Personal Biography of Paul J. Bucknell
A Short History
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 45+ 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, largely working with Russians.
God first called me into full-time ministry 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 personal learning about inductive Bible studies through Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.
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 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 two separate services, one in Chinese and one in English, the Oakland International Fellowship (OIF). This is where our family still worships and serves.
A Calling from God on High
In the year 2000, God spoke to Linda and me in a mysterious way about leaving my pastoral ministry in Pittsburgh. With the elder’s permission, I resigned. Without a ministry and financial support, I desperately sought the Lord. Early one Saturday, November morning in 2000 before all my seven children woke, when we had largely used up all our financial reserves, I literally cried out to the Lord while on my knees. He heard.
All of sudden God poured faith and vision into 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 me faith to trust 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 so much to learn in this fast developing field.
Back in 1974 when looking out from my second-floor university 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 saying something like, “Jesus is coming back soon.” I thought, “He sure is.” But then that inner voice searchingly asked me, “What’s holding you back from serving them?”
I thought about my health, openness, etc., and realized nothing was holding me back from serving Him and that He was ‘hinting’ that I go into full-time ministry. I did. I completed the next semester and dropped my full scholarship. After working for a semester, I went and graduated in Foreign Missions with Biblical Languages as a minor from Moody Bible Insitute in December 1977. I finished my degree at the University of Florida in Asian studies. In 1985, I was ordained after one four-year term in Taiwan with OMF by our local Baptist church in Massachusetts. After returning to Taiwan from furlough in 1986, we head up a big team that by God’s grace started the Nanjing church, first meeting at our home in Wujya in southern Taiwan. The beautiful teamwork during that time still stirs up the most wonderful memories in our minds. It was difficult to return back to America in 2000.
More on our Family
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 family letters below). Now in 2019, we still have three children at home, one studying at home via a virtual high school. We, perhaps, are one family that could contest for homeschooling the longest period with our oldest daughter starting in her fourth grade in 1990 after returning from Taiwan. Four children are now married and three are still at home, two being in college. In 2007 Linda and I became grandparents for the first time! We now (2018) have five grandchildren. In 2018 we celebrated our 40th 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. I have much more to share about my life. For example, most of the things I write are sourced in past personal struggles. I had a ton of them based in a lot of anger, lust, and insecurity. 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. 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 Pittsburgh Chinese Church where I formerly pastored.
A Faith Ministry
We are a faith ministry, simply meaning 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, a little bit aware of our financial situation, went so far as to say what we do is impossible. Another back in 2010 stated, “You can’t do that.” I tried to explain we have been doing it for these eight years! Now in 2019, it has been 19 years God has provided for us even with many of them having our children in college! Sure, things are very tight at times. Without God, we could not survive. As a testimony of God’s grace, we face a bigger challenge than many with a large family of eight. Without a guaranteed income, God used many ways to provide for our needs. One man would come by offering us free cakes while one postman, at times, brought firewood along with our mail! Our children have with us witnessed God’s amazing work.
God’s Miracles of Grace
Apart from the provisions for our family, we also have seen how God has wonderfully blessed this ministry! For the last 14 years, I have gone on oversea ministry training pastors and church planters in third world countries most often using our ministry expenses. We often have over 10,000 pages daily viewed on the BFF website from every part of the world. In 2018 we have over 4 million pages viewed. The new BFF Store page provides information on the many larger books that God has given to us to make available.
Join our prayer team by getting our biweekly prayer letter. Get updates on our current situation as we continue to bring life-changing ministry around the world. While many missionaries are leading people to the Lord through church planting, we further equip the national leaders so they can do a much more effective work of training those who are saved. 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! This is our November 2018 update.
As you read 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 J. Bucknell