A big “thank you” goes to those of you who sent extra support for the feeding of our visitors during the conference. Truth Baptist Church raised the remainder of the money needed, and our ladies fellowship worked day and night to make sure that everyone was satisfied. Another show of appreciation is due to the Bible Education And Missionary Service (BEAMS) ministry, who made it possible for us to give out over 1000 Bibles (a box of 25 to each church represented) to help our Bible-believing ministries [pastors pictured with boxes of Bibles]. BEAMS (P.O. Box 10200; Gulfport, MS 39505; beamsbibles.com) is a ministry of our sending church, and is more than worthy of support. Just in case you think that things slowed down, we have already begun preparations for our first-ever Student Missions Institute for Training in Evangelism (S.M.I.T.E.), a unique youth camp that I will describe in our next update.
Since arriving back to Nigeria the first week of April, our time has been absolutely full of activity. During the same month, our family relocated to a rental house closer to our church, and in the middle of April, our college family began its 2nd semester of classes. Next, on May 16th, our church family celebrated its 4th Anniversary of existence. Though not a new concept, we introduced something innovative for Truth Baptist Church, as church services were held at six different areas, in addition to the church property, on the same day. This was accomplished by teaming our seminary students with the preachers that filled the pulpit during our furlough. Each team of four men worked to find suitable locations for a preaching station in places where we already had a bus route, children’s Bible club, or a member who could gather many people. Goals were set, flyers were printed, resources were organized, John & Romans books were gathered, visitors’ letters and cards were made ready, refreshments were prepared, and prayer was made for the big day. With 25 of my best men conducting meetings elsewhere, I was more than a little nervous about how many would come to our main preaching service, but numerous people brought visitors, and our auditorium was packed! Our 1st Abuja Area Outreach recorded 518 total in attendance, with 98 people receiving Christ as their Saviour! The evening service on that day was a rewarding occasion where we heard testimonies from every outreach preacher about the way that God helped them and blessed their efforts. There was no time to rest after the anniversary, as planning immediately commenced for our 3rd Annual Soul-Winning and Leadership Conference, scheduled for June 28th through July 1st. With the growing influence of this meeting, our young church now has the honor of hosting the largest gathering of independent Baptist pastors in all of Nigeria; about 40 represented their churches this year. The delegates [pictured above] were glad to hear preaching from Dr. Ken Shinn (pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church—Columbia, Mississippi), who was making his third visit, and Dr. Mike Cox (founder of our mission board, Fundamental Baptist Missions International), whose wonderful wife taught ladies’ sessions for us. Both men were able to minister in 12 government schools [1 pictured] during the conference days; they preached to over 3500 students and teachers, and 2670 professed salvation!
Believing God, Mark Holmes