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Full Circle


full circle

by Susan Fulcher Burke


“We were commissioned at a special commissioning service at the Missionary Conference at Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 5, 1960. Twelve former students of FWBBC were commissioned for missionary service during that service.

After raising our required cash amount and faith promises for the support of our work, it was decided that we would go to The Spanish Language Institute in San José, Costa Rica, Central America, to study Spanish. We went to Missouri to say our good-byes to my family. At that time, my mother’s mother was in the hospital at Poplar Bluff. So, we said our good-byes to her there on the parking lot of the hospital.

It was a very difficult time. We were taking their only grandchild far away, for five years. It was the first time I had ever seen Bill really cry. We went to Nashville to finish up our packing, then went to North Carolina to say good-bye to Bill’s family, then back to Nashville, where we were joined by Jerry Ballard of the Foreign Missions office, who would accompany us to New Orleans.

It was a joyous occasion, because we were finally on our way to the mission field. But it was a sad, hard experience to tell our loved ones good-bye, knowing it would be five years before we would see them again. We left the states on April 25, 1961. Billy was 16 months old. When we arrived in San José, we were met by John and Barbara Moehlman, who were there studying Spanish, before going to Panama. They were a great help to us. We rented a one bed-room apartment, not far from where they lived in Barrio San Pedro. We spent the next year studying Spanish….”

These are the words of my mother, Glenda Fulcher, taken from her memoirs.


Fast Forward…

On April 21, 2009, Donnie and I met with the Free Will Baptist Home Mission Board in Nashville, Tennessee, and were approved to be Home Missionaries to Colorado.

Things have come full circle!

You see, I am a missionary kid. My parents, Bill and Glenda Fulcher, were missionaries to Uruguay, Panama, and Home Missionaries to the Hispanics in Houston, Texas. I am only a few years younger now than my mother was when she became a Home Missionary. I have great memories of being a missionary kid. I was able to experience living in a different culture and learning a different language.

Now, my children will be missionary kids! They will learn about something they have never experienced before called SNOW! They will also learn to say “pop” instead of “soda.” And to be sure, they will be the only local kids using the term “y’all!” I hope that one day they will look back and have the same great memories that I have. I hope they always see the big picture and are willing to go to the area of greatest need, even if it means leaving family and what is familiar. I also hope that I will be able to let them go, just as my grandparents let my parents go nearly 50 years ago.

My family and I are presently living with my mother in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, while we raise our support. It is interesting to me that we will say good-bye to my mom in the same town where she said good-bye to her family over 48 years ago. By the time this article is in print, we will be visiting your churches and presenting our vision for planting a Free Will Baptist church in Castle Rock, Colorado. We definitely are going to need your help to get us there! We will be bringing second generation missionary kids with us. My hope is that as we travel we will come in contact with people who supported my parents. I wonder if it is possible to find any second generation supporters out there.

As Christians, we are all commanded to share the gospel with others. Sometimes that means right in the area where you grew up. Sometimes it means going to South America. Sometimes it means going to Colorado or maybe to some tropical island! Don’t be afraid to go or stay wherever God calls you. Fulfilling the Great Commission is a plan that is at its best when it does come full circle!


About the Writer: Donnie, Susan, and children – Tyler, Brandon, and Katie will be planting a FWB church in Castle Rock, Colorado. Learn more about their new adventure at


©2010 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists