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March 2014

Life on Purpose


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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

Board Makes Difficult Decisions

Antioch, TN—The Board of Free Will Baptist International Missions met in December to celebrate the accomplishments of 2013 and deal with difficult issues. “We praise the Lord for the blessings of this year—souls saved, churches planted, leaders developed, and young people called to reach the nations,” said Danny Williams, board chairman. “God has been faithful to IM for more than 78 years and we believe great things are ahead.”

“In 2013, meetings held with overseas leaders on several of our fields point to a future of great advancement,” reported Jeff Turnbough, director of field operations. “All around the world, people have followed Christ as a result of our Free Will Baptist works and are now laboring to fulfill the Great Commission. And, we rejoice in the young people sent to their fields and the ones approved for service in 2013. These are some of the finest workers I’ve shepherded through the process.”

“Although we struggled to make extremely difficult decisions about finances, we are hopeful and focused on the future of our work globally. The leadership team and the board believe good stewardship principles demand these hard choices be made now to establish a healthy financial foundation for the years to come. By doing this, opportunities to grow and expand the work, to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, can be fully realized,” said Williams.

In the context of several years of financial challenges, the board reviewed facts about another challenging year. The expense budget for 2013 was set at $6.7 million, yet the total income for the year is projected at only $6.0 million. This shortfall represents a multi-year trend, thankfully interrupted by an extraordinary financial year in 2012. In light of this trend, the IM leadership believes it vital to establish a strict, conservative 2014 budget. The board approved a budget of just over $5.8 million for fiscal year 2014. This represents a reduction in operational expenditures of over $900,000 (a 15% reduction) over the approved 2013 total.

“As you can imagine, cutting nearly $1 million is very painful,” says Clint Morgan, the Mission’s general director. “Almost every part of our organization will feel this pain.” Reductions in the IM home office, which first started with the global financial crisis in 2008, continue as three vacant positions are left unfilled. Even more painful, was the decision to vacate the position of stateside administrator for The Hanna Project, affecting veteran worker Darren Portell and his family. In total, the reductions in the office equal more than $250,000.

After much prayer, working from a balanced budget perspective, most partnership budgets were cut by 50%. This affects church planters in Russia, Cuba, Central Asia, and more. Field budgets received hefty cuts. Japan missionaries lost $88,000. Uruguay missionaries saw a reduction of $45,000. India ministry budgets were cut by $41,000. The work in France will operate with $32,000 less, and so on.

“Not only will our IM fields feel the sting of the reduced budgets significantly,” lamented Director Morgan, “But, as far as I know, this is the first time in the history of the Mission, we had to make the heart-wrenching decision to reduce our field missionary staff.” The approved budget includes the loss of one missionary from the team in France—veteran Cathy Crawford. Cathy, approved in 1982, has worked primarily in personal evangelism, writing and distributing tracts, and holding Bible studies with women interested in learning more about Christianity. The decision was based on a review of the current work in France, ongoing field needs, and future field strategy. “We are thankful for the 30-plus years of faithful witness and hard work Cathy has invested in France,” Morgan stated.

Veteran missionary to Uruguay, Molly Barker, chose to retire after 50 years of faithful service. Miss Barker has spent the last six months in the States undergoing two knee replacement surgeries and therapy. When presented with the financial challenges, Miss Barker determined her retirement to be good for the needs of the Mission. While filling her other responsibilities, Miss Molly has overseen the work on the St. Teresa church building in Rivera, Uruguay, for the past several years. She hopes to see the project concluded in 2014. “For 50 years, Miss Molly has labored among the Uruguayan people, faithfully sharing the gospel,” Morgan said. “We honor her for her dedication and longevity of service.”

“Though bathed in prayer and seeking God, nothing about these decisions was easy,” reiterated Clint Morgan. “Our board valiantly led us to seek a realistic, balanced budget, making the deep, but necessary cuts, to ensure that Free Will Baptist International Missions will continue to send Light into the darkness and Hope to the hopeless for years to come.”


Geneva Poole Welcomed Home

Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil—Geneva Poole, veteran missionary to Brazil, entered her heavenly home on November 20, 2013. Diagnosed with lung cancer in April 2012, Mrs. Poole (pictured below) began an aggressive regimen of treatment, but eventually the cancer spread to other parts of her body. Even as cancer raged, her trust in the Lord and His plan for her remained firm, as did her determination to continue to serve Him as He provided strength.

Bobby and Geneva were appointed to missionary service in Brazil in April 1960. Married in September, they entered Brazil as newlyweds in December of that same year. The couple served faithfully through the tenures of all six general directors of the mission.


When the Pooles entered Brazil, less than 2% of the people claimed to be Protestant Christians. Today, that number has risen to approximately 23%. Ribeirão Preto, an educational center in the state of São Paulo, has been the Pooles’ place of service since February 1962. They started four churches in the area. Geneva continued to plan, develop, and prepare Vacation Bible School materials and teach in the seminary over the last year.

Geneva accepted Christ when she was 13 years old, at Lebanon FWB Church in Effingham, South Carolina. At a young age, she developed a conviction that God wanted her on the mission field. That conviction was confirmed while at Welch College.

Bobby and Geneva gave 53 years of faithful missionary service and have spent the last few months preparing to retire on December 31, 2013. Over the years, they engaged in prison ministry, prepared Bible studies, established a long-running radio ministry and telephone answering service that shared Scripture 24/7, sponsored Vacation Bible Schools, began and promoted camps and retreats to foster spiritual growth and encourage community, and founded a Bible institute/seminary that has trained men and women for more than 40 years.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 8, at Lebanon FWB Church in Effingham, South Carolina.


THP Position Vacated

Antioch, TN—International Missions recently made the difficult decision to vacate the position of stateside administrator for The Hanna Project due to ongoing financial difficulties. Administrator Darren Portell (pictured below) remained employed through January 31, 2014. The Mission’s NGO (non-governmental organization) now operates without this position. Developing and executing projects is the responsibility of the director of field operations and regional directors.


“Our love and regard for Darren Portell could not be greater,” said Jeff Turnbough, director of field operations. “Darren and his wife Dana have been valuable members of the IM team and family for more than a decade. We hope and expect the Portells will return to serve with IM in some capacity in the near future. Their service has been exemplary. Unfortunately, as we analyze our current financial challenges, we believe temporarily eliminating this position is a wise course of action.”

Although the position of stateside administrator is vacated indefinitely, THP will continue to operate and fulfill these vital purposes. Details about this decision can be found on



©2014 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists