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Last Founding BIMI Board Member Goes Home By James Ray E. C. Sheehan I was 17 years old when I first saw E. C. Sheehan. The Mikado Baptist Church that he pastored in Macon, Georgia, had outgrown its building and Dr. Sheehan had led the church in the construction of a large tin tabernacle to be used until a new auditorium could be completed. Mikado Baptist Church was hosting a Bible conference with participating ministers and their churches. The old tin tabernacle was packed. I can still feel the passion and fervor of that meeting. The tabernacle vibrated as the congregation lifted their voices, singing the great hymn “How Firm a Foundation.” E. C. Sheehan was one of a cluster of leaders in those days, including Lee Roberson and Harold Sighter, whose heart was aflame with vision of reaching the world for Christ. That night in the old tin tabernacle left a lasting impression on me of this man of God. The Mikado Baptist Church, now pastored by Dr. Rusty Smith, continues that great legacy. On November 8, 1955, a group of men met in the dining hall of Tennessee Temple College to discuss the possibility of assisting missionaries in the Congo. Out of that meeting came the formation of the Southern Wing of the Congo Gospel Mission. The group included E. C. Sheehan, Lee Roberson, J. R. Faulkner, Harold Sighter, Dolphus Price and others. E. C. Sheehan was elected as president of the newly formed board. Many letters are on file in the archives written by Dr. Sheehan to the missionaries in the Congo. Those letters displayed love and concern for the missionaries and their work. In 1960 the Congo exploded in revolution; the missionaries had to be evacuated and the field closed. When the executive board met to discuss the situation, a motion was made by Dr. Lee Roberson that the mission be expanded to embrace the whole world. From that meeting emerged what is now Baptist International Missions. Dr. E. C. Sheehan was unanimously elected to serve as president of the Board of Trustees. He served in that position until 1968. In his letter of resignation as president he said, “I will be praying for the work, and I assure you that my interest in the work will not lessen.” Almost fifty years after the founding of BIMI, I attended a service at Hardison Baptist Church in Byron, Georgia. There, I again heard this servant of God, now over 90 years old, speak. I felt the same spirit as I did back in 1957. On another occasion when I spoke at a missions conference at Berean Baptist Church in Macon, Dr. Sheehan attended the meeting. He held in his arms the baby daughter of Tony and Christy Applegate, BIMI missionaries to Uganda. Amazing—the man who served as BIMI's first president of the Board of Trustees in 1960 was holding the baby of a missionary couple 50 years later! His work was living on. On September 14, 2012, at the age of 97, Dr. E. C. Sheehan closed his eyes and made his final journey home. He was the last living original board member of BIMI. Had it made any difference to anyone that he had lived? The first answer to that question is an astounding YES! The vision and passion of this man touched the lives of multitudes through his leadership in world evangelization. A second answer to that question is that he touched this writer and left him with an inspiration that has been with him for over 50 years—since the meeting in…the old tin tabernacle in Macon, Georgia. Number 3, 2012 BIMI WORLD 25