Dear Children’s Workers, Pastors, and Leaders,
Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by the story of William Abel, a Native American from the Friends Church who in 1919 left Southern California and traveled to La Paz, Bolivia, to begin reaching a Native American group called the Aymaras with the Gospel. Even though his ministry there was very short, he became the seed that led to a large group of Friends churches in Bolivia called Iglesia Nacional Evangélica Los Amigos (National Evangelical Church of Friends).Dear Children’s Workers, Pastors, and Leaders,
There are two verses in John chapter 12 that describe really well William’s life and ministry. Here they are in the version of the Bible called The Message: “…Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”
The lessons for this year’s Children’s Missions Focus tell the story of William Abel and unpack the meaning of John 12:24-25 for our own lives and ministries. This material is designed especially for children but can be easily adapted for youth and even adults.
Those who use this material will have opportunity to give an offering and designate what it’s for. There are four options to choose from, all of which help to support the ministry of Evangelical Friends Mission (EFM) around the world:
- Goats and Pigs to help people in different parts of the world with some of their needs.
- Transportation for missionaries who often travel long distances to share God’s word with people who have never heard it.
- Discipleship for people who receive God’s word and give their lives to Jesus Christ. This is training and support that help the seed take root in their lives and bear fruit.
- New Mission Fields to help us explore and find out where God wants us as Friends to share the Good News.
That fourth option directly supports EFM’s goal of sending 10 new missionary households from North America to launch 5 new fields by 2025. This goal is being carried out through a process called the Luke 10 Initiative which involves Luke 10:2 Gatherings for prayer, Luke 10 Think Tanks, and Luke 10 Trips. To learn more about the goal and this initiative please go to www.friendsmission.com/five-year-goal. As we send more missionaries and launch new fields we want to provide a way for our children and youth to participate in this effort and to also be inspired by stories like William’s that they too can become pioneer missionaries among the unreached peoples of the world.
Would you find a way to put these lessons to good use? Maybe it will be in your own home with your children or grandchildren. Maybe it will be in the Sunday school program of your church. Maybe a kid’s club, youth group, or a small group of adults. This material will not bear fruit unless it is used. Please find a way to use it. Someone’s life and eternal destiny could be impacted by those who take the time to work through these lessons.
Your fellow servant in Christ,
Executive Director of EFM
To find out more about William Abel and also get the full story of the group of Friends churches in Bolivia called Iglesia Nacional Evangélica Los Amigos (INELA), I highly recommend a book by Nancy Thomas entitled A Long Walk, A Gradual Ascent. It is available through Amazon.com. Nancy and her husband, Harold, served for many years in Bolivia as missionaries and worked with this group of churches. In writing the book a team of Bolivian Friends helped them with research and provided insights that helped shape the content of the chapters. It is well written and well worth your time!