Sunday, October 19, 2008

Miracle in the Foreign Missions Service

The Foreign Missions Service has always been my favorite service of the conference, and this year was no exception. Norman Paslay was the Master of Ceremonies again, but without his usual sidekick, Bro. Paul Mooney, who returned to Indiana to preach the funeral of a minister. (Bro. Bryan Abernathy and Bro. Howell assisted Bro. Paslay throughout the service in raising PIMs and an offering.)

The service was started with old fashioned Pentecostal music. With Bro. C. M. Becton on the piano, and retired FM board member, Bro. R. P. Bell, on his guitar, Sis. Vesta Mangun and Sis. Bobbie Shoemake led us in singing, "All In Him" and "Send the Light". Very fitting for the theme of the service which was A Life, A Land, A Legacy.

In their usual grand parade, missionaries, missionary kids, retired missionaries and former missionaries flooded the floor of the coliseum, carrying their country's flag and wearing brightly colored clothes from their respective nations. The audience gave them a standing ovation that lasted for several minutes as they made their way to the steps in front of the platform, where Brother Howell prayed over them.

Bro. & Sis. Carl Varnell were brought to the platform and thanked for their years of service to the Foreign Missions Divison. Scotty and Krista Slaydon, with their little daughter, Abigail, were introduced as the new Foreign Missions Secretary.

The focus of the service was on the retired missionaries, and the sacrifices they had made for the work of God. As each retired missionary was recognized, Bro. Howell prayed over them and gave them a small trophy, and they had special seating on the platform. Bro. & Sis. Sam Latta, retired missionaries to Liberia and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) were given a torch which was used to light a huge cauldron that burned the entire service. Bro. Howell then announced that the offering would be for the retired missionary account. (Missionaries who have served for a minimum of 20 years receive a monthly check from FMD after they retire, and get their insurance paid. There are 30 retired missionaries being supported by FMD.) The amount they wanted to raise was $350,000. I never heard a final number, but I believe they had raised $300,000 by the time I left the service.

Twelve missionaries were presented that each needed 30 PIMs (Partner In Missions) to get them back to the field. The appeal was made, and as enough PIMs came in to send one family, the missionary was given a torch, which he lit from the burning cauldron. As the last missionary received his torch, fireworks went off all across the platform and it was quite a celebration.

But one of the most exciting events of the night was seeing Timo Simoneaux, 13-year-old missionary kid to Malawi. During the offering appeal, Bro. Howell brought Timo and his parents, Tremayne and Vickie, to the pulpit. At the end of July, he was at death's door with a severe case of bacterial meningitis. He fell into a coma and after a couple of days was flown to South Africa for better medical treatment. God miraculously healed him, but the meningitis left him totally deaf in his left ear and some hearing loss in his right ear. Bro. Howell asked the conference to pray for him, and with much fervor and anticipation we all prayed. After maybe 10-15 minutes, I watched Timo tell his mother something. She bent over and said something in his ear, talked to him for a minute, then she lifted her hands and started jumping up and down, crying and praising God. They got Bro. Howell's attention to let him know that Timo had been healed and he could hear. The coliseum erupted in praise and a time of rejoicing. It was a sight I'll never forget!

Finally, Bro. Ron Macey, pastor from Houston, TX, was brought to the pulpit to preach. He took his text from Job 28:7-8 and preached on "A Path Called Sacrifice". He spoke of missionaries who have sacrificed everything, and their sacrifice brought about great revival in countries overseas. But in modern America, are we willing to make sacrifices? Can we give up the latest tech toy to reach a soul? He remembered William Thompson, missionary to Colombia, who was buried just a week ago. God audibly spoke to Bro. Thompson when he was a child and called him to the land of Colombia. He had never heard of Colombia and didn't know where it was, but he followed the call and was appointed to Colombia in 1947. Johnny Willhoite, missionary to Mexico and several other countries, died on the field, without any earthly possessions or money. But as Bro. Macey put it, if Bro. Willhoite could sing a song, he would plunk on his guitar and sing, "I'm a prisoner of love, a slave to the Master. . . I seek no reward in this world below, but payday will come, when the pearly gates unfold!" What made Missionary Steve Willoughby go back to the field with a wife fighting cancer? "I seek no reward in this world below. . . " What made Else Lund give her life to the work of God in Ghana? "I seek no reward in this world below. . ." He wrapped up the service by asking the retired missionaries to take seats across the steps of the platform. As he made an appeal for everyone to take the path of sacrifice, the altars were flooded with people, young and old, falling on their face at the feet of pioneers who had followed the path of sacrifice.

Hats off to the FMD team and another great service.

3 comments:

Joanna said...

Does anyone know how to get a copy of that song that he was referring to or the title or any other information? Thanks!

Brenda said...

The song title is "Prisoner of Love" by Dottie Rambo, written in the 60's or 70's.

Anonymous said...

PRISONER OF LOVE

I

WHEN I CAME TO JESUS I SETTLED IT ALL.
I GAVE HIM MY LIFE TO CONTROL.
NEITHER FEAR NO PERSUASION COULD DRAW ME TO CHRIST.
BUT HIS LOVE HAS CAPTURED MY SOUL

II

HE HOLDS ME SECURE WITH HIS LOVE STRONG AND TRUE.
I'M HAPPY HIS SERVANT TO BE.
IN BONDAGE TO JESUS FOREVER I'LL STAY
MY SOUL DOESN'T WANT TO BE FREE.

CHORUS

I'M A PRISONER OF LOVE (I'M A PRISONER OF LOVE)
A SLAVE TO THE MASTER
I'll WILLINGLY TOIL (I WILLINGLY TOIL)
THROUGH THE HEAT AND THE COLD
I SEEK NO REWARD (I SEEK NO REWARD)
IN THIS WORLD BELOW.
BUT PAYDAY WILL COME (BUT A PAYDAY WILL COME)
WHEN THE PEARLY GATES UNFOLD