Small Beginnings

By Tim Frazier

Excerpt from “A Touch of Heaven,” a book by Walter Fleming

We sow the seed, but God is the power, the Power that makes it grow.

My wife Vicki and I moved to the state of Aguascalientes in late 1981. There were three known churches in the state and all three of them were in the capital city also called Aguascalientes. This left approximately 972 different towns, communal ranches, small villages and the like with no known witness for our Lord.

We had no idea how to begin except with prayer and a deep hope of a clear vision from the Lord. Vicki raised and homeschooled our three children and I decided to “Caleb walk” the state. So, I bought a map of the state and of the capital city. Two days a week, I would drive, marking each township, county road and village. I usually got out and walked around the places, claiming Caleb’s promise in Joshua 14:9 for myself. The other two days, I would walk the various streets, colonias and ghettos of the capital city, doing the same.

After many months of doing this and crying out to God for help, the Lord did give me a clear vision of what He wanted us to do. That was to plant four churches in the state with the first one in the city of Rincón de Romos. It was such a relief not to have to choose or guess where to start from the over nine hundred plus choices.

Around that time, Tony and Lois Freeman and their two daughters joined us, and we began in earnest to evangelize. We walked nearly every street as Tony was and is a gifted street preacher, handed out lots of tracts and then rented a room to host an evangelization event. One person came! He was the local taco vendor who sold “tacos de la cabeza” (cow head tacos), and he was afflicted with alcoholism. He was our first convert.

A little additional background on Rincón was that the city was soon to celebrate its 450th anniversary of becoming a city. Well known for its vineyards and temperate year-round weather, it was also known for being a hub for “green” magic and for many demonic manifestations. 

The Freemans opened their house for Bible studies and the believers slowly grew. We then rented a storefront right next to a chicken rotisserie restaurant as we outgrew the Freeman’s living room. 

About a year and a half after our arrival, we had our first visitors from our organization, Walter and Mae Fleming. We were excited to say the least. The church had grown to about twenty people and I asked Walt to share. Prayer was offered afterwards and a little old lady came up and asked for a prayer of healing. She had some sort of bone deteriorating disease for which there was no cure. Mae stepped up and said she had suffered from the same disease and God had healed her. It was an easy choice for us to ask Mae to pray for her.

The Flemings left the next morning. The next Sunday service, in came our visitor, the little old lady from the week before, but she was not alone. She had most all of her extended family, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews, and her own children and grandchildren. Her testimony was simple; she wanted to give praise to God for healing and wanted all of her family to hear of Jesus, the God who heals. 

The church never looked back after that; it just kept growing. In time, land was donated and a building project was begun.

The Freemans moved on to other places to fulfill their unique call, and Vicki and I did plant churches in the other three towns as per the vision given to us. From there, we moved on to take on fresh visions and projects. I had occasion on the 10th anniversary of the Rincón church to visit, and the congregation had grown to over 200 people. It was making a name for itself as a center for worship and training. I also went back on the 25th anniversary. The church had sent out workers all over the state, accomplishing many new church plants, and had also sent Mexican missionaries to the Middle East. It was right then and there, I felt a release that our work was done in Mexico.

I learned some foundational values in Central Mexico as we walked through the fires of cross-cultural church planting. Those simply were and still are:

  1. The battle is the Lord’s. We were privileged to have a part in it.
  2. Never despise small beginnings. Everything starts with a seed, a prayer, a conversion, a miracle, always something seemingly small, but one that just keeps on growing.
  3. The Church is the Lord’s. He will build it, one living brick at a time.

Recommended Reading: “Cross-Cultural Conflict: Building Relationships for Effective Ministry,” by Duane Elmer

Once again, Elmer has published an excellent book on a very practical cross-cultural issue that we as workers face, as we attempt to relate and understand those from a different culture than our passport culture. 

He shows in this book that knowing how different cultures handle various types of conflict is crucial to effective, culturally appropriate resolution of conflict. Communication in itself is difficult, and when conflict arises, it becomes even more challenging. This book focuses on Asian, Latin American, and African cultures and uses stories from the author’s experience, as well as from others, making this book not just theory, but practical in conflict resolution.

A Ride in a Hot Air Balloon

Written by Ginger Rogers.

The staff of the missionary agency, where I was the receptionist, was often called upon to join in the prayers for those who were departing to minister on the foreign field. More often than not, we were asked to pray for those who seemed to be stuck between their calling and the demands of family and other unresolved issues. Our missionaries were expected to raise their own funds; they themselves had to approach individuals and churches to appeal for support. They were advised strongly to wait to leave until they secured adequate start-up funds and a reasonable emergency account that would float them if their supporters failed to come through as promised. Finances were almost always a big issue for those stepping out for the first time and without a doubt a cause for prayer.

One day the staff gathered to pray for one couple in particular. They knew they had been called to go, but they had to contend with both disapproving grown children and their squeamish parents. Furthermore, they were still underfunded as their date of departure drew near. As we laid hands on them and prayed, I felt led to make mention of the fact that the servants of the Lord will face trouble in the world but Jesus has overcome the world. It follows anyone who believes in Him will become an overcomer, too. Well, the more I prayed, the more carried away I got until a vision formed in my mind. I saw so clearly that overcoming the world is like rising with a hot air balloon, just driving up, up and away, far above all the oppressions of the earth that drag us down, keep up bound, prevent our answering our calling and fill us with worry and concern.

It was not a frivolous vision, but, instead, a sound analogy of God’s intentions for His people. He does lift us up. And the higher we lift up our praises and thanksgiving, the higher we float above the negative influences in life. Going for a hot air balloon ride became firmly etched on my “Things-to-Do-Before-I-Die” list and never diminished in the ensuing twenty or so years since that prayer time in the headquarters of the missionary agency. 

Oddly enough, as much as I wanted to go, I was totally taken aback when our daughter in Albuquerque suggested that we do that very thing during our planned visit with her and her family over the Thanksgiving holiday. As often as I had gazed longingly at the balloons floating over Franklin on balmy spring evenings, I didn’t know how to prepare for actually being up there myself. Would it be terribly frightening? Would the whole trip be wasted as I sank to the floor of the basket to calm my fears? Would I become dizzy? Or sick to my stomach? What if Phil reacted negatively and we had to land early in order to tend to him? What if something went wrong? What if the balloon blew out a seam and ceased to inflate? Or a cable broke? Or a storm blew in and carried us way off course? 

Hey, wait a minute!! My desire for going up in a balloon was birthed during a prayer for overcoming. And here was my opportunity to experience that very thing. As I talked down my anxieties, I began to the thrill to the moment. And it proved to be the single most amazing event of our lives. Our balloon arose just as the sun did one morning. We floated above the ground in such peace and quiet I can only describe it as a holy hush. Except when the whoosh of the heated gases shifted the altitude or the course of the balloon, it was as if we were suspended above everything that is dirty or ugly or noisy and held in the grip of cottony purity. There was very little sense of movement though, traveling at a speed of about thirty-five knots per hour, we skimmed the surface of a river and climbed to a height of 8,500 feet. We scared a flock of geese seeking shelter under a bridge and sent them honking through the skies. We awakened the dogs and chickens in a little rural community. We waved to children boarding their school bus and, hopefully, cheered up the lady dragging an outsized trash container to the curb. In landing, we disturbed the rest of the sandhill cranes that were all nestled in the grasses of an open field. Though we observed, we were truly above the everyday life beneath us. The noise, the routines, the chores, the responsibilities belonged to someone else, while we owned the solemn sublimity and crisp air of our lofty space.

If that is what overcoming means, that is how I want to live my life. To view the dullness and stress of all life’s “gottas” as belonging to some other realm, while my reality is above in surreal quietude and supernatural peace. After all, the Word says that we live and move and have our being in Him. In Him, we are high and lifted up. Our lives, though often rocked by trauma on earth, are in essence above all the world can do to us. We belong to the realm that glides gracefully through all that evil intends. We are as much a part of God’s covenant as the morning sunrise! And His mercies are new every morning!

Recommended Reading: “The Lost Art of Disciplemaking,” by Leroy Eims

WIM’s vision statement is discipling the nations to reach the world and one of those steps is to evangelize and disciple the lost with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In addition, one of WIM’s core values is Mentoring.

As Leroy Eims says, “Every believer in Jesus Christ deserves the opportunity of personal nurture and development.”  But so often, we are so busy with church programs that we neglect the process of effectively discipling leaders who can themselves disciple others into maturity and fruitfulness.  

All too often we neglect the young Christian in our whirl of programs, church services and fellowship groups. And we neglect to raise up workers and leaders who can disciple young believers into mature and fruitful Christians.

“True growth takes time and tears and love and patience,” Eims states. There is no instant maturity. 

Related imageAs one of our missionaries said: “Discipling is more than just having a study with someone.  It means being willing to spend time with people – on different occasions and for hours at a time.  It also means sharing with them along the way our own experiences, failures, rejections and teaching them from our life experience in ministry, as well.”

Another one noticed that Eims pointed out, “although sometimes we think it is more efficient to do all the work ourselves, it is more fruitful to invest the time upfront to disciple others to do the work of the ministry, so that together, you can accomplish much more for the Kingdom.”

The Lost Art of Disciplemaking has been one WIM’s training materials for many years.  If you have not read it, or if it has been some time since you have, we want to encourage you to take advantage of this very useful tool.

World Indigenous Missions International Conference 2019

“Best conference ever!” This sentiment echoed once again at our 2019 WIM International Conference. Over 87% of our missionaries attended this year, making it our most-attended conference yet. The theme this year  was “Reconnect, Refresh, Retool,” placing a focus on Jeremiah 31:25, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Each day provided everyone in attendance a chance to do just that. 

The event kicked off on Sunday with dinner followed by a night of reuniting and worship. The days that followed included times of learning, fellowship, fun, and great food, of course. On Monday, the ladies had a special lunch and activity which mirrored the conference theme. Tuesday was a day of leisure for attendees to spend the day at Schlitterbahn or touring the San Antonio area. Wednesday provided more opportunities to retool via breakout sessions, and Thursday concluded the conference with worship, awards, and communion. 

Various WIM members and guests spoke on several topics, including the need for willing and tough workers, Biblical storytelling, stewardship education, and many others. The conference was truly a blessing to all in attendance and everyone could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Thank you to everyone who participated, to the generous sponsors, and to our Heavenly Father for making this event so successful.