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Friends of India Take Lead in Oversight of India Work
Antioch, TN—After 70 years of service, Carlisle Hanna retired from overseas missionary work in March 2021. His health no longer allows him to travel extensively or endure the hardships of life in his beloved India. As a result, the IM leadership team met multiple times throughout April and May 2021 with the Friends of India (FOI), a 501c3 non-profit organization based in South Carolina, to discuss how to best continue the established Free Will Baptist works in India. After much prayer, discussions, meetings, emails, and exchanges of ideas, the two organizations agreed FOI will oversee the works established by Brother Hanna, his former missionary colleagues, and national believers.
The FOI board, comprised of pastors with a strong commitment to the ministries God has developed through FWBs in India, and IM have partnered for nearly 15 years.
Throughout that time, FOI clearly demonstrated its devotion to our Free Will Baptist works in India sponsoring building projects, purchasing motorbikes and bicycles for pastors and evangelists, providing support for pastors and evangelists, aiding believers, praying consistently, visiting India regularly, and more.
Dr. Don Hanna, son of Brother Carlisle and raised in India, serves as the President of the FOI board. His grasp of the language, understanding of the culture, relationship with national believers and leaders, understanding of the ministries, servant’s heart, and other factors make him the perfect person to oversee the ongoing works in India.
Don commented on the transition, saying, “I am grateful for the opportunity to partner with IM. I have had the Lord’s call on my life for many years to help lead this work forward. There are many, and great, challenges. I have very large shoes to fill, so we covet your prayers and support as we move forward. I am grateful to each one of the Friends of India board for their commitment to our work. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Brother Clint, as we work together to reach the lost souls in India.”
General Director Clint Morgan stated, “IM’s commitment to India is undeniable. It was our first field and is now by far the largest in number of churches and believers. We rejoice that our long-term investment of personnel and resources has produced much fruit. At this historic juncture, we are convinced FOI is well placed to ensure the continuity and stability of the established ministries. I look forward to working with Dr. Don and FOI to continue our Free Will Baptist efforts to reach the 1.2 billion lost people in India.”
Funding for the ministries in India is greatly needed. FOI will set the budget, send funds to India, and provide accountability. You can contribute directly to FOI or through IM. One hundred percent of funds sent to IM earmarked “Hanna, Rev. Carlisle—Friends of India” will be sent to FOI.
Teague Elected President of French Free Will Baptist Association
France—Recently elected as the new president of the French Free Will Baptist Association, Joel Teague (pictured below with his family) stated, “I hope to encourage the churches, but also help strengthen and grow our denomination in France.”
He sees training, resources, communication, fellowship, and ordination as major needs of established congregations. Joel said, “We are creating an online training platform, with many different classes, to give each person in our churches the opportunity to grow in their knowledge of God and the Bible and be better equipped.”
Teague indicated the organization has no ordination system in place and is working to implement one. He cited books on Free Will Baptist doctrine as a pressing need. An IMpact Project, IMpact France—Discipleship and Training Program, has been established to support translating and printing important Free Will Baptist doctrinal works.
Acknowledging the last few difficult years, he specified the importance of the churches supporting and encouraging one another. He proposes joint church services and designated people to update each congregation on news and prayer needs of the other churches should foster better community among the established churches. Teague plans to address communication by sharing information about the worldwide efforts of Free Will Baptists. He also wants to use social media and create a website for the French FWB Association to convey “who we are and what we believe.”
He also hopes to plant more churches in France.
Joel concluded, “I could sum it all up with encourage, strengthen, and grow. I know it’s a big task and may be too optimistic; but I choose to put my faith in God, not in my own abilities. We serve a great God and nothing is too big for Him or His kingdom.”
Schorsack Departs IM
Antioch, TN—On March 22, 2021, IM announced the end of Walt Schorsack’s (below) journey with IM. Approved for a two-year internship in Japan in December 2019, Walt was unable to secure the necessary funding to serve.
Don Matchett, director of development, noted, “This decision has no reflection on Walt or his desire to go to Japan. We are honored he came through our doors and pray he will find a means to serve in Japan.”
General Director Clint Morgan concurred, “God’s delay is not God’s denial. Please join us in praying for Walt’s transition and future Kingdom plans.”
April Board Meeting Celebrates Advances Despite COVID-19
Antioch, TN—Antioch, TN—The IM board met April 19-20, 2021, for its annual board meeting.
Each director delivered reports from their respective areas of responsibilities. CFO Rob Conley reported a solid financial situation. Auditor Tom Wooten of Blankenship CPA Group passed IM, Inc. with a clean bill of health and complimented the finance team on a job well done. A motion carried to adopt the 2022 framework budget.
Other reports included: future plans, educational initiatives and leadership training, desire to open new fields, new and revised partnerships, the missionary process from application to field, approval of missionaries to return to their fields, and the approval of a national missionary internship/partnership with Connect FWB Church in Russellville, Arkansas.
The board reflected on the retirement of Brother Carlisle Hanna who gave 70 years of faithful service to mission work in India. Director of Field Personnel Curt Holland commented, “On April 1, 2021, for the first time in 70 years, Brother Carlisle Hanna awoke without the responsibility of being a missionary with IM. Yet he will always be part of the IM family.”
Chairman Jeff Nichols stated, “It is amazing to see how God continued to bless IM ministries during COVID. To Him be the glory.”
Chairman Jeff Nichols, Vice Chairman Rodney Yerby, Secretary Mark Price, Casey Cariker, Rick Cason, Will Harmon, Darren Walker, and Cameron Lane attended. Janice Banks joined via Zoom.
General Director Clint Morgan, CFO Rob Conley, and directors Curt Holland, Danny Gasperson, Neil Gilliland, and Don Matchett participated. Director Kenneth Eagleton also attended via Zoom.