I grew up at Hallmark mostly as a bus kid, but each Sunday my mom would send me off to church with one of those two sided offering envelopes that had a seam down the middle. One side was for the local church, and the other side was for missions; and my envelope always had change on each side, it was balanced and symmetrical.
So I always gave to the general fund and to missions from my first allowance to my first job. It's what I always did, it's what I thought everyone did; I didn't know any better. I grew up seeing missionaries, giving to missions, being in a Great Commission Church.
My faith promise epiphany came in 1992. I was working for a computer company called Wang Labs doing tech support, and the company was going bankrupt laying off people, and one of my customers in Southern California offered me a job. I took the job and moved my family to Los Angeles. Before I left, Mommy Walls made me a copy of the BBFI directory for Southern California so we could find a good church. We found a BBF church just a few miles away from our house, big church, big choir, with a Christian school, an Awana program; they were a gospel preaching church with people being saved every week, so we joined the church.
Before too long they had a missions conference, I got excited as this church was twice the size of Hallmark so I thought, this was going to be good. But when the time came they did not have 3, 4 or 5 missionary families, they had one missionary and he didn't even bring his wife or his kids. But it was Brother Don Espinosa missionary to Argentina, I knew him, he had been at Hallmark before, I liked him, he was from Southern California, always seemed happy, I thought this was still going to be good.
But the first night Don got up to preach, he wasn't happy, he was mad. You see he had been to this church before, and they did not do a lot for missions, and Brother Don had told the pastor this was the last time he was going to come to that church if they did not get serious about missions. He was a 20 year veteran missionary at that time, so he could do that, these young missionaries will go anywhere, they don't know any better.
As he preached, he told this big Los Angeles church about a church in Texas half their size that gave many times as much as they did to missions. I thought I was going to lose my mind; he did not know I was there, we had not spoken before church, but he was talking about Hallmark Baptist Church. I felt like jumping up and shouting that's me!, I'm not with them, I don't know these people, Hallmark is my people.
During our 4 years in California we were in 3 churches; one BBF, one GARBC or regular Baptist I don't recall how they supported missions, and one Southern Baptist with the cooperative program and the Lottie Moon offering. I don't know Lottie, but she never came by, and that church didn't do much for missions either.
When we finally moved home to Texas we came back to Hallmark and it was like I could breathe again. All the time we were in California I was afraid Jesus would return and I would have to explain what I was doing in those other churches. As hard as that would be, it would be worse to explain why Hallmark stopped being a Great Commission church. You see Don Espinosa has gone on to Glory and many of those people he bragged about here have too. If we want Hallmark to be a Great Commission church, then we have to be great commission Christians, making disciples in every nation. If you don't give to missions, please start. I don't care how much, just start. Do it every week and every month consistently, because these missionaries need regular monthly support to do the work God has called them to do. If you already give, just do a do a little more; and be as a person what you want Hallmark to be as a church.
Acts 1:8 (You have the power)
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Matthew 28:19-20 (Jesus is with you)
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.
Ephesians 2:10 (You were made for this)
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Revelation 7:9-10 (Behold a great multitude)
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"