Deputation Can Be A Garden of Blessings :: Gospel Fellowship Association Missions

Deputation Can Be A Garden of Blessings

Tom Franzen
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When we graduated from college, we knew where God wanted us to serve, but not how to get there or provide for our needs, or what mission board to join. These were matters of prayer, and God answered our questions one by one.

We crept closer to our goal with a survey mission trip that confirmed where we would minister, what living conditions to expect, and what provisions we would need. Finally, we faced the dreaded last stage of our preparation—deputation. We thought there had to be a better way, and we began to book meetings reluctantly. That was when we came to find out that the experience, benefits, and blessings of deputation were greater than we expected!

Surprised by the Blessings of Deputation

For instance, we met many loving Christians who treated us better than we deserved. They fed, housed, cared for us, and were patient as we undertook unfamiliar tasks.

Traveling the country, we saw a wide array of ministries and learned many things—how churches received offerings, timed their services to fit their congregants’ culture, and set times of repentance before or after preaching. In addition, we witnessed a diverse assortment of children’s ministries for Sunday school, children’s church, and Christian schools. As a result, we absorbed many different preaching types, ministry styles, and theological perspectives.

We encountered those who helped us with prayers and letters even if their church could not support us financially. We also enjoyed the gift of fellowship with other missionaries around the country. Where else except deputation could we receive such experiences and knowledge or make such friends?

Deputation’s Greatest Gift

But deputation’s greatest gift was the prayers of God’s people on our behalf. Thanks to those petitions, we saw God’s power firsthand. One such instance comes to mind.

We lived in a Muslim town in the mountains of Albania. There, we felt a real evil presence. Depression and anger were hard to overcome. Patience and joy eluded us, and the oppressive weight of the place made even reading our Bibles difficult.

The town’s resistance to us and to the Gospel felt supernatural and overwhelming, but we did see progress with children. They filled the courtyard and the stairways to our fourth-floor apartment as we distributed thousands of Bible lessons. But unfortunately, the positive response from the children caused a negative response from our neighbors. They set their minds on getting rid of us. As their reactions became harsher, our lives became harder.

But then one day, things changed. People were friendlier. Young people completed their lessons and became more involved in the church. Adults showed interest in the Gospel, and some even visited the church. It was glorious! This change continued for a month. My wife JoAnne and I sought to uncover the secret that caused this extraordinary change. What had we done differently? We asked God to reveal the reason for the transformation, and some days later we received our answer in a card from a supporting church.

They said they felt burdened for us, and all the members committed to pray for us every day for a month. Tears filled our eyes. We could only say, “Wow!” The following day we received a card from another church. This card had the days of the month marked with the names of those who prayed for us. Seeing these people bring the souls of Albanians and us before God was both humbling and thrilling. The change in the hearts of the Albanians was supernatural, and it was due to God mercifully honoring the prayers of His people.

 We were reminded of how the early church diligently interceded for Peter in Acts 12: 5, “Peter, therefore, was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” And James 5:16 b, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”[1] Praise God for prayer warriors!

Of all the benefits in raising support, the contact with praying saints was the greatest. So many of the names on those cards came from people we met on deputation.

You may be reluctant to embark on the long and draining time called deputation, but before you lies a garden of blessings. Ask God for grace to see it through and the privilege to see Him work.


[1] Scripture quotes are from the KJV.

Photo credit: Maizal Najmi from Pexels