This week as I was sorting and culling some papers in a keepsake file, I came across an astonishing letter we had received many years ago from one of our financial partners.
For all the past five and a half decades 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 for their faithfulness in sharing their finances with us.
The amazing letter was from Tracy, an old friend and a member of the congregation Jo and I pastored before we joined Wycliffe. It was a general letter written to all the missionaries he was supporting financially.
“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 afterward, he had a massive heart attack. While he was 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 I 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. God has greatly blessed me.”
What a Ministry Partner!
This financial partner wrote this letter when he was eighty-two years old! He had been exercising his faith by sending his gift to Wycliffe for our support every month for thirty-five years without a miss until then!
Through his gifts, Tracy was part of our team when we worked for twenty-four years in Brazil and translated the Scriptures for the Canela people of Brazil and planted Christ’s Church there. He was a part of our team for the nine years I was president of Wycliffe Canada, and then of Wycliffe Caribbean. After that, he continued to partner with us for eleven years in our speaking and writing ministry.
Finally, at nearly ninety years old, he went Home to enjoy fellowship with the Lord he served throughout his life, and to hear Him say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant!”
A Faithful Team
As Bible translating missionaries, Jo and I have stood before many hundreds of church congregations. I wave that red Canela Bible and tell testimonial stories of how God gave His Word to the Canelas in their language and how they responded. Often people will thank us for the pioneering work we did.
Yeah, we pioneered. But Jo and I did not do it alone! We could never have done it without people like Tracy, who exercised his faith in God, shared his finances with us and prayed for us.
Ted, another long-term financial and prayer 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.
When we believers give to missions, pray for missionaries, and in other ways support world evangelization, God will not forget the sacrifices we make. His “Well done!” is waiting for us.