This seems like the same uncomfortable time as right before a baby is born. There is the excited anticipation of the baby’s arrival but also the restless heaviness of still having to wait. Over twenty years ago, when the Lord first spoke to us about starting “International Friendship Ministries,” He also planted the dream in our hearts to establish a “Home Away from Home” for the people He would bring to Columbus, Georgia, from all over the world.
It was scary to us for Ron to resign a wonderful position as the Minister of Music at First Baptist Church in Columbus to become the full-time Director of IFM. As we were struggling with this decision, one of the verses the Lord gave us was Isaiah 40:11: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength…They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” The Lord has been so faithful to “renew our strength” through the years and there has never been a diminishing of the joy and excitement we feel when people from different nations come to know the Lord. The Lord has also been faithful to bring wonderful people to help us in reaching out to the many “strangers in our midst.”
God has made it possible for us together to befriend people from over 100 different nations of the world. Many have returned to their countries with a strong desire to share God’s Word with their family and friends there. Now we literally have dear friends in the faith all over the world!
The Lord has strategically positioned Columbus, Georgia to host the “world.” Because there are so many praying believers here, there is an atmosphere of openness in the spirit realm over the Valley. For many internationals, it’s a unique window of opportunity for them to encounter Christ. Now is the time for the “birth of the baby”-- the Ministry Center!!!
This will establish geographic territory in God’s Kingdom to reach and serve the nations in the present as well as in the future. The facility itself will be a great blessing to the Body of Christ in this area!! We sense the Lord is saying now, “Do I bring to the moment of birth and not bring delivery?” (Isaiah 66:9)
Paul wrote to the church in his letter to Philemon, “Prepare a guest room for me because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.” (Philemon 1:2) The believers were asked to do what they could and also to pray faithfully. There were delays and road blocks in the unseen realm which could only be removed through faithful corporate prayer. Also, the believers were asked to take action… “prepare a room for me.”
Breakthrough will come when those whom the Lord has called to help IFM both pray and take action. We hope you will take action to help us by giving whatever the Lord puts on your heart (small or great) and we hope that everyone who reads this letter will pray for us and join us as He gives guidance. “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)…“IN ANSWER TO YOUR PRAYERS”. (Philemon 1:22)
With our Love,
Ron & Carole Collins Founders & Directors
P.S. The Lord promises to reward each person for whatever good he does. (Ephesians 6:4)