He was with them

Jesus was, we are told, going through the cities and villages of Israel, seeing their needs and struggles. I am not suggesting that other methods of outreach are not helpful – the internet, shortwave radio, Bible correspondence courses, short-term trips, but the best way to do mission work is to be there, with the people, for a prolonged period of time (Matthew 9:35-38).

At times, Paul was forced by circumstances to leave an area of work. In Thessalonians he was only able to preach in the synagogue for three weeks before being driven out (Acts 17:1,2). “That very night,” Luke recalls, “the believers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea” (Acts 17:10). Continue reading “He was with them”

Honor to whom honor is due

Last year we lost two great soldiers of the cross, Parker Henderson, 50 years in Thailand and Trinidad and Doyle Gilliam, 40 years in Malawi and Zimbabwe. It makes me think of Paul’s wise words to give “respect for whom respect is due, honor for whom honor is due” (Romans 13:7). A generation of great missionaries is moving on. Many of them went out to the mission field from 1945-1960.

I wonder who will take their place? Continue reading “Honor to whom honor is due”

Graduation to glory

We lost two great men this week to the cause of Christ. Or, more accurately, two great men graduated to glory. Parker Henderson, missionary to Thailand and Trinidad, and Doyle Gilliam, missionary to Malawi and Zimbabwe. Together they spent close to a century as missionaries. The number of conversions to Christ is known to none but the Lord alone.

I knew and respected brother Henderson from a distance. I wish I could do justice in expressing my admiration for his lifetime of service. I was, however, privileged to know Doyle Gilliam personally. He was a scholar, an author, dignified, and humorous. He was a very good preacher, but an even better teacher. He became fluent in the Chichewa language, preaching and conversing in it with ease. He served for a number of years in the midst of a civil war, and was most adept at developing long-term relationships with brethren in southern Africa. He took time for a foolish teenager who had, well, questions. Continue reading “Graduation to glory”

Beneath misty mountains

“A good man (and a good woman) leaves an inheritance to his children’s children …” (Proverbs 13:22)

Let me tear away the mists of time and let you see the valley where my parents made a home. It was a city sheltered by misty mountains. One of the mountain ranges is even named for the mist – the Vumba (or sometimes Bvumba) is the local word for mist or drizzle. Continue reading “Beneath misty mountains”

We’re not finished!

According to the United Nations there are 197 nations in the world. The list starts with Afghanistan and ends with Zimbabwe.

Could you name them?

Actually that would be a fun challenge. Get four or five friends and try to name them between you.

Now, in how many of those countries has the gospel been preached? How many have active congregations? How many have spiritually minded, biblically qualified leaders? Continue reading “We’re not finished!”

I’m a Missionary

She was bright-eyed and twenty years old, if she was a day. Her heart, I know, was in the right place. But her words jarred: “I’m a missionary,” she was saying.

What she meant was that she had participated in several week or two week-long mission trips.

I though of my uncle Reece Mitchell who spent 25 years in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I thought of another uncle, Dennis Mitchell who worked in Zambia 15 years. I thought of my father Loy Mitchell whose work in Zimbabwe traversed 40 years.

No, gentle student, you are not a missionary. Continue reading “I’m a Missionary”

The Martyr

“And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:6).

She was the mother of scores of orphans, a single woman on the mission field for decades. She fed and clothed generations of young people, introducing them to Christ and shaping their characters for good. She directed lives toward eternity.

One dark night she was brutally murdered. Continue reading “The Martyr”

How dare we take the gospel to those people!

God instructed Peter to carry the gospel to the Gentiles and the members of the household of Cornelius were immersed into Christ (Acts 10; 2:38).

Despite his obedience and proclamation that God was no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), Peter continued to struggle with his prejudice (Galatians 2:11-16).

Shortly after Cornelius and his household were added to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47), Christian Jews demanded to know why Peter would do such an abominable thing (Acts 11). Continue reading “How dare we take the gospel to those people!”