February 3, 2003
Dear Family of Friends,
Once a missionary that had been on the field in Congo for 40 years had to return home because his age and health concerns demanded it. He had buried two sons and his wife there in the land of his calling. Even with failing health the Missionary Union had to convince him to return. He made the long voyage on the ship pretty much alone while wondering if anyone would really know him when he arrived. As the ship pulled into New York Harbor to his amazement thousands in a cheering crowd met him. “This can’t be,” he thought. It wasn’t to be. What he didn’t know was that President Teddy Roosevelt was on the ship and was also returning from Africa from one of his famous hunting trips. The cheering crowd was for him.
The theme for this year’s conference is “Across the Street and Around the World.” During this year’s conference we are having a homecoming for all the missionaries sent out by Grace Church.
There are several opportunities for us to show our appreciation and support for these homegrown servants of the Lord. Please look over the enclosed conference schedule and plan to be here at all costs! When we welcome our missionary heroes, I want them to stand up to a packed house and a thunderous applause.
Now, my dear Family of Friends, I have been where these people are and one of the most difficult emotions is the thought that you might have been forgotten. They have not been forgotten and we want to show it to them. If you haven’t already, please check out the wish lists at the “Missionary Christmas” section of the ER. There are both smaller and larger needs represented in which you can personally participate. The Missionary Christmas takes place at 9:45 on Sunday, Feb. 23.
Our conference speaker, Dr. Roy Seals, is a third generation missionary who grew up on the Yucatan Peninsula. I know him well. He will be greatly used by God to move your hearts. Bro. Seals is one of the three that encouraged me to consider coming back to Grace when I was wrestling with the call. You will love to hear what he has to say.
Look over the conference schedule and make your plans now. Most importantly, please add our Missions Conference to the top of your prayer list. It is through life-changing events like this that many accept the call to foreign missions. I am praying that in a few years we will see new families join our missionaries on the field winning the lost and planting churches in areas that have little gospel witness.
Pastor & Missionary Evangelist