Thank you for all you do to keep your missionaries on the field. Your financial support and your constant prayers are vital in allowing us to serve God where He has put us. We are aware of the hard work that produces the finances for missionaries to be supported.
Sixty-one years ago today, November 15, 1960, my family arrived in Monterrey, Mexico, to begin a journey that we could never have imagined. As a 14-year-old boy, I considered our moving to a foreign country an adventure. I was excited about what I would encounter in a new culture, learning a new language. I had no idea what the future held for me personally.
My father, Dr. L. H. Ashcraft, was a master at involving his children in ministry without making it a mere obligation. He encouraged us to take part in the areas of the work that we enjoyed. My sister is an accomplished pianist and a consummate children’s worker. She played an old pump organ in the first church Dad started in 1961. I love cars. He put me in charge of maintaining the four vehicles we had at that time.
In 1965, after struggling with the decision of what I was to do with my life, I surrendered to serve God as a missionary. I was convinced that it was God’s will that I serve with my father in the ministry that he had started. I enrolled in Bible Baptist Seminary in Arlington, Texas, the college that Dr. J. Frank Norris founded in 1939. I had some wonderful professors who gave me a solid doctrinal foundation.
During my four years of college, I had the privilege of working on staff at Lakeland Street Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. A. F. Jernigan was the pastor. I cannot say enough about the value of working alongside such a great man of God. What I learned as I observed Bro. Jernigan working with his people was a huge factor in shaping my life and ministry. I learned leadership skills that still help me to this day. That church still faithfully supports our ministry under the leadership of Pastor Jeff York. We love Lakeland Street Baptist Church
It was in college that I met Brenda Irby. We were married in August of 1966, between our first and second years of college. Our marriage lasted for 51 years, 7 months, 16 days, 13 hours, and 2 minutes. Brenda went to Heaven on April 1, Easter Sunday, 2018. She was an incredible Christian in every respect. Brenda had experienced her own personal calling to missions at the age of 12 under the ministry of Dr. Ralph McCoy in Temple Baptist Church of Lubbock, Texas. Temple Baptist also faithfully supports this ministry. Bro. Steve Miller is the pastor. We love Temple Baptist Church very much.
In August of 1969, Brenda and I came to work with Dad in the Bible institute that he had started in 1963. Hundreds of men and women have been trained for the Gospel ministry through this institute; 223 of them are men who pastor churches that they have started. There is at least one of our graduates pastoring in all of Mexico’s 31 states and in 18 other countries.
In 1982, after much prayer and thought, we founded Mount Hebron Baptist Church, which I pastored for 34 years. This church provided practical training for our Bible institute students. In February of 2016, I led the church to call our son Jonathan to assume the pastorate. He and his wife Jenny are doing a marvelous job of continuing the principles and practices that made this church what it is today.
On July 8, 2019, I married a wonderful lady, Emily Ann Knight. The process God used in putting our lives together is an amazing story. Emily and I are enjoying the ministry that God has given us, traveling and challenging God’s people in the matter of missions and other vital areas of ministry.
My mother Eva was a master storyteller. She wrote many stories chronicling her life, beginning with my father’s conversion to Christ and their amazing journey in establishing the ministry in which we have had the honor of serving. My niece, Anna Sloan Lopez, has compiled these stories in a book, appropriately titled Eva. It is an amazing read, and I believe that it will become a classic among books written by missionaries greatly used of God. It is available on Amazon, or we can send you a copy if you prefer.
Thank you again for all you do to keep us on the field. We also pray for you.
Yours for souls,
Tommy and Emily Ashcraft