In our last prayer letter, I wrote about the encouraging and prophetic words of Dr. Vernon Rosenau. Our God has also reminded me of an encounter I had with Dr. Jason Ormiston, a professor at Bob Jones University, pastor of a church in the Greenville area and board member of Baptist Mid-Missions. It was around a year ago, when I was visiting with Dr. Ormiston, seeking advice on how best to network with BJU for strategic globalized city ministry. He explained that because of my new responsibilities with Boston and Beyond, I should move to the Greenville area or an area like Greenville. His thinking was that it would be much easier to recruit vocational workers for Boston and Beyond if I lived closer to more potential workers. To say the least, I did not think much of his idea, being bound heart and soul to my beloved Boston. But now, a year later, the Lord has providentially led us to a place like Dr Ormiston described. Indeed, I am beginning to see the wisdom of his words. Actually, I prefer the word, networking, to recruiting,- because areas like Iowa or South Carolina, where there is a larger number of like-minded churches, makes it easier to work together in many ways to accomplish a common purpose, like ministering the gospel globally.
Last week, Deb and I visited with Elva Craig, who is looking forward to joining her Lord in heaven soon. Elva is perhaps the most effective international student worker I have ever know. In fact, she has now visited China four times, following up on disciples made in Iowa, mostly at the University of Iowa. It is comforting to know that we will be able to partially fill her shoes as we begin developing relationships with the global community of Iowa City. In fact, there is a team of workers diligently laboring in Iowa City, ministering to the international academic community. We hope we can help these servants in their efforts to disciple the world from Iowa City.
Last Sunday we spoke at Calvary Baptist Church of Dysert, Iowa, which gave us an opportunity to explain our move of ministry to Iowa. The folks of Calvary were exceedingly supportive. On Monday of this week, Deb and I met with a missions team from Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. They will join us in Boston for a week in August. Monday afternoon we attended a fellowship of churches meeting in Des Moines where we were able to meet up with many pastors from our supporting churches in Iowa. We hope to be in all of our supporting churches in order to report on our new ministry location. Wednesday night we began to get acquainted with some of the ministry team in Iowa City. Saturday, we leave for Minneapolis where we will meet up with friends who labor in the inner city of Milwaukee. Together we will attend Family Church, where we will visit with Jason’s father, Lee Ormiston. We do this to help our friends in Milwaukee get to know the Ormistons, who have labored faithfully and effectively in the inner city of Minneapolis. On Sunday evening, we will attend the commissioning service of Jean Tsen, who is a Boston and Beyond worker. Then on Monday and Tuesday of next week, we will be attending classes at Central Seminary and be involved in a discussion concerning city ministry with seminarians. On Tuesday afternoon of next week, we return briefly to Boston. In addition to this, we continue several online meetings across the Untied States and around the world (Russia, Japan, China). As you can see, we remain fully engaged in ministry. Our stewardship remains: 10 discipleship centers in 10 cities representing 10 civilizations.
Life giving Words
After our announcement of our change of ministry location, many friends and supporters gave words of encouragement. They were greatly needed and much appreciated.
“Dear Bill and Deb: I appreciated your prayer letter outlining the changes ahead. It was transparent about your fears yet revealed such hope in Christ. It was very encouraging to me. I deeply respect what you said about ministering to your parents. It is an example I will not forget. We will continue to pray for you as you make this transition. We send our love to you.”
“In my study of Isaiah, I read this morning,
‘For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?’
It will be exciting to see what God does in this next chapter.”
Bill & Deb:
“You are doing the right thing. Thanks for your example!
Praying the Lord will bless every aspect of this move.”
1. Continue to pray as we form new relationships with not-yet-believers from the global community of Iowa City and Iowa University. 2. Pray as we get acquainted with team members in Iowa City who are already ministering on the campus of Univ. of Iowa. 3. Pray for a ministry team coming to Boston from Faith this summer. Pray that we are able to give them a good introduction to city ministry. 4. Pray for our time with the seminarians at Central Seminary of Minneapolis. We hope to explain principles of effective city ministry. 5. Pray for us as we seek to schedule meetings in all of our supporting churches to report and explain our move to Iowa. (I will be calling pastors in the Northeast next week and in the Midwest in two weeks) 6. Please pray that our churches will understand the move to be of the Lord and profitable, not only for family, but also for ministry—the fulfillment of the Boston and Beyond ministry plan. 7. Pray as we invite new supporters to our financial team.
“When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus” (NASB Acts 8:39-40a)
We love you, Bill and Deb