Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Back Online! Last Two Weeks

I am finally back online! My internet company was having problems and I was not able to connect at all for about 1 week. Then I was able to connect periodically for short time periods. This is still the case.

The past two weeks has seen many trials and many blessings. We have had power trouble, we are without water again, and the lawn mower and truck are both having lots of trouble right now. During all this, though, the things that really matter have been going strong. Many of the Christians are really showing signs of growth. One man, I believe, has the potential to be the future pastor of the work. I run a one on one discipleship program with those who trust Christ, and Joel is really growing. He has a strong desire to serve God. I have been praying, asking the Lord to show me who is the man I should begin serious training to be the pastor, and Joel may be that man. During the past nine days there have been two men and another teenager saved! On Sunday, I baptized 4 adults, a 14 year old, and an 11 year old. The four adults were two married couples. The picture below is of one the married couples getting ready to be baptized. Saturday, during my visits, I spent time with two men and their families. They have been visiting the church for several Sundays. Neither man trusted Christ on Saturday. However, on Sunday both were in church again, and one of them, Bennett, made a profession of faith!

I must admit, I am coming across one of the hardest parts of being a missionary. This church is the first church the Lord has ever used me to plant. (I hope, because the need is great, it is the first of many.) The church in the village of Kudukudu was started almost two and half years ago. It is a true church plant, not starting from a split or pulling members from another Baptist church. There is no other Baptist church! It started with the Lord putting this village on my heart and I began praying. Then I led a man to the Lord from the village and the work began. Now, we are averaging 70 to 85 every week, and the work is growing at a steady pace, doubling over the past year. As I am pastoring this work, the love for the people grows everyday. My desire for them to grow is great. I know that soon the Lord will confirm who it is I need be training to be the national pastor. At the tim, that man is ready, I will step aside and let the church run completely autonomously. I look forward to that time, but at the same time, it is hard for me to imagine stepping aside. Once the sheppard has looked after the sheep for several years, He knows all of the sheep personally. He knows them by name. He knows which ones are strong and which ones are weak. He knows which sheep need to be encouraged regularly, and which ones encourage others. He loves the sheep. Yet he has to turn it over to another shepherd. This is not easy. These are people I have personally seen put their faith in Christ. The Lord, of course, reminds He is the true Shepherd. He is the great Shepherd. He also reminds that, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform until the day of Christ:” The Lord used a missionary to pen the words to a church He planted. This verse gives me great comfort when I think of the day I am no longer the pastor. I know the Lord will continue His work. We always need to be mindful the work is the Lord’s and we are simply the tools. Any true progress made in the lives of men is 100% a result of the Lord giving the increase.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Wedding Aniversary

(I have received an email from at least one person telling me their comment did not get posted. If you have sent a comment and I did not post it, resend it. For some reason, I am not receiving some of the comments, since I have enabled comment moderation. **If I choose to reject a comment, I will post a comment saying so, most of the time.)

Saturday will be mine and my wife’s 17th wedding anniversary. We were married on November 11th, 1989, Veterans Day. (The war was on! Just kidding.) Looking back 17 years ago, little did we know what all the Lord had in store for us. Here we are now with five children sitting in Papua New Guinea!

My wife and I were married after I joined the Air Force and finished my training. I was 19 and she was 18 when we were married. We met in high school at a Bible class I taught after school on Thursdays. We ended up being members in the same Baptist church a few months later. She has had to put up with me all these years, but my good looks make up for any trouble I have caused her. :)

The Lord used good examples of other marriages to strengthen our marriage. There were three in particular: Pastor Willie J Byrd, Missionary Bill Stewart, and Pastor Stan Roach. Pastor Byrd became our pastor about one year after we were married. (Now, for our first year of marriage we had a pastor in New Mexico that was an example of everything NOT to do in a marriage!) Missionary Bill Stewart was our pastor while we spent one year in Korea. Pastor Stan Roach is still my pastor. He is pastor of the I.B.C. of Anchorage Alaska, my sending/home church. All three men loved their wives with passion. They did not bury their wives while they were working in the ministry. Their wives were right there with them. Growing up in a broken home, I had no idea how to truly love my wife, but through the influence and teaching of those men, the Lord showed me.

I wonder what the Lord has for us in the next seventeen years! The Lord is so good. He provides man with a woman, a completer/helper. A companion with which to share all the joys of life. I love my wife and am thankful the Lord has given her to me.

(Proverbs 18:22) Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the LORD.