Gerry was saved in 1958 and went to Tennessee Temple University. He and his first wife, Carolyn, were called to CANADA in 1966. Canton Baptist Temple - Canton OH was and is their home church and sending church. He helped Bro. Cofield begin CAMP of the Woods in Dinorwic ON and Emmanuel Baptist Church. In 1968, the Lord moved them to SK where he pastored three small churches in grain pool towns, driving 180 miles every Sunday to preach in each one. Prayer meetings were held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. In October of that year, Carolyn was killed in an automobile accident. Gerry returned to the States for a time with his 16 month old son, Jeff. He worked in four different churches but continued to take laymen and young people to mission fields so they could see the need. Several of these people are now missionaries today because of these trips. In January of 1970, Gerry and Diane were married at her home church and had their second son, Jan Michael near the end of that year.
The Lord called them back to CANADA to plant another church in St. Catharines ON. They began knocking on doors and leading people to Christ in March of 1978. Over the almost 15 years there, they saw the Lord provide a Christian school, a church building with two houses and a missionary program which supported over 50 missionaries for $60,000 per year. Many lives were changed and many souls were saved over the years.
During their years in St. Catharines, ON, Gerry also founded and developed BIMI of CANADA. He handled this operation until 1992. Due to government regulations, churches across Canada were unable to send financial contributions to any organization or missionary in another country, including the US unless they had a registered office in Canada. Since BIMI of Canada’s founding, many Canadian churches have sent hundreds of thousands of dollars for missions around the world.
In 1992 the Lord called Gerry to begin a Missionary Boot Camp/Institute where students age 16 and up, adult singles - college and career age and married couples could come when they had been called to missions, full-time service or had a serious interest in missionary life and service. Here they could learn the ‘behind the scenes’ ‘daily mundane and nitty-gritty’ details of a missionary’s life and all that it requires - where no hidden surprises would cause the missionary to quit or fail on the field. They can be trained and taught for 30+ hours of instruction by BIMI missionaries. They can ask questions and find the answers that always seemed evasive. The next year, graduates can go to the field to experience what it is like - first hand. This phase is called SMART - Student Missionary Apprentice Reality Training. When these 2 phases are completed, students still seriously pursuing missions may choose to attend advanced classes and practical workshops. This 3rd phase is called CAMP BIMI II. Several Christian colleges give 2 credit hours each for CAMP BIMI I and II and 3 credit hours for SMART.
Also, in December 1992, Gerry was burdened to get Christian laymen on the mission field to capture a burden for missions while assisting our missionaries with building churches, repairing hurricane damage, etc. Thus, CLAIM was born. Christian Laymen Assisting International Missionaries has continued since 1992 and many missionaries have received invaluable help. Those laymen’s eyes have seen many fields and their hearts have been touched.
CAMP BIMI is a ministry of faith, funded solely by churches and individuals. CAMP BIMI now has 638 first time students, 70% of which are preparing to go to the field, doing deputation, or are on the mission field at this time.
Our 13 minute interactive CD explains CAMP BIMI well. It contains several students’ comments regarding CAMP BIMI. Having been involved in missions since 1965, we can truly thank the Lord and say “ To God Be the Glory. Great things He has done!”
Yours for Missions,
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