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One good and faithful servant retires from a life of ministry
Ed Cadle
Ed Cadle - photo by Photo submitted

Rev. Ben Martin addressed the large crowd gathered in the Springfield United Methodist Church on Nov. 9 with a powerful question, “What if Ed Cadle Sr., had retired 20 years ago from the ministry and went fishing every day instead of forming Mission on the Move?” Rev. Martin answered his own question, explaining that children in Tapachula, Mexico, would still be living in prison with one or both of their parents, enduring daily physical and sexual abuse. Fortunately, Cadle didn’t go fishing but went to Tapachula instead and built three Christian homes for those children. Now, at the age of 84 and after serving for 20 years as the executive director of Mission on the Move, Cadle is ready to retire from the race that he has ran and finished well.

It was a race that began 59 years ago when Cadle began serving the Lord as a Methodist pastor in the South Georgia Conference. He officially retired from the pulpit in 1985 and moved to Effingham County to be closer to his family. But, because God had given Bro. Ed a heart for the truly needy, especially the refugees and children of Latin America, Cadle felt compelled to continue the race and Mission on the Move (MOM) took flight – straight to Tapachula, Mexico. Cadle said it took only one visit to the poverty-stricken city to know without a doubt that God could use him there, and thus, at the age of 64, Bro. Ed began his second career as the executive director of MOM, a non-profit Christian mission of mercy.

During the Nicaraguan War, Tapachula, which is located on the border of Mexico and Guatemala, became the temporary home for thousands of people from Nicaragua and El Salvador who were fleeing their war-torn countries for a better life. With the help of a local Baptist preacher, Cadle began working to build a refugee center there. With funding from Mission on the Move supporters and with the help of a local doctor, the compound was constructed and served the needs of both adults and children for several years until the war ended. At that time, the center was renamed the Evangelical Refugee for our Children of the Future and became a safe shelter for Tapachula’s “street kids.” That facility is now MOM’s original boys’ home where 14 boys are nurtured and cared for seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

With exposure and support in several states outside of Georgia, MOM’s ministry in Latin America grew quickly. Since 1987, five mobile medical clinics have been built, nutritional feeding programs are established in Santa Elena and Los Pinas, Honduras, and a well-drilling ministry continues to provide fresh water for people in La Mosquitia. In addition, within the last 10 years, MOM has built three children’s homes and commissioned two full-time missionaries to Mexico and Honduras. In 2002, Steve and Hope Shearouse of Springfield began working full-time as missionaries for MOM and moved to Mexico to supervise the children’s ministry. Even with three homes in Tapachula, approximately 20 children still remain in the prison with their parents. Under the direction of Mission on the Move, the Shearouses are working with the Mexican government to establish a foster care program with hopes of soon providing safe and loving homes for these children as well.

Because MOM does receive thousands of cases of donated clothing, vitamins, etc., each year, storage space is a prime concern. The barn behind Rev. Cadle’s home in Guyton has served MOM well for many years, but thanks to the recent donation of a large, new, metal building in Springfield, Mission on the Move is in the process of moving its headquarters to that location off Highway 119. In addition, after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the lives and homes of millions of Americans, MOM joined with JOPPA Ministries to build a 50x100 metal warehouse in Portal, where relief materials are being collected and stored for use in the event of another national disaster. With this new ministry in the U.S., MOM will be able to expand its mission to glorify God by serving others.

In addition to the children’s homes, feeding programs, and other ministries MOM has established in the United States and Mexico, several Christian churches now exist in Tapachula as a result of Mission on the Move’s presence there. Pastor Francisco Vasquez, pastor of the 3rd Nazarene Church in Tapachula, and his wife Anna flew in from Mexico to attend Bro. Ed’s retirement celebration. With the help of interpreter Paul May, Pastor of Hispanic Ministries at Chapelwood UMC in Houston, Texas, Vasquez spoke about a day when he and Bro. Ed walked all over Tapachula talking and sharing.

“Pastor Ed, I never told you this,” he said, “but that day, I never understood a thing you said.”

Despite Cadle’s minimal knowledge of Spanish and Vasquez’ inability to speak English, the two have become close friends. This was the Mexican pastor’s first trip to the U.S. and he said he was not sure if he would ever see Bro. Ed again.

“But Pastor Ed, you and me, we’ll be in heaven together,” concluded Vasquez. “And there we will understand each other!”

Several family members and long-time friends also shared their fond memories of Bro. Ed and the past 20 years. Toby Roberts, owner of Roberts Diesel in Garden City, said he would never forget the day Bro. Ed walked into his shop carrying a carburetor in a five-gallon bucket. That was the beginning of a special relationship, said Roberts, who has helped Cadle repair and convert buses for use as mobile medical clinics. Of course, Bro. Ed invited Roberts to church, too, and the two have been attending Garden City Methodist Church together ever since.

MOM’s first chairman of the board, Jim Jackson, Pastor of Chapelwood UMC in Houston, Texas, said that he’s never known anyone else who always “speaks with exclamation points like Ed does.” A little later in the evening, Judy McCraw, a registered nurse who has made several trips to Tapachula, reiterated Jackson’s comment when she said that Bro. Ed’s motto when in Mexico was, “The louder you say it in English, they WILL understand.”

In addition to the light-hearted “roasting,” everyone who spoke expressed their sincere appreciation for the individual ways that Ed Cadle has touched them. Harry Shearouse, brother of MOM missionary Steve Shearouse and chairman of Citizens Bank of Effingham, said Cadle is one of those special people God places in our path.

“He wants everyone he comes in contact with to know Jesus,” explained Shearouse, who went on to say that with “holy boldness,” Bro. Ed has made his life a living sacrifice.

Paul May echoed Shearouse’s comments and added that God “wired Bro. Ed differently” and when he first met the energetic pastor he said to himself, “I want to be like that because people see Jesus in Bro. Ed.” He also told Bro. Ed’s wife, Inez, that God’s got a big, beautiful mansion prepared for her, but that Ed’s will be “a warehouse with a roll-up door!”

After serving as MOM missionaries in Mexico and Honduras for the past 10 years, Steve and Hope Shearouse will be transitioning over the next several months into their new roles as the executive directors for Mission on the Move. With tears in her eyes, Hope told Bro. Ed that she is in awe of how he has touched and changed so many lives through MOM. She thanked him for teaching her how to witness to others – “even in a taxi” – and commented on his ability to draw the children of Tapachula to himself “like a magnet.” Steve thanked Cadle for grooming and molding them into the missionaries they are today and added that he just hoped no one expected them to have as much energy as Bro. Ed has.

In response to all the wonderful comments from his family and friends, Cadle reminded them that Mission on the Move is not about him, it’s about representing Jesus. Bro. Ed has always declared that MOM’s ministry in Latin America is a vehicle for carrying out the Great Commission to glorify God by reaching out to the helpless, homeless and hungry of the world.

That’s exactly what Ed Cadle has done for the past 20 years, and although he never received a salary for his work as the executive director of Mission on the Move, he will tell you that he has been “well-paid.” He also assured his family and friends that he is not retiring because he’s worn out.

“I’m retiring because MOM needs someone younger, smarter and who has friends that are still alive!” explained Cadle.

Of course, many are doubting that this preacher version of the “Energizer Bunny” could really retire and take up fishing full-time. In their own words, they’ll believe it when they see it. However, for those who know Bro. Ed and are familiar with MOM’s ministries, there is no doubt that a great reward is waiting for him in heaven where Jesus will greet him and say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

For more information about Mission on the Move, visit their Web site at