In the most recent issue of The Baptist Bulletin (March/April 2008) I noticed a two-page memorial tribute about Wendell Kempton, the President Emeritus of ABWE, who died January 6, 2008. I probably would have paid no attention if I had not received earlier this year an e-mail sent out by Larry Smith, with whom I worked for a couple of years in the 1990s at Heritage Baptist College and Seminary. Until I received Larry’s e-mail I do not believe I knew the name of Dr. Kempton. I was struck by one paragraph in particular about Dr. Kempton. Larry wrote this about him:
“I was in my office in Santiago, Chile beginning our second term of missionary service when I learned that our new president of ABWE was a man named Wendell Kempton. I did not know him or anything about him. I asked a missionary colleague who he was and he replied, “We call him Wendy—he’s a coach.”
“…As time passed, I was privileged to have Dr. Kempton “coach” me. I remember sitting in the airport in Santiago, Chile and listening intently to him as he coached me with words of wisdom on how to become a better missionary. As I approach retirement, I remember him telling me that “it is more important how you leave an organization than how you entered”.”
Those are wise words indeed.