This week as I was sorting and culling some papers I came across an amazing letter we had received many years ago from one of our financial partners.
For all of the past 50 years that Jo and I have been members of Wycliffe Bible Translators, God has supplied our financial needs through the gifts of family and friends. We thank God for these ministry partners, we pray for them, and we thank them frequently for their faithfulness in sharing their finances with us.
The letter was from Tracy, an old friend who had been a member of the congregation I pastored before we joined Wycliffe. It was a general letter written to all the missionaries he was supporting.
“Dear Partners in the Gospel Ministry, I apologize for not sending you any financial support checks for the past four months.”
He then explained that he had been in the hospital to treat a bleeding ulcer. Shortly afterwards he had a massive heart attack. While recovering from quadruple bypass surgery, his ailing wife died. A week after returning home he got pneumonia and was again admitted to the hospital. He concluded his letter with these words,
“I have not worked for four months, so have received no paycheck. I may not work again. But I will try to keep sending half of what I used to send before all this happened. God bless you in the continuance of your work. I’m sure the Lord will supply. I have been greatly blessed of the Lord.”
This financial partner was 82 years old! He had been exercising his faith by sending his check to Wycliffe for our support every month for 35 years without a miss until then!
Through his gifts, Tracy was part of our team when we translated the Scriptures for the Canela people of Brazil and planted Christ’s Church there. He was a part of our team when I was president of Wycliffe Canada, and later of Wycliffe Caribbean. After that he continued to partner with us in our speaking and writing ministry.
Finally, at nearly 90 years old, he went Home to enjoy fellowship with the Lord he loved throughout his life, and to hear Him say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant.”
As Bible translating missionaries Jo and I have the privilege of standing up in front of churches and, as we wave the red Canela Bible, to tell stories of how God used us to translate His Word for the Canelas over the course of more than 20 years. Often people will thank us for the pioneer work we did.
Yeah, but we didn’t do it alone! We couldn’t have done it without people like Tracy exercising their faith in God and sharing their finances with us and praying for us.
As another financial partner told me, “You know, Jack, when I see you holding up that red Canela Bible, I think, ‘That book is partly mine!’” And he is absolutely right.
If you give to missions, pray for missionaries, and in other ways support cross-cultural missions, you have a large share in the final result of world evangelization. God will not forget the sacrifices you made. His “Well done,” is waiting for you.