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).
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. They are designed especially for children but could easily be adapted for youth and even adults. Opportunities are given for memorizing John 12:24-25, getting acquainted with Evangelical Friends missionaries who are active today, praying for the missionaries, and taking an offering to help support their ministries.
You can find the lessons for “From Seed to Harvest” at www.friendsmission.com/children-resources. 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.
The money collected through this offering will be used for EFM’s work around the world and will help support EFM’s Five-Year 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.
Some churches may take an offering together, while other churches encourage their members to send contributions directly to EFM. However you or your church chooses to handle it, I pray that you will consider giving to our 2021 Children’s Missions Focus. We need both your prayers and financial support as we ask God to lead us in reaching our Five-Year Goal!
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!
Our commitment to you is that all donations to EFM are used as designated. Once a ministry is fully funded, we follow policy to use funds for the next closest ministry need. 100% of every gift to EFM goes into the project or missionary fund to which it is given.