Never Stop Dreaming

 

John Reese
Searcy, Arkansas
President Emeritus

 

In 2020, World Bible School published Dreams Come True, a picture book of mission stories. Howard Norton wrote one of the most inspiring stories. In “A Dream, A Plan, A Reality,” Howard told how God used him and Jane, as newlyweds, to form the large team that went to Brazil in 1961, and God’s powerful work since then. He concluded,

What thrills us are the hundreds of congregations and thousands of Christians scattered throughout Brazil and the rest of Latin America who are constantly preaching and practicing the Gospel of Christ. To God “be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Howard and Jane never stopped dreaming. After returning to the United States, Howard became dean of the College of Bible at Oklahoma Christian University. He also preached for Memorial Road church of Christ and served as editor of The Christian Chronicle (1981-1996). Moving to Arkansas in 1997, he served as professor of Bible and director of Lectureship at Harding University, and he served College church of Christ as an elder. All along, Howard and Jane’s mission travels never ceased, nor did their dreaming. In his 70s, Howard became president of Baxter Institute in Honduras. Then he served as a member and a chairman of World Bible School’s board (2016-2022), lending his wisdom and experience to launch WBS into a new era of visionary growth.

During their 16 years in Brazil, Howard and Jane had become fluent in Portuguese. They loved all nations, especially Brazil. In a July 2017 guest editorial for ACTION!, Howard reported on my visit with him to present new WBS tools in Brazil. He said, “How our [1961] team would have jumped at the present opportunity to teach the Gospel to Brazilians with Internet courses prepared by World Bible School!”

Howard and Jane’s dreams for WBS to offer Portuguese courses advanced decisively when veteran missionary, Tim Brumfield, became a full-time representative for WBS. With the Nortons, he envisioned a great army of Brazilian Christians as missionaries via Internet and in-person. Along with many international travels, taking along Brazilians, Tim spearheaded breakthroughs in new ways to share the Portuguese WBS Master Series and Let the Bible Speak courses. At most recent count, some 300 Brazilian Christians have been recruited as WBS Online Study Helpers to Brazil, Angola, Mozambique and other Portuguese-speaking nations. Just as the Norton dream took shape beginning in 1961, their dream for Portuguese WBS (Escola Biblica Mundial) is becoming a magnificent reality. By the power of the God the Nortons served, the coming years will be the most exciting yet as God fulfills their dreams. Their examples are inspiring even greater visions for accomplishing the Great Commission.

ACTION! is World Bible School's flagship publication. Read inspiring success stories, tips on how to share the Gospel with others and updates on WBS and its tools!

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