Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 1, 1968
NUMBER 38, PAGE 3b,5b

A Teacher To Australia

Sewell Hall

In January of 1968, Brother Howard Thompson is due to receive his Ph.D. degree from the University of Alabama. The last of the month, he and his family, consisting of a wife and two children will be leaving these shores for a three year stay in Sydney, Australia. Salary, transportation, and all other expenses will be supplied by the University of New South Wales, on the staff of which Brother Thompson will be serving.

Of course, many families go to Australia each month under similar circumstances. But in this case there is a difference. The Thompsons are not going for the money: they could make far more doing similar work in this country. They are not going because of some thirst for adventure and foreign travel; it is difficult to leave mother, other family, and friends. Political considerations which have caused some to seek refuge in Australia have nothing to do with their going. Their goals are spiritual; their motivation - the great commission.

A Matter Of Purpose

More than a year ago, the Thompsons began to form the idea of going for at least a year after graduation into some area where the church of the Lord is weak. Soon thereafter, they heard a report of the work being done by brethren in Australia. Then shortly, they learned of the purpose of Robert Harkrider and others to go to Australia. Discussions with Harkrider impressed them with the need there would be for persons, self-supporting and working among Australians in secular relationships. All of this led to the application for a position on the faculty of the university in Sydney. Word of their acceptance confirmed their purpose to go.

Though supported altogether, as Paul was partially, by secular work, the Thompsons are as surely "missionaries- as any who have ever gone into foreign fields to preach the word. There is no way to estimate the value they will be in encouraging the few brethren already meeting, in making contact with Australians which both he and the full-time evangelists can cultivate, in leading singing and teaching classes, and in showing Australian brethren that it is not church-supported men alone who are to work in evangelism.

An Example For Others

It is to be hoped, too, that the Thompsons will be an encouragement to other Americans to do what they are doing. Scores of people have talked about it, many to me personally, but the Thompsons are the only ones I know that have gone beyond the talking stage. It is high time that many who are qualified for such opportunities move out in a voluntary "scattering abroad."

This does not mean there should be an organized "Exodus." It is better that there not be. There are numerous places in the U.S: and in foreign fields where one or two faithful evangelists are now struggling along with a small band of people native to the area. Just one or two mature families, making their own living would be an invaluable "shot in the arm" for the work. It is far better that one or two such families go to each of many places, than that a hundred families go to one. The result will be the strengthening of permanent churches indigenous to the communities where they are located rather than the transplanting of Southern churches into a strange environment where they will always be a foreign element. Though there may not be the "big splash," more good will be done.

Other Opportunities

There are other opportunities in Australia. Individuals who are willing to go should first write to the Australian Information Service, 636 5th Avenue, New York, New York, to learn whether there are openings for their particular profession or skill. Then contact should be made with some of the brethren there or with someone familiar with the work in Australia, to work out the arrangement that would be best for the future expansion of the cause in that country.

108 French Way, Athens, Alabama