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"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." - Collective Letters by C.S. Lewis

It is often said that the joy is in the journey and the name of this particular journey has been most commonly referred to as church-based sending. It grew its roots at First Baptist Arlington in the summer of 2006. Pastor Dennis Wiles was sharing a lunch with a key church leader named Mike Steiger. The question at hand was, “What would it take for our church to send our own missionaries?” The vision was church-based sending. The story goes that as these two men talked a rough plan was scribbled down on a napkin and things were set in motion.

By December of that same year, steps had been taken to make church-based sending possible at FBCA. Over the next few years, key pieces would be put into place. An organization now named Restore Hope would be founded. The church would develop a Sending Council and a Strategic Oversight Committee. As the infrastructure took shape, the Lord stirred and prompted people in our church to go. From the beginning, it was a priority to maintain connections to our partners in the world of sending (such as the International Mission Board) but to equip our church to send our own people in a variety of ways and in a variety of circumstances.

Since this journey began in 2006 we have offered immeasurable time and energy in order to develop an extensive training program, refined our strategy, improved our financial capacity for support and increased our intentionality in the spiritual and emotional care for our workers. We have seen people of all ages, single, married and families faithfully respond to God’s call to go. Equally remarkable has been the response of those who stayed behind and the unrelenting support they have offered to make this vision of church-based sending a reality.

So in both the going and the sending, it has been a journey and we are nowhere near the finish. But as C.S. Lewis articulated so well, we move forward with an assurance that “there are far, far better things ahead.”

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