Sunday, April 27, 2014

Missions--Stateside Assignments (formerly furloughs)

Most missionaries are expected to return to their home base from time to time for rest, renewal, replenishing, and to do "deputation." This means speaking in various churches or missions emphasis settings about missions in general and more specifically the kind of work we do "on the field." In addition, the goal is to challenge the churches to join in the mission effort by engaging in prayer and financial support. Another goal is to "call out the called" by presenting the needs overseas and inviting prospective candidates to respond to the call as God leads them.  Here we are doing "deputation" with children at a church.
Some whose sending agencies do not pay them a salary must raise their own support, thus making the "furlough" that much more important. For those appointed by the International Mission Board (formerly Foreign Mission Board) not only did we receive a salary while on the field, we were also supported while we were stateside, preparing to return to the field. By requesting permission from our Board, missionaries could spend part of their furlough doing further study at an approved theological institution  It had been my dream to pursue a doctorate at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, and so I requested a "study furlough" for our first stateside assignment. Since I had done post-graduate work at New Orleans Baptist Seminary prior to appointment, I assumed that some of the courses would transfer to Southwestern. 
Dr and Mrs. James C McKinney

Upon arriving in the US following our first four years on the field, we were privileged to live on the campus of Southwestern while doing graduate study there. Fortunately, during our first term we hosted Dr. James C. McKinney and family as they stopped over in Taiwan en route to Hong Kong where he taught at the Baptist College there.

Dean McKinney with Music Campers
While visiting in Taiwan, Dean McKinney participated in our Summer Music Camp.

Since I had received my Masters in Church Music from Southwestern, and had done graduate work at New Orleans Seminary, I was exempted from taking entrance exams, and began taking classes immediately. Being back in an academic setting was very stimulating to me.

One of the many advantages for me to study at Southwestern was the opportunity to meet and learn from Dr. T.W. Hunt, professor of music missions.

Dr T.W. Hunt
His passion for using music in the missions enterprise was not only inspiring for me, but informational as well. He knew so many music missionaries and shared so much information with me that I was able to "hit the ground running" in making preparations for doing research for my dissertation.

So, in the fall of 1974, I began a journey toward my DMA, a journey that would take more than fourteen years to complete.

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