“I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that day.” II Tim. 4:7-8
Saturday morning, I received the news that Tom Coble, my friend, had been killed in a plane crash. Tom was a man that was always on the move. He was a great encourager and continually challenged me to do more.
I met Tom many years ago after God called Joyce and me to start Siloam Missionary Homes. At the time, Tom owned Coble Crane and rented earth moving equipment. I had two men fromMichiganwho had come to do some bulldozing for us, if I could rent the equipment. I heard that Tom rented dozers, so we set out to see him.
When I walked into his office, I saw a magazine that had his picture on the cover, so I knew who to look for. As I waited for Tom to get off the telephone, I looked over at the guys and say, “Pray! I don’t have any idea how much this will cost to rent or if he would consider renting to someone he doesn’t know.” Tom invited us into his office and wanted to know our story and what we wanted. I asked a few questions and he told the guys to go out in the yard and see if there was anything there they could use.
With the guys out of the room, I asked him what it would cost for us to rent this for a week? He smiled and said, about $3,500. Then I asked him if I could pay this in installments. After a few minutes the guys came in and told him what they needed. He excused himself for a few minutes and left us alone. When he returned, he said, “I will have the equipment on your property in the morning.” He ended up letting us keep the equipment for 3 months at no charge!
From that day until the present, Tom and his wife, Debby, have taken an interest in Siloam Missionary Homes. Tom stretched me and encouraged me to do more for the Lord. “Every missionary needs a home,” he would say. “If they are willing to go, we need to do everything we can to help them.”
In 1999, Tom and Debby paid to build two missionary homes on our campus in honor of his parents, PJ and Donna Coble. They have helped sponsor our weekly radio program, A Place Missionaries Call Home, heard on 14 stations acrossAmerica. He also helped us launch “Mission Magazine Radio.” Tom has served on the Board of Directors of Siloam Missionary Homes and has been a continual advisor.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I saw Tom, Debby, Matt and Ryan at a restaurant and he encouraged me to take Siloam Missionary Homes across America, so that there would be a place for missionaries to stay within a day’s driving anywhere in the US.
Saturday, we met as a Board of Directors and prayed for Tom’s family. My heart aches. I will miss his encouragement. He and Debby were a team and every time something exciting would happen at Siloam, when I called him, he would say, “Wait a minute, I want Debby to hear this.” All Tom ever wanted in return was for me to pray for him and his family.
Today, I am greatly challenged by a man who in his short life touched hundred of people with the Gospel. Because of his and his family’s generosity, many missionaries have been able to reach the world with the Good News, and have had a place to call home at Siloam Missionary Homes.
I pray today that this will encourage each of you to push harder, so that you can say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
God bless each of you. I ask that you would pray for this dear family in their time of loss.
Would you be willing to give up a meal a day, or reduce your wardrobe to only three outfits so that you could support a missionary? Find out who has done that in order to see the Gospel go to the ends of the earth.
Have you ever really given any thought to persecuted Christians? Isn’t that just something that happened in the New Testament? Catch a glimpse of what some of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ are facing around the world. And, then, pray for them!
Should we get discouraged if someone we try to witness to does not come to know the Lord quickly? What about missionaries? Is it always easy for them to bring people to Christ? Missionary David shares a recent breakthrough with a man he has been witnessing to for 5 years! Don’t give up – maybe someday, this man will believe 100%!
Join Larry, Joyce and Robby as they speak to missionaries around the world about news from their country and their ministries.