Jesus told his disciples to sell everything they had and to go and preach the Gospel to the poor. A Martinez minister and his wife are heeding that command.
The Rev. David Miller, the minister of education and missions at Abilene Baptist Church, and his wife, Glynis, have sold their belongings and are heading to Guatemala as missionaries. Their family and friends, including their four grown children, say they think that's great.
"I have to admit," Miller said, "that if my mother, who passed away last year, were still alive, she would say, 'Have you lost your mind?' But our children all support us fully. They have been on many (short-term) missions trips with us while they were growing up, and are very excited for us.
"Besides, my eldest daughter said that now she can come to Guatemala on vacation to visit us, and she's looking forward to that."
Glynis Miller said she always knew she'd be a missionary.
"When I was a child, I told my mother that God would send me into the mission field," she said. "I just had no idea that it wouldn't be until 48 years later."
The Millers underwent a long screening process to be selected for the assignment, including physical, psychological and theological tests.
It takes more than a year to be processed, David Miller said.
"The International Missions Board wants to make certain that you can handle it physically," he explained. "And they want to make sure that you're onboard spiritually as well -- that you know your stuff, so to speak, theologically."
Bill Harrell, the senior pastor of Abilene Baptist Church, said that although the congregation is saddened to see the Millers go, members also are happy for them.
"Eight years ago, when David Miller joined our staff, it was one of the best staff acquisitions we'd ever made," Harrell said. "David is very dedicated to the Lord, his work and to people in general. We hate to see him go, but at the same time we are delighted for his opportunity to serve in foreign missions."
Harrell said that Glynis Miller is just as dedicated to the Lord as her husband and will be a big help to him on their journey.
"She is a very devout Christian woman, and she will be a great assistant for him; a very big part of his ministry," he said. "They are a wonderful couple. Pastors always hate to lose good staff members, but if there is a joyful way to see them go, it is to serve in foreign missions."
Miller's last day with the church will be Dec. 31, and Abilene is holding a special gathering for the couple at 7 p.m. today to commission them.
"Commissioning them simply means we are sending them out with our blessings from our church into the foreign missions," Harrell said. "We will have special guests, including Dr. Morris Chapman, president of the executive commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Afterwards, there will be a special reception for the Millers here in our Christian Life Center."
The Millers will spend a year living in a home with a family in Costa Rica so they can learn Spanish.
Afterward, they will go to Guatemala for three years, then take a six-month furlough before returning to Guatemala for four more years.
Mrs. Miller said they will have a support network of other missionaries in the area.
"They will be our (new) extended family," she said. "That will help a lot. But what it all really boils down to is faith. Knowing that God has put us there at this time in our lives, and that this is the time that he wants us to go, that makes it a lot easier. When God calls, he also enables. He gives you what you need to do his work when you need it most."
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