by J. Randal Matheny

HAMILTON, ALA. (WGN)- The Lord’s work got a boost when 87 people involved or interested in missions converged on Maywood Christian Camp May 10-12.

Hosted by the World Evangelism School of Missions and the Double Springs, Ala., church, the Missionary Retreat brought together Christian servants with experience on all continents.

Wayne Barrier, of Florence, Ala., event organizer and missionary to the Philippines, India, and Myanmar, stated that the three objectives of the retreat had been met: relaxation, exchange of ideas and information, and education.

One participant said, “The things that happened at the retreat put us nearer our Lord’s ‘body of believers’ (brotherhood) than I have felt in a long time. It seemed we were really of basically ‘one accord.'”

In spite of his battle with cancer, J.C. Choate was present for the event. Choate and his wife Betty provided the initiative behind the retreat.

Speakers included Dr. Glover Shipp who addressed the topic of Islam. Shipp served 18 years in Brazil and also served as Managing Editor of The Christian Chronicle.

Colin McKee, missionary to Indonesia, described “The Effect of Animism on Today’s Religious World,” noting its pervasive influence even in the U.S.

John Reese, director of World Bible School, used the name of Christ as an acrostic to answer the question, “How Shall We Reach a World of Over 6 Billion?”

Don Petty, of Farmer’s Branch, Tex., creator of the Mission Learning Center, addressed the reasons for the decline of growth in U.S. churches and shared his research.

Gordon Hogan, missionary to Singapore, and professor at Harding University, Searcy, Ark., spoke on “Paul’s Methods Worked in the First Century and Will Work Now.” He encouraged the listeners to follow Paul’s approach in Acts 19.

National preacher from India, Sunny David, reminded all that God’s blessings on American churches brought world responsibilities.

Ken Wilkey, missionary to the Philippines, shared insights into the growth of national churches through “Extension Training for Church Leaders.”

Randal Matheny, missionary in Brazil, cited Jesus and Paul as examples of becoming “All Things to All People,” stating that identification or incarnation is essential to redemption.

Stan Mitchell, missionary to Zimbabwe and professor at Freed-Hardeman University, Henderson, Tenn., shared ideas for “Inspiring and Developing Missionaries for Future Generations.”

Loy Mitchell, missionary to Zimbabwe and missionary-in-residence at Freed-Hardeman University, urged progress in one’s relationship to God and caring for one’s mate and children, in “The Missionary and His Family.”

Workers such as Don Norwood (India), Dale Sellers (Philippines), Jon Galloway (Scotland), Barry Baggott (French-speaking world) and Michael Brooks (Nepal, Bangladesh) also shared news of their efforts.

The event was enriched by the presence of George and Gertrude Achard (Myanmar), Sunny David and his wife (India), and Iban Halder (Bangladesh).

Dennis Larson served as master of ceremonies. Larson was a vocational missionary in Jakarta and teaches each year at a leadership training school in Myanmar.

Children from the Double Springs congregation provided goody bags for the participants.

During the retreat, Shipp’s thirty-fifth book, on retirement, was released by Forthright Press.

Shipp also presented a copy of his book, Militant Jihad, to Choate in appreciation for his encouragement to write for J.C. Choate Publishing.

From his publishing efforts, Choate offered free books on missions to the participatants, as well as copies of the magazine, The Voice of Truth International.

Most of the messages were recorded by Larry Murdock of Heritage Christian University, Florence, Ala.

Missionaries also staffed the kitchen. Ruth Orr, Barbara Oliver, and Michal Swain provided meals. Orr is a World Bible School teacher. Oliver and Swain work with Gospel Opportunities ministry in Winona, Miss.

Entertainment on Thursday night was provided by the “Barrier Band,” made up of Barrier family members, with country and folk music.

The Missionary Retreat will become an annual event. Plans are to hold next year’s retreat at Maywood Christian Camp in late April or early May.

The World Evangelism School of Missions is an initiative of World Evangelism Foundation in Winona, Miss., with activities scheduled to begin in 2008.

For one participant’s impressions of the retreat, see “A Retreat of Global Progress.”