February 2023 Mind of the Missionary

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)


During our Christmas vacation, our family was at the point of opening its presents, but we wanted to have a devotional time. Our niece, Julia, was asked to lead the study. She asked us, “who has been your biggest spiritual influencer?” Not being a fast responder, the first person or persons that came to mind were my grandmothers. They prayed for me and made sure that my brother and I were in church every time the door was open. However, upon reflecting on the question more, there are others, but I’d have to say the biggest influencer besides Christ Jesus himself, would be Avery Willis, former IMB missionary and writer of the “MasterLife” study series.

Dr. Willis came to Central Pennsylvania in the late 80’s to lead a set of studies on MasterLife. Several of us newer church planters were in a mountain retreat setting for 3 or 4 days with him. During our time there, it snowed. So, we were stuck even if we could leave early. Dr. Willis taught us the importance of a daily devotional life, group prayer, witnessing, and fighting spiritual battles. Honestly, I had never learned so much in so little time. I immediately began to put these principles into practice and still do today.

A few years later, Dr. Willis came to Uruguay for one of our annual regional meetings, and I was the person in charge of the afternoon session. He shared with us some of the same principles that I had learned from him nearly 20 years earlier. At the end of his teaching, I had the opportunity to ask him to sit in a chair and have our missionaries surround and pray for him. What a blessing for me to give back to Dr. Willis just a little something that he gave to me many years before.

Paul instructed Timothy to put everything into practice that he had learned from him. Timothy was a good practitioner as he listened and did all that Paul had asked of him. May you remember your spiritual influencers, and praise our Lord for giving those special persons to you!


Until Next Month,


Bro. Lyle