July/August '20

Our family has been amazed at the opportunities we have had for both recreation and ministry during the recent nationwide lockdowns. At the beginning of July, it was miraculous that a family camp was able to be held in Branson, and our whole crew had a wonderful time. The remainder of our travels during these two months were all in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, and mostly at supporting churches. Many of the pastors I contacted were just happy to have a guest preacher for the first time in several months!  In the third week of July, Sabrina’s home church put me to work driving in the mornings and afternoons and arranging evening activities for the Bible Club Blitz team that represents the Summer Missionary Institute for Training and Evangelism. Joseph and Victoria also traveled with the team to Lafayette and Coushatta (both in Louisiana) to help them conduct multiple five-day Bible clubs and an evening Vacation Bible School. 

Even with the restrictions that were placed on our city during the last few months, a new ministry started in Truth Baptist that is being called Friends of the Deaf. Already, numerous deaf adults have become faithful to the church services through the efforts of two of our newer seminary students along with the counsel, advice, and participation of a national missionary to the deaf who recently relocated to Abuja. Additionally, several of our church members are taking advantage of the opportunity to learn sign language through this needed ministry.   

At the end of August, I flew to Charlotte for a special meeting with West Park Baptist Church in Rockwell, North Carolina, the home church of the Ron Middleton Missions Outreach [brochure pictured below]. Evangelist Craig Bryan memorialized his missions-hearted good friend through this great ministry that is now supporting six of our national church planters, assisting an orphanage with which we partner, and kickstarting a building project over which we have been praying for years. During my weekend there, both the church and the outreach generously contributed significant funds toward putting a second floor on our Bible college dormitory. You can see details of that project at fbmi.org/mpg/holmes, and you can find out more about partnering with Evangelist Bryan for church planting around the world by contacting him at rmmoutreach@gmail.com.

May/June '20

On Friday, May 8th, my family boarded (what has been up until now) the last flight out of Abuja, arranged by the United States embassy. There were stops in Togo and Liberia and an aircraft change in Dublin, making the trip duration a full twenty-four hours. Once we arrived in Washington, D.C., a rental vehicle was arranged, and we drove to Chattanooga, Tennessee, for two nights. Our family was thankful to have some time to ourselves to  overcome the jet lag. By Monday evening, we were safe and sound at my mother-in-law’s house in Denham Springs, Louisiana. The Lord arranged the timing for me to see my dad’s older brother on the way to Louisiana, and, just days later, I officiated his funeral [my brother and cousin pictured at the memorial service]. We were expected to stay at home for the first two weeks, and everyone is symptom-free. My family would like to relay a special thanks to friends who responded to our Facebook and email messages concerning the evacuation flight; the money was raised to pay the unexpected expenses, and Sabrina’s home church has already determined to help us with our return flight to Nigeria, hopefully in the middle of October. 

Already, our family has been able to see plenty of relatives and take part in several furlough events that we had previously scheduled. We traveled to East Texas at the end of May for a missions conference in Gladewater after taking some time to visit my father-in-law (and an aunt and uncle) in Houston. I had the privilege of preaching at our sending church on the third Sunday after our arrival, and, in June, I did pulpit supply at Sabrina’s home church in Baton Rouge [family singing pictured]. Another “home” church for us is Temple Baptist in Gulfport, and, in the beginning of June, I had the opportunity to preach in their Jubilee for the first time. The month of June rounded up with our three oldest children participating in the Summer Missionary Institute for Training and Evangelism in Milldale, Louisiana [introducing the Christiansens to SMITE]. I had the honor of preaching Monday night and leading music Wednesday night at the camp that “started it all” for us (Sabrina and I officially met at SMITE in 1997; it was our first meeting on full time deputation in 2003, and we have now conducted 20 SMITE’s in Africa!).

Because there has been very little testing accomplished in Nigeria, it is uncertain how much the country has been affected by the coronavirus. Grace & Glory Baptist had not been able to meet since March 22nd, but they finally resumed Sunday morning services on June 14th. Truth Baptist never stopped holding church services, and they utilized house fellowships for those who could not logistically get through the travel restrictions to attend on the church property. One of those house fellowships (started in our deacon’s home) has recently become our newest church plant (now meeting in the chief’s palace!); please pray for the new Azunu Baptist Church. Plans are in place for our Temple Baptist Institute to resume on August 1st  and for the students to return for another semester of Providence Baptist College & Seminary on September 2nd. 

March/April '20

The month of March was full of activity for all our ministries. We were able to complete the 20th semester of our Providence Baptist College & Seminary and conclude our Temple Baptist Institute course on Music & Song Leading, giving the exam on the last Saturday of the month. I preached a normal schedule of Sundays and Thursdays at Truth Baptist Church [pictured below], alternating morning and evening services with Grace & Glory Baptist Church, and, on the last Sunday of the third month of this year, I was privileged to be the guest preacher for our graduate, Pastor Samson Adams, at Spring Valley Baptist Church in Tunga Maje. Plans were being worked out for our 12th Annual National Soul-Winning & Leadership Conference (SWLC) in Abuja, the 3rd Regional SWLC in Calabar, and a 3rd Student Missions Institute for Training in Evangelism in Kumasi, Ghana. Then, as in so many other places throughout the world, everything grinded to a halt.

This letter is being written on Day 34 of a lockdown for the Federal Capital Territory (and three other states). Our family has remained healthy and safe; we are also glad that each of our children have stayed busy with  homeschooling to finish up their semester by the end of April. A furlough for our family was to begin on April 28th, but we are thankful for the ways God has opened for us to minister here. We are communicating well through WhatsApp groups for both churches, and I have been posting sermons on Facebook twice weekly. With the help of my cute one-year-old, Aaron, I gave out fifty tracts and eighty bottles of water to exercisers along our street one morning. All conferences and camps were postponed or cancelled, and our SMITE’s in August will be dependent on the new school schedule once restrictions are lifted nationwide (some modifications of our particular lockdown will begin tomorrow). Our prayers are for those worldwide being affected by both the virus pandemic and the economic suppression, especially here where it has been reported that nearly half of our population, under normal conditions, live on less than a dollar per day.

Since 2001, two years before Sabrina and I started deputation, Patricia Hamburg has been faithfully serving in Nigeria. Affectionately called “Nana,” she now diligently teaches and tutors English courses in our seminary, devotedly cares for the single ladies’ class in our church, regularly participates in soul winning and visitation, and willingly conducts seminars and workshops [pictured] for our families. With this ministry update, I wish to share a testimonial letter from Ms. Pat, which includes details of her great outreach ministry, Tree of Life Missions. You can find the letter and an article she wrote on this blog's “Tree of Life” page. We are highly recommending her to our ministry supporters and praying friends and asking you to consider supporting her personally through her sending church or helping with one of her outreach travels through us. 

January/February '20

In the last decade, Providence Baptist College & Seminary and Temple Baptist Institute have averaged conducting a graduation every two years. Another one of these special occasions occurred on the 11th of January, with twenty-one students from both schools [seminary staff and graduates pictured] receiving diplomas, degrees, and certificates. We were honored to have as the guest preacher, Missionary Ted Speer [pictured with Ms. Pat and our correspondence college graduates]—the pastor of Fundamental Baptist Church International of Kumasi, the host of our Ghana Student Missions Institute for Training in Evangelism, and my good friend in the ministry. Just before the commencement, seventeen students (including three new ones) attended the orientation to begin the twentieth semester of our seminary.

When we had our first Soul-Winning & Leadership Conference in 2008, I only hoped that we could continue to have it every year in Abuja. Because the Lord has allowed several of our thirteen different keynote speakers to make multiple visits, various doors have been opened for us to bring the conference to other influential churches. The largest of these, as far as the number of independent Baptist churches represented, is a Pastors’ & Workers’ Conference [evening service pictured] at Faith Baptist Church of Ogbomoso with Missionary Timothy Ojo. Over fifty Bible-believing churches had pastors, staff, or members attending the third annual meeting, where the guest preachers were Evangelist Jeff Walters of America for Christ and Missionary Evangelist Don Wattenbarger of Bibles Beyond Boundaries. During the first two weeks of February, these two men preached with two great national missionaries in Ogbomoso and then joined me to Aba for another conference at Trinity Baptist Church, pastored by George Kamalu. We preached in three independent Baptist churches on Sunday and welcomed ten pastors to the services on Monday and Tuesday. Evangelists Walters and Wattenbarger ministered in multiple schools during their visit and saw hundreds raise their hand for salvation.

On this blog, please take a look at our 2020 Conference and Camp Schedule. Also, our mission board recently helped us announce a building project that will expand our college dormitories, give us needed Sunday school and meeting space, and make it more feasible for our church to start a Christian day school. Please go to fbmi.org/holmes/biblecollegebuildingproject for more details. 

November/December '19

The biggest family activity of our year actually began at the end of October as Sabrina and all six of our kids had the chance to join me for our first Student Missions Institute for Training in Evangelism (S.M.I.T.E.) in Kenya [handbill pictured], hosted by Heritage Baptist Church of Lang’ata at Nairobi. The week before the S.M.I.T.E., our family toured Nairobi for a couple of days, stayed in a wildlife park for two nights [pictured], received spectacular hospitality from our mission board’s Team East Africa over the weekend, and had some great fellowship with the Cormiers, close family friends and missionaries to the deaf. Our inaugural S.M.I.T.E. during the first week of November was very successful with 53 campers conducting 11 Bible clubs and enrolling a total of 1113 children to hear the Gospel through Bible stories, missionary stories, scripture songs, and the wordless book. There is a great video of our Abuja S.M.I.T.E. on YouTube: youtu.be/bt3Shczefug.
Also in November, a missions seminar with our board afforded me the opportunity to finally visit our good friend, Missionary David Orus, in Kasoa, Ghana, to preach their church anniversary and have some long-awaited fellowship. There were 24 saved in the morning service! [several being counseled in the picture] Pastor Orus is a Nigerian that our church helped to support at various times in the past. On Monday and Tuesday, FBMI held a Mastermind with our board staff, team leaders [pictured below], and several individual missionaries, hosted by the staff and leaders of Fundamental Baptist Church International (FBCI), the same work that invites us for S.M.I.T.E. each April. The Mastermind sessions were refreshing, informative, and challenging; I was able to bring Brian along, and he had a wonderful time with the Ghana team’s children. On Wednesday, my trip was concluded by having the privilege of preaching to the great people at FBCI during their midweek service. 
December highlights included our first wedding for Grace & Glory Baptist, and a special marriage ceremony [pictured] at Truth for my “daughter,” Mercy, who had worked with our family for nearly seven years; the occasion was the second time that I have walked the bride down the aisle as her “father.” Two of our graduates also had their weddings during these months; deacons and staff represented our ministry at both events. Our seminary concluded its 19th semester, the building project for Grace & Glory was basically completed, and our family had its December tradition of Christmas Eve gift opening, a Christmas service at Truth, a staff dinner [pictured] on Boxing Day, and a few days at an area hotel for a break. A special thanks goes out to five churches that responded to our previous prayer letter’s request for an offering towards land at three different church plants; if you would like a specific update on those purchases, please let me know!

September/October '19

The month of September brought about the third multi-week survey trip we hosted this year, the second time with a couple from our mission board. Daniel and Erin Lang, along with their baby boy Ezekiel, spent nineteen days with us after our busy August camp season. Daniel spoke in our college and in both churches in which we are involved, and both of them took part in soul-winning, visitation, Bible clubs, and school ministries. The Langs are already almost a year into deputation; you can see more about this good couple, view their video presentation, and support them directly by going to fbmi.org/missionary/lang.

October for me was non-stop with traveling and preaching. On the first Sunday, I had the opportunity in Calabar to take part in a Missions Sunday at Nigeria’s third-oldest independent Baptist church. The Sunday school, morning service, and evening preaching times were all focused on encouraging the members to give above their tithes and offerings to help works throughout our country and around the world. We also took some time to go through items that came on our container that will be used as an encouragement to churches represented at the six Soul-Winning & Leadership Conferences (SWLC) [2019 schedule pictured] that we have planned for next year.

Our last two SWLCs for this year were held at Port Harcourt and Ibadan in the middle of October. Dr. & Mrs. Mike Cox and Missionary Evangelist Jim Belisle joined me once again at the Maskeys’ work in the East to conduct a combination Missions Conference and SWLC at Nigeria’s largest independent Baptist church [pastor delegates receiving Bibles]. IBC Port Harcourt had over 800 on Sunday and more than 300 attending each of the three nights of our special meeting. Dr. and Mrs. Cox and Bro. Belisle taught split sessions in the mornings, I taught an afternoon session on missions giving for two days, and the three of us rotated preaching the evening services. Bro. Belisle [pictured with host pastor Kelani and me] stayed an extra week to preach with me at Victory Independent Baptist Church in Ibadan, the first church outside of Abuja in which I preached in 2005. We held special Sunday and Monday services along with a Tuesday pastors and workers fellowship.
Since 2010, we have been excited to see the graduates of our college and institute start 40 churches. Recently, three village churches have presented to me similar prospects to buy parcels of land so that an auditorium can be built. Though the situations are different based on the size of the parcel and how much the individual church has raised toward the price quoted, each need for the land purchase is around $1000. Please consider taking an offering for these opportunities and helping to further our church planting.

July/August '19

Our 100th prayer letter recaps a time full of activity and with the most visitors we’ve ever welcomed in the home that God allowed us to build over six years ago. The month of July began with an anticipated space of break time, as most our seminary students were serving in other churches until the first week of August. In addition, there were several days that we were advised to stay at home because of protests that were being held in various parts of the city. Before our streak of three youth camps in four weeks, we welcomed two MK’s (missionary kids), Miss Carissa Maskey [pictured with campers] and her brother, Justin, to spend some time with our family.
My son, Brian, traveled with me as we conducted our 3rd Student Missions Institute for Training in Evangelism (SMITE) in Ogbomoso on the last week of July. After that successful camp [delegates pictured], Evangelist Tunde Ajayi led several young people in Ibadan with SMITE experience to do a Blitz, where Bible clubs are conducted both morning and afternoon, food is served for those leading the clubs, and a testimony and preaching time is arranged each evening. During that same week, our seminary had an orientation for a fresh semester; we welcomed six new students, and Jonathan (the music minister of our sending church) and Amber Carr [pictured with me below, receiving a gift of cloth]  arrived for our Abuja camp (Jonathan also taught for a day at the college). They were soon joined by a returning visitor, Tim Meyer, of Grandview Pines Baptist Church, along with Mrs. April Decker and her oldest daughter, Lydia [pictured with our director and his wife]. The 9th Annual SMITE for Abuja was unique in several ways: Bro. Jonathan was a wonderful keynote speaker, we planned a tribute to celebrate the memory of Pastor Jared Decker (who had preached SMITE six times), a moving recap video (designed by Bro. Tim) was shown at the closing service after graduation, and we had split sessions for young men and young ladies for the first time to allow us to utilize lessons from our lady American guests. On the day after the Abuja SMITE, Bro. Meyer and the Deckers went to Ogbomoso to visit the Safe Harbor Children’s Home for the weekend while our staff and I traveled to Port Harcourt for our final and biggest Nigerian SMITE of 2019. Miss Carissa and Mrs. April once again did split sessions during the week, and we all enjoyed the fellowship with the Missionary Maskey family. Calabar was the target for the second Blitz after the Port Harcourt camp, as Bro. Tunde combined the resources of two churches to conduct Bible clubs for five more days. Lastly, I traveled to preach at Independent Baptist Church of Ijokodo-Ibadan on the last Sunday of August to bring an encouraging conclusion to their week when they annually hold a pastors’ conference.
In 3 SMITE’s, we had a total of 373 young people registered from 58 churches (a new record); they conducted 74 clubs that enrolled nearly 4000 children to hear the Gospel. Add to that 2 Blitzes [over 80 pictured from 2 churches in Calabar] that involved over 100 SMITE-experienced young people in 39 clubs; they had 1317 children enrolled with nearly 650 being dealt with personally for salvation. These numbers do not even include the Ghana and Kenya camps that take place in April and November, and these figures are just the beginning, for every one of the churches represented received Bible club materials so that the trained young people can use them throughout the year to reach children with the Gospel in their home areas.

May/June '19

Over the last three months, Truth Baptist has witnessed several special events. On the first Saturday of April, one of our best ladies celebrated her marriage [pictured] to a church planter. The wedding was sentimental, as the bride was our faithful Sunday school teacher and institute student, but we know God is using them both in the Awka Independent Baptist Church. On the first Sunday of May, we held a baby dedication service for five families.
Also in May, the kids received a surprise visit from their Papa; my father-in-law was able to visit us for four days after a work contract in Lagos, and Sabrina and I kept it a secret until I pulled up to our house gate after picking him up from the airport. Sabrina’s dad had a similar situation in 2006 and was able to attend the Grand Opening service of Truth Baptist; this time he stood to give a testimony during our 13th Anniversary Sunday, and he encouraged our people on how impressed he was with the church’s maturity. In June, my mother-in-law was able to stay for nearly 3 ½ weeks. She brought gifts for an orphanage [pictured], visited a prison ministry, taught a Sunday school class, improved our children’s musical skills, and helped them with a Bible club in our front yard. Sabrina’s mom used the trip as an internship while she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree, so I played the role of her supervisor!
Immediately after Papa’s visit was the 11th Annual Soul-Winning & Leadership Conference (SWLC). Because of our several regional meetings throughout the year, we have tried to focus more on our surrounding areas with this Abuja SWLC. There were still 30 churches represented, and we were pleased with how many pastors brought members and staff along with them; we were also thrilled to host Evangelist Jeff Walters with two other guest preachers. The next week, for the first time, we held a conference in the city of Aba. Missionary Evangelist Jim Belisle, Dr. Mike Cox, and I preached in all three of the area churches on Sunday, and ten pastors [pictured] came to the services on Monday and Tuesday to help fill up the auditorium of Trinity Baptist Church. Just before my mother-in-law’s visit, Sabrina traveled to the Ladies Spectacular in Port Harcourt for the first time by herself (actually with Joseph and Aaron). She enjoyed the fellowship with Mrs. Maskey, her daughter Carissa, and the many attending pastors’ wives.

March/April '19

In March, our ministries had the privilege of hosting Caleb and Emily Christiansen for their survey trip. On their first Sunday, I preached the closing service of a Hausa fellowship meeting [pictured right] at one of our church plants, and during the next two Sunday evenings, Bro. Caleb preached at both churches in which my family is involved. Bro. & Mrs. Christiansen [pictured below] also witnessed a special meeting that we had with SMITE graduates about the future of our Nigerian youth camps. Please pray for them as they prepare for deputation.
On Good Friday, our SMITE Africa staff, Pastor Adewale Adesina and Evangelist Babatunde Ajayi, completed the 2nd Student Missions Institute for Training in Evangelism at Fundamental Baptist Church International in Kumasi, Ghana. There were 80 youth [pictured left] from 5 church groups that conducted 16 clubs with a total of 1109 children enrolled and 577 saved. I had the privilege of preaching the morning and evening services on Sunday at FBCI, and Sabrina did a Bible club demonstration on Monday and taught a class on Tuesday. We’ve been happy to hear immediate reports of the youth in Kumasi conducting weekly Bible clubs on Saturdays and three missionary and pastor families starting clubs with their youth who attended the camp. We are looking forward to three Nigeria S.M.I.T.E.’s in August and a first-ever one for Kenya in November.
In May, Truth Baptist Church will celebrate its 13th Anniversary, and most of those years, the ministry has been self-supported by God’s grace, strength, and provision. However, a few unique challenges have hit the work recently, and I wish to call out for help. Two of our staff use a motorcycle for visitation, soul-winning, and follow-up, and that bike was stolen a few months ago; a new motorcycle will cost about $600. Also, after several years, our church chairs are getting old and breaking. We are in need of around 100 chairs at about $8 apiece. We would appreciate any assistance at whatever amount.
[new family picture above]
We have several other ongoing projects for which we need prayer. Grace & Glory Baptist Church has started building an auditorium on land that we’re leasing. The City of Refuge project has completed its second housing structure, has welcomed in over twenty persecuted Christians, and is ready to begin construction on a building for a kitchen and bathrooms. Our assistant pastor, Justin Mathias, for whom many of you prayed after his accident, has written an autobiography and is hoping to print many copies soon. Lastly, Truth Baptist Church still desires to add a second floor to the rooms that we currently use for dormitory space; this would allow us the capacity to open a Christian day school. Thank you for your intercessions.

January/February '19

Our family arrived in Nigeria on the 24th of January after postponing our original departure plans by two weeks because of a delay in receiving a visa for Aaron; thankfully, we already had a “buffer” in our schedule in case something like that happened. This crew of eight traveled from New Orleans with nineteen 35-gallon Sterilite bins, three boxes, six carry-ons, two instruments, and seven backpacks! On the first Sunday back to Grace & Glory, five families (including ours) were represented in a baby dedication [pictured]; this one was very special for me, because I had participated in the wedding of each couple on the platform (including mine ).

In early February, I had the privilege of conducting the first two of six pastors’ conferences that we have planned for 2019. The 2nd Annual Pastors & Workers Conference at Faith Baptist in Ogbomoso was a great success. It was an honor to preach with a personal friend and patriarch of our movement, veteran national missionary Dr. Solomon Owolabi, and another great friend and fellow-servant, Evangelist Yinka Fasinro. The next meeting was at Zion Independent Baptist in Jos, the church that always sends the most teenagers to our Abuja camp. My family [and most seminary students, pictured] joined me on the drive, and I preached on Friday through Sunday with the pastor of the church whom I had thrill of ordaining two years ago, Bro. Ayuba, and our assistant pastor, Justin Mathias. Our co-laborer, Ms. Pat Hamburg, skillfully taught also. There were nearly fifty churches represented over the seven days of preaching in two places due to the diligent work of Pastors Samuel Akande, Joseph Popoola, and Ayuba Agwom.

My biggest praise report this year is the Lord using our family and ministry to host four different couples on their survey trips throughout this year. Not all will be working directly with us in the future, but each is staying in our home and seeing our work. Bro. Seth Folkers, already a veteran of Cameroon, visited with us at the end of February after ministering in Ogoja (in the southeast part of Nigeria) to Cameroonian refugees; he should be returning with his wife and daughter at the end of this year. Arriving on the last two days of February, Garan and Anneliese Patrick stayed with us for two Sundays and visited both churches, one of our newer plants, Bible club and school ministries, an orphanage with which we partner, the City of Refuge, and Garan [pictured with chief] taught and preached in our college. The Patricks are planning to start deputation in the summer. Next month, we will be hosting the Christiansens, and the Langs have already begun deputation; check out their info at fbmi.org/missionary/lang.

Please take a look at our "Conference/Camp Schedule" page on this blog for our 2019 events. We would appreciate your prayers as this should be our fullest calendar ever, and I would also like to request help as, in some specific ways, it will be our most financially costly year of ministry. In our five S.M.I.T.E.’s, we will be spending about $1200 for each camp just to print materials that will be used in classes and Bible clubs. Also, there will be four churches that need help with feeding delegates/students who will be attending their conference/camp; in each of those churches, we will be spending around $1000. We look forward to sending good reports of these meetings!

November/December '18

At the beginning of November, my family embarked on the first big U.S. excursion with our newest member, Aaron Samuel, to meetings in Florida and South Carolina. We reported in two Tampa area churches and were grateful participants in a Jubilee along the Carolina Coast. In between, two nights were spent in Charleston [pictured at aquarium]. With the sightseeing in a historically beautiful city, meeting up with friends at each place, and a church providing a condo along the beach—it turned into a refreshing vacation for our crew.

Both Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays were enjoyed with Sabrina’s family and included brief trips to the Mississippi coast for celebrations with my relatives. At the beginning of December, I had a very productive trip to the Midwest, highlighted by being the missions conference keynote speaker for a church pastored by a close friend of our family [Pastor Johnny Crane, center, picture with Curtis Hall and me]. In Nigeria, another semester of our seminary was concluded in the middle of December, but not before the students traveled three hours together to help a church led by one of our graduates; the “seminary outreach” week has become something to which all of our students look forward.

Just before the New Year, our family and ministry were shaken by the news of the untimely passing of a great friend, Pastor Jared Decker, from cardiac arrest before the age of 36. Bro. Jared [pictured with one of our graduates] visited our ministry on six different occasions and was fundamental in the growth and expansion of two youth camps; his church in Alabama was a faithful supporter of both our work and a couple of church plants. The Decker family has known Sabrina and I since we were teenagers, and we’re planning some time to see and hopefully encourage his wife, their children, and the church.

Overall, I believe this has been our most productive furlough ever. We were able to make some finishing arrangements on a container of scriptures that will be shipping in January. More money was raised and consequential work completed for the City of Refuge project [pictured]; the first families have already been moved into the housing quarters. Plans are underway for six Soul-Winning and Leadership Conferences and five Student Missions Institutes for Training in Evangelism with several visiting guest preachers. Also, we’ve met with potential new missionary families who’ve planned survey trips to our work for 2019. Sabrina and I are looking forward to sending you many good reports once we return to the field.

September/October '18

My busiest time of our furlough cranked up in the middle of October through the end of the month, as I was a part of three Missions Conferences and two other emphasis Sundays. The Lord has allowed us to report on our work in nearly 25 places and schedule several new churches [and meet with a Nigerian friend here and there--pictured] to present our work. We are looking forward to traveling together as a family [pictured with my immediate family] at the beginning of next month. Thank you for your prayers towards Sabrina’s recovery from her procedure and for baby Aaron, who is growing and developing well.

Our family and ministry are very grateful to our longtime friend and co-laborer, Missionary Evangelist James Belisle [pictured with our seminary students], the Americas Field Service Coordinator of Fundamental Baptist Missions International, the mission board with whom we’ve served for 16 years. Bro. Belisle completed a first in October: a guest preacher traveling to Nigeria in our absence and conducting conferences in two locations! On the 14th through the 17th, Missionary David Maskey hosted a Missions & Leadership Conference at Independent Baptist Church of Port Harcourt, with morning and evening sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Bro. Belisle was the keynote speaker. Our youth pastor at Grace & Glory Baptist Church, Bro. Adewale Adesina, was also invited to preach and teach Sunday through Wednesday. On the 21st, Pastor Adewale [pictured on the right with 2 of our deacons] accompanied Bro. Belisle to Ibadan to minister for a Sunday at Independent Baptist Church of Ijokodo, followed by a full-day Pastors’ and Workers’ Conference on Tuesday.  Without Bro. Belisle, we would have been forced to cancel these meetings; instead, because of the Lord’s blessing and our friend’s determination, we are able to continue and even expand the work of encouraging pastors with conferences in several locations throughout Nigeria.

There are many ways to keep in touch with our work and family. We have a new page with several videos (vimeo.com/missionaryholmes), including the update that we’ve been showing in churches during furlough. Our mission board’s website has a page for us (fbmi.org/holmes), with a newly improved online-giving feature. On Facebook, you can find our personal page (markandsabrina) and our ministry page (search Abuja’s Conferences and Colleges). Our sending church also has featured us in many different ways; go to missionsclub.wordpress.com, and search for us by the tag “holmes”