Keeping mission vision alive and growing A quarterly publication of Mission Data International

American debt and missions: Interview with Eddie Landreth

by Paul Nielsen

Eddie Landreth and his wife Rhonda are pointed towards the long-term mission field. They presently volunteer in many different ways at University Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas, but their hearts are aimed at cross-cultural missions

Propel: Do you remember when and how this passion, this interest for world missions began for you?

Eddie: Rhonda and I felt God’s call on our lives at First Baptist Church McAlester, Oklahoma, in June 2002. It was during a missions festival we attended just a month after my first mission trip to Malawi, Africa. I knew that this was my purpose in life. God confirmed it by calling us both at the same time.

P: In what ways were you involved in missions this past year?

E: I went to India with the Washington-Madison Baptist Association last May to help with Tsunami relief work. We went to help build a “vocational/lifestyle rehabilitation” in Vidjayawada. I have taken the IMB’s Thessalonica training course taught by the author and IMB facilitator Bruce Carlton.

P: What obstacles have you encountered as you have pursued your interest in world missions?

E: My wife and I are currently and persistently working towards becoming debt-free so that we may pursue our calling to serve God wherever he sends us.

P: What would help you overcome the obstacle, the debt?

E: An outpouring of God’s abundant grace in providing a way for this debt to go away!

P: How has God used other people or resources to help you along as you continue to pursue missions?

E: We often find ourselves discouraged because we don’t see things happening fast enough. I personally get dejected at times. However, when this happens and never without fail God puts someone in our path to bring missions to the forefront of our thinking. I can be in a poor frame of mind and will come home to find that I have received emails from many friends in four different continents, eight different countries. This is my silent confirmation from God. He has called us to this undertaking. Why should I doubt that he will not provide a way to make it happen? I must remember to remain in Him and we will receive these things in His time, not ours.

P: How would you like your missions involvement to look ten years from now?

E: I fully expect to be on the field. If not we will continue to serve locally, wherever He leads.

P: You’re a member of a Southern Baptist Church, correct? How has this influenced your missions vision for good or bad? Or has it influenced it at all? I’m interested to know your thoughts on the IMB, the way they function and the work they are currently involved in abroad, perhaps in particular where you see yourself serving with them.

E: As we are Southern Baptists, we will apply as missionaries to the IMB. If for some reason the IMB doesn’t share in our being sent, then we will simply find another sending agency. We believe God has called us and that He is currently preparing us. He will send us out. I believe that the The Cooperative Program that is currently in place is a wonderful way for all churches in the Southern Baptist Convention to participate in God’s plan for missions. I also can appreciate how IMB missionaries are allowed to spend all their time serving in the field. Most other sending agencies require that their personel spend up to half of their time raising their own support. I think that would be most distracting and disheartening as I can see that this might require a lot of time and energy that could be spent on assignment. It is our prayer that God would use us wherever and however He sees fit.

EL

Eddie on a mission trip, in the back with the straw hat

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