The History of CMML
The following article was written by Samuel E. Robinson, past President of CMML, several years ago. This article first appeared in Precious Seed Magazine and is re-printed here with permission.
The History and Present Work of CMML
by Samuel E. Robinson
As the twentieth century dawned on the horizon, a young man, vitally interested in the Lord’s work in many lands, saw a need. News of assembly missionaries in distant lands was minimal, at best gleaned from private correspondence and the limited scope of first-hand reports. This young man realized that in order to foster interest and stimulate exercise and involvement in the missionary endeavour of the assemblies, the Lord’s people must be informed and kept aware of the activities of His labourers in His vineyard. His answer to this need was to publish a two-page news-sheet of missionary letters.
As the Lord’s people became aware of the growing missionary enterprise, it became necessary to provide the means for the transmitting of funds from exercised believers at home to the missionaries throughout the world. This was the modest beginning of ‘Voices from the Vineyard Missionary Corporation’. Over the intervening years the simple newssheet developed into a quarterly, subscription-free, magazine with a circulation of 14,000 copies.
Changing conditions over the years added new dimensions to the activities of service organizations. Prior to World War I, the travels of missionaries were little noticed and generally unaffected by government restrictions. However, in the last eighty plus years, foreign governments have shown an increased awareness and interest in the missionaries serving within their borders and the nature of their mission activities. The requirements of these governments had to be recognised and fulfilled. In 1921, Christian Missions in Many Lands, Ltd. was formed to address these needs.
In 1938, The Fields Inc. came into existence. Their objective was to publish a monthly subscription magazine containing mission-related articles in addition to excerpts of missionaries’ letters and news items. They also provided the means to transmit funds to missionaries from the believers and assemblies at home.
In 1971, there was an exercise to consolidate the efforts of similar service organizations in existence in the New York area at that time. Christian Missions in Many Lands, Inc. was reorganized as a merger of four missionary service groups to more efficiently assist the entire assembly missionary effort. In addition to Christian Missions in Many Lands, Ltd., Voices from the Vineyard and The Fields, this merger included The Julia Hasse Memorial Missionary Home. This home was established in 1929 to provide accommodations for missionaries in transit. Since that time, God has abundantly confirmed this merger in many ways. Shortly after the merger, God provided a beautiful building in rural Wall Township in New Jersey. It includes adequate accommodations for the office, a clothing centre and rooms and apartments for missionaries in transit.
Christian Missions in Many Lands, Inc. (or CMML as we are generally referred to) publishes a subscription-free Missions Magazine eleven times a year and a Missionary Prayer Handbook which is updated annually. CMML and its predecessors came into existence to help and serve assembly commended missionaries not affiliated with any mission board or society. As a service organisation, our aim is to bridge the gap between the missionaries on the field and the assemblies at home, and provide necessary services that are difficult or impossible for the individual missionary or the assembly to provide.
However, it must be emphasized that CMML does not take a position as a central head or governing body in relation to the assemblies or the missionaries it serves. In short, it does not direct but simply serves. There are no charges to the missionaries or assemblies or individual Christians for services. No deductions are taken from gifts received for the Lord’s work at home or abroad. Expenses are met from gifts received and designated by the donor for expenses. It is a testimony to the faithfulness of God that expenses are met, year after year.
In recent years CMML has expanded its ministry to help and encourage assemblies and missionaries at home. An annual Conference for Missionaries was commenced in 1984 to encourage the missionaries. Its purpose is to provide a period of rest, good ministry and an opportunity to keep them abreast of changes in government regulations. There was also a concern about the adequate preparation of new missionaries for the mission field.
In 1992, CMML and MSC Canada commenced an annual Missionary Orientation Program. It has received an enthusiastic response from the attendees and from the assemblies. Regional conferences are held at the invitation of assemblies throughout the country. The purpose of these conferences is to encourage and stimulate zeal for evangelism at home and abroad. CMML started a Bible study for a select group of young men from various parts of the country. It is a concentrated, in-depth study showing them how to dig into the word of God and search the Scriptures for themselves. As a result the men have returned to their home assemblies and infected others with their thirst and enthusiasm for Bible study.
CMML seeks to foster interest and stimulate exercise and greater involvement in the worldwide missionary outreach of the assemblies. We seek to do the will of God, to be faithful to the Holy Scriptures, and to maintain an inviolable relationship to missionaries, assemblies and government authorities at home and abroad. Simply stated, ‘we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake’, 2 Cor. 4. 5.