On August 16th, the Holmes family departed Nigeria for a five-month furlough. We have averaged being in America for about five months after every two years on the field. This time, as part of a 15th wedding anniversary celebration for Sabrina and me, we were able to take an extended layover in London and spend a day with the kids touring the city [pictured] and visiting missionary friends. Please pray for our travels as we have forty meetings planned until the middle of January, including ten new churches.
Our excitement about arriving to the U.S. was tempered by the news of mass flooding in Sabrina’s home area. On the Saturday before we left the field, my mother-in-law had to be rescued out of her place in Denham Springs (Louisiana), as waters from a nearby river reached the level of her roof. We are thankful that her life was spared, yet prayer is greatly needed as there is much work to be done in rebuilding her house. Our sending church in Gulfport (Mississippi) generously provided a hotel room and a van for Sabrina’s mom so that she could be with us during our first weekend home; Faith Baptist made it known that they were very happy to see us (restaurant meals, gifts, and a phone were given by members), and I had the privilege of speaking there the last two Sundays of August. The other two big activities of the month were picking up a van that we have on a missionary lease from a ministry called Righteous Rides in the St. Louis area and preaching a school revival for a supporting church in the Beaumont (Texas) area.
Our last six weeks on the field were filled with activity for various ministries. In the middle of July, Evangelist Paul Schwanke [pictured with my family], visiting for his first time with plans to return in the future, preached a morning service for Grace & Glory Baptist Church and then conducted a revival meeting for Truth Baptist Church. Our seminary students had two great days of teaching with Bro. Paul, and both churches in which our family is involved heard him gladly. Also, for the first time ever, our youth camp was conducted in two locations with Bro. Sonny McGuffee and Pastor Jared Decker. Between the two weeks in Port Harcourt [pictured right] and Abuja (with Bro. Bobby Decker joining us at Truth Baptist Church), the Student Missions Institute for Training in Evangelism welcomed 245 teenagers from 24 churches; they conducted 56 Bible clubs that reached nearly 3600 children, and over 1600 professed Christ as Saviour. In the midst of all, members of Truth Baptist and Port Harcourt IBC kindly planned for surprise celebrations of my birthday and our anniversary.