Susie and I were both saved on January 16, 1974 at the Anderson Baptist Temple in Anderson, IN. It was the first time we had been in a true Gospel preaching church. We had been invited by my sister and brother-in-law to visit their church. We heard the Gospel for the first time that Sunday morning when a missionary to Mexico presented his field and preached. Susie and I went to the altar during the invitation and by faith trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.
Two years later, in January 1976 on a Sunday evening, our pastor Mel Kirk was preaching. During the message I left my seat, went to the bathroom, and crying like a baby on my knees, I surrendered to preach the Gospel. A short time later Susie and I surrendered to go to Mexico.
In August of that same year (1976), we arrived in Springfield, MO with two small boys and entered BBC. We were there four years in the missions course and worked as missionary interns at Bible B.C. in Crane, MO. We began deputation in May 1980 three months before our third son was born in August, and we arrived in Monterrey, Mexico in May 1982 with three sons where we began to study the language and culture. Our fourth son was born in Monterrey that October.
Our home church is First Baptist Church of Daleville, Indiana.
Our sending church is Trinity Baptist Church of Abilene, Texas.
I have a BA Degree in Theology from BBC and a MA degree in Education Administration from LBU. Susie has her Missions Diploma, ETTA Degree and A.C.E. Supervisor Certificate from Baptist Bible College. She also has her MA Degree in Education from Louisiana Baptist University. Susie has also taken extended studies in Psychology from the University of Monterrey. We both have received Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degrees from Crown Theological Seminary.
Church Planting, Discipleship and Leadership Training
Our main focus is on church planting and training the nationals to pastor the churches. We have been involved with starting nine works in the Monterrey area and have helped to establish 14 works in other areas of Mexico. We are helping to establish churches throughout Mexico and in other countries through the Mexican missionaries our churches are supporting.
We have a Biblical Discipleship ministry for the training of our lay people in order to enable them “to do the work of the ministry,” (Eph.4:12). There are three levels of discipleship training that those of leadership potential must go through as they participate in the ministry of the churches before they can be considered as pastoral and missionary candidates.
We also help the churches acquire property and buildings so the works can continue to grow and prosper. During the summer months the S.E.N.D. groups (Sowing Evangelism Next Door) visit us to help with special projects and to become involved in the ministry of the Mexican churches. These S.E.N.D. groups are American church groups that wish to send their people to the mission field. We do our best to accommodate them and involve them in the work through evangelism, church services and construction of church facilities. Also the Mexican churches have their summer camps in July and August.
Another important area of ministry is the Instituto Bautista Biblico Embajadores (Ambassador Baptist Bible College). I am the president of the college and the administrator of the youth camp. We offer a three year graduate course of 98 credit hours of study and an optional fourth year BA Degree program and a Masters Degree program both through Louisiana Baptist University. Susie and I both teach at the college as well as in several of our churches. We have a well trained staff at the college consisting of the director, missions director, dean of students, academic dean and several other teachers who are also pastors with B A or M A degrees.
This is a multiplication ministry. We have the opportunity to help prepare many young people and married couples for the ministry that God has called them into. At present, the students come from five different states in Mexico. We also have eight graduates ministering in the United States as missionaries to the Latino people. About 80 percent of the graduates of ABBC are in the ministry today as pastors, missionaries and teachers. There are four missions associated with this ministry as well, and we have been able to secure property, buildings and national pastors for their continued growth. We praise the Lord for His blessings and for the increase He has given.
The Palms Youth Camp and Convention Center is a recent addition to our ministry. In March 2006, we purchased a 15-acre youth camp with facilities for the Bible College and a children’s home. We have a three-phased plan.
Phase 1 is to recondition the camp which had been abandoned for over 10 years, in order to begin having youth camps and retreats for the many churches in Monterrey and the northeastern quadrant of Mexico. We have begun this process.
Phase 2 is to move the Bible College to the camp. This was done in September 2007. The facility is already there, and there are three additional houses to be used for the staff. This will draw more interest to the institute through the youth camps and children’s home. Plus several acres are already tilled and planted to help raise vegetables for the school and home.
Phase 3 is to establish the Hanna’s Home for Children. We hope to be able to begin the home in the near future. There is a duplex house on the property that will serve this ministry well. It will have to be renovated before we can use it. We also have plans to begin Manna Feeding Centers to help care for the poor children and to reach their families with the Gospel.
Our Vision for Mexico
It is a three-fold vision that is beginning to be realized. First, by the grace of God we will continue to plant churches in Mexico and train nationals to pastor the churches. Secondly, Mexican missionaries will and are being called out from among the churches to go to foreign fields with the Gospel and will be (and are) supported by the Mexican churches. Thirdly, I believe that Mexico can become the next fruitful training ground to send forth missionaries around the world.
Our churches are supporting foreign and domestic Mexican missionaries and several are preparing for ministry at ABBC. This is but the beginning of a wonderful opportunity for the Mexican churches to take the lead throughout all of Latin America (Central and South America, the Caribbean, etc.) in training and sending out missionaries to countries other than their own.
Thank you for your consideration of this ministry and for the people of Mexico. We desire that much fruit will abound to your account for your involvement in world evangelism. May God continue to bless you and your ministry.
Rick and Susie