This year, FBM is celebrating its 10th anniversary. We are praising God for 10 years of faithfully “holding the ropes” for our missionaries. God has been so good to FBM and we want to take this newsletter to tell our story.
Our story began many years ago and is intertwined with the story of Faith Baptist Church (Winter Haven, FL). Years ago, Faith Baptist Church (FBC) was comprised mostly of snowbirds and retirees. The church supported a handful of missionaries but did not enjoy close relationships with any of them. All of that began to change in 1995.
In 1995, God called a new pastor, Nathan O. Osborne, III, to FBC. He was young and full of energy. He was a breath of fresh air to the church. Shortly after coming, he proposed a new model of “doing missions.” He said something along the lines of “What if our church did missions differently? What if we sent out missionaries from our church and provided 100% of their financial support?” At first, some chuckled at his idea and thought “Well, that’s a great idea, but our church could never do that!” God had other plans.
Pastor Osborne patiently led the church to begin praying about his idea. After much prayer, the church decided to start saving money towards this exciting new vision. Eventually, missionaries were identified, equipped, and sent out fully supported by FBC. It was a powerful thing to watch God work through His people at FBC.
Some of the initial missionaries were sent out in partnership with another mission agency. Imagine this – a missionary sent overseas with exactly one supporter. It was revolutionary. The church discovered that the mission agency struggled to adapt to the situation. They were used to missionaries with dozens of supporters. In this case, everything was different. Deputation and furlough looked dramatically different. All of this led FBC to consider the possibility of starting its own mission agency simply to serve its own missionaries.
So, in 2009, FBC started its own mission agency. It had two missionary families. Both were supported 100% by FBC. It was simple and easy. It saved FBC money and provided FBC and its missionaries incredible flexibility and freedom. When FBC started this mission agency, there was very little thought given to serving missionaries from other churches. However, FBC would again learn that God had other plans.
Even though Pastor Osborne brought a new vision for missions to FBC, the church never stopped supporting “traditional missionaries.” In 2011, some of those “traditional missionaries” experienced a severe crisis. In August of that year, another mission agency made an abrupt and shocking announcement. They emailed 90 missionary families informing them that due to financial difficulties, they were beginning the process of closing their doors. These missionaries were informed that they had received their last paycheck and no further funds would be disbursed from their accounts. They were forced to find another mission agency immediately.
It is impossible to put into words the emotions these missionaries experienced. These servants of God felt abandoned, betrayed, and devastated.
Many of them were in remote places with limited access to internet or telephone. One of these missionary
families was Chris & Diane Marine. FBC had faithfully supported Chris & Diane for over 20 years when they received that devastating email.
At that time, they served as Regional Coordinators for West Africa and had the responsibility of caring for twelve missionary families. One of their initial desires was to keep their entire team together.
Soon after the announcement was made, Chris connected with Pastor Osborne in Winter Haven. Pastor Osborne said, “Chris, we love you and are praying for you. If it would help you, you are welcome to join our little mission agency.” Chris was not expecting this and Pastor Osborne was not expecting Chris’s reply. Chris said, “Can I bring my entire team with me?” At that moment, Pastor Osborne realized that God was doing something much bigger. That moment marked the beginning of FBM. We went from serving two missionary families from FBC, to serving a whole team of missionaries in West Africa. This team of missionaries came from all across the US.
Since the beginning, FBM has been guided by one principle: We Love Missionaries! Ten years ago, we began loving a group of missionaries that were devastated and broken. We learned to patiently love them and over time, they came to love and trust us. Since that time, we have learned that all missionaries go through trials just like the rest of us. As a result, we have made missionary care one of our highest proprieties.
We believe that God has called us to be the World-Leader in Missionary Care. This is our vision for the future. If FBM has 10 families or 1,000 families – the vision is still the same. For us, Missionary Care centers around two areas: Prayer & Action. Our board meets every month. At that meeting, we spend over an hour praying specifically for every member of the FBM family. After our meeting, we communicate with each of our missionaries individually to say, “We love you and prayed for you last night. We specifically prayed for….”
In addition to praying, we take action. Unanticipated expenses are common in the life of the missionary. Our missionaries experience these in many different ways. Whether it is solar batteries being replaced, family emergencies that have them fly back to the states, or land they would like to purchase. Each situation can be stressful and resources may be few. We discuss these unforeseen needs with our missionaries and try to help. Often, these requests are time sensitive and the missionaries may not have the opportunity to ask donors for support. Helping our missionaries with these financial burdens encourages them. It helps them know that they are not alone. Since September 2020, we have provided nearly $40,000 to help our missionaries with these unanticipated expenses.
Today, we invite you to partner with us. Help us continue loving our missionaries. Partner with us to continue providing World-Leading Missionary Care. One of our ministry partners has generously provided a $5,000 matching gift opportunity. All contributions sent in response from this newsletter will be matched up to $5,000. Will you partner with us today to help us be the world leader in Missionary Care?