When Debby and Bill Perry heard that Hans Thomford was assigned to the new WELS mission in Amarillo, Texas, they wanted to welcome him and his wife, Amelia, to the “neighborhood”—Texas style. It wasn’t a problem that the Perrys attend Abiding Word in Houston, a nine-hour drive from Amarillo. Since they would be passing through Amarillo on vacation, they thought it was the perfect opportunity to encourage this young couple in their new ministry.
“When we heard about it in the sermon [at church], we looked at each other and said, ‘We’re already going to Amarillo! Why don’t we meet them and encourage them in their mission work?’ ” recalls Debby.
So the Perrys called the Thomfords and offered to take them out for a special dinner at a West Texas institution—a tourist destination called The Big Texan. Bill even talked restaurant staff into picking up the Thomfords in one of the restaurant’s iconic limousines, complete with a pair of Texas longhorns mounted to the hood.
Over dinner, the couples cemented their new friendship as the Perrys shared information about Texas culture, along with a dose of ministry encouragement.
The Thomfords were blessed by the Perrys’ thoughtfulness. “It started us out on the right foot,” says Hans. “We are here to do the work of the Holy Spirit, to do gospel ministry, and even people who aren’t local are encouraging us to do that. You hear about the prayers and support, and it became really real when the visit happened.”
The Perrys say that they will continue to pray for the Thomfords and their fledgling mission in Amarillo, knowing that the task of establishing a new mission congregation is not an easy one. “We pray for their success in God’s kingdom and that they meet people who are serious about learning about the love of Jesus Christ,” says Bill. Debby continues, “We also pray for their patience and persistence in the work they are doing.”
The Thomfords feel they have made two new friends for life, friends they will not soon forget. “This will have awesome effects and ripples for years, knowing that this couple from Houston is praying for and supporting us,” says Hans. “It encourages you to keep going.”
Volume 108, Number 11
Issue: November 2021