Pray for every partner of IM.
Bible Study—Esther 4:16
“Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”
The story of Esther has been told thousands, if not millions, of times. A God-fearing young woman goes before a godless king and makes a request that easily could have brought about her death. Without her high-stake request, the Jews would have been exterminated from the kingdom of Ahasuerus. One man, Haman, proposed this genocide because he felt Mordecai failed to show him proper respect. Out of revenge, Haman wanted to strike down hundreds of thousands of people.
Read Esther 4:16 and discover anew the challenges, courage, and commitment of this courageous woman. She told her Uncle Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” She determined the cause was worth her life.
What causes around the world stir you to prayer? Hunger? Disease? Immigration? Social injustice? Sex trafficking? Genocide? Persecution? What role does God want you to play in addressing one or more of the issues which move you?
Let’s follow Esther’s example and make bold requests of God. Why not write your own list of big, audacious, daring requests of God that pose great risk to you. Your risks may not include death…but it might. Go to Him with the spirit and determination of Esther, then wait on Him to act.
Informing Our Prayer
Several years ago, the IM leadership and board made an intentional decision to pursue interdependence as a core value. This commitment manifested itself in developing partnerships with agencies, individuals, and churches who share our vision of “laboring together to fulfill the Great Commission.”
It has been amazing to see God’s hand at work in bringing partners to IM. We know these partnerships offer us avenues of ministry we could not undertake without spreading ourselves very thin.
Let’s spend an enormous amount of time today praying for IM’s partners. Our partners can be classified in two categories: agencies and national churches.
- Resourcing Christian Education (RCE) serves international Christian schools and educational ministries by assisting them in finding qualified teachers and staff. Three Free Will Baptist couples presently serve with this partner agency.
- 1040i teams are devoted to giving life through water, health, and education in Morocco and Ivory Coast. This agency has provided hundreds of free surgeries for underprivileged people, constructed a bilingual school in Ivory Coast, and done much more to minister to the needs of suffering people.
- Friends of India’s (FOI) major objective is to promote and preserve the ministry God has developed among Free Will Baptists in India. They provide funding for the work in India to build churches, purchase motorcycles and bicycles for pastors and evangelists, and other special projects.
- Bridge Builders for Christ (BBFC) is a non-profit founded by a Free Will Baptist layman in Oklahoma. BBFC teams provide humanitarian aid while applying and sharing the teachings of the Bible. They have come alongside FWB ministries in Cuba, Mexico, India, Ivory Coast, and multiple other places.
- Bible Mission Global (BMG) has partnered with IM since 2002. It has offices in several countries and is committed to winning people to Christ by serving with, for, and through local, Bible–believing churches in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. They recently committed to placing Bibles in 100,000 Muslim homes over a period of five years.
- Jungle Kids for Christ (JKFC) is passionate about empowering children in the jungle of Ecuador to break the cycle of poverty and abuse. In turn, these children share a message of transformation with others. They presently minister to 161 children at their school in the jungle area of Ecuador. This agency is backed by FWB businessmen and the school has several Free Will Baptist couples teaching there.
- Village of Hope (VOH) in Uganda rescues former child soldiers, sex slaves, and their younger siblings orphaned by war. They provide a safe haven for healing and hope for a future. This agency was founded by a graduate of Welch College and IM is in process of providing a “missionary maintenance” man for the team.
- International Training Alliance (ITA) exists to train and multiply leaders on mission globally. Dr. Jeff Turnbough is now serving as CEO of this organization. We have a two-year agreement with them to substantially help fund the CEO position as they seek to secure funding to finance their operations. Over the past few years, they have trained over 2,000 leaders from more than 100 countries.
- English Language Institute of China/DBA Pinnacle is the agency we have partnered with for the longest period of time. They offer amazing opportunities for English speakers to teach in Asia and the Middle East. They have classes in some of the most prestigious universities of these creative access countries.
- American Dream Center is one of our newest partners. The founder is a former Free Will Baptist missionary who served in Central Asia and Ivory Coast. The organization aids immigrants and refugees as they settle here in the U.S. They help people acquire necessary documents, learn how to do banking, go grocery shopping, etc. in their newly adopted country.
- SPAIN—A Spanish couple serves with our Malaga THP team. They are subsidized from this fund.
- COTE D’IVOIRE (Ivory Coast)—Our main focus in Côte d’Ivoire is the Bible Institute at Bouna as well as church planting efforts by national believers. We do not pay pastors of local churches, but some of the funds do go to help church planting efforts. In particular, we also help put roofs on new churches after the national church has put up the walls. We presently have no IM missionary presence in Côte d’Ivoire.
- BRAZIL— Only one IM couple serves in Brazil, Dr. Kenneth and Rejane Eagleton. The partnership funds in Brazil are primarily directed to leadership training efforts. Several Bible institutes and other training programs in the country need partnership funds to keep them functioning.
- BULGARIA —Our team in Bulgaria consists of four couples. One of these is Bulgarian: Trif and Vanya Trifonov. They are recognized by the IM board as members of the team. They cannot raise money among the evangelical churches in Bulgaria. Our FWB churches there cannot provide adequate funding for them. Therefore, in collaboration with the team, we use partnership funds to cover the Trifinovs’ salary and outreach ministries.
- PANAMA—For 50 years we had a strong missionary presence in Panama. In 2012, the national church announced it was ready to take charge of evangelizing the country. The transfer of all properties and ministries was officially made in January 2013. The departure of the missionaries did not diminish our commitment to seeing these works go forward. A main ministry focus is the Bible institute in Chame. The students cannot afford to pay the full tuition costs necessary to sustain the institute. We willingly offer financial assistance to the wonderful leaders as they continue to train other leaders and plant new churches.
- RUSSIA—Over the past few years, at the advice of our colleagues and liaisons to ministry in Russia we have greatly diminished our financial contributions. It was felt the national church was capable of taking on more and more responsibility for outreach, youth camps, and other ministries. Therefore, our commitment at this point is to the ongoing success of the two Bible institutes in Russia. We praise the Lord the national church is capable of funding most of the ministries and programs.
- CUBA—Our history in Cuba goes back to time of Pop and Mom Willey in the late 1930s. Their passion was winning souls, establishing churches, and training leaders. That ardent desire was passed on to those who followed. A strong emphasis on these three elements has kept the church alive and growing. We work directly through the directiva (executive committee) of the Cuban national church. The funds we send mainly assist the local church in running the Bible seminary as well as church planting efforts. We send the funds to the directiva and they are charged with determining where the funds can be used in leadership development and church planting.
- INDIA—India, our first mission field, followed the establishment of Free Will Baptists as a denomination in 1935. Through the humble beginnings of Miss Laura Belle Barnard and the exceedingly long and fruitful ministry of Brother Carlisle Hanna, the work in India continues to expand. The needs there are great but so is the harvest. Over 17,000 FWB believers gather each Sunday to worship. For these ministries to continue, funding must be available for the church planters, the ministry costs, and leadership training. Brother Carlisle is the only IM missionary serving there and his account cannot bear the full responsibility for all the ministry needs in the country. Therefore, we must come alongside the Indian brothers and sisters and keep the church moving closer and closer to Christ.
- CENTRAL ASIA —This relationship began in 2002 with a visit by several IM personnel to four Central Asian countries. We have a two-pronged involvement in this area. One is through Bible Mission Global and the other through the Baptist Union which is formed by local churches. The lion’s share of the budgeted funds go to the Bible institute in Almaty, Kazakhstan. A smaller portion is directed toward church planting efforts throughout the region.