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April-May 2016


Without Borders


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one to one: Lessons about life, ministry, and grandkids

by Keith Burden, Executive Secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists


Exit 82-B

It was a cold February afternoon in 1984. John and Kay Metcalf, recently appointed Free Will Baptist missionaries to Brazil, were returning to their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A few days earlier they had participated in missions conference services. Following the conference they were summoned to the Foreign Missions office in Nashville.

While there, they received permission to depart for language school in December. Needless to say, they were very excited. The news was an answer to their prayers and the result of much hard work.

They left Nashville mid-afternoon and were traveling west on I-40 at 5:45 p.m. when an eastbound tractor-trailer rig jackknifed across the ice-coated interstate and collided with their car. Kay (25) and John (26) were ushered into the Lord’s presence near Exit 82-B in Jackson, Tennessee. In a moment, my wife’s sister and her husband were gone from this life.

That was 32 years ago. You would think during that period of time information might have surfaced that would make sense of what happened. It hasn’t. While our family remains unalterably committed to the principle taught in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good to them that love God, we still scratch our heads and wonder why.

Perhaps God will answer our question one day. And then again, maybe He won’t. Regardless, He is still God, and He “doeth all things well.” So, rather than dwell on what we don’t know, we choose to focus on what we do know.

  • We know God is faithful, and we can trust Him…even when bad things happen and life doesn’t make sense. That conviction is what got Job through his crisis, and it sustained us during our time of loss.

  • We know life is uncertain at best, and we dare not take it for granted. I’m not suggesting you live your life in fear and dread; however, you never know when you are saying goodbye to someone for the last time. Therefore, don’t miss a chance to share the Good News about Jesus. Take advantage of the opportunity to let others know you love and appreciate them.

  • We know the Great Commission is still at the very heart of why we exist as a denomination. That hasn’t changed in the past 32 years. It is what compelled John and Kay to say, “Here am I; send me.” Hopefully, it will compel some of us to consider God’s call to go to the regions beyond.

“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38).


About the Column

One to One is a regular feature of ONE Magazine. Written by Keith Burden, executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the column explores life, ministry...and the joys of grandchildren.


©2016 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists