This week Ruairidh MacLean, Area Director in Scotland, told us of a lady who had been a UFM supporter for ‘quite some time.’ Miss Buchanan, 106, had supported UFM since its inception in 1931!
Our office move has led to sorting our archives – a striking window into all God has done through his people. We build on gospel foundations laid by others in dependence on the Lord.
As we transition post-lockdown, and as the work of UFM continues to change and develop, it is so important that we continue to apply the principles that have shaped the mission:
Clarity on gospel need
Plenty of mission soundbites roll off the tongue, yet only tell half of the story. ‘The church in the majority world has grown rapidly’ we hear. Yes, praise God, there are many more believers and mission workers from the majority world than the West, including UFM workers from 28 countries. What a cause for humility as we examine our place in world mission and what a reason to rejoice! And yet, over 3 billion people worldwide have little or no access to the gospel. Therefore UFM remains committed to taking the gospel to the world. We pray daily for God to raise up workers. What a joy to recently welcome new workers serving in South Asia, Eurasia and East Asia.
The local church’s role
UFM’s strapline is ‘supporting churches in making disciples of all nations.’ We believe it is a biblical approach for local churches to identify, train, send and support mission workers. Rather than saying to churches ‘Who do you have to join our work?’, we ask, ‘Who might you send? How could we help?’ This approach is nothing new in UFM. We were often reminded of it by former UFM General Secretary, George Rabey (now in his 80s) at our weekly prayer meetings in pre-Covid days!
We recall two occasions UFM workers laid down their lives for Christ: ‘The Three Freds’ martyred by the Kayapo people in Brazil in the 1930s, and 19 UFM workers killed in the Simba Rebellion in Congo in 1964*. Many others have daily denied themselves and taken up their crosses.
Horace Banner and William Johnson, who formed a search party for The Three Freds wrote, “It is well to remember that Calvary was, and still is, the greatest victory of all time. Death to the Christian is not defeat, and should the Lord will that we be taken, our prayer is that more men and money will be rushed out to follow up this advance.”**
The challenge to offer up our lives in sacrificial service is not for a bygone era, but the enduring call to all of us who follow Christ. One UFM couple are currently preparing to serve in a country where Christians are persecuted. Our trustees wrote ‘They are not blasé about the possibility of suffering but see it as part of Christian life.’ May God raise up many with this heart and vision.
The challenge to offer up our lives in sacrificial service is not for a bygone era, but the enduring call to all of us who follow Christ.
We seek to remain unmovable on the gospel and disciple making, yet as flexible as possible in living this out in the modern era. Please pray for wisdom in this area. Thank you so much for your support!
Michael Prest – Director, UFM Worldwide
The image used in this article is of a UFM Houseparty in Keswick, 1939.
* https://ufmworldwide.org/ wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ UFM8226-4-Corners-Autumn2014-WEB1.pdf and https:// missiology.org.uk/pdf/e-books/ roome-w-j-w/three-freds_ roome.pdf
- **The Three Freds, p18.