One day in 1793, William Carey, the Father of Modern Missions and some friends were discussing the need for foreign missions. Andrew Fuller, a fellow minister who was at that gathering, recalled, “We saw there was a gold mine in India, but it was as deep as the center of the Earth.” Fuller asked who would venture to explore that mine. Carey spoke up and addressed his friends: “I will venture to go down, but remember that you must hold the ropes.” By “holding the ropes,” Carey meant consistently praying for him, financially supporting him, and regularly communicating on his behalf with the churches in England. His friends agreed.
Since 1988 many of you have been our faithful “rope holders” and we want to thank you for the time and effort that you have put into bringing us and our ministry before the throne of grace, and for faithfully supporting us. It has been an honor to be serviced by you. However, to get to Spain we will need more “rope holders”. The expenses are higher and the spiritual battle will most like be harder. We live in a day when “holding the ropes” is considering just praying and sending money. Holding the ropes also includes staying in contact, providing feedback, constructive criticism, and maintaining lines of accountability
(The following is a interview between the McMillans and a potential “rope holder”)
RH: What is a “Faith Mission” and how does that relate to a “rope holder”? Mc: A “Faith mission” is a term used among evangelical Christians to refer to a missionary agency with an approach to missions that encourages its missionaries to "trust in God to provide the necessary resources" These missionaries are said to "live by faith" as they trust the Lord to provide “rope holders”, those who commit to hold the ropes.
RH: How does TEAM assist the McMillans as faith missionaries? MC: TEAM assists us, our sending church and “rope holders” by handling our finances, providing tax deductible receipts, medical insurance, a retirement program, and on the field helping with documents, orientation, supervision, training and encouragement.
RH: How does a “faith promise” and “rope holding” fit together? MC: A “faith promise” is set between a potential “rope holder”, God and the missionaries. By faith you will trust the Lord to enable you to give that amount over a period of time. This amount is generally give on a monthly basis but can also be given quarterly or once a year.
RH: Do you need more “rope holders”? MC: Yes, since we left for the mission field in 1988 we have needed replacement “rope holders” as some have gone to Glory and others have ceased to give for various reasons…. plus the “load” or “weight” has increa
sed! We will need “rope holders” for about 15 more years until we retire.
RH: How can our church or a family “hold the ropes” for you? MC: First of all you can pray. This is the hardest to do. We will provide you with updates with specific ways you can pray. Secondly, you can make a commitment to help support us financially. Thirdly, you can be a part of a work team that travels to Spain.
RH: What is the financial support level that TEAM has recommended for you? MC: Each TEAM missionary is responsible to raise his own support from churches, family, businesses, organizations and friends. TEAM has recommended that we raise $8090 a month. When commitments equal the support level set by TEAM we will receive final clearance for departure. This support includes: salary, housing, medical insurance, retirement plan, social security, taxes, MK Education, travel expenses, ministry funds (office, documents, phone, internet, materials, resources, etc) and 8% to TEAM for their expenses.
RH: How many supporters do Peter and Sharon have now? MC: We currently have 515 people who receive our prayer updates. Each month we have 34 families giving a combined average of $2307 and 14 churches giving a combined total of $2935. This total of $5242 makes up 65% of our total recommended level of $8090. In January of 2010 our salary was cut to 51% until our income goes up again.
RH: How can a “rope holder” send their support into TEAM? MC: Missionary support can be sent via check, on line or electronic funds transfer. Gifts and commitments can be made online using TEAM’S web page. http://www.teamworld.org/give/give-online-now.html. Or by sending a check for the McMillan’s to: TEAM, P.O. Box 969, Wheaton, IL 60187.
RH: When do you plan to leave for Spain? MC: Our original target date was June of 2010. However we cannot apply for our visas until we have 80% of our support pledged. If 7 additional churches would give an average of $300 a month and an additional 20 families would give an average of $50 a month we would be at 100% and could leave this summer.
We are currently at 65% of the $8,090 recommended for TEAM Spain. Here’s how this looks on a graph:
Upcoming schedule for visiting our old and new “Rope Holders”
Sunday a.m.: April 11: Salem Baptist, Richmond VA
Sunday p.m.: River’s Edge bible Church, Hopewell, VA
(Monday – Thursday, 12-15: Together For the Gospel Conference in Louisville, KY)
Friday 16: May’s Chapel, Huntington, WV
Sunday 18: Grace Church, Gainesville, VA
Wednesday, 21: Marvin Newsom, Littleton, NC
Thursday - Friday 22, 23: Rich and Libby Unverzagt, MS
Saturday - Sunday 24, 25: Harvard Ave Bap, Siloam Springs, AK
Mon –Wed the 26th-28th: The Newmans, Jonesboro, LA
Wed., 28th: Siloam Springs Community Church, Jonesboro, LA
Sunday a.m. and p.m. May 2: Providence Baptist, Asheboro, NC
Sunday a.m. May 16: Missio Die Church, Asheville, NC
Sunday p.m.: Flat Creek Baptist, Lynchburg, VA
We are excited to visit each one of you as we share what we know about 2 corners of the world where God is building and will build his church. Not only that, but we get to be encouraged as we hear how God is working in your corner! We have faith and confidently expect that we will soon begin to work in Madrid and be able to send you more interesting reports!