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! We just finished December and the first of the year, and we are excited to see what God is going to do with this new year. I would like to apologize for the gap between prayer letters. I think I scheduled our meetings a little too tightly on furlough, and we are still just trying to get our bearings back home in Australia. We should be back on track now.
I would first like to thank all of you who sent Christmas gifts. They were so needed and appreciated; they helped us get resettled here in Moe. Laura and I did not realize how much housework was going to be waiting for us. We have never left a house for four months before, and just the lawn alone was in dire straits. Here we can get fined if our grass is too tall; but, praise the Lord, no fines came. Also, we had a wonderful reunion at Christmas with the kiddos and their families, with news of one more on the way.
I am glad that I am able to announce that I have my first prison meeting on February 15. We are still praying that Missionary Kevin Robb gets here in 2023. Hopefully, we will be starting a Military Ministry in Sale, Victoria. We are not seeing much growth with the church plant in Sale. Please continue to pray as we go soul winning down there, and pray also for the church here in Moe to grow. Things haven’t changed much as far as COVID fears, and emotional wellbeing still seems to be a little off. People are still distant and less approachable. Please pray for their hearts to open and for folks to get saved, to be called, and to surrender to the ministry. Please also pray for more souls to be saved and for soul-winning efforts to increase. We want to continue to grow the family of God.
On an interesting note, I found out today that my doctor for the last eight years retired, and he is only in his early sixties. I have a feeling it’s because of all the WHO demands and restrictions being put on doctors. Please pray that we are able to find a good doctor; it would be even better if we found a Christian doctor.
We also find ourselves in need of a more reliable vehicle. Our van has 520,000km on it and is leaking oil. I have noticed over the last month that the steering is quite sloppy, and even after a tune-up, it won’t run smoothly. We are praying and asking churches if they would pray with us for the $15,000 needed to buy a six-year old vehicle, as prices have not come down since COVID.
We appreciate the support and prayers that you have given us over the years, and we are looking forward to serving with you in 2023.