After a Dozen Awesome Years, Jim Falkenberg Retires
We would like to thank Jim and Anne Falkenberg for twelve faithful and effective years at Reaching Souls. Jim retired September 1 after a successful career as a friend-raiser. God has used the Falkenberg’s to be the bridge between a donor’s ambitions and opportunities available through Reaching Souls. Jim has helped people invest millions of dollars, one dollar at a time, to see millions of salvation decisions one soul at a time.
Thank you Jim and Anne for serving with integrity, excellence, and a total commitment for the sake of Souls. May your days be full of love, joy, and grandchildren. Here is a farewell letter from Jim…
An Adventure Beyond Imagination
Back in 1976, God led me to a decision that would change the course of my life: I accepted an invitation from my father, Jack (John) Falkenberg, to join the staff of a ministry that I had literally grown up with—Bible Literature International (BLI), founded by my grandfather in 1923. BLI’s role was to partner with missionaries and mission organizations all over the world to share the Gospel with people who had never been privileged to hear the message of Jesus Christ.
Over these past 41 years, I have been blessed to work in God’s harvest field, serving as a conduit to link missions-minded Americans with mission ministries and finally with the end beneficiaries: people whose lives would be eternally changed through their acceptance of Jesus Christ and their faith in His salvation and forgiveness.
What a journey these 4 decades have been! Through BLI (26 years), David C. Cook Ministries (3 years), and Reaching Souls International (12 years), I have experienced the joy and satisfaction of knowing that those years could not have been better invested.
There’s an old song that says, “They say that all good things must end someday.” I strongly disagree: how great it is to know that eternity in Heaven with Jesus will never end!
Twenty-nine years after accepting my father’s offer to enter “the world of missions,” and following the merger of BLI with David C. Cook Ministries, I accepted a proposal from Ben Manis, then-president of Jimmy Hodges Ministries (now known as Reaching Souls), to join that Oklahoma City-based team. I wasn’t a stranger to Ben or to that ministry, as BLI had been a long-time funding partner of Jimmy Hodges. Additionally, I had traveled to Africa on several occasions to see the incredibly effective program of “Nationals Reaching Nationals” that Reaching Souls employed through training and equipping national pastors to better reach their own people.
How God has blessed Reaching Souls over the 31 years since its founding! The 1996 decision to support 50 full-time National Missionaries (10 in each of 5 East African nations) bore immediate fruit and led to later decisions to increase that number as God provided the resources through His people. When I joined the RSI staff in December of 2005, the team of National Missionaries totaled 186. Through God’s blessing, direction and provision, that number now stands at 2,000.
The premise is simple: Reaching Souls is God’s ministry. He owns it. Our job is to be committed, faithful, and honest, and to fully trust Him for the results. In a similar way, the mission that has become Reaching Souls’ marching orders is not complicated: “We strive to reach the maximum number of people for Christ in the least amount of time in the most efficient way.”
On September 1, I will retire from the staff of Reaching Souls, although I will in no way be retiring from the ministry of RSI. My wife, Anne, and I have been considering retirement for a while, but actually making that decision has been extremely difficult for several reasons:
- I will miss the day-to-day involvement in the greatest adventure I could ever imagine being a part of—linking people to an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives, securing their place in Heaven with the Lord Himself;
- I will greatly miss the regular interaction with the wonderful staff of Reaching Souls, an incredibly talented and committed team who love the Lord and who love people; and
- I will miss the frequent interaction with heavenly-minded people who have trusted BLI, David C. Cook, and Reaching Souls with the investment of their resources for the purpose of providing literally millions of people with opportunities to know Jesus Christ in a personal way.
Several vivid memories flash before me:
- The emptiness in the eyes of Buddhists in Mongolia, Hindus in India, Shintoists in Japan, animists in Papua New Guinea, and atheists in Belgium, as they strove to find personal peace that comes only from Jesus Christ.
- A village in Uganda where I witnessed one newly-trained pastor sharing “The 4 Spiritual Laws,” a simple Gospel tract, with four people in one small home, and rejoicing as he led all four of them to faith in Christ, all within a 20-minute timeframe.
- Handing a complete Bible in the Ateso language to another newly-trained pastor: with tears rolling down his face, he thanked me and said, “Never did I think I would have my own Bible in my own language.” I found out that he pastored three local churches there in Uganda, using only a dog-eared, torn, partial copy of an English New Testament (only Ephesians through Revelation), from which he made notes so he could translate his messages into Ateso for the people in his three churches.
- Seeing tears in the faces of long-time friends as they said how greatly they wished they could invest so much more of their financial resources, knowing that God was blessing the fruit of their investments far beyond what they could ever comprehend.
Over these decades, I have been privileged to work in partnership with well over 400 different mission ministries. And I can say with all honesty: I have never seen a ministry that is as effective in reaching souls as is Reaching Souls! And it has truly been Anne’s and my joy to invest these past 12 years in such a life-changing ministry! It has been an adventure beyond imagination, fulfilling in every way!
Throughout these 41 years, Anne has been at my side, encouraging, counseling, supporting me in every way imaginable. What a delight has been ours to experience God’s blessings together over the 48 years of our marriage!
But excitement still lies ahead as the Lord increases our days! Anne and I will continue to assist the incredible ministry of Reaching Souls . . . in whatever ways He allows us: promoting, financially supporting, opening our home for sharing, etc. No, our partnership in RSI’s ministry is not coming to an end just yet, as we anticipate the thrilling adventure of how God will lead us in the critically important days ahead.
To God be the glory!