news around the world
IM serves churches, pastors, and people by helping them fulfill their role in establishing churches beyond North America
so unreached peoples can know the joy of a
relationship with the living God. To find out more about the ministry of IM, visit www.IMINC.org
Cubans Celebrate 80 Years of Ministry
Cuba—IM’s General Director Clint Morgan and Director of Field Partnerships Kenneth Eagleton attended the 80th anniversary celebration of the Cuban National Conference, August 3-8, 2022. Pop and Mom Willey served as pioneer missionaries to Cuba from 1940-1960. In 1942, they organized new churches into the Cuban National Conference.
Cuba’s current fuel shortage prompted the convention to host seven regional celebrations. The theme, “Eighty Years of Victory in Jesus,” heralded the Cubans’ dependence on Christ as they persevere through difficult decades of ministry.
Both men spoke during the regional meetings, attending the first service together. Thereafter, they journeyed to separate locations, traveling over 600 fatiguing miles between them.
Though several congregations could not access transportation to attend their regional meeting, people flooded the hosting churches. The estimated total attendance for all gatherings ran 1,500-1,600 for the three- to four-hour services.
During a service at the Cedars of Lebanon Bible Institute, leaders recognized six people who personally knew Pop and Mom Willey and were with the original church plant for at least 80 years. Clint also witnessed the graduation of 23 students from the Bible Institute. Three received master’s degrees.
“Please join me in praying for the Cuban people,” Clint urged, “They face one of their worst economic crises with shortages of electricity, fuel, food, medicines, and all basic necessities.”
Departures, Arrivals, and Transitions
Antioch, TN—IM consistently evaluates organizational needs and strategies. Retirement, changes in health or family dynamics, unforeseen opportunities, and more lead to staffing changes both in the office and around the world.
Director of Member Care and Mobilization and Candidate Shepherd Neil Gilliland tendered his retirement at the April board meeting, effective December 31, 2022. Neil and his wife Sheila served under IM as dorm parents at a school for missionary kids in Côte d’Ivoire from 1980-1988. After their return, Neil completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in counseling psychology. Hired as director of member care in 2001, Neil has served at IM for 21 years.
ETEAM coordinator Hanna Mott will step down from her position December 31, 2022. She has shepherded hundreds of high school students through cross-cultural service over the last decade.
New arrivals include:
Andy Yerby, a Welch College graduate with a degree in international business, joined the financial operations department October 2021. He serves as financial operations assistant.
Lauren Herren will join IM as ETEAM coordinator in January 2023. A graduate of Welch College (A.S. in science and biblical theology) and Belmont University (B.S.N.), she has participated in missions in various ways throughout her life.
Transitions for missionary staff require leaving a much-loved ministry for one God provides elsewhere. These gut-wrenching shifts in ministry often require just as much obedience and faith in God’s direction as answering the call to go overseas.
Donnie and Ruth McDonald invested 40-plus years in church planting in Japan. Ruth has accepted an invitation to lead Women Nationally Active for Christ (WNAC). Focused on helping women fulfill the Great Commission in their homes, around the corner, and around the world, WNAC is a great fit for her missionary heart. Donnie will continue to serve as a missionary while working with the development department, promoting Go Global and missions-focused education across the denomination. Arriving in the States at the end of October, they begin their new roles November 1, 2022.
In a similar scenario, after 25 successful years in Spain, Tim and Kristi Johnson returned to the States in 2021 to serve as missionaries-in-residence at Welch College. Tim began serving as program coordinator and instructor for the intercultural studies department August 2022. As he trains future missionaries, Kristi began working in the IM office as development communications manager on September 1. Her focus is growing the annual World Missions Offering (WMO) by telling IM’s story.
Jaimie and Tammy Lancaster have extended their ministry beyond Uruguay, where they devoted 20-plus years to church planting and training. As assistant director of field partnerships, Jaimie will assist Kenneth Eagleton in his role of supporting growing field partnerships. Nine countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, Central Asia, Cuba, India, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, Panama, and Russia) should soon expand to ten as Uruguay joins these ranks. Still working as missionaries, the Lancasters will promote IM’s work through partnerships.
For over 30 years, Nathan and Linda Snow spread the gospel to the Japanese on the island of Hokkaido. For several years, in addition to his IM duties, Nathan has served as president of JEMA (Japan Evangelical Mission Association), an organization for protestant missionary agencies and missionaries. The growth of JEMA and Nathan’s responsibilities in its ministries to missionaries necessitated greater time commitment and a move to Okinawa. Japanese Free Will Baptists tasked Nathan with exploring church-planting opportunities in this area as he devotes more time to the JEMA role. Linda, a licensed teacher in the U.S., will teach at Okinawa Christian School International. Approximately 80% of the students are non-Christian. The Snows continue with IM while serving another ministry.
Within the office staff, Leslie Nichols will transition from student ministries coordinator to director of mobilization January 1, 2023. She will organize, strategize, coordinate, and oversee all student ministries, seeking to instill a heart and mind for missions within upcoming generations.