These last three months met us with a flurry of activities and also an abundance of plans for our eighth year in Nigeria. Within twelve days of returning to Nigeria in the middle of June, I embarked upon three full weeks of teaching daily in our college [students pictured during class] in order to complete a semester that had begun in our absence. That brings us to the exciting news of announcing our first graduation for Providence Baptist College and Seminary that will be held in conjunction with our 3rd annual youth camp (the Student Missions Institute for Training in Evangelism) during the last week of August. In October, Sabrina and I will again have the privilege of traveling together with our family to see our friends, the Maskeys, in Port Harcourt and be a part of their ladies’ meeting and preaching conference. Our own 5th annual Missions Conference in November will round out our church calendar, and we hope to be in our new house before Christmas. For 2013, plans are already in place for our 5th annual Soul Winning and Leadership Conference in February. Also, we are praying that our sending church pastor can join us for Truth Baptist Church’s 7th anniversary in May and for the founder of our youth camp to visit during our fourth such meeting next August. In the midst of all of that will be the hopeful growth of Temple Baptist Institute (meeting every Saturday), our church planting efforts, and my monthly opportunities to preach for national churches.
Sabrina and I are still counting blessings from our
six-month furlough, the ultimate being the safe delivery and subsequent good
health of our fourth child, Noah. There
was nothing I enjoyed more than traveling at least three different times with
each of our three older children. [whole family pictured at Sabrina's sister's wedding in June] In
all, we had the opportunity to present our ministry in 73 total meetings from
Christmas of 2011 through the second Sunday of June. I was remarkably treated like a “veteran”
this time around with several unique privileges to be the featured speaker at
missions conferences and Bible colleges.
June was extra special as I had the honor to preach with my pastor (Bro.
Dan Carr, who has been a father to me) for the first time on a conference
platform (at the Louisiana SMITE), and, at our sending church, I was thrilled
to be one of the preachers at the Deep South Youth Conference, where the Faith
Baptist auditorium was filled to overflowing.
Between those two meetings, I journeyed up to Hammond, Indiana, for
FBMI’s annual training school. During
that week, I enjoyed fellowshipping with old and new friends, preached a summer
school chapel at Hyles-Anderson College, and taught a few classes for our
mission board’s new candidates.
Our Temple Baptist Institute in Nigeria is named for
the school of the same title in my hometown that first gave me the opportunity
to teach preachers when I was a staff member for two years at our sending
church. TBI in Gulfport, Mississippi, has now grown to be a Bible college, led
by Pastor J. Stephen Crane. In May, I
was asked by Bro. Crane to preach a Christian school graduation and was
surprised with a special ceremony as Gulf Coast Baptist College awarded me an
honorary Doctorate of Divinity. I wanted
to take a moment in our ministry update to thank Temple Baptist Church (who
started our sending church almost 30 years ago) not only for the faithful
support of our family and institute, but also for the accolade that so
obviously reflects what they feel about our service in Nigeria.