Dr. Mike Fullingim felt the specific call to mission service while hearing a sermon from Jeremiah 5:19: “…you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.” But as he looks back, he can see that even as a young boy God was drawing his heart toward missions and people different from him. Twelve years after hearing that sermon, Mike and his family went as missionaries to Papua New Guinea.
Dr. Mike and his wife, Barbara, served eight years on the field, with a break between terms for him to pursue further linguistics education. In 1987, Dr. Mike was finishing his PhD in linguistics and anthropology. After completing his doctoral program, offers for teaching jobs flooded in. But his heart was still in PNG. As he sought God’s will, and considered his children’s educational needs, Dr. Mike took a one-year teaching job at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
As he wrestled with what direction God was leading, Dr. Mike read a quote from Dwight L. Moody: “It’s better to train ten people than to do the work of ten people.”
Today, 35 years after signing that “one-year contract,” Dr. Mike is still training future missionaries at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. His former students—more than 200—are serving today as gospel workers around the world—including hostile and restricted nations where Christians are persecuted. One of his passions is helping students develop tools to learn language—a key factor in long-term fruitful service on the mission field.
Listen as Dr. Mike shares about his missionary calling, how he wrestled with the painful decision not to return to PNG, and how we can pray for missionaries currently serving around the world—and for God to call forth more workers to go into ripe harvest fields, even in dangerous places.
Read more about Dr. Mike Fullingim’s mission work and legacy of teaching at Oklahoma Wesleyan University here.
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