From my childhood, I was always fascinated with missions and missionaries. Dr. Bill Gray who served as a missionary in Mexico along with his wife Pinky spent a good deal of time in Bangs at the church where I began to follow Jesus. Pinky was from Bangs. They defined missions for me as a child. Also a well known missionary doctor came from Bangs. His name was Dr. Frank Owen. I greatly admired his personal sacrifice of a practice of medicine in the United States to serve for limited pay in places like Indonesia. There were times in which I asked myself if the path of a missionary should be my own path. Imagine my excitement when the concept of local churches engaging in world missions came into being. Some say this phenomenon began in Japan when lay people from the United States went to Japan to share their faith and encourage the churches. A term was developed for this phenomenon, Partnership Missions.
While in Baird, I felt led of the Lord to take a team from First Baptist Baird to Fortaleza, Brazil. We joined a team from San Angelo and surrounding areas to be dispersed throughout Northeastern Brazil in house to house visitation and revival crusades. It was an amazing trip with hundreds of conversions being recorded. I was hooked. I took two more teams from Baird to South Mexico and discovered that my efforts at learning Spanish were paying off. I was able to witness and testify in Spanish while in the Yucatan. In Merida, a famous city of the Yucatan, I met a legendary pastor who led his church to establish one hundred missions throughout the Yucatan. He was known by his last name, Mandujano. That name to this day is associated with a spiritual awakening in that part of Mexico. He founded and led the largest church in South Mexico in the city of Merida. He also established a seminary to train pastors which met at his church.
My involvement with missions continued in Kingsville and Georgetown. While in Kingsville, we made numerous trips to various parts of Mexico. We did mission work in Queretaro, Monterrey, Miguel Aleman, and Ciudad Victoria. In Ciudad Victoria we established a church that thrives to this day. The most exciting trip of my years in Kingsville came in 1992 when myself and Rodney Johnson, a dentist who spoke excellent Spanish, went to Communist Cuba. I preached all over Eastern Cuba in churches and shared Christ in the streets. Our entire team of twelve were scattered everywhere so that we could visit as many churches as possible. It was a hard trip, but amazingly fruitful and changed my perspective as to the ability of a church to thrive even under a totalitarian government.
Since coming to Georgetown, not only have my family and I personally gone, but we have encouraged trips to Mexico, Australia, Russia, the Dominican Republic, Holland, Romania, Myanmar, India, Brazil, China, and the Phillippines. We have supported ongoing work in Romania and Myanmar and worked multiple years in the Dominican Republic, India, Africa, and Brazil. Shannon, our son, Chase, and myself worked in Australia. Chase has been to Mexico, Romania, India, and now lives and works with his wife, Meagan in Myanmar where they serve as missionaries of Crestview Baptist Church.
I realized early in my ministry that my role in missions would be to educate the members of the churches that I led as to their capacity to touch the world. A growing number of people that I have served have felt God’s call to missions. Countless others will never be the same now that they have personally engaged in missions. I challenge every church that I serve to realize that their ministry extends to the ends of the earth.