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  • Paige Patterson

Unsung Evangelical Heroes



Irresistible spears of morning light dissipate the darkness of the night, announcing a new day. Before the pinkness of the setting afternoon sun, a column of unsung evangelical heroes march triumphantly into eternity hearing the summons of Jesus the Christ to follow Him to their eternal reward. The Lord knows the name of, and the work done, by everyone. But because so many serve Christ out of love and appreciation for Christ alone, we never know their names or the details of their sacrificial labor. Hopefully, one such quiet unselfish hero will not be called to that eternal column anytime soon; but I do want you to know him.


Ken Welborn, Chaplain of the United Nations in New York City, step out of the offices of the statemen of the world and take a bow. No, of course not! The only bows you care about are in worship before our Lord. Well, I am almost sorry to “out you” as a spokesman for Christ, but to do so will encourage others to do the same.


Originally funded by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, things changed and NAMB could not “afford” to provide support any longer to fund a ministry of counsel, comfort, and presentation of the gospel among the world’s leaders who come and go within our borders. Thank God for churches and individual believers who observed the value of this chaplaincy and took hold of the ropes when humanly speaking there seemed no hope! For years now following graduation from seminary, Ken Welborn has quietly but faithfully ministered to those who might for other reasons have come to American shores—and then departed without hearing of God’s genuine love for them. So, what is it that makes me think of this astonishing but taciturn ministry in the United Nations?


My awakening this September morning was to a new blog wrung from the heart of Welborn. No One “Left Behind” is the title. Request the whole blog from Ken Welborne at kwelborn@fsfellowship.org. Aware to a degree that few Americans are in a position to appreciate, Ken lamented the fate of Americans and Afghan nationals who have served America and the cause of freedom and yet were left behind to suffer the fury of Taliban. He rehearsed the sense of helplessness that engulfed his heart as he contemplated the terrors that many, and perhaps most, of these would face.


These thoughts generated even more serious contemplations. Jesus spoke of a time of terrestrial upheaval and suffering on this earth such that “except those days were shortened, no flesh would survive” (Matthew 24:22). Should Americans be concerned about anyone who is stranded in Afghanistan? And if the red, white, and blue patriot finds himself profoundly moved by the eventuality, how can a follower of Christ bask in the blessings of Christ and yet leave millions in this world without hope and with nothing but hell to follow?


Ken Welborn goes on to note that we may face serious limitations in the effort to extract precious souls held in the fists of the Taliban and other radicals, but we are not bound in our witness to the lost of this world by anything other than our lack of love and compassion. To feel such compassion for those left in Afghanistan is appropriate and right. To fail to be cognizant on a daily basis for fellow humans outside the umbrella of God’s forgiveness is unfathomable and wrong!


While I am not welcome as a daily visitor in the halls and offices of the United Nations, I am personally grateful that we have an evangelical ambassador to the U.N. who walks the corridors, prays with hurting ambassadors and their support staff, and who represents our Lord until He comes! No one has to go home to what is to us a foreign post without the opportunity every year to attend a sumptuous banquet, rejoice in the beauty of the gospel in song, and hear the testimony of other statesmen who have come to know the Lord.


Every reader of this blog can do three things. First, pray regularly for Chaplain Ken Welborn and his wife Karen. God has placed them in a position to assist the nations. We dare not fail to undergird them with prayers. Second, we can witness to the lost who will have no chance to embrace the gospel after the return of Christ. Finally, if God places it on your heart, you can have the unimaginable joy that Dorothy and I have had of giving a small part of our resources to support this quiet but effective ministry to the world. Would you seek God’s face in this matter today? Please go to fsfellowship.org for more information. And don’t miss Chaplain Ken Welborn’s observations in the timely article mentioned herein!