Featured Article: Two Elderly Voices

Andy Bonikowsky

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; And there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher: she was of a great age… (Luke 2:25, 36)

Guided by the Holy Spirit, along with his natural medical discipline in details, Luke gives some unique insight into events surrounding the Lord’s birth. In one of these stories he focuses on two interesting people, one a godly old gentleman, the other an aged and saintly widow.

​Who were they and why did he choose these two? What claim to fame could they have had? Why were they important to the Author of Scripture?

Though not too much information is given, there is enough to discern some answers, and then also to see a door of opportunity for us to go through.

Undoubtedly, the two old believers were quite overlooked by the troops of Pharisees, scribes, and lawyers that regularly walked by them at the temple. Interpreting the Law and parsing it down into a multitude of rules and regulations, the religious authorities had little real knowledge of Jehovah.

Entirely unknown to them, this pair of saints, of the common people, had the very ear of God and were privy to some of the most significant news of history.

Of Simeon we know that he loved the Holy Spirit, that with quiet and tireless patience, he waited for Isaiah’s prophesied Counselor of Israel. Once his eyes saw the Child, he was totally ready to die. That Baby, the Christ, who turned simple shepherds and elite magi into worshippers, was all that Simeon wanted to see.

Anna, on the other hand, had presumably led an entirely different life, experiencing the horrible tragedy of early widowhood. But she, like Simeon, possessed an unusual depth of faith.

This faith led her to make an astonishing decision. Instead of griping and moaning about her lot in life, or desperately praying for another husband, she shocked everyone be giving herself to God. And just how did she do that? She attached herself to the temple, and became the cheerful, spiritual encourager of anyone who went in.

And this she did, it appears, for at least 60 years!

These two were brought together by divine appointment to help a young married couple who were walking, as it were, in a dream. Joseph and Mary needed confirmation and support, and God knew exactly how to bring it to them, and who to use.

For the sacred chore He had prepared these two jewels, two seemingly random voices. They would do the job perfectly.

Maybe we should follow Luke’s example, and look around for the unnoticed Simeons and Annas. These are the elderly voices of those far ahead of us in the race, some maybe very close to their earthly finish line. They are men and women with a powerful story to tell, of God’s faithfulness in time and tragedy.

I’m sure you can think of a few names–I can–of silent heroes nearby, who have kept the faith. In many cases their lights are growing dimmer as health issues take a toll. But they will soon hear “Welcome, good and faithful servant” from Him who is the very definition of faithfulness.

To as many of these who may read this article, I say,

“Thank you for being faithful to the end!”

​Dear Father, give me the wisdom to search out these elderly, godly voices, and listen to them. Amen.

From the Memo Board: February 2016

Dates to Know

February 19 – You should receive the 2016 MFR Template with the new mileage rates.

March 1 – January Financial Reports will be due.

June 20-23 – Family Fellowship Week with Valley Baptist Church in Edinburg, VA.

Benefits of Financial Reports

The Monthly Financial Report (MFR) is the tool that missionaries can use to become accountable to WWNTBM for their reimbursable expenses, rather than having all funds listed as salary. Over the course of 2015, 79% of those eligible chose to submit MFRs. By doing so, they were able to reduce their W-2 Wages by a combined average of 29%. If you are not currently utilizing MFRs and would like information about how to begin, please contact our Office.

Excel Template for 2016

We are working on some changes to the Financial Report Template. If you’ve not already done so, would you consider giving us some feedback? Click here to complete a short survey. We will need your response by February 8. Then, the new Excel template for the year 2016 will be available on or about February 19. This will give us time to review the your suggestions and incorporate any changes. January financial reports will be due on March 1. Should you wish to complete your report before the new template is available, you are welcome to submit it on the 2015 template.

Prayer & Dates: February 2016

Feburary Prayer/Praises and Special Dates

Click the link above to download a PDF of prayer requests and praises as well as the birthdays and anniversaries for February. Note: You will need to login to SecureCloud in order to view this document.  Once you have logged in, click on Files Shared, then Headquarter Happenings, then scroll to the month you would like to view. This step protects people with WWNTBM in restricted access fields.

From Our President: February 2016

Danny WhetstoneThere are so many things about the early church that are impressive, things that made them a successful force in world evangelism. They were fervent in prayer. The Holy Spirit obviously empowered them. The Word of God was used skillfully. Along with these was their ability to press forward in good times and bad.

On the day of Pentecost they experienced great success in seeing three thousand saved, baptized and added to the church. However, it did not cause them to accept this as the end of their mission, but rather as the beginning. The church was not content with the advance that they had made. Instead, they pressed forward.

The early success was followed by persecution. This persecution would be repeated again and again with the same result. They continued to press forward. They were threatened, beaten, jailed and rejected. But when they were given the opportunity, they pressed forward.

There was a disagreement in the church in Acts 6. The church quickly found a solution to the problem and made haste to press forward. As a result “the Word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly.”

Stephen was taken from them. Peter had great success in the house of Cornelius. Philip had wonderful success in Samaria and Gaza. Paul was banished from cities, imprisoned, and stoned. The end was always the same: they pressed forward.

Now, fast-forward two thousand years. We also enjoy successes and endure failures. The question is this: Will we continue to press forward? We can pray. We have the power of the Holy Spirit. We have even more of the written Word than they had. Do we have the conviction necessary to stay in the fight for the souls of men?

It seems that every force on earth is opposed to the forward movement of the gospel, but it had to appear that way to the early church as well. The world was upside-down for them, and without question it is for us as well. We have a command to take the Gospel to the world, and we cannot permit anything to slow our forward march. Take courage, for we have the authority of Christ to accomplish this great task.

In His Service,
Danny A. Whetstone

Featured Article: The Joy Verb

Andy Bonikowsky

“Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. . . . Rejoice in the Lord alway; . . . I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Nehemiah 8:10, Philippians 4:4,13)

Neither group receiving these words could possibly have expected them.

The one was listening to Nehemiah, the other was reading from Paul. These two peoples had never met, no more than the two leaders. They lived in different centuries and continents.

Nor were their situations the same. One was a huge gathering of Jews who had heard the razor sharp truth of the Law and were convicted to tears. Having come face to face with their sin, they were shattered, and as one large body they cried.

The other was a congregation reading a strange letter. The writing told them of the apostle’s imprisonment and of harsh criticism from those who should have been his friends. Surrounded as well by their own set of difficulties, these believers could not have predicted the contents of the epistle.

But both peoples were in great anxiety and needed encouragement. The builder had spoken in the Old Testament; the evangelist had written in the New.

Yet their message was the same: Be joyful! Be strong!

In that order.

In the case of Nehemiah, we see the immediate effect on the people. After repentance, they obeyed and were invigorated as a result. In Paul’s situation we are not given the response of the Philippians, but are allowed to see the truth worked out in his own life. He first speaks of rejoicing in everything and then pens the famous verse, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.”

The key is in the joy.

We often think of joy as a gift from God, and it is.

But it is much more than that. It is more than just a passive virtue, something that merely comes to us. According to Scripture, there is an active, transitive, energetic, and powerful aspect of joy. It is easier to see if we switch the noun into its verb form, as Paul did.

In other words, “Rejoice!” Or, “Have joy!” Or, “Be joyful!”

Christian joy (is there any other kind?) is a potent force that is every believer’s privilege.

Do I want to be spiritually strong? Do I long for power in my war against sin? Would I like to see victory in the battles of my mind?

One missing ingredient may be simply a change of attitude. Repentance is necessary, but so is the joy that should follow on its heels! Some never get past the sadness of their sin.

God loves to hear His people rejoice. It speaks of confidence, of faith, of wisdom!

One of the greatest military victories ever won by a Jewish king came to Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. A multinational, bloodthirsty horde of enemies invaded from the east and Judah was facing swift extermination. But the king humbled himself before the Lord and obeyed His very odd instructions. As they headed out to the battle site they began to rejoice. A choir made up of two Levite families started singing and praising God.

For some unknown reason an argument started between the enemy factions. It turned ugly and ended up with them slaughtering each other. A secular observer would say, “Coincidence.”

We know better.

Who of us doesn’t face things that threaten to discourage us and flatten our hopes? Maybe we’re spending too much time letting the difficulty rule our thinking. What if God has not changed and sometimes He’s just waiting for us to shift our focus and start rejoicing?

Dear Father, to choose joy when the going is rough and complicated is never my natural choice. Remind me quickly and help me throw off my sour attitudes. Amen.

Prayer & Dates: January 2016

January Prayer/Praises and Special Dates

Click the link above to download a PDF of prayer requests and praises as well as the birthdays and anniversaries for January. Note: You will need to login to SecureCloud in order to view this document.  Once you have logged in, click on Files Shared, then Headquarter Happenings, then scroll to the month you would like to view. This step protects people with WWNTBM in restricted access fields.

From Our President: January 2016

Danny Whetstone

A few days ago, Darleen and I had the pleasure of visiting with Pastor and Mrs. Wingard. It was a blessed time. Sometime during our visit Pastor Wingard gave me an article to read on church planting. It was encouraging to read an article by someone that actually has something good to say about these days. There seems to be a resurgence of church planting in America. This is wonderful news indeed.

I have observed in recent years that our Lord is calling some dedicated servants into His work. We are closely associated with young families who are on deputation to raise support for worldwide ministries they are burdened for; however, that is only part of the story. God is also raising up some amazing young pastors for America, pastors who are deeply concerned about reaching people for Christ both home and abroad. These are men who see beyond their borders.

There is no doubt that we have lost many churches that at one time stood at the front lines of battle and did a great work for our Lord. It only seems to make sense that we need to reproduce good ministries in other places. There will always be churches closing and compromising, and it might be that a few of them can recover. More than likely the answer is to start new churches more rapidly than we lose them. This is not only applicable in America, but also in the entire world.

How marvelous would it be if a real revival of reaching people with the Gospel broke out in our churches today? I am not advocating numbers for the sake of numbers, but might I remind you that the book of Acts has a great deal to say about reaching one, two, three thousand, five thousand and multitudes. But it is not enough to simply reach them. They will need to be baptized and taught. This will require establishing a New Testament church, because baptism is a local church responsibility. It is one of only two ordinances committed to the church.

We have little to no idea exactly what the future holds. However, we know from church history that our God has done great things in difficult times. These are not days to hesitate. These are not days for fainting. We desperately need a generation of Christian soldiers that will rise to the occasion. Let’s go after sinners with the Gospel of Christ and see the ministry as a long term service for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Maybe you are in a dark and dismal place today. Perhaps you think that no one knows your needs or even cares that you have them. Let me assure you that the One who put you where you are does indeed know, and He cares. Prepare your heart for God to do an amazing work in and through your life.

In His Service,
Danny A. Whetstone

From the Memo Board: January 2016

Dates to Know

January 8 – Missionaries will receive their emailed statements of December Support Received.

January 11 – All missionaries will receive their final December support on this day, regardless of the day that they normally receive support.

January 15 – December financial reports will be due, along with any remaining receipts or financial paperwork for 2015.

June 20-23 – Family Fellowship Week with Valley Baptist Church in Edinburg, VA. Begin arranging your summer schedule to be with us!

January Income Totals

During a typical month, we close the books on the 25th, and any checks received after that date are posted to the following month. Due to receipting requirements, we cannot do this in the month of December. As a result, please be aware that your December support total may be higher than normal, while your January support total may be lower than normal. Please be sure to plan ahead for this!

Housing Allowances for 2016

Housing allowances previously in place have automatically rolled over to the new year. Missionaries who are ordained are eligible to have a housing allowance in place, which can provide certain tax benefits. If you did not have a housing allowance in 2015 and would like to have one for 2016, or if you have questions regarding this, please contact our office.

New Excel Templatemicrosoft_excel_icon

A new Excel template for the year 2016 will be available during the first week of February. This will give us time to review the need for any possible updates. January financial reports will be due on March 1. Should you wish to complete your report before the new template is available, you are welcome to submit it on the 2015 template.

New Mileage Rate

Beginning January 1st, the IRS mileage rate has decreased to $0.540 per mile for business/ministry miles. This change will be reflected on the new Excel template for 2016.

Birth Announcement

Timothy EliamCongratulations to Clayton and Linda Eliam on the birth of baby Timothy on December 17th. Timothy weighed 7 pounds 9 ounces. Both mom and baby are doing well! Timothy is the fifth child of the Eliams, and joins his older siblings Cheryl (12), Nathan (10), Hadassah (7), and Keila (5). The family serves on the island of Pohnpei.