We wanted to take the time tell you about a special group of people at our sending church. We call them our Rope Holders. This is a group of missions-minded people who have agreed to faithfully and specifically pray for us and our ministry.
Where does this idea of “holding the ropes” come from? William Carey, known as the “Father of Modern Missions,” came up with this idea during a conversation with his good friend, Andrew Fuller. You see, Fuller viewed Carey’s going to India as him venturing into a deep, dark pit. Carey said to him, “I will go down into the pit, if you will hold the ropes.” If someone were to climb down a rope, into a dark chasm, he would have no hope to get back up, unless someone were to support him with a rope or lifeline.
This type of idea is portrayed in Scripture. The apostle Paul experienced the ministry of Rope Holders. In Acts 9, and un-named group lowered him over the walls of Damascus, enabling him to escape from those who had plotted to kill him. God used these people to preserve the life of Paul so that he could go on to complete his mission! Missionaries need people to hold their ropes!
Now, we all know what it means to hold something, but for the sake of explanation, Webster primarily defines “hold” as “to grasp, carry, or support with one's arms or hands.” This is what our Rope Holders have done for us. Through the first 5 months of deputation, they have carried us and supported us in prayer. They meet regularly to pray for our ministry. When we are traveling, they email or text us, reminding us of their prayers. They give us gas money, snacks for the road and gift cards for meals. They have come alongside us during times of trial and they have encouraged us in times of need.
One of their consistent topics of prayer is that God would supply our outgoing expenses. We need to raise $40,000 to move to Ecuador. This is just a one-time fee for the purpose of funding language school, purchasing a vehicle, furniture, dishes – whatever is needed to begin life in Ecuador. Our Rope Holders have called this “Pray for 40K.” What an encouragement, what a blessing!
The beauty of Rope Holders is that, while they are not physically going to the field, they are just as much a part of missions as we are! This is part of God’s plan for His body – missionaries and partnering churches enable each other to fulfill the Great Commission! In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul said that, some plant, some water, God gives the increase. We could apply his words to missions by saying, “some support, some go, but God gives the increase.” The ministry is the Lord’s, but He gifts His servants in different ways so that together, they can further His Gospel.
A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to meet with and pray with our Rope Holders. We are truly humbled to have them pour so much into our ministry. Many of them have become treasured friends, and we know that they will continue to support us as we pursue full-time deputation. These people are a blessing to the body, and an asset to our ministry. We praise the Lord for those who are holding our ropes!