Ernest and Diane Gambrell surrendered to serve the Lord on the foreign field on Easter night of 1969 under the preaching of Dr. H. Mel Rutter. Upon their surrender, they affiliated with Maranatha Baptist Mission in Natchez, Mississippi, where Dr. James Crumpton was President and Dr. Mel Rutter was Vice-President. After serving on the field of Mexico from 1969 through 1975, Brother Gambrell was asked to serve as a Representative for Maranatha. After three months of seeking counsel and prayer, he and his wife felt confident that it was God’s will for them to take that position.
From that time until 1980, the Gambrells lived in Memphis, Tennessee; and Brother Gambrell traveled throughout the country preaching in Missions Conferences. In 1980, the Gambrells relocated to Natchez, Mississippi, and began working in the Home Office of Maranatha Baptist Mission. Their Board of Directors asked Brother Gambrell to serve as Second Vice-President. Shortly after that, he was appointed Coordinator of their Training Program and their annual School of Missions.
Brother Gambrell remained in that position until 1985. At that time, after much prayer and counsel, he was led of God to found Fundamental Baptist World-Wide Mission (FBWWM) in conjunction with Thrifthaven Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Brother Gambrell and his wife, Diane, were members of Thrifthaven from 1963 until 1980. They studied at Memphis Baptist College which was a ministry of the church. Brother Gambrell was ordained by the church, and the church commissioned them and sent them to the mission field in 1969.
FBWWM started with one missionary family, William and Sherry Banegas, who were serving in Bolivia. The headquarters of FBWWM remained in Memphis at Thrifthaven until 1990. At that time, by agreement be-tween Thrifthaven Baptist Church and Maranatha Baptist Church in Elkton, Maryland, FBWWM relocated to Maryland where it would work in conjunction with Maranatha Baptist Church and with Maryland Baptist Bible College, which was a ministry of the church. It also al-lowed opportunity for FBWWM to broadcast a program on a radio station, WOEL, which was owned and operated by the church and college.
In 1995, FBWWM, due to circumstances beyond its control, moved back to Memphis and became a ministry under East Side Baptist Church, where it continues until today. At that time, Dr. Teddy Steele was pastor, and he remained pastor until his death in 2010. Dr. Steele and Dr. Gambrell worked together at Thrifthaven Baptist Church in the 1960s. Dr. Steele was interim pastor and was chairman of the ordination commission when Dr. Gambrell was ordained and when he and Mrs. Gambrell were sent to the mission field.
Pastor Finley Cutshaw is the pastor of East Side Baptist Church. He became the pastor in February of 2011. Now, in 2017, approximately 80 missionaries are affiliated with FBWWM. These missionaries are serving in 20 foreign countries and in the United States where home missionaries are planting churches in areas where there are no independent Baptist churches, such as the northwestern and northeastern parts of the country and in various inner cities.