Seeing Things in FOCUS
Wise people’s minds tell them what to say, and that helps them be better teachers. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, making people happy and healthy. Proverbs 16:23-24
So thankful for God’s promises to give us His mind (wisdom), so that we might be better instructors, and bring healing and joy to the soul.
Ministry in Canada – Bay
Right after our January 20th-21st Board meeting, I flew out to New Brunswick for a weekend at NBBI (New Brunswick Bible Institute) and a Men’s Retreat for all of Eastern Canada. Along with speaking at chapel, and teaching a class on Evangelism, I had the privilege of speaking four times to 350-400 men. Some of these guys drove 10-12 hours for this retreat – in snowy weather! God truly blessed and gave me favor with the men, and we saw 10-15 professions of faith, along with many other spiritual decisions. One man came up to me after the last session, and said, “I’ve known all about Jesus and claimed to be a Christian for the past 20 years, but tonight I know Jesus! Thank you!” What a joy to see God’s Spirit move in hearts!
Ministry in Canada – Peg
While Bay was in New Brunswick, I flew into Toronto to speak at Calvary Baptist Church’s, Women’s Interlude. God had ordained this event for me, even though the Calvary retreat team had no idea, nor did I. The scheduled speaker had been hospitalized a week out with pneumonia, and there was no way she could make the event. The team was sure they would have to cancel. However, a former Rift Valley Academy dorm-son, who works on staff at Calvary, gave me a call “just in case.” Surprisingly, it fit my schedule, and I was able to fly up, speak three times in six hours to 250+ women, and fly back to Phoenix to repack, and make my Cuba flight the next morning. What a blessing this event was for me from beginning to end. It was truly a testimony of God empowering us for the work He calls us to do. I sensed the leading of the Holy Spirit form start to finish, as I shared with the women a few new lessons the Lord has been teaching me, all of which fit perfectly into the other speaker’s theme of “God’s Call.”
From Canada, we both headed straight to Cuba (talk about extremes in climate!). This year we travelled by van after our flight landed, about seven hours, to focus on an area just past Guantanamo Bay (Baracoa) that was hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew in early October. The devastation was still evident, and the people still recovering from the shock and trauma of losing so very much. Fortunately, no one lost their lives, but worldly goods (which weren’t much to begin with) and livelihoods (crops, particularly) will take years to recover. Our team of seven came to minister in several ways (see pictures below):
- to encourage and challenge the churches to lead a three-day pastor’s training conference
- to lead a three-day women’s conference
- to pray together for and with the people
- to lead a baseball sport’s outreach event (We were given an entire bag of bats and balls to give away! Such a blessing!!!)
- to hold several evening outreach events in the local churches
The touching stories abound. Space to write them does not. I will simply close with two.
Bay speaking at an evening outreach event at Second Baptist Church in Baracoa (also the church where we held the multi-denominational Pastor’s and Wive’s Conference during our week of ministry.
Peg split her time of ministry between speaking to the women at the conference, and praying one on one with them (using a translator).
We met a farmer, whose livelihood came from the palm oil and coconuts produced by the trees on his land. When Hurricane Matthew hit, he took refuge at his local church, along with many of his brothers and sisters in Christ. Together this small body prayed through the early part of the storm, the calm in the midst of the eye-of-the-storm, and the tail end that whirled around them through the night. I wish this was one of those stories, where God spared him of all, but it is not that kind of story. When he returned to his farm the next morning, of 300 trees, only around 20 remained standing. The rest were leveled. As he plucked a leaf off the ground, he told us, “Nothing green remained anywhere on our property – no grass, no leaves on the trees; everything was brown!” So, he begins anew, trying to clear his land without the help of chain saw, tractor, or any of the conveniences to which we would have access, so that he can plant some different fastergrowing crops. He showed us his blistered hands, covered, from the difficulty of the job. He told us he was trying to save money to hire a local man, who owned a tractor to come give him a day of work. The cost of hiring the tractor – about $14, not much right? Except that a month’s average wage is $25. We are so rich! What a joy to see the shock on our farmer’s face, that turned to tearful appreciation, when Bay handed the man $20 and tried to tell our new friend in his limited Spanish, “I’d like to buy a day of tractor work for you…” A great reminder that we are blessed to be a blessing. (See picture.)
MORE IMPORTANTLY was the life change that came to many who found Jesus during our week there (about 65 salvations). At one of the evening outreach crusades, an older gentlemen came up to Bay. He did not speak any English, and our translator was occupied. But no language barrier kept his message from being conveyed. Tears in his eyes, as he placed his hand over his heart, and pointed upward. It was clear that he was one of the many who had received Jesus that night…and Jesus had visibly touched his heart! (See picture below.)
February 23-27 Bay in Ft. Wayne, IN (Pathway Community Church – 3 services, and an FCA College Event)
March 10-18 Bay & Peg in Corona & San Diego, CA for Missions Conference & Preaching @ New Hope Family Center
March 24-Apr 6 Bay & Peg in London, England & Scotland, a variety of speaking venues