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Member Care: Why it Matters

Member Care is vital to everything we do here at FBM. It is actually written into our mission statement. “FBM exists to glorify God by obeying the Great Commission and caring for those we serve.” We care about those we serve. Whether its missionaries, pastors, national partners, or individual supporters – we care.

Our primary focus, naturally, centers around caring for our missionaries. In recent years, our FBM family has grown to include roughly 30 families. Each family is unique. One family may be a retired widow and the next may be a mom and dad with lots of kids at home. Each family is important.

Due to our growth, we have worked to develop and expand our Member Care Team. This team of individuals works collaboratively and intentionally to provide care. We desire to do more than just
respond to needs and crises. We aim to proactively develop deep relationships with each member of FBM. These relationships allow us to better respond when times of crisis inevitably come.

We define Member Care as “the continual outpouring of genuine love to those we serve.” This is a pretty simple definition. However, showing genuine love is anything but simple. We believe that love is “holistic care” – addressing the spiritual, physical, emotion, relational, and financial aspects of life both on and off the mission field.

Here are just a few examples of what Member Care has looked like for us in 2024:

  • Praying with and for our missionaries
  • Counseling missionaries through private family situations involving adult children
  • Counseling missionaries through conflicts with their home church
  • Counseling missionaries through conflict with colleagues
  • Providing financial assistance for unexpected bills
  • Providing marriage counseling for missionaries
  • Providing support raising counsel and training
  • Helping missionaries navigate through payroll and tax issues
  • Helping retired missionaries navigate Social Security and Medicare issues
  • Conducting numerous Quarterly Check-ins with our entire FBM family
  • Visiting sending churches
  • Visiting three foreign fields to provide on-site Member Care
  • Hosting visiting missionaries in Winter Haven

In 1 Corinthians 13:8, Paul instructs the church, “Love never ends.” This applies to Member Care. The work of our Member Care Team never stops. In 1 John 4:8, John writes, “Anyone who does not love does not know God.” Here at FBM, we know God. We know that because of God’s overwhelming love for us, we must love our missionaries. This is why Member Care is essential to everything we do.

Stephen Simpson visiting the Mali field in January with missionaries Joe & Rich Marshall

What about you?

My reason for writing this is to highlight the true significance of your partnership with FBM. Your financial investment in FBM is having an impact on the lives of every one of our missionaries. Our Member Care Team operates because of your partnership. Our Annual Fund allows for travel, meals, software, financial assistance, and so much more. All of this enables us to show genuine love to our missionaries. When you give to the Annual Fund, you join our Member Care Team by partnering with us in caring for our missionaries. I invite you to join our team today. Consider a monthly or annual gift to our Annual Fund. Help us “care for those we serve.”

Making Christ Preeminent in Spain

As we anticipate the Darling’s transition to Spain, learn more about how God has worked in their lives to lead and equip them for ministry. He is faithful!

Last year, we had the privilege of introducing you to the Darling family – Daniel, Karrah, Hannah, Isabella, & Liev. This year, we celebrate God’s faithfulness as He moves them to Spain. Their story is a reminder of God’s sovereignty in using each step of the story for His glory and their preparation.

Missions is not a new concept for the Darlings. Daniel grew up as the child of missionaries serving in Venezuela. This allowed him not only to learn Spanish, but to watch his parents live out a call to ministry. A pivotal experience for Daniel occurred when he had the opportunity to serve as translator for a mission team visiting Venezuela. During this experience, God opened Daniel’s eyes to the need for discipleship and follow-up after evangelistic efforts. God knew exactly what He was doing when Daniel and Karrah later crossed paths at college. Both were committed to being used by Him in whatever way He chose.

In 2009, Daniel & Karrah returned to Venezuela to serve as missionaries themselves. When visa issues prevented them from staying, the Darlings accepted the closed door and sought God’s direction. Knowing their Spanish fluency was an asset, they focused on Latin America until another missionary asked if they had considered Spain. God opened the door to this possibility, and the Darlings moved to Spain in 2011.

During their first term in Spain, Daniel & Karrah were set to work with a seminary until it became clear that church planting was a more pressing need. Desiring more pastoral experience and training, the Darlings relocated to Texas where Daniel took a pastoral position and continued his own education.

In 2022, the Darlings traveled to Spain as part of a short-term missions trip. This brought fresh eyes and experience to the call they had sensed years before. During the trip, the joy of a new believer was quickly overshadowed by the reality that there was no faithful church nearby. Daniel & Karrah knew this was God working to bring them back to Spain. He wanted them to plant churches in a region with limited gospel witness.
In 2023, the Darlings, with the blessing of Needham’s Grove Baptist Church, joined the FBM family. Since joining, they have worked hard to share their vision for ministry and invite others to partner with them. Lord-willing, they will deploy to Northern Spain later this year to begin the work of planting faithful churches.

How can you pray for the Darlings?

  • Pray for financial support. In just 10 months, God has provided 79% of their monthly support and all of their outfit & passage funds. Pray for God to provide the remaining $1,740 per month needed to reach their goal.
  • Pray for their family as they move to Spain.
  • Pray for co-laborers to join in the mission! The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.

Mission Trip Reflections

Just a few weeks ago, our Spring Mexico Team spent a week serving in Pachuca, Mexico. God used these 10 individuals to accomplish much at the Seminary (CETyM). Over 80 gallons of paint were used to paint the second floor of the academic building and the interior of the dining hall. Some major tree pruning was done. One team member even repaired a lawnmower, table saw, and washing machine.

Chuck Skillen, a team member from Cedar Falls, IA, had this to say about the recent trip, “God taught me that guys & gals of all ages from different states & backgrounds could work together and get a lot done…It was a great learning time being in Mexico for those that had not been there and for all to realize what one small seminary can accomplish in training up pastors and workers.”

Randy Fencl, also from Cedar Falls, said, “Traveling out of the US isn’t as hard as I thought. God answered our prayers. Some highlights were when we were working and the staff and students were laughing and singing. They truly appreciate the help. The seminary campus is a very nice place that needs the help of all who are willing to serve the Lord no matter what your talents are.”

Consider joining one of our upcoming mission teams. God can use you to make a big impact around the world. If you are unable to join one of our mission teams, consider providing a scholarship for someone else to go. Due to the generosity of others, we were able to scholarship two team members on the recent trip. Often, the availability of a scholarship is the final nudge someone needs in order to commit to joining a mission trip. Partner with us today to fill this unique need.

Upcoming Mission Trips

TOGO – July 13-23, 2024

Praise God – this trip is full!

Participants will be helping FBM Missionaries Koku & Akpene with their annual VBS in Misahome.

Cost: $3,500

MEXICO – October 5-12, 2024

This trip is open to anyone over the age of 18, and those younger than 18 may be accompanied by a parent or guardian. All skill levels welcome!

Participants will do a variety of work alongside the students in renovating the CETyM seminary campus (prep, paint, repair, wire, plumb, etc.).

Cost: $1,500

A New Season of Ministry

FBM Missionaries Rob & Jackie Ernst

Rob and Jackie Ernst faithfully served in Australia for 20 years. Their ministry included planting Cornerstone Baptist Church as well as working at a local elementary school. At the school, Rob counseled many students and parents in his role as chaplain. In 2023, sensing it was time for the church to transition to local leadership, the Ernsts moved back to the US. The church has flourished under the new pastor. Rob regularly meets with him virtually for encouragement, counsel, and prayer.

Having observed Rob & Jackie’s unique giftedness, FBM leadership asked if they would consider serving from our home office and they graciously agreed. The Ernsts will be focused on two areas of ministry – Member Care and Church Relations. They have experienced both the blessings and trials of ministry. These experiences have prepared them for their new ministry of encouraging, praying for, and counseling missionaries and pastors. We’re grateful for their passion in caring for those on the front-lines of ministry and look forward to seeing how God will use them in this new season of ministry.

Shortly after their transition to the US, Jackie was diagnosed with cancer. Treatments have begun and the doctors are optimistic. Pray for Rob & Jackie as they walk this new path. Pray for physical healing. Pray that God will use these experiences to enhance the care they provide to missionaries and pastors.
Pray for Rob & Jackie’s financial needs as they make this transition. They are currently $1,500/month short of their financial goal.

Thank you for reading this edition of The Rope! We’re grateful for your partnership in the Gospel.

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