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MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT-A shared vision

February 2001 | by Ray and Wanda Hoover

My name is Ray Hoover. I am a Baptist missionary serving in Malta. My wife and I were both saved in 1969 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. One year later we were called into the gospel ministry full time. It has been our joy to serve the Lord Jesus for thirty-one years.

When we arrived in Malta in 1984 we met three Maltese Christians who wanted a Baptist church started in their country. The Lord provided a building and a small congregation to start with, and then with his blessing, we saw a viable church planted after nearly four years. It was during this time that we were able to work alongside two preachers, Edwin Caruana and Paul Mizzi. Both of these men are now pastoring in Malta and doing an excellent job.

Converts

After our arrival in Malta in 1984, another missionary couple, Joe and Jenny Mifsud, came to Malta. They immediately became our friends and were instrumental in winning many Maltese to Christ, and also in planting a Baptist church.

During those early years many of the Maltese converts experienced heavy persecution because of their coming out of the Catholic and into an Evangelical church. To quote some of our brethren here in Malta: ‘Where Roman Catholicism rules it rules with an iron fist’. We have seen this to be true, although today Catholicism is more tolerant than before.

There are several evangelical churches here in Malta. There are also, of course, many sects and cults as well. I am very pleased to say that though there are differences amongst these churches there is an overall shared vision that, ‘We want to reach our country for Christ’. Springing from that there is a co-operative spirit amongst Maltese Evangelicals.

Love

However this does not mean that there is false ecumenical unity amongst the Maltese churches. What we have is a sense of urgency, love and appreciation for each other, with each holding to their own individuality. I am grateful to serve in this country where that kind of spirit is prevalent among the leadership of the churches.

May I conclude by saying that the churches of Malta need your prayers. They realise that the work here is slow, but thank the Lord it is growing. People are being saved, baptized and discipled.

New churches are being built and the Maltese nationals are taking strategic leadership positions within their respective church fellowships. It is a joy to see them grow in the Lord and to have solid, Bible-based convictions that enable them to stand against the religious apostasy which is all around them. Please pray for these Maltese and those who work here among them.

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Malta