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Free Will Baptist International Missions 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 Free Will Baptist International Missions, visit www.fwbgo.com.
IM Board Addresses Financial Crisis
Antioch, TN—The Board of Free Will Baptist International Missions met December 9-10, 2009, in Antioch, TN, with all board members present.
The board reviewed finances and an analysis of the numbers. As a result of four months of significant giving shortfalls and two years of brutal currency exchange rates, the Mission is facing a dire financial situation. Donor income for the months of August through November fell well below budget and income goals. As of November, year-to-date receipts are more than 8% below 2008 receipts. In addition to the income shortfall, the Mission has fought a two-year battle with the ongoing devaluation of the U.S. dollar against other major world currencies. Mission donations are received in dollars, but most spending is in Euros, yen, rupees, and other currencies that continue to escalate against our dollar, inflating ongoing “fixed” expenses.
Missionaries and stateside staff cut expenses, spending much less than budgeted amounts to lessen the impact of currency exchange rates. Yet exchange rates inflated the amount of money needed to operate overseas to more than $630,000 additional U.S. dollars. The Mission held steady in the face of the recession and these drastically increased exchange rates until the unparalleled drop in donor income pushed the Mission to take unprecedented action to avoid compromising the financial integrity of the Mission.
Painful spending reductions were necessary. Three full-time and one part-time position were eliminated, including Dr. Neil Gilliland’s position as director of member care. To continue serving the needs of our missionary family, the Mission will enter into a contract with Dr. Gilliland to provide services as a consultant.
In addition, all IM employees, both stateside and field-side, will experience a 5% reduction of their base salaries in 2010. The board froze salaries and issued no raises in 2009. For the second year, retirement contributions for all personnel (home office and field) will be reduced to the minimum required by the Board of Retirement to maintain an active account status and retain the life insurance provision.
“The board dealt with many heavy issues in an extremely short period of time. I speak for the whole IM leadership team,” stated James Forlines, general director, “in expressing great appreciation for the board’s diligence in advance of the board meeting, as well as their thoughtful, thorough, and prayerful approach throughout the two days. Please pray for all of us as we seek to continue to work on tight budgets. Ask God to provide all our needs according to His riches in glory.”
Note: Additional information concerning board action can be found at fwbgo.com/about/crisis.
Snapshots Around the World
Japan—Rusty and Brenda Carney and Josh and Alicia Crowe (pictured above, at left) spoke at the Kamifukuoka Christ Church in November. The Carneys spoke November 1, 2009, provided special music, and renewed friendships made six years ago when Brenda was a two-year overseas apprentice and Rusty served as a summer missionary.
Josh and Alicia visited the church November 8. Josh brought the message, and he and Alicia provided special music. They attended a neighborhood festival after the service with church members.
India—South India was hit by monsoons in November 2009. Landslides caused road blocks in several locations. Many people died because of the monsoons. A family of five was killed when a landslide buried their car on the road. Immanuel FWB Church in Kotagiri and the FWB church in Karamadai experienced damage due to the landslides (above). The Immanuel Church was begun during Laura Belle Barnard’s ministry in South India.
Nantes, France—J’Crois, an annual youth conference in France, was held in Nantes, October 30-November 1, 2009, with the best attendance to date. The 2009 theme was “Discerning the Message of the Modern Youth Culture.” Raphãël Anzenberger spoke six times using video examples to stimulate discussion and thought. Several young people offered a prayer of commitment to the Lord. Carol Teague counseled with a young lady from Ghana, and Tim Keener did the same with a young lady from China. Both professed faith in the Lord.
Nashville, TN—Norman and Bessie Richards received FWBIM Board approval on October 21, 2009, for a short-term assignment to France. Norman and Bessie will serve as Specialized English Ministry Assistants while career field workers are on stateside assignment. The couple will teach English and fill other service needs from January-June 2010.
The Richards served in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, 28 years and later took an assignment in Louisiana with the Home Missions Department. Norman and Bessie currently live in Nashville, Tennessee, and are active members of the Donelson FWB Church, including heading an English as a Second Language (ESL) ministry to immigrants. The couple’s knowledge of the French language, as well as their ESL and cross-cultural experience, make them a perfect fit for this six-month assignment with FWBIM.
Araras, Brazil—The Campinas Regional Association held a joint service November 7, 2009, at Second FWB Church in Araras, with 200 present. All eight regional FWB churches participated in the service through special music. Pastor Neto, Bereana Church in Araras, brought the evening message. Special recognition was given to Second FWB Church, which celebrated their 12th anniversary.
Montevideo, Uruguay—David and Kendra Dodson and their son Deacon (above) departed for their first term on Monday, September 28, 2009, and arrived in Uruguay Tuesday afternoon. The Dodsons have been busy since their arrival becoming familiar with the city, searching for an apartment, and finding a preschool for Deacon. David and Kendra began language school in early November and are involved in the work at Emmanuel Church in Montevideo.