“This is my testimony, not of what I have done, but of what God has done for me. It has been my feeling and my belief that, other things being equal, I ought to serve as a Christian doctor where the greatest need existed.... I have never doubted that it was God who spoke to me and put this question in my mind—‘Why not you? Why can’t you help meet this need?’” Fifty-five years ago, Dr. James M. Young delivered these words to our Temple family. James and his wife, June, had served ten years in Gaza and had recently transitioned their ministry to the country of Yemen. Already, they had overseen the opening of a medical clinic (which welcomed over 1,000 patients in the first month), but they were convinced that God had led them to spearhead the building of a Christian hospital there. The Youngs’ hope was that the hospital would be the “means of leading many into the light of God’s love.” Their dream was recognized when the hospital was built in Jibla, thanks to the sacrificial giving of Southern Baptists.
Of course, the hospital became internationally recognized and was a beacon for the Gospel for many years. Even as recently as last year, I was told how a community of believers continues to worship and serve the Lord in the area despite tremendous persecution. It is amazing to think that God used a “Dubach boy” and a “Ruston girl” to impact so many for the Kingdom! But isn’t that the way our Lord works? He takes ordinary people who have completely surrendered themselves to Him, and He empowers them to make an eternal difference!
No doubt, Christ also uses congregations of ordinary people for His purposes as well. In a letter to Dr. Robert Magee in 1966, James and June wrote, “We will never cease to be thankful for the members of Temple and for all they have meant and still mean to us.” You see, the Youngs understood that it was essential to have the support of churches in order to carry out their work. They needed Temple as well as other churches in order to effectively advance the Gospel. And today, our missionaries still need us!
I am so grateful that the Lord has allowed us at Temple to be a part of His worldwide mission. As indicated by the long-standing relationship/work with the Youngs, missions have been a part of our DNA from the beginning. In truth, our missionary efforts grow out of our identity. Whether here in Ruston or in Boston or in East Asia, we are committed to taking the good news of Jesus to those who need it. Pray for our continued efforts . . . especially for our GenSenders who are completing their summer work and for our East Asia short-term team as it ministers this week.
Last week, we said “good-bye” to Dr. James M. as he entered into the presence of the Savior he so faithfully served through these years. Oh, what a greeting James must have received! “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!” must have thundered from Heaven’s throne. But I am struck by James’ last words to Temple over a half century ago when he concluded his testimony: “God is no different today from what He was yesterday or will be tomorrow. This world is full of work to be done, of people to be won, and He still calls His people to do His work. He could be calling you. If He is, do not be afraid to answer as did Isaiah long ago—‘Here am I, send me.’” My friends, may we ever be faithful to answer the call! See you Sunday!