Please take a few moments to read our latest prayer update. You can find it here:
Perhaps you've wondered....
“Aren't you just going into a printing business?”
EBI is much more than a “printing business.” EBI exists to provide quality, doctrinally sound resources to help both missionaries and national workers in their Great Commission ministries. The majority of our partnerships are with national believers. Our goal is to provide the training and materials necessary to help national workers be as effective as possible in planting churches in their own culture. EBI conducts on the field teacher training classes, seminary modules and pastor's conferences all over Latin America. A very exciting aspect of the ministry is an online Spanish Masters in Biblical Studies program. This program allows trained pastors to gain valuable training and knowledge in an accredited course of study that prepares them to teach at seminaries, Bible institutes and colleges in their own countries. EBI provides materials needed for every facet of ministry from discipleship to professorship. While we will certainly be involved in translating, printing and administration this ministry is certainly much more than simply printing.
“Is this just something to fill time until you find another ministry?”
When Debbie fell ill in 2014 we found ourselves with many decisions to make. As it became clear that returning to Peru was not an option we were approached by a number of different ministries. We were offered positions in Hispanic churches, pastoral positions, and numerous Spanish mission opportunities all across the United States. We prayerfully considered every option. It was our desire from the beginning to remain as faith missionaries. In February 2015 we visited the offices of EBI. After several days working with the staff and discussing philosophy and goals we began to see how God was opening up doors of opportunity for our family. After much time in prayer we felt a real peace and excitement about EBI. When we accepted this missionary position at EBI we made a life time commitment. As long as God wants us serving with the ministries of EBI we plan to stay faithfully working there. EBI was a perfect fit because of our experience in Latin American culture, church-planting, Spanish language and teamwork with Baptist Mid-Missions.
“Are you really missionaries since you are living in the United States?”
Stepping on an airplane or crossing the sea on a boat certainly doesn't make one a missionary. We can all be missionaries right where God places us. While it may seem more exciting to fill a map with pictures of missionaries across the globe, missions that is based stateside is necessary and effective. It was our life long dream to serve the Lord on the foreign mission field. Yet, we had to surrender our desires to God's will and stay here in our own homeland. One of our co-workers shared with us that one of the hardest things we would face was stepping off the pedestal of being a foreign missionary hero and becoming a stateside missionary servant. God has helped us through this transition and we truly believe our ministry will be more effective now than ever.
“Why is this ministry necessary if there are missionaries in all these countries?”
EBI is currently involved with ministries in 29 countries around the world. Each of these countries has both missionaries and national workers yet the work is not finished. We believe that the key to successful Great Commission work is to train national workers and allow them to carry on the work started to by missionaries. 70 years ago dozens of missionaries headed to Latin America to begin working in the harvest field of souls. There ministries have been successful and today as many as 70 million believers in thousands of churches have been started in Central and South America. Today, missions has entered a new phase. It is time to strengthen the infrastructure for the national church. EBI is on the front lines providing the necessary training and materials to further the national churches.
“Why aren't you involved in church-planting?”
While we may have currently stepped out of a direct church-planting ministry role at this time, we are still actively working to strengthen church-planting efforts of countless workers in Latin America. We have personally been approached by laymen and national pastors looking for help with their own theological training. The Hispanic church is growing and asking for help! We want to fill that void. In the future we do hope to once again be involved with church-planting with the EBI team in the Sebring, Florida area.
I recall once hearing the story of some missionaries in Colombia. They had been working among a tribal group in the nation's jungle zone. A terrorist rebel group had taken control of the region and the environment had become very unstable and unsafe. The United States embassy had been in touch with the missionaries and had promised to send a military helicopter to evacuate them. A time was set for their evacuation and they were instructed to leave everything behind. Each person would be allowed a small carry-on bag that would be filled with only their most important belongings. The families began to gather their most important and prized possessions. They couldn't take much and if they could ever return it would certainly have all been destroyed or looted. The children picked a few favorite toys or special keep-sakes. Important documents were placed in the bags. They began hearing gun fire and then the roar of the helicopter approaching. They made their way to the preplanned meeting site and began to prepare to load the helicopter. It was a dangerous situation and time was of the essence. The rebel warriors were nearby and they would possibly resist their attempted flee. As the missionary families ran across an open field shots rang out. They were being directly attacked. In an effort to speed their escape they were forced to drop the only bags they had packed. They all made it to the helicopter and it quickly sped from the area. As they looked down and saw the rebel fighters gathering their belongings one of the military assistants asked them, “How does it make you feel seeing all of your life possessions left behind? All that you have worked for now abandoned?” One missionary stopped and thought and then answered “Free!”
You see our material possessions bring us no lasting comfort or hold no eternal value. A well known quote says “Only one life will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last.” How true! Our experience in Peru is so very different than those brave missionaries in Colombia but I can't help but think of their example. As we sell off, and give away everything we had collected in Peru over the last 14 years it is easy to feel a bit sentimental. We are so very sad to think of the people and ministries we leave behind. We have to leave behind some favorite possessions as well. Dear missionary friends in Peru have done so much to help us with this transition. They've sold off and removed things from our apartment getting it ready to sell in our absence. Today they informed us that almost everything is now gone. We asked them to hold on to a few special things. But most of our worldly possessions in Peru are now gone. Perhaps if someone asked me today how I feel, I'd have to say “Free!”
We have already begun the process of purchasing a new home and furnishing it. Modern life requires us to accumulate a certain number of “things.” God has always blessed us and we have never lacked for anything. Yet, as we move forward God has once again taught us that these things don't really hold much value. We'll pick out new wall colors. We'll enjoy setting up our own home again. Yet, I think we have learned to hold lightly the things of this world and cling to the real important things that hold real eternal value. Scripture teaches the principle so very clearly “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” I hope none of us have to go through something like those faithful missionaries in Colombia. However, I do hope you've had the experience of learning to live “Free!”