Family News, August 2011
We’ve had some wild times on the Hill this past quarter. To start off with Miss Emma Thompson got baptized a few weeks ago. It’s interesting how she arrived at this decision to make Jesus her Lord. One day after having Communion at church, she began pestering her mom with questions about salvation…..one command of the Lord (Communion) led to another command (Baptism). It’s a joy to watch His Spirit work in the hearts of people, stirring thought, making the innards restless & searching…and then satisfying the heart with Himself. “Baptism is not something that saves someone, but something that saved people do to obey their Savior.”….that pretty well sums it up, Jason!
Jason Evans has been on sabbatical; he’s making steady progress in the writing of his doctoral dissertation. And he’s full steam ahead to try to make the Ethiopia Team in November. Only God knows if he’ll make it
In the meantime, teaching in our church has been done by some very godly and capable men….Jason Hatley, Woody Jacobs, Chris Jacobs and Joel Bradsher, as well as a speaker from Voice of the Martyrs and a native pastor from India. What a joy to witness that formal academic credentials are independent of the Spirit’s filling. One may or may not accompany the other. We have been “fed” bucket-loads of ‘heavy’, well-balanced, no-frills teaching, full of conviction, full of the weight of the Spirit. Some days as I’ve sat listening, I’ve felt like I was a balloon being filled with helium….and I was about to pop! “Lord, make me to obey what I’m being taught from Your Word!” This is the prayer of so many in our midst! To be filled, but not to move in obedience, is to stagnate! And stagnant people are smelly, sluggish, non-responsive bumps on a log.
Joel & Jason have been taking turns teaching thru John’s first letter. What a book!!! The apostle doesn’t mince any words! He tells it like it is! Woody’s survey of the Gospel was so powerful last Sunday! Look for blogs on these sermons.
As we have approached the last of the church year, we’ve chosen those who will be in key roles in the coming year. We are still in need of an AWANA director, but ‘most every other position was filled. Praise the Lord for these men & women who are willing to step up to the plate. Matt Clinard will be replacing Jason Hatley as a deacon. Matt is the father of 6 children, 5 of whom are still at home. He works in heating/air-conditioning, lives locally and is attending the Southeastern Seminary part-time.
We ended the year in good financial condition. As of July 31st, we have $101, 330 in the General Fund and $86,271 in the Designated Funds; our income has exceeded our expenditures by almost $4,000. This is clearly the blessing of the Lord in supplying the needs for His work. He is stronger than any Recession….even stronger than a Double-Dip Recession! And as long as we are focused upon obedience to His Will and His Way, then He is free to meet our needs. God has committed Himself to providing for His Work and His Children. We have only to make sure that we qualify as His children, and our work qualifies as His work.
In our last “official business” of the year, we voted to accept the Finance Committee’s recommended budget for 2011-2012. Is there an increase? Yes. Are we worried about it? No. A budget is only a guide for spending. It is not a loan, with obligation. Nor is it a tool for arm-twisting the Lord into giving us “x” amount of income. This whole project on the Hill is His work. Our role is submission and obedience. His role is provision and protection and guidance.
We’ve had several on the Hill travel thru difficult physical terrain. The Cancer Road, the Old Age Road, the Accident Road…..but our Lord attends each Road, so we do not fear or go into panic mode.
Outreach events included Rebuild Hope/World Changers’ week-long building in Vance County. Leigh & Marshall Humphries headed a team putting a roof on a poor house. The Youth were not to be outdone…they travelled to western NC to paint a house & install a handicap ramp and new porch. They call this “Missions Camp” and these young people are raring to go the next mile in surrender to His Way. Currently they are making contact and beginning preparations for a trip abroad in summer, 2012. The “orientation” will not be your regular, run-of-the-mill ‘get your ticket & fly’ mission trip orientation. They will have books to read, passages to memorize, and lots of other spiritual preparation before boarding that plane. We’re having a Baseball Tournament on Sept 23-24 to raise funds for the Youth Mission Trip 2012. The big pitch will be thrown at 6:30 at Allensville Field in Roxboro. Come join the fun….and play a little. There will also be a Corn-Poke contest for those not on the field with the ball.
Our close connection with the Lord’s church in Ethiopia continues, by His grace. We have shared with them in the persecution they have suffered by the hands of their Muslim neighbors; our hearts have broken aqt the murder of their children, the beatings of their evangelists and the destruction of their homes. Love gifts in the form of letters, funds, and crafts have floated across the Atlantic. We have gathered funds for the building of a meeting house for the Zobechame congregation in Alaba. The Ethiopia Team is having their 1st orientation this week….6 hours of spiritual study, prayer, and cultural lessons. They are due to depart on Wed, Nov 16. This year our team will be 7 brave souls headed for Alaba, Ethiopia, an area that is very much dominated by the Muslim community. Is God there? Absolutely! The church is alive & well….and full of love. And folk on the Hill have helped to fund the building of a shelter for the Zobechame congregation in Alaba. Praise God for allowing us the privilege of partnering in the Work with these dear believers.
They sent one of their church leaders here for advanced education at the Southeastern Seminary. Nigusse is well-known to our Ethiopia Team….in fact, to the whole church….as we’ve been praying for him these past months when he was suffering great persecution. We’re excited to have Nigusse in our midst, and we look forward to learning from him.
Dave Black visited China (he gave a report on Wednesday evening) and Vern Shelton ministered in Romania. So summertime has been travel-n-minister time for our Family. And when we could not go, we sent support. Our offering for Balasingh’s orphanage in India was well over $1,000, and our offering for the families of persecuted believers was substantial. And besides ministering abroad, we were ministering to each other. Cal Berryhill planted a whole field of delicious corn just for his Family! And we were in each other’s home helping with needed projects.
What a great thing is God’s Love…it spans the globe, crossing barriers of language, culture, age. It causes us to take what has been given to us, and pass it along to someone else!
As on Sunday mornings, our Wednesday evening Bible study time has been lay-led. Ed Johnson did a video series on lessons from the Israelite’s time in the Wilderness, then Cindi & Woody Jacobs did a series jumping off of the Courageous movie (dealing with fathers in the home), and now Joel is leading us thru Philippians. (Note I did not say “teaching us”….I said “leading us”…because we spend much of the time in small groups sharing what we have studied during the week.) Beginning the first Wed in Sept, BeckyLynn Black will teach an 8-week series on Personal Financial Planning from a biblical worldview. She comes highly qualified, having dealt with this subject for over a decade, on a professional basis.
Our Hispanic migrant farmers outreach is continuing on Sunday evenings. We’ve found a good translator, attendance is good and it’s just plain fun to talk about the One who loves us! Spanish Bibles have been distributed, and the studies have been really good!
Coming up on Friday, Sept. 30, the movie Courageous will open in our very own town of Roxboro. We’re gathering a crowd to go. Tickets are $7 each. And a follow-up session with Pastor Kevin Brown from Wilkesboro, NC will be held for all men on Saturday morning, October 8, from 9:00-1:00. Kevin will talk heart-to-heart with men about Life. Lunch is included in this event; please RSVP to Woody Jacobs…336-599-5998.
Homecoming is coming up on Sunday, Oct 9. Will you join us??
Dave & BeckyLynn Black are taking folk to the Bound with Them conference on persecuted believers, sponsored by Voice of the Martyrs. The date is Saturday, Sept 17. Admission is free; transportation is provided. Contact them at 434-374-0492 is you would like to go.
The women are getting together for a Women’s Conference. This is an annual Fall thing that Bridget Melton gets up. The hotel, conference and 5 meals is only $139. Call her for details….336-597-5345.
We are continuing to highlight different members of the Family who are facing persecution because of their association with our Savior. This quarter, we’ve focused on Imran in Pakistan, Youcef in Iran and Asia in Pakistan. All of these face lifelong imprisonment or death sentences, and their families are suffering tremendously. They have been featured in Voice of the Martyrs website. We “adopt” them for prayer and also send funds to help the families, and we write letters to them and their governments. May our Lord cover them with Himself, so that His glory radiates from them in these difficult circumstances….and may He use their testimony to encourage us to be courageous in our situations here.
Pakistan has been featured much in news recently. While Osama bin Laden was hiding in one part of Pakistan, a Christian sister was working in the fields of a Muslim landowner. As she worked, her co-workers were pressuring her about converting to Islam. Sister Asia asked them what Mohammed had done for them. “Jesus is alive,” she told them. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God.” This made her co-workers angry. They began to beat Asia. Then they locked her in a room & prepared to parade her through the streets of her village in a demeaning manner. Christians went to the police, and they intervened. Charges of blasphemy were filed against her. She has now been in prison for 695 days awaiting trial. The laws against blasphemy have been debated in recent years in strict Muslim countries. Two prominent politicians have been killed for speaking out in support of Asia. Her husband & children are constantly moving from place to place because of death threats. For safety reasons, Asia has not seen her children in almost 6 months; she misses them terribly! Pray for 1) Asia’s faith to remain strong, 2) the protection of her family, and 3) the protection of those trying to help her. In all things, may the Lord be glorified & His church strengthened. (May, 2011)
Finally, we’ve been having special birthday parties. Tommy & Martha Brandon celebrated their 90th birthday; folk came far & wide to celebrate. And the mid/young agers put on a pool party for Mrs. Walsh; she had such a great time! The over-all message? “We’re so glad the Lord gave you life!”
Great is the Lord & greatly to be praised!