This article was originally published in the January 2023 edition of ITMI Monthly.
There are no pets at the Evers’ house these days. We’ve had our dogs, cats, gerbils, and snakes in the past when our three children were young.
They were exceptional advocates and sales people when discussing the endless needs for pets. Sarah was much better at this than the boys. She had this undeniable persuasive skill when it came to her dad.
YouTube, the online video streaming service, has scores of videos of all kinds and interests. One particularly heartwarming genre of videos and stories is the ones that show humans, at their own risk and peril, reaching down to help a desperate and many times wild animal in their great emergency.
Some of these heartwarming rescue stories demonstrate to a great extent the creativity, the financial and commitment of time these humans will go to help, to assist, and to benefit the lowly and needy animal, so that the animal can have a future and return to what God created that animal to experience.
The Bible clearly displays this exact kind of service, and the ancient Greeks even have a name for it…parakletos. The English use of the word is “paraclete.”
Jesus tells us in John 14 that “…I will ask the Father and He will give you another ‘Helper’ ’’ or Paraclete. In Greek culture, this Paraclete was like an attorney – someone who came alongside and protected or defended a needy person and became a willing advocate.
When Bill and Harriett Bathman founded In Touch Mission International (ITMI) they too adopted this example that Jesus and the Holy Spirit set forth in the words paraclete, helper, or advocate.
For over 40 years ITMI has served as a paraclete for many, many believers around the world who were trusting in God’s provision but didn’t have the organization, experience, or connections to support the God-given ministry dreams and leadings of their Lord.
We are grateful that ITMI has been able to serve the many projects that God allowed us to identify, vet, educate, resource, and grow in accountability. Accountability is so important to ITMI that when Bill and Harriett started, they submitted to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
ITMI continues to submit to the ECFA, at great cost, so that we too model our commitment to accountability.
Those many partners or projects that ITMI has gladly over the years been a paraclete for don’t always remain within the ITMI family. There are many reasons and motivations for believers to choose to separate and go in a new direction.
In II Timothy 4, Paul is asking Timothy to go bring Mark because others have left and gone to other places for various reasons. ITMI rejoices when partners or projects grow and mature to the place they can go and expand what God has called all of us to do.
ITMI has never been about trying to become as large an organization as possible just for the sake of being large. God has called us to be a paraclete for those that are, many times, the least of the least. We also commit to God, our partners, and to you, our donors, that we will always seek to obey God’s leading in all we do.
You and I can always check that commitment by how closely we parallel Jesus’ commands, “Go and make disciples….” (Matt. 28:19), “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:36-39).
God has placed within my soul that ITMI and each of our partners commit not just to humanitarian care or building ministry infrastructure, but to always be working, with the Holy Spirit’s help, toward true Biblical evangelism and discipleship - which we believe includes helping people learn to follow Jesus in His care for the marginalized and vulnerable, but is also much more than that.
If you ever have any questions with regard to ITMI or our projects, please feel free to reach out, and I’ll do my best to contact you.
As this new year starts, the ITMI board, staff, and partners commit that we will continue to obey God’s directive of building disciples wherever in the world He leads us.
We will also seek to model the spirit of gratefulness and seek to care for others as we have been cared for.
If you have a heart for helping the small and many times forgotten servants of God, we gladly accept your partnership in this 40+ year journey of making a God-centered, lasting impact on the world we’ve been placed in.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your trust and sacrificial gifts and partnership for these four decades. May God continue to use us as we work hand in hand in HIS service.
Blessings to you all! A most wonderful 2023 to you!
In His Service,
About the Author
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.
Get Weekly Updates from the Field!
Subscribe to our email updates