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The Founder of Biblical Foundations for Freedom (BFF)
I (Paul) am humbled by God's call to begin Biblical Foundations for Freedom (BFF). Although I have traveled over large parts of the world and have had many opportunities to deepen biblical knowledge and theology in others, my burden for Christian revival has been the underlying passion that has shaped my life and ministry for these last 35+ years.
I owe a large part of my burden to my praying grandfather who looked forward to retirement as a greater opportunity to pray. And pray he did until he died blind at 99. He was persecuted in his homeland of Latvia and came as a missionary, pastor and teacher here in America.
My family served as missionaries in Taiwan under OMF International during the 1980s. How thrilling it was to co-labor with fellow Chinese brothers and sisters in church planting ministries. Due to my wife and daughter's worsening asthma, we returned back to America in the 1990s where I thoroughly enjoyed pastoring at the Pittsburgh Chinese Church in Pennsylvania, United States.
In the year 2000 God spoke to Linda and I in a mysterious way about leaving my pastoral ministry in Pittsburgh. With the elders permission I resigned. Without a ministry and financial support I desperately sought the Lord. Early one Saturday November morning, before all my seven children awoke, I literally cried out to the Lord. He heard.
All of sudden God poured faith and vision in my feeble soul. Within those two days God envisioned me for the Biblical Foundations for Freedom.
Idea after idea flooded my mind. He gave Linda and I faith (see below) to trust Him His care for us. He has now been faithfully taking care of us without regular support for over fifteen years. This was a huge step for us. At that time, I had never written a web page and had (still do) so much to learn in this fast developing field.
In 1995, when pastoring, we helped start a church in the university area of Pittsburgh to reach out to Chinese students. At first it was bilingual but now has its two separate services, one in Chinese and English, the Oakland International Fellowship. This is where our family still worships and serves.
God first called me when studying engineering at the University of Maine in Orono. Although thoroughly enjoying my engineering studies, God started grasping a larger part of my heart through learning about inductive Bible studies through Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.
As I was looking out my second floor dorm window, the Lord started conversing with me in my mind about the many people walking back forth across the big campus. "There's a lot of people out!" I responded in my mind, "Sure are." He impressed on my mind, "They need the Lord." I agreed. Then He further pushed me by asking, "What is holding you back from serving them?"
I thought about my health, openness, etc., and realized that He was 'hinting' that I go into fulltime ministry. I did. I dropped my full scholarship and after working for a semester, I went and graduated in Foreign Missions and Biblical Languages as a minor from Moody Bible Insitute in December 1977. I finished my degree at the University of Florida in Asian studies. I was ordained after one term in Taiwan by our local Baptist church in Massachusetts in 1985. After returning to Taiwan from furlough, in 1986 we and a big team started the Nanjing church, first at our home in Wujya as a meeting point, in southern Taiwan. The beautiful teamwork during that time still stirs up most wonderful memories in our minds.
Although I grew up in a broken home, God has taught me to love and cherish my wife and thoroughly enjoy all eight of my children (See December 2009 family letter).
We homeschool our remaining two children that haven't yet graduated from high school, one being in a virtual school). Three older ones are presently full-time in college. In 2007 Linda and I became grandparents for the first time! We now have three grandchildren living nearby. We also just celebrated our 37th anniversary!
I trust that our web-designed materials will cause you to grow in hope of the power, love and relevance of God in your own life so that you will be more like our gracious Lord Jesus Christ. You will find almost 90% more resources in our Digital Libraries where you can gain ongoing access to graphic-enriched slides, audios/videos, handouts, all our books, etc.
Much of my heart is burdened by the increase of moral decay in and out of the church. Although not on staff at the church any longer, we still worship and serve at the Oakland branch of the church where I formerly pastored.
Searching the past with the Bucknells?
We are a faith ministry. This simply means that we do not have any guaranteed salary. We do not know how much we might get from month to month. The Lord led us to start the ministry and to trust Him for what we would need.
God's amazing provision constantly sets our hearts to praise. We do not have anything against guaranteed salaries (I actually like them!) but find that this faith journey forms another blow against secularism's empty words by showing how God is alive.
One person went so far to say what we do is impossible. Another more recently stated, "You can't do that." I tried to explain we have been doing it for these eight years! Now in 2015 it has been 15 years and we presently have 3 of our children in college!
It is true. Without God, we could not survive. As a testimony of God's grace, we have a bigger family than most (eight children now) and find, without a guaranteed income, that God has many ways to provide for our needs. We even had a postman bring us firewood along with our mail! Our children have with us witnessed God's amazing work.
Apart from the provisions for our family, we also have seen how God has wonderfully blessed this ministry! For the last six years I have gone on oversea ministry training pastors and church planters in third world countries often at our ministry expense.
We daily have well over 6,000 people daily visit the BFF website from every part of the world. In 2009 we actually had over 2 3/4 million pages viewed. People regularly write to us stating their appreciation of our materials and want to know how they can get them in printed or electronic form. The new BFF resource center provides information on the many materials that God has since our beginning made available. Join our prayer team by getting our biweekly prayer letter and updating our current situation. We welcome your prayers!
Click here if you are interested more about financially investing in the ministry of developing godly people and leaders around the world. BFF is one of the best spiritual investments that you can make. We do a lot with a little! Biblical Foundations for Freedom became an officially recognized non-profit (501(c)(3) in late 2007 and provides tax deductible receipts for American donors. We encourage churches to add BFF to their missions support!
As you read along in the website, you will get to know me much more as I share how God has worked in my life. So sorry the opportunity does not provide me the opportunity to know you and get more acquainted with how God is working in and through your life – at least on this side of heaven.
We appreciate any suggestions, advice, prayer, encouragement and support you can give us at Biblical Foundations for Freedom!
Your web servant - Paul Bucknell