This month’s interview is with Missionary Brent Hawley who graduated from WCBC in 2011. Two things I have always appreciated about Brent and Dawn are their faith and perseverance. They came to Lancaster as married students, leaving a successful career behind, and they are currently serving in one of the poorest nations in the world. It is a joy to see how God is blessing their faith!
1. In what ministry and role do you currently serve?
I am serving the Lord as a missionary to the Miskito people in the region of Waspam, Nicaragua. My family and I arrived on the field early this year after completing a year in Language School in Costa Rica.
2. What is a way in which you have seen God’s blessing in ministry over the past twelve months?
From the time God called me to work among the Miskito people, we began praying for God to give fruit once we arrived on the field. He’s answered with more than eighty souls who have made a profession of faith in Christ in the last nine months. We’ve also been praying for God to provide Miskito men who we could disciple as future leaders and pastors. We sit back and thank God for the seven newly saved young men who we are discipling and who are involving themselves in soulwinning and serving. We prayed for national laborers and God provided.
3. Describe a time when you saw God’s supernatural provision for a dream you wanted to accomplish for Him.
I have a dream of seeing many churches planted throughout the communities of the Rio Coco Region to the glory of God and the saving of many. We live in Waspam which is a central hub to about one hundred villages and communities—on the river and inland—that need an independent Baptist church. We see La Iglesia Bautista Independiente de Waspam as a key church that will serve as a training and sending point for future pastors to these other villages.
Being within our first year on the field, seeing firsthand some of the strongholds of sin and spiritism of the people, and struggling with new languages as well as a new culture, planting a single church is daunting. But, planting a church consisting of a solid body of believers with a spiritual walk and convictions that would yield future laborers and pastors is impossible without the power of God.
However, while we were preparing for the field, God was working as well. He was working on the heart of Wilfredo Mercado—a humble Miskito man in his late twenties who was saved about eight years ago through the efforts of BIMI missionary Bob Dayton. Wilfredo enrolled in a small Bible institute at an independent Baptist church in Puerto Cabezas (a town about a three hour drive from Waspam). As he helped with a couple of missions teams that worked in the Waspam area. God used these opportunities in his life to burden his heart for the people there and call him to Waspam.
Wilfredo arrived in Waspam just one week after I arrived. We began hut to hut soulwinning together and saw much fruit. He speaks fluent Spanish and Miskitu and, of course, is very familiar with the culture. During deputation and after, I prayed for God to call another missionary to work with us among these unreached people. God answered in a way that has accelerated the growth of the ministry and that has possibly provided the future pastor of the church in Waspam.
4. What piece of advice would you give to someone preparing for or entering the ministry?
Ensure that the Lord has called you to that work. Difficult times will come and there will be many opportunities to question yourself, but it is wonderful when you know that you are doing what God wants you to do in the place He wants you to do it. Follow the direction God has given you, and there is no need for doubt. We can dive in with full confidence that we are doing His will no matter what happens around us.
5. What encouragement would you give to someone currently serving in ministry?
I’m just getting started really, so nobody wants to hear from the new guy, right? But, please just stay faithful. Remember we live to fellowship with and please the Lord with the short time we have on earth. We are not here to gain a name or impress other men. Live your life for Him.
6. What specific prayer requests can fellow alumni, readers of this blog, and I pray for with you over the next twelve months?
- Please pray for our language study. Our Spanish has improved greatly through our time in language school and now using it on the field. Many of the Miskito people speak Spanish, but the first language of the Miskito people is Miskitu (not available from Rosetta Stone). As I preach each week in Spanish, I know that there are those who come, but cannot understand me. Please pray for God’s grace in learning a third language.
- Please pray for God to open the hearts of the Miskito people to spiritual things. They have had the “religion” of the Moravian Church for many, many years, but few truly know Christ. They have learned to think of church as a social activity or an obligation instead of a place to receive spiritual nourishment and to be challenged by God’s Word.
- Please pray for our security. Due to the extreme poverty among the Miskito people, the theft rate is extremely high. We have had things stolen from our home on three occasions (that we know of) and the house we are renting as a church facility has been broken into twice. Once, a window was broken to gain entry to our home, and several items were taken. Recently, the church was broken into and the offerings were stolen from the lock box.
7. What was the greatest truth or principle you learned while at Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College?
You can always trust God! I left my job with the California Highway Patrol after eleven years to enter the ministry. God then called me to missions and directed me to attend WCBC. We came to Bible college with two children and had two more during our three years in Lancaster. God allowed me to be unemployed/underemployed for a time. I believe that God put us in a position to be completely reliant on Him and incapable of taking care of ourselves so it would be clear to us that God takes care of His own. Our bills, rent, commitments, and college bills were always paid on time. God showed us that “impossible” only exists to us and not to Him.
8. When you recommend WCBC to young people preparing for ministry, what are a few reasons you encourage them to enroll?
I always tell people that West Coast is the absolute best place for someone to study who is pursuing full time Christian ministry. Preparing Christian laborers is the purpose and heart of WCBC. There are many varied opportunities in which to gain ministry experience, a great faculty, and, above all, the example of a thriving local church that is seeing the blessings of God.