Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
HomeAll The News2023 Legacy Missionaries: On the Cutting Room Floor (Part 1)

2023 Legacy Missionaries: On the Cutting Room Floor (Part 1)

by Holly Meriweather

In 2020 BMA Missions began a very impactful tradition of honoring our living and deceased missionaries at our national meetings. In 2023, we will acknowledge Bobby and Ruth Bowman and Jack and Latrell Bateman. (The Bateman children will receive their parents’ posthumous award.) Former Missionary and BMA Global President John David Smith, who understands the impactfulness of our retired missionaries, established this award so their legacies would not be forgotten and our entire association can honor their faithfulness to serve.

Our production team will create a video for the ceremony, which means researching their lives and ministries to create the narration. Doing so is truly a labor of love as I note the highlights of their service.

The Batemans and the Bowmans served in very different areas of the world; Asia Pacific (Taiwan) and Central America (Honduras). They encountered different hindrances to the gospel and reached the lost in different ways, but they had a common heart and willingness to persevere in extremely difficult circumstances.  

There are many stories about these faithful servants that can’t be told in a short video. I will share some of those that had to be “left on the cutting room floor,” so to speak, over the next five months.

The first one is a Christmas story of sorts. Latrell Bateman was clearly a resourceful woman who had a burden for Chinese people after watching a social studies video in high school. She had enrolled in Mandarin classes even before meeting a young Chinese-American man, Jack Bateman, who would later become her husband. After their clear calling to serve the Lord in Taiwan, they arrived in November 1953. Already a mother herself, she was heavily burdened for children to understand this extremely foreign concept of salvation. She had the idea to write home and ask people to send old Christmas cards, especially those “of a religious nature.”

Since there was no Sunday School literature to be found, her idea was to use the Christmas cards, backs torn off, to teach the children. She also requested any cards or Bible pictures for visual aids. People back home responded, and she soon had piles of them!

Latrell used the cards to reward attendance and Scripture memory. The children were so proud to receive multiple cards each Sunday. She said, “I don’t use Santa Claus cards or those that glorify Mary too much as other religions do. Most of the cards are blank on the other side, so we stamp a Scripture verse there.”

I don’t think I’ll look at a Christmas card the same again!