~ Teaching and preaching in the USA and abroad; Conference speaker; Literature; Instructor and director of the SFMI Training Program ~
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Our ministry here in Bend doesn’t seem to change too much. We are faithful to serve in the church with eldership responsibilities and to take part in the teaching ministry. We also continue to do street evangelism in downtown Bend almost every weekend. It is a time of much sowing without seeing much fruit of the harvest. We pray that others will be reaping a harvest from the seed we sow. Standing weekly like we do in the public square gives us a firsthand insight into the atmosphere towards the gospel in America. It is not good. It amazes us how quickly we are going downhill. Foundations in our society that were once based, to some extent, on the Bible are being removed. We must not be moved by that but continue to stand for truth.
I have a lot of responsibilities with administrative type duties in the mission work. There are decisions needing to be made here at our home office. There is also a lot of correspondence to do, covering a variety of issues and needs. Most of that is done through emails. Julie and I try to stay in close contact with some of our newer missionaries (the Barnards and Sullivans). The Sullivans were in our training program a year ago and are now on the mission field in Colombia. I am considering visiting them on their field some time next year.
In the spring of this year, I organized a church leadership gathering for those associated with us here in the Northwest. We’ve done several of these meetings over the last few years. The biggest benefit from these events seems to be that the brethren are made aware of the various challenges and victories we each face. We can then pray for one another. Also in the spring, we had a training program alumni reunion at a retreat center near Silverton, Oregon. There were about 40 former trainees and training personnel that showed up for that. It was a wonderful time of reconnecting and hearing messages that challenged us to continue running the race. Finishing strong was the challenge that was put forward.
In May we started another four-month training program. In this day and age when housing is difficult to get into along with other considerations, a four-month program seems to work best for us. We had Tyson and Ruth Stoll come from the Yakima Valley in Washington. They were the first ones to come to us. Joining them were Timothy Scofield from Myrtle Point and Emily Burke, who currently lives in Roseburg, Oregon. All of them were dedicated to learning as much as they could during this time. It was a joy to have them here. I was able to get our group into an assisted living facility to do their weekly church service (on Fridays). One big bonus we had with this group was that they all sang well. In our service at the rest home, we sang hymns with the residents and taught the Word from the gospel of John. Now that the program is over, I continue holding the service at the rest home with help from a local brother. (We still sing; but it’s not as good.)
We were able to have our mission conference at Twin Rocks Friends Camp on the Oregon coast again. We had about 420 attendees. The theme we chose was “The Unity of the Spirit.” By all reports, it was a good conference and encouraging to the participants. There seems to be more of a soberness among the saints in these days, which I’m sure reflects the age we are in.
In my last report I mentioned the possibility of going to Kenya this year in order to encourage and edify the brethren there. I was not able to do that. I am in frequent contact with David Omari, however; and although I’m here, I consider myself to be a part of the ministry in the highlands of Kenya. I give him frequent counsel, prayer, and a helping hand to facilitate certain needs that the ministry has there. As funds come in, David is able to purchase Bibles and distribute them to church members. My concern is that the Bibles we give out are being read; and to that end, we’ve put together a study on how to use the Bible, to be taught by the Lord and hear His voice. This study has been translated into Swahili, which is a cross-cultural language for all of East Africa.
The mission family has suffered some heartache and loss in these last few months. We’ve lost four family members from our missionary and mission board family. These have all gone to be face to face with our Lord Jesus, but we will miss them. The McDaniel family is doing well, although our son Elijah has many needs. He is currently suffering from gout. Our home is a place for hospitality. Julie has a big part in making it such and in caring for us family members. She also has played a big part in ministering to the young ladies who come through our programs.
We appreciate all of you and earnestly covet your prayers on our behalf. I hope that you can glean from this report the ways that you can be praying for us and for the things we’ve mentioned. Our ministry is in who we are as well as in what we teach and preach. Both Julie and I have connections with a lot of people, and for that we ask your prayers.
“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” [I Cor. 4:20]