A Lineman by Trade
Communication is a key to creating a support network
By John Neihof, WGM Board Member
I love investing in missionaries. Successful missionary ministry involves raising a network of champions. Communication is a key to creating that network.
A few years ago, Bill Ryan, WGM missionary to Honduras, was in my public speaking class at Kentucky Mountain Bible College. Bill had been a lineman (constructing and maintaining electric lines) by trade in his home state of Vermont. Bill and Beth sensed God’s call to missions, but Bill’s idea was that he would simply use his lineman and electrical skills to serve Escuela El Sembrador. God had bigger ideas.
The semester had reached the halfway point and it was time for persuasive speeches. I challenged Bill to develop his missionary appeal message as his persuasive speech for the class assignment. I emphasized that he focus on presenting the need for prayer and financial support and seek to raise both from his Bible college classmates. I sweetened the challenge by offering to become his first supporter from the class!
Bill has a natural warmth and sincerity in front of an audience. His speech was very good, and my wife and I kept our promise to become part of the Ryans’ support team.
A year or two later, I was on the road and met up with Bill and Beth at Mooers Camp in upstate New York. Mooers Camp is near the Ryans’ home area in Vermont, and they have a lot of supporters there. It was missionary day, and Bill and Beth were the speakers. Their presentation was fantastic. The camp president, Steve Drown, approached me with a request that I offer the commissioning prayer over Bill and Beth as they headed toward the place of their calling in Honduras. I sensed God’s blessing and anointing as I prayed over this precious couple.
Bill’s stint as an electrician at El Sembrador was successful, but short lived. He and Beth sensed God’s call to church planting in a pioneer work to an indigenous community in La Mosqitia. Bill never saw himself as a public speaker, teacher, or preacher, but that is exactly what he does as a frontier missionary. God put the key, public speaking, in Bill’s hand, and he is crafting and using the key to advance God’s Divine mandate.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV)
ACT: Practice your communication skills. WGM provides a variety of speaker outlines that you can use to share a ministry need with your church, small group, etc.