Saturday, July 30, 2016

Partners for life

Linda and I began to raise funds for our ministry back in 1984. We had some early supporters among family members (Phil's folks, siblings and Linda's Mom and sister), among some friends (college classmates, friends from our local church, etc) and a few churches from the then Baptist General Conference (now Converge USA): Bethany Baptist in Pittsburgh (where Phil had been an intern), Northwest Baptist in Chicago (where Phil had been youth pastor and was ordained), Calvary Baptist in State College, PA (where Phil was baptized) Grace Baptist in Erie, PA and Lakewood Baptist in Lakewood, NY. Also there were a couple other churches, which joined in at that time: Grace Church in Harmony PA, St Stephen's Church in Sewickley, PA and New Life Bible Church in Walworth, NY (near Rochester, NY).

It's amazing how many of these churches and individuals have continued to support us for the entire 30 years we were with Greater Europe Mission. When we moved two years ago to Eastern Mennonite Missions, we were afraid we would lose support from some. In fact the loss was minimal. Except for churches, which have folded or faded, and friends who have gone on to glory, the majority have been partners for the entire 32 years.

Our EMM Missionary Support Team Coach, Barry Freed, once remarked in an email that it seemed like most of our supporters seemed prepared to support us for life! While that might be a bit of an exaggeration, most have in fact stuck with us.

Through our supporters we have seen the Lord meet our needs throughout the past 32 years. Some of our supporters have gone to glory, as I mentioned. Some are proud to be octogenarians! Many are pushing 80...

We trust that the Lord will continue to supply what we need through our partners. It's been a joy to share our lives together. We try to pray for our partners just as they pray for us. Though not all our prayer partners and supporters publish a newsletter, some of them send annual letters with their Christmas cards or send an email on occasion.

We are glad that our supporters aren't just financial investors, but friends!

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