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March Activate Post: Your mission passion can outlive you


I first met George and Eva Wickes in the late seventies in northern Indiana. They were the leaders of a three-day Lay Witness Mission Team, visiting Pretty Lake Trinity UMC. Wow, God blessed in amazing ways! One long-time church member wrote, “Pastor, I’ve experienced spiritual transformation.” The church was never the same.

In 1984 I met George again in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains at Red Bird Mission. George was leading the short-term mission team that I had joined from New Haven UMC. He tried to teach me to shingle a roof, and introduced me to peanut butter on pancakes. After we returned home, a church member of the team wrote, “Pastor, this short-term mission team experience changed my life; it changed my perspective on several things.”

Then in 2005 I learned about George and Eva Wickes’ amazing missionary story. In their seventies, they had served as cross-cultural workers in Kazakhstan through TMS Global. They impacted the missionary team and the people of that former Soviet country.

In 2006 I met Eva at Dayton UMC. She was a member of the church’s mission team. (By this time, George had already gone on to be with Jesus.) I was serving the church as a TMS Global mission coach, preparing for a Global Impact Conference. Pastor John told me countless stories about how Eva’s and George’s mission passion influenced the church’s culture and individual members. The respect and gratitude I saw in members for Eva was sacred and inspiring.

George and Eva Wickes are both with Jesus now. They invested in mission, and their mission passion lives on.

I never met Ruth Graves and Joyce Kira in person. However, in February 2018 I became acquainted with their tremendous mission passion. Ruth and Joyce were members of Morrisville UMC. In 2015 they left a bequest for the church to serve others. Pastor Wendy invited TMS Global to lead an Activate Conference at Morrisville UMC. I was honored to serve the church and Pastor Wendy’s ministry as the Activate Conference mission trainer. Prior to the training, Wendy guided me on an adventure through the church. Because of all that I would learn, it seemed like a spiritual journey.

When we stopped at various rooms, Pastor Wendy would tell me the mission story, explaining the outreach activity that was taking place in many locations in the community. “Here is where we host IFA, a program that supplies…for families in the Morrisville school district,” she told me. “Here is where we host an AHTN, feeding the homeless. …Here is where we host two ESL classes and a citizenship class. …Here is where we provide safe space and a meal for two teen programs. …Here is where we serve Morrisville’s Jr. and Sr. high school students.” (l later learned that Ruth and Joyce had made these and other ministries possible.)

We stepped inside “the Bulldogs room.” (Bulldogs was the high school mascot.) Wendy described the church’s partnership with Campus Crusade, the $100,000 renovation of the “youth room,” and the weekly kingdom ministry in this sacred space. I touched chairs, rubbed my hand across a table, and surveyed the computer stations, sound system, kitchen area, wide-screen TV, and couches. When Pastor Wendy finished telling the story, I could only say, “This is a God thing.”

I caught a sense of Ruth and Joyce’s mission passion during that guided tour. I felt their commitment to mission. I saw firsthand and heard the outreach stories--how their mission passion lives on. Today, the church’s Investment Stewardship Fund (ISF) supports mission outreach near and far, including places in Peru, Granada, Mozambique. This is only a snapshot of ISF’s impact.

Ruth and Joyce are with Jesus now. They invested in mission. Their mission passion lives on.

Thank you, George and Eva. Thank you, Ruth and Joyce.

You have the opportunity to influence future generations as George, Eva, Ruth, and Joyce did. Talk with your pastor about how you can leave a bequest or help advance mission in your church. Consider contacting Malory at TMS Global about hosting an Activate Conference in your church. You may also contact Regina Bergeron at TMS Global for further information about the many ways you can invest in mission through TMS Global.