Our Support Estimate and Financial Situation

Fellow-Workers for the Gospel,

You may remember, that a while back, this avalanche of email prayer letters commenced—ten in all. We sent all of these, knowing that we would surely lose readers from sheer boredom. It still needed to be done, in order to remind our partners from where we have come and to where we are going.

Let me summarize. Deb and I will always primarily be about sharing the gospel with folks here, so we can help their friends and relatives there, come to trust in the Savior. Evangelism is the first task, but will be, Lord willing, augmented by church planting, demographic studies, recruiting, and networking. By ministering in strategic places, we hope to see additional churches planted around the world. You all ready know this and have heard it many times. Our location has changed, but our gifts and calling remain the same. We are older, but we hope wiser, and are committed to fulfilling the stewardship with which our Savior has tasked us.

Our financial supporters have remained amazing loyal to us through this transition, and our support has remained strong. In fact, after reworking our support estimate to reflect our new location and situation, we found our support to be above 99%! Your loyalty has been such a great encouragement.

However, in June of this year, we will lose $750 a month support. This means there is a now need for new financial partners. Please pray with us as we work to care for this deficit.

The particulars are as follows: Our personal support need is $5,773 per month, and our ministry work funds amount to $1,393, with a total monthly need of $7,166. These amounts reflect our needs to live and do the ministry to which God has called us. If you would like to study the particulars, you can find them on “Bill and Deb’s Website for Supporters”.

Finally, at the end of all these communications, we feel compelled to affirm our trust is in the Lord. Deb and I have been ministering together now for over 40 years, and God has always taken care of us. In our worst moments, He remained steadfast—He has always had our back. Therefore, we trust Him to supply our need as we move forward with Him. Will you join us as Fellow-Workers for the Gospel?

Bill and Deb


Tomorrow: Now we can all rest:-)

Why Continue going to School?

Fellow followers of the Word,

I am reminded of an experience I had years ago when teaching at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. I was sitting at an area coffee shop and talking with the owner—a member of a charismatic church. He said to me, “You folks at Faith are people of the Book, while my church consists of people of the Spirit.” I don’t mind his labeling my thought process as that of the Book—a compliment, indeed. At the same time, it is essential for the Christian to walk according to the Spirit.

The Christian worldview, our understanding of God and life, begins with an understanding of God’s Word. Our spiritual growth is in proportion to our submission to God’s Word, by means of the Spirit. It is also true that our ability to help individuals trust in the Savior is dependent upon our understanding of the Bible, and our willingness to minister to each according to the Spirit.

This is why Deb and I devote a great deal of our time deepening ourselves in our understanding of God’s Word. This is also why I continue to take seminary level courses—I desire to know God better and share His Word more effectively.

We endeavor to share the gospel with folks from all levels of intellect, from a variety of ethnic groups and world-views, from vastly different parts of the world. Our only hope in being successful at this is to know what God’s Word says about all of us. We learn our commonalities by studying God’s Word, and we grow in our ability to understand each individual by doing the same.

Think with me about Philip the Evangelist, who was led by the Spirit of God to the Ethiopian eunuch, a high ranking government official. Philip was able to engage him at the point of the Ethiopian’s Spiritual need. Philip was led by God, and prepared by God to enter into a gospel discussion by asking key questions, which helped him to know how to respond. Such ability takes a thorough understanding of God’s Word, as well as a desire to engage people from where they are at. This is why further study is necessary.

Oh, and continued study keeps my brain working:-)

Recruit, Enlist, Disciple

Colleagues,

You thought we were all done with these, but when sending out our flurry of prayer letters, #6 was lost in the shuffle. Now, #6 will arrive in two installments, followed by #9, our support estimate. 

A large part of the Boston and Beyond ministry is locating and assisting other workers whom God is enlisting into this calling. Deb and I have wrestled with how to do this and God is teaching us. 

Enlisting vocational or bi-vocational ministers is much like evangelistic ministry “done right”. You can help individuals see the need, but you cannot manipulate them to join the cause—that is God’s work. 

Deb and I are on the campus of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary several times a month, where I am auditing a Hebrew language course. While there, God has helped us develop relationships with several new friends and renew acquaintances with many old friends.  Just like effective evangelistic relationships, these become friendships in which we minister one to another—we give and we receive as fellow Christian sojourners. This, then, allows us to share our heart and calling to minister the gospel in strategic places. As we do so, God warms some hearts to investigate and   perhaps, to join us. 

Most of these individuals will probably never be involved, day by day, with the Boston and Beyond ministry. However, networking in this way accomplishes two other worthwhile objectives. Firstly, the principles undergirding Boston and Beyond are common to most other ministries. As we share our ministry ethic, we are able to teach common biblical principles of life and ministry—we disciple. While doing so, we are often able to help our friends find God’s place for themselves in ministry. Secondly, ministering in this way is actually networking Boston and Beyond. Meeting and making new friends and discipling individuals communicates the Great Commission priority of ministering in strategic places—the globalized cities of the world. This message is then broadcast by our ever growing circle of friends made at places like Faith. 

Finally, we do so desire to join God in enlisting vocational and bi-vocational workers for the cause of Christ in the city. What happens at Faith can be repeated in other venues, colleges, seminaries, churches. Please pray we have the wisdom to know how much time to give to this part of the Boston and Beyond ministry. 

Bill and Deb

Edmondsons Reporting #8 of 9

The Ministry Plan: How will Boston and Beyond move forward in Iowa?

The vision of Boston and Beyond is the Great Commission. We simply believe that the Great Commissioner is fulfilling His promise to enable His church to do His command by ministering in the city.  Success will demand that Christians are willing to be living sacrifices to the Lord. This in turn will demand the disciplining of all areas of life: personal, family, ministry.                                                                               

Personal: Deb and I are committed to taking care of ourselves physically. This involves disciplined eating and exercise. We need to also care for our souls. This includes continuing to grow intellectually and resting regularly. To achieve longevity of service, we will need intensity of discipline. 

Family: Throughout our lives, we have made significant family sacrifices. Our children, if asked, “Where did you grow up?”, are not able to answer, since we hauled them all over the place. There were financial sacrifices and emotional sacrifices caused by an absentee father. While Deb and I sacrificed willingly, our children had little say in our choices.  This is not a complaint. We feel that raising Christian children includes teaching the necessity of sacrifice. Our children are doing well—things are good, over all. However, more than one grown adult, and spiritually mature child, has asked their dad to be more present and not just physically present. Being emotionally present with family has become a primary goal of my life. 

Ministry—Boston and Beyond:

Evangelism—Deb and I will always be about ministering the gospel to people here to do the Great Commission there. We have several new and not so new friends with whom we are pursuing evangelistic relationships. We also are developing a working relationship with international organizations, particularly in Iowa City. Everything starts with helping individuals become Christians.

Church Planting—The goal of Boston and Beyond is global church planting, reaching people here and discipling them to prosper there. As we minister the gospel here, another local/individual church may be organized. A church originated in the global community here will help facilitate church planting there. 

Enlistment—Deb and I will be ministering regularly in local churches, Bible colleges and theological seminaries, as well as talking with experienced vocational workers about joining Boston and Beyond. However, the primary individuals enlisted for global church planting will need to be those who come to Christ through Boston and Beyond ministries. Many disciples have already been made. We desire more. 

Demographics—The study of people movements is an intricate part of Boston and Beyond. This study involves research, as well as travel. Its scope is primarily cities, but also regions. Substantial time and travel will be dedicated to these studies. The goal is finding the most strategic locations for global evangelism leading to global church planting.  

Networking—The work of organizing to plant churches globally is well under way. We have worked for years with many of our constituency to further the work of discipling the nations. We are already aware of how B&B disciples have impacted nations. Yet much remains incomplete. We need to plant churches.   

Next Week: Our Support Estimate—an opportunity to join our Savior in making disciples of all nations. 

With love, Bill and Deb

Edmondsons Report is #5 of 9

A Note: A reminder that this is a continuation in a series of communications, that lay a foundation for an explanation of what our next step in ministry will be. I don’t desire to be preachy, but I hope to ethically inform those who have so faithfully supported us through the years. We want you to know what you can expect of us in the future. Typically, I have kept these to one page. However, this one is a bit longer. 

A Needy but Strategically Located Church

Late last year Deb and I received a prayer request concerning a church family located in Des Moines, Iowa. They had lost two pastors to Covid, and as a result, were without a pastor. Having followed the church for years, this both burdened my heart, but also stirred my interest. About 25 years ago, a leader in the same church asked me to consider becoming its pastor. My responsibilities at the time were such that I regrettably needed to decline. I have been aware of the church ever since, and have watched as the neighborhood, where the church building is located, has become a global community. Indeed, when Deb and I visited recently, we noticed three or four (maybe more) international groceries located within easy walking distance of the church—but I am getting ahead of myself. 

Having read on their website, “Interim Pastor Needed”, I contacted the church leadership and offered to minister to the church family during its time of need. We were able to fill in during February, for which we were very thankful. Deb and I traveled the 90 miles to Des Moines for three Sundays and I spoke five times. The church is Northridge Baptist Church, and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the eager-to-succeed church family.  

Here are some of the things I touch on, (as I did at Northridge), when teaching about ministering in the global community.

  • Our Personal Preparation—where to begin
    Before we can do something, we must be something. To become faithful gospel witnesses, we must become: 1) people of the Book, 2) those who walk in the light, 3) faithful to our local church 4) and engaged in Christian service. 
  • The Biblical Story—the priority of reconciliation
    While the glory of God may be foundational to our understanding of the Bible, God’s work through history to reconcile mankind to Himself is the central theme of the Bible. Helping people become reunited in their relationship to God should also be the church’s primary focus from which all its activities flow. 
  • The Evangelistic Relationship—the context of evangelism
    We often think of the Christian world as totally separate and distinct from the non-Christian world. This cleavage prevents us from effectively ministering the gospel. However, effective evangelism begins with organic, authentic friendships with not-yet Christians. These friendships can naturally flow into evangelistic relationships and evangelistic Bible studies. These evangelistic Bible studies produce Christians, and then baptized Christians. 
  • The Good News—the evangelistic message
    If we are not clear on what a not-yet Christian must know and do to become a Christian, then we will not be able to help the not-yet Christian to become one. A person must know they are lost before they can be found, and one must know what faith is before exercising it. 
  • The Evangelistic Process—the evangelistic Bible study
    Although justification happens instantaneously, arriving at the point of new birth, usually takes time and is a process. The gospel messenger must know how to enter and how to develop the evangelistic relationship. This often involves an evangelistic Bible study. 
  • The Gospel-Centered Church—organized for effective evangelism
    The church is described as, “the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” (1Tim 3:15) I like to paraphrase this, “God’s household, the launching pad for ministry, the stability and protection of the truth. The church is a living organism and when healthy, is growing and multiplying. Individuals are becoming Christians and then mature Christians. Just like anything living, there are processes which help the organism to thrive. (Focused Preaching, Relevant Services, Stairstep Discipleship, Organized Prayer, Tailored Program, and Wholistic Ministry) 
  • Philip the Evangelist—characteristics to be embraced
    We are all commanded to be evangelistic, but God also gives evangelists to the church. Philip the evangelist is an example of such. By studying Philip, we can discern characteristics which accompany the biblical evangelist. 
  • The Globalized Opportunity—the Sovereign’s leading
    “All authority is given to me, therefore go…” Our all-powerful, sovereign Lord has both commanded us and provided for us, so that we are able obey Him by making disciples of all nations. We should seize the opportunity. 

Northridge now has an interim pastor—Dr. Dean Taylor of Faith Baptist Bible College & Theological Seminary. Our responsibilities at Northridge are now complete with one exception. We will continue to pray that the Northridge church family will thrive within its global community. May the world hear the gospel because of the Northridge ministry.  

Tomorrow: Continued Education and Networking:

Edmondsons Reporting #4 of 9

Our Ministry to Aakesh

In the synopsis of these communications, I mistakenly stated that Aakesh is from India. He and his family are practicing Hindus from Nepal. Like Toluwalase, we met Aakesh at a picnic.  Although we had a good day together, we have not been able to meet in person since. However, we have communicated online several times, and Deb and I dropped off food at his home after our Thanksgiving dinner. 

We intend to have Aakesh and his family in our home soon. Our desire is to learn more of his belief system and become better acquainted with his family. We do this believing all people are of inestimable worth—image bearers of God and those for whom Christ died. We know that unless we get to know them, love them, and understand them we will never be able to share our Savior with them.

Aakesh will frequently remind me that he is Hindu. I am not deterred by this. His devotion informs me he is serious about spiritual things, and I know his seriousness may be turned towards the God of the Bible. I know this because there is only one way to God that works. Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life, and all other ways fail and will leave one wanting. By the help of God, we hope to join our Savior, showing Aakesh and his family a better way—the way of justification by faith in Jesus the Savior. This will take time, study, and much prayer.

It is these kinds of people to whom we particularly desire to minister, those who are convinced in another way, but serious about talking with others about life and belief and are open to genuine friendship and serious discussion.

Along with Toluwalase and Aakesh, we have other friends from around the world to whom we hope to minister the gospel, and with whom we are currently building the relational foundation. I think particularly of a Japanese friend with whom Deb meets online weekly.  There is also a Chinese family who desire to immigrate to the USA, who hosted us when we visited their city in China, and with whom we are still in communication. 

Hindus, Muslims, Japanese, Chinese:  four very different kinds of people who are our friends and in need of the gospel. The gospel remains the same, but the way to help each of these to understand the gospel may be very different. We need wisdom, so thank you for praying for us, as we seek ways to demonstrate the love of Christ to them.

As I have explained in a previous communication, Deb and I will always be fundamentally about developing these kinds of gospel relationships. Please pray with us, that God will bless our efforts.

Bill and Deb,

Tomorrow: A Needy but Strategically Located Church

Edmondsons Reporting #3 of 9

The Surprising Demographic of Iowa

In 1976, as a new believer, and while courting Deb, we attended dinner at the home of one of her coworkers, whose family was from India.  Before dinner, Deb and I asked permission to pray, thanking God for our food–our first ‘witnessing to the nations’ opportunity.  Walking home later that evening, we marveled at the opportunity God provided to share the gospel with India from our college campus in Iowa. 

After having lived in many places, and using those places to speak the gospel globally, God has brought us back to Iowa.  My love for Boston has caused me to ask God, “Why Iowa?”  Part of His answer to me has been this: Iowa is a divinely prepared place for Great Commission ministry. 

Demographic studies confirm that, increasingly, immigration trends favor the area between the coasts, and specifically, Iowa. The reasons are many, but they chiefly include lower cost, economic growth, better schools, and a more friendly atmosphere. 

But statistics can be boring things.  Instead, those of us who live in the Heartland should pay close attention to the foreigner living next door, immigrants trying to make their way in a new and perhaps strange places.  We should recognize that our sovereign God, our Great Commissioner, has brought these precious souls within arm’s reach of us, who have the gospel in our hearts.Just think.  The distance from our heart to their souls is the distance the gospel needs to travel for new birth to occur.  

Rather than give in to the temptation to be annoyed by the inconvenience of dealing with folks different than us, let us be amazed at how our Savior is doing what He said He would do, making it possible to obey His command to disciplize the nations. 

A friend informed me that 500 foreign-born folks were recently hired to work at his factory—many of them from Afghanistan, (we can expect many Ukrainians, as well).  What an opportunity!  In addition to sending missionaries, why not equip our church families to minister to the nations in our own backyard?  Why not mobilize to do so?

My point is this.  The great strategic places of gospel ministry are no longer confined to global centers like Boston. Opportunities are all around us, in the city, as well as in rural areas. Our neighborhoods have become global, which provides the believing church unparalleled opportunities for faithful gospel proclamation. 

What does faithfulness demand of those of us living in the Heartland? 

Bill and Deb

Tomorrow– Our Ministry to Aakesh 

Edmondsons Reporting #2 of 9

Our Introduction to Toluwalase,

Toluwalase is from Nigeria and is a graduate research assistant in an academic institution in Iowa. More importantly, he has become our friend.

In November of last year, Deb and I hosted several Nigerians for dinner. It was a nice time of becoming acquainted with Toluwalase and his friends. In February, we invited Toluwalase back for a second visit. This allowed us to get to know our devout Muslim friend better. Toluwalase comes from a middle-class home in Nigeria and has two sisters.

When he visited, I asked Toluwalase what he did earlier that day, and he reported that he went to services at his mosque. This led to a discussion concerning his beliefs as a Muslim. After perhaps an hour of this, and after finishing our meal, we headed back to his home, where I would drop him off. 

On the way, as we drove through a rather intense Iowa snowstorm, Toluwalase asked me these questions, “What do you think about Jesus? Is He the Son of God, or is He God? What do you think about Him?” I explained that I could talk for days about Jesus but would instead answer his questions about the Trinity. After briefly describing what the Bible teaches about the Trinity, I said this, “Probably Muslims would agree with Christians that it is impossible to fully understand God.” 

I also had the opportunity to clarify an essential difference between Islam and Christianity. In Islam, Allah may exercise mercy, but there is never a removal of our sins. As Toluwalase explained, his understanding of Allah and his requirements for salvation/paradise is that one must do more good things than bad—there is in Islam a very elaborate good works system. I tried to help my friend understand that in Christianity there is no room for even one sin in the presence of God. Just like one drop of poison will spoil a barrel of pure water, so one sin makes the person unclean before God. Therefore, Jesus needed to be fully God and fully man, so that an adequate sacrifice for sin could be made. This is where our witness to Toluwalase rests.

At the heart of our ministry is the desire for evangelism. Everything depends upon this. To repeat, Deb and I will, always, first be consumed with making the gospel known to the nations, speaking the gospel here so that the gospel can be known there. The opportunities in Iowa are abundant. 

At the end of these daily communications, we will share our abbreviated ministry plan, but for now, please pray with us, asking God to introduce us to individuals from around of the world, representing the diverse religions and world views that are here.  Ask our God to help us engage these new acquaintances with authentic friendships, leading to the sharing of life in Christ. 

Tomorrow: The Surprising Demographics of Iowa,

Bill and Deb