Quote from John Ryland in his book, “The Work of Faith: the Labour of Love, and the Patience of Hope, Illustrated in the Life and Death of the Rev. Andrew Fuller, Late Pastor of the Baptist Church of Kettering, and the Secretary to the Baptist Missionary Society from its Commencement, in 1792″. The book was written in 1818 (they liked long titles back then). Page 145.
“Our undertaking to India really appeared to me, on its commencement, to be somewhat like a few men, who were deliberating about the importance of penetrating into a deep mine, which had never before been explored, we had no one to guide us; and while we were thus deliberating, Carey, as it were, said “Well, I will go down, if you will hold the rope.” But before he went down . . . he, as it seemed to me, took an oath from each of us, at the mouth of the pit, to this effect—that “while we lived, we should never let go of the rope.”
This gives the rope as a model for missionary member care. The missionary needs reliable support back home for them to be able to serve in the mission field. However, acting as the link between the home support and the missionary is not the only way for looking at a rope as symbolic of missionary member care.
Dr. Dan Russell, a missiologist and former professor of missions here in the Philippines also used the rope as showing the interdependency of various parties in the missions endeavor. One can see the rope as made up of three entwined strands of those who support missionaries (goers). These are Welcomers (local hosts/supporters), Senders (home supporters), and Mobilizers (technical and strategic supporters). All three are needed and reminds one of Ecclesiastes 4:12. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”