The Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) was founded in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, in 1927 as a ministry dedicated to fulfilling the command of Christ by sending out missionaries to take the good news of salvation to the ends of the earth.

Dr. Raphael Thomas, a graduate of Harvard Medical College, heard D. L. Moody challenge students to obey the command of Christ to take the gospel to every ethnic group. He committed his life to that cause and enrolled in Newton Seminary to prepare himself, not only to treat medical conditions, but also to preach and teach the Bible to address spiritual ailments in the souls of people. He became ABWE’s first missionary.

Originally Dr. Thomas had joined a large, denominational Baptist mission in Chicago and served as a medical missionary in Iloilo City, Philippines. Later, that organization began to change its focus and sought to restrict Dr. Thomas’s activities to merely running the hospital. When his appeals went unheeded, he resigned to seek a new mission under which he might fulfill his passion for evangelism. Thus ABWE was born as an independent faith mission to send out Dr. Thomas and those who followed him to serve in the Philippines.

Through the years, ABWE has grown to over 900 career missionaries serving in more than 75 nations around the world. This large missionary family is supported by a network of approximately 4,200 partner churches throughout the United States and Canada. Our International Administration and Training Center is located near Harrisburg, PA.

ABWE was first introduced to Canada in the late 1940s. Missionary Don Moffat visited the London Bible Institute and was used of the Lord to touch lives for missions. A number of Canadian missionaries were recruited and appointed to South America.

In 1961 Leander Roblin assumed the position of Canadian representative. Leander Roblin worked hard and covered Ontario and the Maritime provinces. ABWE became known in Canada as a sound, active and effective mission board. Under his leadership, ABWE Canada was officially registered in 1967 to meet Canadian government requirements in order to issue tax deductible receipts to Canadian donors. A board composed of a majority of Canadian citizens was formed.

Mel Cuthbert was called to be the Canadian representative following the retirement of Leander Roblin. Mel established an office in Burlington, Ontario and after four years of representation, returned to his former field of Brazil, when Reginald Snell took over the representation of ABWE Canada in 1979. Ivor Greenslade began leading in 1990 and led until Frank Bale was named Canadian Director in 1992.

In 2004, the Board of Directors appointed David Smith as their new executive director, and when ABWE Canada became financially and functionally independent in 2007, David Smith became the president of the new corporation known as ABWE Global Inc./ABWE Canada/Across Borders for World Evangelism. Minne Bouma was appointed president in 2016. Today, more than fifty employees serve in twelve different countries.

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