September/October '08

Truth Baptist Church is reaching some milestones as November will mark its 30th month of ministry. The first-ever wedding [pictured left] on our church property was conducted on the second Saturday of September. Nigerian nuptials would be something to which any preacher would look forward because the tradition is to have a full sermon in the midst of the ceremony. It’s actually the fifth wedding that I’ve performed as a pastor, and several people have been saved at each one. On the 7th of September, I immersed our 100th baptized convert [baptism service pictured right], and later in the month we needed to order more church handbills, which means that our church has given out over 100,000 gospel tracts since our grand opening in May of 2006.

Now in my third year of doing pastoral duties, I’m finally settling into a satisfying personal, church, and family schedule. When we do not have a visitor from the U.S., I have been scheduled to minister for a national pastor every month. I’ve had the privilege of teaching a week of Bible Institute, conducting a youth meeting, and preaching an anniversary service [pictured, Liberty Baptist Church, Ladanu] over the last three months in as many cities. On a monthly basis, our church carries out baptismal, Lord’s Supper, and membership services, as well as separate meetings and soul-winning times for preachers, men, ladies, and youth. Every week sees me preaching at least four times and teaching thrice (Bible Institutes and Sunday School), and there’s been a need to add a counseling time on Tuesdays and Sundays. Something Sabrina and I have thoroughly enjoyed recently is having a different church member family to our house for dinner every Sunday.
Sabrina and I are thankful that in the full year we’ve been in Nigeria since returning from Brian’s birth that all three of our children have been in very good health. Brian is walking well now, Victoria is into everything, and Joseph [pictured with our Labrador Retrievers, Toby & Jenny] has memorized a few of his books and enjoys showing off his knowledge to his sister while trying to “teach” her how to read. Sabrina now has six piano students and is going through pre-school curriculum with both Joseph and Victoria. We are looking forward to having several visitors over the next couple of months for special church meetings and to help us celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Recently, a Women’s Missionary Society in a church asked my wife to introduce herself and elaborate on a few things: hardships, blessings, funny story, sad story, and what she does on the mission field. Here's her responses:

We’ve been in Nigeria for 3 years. I think that the “hardships” here are very similar to other mission fields: problems with electricity, water, etc. Some of the blessings of being here are developing a close-knit family and getting to work with people that are grateful we are here and who want to learn more about the Bible.

We live in a 3-bedroom bungalow on our own compound with a good size yard. I enjoy that because I can send the kids outside. We have 2 Labrador retrievers that scare strangers and play with the kids. My kitchen isn’t all that great, but I was able to ship American appliances …. love that. We actually live in a nice area with sidewalks—not many places like that here. It’s usually pretty quiet around here, except for the occasional party at the neighbors’ house.

As for funny stories, it’s always amusing to hear your husband put something in the microwave and press buttons while the electricity it out! It doesn’t take much to entertain me. Here are a couple of humorous memories having to do with food:

When I was pregnant with Victoria, I was always craving sweets, and every time we would go out, I would see men selling packaged snacks that looked like Twinkies. So finally I decided I just had to taste one of those “Twinkies”. One bite brought bitter disappointment because it was filled with meat, not cream. They call it “Gala” here, and it’s disgusting.

Once, I made spaghetti at another missionary’s house, and I decided to add some more tomato paste to it to make it go farther. I looked in the freezer for the paste I had put in there earlier, pulled out a small container, and dumped it in the spaghetti. A few minutes later I tasted the sauce, and my mouth was on fire! Someone had put ground red pepper in a similar container into the freezer. Some of us ate it anyway, but it was flaming hot.

I try not to think of sad stories a lot. We’ve already had 3 babies of our church members die. It’s hard for me because no one knows from what they died, even after being sick for months and going to the hospital over and over again. I always wonder if there is something else that I could have done to help them.

Our church celebrated its second anniversary in May. My husband pastors the church, teaches in 2 Bible institutes, and is planning a Bible college. I teach the teen girls’ Sunday School class, plan the order of service and choir specials, play the piano, and participate in soul-winning. I also have a few American piano students—not ministry related, but fun. Joseph and Victoria are working on their pre-school curriculum; Brian definitely keeps me busy also.

Sabrina Holmes


Anonymous said...

This is a cool site brother! Hey, I've never thought about it, but do they have labradours in Africa, or did you bring them from the U.S.? 100 baptized?!? Praise God! Thank you for submitting to God and serving Him on the mission field. Rob Rines

Nancy M. said...

It was so good to see this website of your family and what they are doing. I have been praying for you as the other ladies of our Africa Circle but this is great one and one.
The children look so great ! What a great mom! lv-mrs. musser FBC

Tisha said...

Dear Bro Mark and Sabrina I am visiting family in Memphis TN with the kids on spring break and they have internet (Rick and I dont) so i have been surfing. Mostly watching Pastor preach on our church site(now you can see him, so cool)and came across your site address and just had to say a fast hello. It is so good to see all of you. The kids are so very precious. Sabrina you have your hands full. I love seeing and reading about everything. I am just speechless of what the Lord has done. Please keep doing the Lord's work and we will keep praying. Take care, Sister Tisha Wilkerson