I received an email this morning from a dear friend of mine named Aaron. Aaron was a catalyst in my life during college that God used in a great way to lead me to the team I serve with today. I love him and his family dearly. They are missionaries working with Muslims in North Africa. A better way to say it is they are now working with believers they led to Christ to reach their unsaved country men! This email meant a great deal to me because it reminded me of how thankful I am to serve with the missions team that I am blessed to serve with.
On Monday night I arrived in Alpharetta, GA right smack dab in the middle of a “normal” week for Vision Baptist Church. No special conference going on. Just life and ministry at it’s average pace. I went straight to a meeting of the “World Evangelism Committee” where about 10 of the members of the church were gathered to make decisions about the mission’s budget and schedule. It was a passionate time. When the budget was too tight to raise the salary of a missionary that they felt needed it a few of them volunteered to give the shortfall personally.
Tuesday I arrived at the church at 8 and taught a group of students for an hour on Muslim missions. My wife arrived at 10 and we sat in Bro. Gardner’s office for three hours while he helped us in a private, painful counseling session in only a way that veteran of missions could. On our first furlough from the work with Muslims in North Africa we needed some fixing in order to be healthy servants of Christ. We laughed and cried. We got a lot of help that I am sure is saving our marriage and ministry.
All the while there were missionaries going to Asia, Europe, and South America making phone calls below us on the first floor. We had lunch with them and other students of missions. Returning to the church that afternoon we spent another three hours in discussion about Latin missionaries in North Africa; how to recruit, train, deploy, and support them.
That night my wife and I had dinner with three of my best friends and their wives who encourage our passion for the unreached, all members of Vision. We carried “Operation World” with us most of the night.
Wednesday and Thursday I was gone at a missions conference in South Carolina. Upon my return Friday morning I sat in a four hour class with 15 students and other missionaries where we discussed all things missions with Travis Snode, a member missionary of Vision’s who had just flown in the night before from his field. Friday afternoon I had a meeting with John Pearson where he provided me much needed financial advice. But we were both more interested in talking about our past and future missions trips and endeavors to Morocco, India, Peru, and Turkey.
Friday night a student of the OGTC reunited me with a Moroccan man I had witnessed to five years earlier while serving a short stint at the newly formed VBC. He had attended a few times while I was there and just a few times recently as well. He rushed over to Mark’s house where I was staying after work. He has become a very successful businessman here but his heart is torn to pieces by conviction. We spent two hours going over the deity of Christ and the authority of scripture. We prayed together and he promised me he would be back at Vision on Sunday. “I have never heard the Bible taught till I visited Vision.” He told me. I left early Saturday morning for another conference.
So that is what two and a half days looks like for a visiting missionary to Vision Baptist Church. We spoke six years ago now for the first time about starting a church in America that would exist primarily for the cause of recruiting, equipping, exporting missionaries. Thank you, Pastor Gardner and staff at Vision, for being faithful to the vision. You may think that a church so “outward” focused has a hard time reaching “their Jerusalem” and growing at home but 250 people who were there last Sunday might disagree.