CANDIDATE CLASS: 1978
COUNTRY SERVED IN: Peru
Q: How did God first call you to missions?
Evelyn: As preachers’ kids, we both remember hearing missionaries share their exciting stories of God’s work in foreign lands and that influenced us to commit our lives to missions at a young age. When God called me to salvation at age six, He also called me to be a missionary, and I never lost that conviction.
David: When I was 14, I publicly committed my life to Christ at a Bible camp and said I would be whatever He wanted me to be and go wherever He led me. By the time I began my studies at Baptist Bible College, I was convinced God was leading me to be a missionary.
Q: How did God call you to Peru?
A: In 1977, a missionary apprenticeship in Peru convinced us that God was leading us there as church planters, but it was our trip to the Andes Mountains that had the greatest impact upon that decision.
The first day was miserable with suffocating dust, unbelievably bumpy roads, and altitude sickness, and then we spent the night at “The Grand Andes Hotel,” which had no electricity, a dirt floor, a thatch ceiling, rodents roaming, and narrow hardboard beds. It was a rough night, but when we awoke the next day to a beautiful sunrise over a breathtaking landscape, God changed our perspective. We had both been reading a book about two brothers who had suffered deeply for their faith during the Spanish Inquisition, and that morning we read 2 Timothy 2:10, “… I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus...” We knew then that any suffering we endured to bring others to Christ is well worth it, and the many people who were saved during that trip confirmed it.
Q: What moment had the biggest impact on your ministry?
David: For me, it’s the annual graduation at the Baptist Theological Seminary of Lima. Training Peruvian church leaders has always been an important part of our ministry so seeing them graduate and serve God has been a huge blessing.
Evelyn: I thought abortion was illegal in Peru and never happened until I started counseling women in our church-planting ministry. I found that most women with serious emotional and spiritual problems of depression or anxiety had had abortions, and in Peru, abortion rates were twice as high as in the US. Women were suffering and babies were dying. I knew we needed to do something, and at the same time, I was convicted that people were dying without Christ. We had only led 10 people to the Lord in a whole year of ministry, and every one of them was in the church. What about the 8 million people in Lima who never came to church? That conviction motivated us to begin the first crisis pregnancy center in Latin America, the New Life Prenatal Center, to prevent abortion, promote abstinence, restore marriages, and heal women after abuse and abortion. Over the years, it has grown to become a dynamic evangelistic ministry where nearly 1,800 people have accepted Christ.
Q: What advice would you give new missionaries?
David: My advice is the same counsel I received from a veteran missionary when I was packing our barrels to ship to Peru in 1981. He said, “Dave, you can fill your barrels with many things to make life more comfortable and enjoyable, but there is one item that is absolutely essential and more important than everything else — a towel.” Never forget the significance of Christ’s towel of humble service (John 13). It must be used continually.