Who Will Go For Me?

Missionary Journey to Peru–Application

Isaiah wrote these words, “I said, “Woe to me! I am destroyed, for my lips are contaminated by sin, and I live among people whose lips are contaminated by sin. My eyes have seen the king, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” But then one of the seraphs flew toward me. In his hand was a hot coal he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Look, this coal has touched your lips. Your evil is removed; your sin is forgiven.” I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Whom will I send? Who will go on our behalf?” I answered, “Here I am, send me!”  He said, “Go and tell these people:” Isaiah 6:5-9a NET2.

When God called me to go tell His message my thoughts did not go much further than the walls of FBC in Lubbock, Texas. That was in 1967, but 10 years later following marriage and a seminary degree, and in my first pastorate in Sicily Island, Louisiana, God called me again. This was different and His method was different for this time He came to me through one He had already called to Korea and his name was Billy Peacock.

I told Patti what was going on with me and she told me in so many words, “Sit down for I have something to say.” “Bob,” she began to explain, “I have never told you this because I wanted God to work in your life instead of my attempting to influence you one way or another. I was called to be a foreign missionary when I was a teenager…” To say the least, I was shocked that Patti had NEVER hinted about this call in her life some years before. But here we were, moving in a direction that God had planned for us before we were born. I was observing God’s sovereign hand at work and like Isaiah, “My eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”

But, not until after our 3rd son, Greg, was born and we began a new ministry in Lecompte, Louisiana in July of 1982, did God really move us toward a place where He wanted us to be. Really the question of when and where never surfaced again until the Fall of 1983, September to be exact. There was a Global Mission event in our area Southern Baptist Churches, and Patti and I called the offices of the Foreign Mission Board of the SBC located in Richmond, Virginia. In October we had our first official visit with a Regional Representative in New Orleans. After the interview we received a phone call from Richmond, and the speaker told us that on a certain date in February (1984) a member of the Foreign Mission Board will call and you will either be declined or accepted to become a candidate for appointment.

I sort of understood just what Isaiah meant when he wrote, “But then one of the seraphs flew toward me. In his hand was a hot coal he had taken from the altar with tongs.” verse 6. In my mind I could see this angel flying toward Patti and me with this tong carrying a hot coal, and it would not be until 3 months before we would know what was about to happen.

On that day in February, we hovered around that telephone sitting on our kitchen cabinet, and I honestly do not think that we heard anything in those ensuing minutes and hours until that telephone came to life. I answered and the operator connected us to our designated Foreign Mission Board Representative who said, “Bob, I am happy and proud to say that you have been given an invitation to come to Richmond for further interviews as a Candidate for appointment.” There were more things said, but those were the only words I remember. I now understood what Isaiah meant when he wrote, “He touched my mouth with it and said, “Look, this coal has touched your lips. Your evil is removed; your sin is forgiven.” verse 7.

It was not that evil or sin was involved, but an enormous burden of anxiety had been removed, Patti and I had just taken a huge and dramatic step toward becoming a ‘real, live missionary.’ We had no idea where we would go, but we were willing to answer His divine call. We were on His path to that somewhere place, we were answering His call, “I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Whom will I send? Who will go on our behalf?” We answered, “Here I am, send me!” He said, “Go and tell these people:” verses 8-9.

The difficult part was that we were told not to tell anyone about what was going on until we received our first packet from Richmond which would define the steps that we were about to take. For one week or so we had to keep this a secret from everyone until we could give specifics outlined by the FMB. Although we had no idea about what was about to happen, our journey had begun.

Jesus is Lord.

About Bob Williford

Conservative Southern Baptist pastor, missionary, and personal evangelist. An avid supporter of Texas Tech Athletics. Enjoy oil painting, writing and woodworking. My wife, children, and grandchildren are my joy. Reading and writing are great for relaxing......
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