International (E3/MNN) — Often, life
catches up to people and they wind up putting dreams to be a missionary on hold
until "after" — after the kids grow up, after they get out of debt, after they
finish school, after…after…after. And sometimes "after" means "never."
California businessman Brad Stoner
was one of those who put off his interest in missionary work for most of his
life, but once he opened that door in 1999, he has been making up for lost time.
A small business owner and father,
he has made 33 trips to 10 countries in the past decade, mostly through
Texas-based evangelical organization E3 Partners, to spread the Gospel and do
According to E3, there's an
interesting difference in how people receive the Gospel when Stoner has gone
door-to-door in other countries. "One of the things I enjoyed about it was
that the people were very receptive," he said. "I've done a lot of
door-to-door evangelism in the United States, and people weren't that interested.
But these people were interested in why an American would want to come all that
After hearing E3's Rick Eisenmann
speak at his church, Stoner thought a trip seemed possible. As that realization dawned, he decided also to take his
kids, then 10 and 12, with him to Argentina. Both have gone on six or seven trips with their father since then.
E3 — the name stands for Equip, Evangelize,
Establish — has more than 400 staff members, nearly 3,000 volunteers, and makes more than 150 trips a year. Of those volunteers, about 40 percent have
gone on trips before, but most will go only two or three times over 10 years,
Stoner said the main focus of his trips was to promote evangelical Christianity, but E3 also has brought
reading glasses, medical supplies, wheelchairs, water-filtration systems and
AIDS awareness to other countries. Sometimes those items open the door to
countries he otherwise could not visit. "In Ethiopia, they say if you just
want to come in and talk about your religion, you can't," he said.
"So we take reading glasses as a way of getting our foot in the
E3 equips God's people to share what Christ has done, develop Christ
followers/leaders, and establish thriving churches that multiply and make a
real, lasting impact on their surrounding communities.
Using national leaders in over 20 countries and supported by hundreds of
field ministry staff, E3 accomplishes this mission along with thousands who
annually take short-term trips for evangelistic, church-planting, and other
outreach efforts. You can help: you can
pray, you can give, or you can go. There are more
details available here.