December 8, 2003
We have a new baby boy! Mark Joseph Holmes, Jr. was born on Thursday, December 4, 2003, at 8:55 a.m., weighing in at 7½ pounds and measuring 20 inches in length. He was brought by C-Section and was over two weeks early. Sabrina began showing signs of going into labor on Tuesday morning while we were outside of Lafayette, Louisiana, and we checked into a hospital in Baton Rouge at 7 p.m. They eventually gave her clearance to go to Gulfport, Mississippi—this was preferred because our doctor is located there. We arrived at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport at 2 a.m. on Wednesday. She didn't have much discomfort all day; however, she also was not progressing. They began to try to induce labor, and when at 7 a.m. the next day she still had not improved, they started to prepare her for surgery. Less than two hours later, little Joseph was born! Sabrina's mom, sister, aunt, cousin, and my mom were all there for the delivery, though I was the only one allowed with her in the actual surgery room. He came out with a full head of hair, and already looks tall and skinny. Several have commented that his face looks like his mama, but he's got big feet and a big head like his daddy!
We've already had a lot of visits from local friends and members of our home church and received many gifts, cards, flowers, e-mails, and calls. All tests have come back favorably, and I brought Sabrina and Joseph home to my mom’s house on Sunday morning. God has worked it out for all of this month's meetings into the second week of January to be practically "local," so we will try to make it easy on Junior for a while with our travels. Please pray for all else to continue well.
The process of raising financial support for Nigeria has gone very well. We will be going to our 75th church this week. The number of supporting churches is growing, and during one stretch in the last two months, six churches in a row voted to add us to their missions program! So far, we have almost 50 more churches on our schedule.
We have tentatively planned a ten-day survey trip to Nigeria for the first two weeks in August during which, Lord willing, the president of our mission board and his wife will be able to join us. If possible, I’d like to visit a couple of different works, and I look forward to being able to finalize many plans for our first term on the field. Thank you in advance for your prayers in this matter.
The following is a letter of recommendation of our ministry from Dr. Wendell Evans, currently the President Emeritus of Hyles-Anderson College in Crown Point, Indiana:
February 24, 2003
I am very impressed with Bro. Mark Holmes. He made a good record while a student at Hyles-Anderson College. He worked faithfully in the bus ministry of First Baptist Church. He made good grades. Bro. Holmes is an experienced and consistent soul-winner. He was personally involved in the lives of many of his bus riders. He carries a burden for the souls of people.
Mark has kept in touch with me after he graduated from college. Mark and his wife, Sabrina, have served the Lord faithfully in his home church while preparing for deputation. I can give him a strong recommendation.
Thank you, Pastor, for your consideration in supporting Bro. Mark Holmes as missionary to Nigeria, West Africa.