
Bill and Deb will be attending a funeral in Iowa this weekend.
Bill will have surgery to remove a thyroglossal cyst on June 10.