Sitting on the sofa in their flat in Northern Ireland are Myles and Phyllis Wilson. In the nicest possible way, how can I put this? They are ‘mature’. I often wonder what a whole life lived for God teaches a person, I love their answer, Myles says “God does what he says he will do”. The faithfulness of God on display.
We all know this in our heads, but out of the mouth of those who have served the Lord their whole lives, it brings great encouragement to those of us following on behind.
Myles and Phyllis spent 19 years in mission based in 4 different countries before they specialised in helping organisations be better at Support Raising; supporting them to put in place culture, policies, training and good leadership on this issue. They have learnt a lot over the years, working with over 200 organisations in 60 different countries, they have shared it generously.
The family history
It all started when Myles’s parents were invited to go on mission to China over 75 years ago while they were still in their first year of marriage. They considered it, but felt their call was to ‘send’ and not to ‘go’. They listed everything they owned, which was very little, and they committed it to the extension of God’s kingdom. At the bottom of the list, they wrote ‘and our children not yet born’. Fast forward all these years and all three of their children, and their spouses, have been in mission for their whole lives.
Tapping into Myles and Phyllis’ wealth of knowledge and experience, I asked them what they felt were the biggest barriers to living on support in Mission. Myles says you need to keep investing in your partner team, building those relationships but also growing the team and he says:
"Believe it or not, I still get nervous, when inviting people to partner with us, after all these years. So, the barrier for me, is always making the first call."
Phyllis describes a ‘gremlin’ sitting on her shoulder, whispering in her ear ‘who does she think she is?’, questioning her decision to invite new partners to join them in their mission.
So, what about the blessings? Phyllis is straight in to answer this question:
‘The absolute provision of God, followed quickly by the most amazing relationships that have grown out of partnership in the gospel.’
Phyllis describes how they now have children and grandchildren of original supporters on their partner team and how they have been asked to be godparents and attended many weddings over the years.
Myles says that if they had to choose between having these great relationships and only 70% of the money or 100% of the money and not the relationships, he’d choose the relationships. They clearly receive so much encouragement from sharing their lives with people in such a deep way, that doing a different job, they would have no reason to. Myles says:
"God has provided as he said he would. It was understood in my family that on the death of my parents, the children would not get the house. Instead, the proceeds of the house bought a villa in Islamabad for missionaries to stay in, rest and recuperate. But today, we live in a mortgage free home through support of others and the provision of God."
Last Year Myles and Phyllis ‘retired’. They have stepped back, but still support a number of ‘baton takers’ who are continuing the work of equipping Christians and Christian organisations in the area of Support Raising.
The faithfulness of God in action
I asked them if, looking back on their life and work, there was one thing that they would really like Christian Workers to know, Myles says:
"God wants us to enjoy what we have. The life of the Christian worker is not about having the least amount of money possible. God wants us to live in the land of promise, which is sustainability and overflow. He will still be faithful to us in the land of just enough, but to move into the land of promise, we have to step out and do the hard work. God’s intention is for people to flourish and share his resources as a blessing to others. Our job is to learn about God and learn to be more like God."
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