My name is Ron Back. When I was eight years old, a missionary from a local independent Baptist church in Pierceton, Indiana, invited my brothers and me to church. My parents enjoyed the thought of having a break from us boys every Sunday, so they encouraged us to go with the missionary family. Shortly after this first encounter with Bro. and Mrs. Ernie Mason, I received Christ as my Saviour in Junior Church in 1980. I believe, even though I was only eight years old, that God put the desire in my heart to be a missionary, but since my family was not saved nor in a local church, Satan was able to quench that call.
My young adult years were spent out of church. I did not get scripturally baptized until 1994 while I was attending a Baptist church in Rancho Santa Marguerita, California, during my enlistment in the United States Marine Corps. Shortly after I was baptized, God called me a second time to the mission field under a missionary to Australia. I went to the pastor and inquired of him about missions. I thought God wanted me to go build churches physically with hammer and nails, not by preaching. My pastor told me that we did not support missionaries except the kind that go and preach the Gospel and win souls to Christ, building the churches with people, not materials. I was convinced that I was not the missionary type because I did not think I could talk or preach to large groups of people.
When my enlistment in the USMC was up, I chose to be a husband and a father instead of a career soldier. We went back to Warsaw, Indiana, where my family was and decided to start our family there also. Within two weeks of getting back to Warsaw in the spring of 1996, we found Open Bible Baptist Church, pastored by Sam Carns, a Hyles-Anderson College graduate. I thought that I had finally found a home that would be permanent for my whole family.
In May of 1996, Layne Jones, a missionary to the Philippines, preached at my home church of the need for more missionaries. This time I realized God’s call on my life. I immediately responded to the invitation and surrendered to be a missionary. Within just a few months, I understood that God wanted me to go to Australia.
God is so good! I honestly cannot believe that I forgot to give the birth announcement of my grandson, Reuben Gonzalez, on July 13! Mary and Caleb are such proud parents; it is a joy to see them with him. I hope my daughter, who gets our prayer letter, will forgive me for this terrible oversight. Please pray that God will use little Reuben in a great and mighty way.
On August 23, Brother Blanchard, a few church members, and I had a meeting with our local Parliament member regarding the COVID-19 passport legislation. We stressed with him that we thought it was not only infringing on our spiritual rights but also on our human rights, limiting people and putting them into classes. He is like-minded on this subject, even though he is a Catholic. Please pray for our PM Russel Broadbent to continue to stand for right. I was also able to get him a tract, and he received it gladly. This was the second time I was able to witness to him.
On September 22, we had one of the most powerful earthquakes in our region since they have been keeping track of them. The 5.6 earthquake, which some people may not think is big, shook our house, knocked thing off the walls, and was a glorious sign of Bible prophecy, because we are not used to getting earthquakes down here very often, even though we live on a fault line. The center was near Melbourne, so we just got the tail end of it, but it was felt as far away as Tasmania.
In October, we had one of our dearest and most loved saints go Home to be with the Lord, a widow named Lynn Evans, who was so sweet to my wife and me and even adopted me as one of her “boys.” At her funeral, I told my friend, her youngest son Rodney, that I felt a little shunned because I wasn’t able to plan the funeral with them. They laughed because the other two brothers didn’t know that Mum loved me as a son and even called me Ronnie Boy. The funeral was extra special, as it was our church’s first, and her family made it fun by adding show bags (a gift bag with toys for children, like at a birthday party) because in her life, she made everything fun.
Please pray for me, I had a chest cold before the funeral and was sick in total for almost six weeks. We three were diagnosed with COVID-19. Laura and Ron Jr. fared well, but I am still struggling with respiratory symptoms and general weakness. Please pray for us, as we struggle with our health, that we will still be able to witness to the lost and edify the saints.