Of our current staff, Darrell and Laura Lee Bustin are CBM’s longest continuously serving Global Field Staff with 21 years of uninterrupted service. They discovered their shared call to the mission field while studying at Crandall University in Moncton, New Brunswick (formerly Atlantic Baptist University). After Darrell completed his Master of Divinity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, they eventually returned to Canada to pastor at Hillside Baptist Church for several years. Their ministry was thriving, but they never forgot God’s call.
When their two children, Bronwyn and Caleb, were seven and three years old respectively, they knew it was time to make the transition. They began their work in 2002 with CBM’s partner in Indonesia, the Convention of Indonesian Baptist Churches, where Darrell taught at the Kalimantan Theological Seminary in Pontianak. Laura Lee taught music and helped with ministering to women as well as caring for the needs of their children. “It was such a joy for me to spend time with the students and to see them learning and growing,” shares Darrell.
When it was time to leave Indonesia, as the partnership came to a close, Darrell reflects: “God had been so good in letting these two partners work and achieve so much together. It was sad to say goodbye on a relational level, but it was also a reason to celebrate because the goals had been met and God had accomplished these things through us.” By the time the Bustins left, CBM’s Indonesian partner was fully staffed by nationals teaching and ministering Christ’s message on their own.
This is the goal for many of our partnerships as we seek to empower them for ministry in their own context. Our partner in India, Elim’s Compassion Ministries for child and youth development, is our most recent example of a transition to
a self-sustaining model.
After much prayer and consideration, Darrell and Laura Lee felt led to continue their ministry in Rwanda where they have been actively serving these past 11 years. Although the bulk of their time is with the AEBR in Rwanda, Darrell has an expanded role in theological education and leadership development with all CBM’s African partners including Central Africa (CBCA), the DR Congo (CEBCE), South Sudan (FEBAC), and Kenya (ACC&S). While Laura Lee is involved with the logistics of the SENT teams in Rwanda alongside Africa Team Leader, Andre Sibomana.
For more than 20 years, the Bustins have seen a shift in how Leadership Development and Integral Mission has evolved, particularly in how effective this change has been with local churches and communities. “Our partnerships, creation care, and the new faith & work initiative is all centred in integral mission,” says Darrell.
“With CBM’s partnership, pastors here share how their ministry is beyond evangelizing, but also helping people be healthy in all aspects of life…from literacy programs, kitchen gardens, village savings and loans, and peace and reconciliation groups. And
so many of them have continued on in a self-sustaining manner,” shares Laura Lee.
Since the Bustins began with CBM they’ve seen many changes, but noted how CBM’s direction remains focused on where God is leading. “[CBM is] constantly evaluating the concept of partnership,” says Darrell. “By taking a more collaborative approach with the partners the relationship is more collegial as we make decisions together.”
We give glory to God for 150 years of service as we help develop leaders all around the world. CBM continues to look forward to where God will lead in the next 150 years.