Marsha and I have served with Baptist International Missions as missionaries to Scotland since December 1986.
Testimony of Arvin Devers
I grew up in a church-going family. We did not go to every service of the church, but we seldom missed Sunday school or the Sunday morning Worship Service that followed.
My father was a soldier. When I was about seven, he was shipped to Korea for a year. During this time, I made what I believed was a genuine profession of faith.
I am sad to say that between 7 and 17 much happened to shake my faith. By 17, I was like someone with a dual personality. In one way, I retained the faith of my youth. In another way, I had grown very, very cynical and disappointed with religion.
Amazingly, through a set of divine circumstances, I enrolled at Tennessee Temple Bible College. Given my unsettled state of mind, I was less than cooperative with the rules of the school.
One night I got into trouble with our dorm checker, AGAIN. He was going to write me out a demerit slip and I just smiled and said, “Go ahead.” I did not think I cared. In a state of confusion, he asked me, “Why do you do these things?” I answered, “Because I want to and until now nobody ever bothered me about it.” He said, “DO YOU KNOW CHRIST?” I started to reply, “Yes.” I was brought up to know the truth, wasn’t I? Then I thought of my good-guy friends with their well-worn Bibles and I felt I must say, “NO.” When I was asked if I would like to trust Christ as my Savior, I said, “NO.” Then, in a flash, my early training in the Christian faith came back to me. It was as though Christ were in the room looking at me and saying, “O.K., you have lost your faith in religion and your faith in your religious teachers, BUT WOULD YOU CALL ME A LIAR?” I knew within myself that Christ was everything He said He was and that He would do everything He ever promised. Thus, kneeling down by my bunk, I prayed, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
Maybe I had really become a Christian as a child and all I needed was to reaffirm my faith in Him. Then, again, maybe I had never been converted. All the confusion is now behind me. I know what I did that October 1970. My life was totally changed and I was called into the ministry in 1971 and ordained as a minster of the Gospel in 1975.
Testimony of Marsha Devers
As I was growing up, my family did not personally know Jesus Christ. We did not attend church and learn the wonderful stories and truths of the Bible. I had heard about Jesus, but to me He was either a small baby I would see lying in a manger at Christmas or a man hanging on a cross in some films or pictures. Within my family there were many problems and as I neared my 15th birthday, they became more difficult. My family was living in Florida at the time. My parents separated. As a result, my mother moved to Kentucky with all the children. I was brokenhearted over these problems and found the absence of my father, reduction in income, and loss of security very difficult.
We began attending a Baptist church. Many of these church members were loving, kind, and friendly. They enjoyed serving the Lord. My Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Graham, showed God’s love to my family in many ways. The Baptist minister did not preach philosophy or tradition but preached only from the Bible. The more I heard, the more firmly convinced I became that God is real. Jesus, God’s Son, had died on the cross for my sin. The Resurrection really happened. Someday, Jesus would come back in the clouds for all those who had been previously saved. All of those remaining would go through a terrible tribulation. I saw that Scripture plainly taught all of these truths. Jesus was speaking to my heart through the Holy Spirit and was saying, “Come unto Me,” and I came through repentance and faith on March 18, 1968.
Our Call to the Field of Scotland
My wife and I attended Tennessee Temple Bible School in the 1970s. Missions were constantly brought before the students during chapel and church services. It was as a result of these challenges that God first spoke to us of personally becoming involved in missions.
For several years we worked in various churches, primarily with young people. We worked in the bus ministry, went on visitation, ran various children’s churches, and held services in nursing homes.
In a missions conference in 1986 the Lord once again renewed His call to missions. My wife and I once again began discussing the various countries where God might send us. It was Marsha who first brought up the idea of going to Scotland. I was not even sure where Scotland was. Marsha wrote a letter to Missionary Michael Schrimshire and he very kindly handwrote a somewhat lengthy letter. It was from this point on that God led us by His Spirit to Scotland.
We made a survey trip to Scotland in 1987, and despite the cold physical and spiritual climate, we decided this was the country to which God had called us. We have never felt that we were super Christians, and we have never felt that there would be any reason for us to succeed where others had failed. We have simply gone to the place God sent us, used the talents He has given us, and left the results in His hands.
Our Ministry in Scotland
My wife and I began our ministry in Scotland March 1990.
During our 30 years of ministry in Scotland, we planted churches in Glasgow, Forfar, East Kilbride, Dunfermline, Cardenden, and Dreghorn. Besides my preaching and pastoring, we have run Sunday school programs, children’s missions (like VBS), teen programs, filled in for other missionaries, held women’s meetings, set up evangelistic tents at local fairs, ran van routes, served as a chaplain at a public school, and held services at nursing homes.
Our evangelistic efforts have included door-to-door work and the creating, publication, and distribution of many thousands of various forms of leaflets, booklets, and even a small newspaper. We also distributed 15,000 (especially produced) “Ayrshire Edition” New Testaments.
Our Move to the ARM Personnel Ministry
Much prayer and thought have gone into the difficult decision to leave Scotland and move to the ARM division of BIMI. Several factors, not the least being the work of God in our hearts, have led to this decision—the two main factors being the closure of our church rented community center by the Scottish government and Marsha’s poor health. We were accepted into the ARM division of BIMI November 2020.
Our Ministry with ARM
As the Lord opens the doors of service through ARM, we will be able to assist missionaries in English-speaking countries who need a furlough. We also want to help in special meetings and ministries of some of our supporting churches and to assist other churches who seek help from BIMI.
What can you do?
Your prayers and financial support are needed to make this ministry possible.
Arvin and Marsha Devers
1043 Ebbtide Lane
West Columbia, SC 29170
Ed & Carole Hembree
Read more about the Hembrees. He can be contacted through the BIMI office (423) 344-5050.