Pioneer Missionary Hudson Taylor declared: “God’s work, done God’s way, will never lack God’s supply.”
Hudson Taylor not only pioneered the first Inter-denominational Mission Society, but the first Faith Mission. Convinced that “God’s servant is God’s responsibility” and that “The will of God will never lead you where the Grace of God cannot keep you”, Hudson Taylor determined not to engage in fundraising, but to concentrate on the Mission God had entrusted him with.
30 Years ago, as God laid the vision of launching Frontline Fellowship upon my heart, I determined to follow the example of Hudson Taylor in launching Frontline Fellowship as a Faith Mission.
This was during all-night prayer meetings in our military base. We were praying our way through Operation World, particularly praying for our neighbouring countries: Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola. These were the, so-called, Frontline states. At that time they were at war with South Africa and supporting revolutionary groups which were coming across the border into South Africa and South West Africa, laying landmines in roads, placing limpet mines in shops, restaurants and railway stations and car bombs in public streets. They were coming at us with bombs and hate. We determined to go to them with Bibles and with the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Most Christian ministries seemed to make a major emphasis on money and fundraising. We determined to go the other direction. There is nothing wrong with taking up an offering to cover ministry expenses. However, I have never taken up an offering in the almost 30 years of our Mission, Frontline Fellowship. Others may have taken up some offerings on our behalf and we are grateful for that, but we have never required or requested it. Nor have we, as a Mission, engaged in direct fund raising.
Despite conducting speaking tours in 34 countries on 4 continents, I have never required speakers fees. “Freely you have received, freely, freely give.”
Neither have I taken any royalties from any of the books I have written and published. All proceeds go directly into the Mission. Everything that has been accomplished in, and through, our Mission over the last 29 years has been entirely due to God’s grace alone.
Some have asked how any individual can live without a salary and a visible source of income. Or how any organisation can operate without fundraisers.
Francis Grim, the Founder of Hospital Christian Fellowship International, taught me how to live by Faith. When he issued me the call to join his ministry in Kempton Park, I was in Cape Town, 1,400 km away. Having already been living and ministering by Faith for some months, I no longer had so much as a Rand to my name. I had to trust the Lord for the train fare to reach Kempton Park. When Uncle Francis sent me on a country wide tour to visit all the Christian bookshops and promote Heart Publishers materials, I needed to do so by hitch hiking.
In the early years of this Mission, I hitch hiked over 140,000 km. On one occasion I had to get from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth in less than a day. Knowing that that was virtually impossible by hitch hiking, I went to Lanseria Airport and asked the control tower if they knew of any aircraft flying through to Port Elizabeth that day. Incredibly a new helicopter was to be delivered to PE. When I explained my dilemma to the pilot, he cheerfully offered me a free ride! So in a matter of hours I was able to travel in comfort and style to my speaking engagement in the Eastern Cape. All this hitch hiking gave me opportunities to witness to hundreds of motorists and to distribute Gospel literature very widely.
When setting off on my first mission to Mozambique, funds were so low that I did not actually have sufficient means to purchase enough fuel to reach Mozambique. At a petrol station at King Williams Town, the owner of the fuel station came out and asked questions about the Christian stickers on my heavily laden off-road motor bike and what I was doing. I explained my Mission to Mozambique and after he filled my tank, he informed me that it was “on the house” and no payment was necessary!
Things don’t always go quite that easily, of course. On one Mission to Mozambique via Zambia and Malawi, funds were so tight that I would not have been able to reach even Johannesburg without the books that I sold at a church meeting in Bloemfontein, en route. The books sold in Pretoria, helped me purchase fuel to go all the way through Zambia to Malawi and Mozambique. On the way back, however, I needed to sell spare shoes and our spare tyre, in order to have the fuel to get back home.
The first two times I received invitations to minister in Europe, I received extraordinary encouragement, (and essential provision) when, just before my departure, I went past our post office box and found an envelope sent by a supporter with hundreds of Deutschmark in the letter! As there was no way that he could have known of my impending ministry trip to Germany and Eastern Europe, the timing was incredible. This happened twice. At no other times did I receive D'Mark in the mail, except on those occasions that I was en route there.
When the wars in Mozambique and Angola came to an end, in 1994, the holocaust in Rwanda erupted. I knew that I had to go there, but there was no way that we had sufficient funds for an air ticket to East Africa. I investigated and found out that I had sufficient frequent flyer miles to earn a free air ticket to Nairobi. Through missionary contacts and correspondents in the area I was able to get into Rwanda and hitch hike with hundreds of Bibles into South Sudan. There I made contact with the persecuted Church.
That is also when Rev. Kenneth Baringwa tracked me down and gave me the Macedonian call: “You must come to Moruland !” But how could I do so? The distances were so vast. The expenses were impossible for our little Mission. We trusted the Lord for the resources to drive overland to Sudan. But then many of the areas we need to reach were behind enemy lines. The Lord provided for one air charter and we smuggled 1,200 Bibles to a remote area in Western Equatoria . Incredibly, through the vision of a blind man, Brent Noebel , sufficient funds were raised from Summit students for us to deliver over 300,000 Bibles and Christian books in 24 languages to 14 different regions of Sudan. I personally conducted over 1,200 services and meetings training hundreds of pastors, teachers, chaplains and evangelists in Sudan on 27 Missions. All by Faith. Frontline Fellowship conducted over 70 Missions to Sudan.
Many ask: How is that possible? With the limited means at our disposal we attempt to do our very best to respond to the challenges and opportunities to fulfil the Great Commission in Africa. The books that we have published go a long way towards financing the fuel for Mission teams in the field. But most of our support comes in from prayer supporters of our Missions, cheques, electronic transfers, direct deposits and envelopes after a meeting. These are some of the means that the Lord has used to enable our Mission to go forward.
Our recent Overland Mission to Sudan was another example of how the Lord requires us to step out in Faith. It was only after we had fully equipped and packed and loaded our vehicle and the team was already on the road to Sudan, that funds came in from supporters of the Mission to enable the team to reach their destination.
The children of Israel learned to follow the presence of God as it was manifested by the pillar of fire by night and the pillar of cloud by day. Just as the children of Israel were required to step into the River Jordan before the Lord parted the waters, we need to be responsive to the still small voice of God’s Holy Spirit. We need to stand up, step out and launch out in Faith.
We are determined not to be deterred by the dangers, diseases and risks involved in ministering in conflict areas.
We trust God alone for His provision, protection, guidance and blessing.
We are most grateful for your prayers, encouragement and support.
Thank you for this partnership in this Mission.
May the Lord continue to be your joy and strength.
Yours for the fulfilment of the Great Commission
Dr. Peter Hammond