Lives on Loan:
The Importance of Christian Stewardship
news around the world
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.
Board Initiates All-Out Effort to Keep Missionaries on the Field
Antioch, TN—The Board of Free Will Baptist International Missions met December 8-9, 2010, in the Antioch, Tennessee, offices. The intensive, two-day session yielded continued confidence in leadership, new missionary appointees, and drastic budgetary measures to keep missionaries at their posts.
Significant Budget Cuts
The board wrestled with the Mission’s continued economic challenges. Like many other non-profits, especially mission agencies, IM continues to struggle in the current economic climate. The nine-member team approved a reduced budget of $6.5 million. “We believe in the funding system revisions and know, that given the opportunity, many within our denomination will respond,” stated Danny Williams, board chairman. “The board desires to create an environment, in an extremely difficult economy, that will give the funding system a chance to work.”
In accordance with the board and leadership team’s commitment to the overseas missionary team, the budget reductions will be made without bringing missionary personnel home.
The board approved radical steps toward extreme austerity. “We will have minimal representation at the National Association, reduce our presence in ONE Magazine, and drastically cut international travel. As incredible as it seems,” Forlines stated, “additional stateside personnel cuts are required. It is impossible to go from the 2010 budget of $6.9 million to a 2011 budget of $6.5 million without including personnel in those numbers.”
As a result, Lori McCraney (accounts payable) and Charolette Tallent (field operations stateside manager) will continue on staff only until January 31, 2011. Forlines indicated, “We hope the denomination will respond to these dire circumstances and help us keep missionaries at their posts.”
Director of Development Barry Simpson presented his resignation to the administrative staff and the board on Thursday, December 9. Simpson stated, “The last four years have been quite an adventure. I have had the privilege of working arm-in-arm with a delightful and hard working home staff.”
Simpson declared, “I came to the Mission to help institute the new funding system. I still believe it is the best way for our missionaries to receive support. However, the current economic climate dovetailing with lukewarm denominational participation took their toll on me personally. I do not believe I am the man to bring about the unity necessary to make the funding system work.”
“Barry brought passion, zeal, and energy to his role with the Mission. His commitment to developing the long-term funding needs of this Mission will be sorely missed. It is very disappointing for all on our team to see him leave,” Forlines affirmed. “We wish Barry and Jena Godspeed as they follow God’s adventuresome path.” Simpson’s resignation is effective immediately. Financial constraints prohibit replacing Simpson at this time. Deputy Director of Stateside Operations Mark McPeak will shoulder his responsibilities temporarily.
The board interviewed two couples for career overseas service. Jonathan (SC) and Amy (TN) Postlewaite were appointed and expect to join Tim and Lydia Awtrey in Bulgaria and focus on university student outreach. The couple currently pastor in South Carolina.
Patrick (AL) and Jill (MA) [names withheld for security reasons] plan to join creative access workers as discipleship coordinators. They live in Massachusetts and previously served under Tom McCullough in Royal Oak, Michigan. Although approved and appointed, neither couple is expected to join the Mission staff immediately because of current financial constraints.
“The Lord continues to send us impressive, prepared young missionaries like these two couples. The places they will serve desperately need them,” stressed Board Chairman Danny Williams. “For that reason, the board acted on their appointments. As the economy strengthens and the Mission’s financial position stabilizes, they will be ready to join the team. I urge our people to respond and help us send these called, young families as soon as possible.”
Additionally, Shannon Little was reappointed to Japan. Steve and Judy Lytle’s status was changed from special assignment to career missionaries, and Alice Smith’s request for a final six-month stateside assignment prior to her anticipated July 2011 retirement was granted.
The board also agreed to transfer two homes to the care of national works. Stan and Brenda Bunch purchased a home in Chitré, Panama, where they have since planted a church. The board voted to transfer the deed to the Chitré congregation for use as a parsonage. Upon retirement, Jerry and Carol Pinkerton left a Mission-owned home in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The board voted to turn the property over to the Ivorian FWB Association.
All board members were present: Danny Williams, Randy Wilson, Tom McCullough, Paul Creech, Nelson Henderson, Jeff Manning, Rob Morgan, Jerry Norris, and Greg McAllister. “Prayer is greatly needed as we work under increased budgetary restrictions. Personnel will have to be even more flexible as they assume additional responsibilities and say goodbye to dear friends,” Forlines declared. “Difficult, painful decisions have been made. Yet, we know God has a plan in all this. Pray for us as we seek to do His will and accomplish His purpose.”
Flooding in Panama
Cañita, PN—Sunday, December 5, through Wednesday, December 8, 2010, an unprecedented amount of rain deluged Panama. According to Judy Lytle, “One news report said normal rainfall for the first 12 days of December is usually around 2.4 inches. This year almost 9.5 inches fell. The president of the country, Ricardo Martinelli, said it was the most rainfall ever recorded in Panama.”
For the next week and a half, the only relief available to the people of Cañita was delivered via helicopter or boat. Local Free Will Baptists were able to send some aid.
Pastor Nicolás Valdés indicated three FWB families in Cañita lost their homes and everything they had in the flooding, and others were affected as well. Supplies sent include food, water, clothing, mattesses, and medicines.
People stateside who wish to aid in disaster relief can send funds to Free Will Baptist International Missions and have 100% of the funds sent on to Panama. Visit www.fwbgo.com for more information.
Turmoil in Côte d’Ivoire
Abidjan, CI—Over a month of political maneuvering and posturing followed the announcement of Alassane Outtara as the new president of Côte d’Ivoire and the refusal of deposed President Laurent Gbagbo to step down. Those ardently devoted to these leaders have strongly confirmed their allegiance and support through demonstrations, rioting, and illegal searches of private property.
Various efforts of both parties resulted in several hundred deaths. More than 30,000 Ivoirians have evacuated across the border into Liberia. The Liberian government anticipates 100,000 refugees before the standoff is resolved.
After five years of promises and six postponed elections, Ivoirian presidential elections occurred October 31, 2010. A run-off election for the top two contenders occurred the following month on November 28.
Snapshots Around the World
Alpedrete, Spain—The Alpedrete Outreach Center hosted an open house on January 2, 2011, to celebrate five years of ministry in the pueblo (pictured below). The Alpredrete congregation held their Christmas program in the Villalba congregation’s new building and welcomed more than 100 people who heard the gospel presented in message, play, and song.
Châteaubriant, France—Steve and Becky Riggs rejoiced over God’s provision in December as the building they desired to rent for a mission church effort became available. The French association committed to subsidize the rental fees. The high visibility should give more credence to their efforts to begin a church in this town with no gospel witness.
Ribeirão Preto, Brazil—The Christmas program at First FWB in Ribeirão Preto featured 60 church members and garnered an attendance of 450. The Marincek congregation’s smaller church had over 60 present. Several unsaved people attended the Marincek program.
Melo, Uruguay—More than 160 people gathered (above) to celebrate the inauguration of Melo’s new Free Will Baptist church building. Guests from the States and Brazil joined the festivities. The new building has drawn the attention of several people who have never attended church.
Montevideo, Uruguay—About 65 people attended the Christmas program by the Emanuel FWB Church in Malvin. Four people made a profession of faith. Several others were first-time visitors.