Supporters Like You
Read about supporters who have helped IM respond to the call of Jesus Christ to make disciples for over 200 years.
Rolland and Mary Farnsworth
Rolland and Mary established a Charitable Gift Annuity to benefit the work of International Ministries and further the building God’s kingdom.
Read more of their story
We wish to express condolences to the family and friends of Rolland Farnsworth who died, Sunday, June 28, 2020 at the age of 101. He was preceded by the passing of his wife Mary Farnsworth at age 97 on September 19, 2018.
They met at Central Baptist Church in Spokane, WA, in 1938 and were married there in March 1942, a marriage that lasted 76 years. Except for four years during WWII, they lived in Spokane and were active members of Central Baptist. Mary taught Sunday school, was in women’s groups, sang in the choir, served on church boards, and was active in many other ways. Rolland was choir director for 37 years and taught adult Sunday school for nearly 40 years.
They travelled to missions in Haiti and Kodiak Alaska and made a trip to the Middle East.
During their lifetimes they made a wonderful provision to have a lasting impact on the ministries that were meaningful during their lives, which included a Charitable Gift Annuity with International Ministries.
International Ministries wishes to express our gratitude to Mary and Rolland for supporting global mission and for their thoughtfulness in establishing this gift.
Rev. Dr. Lee Riggs and Mrs. Lynn Riggs
The Riggs testify to the importance of a gift in their will so missionaries can do what God has called them to do. “We feel blessed to be able to do it,” said Lee of the planned gift from him and his wife. “We have a deep sense of the blessing of God in our lives. You can never give too much to mission. You can never out-give God.”
Read more of their story
“We have always had a deep heart for mission,” said Lee. “It has been a real privilege to be a part of their MPTs.”
Lee was ordained in the American Baptist Churches (ABC) and has pastored churches in Connecticut, Ohio, and Indiana; he retired in 2009 after 23 years of service as the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Greensburg, Indiana. At the outset of his ministry career,
Lee and his wife, Lynn, considered mission work as a couple and as a family. Although they ultimately sensed God’s leading to serve the ABC denomination and churches in the United States, mission remained a significant part of their worldview.
Between 2001 and 2015, Lee led eleven trips to visit IM missionaries–in Chile, Thailand, and Mexico–with teams from his own church as well as from other American Baptist churches in Indiana. Lynn and their daughters also took part in some of these trips. It was during the first of these trips that Lee felt led to establish a long-term relationship with a sister church in Coronel, Chile. In time, these visits led to a nine-year covenant of partnership between the American Baptist Churches of Indiana, Kentucky and the Convention of Baptist Churches of the Chilean Mission, through which the Riggs family developed their relationship with IM Global Servants Barbara and Dwight Bolick, and Carlos Bonilla and Mayra Giovanetti, who served in that country.
“These ‘mission encounter’ trips allowed our team members to encounter the culture, the missionaries, and the people they served while doing small service projects,” said Lee. “We saw the work the missionaries were doing and felt excited to be a part of it. When we came home, we would share their stories with the churches that sent us and encourage continued support. Because of these trips, our two regions in Indiana became among the strongest regions of support for these two missionary families.”
In working closely with individual missionaries over the years, Lee witnessed the challenge for missionaries to transition to the current funding model in which they are responsible for fundraising their budgets. The importance of giving became even more clear and pressing. “Gifts are essential to maintaining the missionary force,” said Lee. “They make it possible for missionaries to continue to do what God has laid on their hearts.”
An upside to the new funding model has been the increase in IM missionaries’ engagement with the churches as part of their fundraising efforts, through in-person visits and video presentations that tell stories from the country of service. “Nothing does more to generate missionary support than to have missionaries visit and become known in our local churches,” said Lee.
Raised in American Baptist churches, Lee has always tithed, first as child then as an adult. When writing their wills, Lee and Lynn decided to make a planned gift in order to “leave a legacy by tithing the resources in our estate,” said Lee “and to make a commitment to share something beyond our own lifetime toward what has been important in our lives all along.”
For those who want to consider or make a similar gift, Lee suggests working with a lawyer and with IM Donor Services, in order to carefully set up the gift with the correct designation and nomenclature.
“We feel blessed to be able to do it,” said Lee of the planned gift from him and his wife. “We have a deep sense of the blessing of God in our lives. You can never give too much to mission. You can never out-give God.”
“Gifts are essential to maintaining the missionary force. They make it possible for missionaries to continue to do what God has laid on their hearts.”
—Rev. Dr. Lee Riggs, IM Donor
Ms. Glenda McNew
“The church was the center of our life and my parents were tithers so I always gave too. It seemed basic to me, that if you have been fortunate enough to have been employed all your life, and able to make a living, you would want to share it. I’m grateful for IM and for the people who go into the mission field. My hope is that my gift will allow them to continue taking the gospel message to the world, especially during these difficult times.”
Read more of her story
Glenda McNew, a life-long American Baptist, gave her life to the Lord when she was nine years old. She grew up in the Meridian Avenue Baptist Church of Wichita, Kansas, of which she is currently a member. “The church was the center of our life,” said Ms. McNew. She credits her parents and her church community for instilling in her a deep value for giving and for mission.
“My parents were tithers,” Ms. McNew said. “They were always so pleased when they could give a tithe, so I always gave. It seemed basic to me, that if you have been fortunate enough to have been employed all your life, and able to make a living, you would want to share it.”
Ms. McNew learned about mission and American Baptist missionaries in her church community. She recalls special offerings, including ones with videos featuring the work of International Ministries (IM). “The best thing is when missionaries visited and we learned about their work,” she said. “They bring the Gospel of Christ to the world, but they also do more than that. They go and work with people and help people in practical ways. I’m so glad IM has this emphasis—they really care about the people.”
“I’ve always been frugal,” said Ms. McNew, who had worked as a teacher and then as a high school librarian prior to her retirement. “I saved money so that I could travel.” Ms. McNew has visited several countries in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. “These trips were wonderful, broadening experiences,” she said. “As Mark Twain said, ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice.’”
Her frugality has also enabled her to leave a gift to IM in her will. “Toward the end of my life, in estate planning, I knew that I wanted to give to the work of the Lord,” said Ms. McNew. She looked into IM’s work and is especially interested in supporting IM’s women’s ministry and anti-human trafficking ministry.
“What I’ve always thought about giving,” said Ms. McNew, “is that everything belongs to the Lord anyway, so it’s easy to give. I’m grateful for IM and for the people who go into the mission field. My hope is that my gift will allow them to continue taking the gospel message to the world, especially during these difficult times.”
Rev. Dr. Wilbert Gough
“I have been concerned with mission all of my life and my wife was also a mission-minded person. We prayed for missionaries, hosted them in our homes, and visited and corresponded with many of them. We lived frugally so that we could give to God’s mission and the work of the Lord. Interacting with missionaries enriched our minds and planted the desire to contribute to mission. When making plans for my estate, I decided to leave a gift for International Ministries in my will.”
Read more of his story
“I have been concerned with mission all of my life,” said Rev. Dr. Wilbert Gough, who celebrated his 102nd birthday in June 2020. Rev. Gough has been a long-time friend and supporter of IM Global Servants Ann and Bill Clemmer, who currently serve in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
While in high school, Rev. Gough considered becoming a missionary to Mexico and studied Spanish in preparation for that possibility. After serving in the military during World War II, Rev. Gough felt led to go into pastoral ministry and pursued theological education and training. He and his late wife Florence both graduated from Philadelphia College of Bible. Rev. Gough also holds a doctorate of divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and a doctorate of theology
from the Burton Theological Seminary in Colorado Springs. Prior to his retirement, he had served as a pastor for over 75 years—in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, West Virginia, New Hampshire, and Maine.
In 1974, while pastoring a church in West Virginia, Rev. Gough was invited to go on a preaching trip to Haiti. Along with his wife and members of his church, Rev. Gough spent ten days in Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti. “The trip heightened my interest in mission,” he said. In the years following that trip, Rev. Gough and his family and church community sent computers, books, and other resources to the Christian University of Northern Haiti, the Haitian Baptist Theological Seminary established by American Baptist missionaries.
Through his support of American Baptist missionary work in Haiti, Rev. Gough came to know the Clemmers, who had served in Haiti before moving to their current field of service in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rev. Gough financially supported the Clemmers’ work in both regions, as well as other mission work around the world.
“My wife was a great believer and also a mission-minded person,” he said. “We prayed for missionaries, hosted them in our homes, and visited and corresponded with many of them. We lived frugally so that we could give to God’s mission and the work of the Lord.” Over the years, Rev. Gough’s churches received visits from many missionaries. “These visits meant a lot to the whole church community,” he said. “Interacting with the missionaries enriched our minds, encouraged members of the church to give, and planted the desire to contribute to mission.”
When making plans for his estate, Rev. Gough decided to leave a gift for International Ministries in his will. “I have always asked for God’s leading and direction in my life, day by day, in my giving and in my ministry,” said Rev. Gough. “This is the way the Lord has led me. I want to do more and more for mission.”
Rev. Gough hopes that his gift will help more people answer the call to go out as missionaries, so that more people can come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. “That is the most important thing,” he said. “Missionaries are very important in sharing the gospel. They work in difficult environments and go through suffering and challenges to bring people to Christ. We thank God for them.”
Rev. Gough also encourages believers to look for mission opportunities where they are. “You don’t have to go over to Congo,” he said. “You can be a missionary where you work, where you live, in your classroom, in your neighborhood. You can be of use to the Lord by showing that knowing the Lord in your heart is the best way to live.”
“I have always asked for God’s leading and direction in my life, day by day, in my giving and in my ministry. This is the way the Lord has led me. I want to do more and more for mission.”
—Rev. Dr. Wilbert Gough, IM Donor
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