“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…
a time to plant and a time to uproot…”
I love to read history of various kinds (world, U.S., church, missions, Friends, etc.). One thing I notice over and over, especially when I’m reading the Scriptures and church history, is all the uprooting that goes on and the new life that often springs out of it. I look at the global pandemic we are experiencing right now and seriously wonder if this is one of those times when major uprooting is taking place and getting us ready for a new season of sowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It has happened before. From a human perspective the Great Depression of the 1930s was a terrible time to start new mission fields. But that’s when the Lord led two of our regions/yearly meetings in the U.S. to start sending missionaries to what has turned out to be two very fruitful fields. The first was Oregon Yearly Meeting (now known as Northwest Yearly Meeting) who sent the Carroll and Doris Tamplin family to La Paz, Bolivia, in 1931 to help expand a work among the Aymara people that was already underway. Today there are over 200 Friends churches in that Bolivian yearly meeting with work also going on in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.
The second region to adopt a field and start sending missionaries during the Great Depression was Kansas Yearly Meeting (now known as Evangelical Friends Church-Mid America Yearly Meeting). In 1934 they sent the Arthur and Edna Chilson family to what is now known as Burundi in Central Africa. Today there are two yearly meetings in this small country with a total of nearly 200 churches. Friends from Burundi planted the yearly meeting in the Congo and have started work in western Tanzania.
Fast forward to 2020, likely destined to be one of the most memorable years of our lifetime. In May of this year the EFM Board felt led by the Lord to commit to this goal:
To send 10 New Missionary Households from North America
to launch 5 New Fields
in the next 5 Years.
The timing of this decision is intriguing to me. Why would we make a commitment like this in the midst of a worldwide crisis? Are we crazy? Probably! But could it be that from God’s perspective this is perfect timing?
I not only think about the uprooting going on that will likely help unreached peoples be more receptive to the Gospel, I’m also thinking about the uprooting that is occurring in the lives of people like you and me, getting some of us ready to literally uproot ourselves, move to different parts of the world, and put down roots among people who don’t yet know and follow Jesus. When he calls us to do that, will we be ready to say, “Yes”? Will we follow the example of families who did just that in 1931 and 1934? I pray that we will. And I believe that we will.
As you ponder and pray about these things with me, please consider how the Lord would have you participate in our year-end offering. This offering supports the ministries of EFM in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America. To find out more about these ministries and the missionaries involved in them, please go to www.friendsmission.com.
Local churches, regions/yearly meetings, and ministries like EFM depend on generous year-end giving to meet their budgets and get a good start to the new year. My hope, however, is that you will not base your decision to participate in this offering solely on our needs. May your heart be moved by God’s heart for the world. It is still true that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV). It is also true that God still sends us out under the power of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses of his great love in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
We are grateful for you and your partnership in the Gospel.
Your fellow servant in Christ,
Executive Director of EFM
Year-End Offering donations will be used to support the ministries of EFM in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America. There are three ways to give:
- Donate online here.
- Donate by credit card over the phone at 303-421-8100.
- Mail a check marked with “Year-End Offering” to EFM, PO Box 771139, Wichita, KS 67277.