BIMI
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Chris & Lou Anne War In May of 1984, while I was in the Navy and we were stationed in Rota, Spain, Lou Anne and I both trusted Jesus Christ as our Savior at Bethel Baptist Church, a BIMI military missions church. God called me to preach in June 1996, while working at a Baptist youth camp. In my last year of Bible college, God called us to Military Missions. We went to BIMI Candidate School in 2004 and travelled on deputation for a year and a half to raise our support. In May 2006 we planted Freedom Independent Baptist Church in the Mayport, Florida, area to reach the military folks and their families who were stationed at the Mayport Naval Station. In the past 7 years, we have seen over 400 people come to Christ and I have had the privilege of baptizing 82 people. God gave us an opportunity to purchase our first church building in February 2010. We went from 900 sq. ft. to 8,800 sq. ft. September 2012 God clearly spoke to my heart about moving to Italy to reach the U.S. Military and their families who are stationed there. Also, we intend to start an outreach to the Italian community and conduct services for them as well. We already have about 70% of our needed support. Please pray that God will supply the rest of our support so we can spread the Gospel to those in Italy. We look with great expectancy to see what God will do in our ministry in Italy. Misconceptions by Evangelist Richard Harper Each of us in the ministry primarily understands our particular area of service to the Lord. For instance, I can certainly list for you many blessings and a few burdens that are found when one travels in full-time evangelism. I have also been with hundreds of pastors, and they can all list the praises and the pains associated with the ministry in which the Lord has placed them. In addition to understanding our own ministries, we try as compassionate servants of the Lord to “esteem other better” by understanding the ministries of our co-workers in Christ. Many times I am asked by pastors to give them insights into full-time evangelism. When pastors have their annual missions conferences, they often ask missionary church planters to answer questions from the congregation so that their people and the pastor can understand and pray better for that ministry. Yes, for the most part we understand and study each ministry with which we are associated. During a few recent conversations with pastor friends, I have discovered that there is one area of ministry, however, about which most people in ministry are misinformed. There is a great deal of confusion about missions to the United States military around the world. This is understandable to a large degree because there are only about 60 independent fundamental Baptist mission works to the U.S. Military around the world. Chances are, if you do not support a missionary to the military, or you have not had the time (or the finances) to visit one on the field, you have some misconceptions about this vital ministry. It is our goal to help pastors burdened for world evangelism and worldwide missions to understand military missions in its support, service and successes. We will do so by first dealing with the misconceptions and then sharing our hearts for these choice servants of the Lord and their ministries. As we deal with military missions in general, time will prohibit us from dealing with individual ministries, although there will be a few illustrations along the way. Misconceptions 1. “These ministries do not need support because their entire congregation is gainfully employed by the government.” This misconception is common. It is true that the people who attend these works are, for the most part, either serving our country in the armed forces or are civilians working for the government in support of the military. It is important to realize that we are supporting the missionary church planter and not the church. Paul complimented the Philippians because for even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. In many, if not all cases, these churches are self-supporting in that they pay their bills, give to missions, build buildings, and run buses, but we are supporting the missionary church planter, not the church.