Moved by Compassion: A Heart for World Missions
Things that look really bad can actually be really good. Perspective makes the difference.
A Heart for World Missions
by Barry Simpson
A Surprising Gift
As I hung up the phone in my office, I remember thinking, “Wow! Mrs. Doe (not her real name) is not only generous, she is gracious and humble.” I could hardly wait to fulfill the promise that my wife Jena and I would take her out to dinner to express the Mission’s gratitude in a more personal way.
I made the call after learning of her very generous gift to the World Missions Offering (WMO). During our conversation, Mrs. Doe quickly described her interest in missions, especially international missions. She explained that her burden stemmed from the influence of her late mother, and the gift came from her mother’s estate. She wasn’t sure she would ever be able to give another like it.
A few months later, I made a second call to Mrs. Doe to let her know I was visiting her part of the country, and I wanted to say thanks over dinner. She agreed to join us.
We met in front of the public library in her hometown before traveling to a nearby town for supper. My first impression was that she was much younger than expected. (I learned later that she was in her late 60s.) Her car was a typical four-door sedan with no bells or whistles, just safe, dependable transportation.
The supper conversation was enjoyable. We talked about missions and what God was doing through Free Will Baptist International Missions. I recounted my years as a pastor and explained how I had come to work for the Mission. Mrs. Doe told us about her mother, her church, and her lifelong passion for seeing the gospel spread around the globe. After finishing the meal, we prayed together and parted company.
A Friendship Develops
Over the next few years, Mrs. Doe and I periodically exchanged phone calls and emails. Earlier this year, while representing the Mission at an association meeting near her home, I gave her a call to see if she would meet me for lunch. Once again, she graciously agreed.
As conversation began to wind down, Mrs. Doe confided that she needed help preparing her will. I offered my assistance and recommended David Brown, director of the Free Will Baptist Foundation, be included in the conversation. She asked for a week to pray about it and promised to call.
True to her word, a week later Mrs. Doe asked me to set up the meeting with David. In the meantime, she thought it would be helpful to share the extent of her estate, giving us some time for advance planning. A few days later, I received a detailed list of assets and a letter from Mrs. Doe. In part, the letter read:
Dear Mr. Simpson,
Enclosed is a list of my assets that you may share with Mr. Brown prior to our meeting.
Please pray for me to be a faithful steward of what I’ve been entrusted with. These times are so uncertain. May our wonderful Lord grant wisdom.
Does anyone else have a sense that we should abandon plans for caring for these earthly bodies and release as much funds as possible, as soon as possible, to get the gospel out immediately?
Thank you, Mrs. Doe
I’ve shared the letter (anonymously) with our ambassadors, with missionaries returning home from the field, and with the International Missions Board in December. I want these important team members to be encouraged by the commitment and generosity of God’s people.
A month later, we met with Mrs. Doe at her modest home. We sat around her kitchen table and discussed her financial situation.
She described her love for the Lord, her longing to be a faithful steward, and her desire to get the gospel to those who’ve never heard. David and I helped Mrs. Doe shape an estate plan that meets her financial needs and fulfills her wishes to be a good steward.
Mrs. Doe’s estate plan includes a money management trust and a gift annuity, both managed by the Free Will Baptist Foundation. The money management trust will enable Mrs. Doe to make a substantial gift to a relative and receive a very competitive rate of return.
The gift annuity will provide a sizable tax deduction, ensure a guaranteed fixed income for life, and ultimately give her the satisfaction of knowing she will continue supporting the ministry of International Missions long after her death.
Changing the World
Furthermore, because Mrs. Doe wanted to impact global evangelism, she gave an immediate gift of $50,000 to the World Missions Offering. Approximately one-third of that amount came from life insurance policies she no longer needed. She transferred ownership of the policies to International Missions, making it possible for the Mission to receive the current cash value. In turn, she received tax benefits she can spread over several years, if necessary.
For Mrs. Doe, the gift to the WMO was a way to express her burden for the unreached peoples of the world. Her subsequent planned gifts are further expressions of that same burden. In my estimation, Mrs. Doe is a wise steward. I have a feeling her mother would smile upon her daughter’s generous gifts.
The beauty of the WMO is that everyone can participate. A child with a coin bank can be as excited, faithful, and generous as someone like Mrs. Doe. We can all be faithful, and we can all give something.
As we approach the 2010 World Missions Offering this April, I challenge all of us to follow the example of Mrs. Doe and give to the World Missions Offering. More importantly, let’s follow her example by developing a genuine burden for world missions and the countless people who have never heard the gospel.
Remember the profound words of John 3:16? “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son!” How can we hold anything back when we have been so richly blessed?
About the Writer: Barry Simpson is director of development for Free Will Baptist International Missions. To learn more about how you can give more effectively through the ministry of the Free Will Baptist Foundation, visit www.FWBGifts.org or call 877-336-7575.