Courtesy photo: Doyal La Rue Joe Humrichous talks about what led him to become a missionary to participants of a missionary conference last weekend at First Baptist Church in Texico.
By Tova Fruchtman: CNJ staff writer
Joe Humrichous served as pastor of churches in Tennessee, Georgia and Illinois for 32 years. When his wife died in 1998, he decided to take his ministry on the road.
He started an organization called the Bible Prayer Fellowship and traveled the country and the world, visiting places such as India, Brazil, France, England, Haiti, the Bahamas and, last week, Texico.
“I felt I should travel to churches and encourage them and build them up and teach them a little bit about prayer,” he said.
As he stood by the Ganges River in India and ashes from burning bodies dusted his face, he realized the importance of his work as a missionary.
The people believed by burning the bodies the spirits would be able to get directly to heaven — rather than being reincarnated.
“And I say that’s so sad,” he said. “Of course they don’t all listen and they don’t all come.” But Humrichous said that doesn’t discourage him. He tries to give churches in those areas the tools they need to reach people with a Christian message. Humrichous was among 16 missionaries who attended a missions conference Saturday and Sunday at First Baptist Church in Texico.
“We want to show our appreciation to (the missionaries) and to God for calling them,” said Rob Hollis, the church’s pastor.
“I’m always amazed at the tremendous sacrifice of the missionaries that come and share with our church,” he said.
The weekend’s speakers included Jim Shaddix, dean of the chapel and associate professor of preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; John and Colleen Boyd, who worked for 20 years with Wycliffe Bible Translators; and Dave and Heidi Chupp, who have been with Gospel for Asia more than 15 years.
Each speaker shared experiences as missionaries during a Saturday evening banquet and Sunday morning worship services. About 180 people attended, organizers said.
Hollis said one goal of the event was to make church members aware of the purpose of missionaries.
“We want to stay very sensitive about the sacrifice that many individuals make,” Hollis said.
Humrichous said the conference was refreshing.
“(I’ve) even (found) God showing the areas where I need to grow and change,” he said.
Sharon King, a member of the church who invited Humrichous to speak, said what she learned from the missionaries she could apply to her life.
King, who said she and her husband did not become Christians until they joined the Texico church three or four years ago, listed two of the inspirational ideas she took with her.
“Pastor Joe (Humrichous) said we’re supposed to take the Word, we’re supposed to learn it, we’re supposed to live it, we’re supposed to own it and then we’re supposed to give it away.
“Pastor Shaddix said not to steal the glory from God.”
Frank Landry, a member of the church for nearly 20 years, appreciated that statement by Shaddix as well.
“The most important thing is that we all have something that will hold us back from the call of God, and we just need to surrender that to him. If we overcome that then he gets the glory instead of us. If we don’t he doesn’t get the glory and we don’t accomplish anything,” he said.
Hollis said he also wanted to give back to the missionaries through prayer, letting them know the church is thankful for the sacrifice they make.
“To give back a heart of gratitude toward them is the least we could do,” Hollis said.
Landry said everyone is a missionary, no matter where they are.
“I hope that (the weekend) will coninue to remind me that we are on a mission from God. … We need to take the Gospel with us …” Landry said.