Bobby: After working for AT&T in Seguin, Texas, for 41
years, I retired in 1988 at age 59. When I became a Mission Service Corps
missionary, I had no more preparation than knowing Jesus Christ and being
willing to follow the Holy Spirit. And-I came to discover-that was enough. Many
retirees are beginning to realize the potential they have within them. When we
lean on God, we find that He comes through and provides us with what we need to
live an on mission lifestyle.
Billie: I'm glad pastors encourage their people to do
short-term missions. It made all the difference for us. Our trips to Brazil,
Senegal, Australia and Mexico prepared us for this ministry. Some thought we
sacrificed a "comfortable" retirement, but we found that when you step out in
faith, God grants the desires of your heart-He sent our son Frank and his
family to help us plant churches in Colorado for five years. I've had people
say to me, "I'd give anything to do what you're doing."
Bobby: We started working in Rio Grande City, Texas, as
directors of missions, along the Mexican border where the population is 97
percent Hispanic. We also worked with churches across the border. Then we
helped start a church in our hometown. From there we went to Abilene, where we
did visitation and helped start another church.
Billie: We left Texas for Colorado in 1993 where we helped
start six churches. One of those has since planted a church, so I guess you
could say we are "grandparents" now.
Bobby: On our first Sunday morning in Deer Trail, Colorado,
our congregation consisted of two children. So we went door to door. We covered
the town of 500 and most of the surrounding countryside over the next few weeks
distributing flyers and introducing ourselves. I would say, "Hello, my name is
Bobby Cornelius. I'm the new pastor for Grace Baptist Church. I would like to
invite you to join us for worship, if you don't have a church. If there is
anything you need, please let us know."
Billie: One night a man asked us for money for a family
emergency. We gave him $100, and he never forgot that. He repaid us, and his
wife became a member of our church. We often helped people who needed food and
money, and God always supplied the needs. We have never been able to out-give
God! We became known in the community for being available to help in times of
Bobby: Whenever we saw a moving van, we dropped by with a
pie and a friendly welcome. If there was a big event like an auction, we placed
flyers under every windshield.
Billie: Parents respond to kindness shown to their
children. We sponsored an after-school kids' club for Bible study and
recreation. We played in the snow, flew kites, organized Christmas programs-we
used any excuse to throw a party and invite kids. And we always fed them.
Parents who wouldn't enter a church came to watch their kids perform.
Bobby: People accustomed to fly-by-night ministries asked:
"How long are you staying?" Because we stayed, our ministry made an impact. We
lived in the community, and people learned to trust us.
Billie: After nine years we retired againbut God wasn't
finished with us yet.
Bobby: Last April, we gave our testimony for the Annie
Armstrong Easter Offering at a church in Nebraska. A man approached us and
asked, "I know you can plant churches, but can you resurrect one?" He told us
about a church in Kansas that had been vacant for two years.
Billie: We knew God was calling, so we moved to Oberlin,
Kansas, in June 2002. We started going door to door. The first weeks in a new
place require about 40 hours per week, getting the word out. But once people
begin to come, our hours are reduced since people invite their friends. Then we
can choose our hours and take days off.
Bobby: There are so many areas that could benefit from MSC
missionaries-people who can support themselves while doing ministry. There is a
pressing need for church planters in Canada and all over the American Midwest.
Volunteers can help in construction projects and church ministries of every
kind. We wouldn't trade these years for anything.
Whats your special mission and how do you find ways of sharing
Christ with others? Send your story to On Mission magazine, 4200 North
Point Parkway, Alpharetta, GA 30022-4176 or fax 770-410-6006 or email@example.com
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC