International Ministries

Transformational Stretching

November 13, 2015 Journal
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The Stretching of Ann & Adoniram Judson

October 9-12, 2015 we met sixteen individuals at the “Hear the Call” Retreat who were exploring a call to become missionaries with International Ministries.  After the keynote speaker each evening, we led reflection & discernment pieces for the participants.  On Sunday evening, Executive Director Reid Trulson shared about Ann and Adoniram Judson, the first foreign Baptist missionaries called to Burma (now Myanmar) in 1812, two weeks after they were married.  The Judsons were sent to evangelize the Burmese people.  However, first they had to learn the language. They studied with a tutor 12 hours a day! Then, they discovered that many people didn’t know how to read, so they asked for permission to start a school.  Then, they realized that they needed the Bible translated into Burmese.  So they asked the mission board to send a printing press and someone qualified to run it!  Then, they saw all the medical needs, and requested that a doctor be sent, too. The mission board replied, “We’ve never appointed a doctor as a missionary!”  But they found someone and sent him. The Judsons waited 7 years for someone to become a follower of Jesus.  Their original evangelistic call to start a church with new believers happened by 1822--10 years after being commissioned.  Ann and Adoniram let their initial call be stretched and transformed!  For Ann, she served over 13 years before she died of small pox.  For Adoniram,  he saw thirty-seven years of service until his death.  Reid Trulson said, “The frontiers of faith were not advanced by people of caution.” 


The Stretching of David and Joyce Reed

When we started as missionaries fifteen years ago, we were called to theological education and new church development.  During those 15 years we preached, taught Bible Studies, led prayer meetings, counseled hundreds of individuals, mentored pastors, taught theological classes, started congregations, built churches, built a theological school, hosted mission teams . . . not by ourselves, but with our beloved Mexican Baptist brothers and sisters of Southern Baja!  What we didn’t know then, but do know now, is that God was stretching us, transforming us, and preparing us for a new ministry that is unfolding now. Most of you know that we are now Regional Missionaries in the area of Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Renewal and Vocational Calling for Ibero-America and the Caribbean.  Like the Judsons, our original call has expanded into something we could not have even imagined 15 years ago!  At present, we continue our studies in Spiritual Renewal, while also planning trips to Mexico in January and February, and to Cuba in March.  We are anticipating meeting leaders in Chiapas, La Paz, and Santiago where we will hear their stories of stretching and transformation!


Stretching Hearts Towards Missions

Many of you have asked how we are doing with our financial support.  So we wanted to give you an honest and direct answer.  First, we want to thank you for your faithful support and love!  Many of you have been generously contributing to our ministry in Mexico since we were commissioned in 1999.  While we have been on U.S. assignment, we have been trying to visit with many of you to strengthen our ties, and also to share the vision of our new ministry focus.  We’ve also been forming connections with new individuals and congregations.  Right now our monthly support is at 88% which means we have a monthly deficit of $1167.  For those of you already giving sacrificially, thank you!  What comes next is not about you giving more, but we do need your help.  We are seeking new donors to support us. If 12 people pledged $100 a month, or 24 people pledged $50 a month, we would reach 100%.  Ideas?  Invite your friends to get involved with a missionary’s life for the next year.  Challenge a Sunday School class to adopt us for a year.  Host a dinner and talk about our ministry, inviting  people to support us for one year.  Or, maybe you know a church that isn’t presently supporting a missionary.  Friends have told us, “If you don’t share your financial need with us, then we don’t know how to respond.  There are many generous people looking for legitimate places to donate their money.  Let us know so we can share your story!”  So, share our story and pray with us.  And let’s see what God does next!


How is God Stretching You?

Stretching a call is not just an exercise for missionaries.  All of us who claim to be servants of Jesus Christ are challenged to not let our faith remain the same.  The process of transformation occurs as we have open minds and open hearts.  It is a daily choice of letting go of self, and holding on to more of Jesus.  May the words of 2 Corinthians 3:18b bring you hope and courage:

“Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” (The Message)