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UNDERESTIMATE YOUR INFLUENCE
Rachel (Pendl) Strosnider ~ CB I ‘03b, CB II ‘04, SM ‘07
~ Missionary to the Deaf MO
Never underestimate the influence you have on lives during
deputation and furlough! You may never know until Heaven what
one statement you make can have on someone.
As an eight year old girl, BIMI missionaries Robert and Gail Huffman
came to the church where my dad was pastor. I don’t remember
much of their presentation, but God planted one phrase that they
said in the back of my mind that I remembered at later date. They
said, “There are hundreds of thousands of deaf people in France,
and not a single Baptist missionary is working with them!”
A missionary to Mexico, just dropping by our church because
he didn’t have a meeting, was invited by our pastor to preach.
Unbeknownst to them, God had been working in my heart the
night before at home about surrendering to serve Him, no matter
where He led. That missionary shared his testimony and mentioned
that he had to surrender his life to the Lord for God to use him. That
was what God used to help me surrender my life to Him.
The following year, God used BIMI missionary Dr. Kyle Guimon
to share his testimony in my church. Then he preached on Ezekiel
22:30. “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up
the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should
not destroy it: but I found none.” God spoke to my heart; there was
a gap for me to fill. I surrendered that evening to missions, not
knowing where the Lord would lead me.
After I surrendered my life to the Lord, my pastor recommended
CAMP BIMI to me. While attending CAMP BIMI I in 2003, God
used several things to help lead me to where He wanted me to be.
First of all, during one of the evening sessions, Bro. Ron Bragg
made this statement, “If God wants you somewhere, He won’t let
you forget it.” Secondly, God allowed missionaries to the Deaf in
Australia, Robert and Lisa Gunter, to be there during that week.
They mentioned that if you took the deaf population of the world
and combined it into one country it would comprise the third
largest country in the world. Already having a small interest in
deaf missions, that statistic blew my mind. Finally, during that
week, I was able to get contact information for Robert and Gail
Huffman so I could contact them again.
Throughout that week at CAMP BIMI, God kept bringing back to
mind the statement from the Huffmans about the Deaf in France.
In 2004, I returned for CB II. Following my SMART 2007 trip to
American Samoa and New Zealand, God closed some doors and
opened others. In 2008, I married missionary to the Deaf, Paul
Strosnider. We have been serving the Lord together as missionaries
to the Deaf at Ephraim Baptist Church for the Deaf in St Louis,
Missouri, for the last decade. The
Lord has done many wonderful
things in the lives of our deaf
people. He also blessed us with our
daughter, Abigail, in 2015.
God used these many lives to touch
mine for missions. Whose life is
waiting to be touched by you?
The Other Side
of the Screen
Jennifer (Vink) Holmes ~ CB I ‘97, SM ‘98, CB II ‘98
~ Christian School Teacher, wife, mom, blogger ONTARIO
I sat in my comfortable pew during a Wednesday night prayer
meeting. My pastor walked the aisles and in between the pews to
hand out the most recent prayers letters from our missionaries so
that we could pray for them. As he passed by me, I raised my hand
and was handed a letter from Estonia. I started thinking about all
the prayer letters I’ve written.
My very first letter was after my SMART Trip to Africa in 1998.
We had journeyed to South Africa and the Ivory Coast and my
seventeen year old brain was trying to process everything I had
learned and also to thank those that had sent me. The next letter
I wrote was at CB II later that summer. In the media workshop,
we made a video, wrote letters, designed a prayer card, and had a
lot of fun along the way. That training would prove invaluable to
me as I headed off to the Philippines to help start my home church’s
orphanage just a couple of years later. I wrote update letters for
the orphanage, designed flyers and prayer cards, and put all my
CAMP BIMI training into use.
I met my husband at that orphanage, although we had grown
up only an hour apart in Ontario. We stayed one more year and
then came home. Several years later I had the chance to write
letters again; this time for the church camp my husband led. The
computers were a little fancier, but the basics remained the same.
For almost six years I sent out updates and hoped that someone
would be reading them and praying for us on the other side.
These days I don’t write prayers letters. Over two years ago we
moved and I now serve as a music teacher at our church’s Christian
school. I write report cards, and I write online for women. Maybe
one day I’ll be writing prayer letters again, but for now, I read
them and pray for those missionaries, remembering what it was
like to be on that side of the screen.
When my pastor walks the aisles again, asking for prayer for those
precious missionaries serving far away, I’ll raise my hand, read those
requests, pray, and remember how much I love missions and how
much I’ve enjoyed having the privilege to be a small part of it. I pray
that one day my children - Jonathan, Arianna and Emma, will too.