Cambodia (MNN) — After the Vietnam War was over, Tom Faunce carried around a lot of emotional baggage. He says after serving, he struggled and felt lost.
And yet, his is a beautiful story of redemption and faithful service in God’s global mission. Faunce is a distributor for Scripture booklets from World Missionary Press.
Story of salvation
Faunce says in 1976, “I was hitchhiking around back then in the 70’s — the hippie movement — looking for answers and traveling around, and my heart and my soul were empty. I just had a weight on my back, which was sin.”
During his travels, he picked up a book simply because it had a man on the cover wearing a backpack and walking down a narrow path. It turns out, the book was “Pilgrim’s Progress”. And so, when Faunce was at the end of himself, he encountered the Gospel.
He shares his memory from March 18th, 1976, sometime near midnight: “I was totally alone with the Lord and got on my knees and God so revealed Himself to me that night, after reading His Word, that I knew that He forgave me. I was so excited that I jumped up and ran into the bathroom and baptized myself.”
In that first year of being a Christian, Faunce went on a mission trip to Mexico. During this time, he realized God wanted him in missions.
A man with a heart for war-torn nations
Eventually, Faunce ended up in the jungles of Nicaragua in a war zone.
He said there were great needs among the people: “People were hungry, people were starving, people were dying. But you know what they asked me for, was the Word of God.”
Faunce went home and returned months later with Scripture. Over the years, he’s done similar with other war-torn nations, distributing materials from World Missionary Press: Sudan, Kosovo, Rwanda, Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia, to name a few.
Cambodia was a natural fit in this list. In 1990, while Vietnam still held power and the nation was reeling from genocide, Faunce made his way into the country.
He brought a large amount of supplies with him and entered the country through Vietnam — the same location where he’d been in combat 15 years earlier. Faunce says God made it possible for him to bring the Scripture into Cambodia, something that was illegal.
Ever since, Faunce has been visiting the country. According to CIA World Factbook, only 0.4 percent of the population is Christian. The rest are Buddhist and Muslim.
“There are hungry people and they’re very open. We’ve been going in, bringing the Scripture booklets, not only Scripture booklets, Bibles on tape from Bible Alliance in Florida. We put in water wells, we bring in playgrounds now even up in the highlands where children have never seen a playground. We’ve been making tremendous inroads with the people by just loving them and doing what Jesus said to do.”
And it’s had impact. A Bible study started by in-country friends of Faunce’s has 40 children signed up.
Faunce is a huge fan of World Missionary Press and the work they do to provide missionaries with free evangelistic material.
“I’ve been all over the world,” he says, “I’ve seen all kinds of mission groups, but I have yet to experience such a group as this, that trusts the Lord for everything.”
Over the years, World Missionary Press has provided many thousands of booklets for Faunce’s ministry.
But, he says, “it’s more than booklets. When you start saying 5,000 booklets, you’re really saying 5,000 people, 8,000 people, 9,000 people. These are souls for Jesus Christ.”
A challenge to you
Faunce certainly has an incredible story of obedience. While every Christian’s missionary story will look different, it’s important to remember we are all missionaries — wherever we are.
As Faunce puts it, “If a Christian isn’t a missionary, he needs a missionary.”
In other words, our natural response to God’s saving grace should be to share that with others.
“The most important thing is going and touching more lives for Jesus Christ. It’s not our kingdom we’re building up, it’s His.”
Faunce asks you to pray for World Missionary Press as they work to serve missionaries around the world.
You can also be praying for each booklet to touch someone’s heart for God.
For more information on supporting World Missionary Press, visit them here.