July/August '05

When Sabrina and I decided in April to travel to Nigeria on a ninety-day tourist visa, we weren’t sure if it would be worth the expense involved. Yet, we went with three goals in mind, and all have been achieved by God’s leading and to our joy. First, we knew we could gain some familiarity and glean much from working alongside Missionary Ron Gensaw [pictured behind his pulpit] at his church in the capital city. These two months have been the highlights of our learning experience. I had asked you to pray about our two big days planned during the 5th Anniversary program of Pilgrim’s Independent Baptist Church in Kubwa. They had set a goal of 3,000 in attendance for both days, and the results were phenomenal. On Sunday, July 10th, we held twelve services (one at the main church, one in a village, six in chapels, and four in schools). Just the service in which I preached at a secondary school had over 2,000 students and adults! Sabrina spoke at an all-girls school with more than 700 attending! The total for all the services was a turnout of 7,300 people with several hundred souls getting saved! August 7th was the biggest service for the main church and two village chapels [one pictured]. The ministry matched its previous record for one-day attendance with over 1,400 present. One of the chapels had a special program on Saturday night also, and with those numbers, there was well over 3,000 people reached for that weekend; what a great God we serve!
The second objective, to visit works of other missionaries, has been accomplished as Sabrina and I have made four different trips within the country. On one such journey to Enugu during the second week in August, the Lord allowed us to reach our third aim, to get the particulars needed for a resident permit. Missionary Rich Schooler, a veteran of sixteen years in Nigeria, is allowing us to work under his ministry with the freedom to start a church anywhere in nation. Much detail could be given here about visas, but I’ll just summarize by saying that obtaining the paperwork required and having the liberty to go wherever God leads are huge answers to prayer and made our whole three-month stay worthwhile.

As you well know, on August 29th, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast which includes my hometown of Gulfport. Miraculously, the houses of our immediate family received very little damage, and the buildings at our sending church were unscathed. However, almost two dozen of our church families lost their homes, and many other local ministries have suffered much harm. Several pastors have already called and e-mailed to encourage us and ask how they could help.

Our visas end on September 3rd, so I will be bringing Sabrina and Joseph back to the U.S. then. The timing works out so that she can have our second child in Louisiana during December, Lord willing. I will be revisiting Nigeria myself on September 22nd until Thanksgiving with the purpose of making things ready for our family. Thank you for your faithfulness in praying for us!

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