March 2019

davChristmas cantata attracts crowd of new visitors in Aaba Baptist Church in North Lebanon, Pastor Eli Wardan. The choir from Lebanon Baptist Church on the outskirts of Beirut, Pastor Edgard Traboulsi presented the cantata.

Capitalism and Bias at Work

Some enterprising capitalist (not related to Alexandria Occasion-Cortez) placed an add in Amazon for copies of my New Testament Bible History Handbook. The bargain price was $199.95 and he has several copies in case you want more than one copy. I can personally highly recommend the book. But not all would agree with my bias. The add attracted several reviews. One review was glowing with praise for the many resources found for each book of the New Tes- tament. But another reviewer was quite a bit less than complimentary. I will share some of his in- sights that perhaps you need to know about this missionary.

“Mr. Hester can’t seem to make up his mind about whether he wants to preach a sermon or share some academic thoughts. Thus, the book becomes hard to read. There is some valuable information to be found for sure, but it is so dryly written that it is scarcely worth the trouble

The book is hard to read, bor- ing, preachy, insulting to educated people

“…made for…people who already are convinced of the Bible’s inspiration, authority, and in- errancy.”

“…Unscholarly…distasteful…because he be- lieves the Bible is the Word of God…calls everyone who disagrees with him a liberal Bible denier.”

My Confession

Yes, I am not a scholar and have never claimed or thought myself to be.

Yes, I do believe that what the Bible says is so.

Yes, my book was written for Bible believers and not for critical “scholars.”

Yes, I do suggest that many of the so- called critical theories in the name of “academic scholarship” are motivated by a disbelief of the inspired revelation of the Bible.

Yes, I confess to not playing “footsie” with their academic gymnastics. Shame, shame!

Prayer and Praise Points

  • Please continue to pray for the Arabic translation and publishing project of our New and Old Testament Bible History books. Hopefully, work will begin this month. The New Testament book only needs editing and publishing. The Old Testament book needs the full range of translation, editing and publishing.
  • Pray for the coming ordination of our new pastor. There was a good feeling of unity when the church voted to proceed with the ordination. Our new pastor was a nine-year-old boy in 1977 when he cried for dad to let him come to our new Sydney church.
  • During the difficult time of transition, God blessed the church financially for which we are very thankful. A strong missions program was sustained and we are in a good position now.
  • Our missionary to Mauritius, Bro. Franker Serret, is in a Sydney hospital in critical condition with stage 4 cancer. Only a miracle can spare him.
  • I have a heavy burden regarding a difficult reconciliation matter that needs to be resolved. Please pray.
  • Pray for the Lord’s leadership in doing some promotions for the English and Spanish Bible History books. We now have them available online at http://www.MissionaryOutpost.com and on Amazon Kindle as well.
  • Email: MissionaryOutpost@gmail.com

January 2019

The Count Down

Psalmist prayed, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom (Ps. 90:12).” He had previously reminded us in verse 10 that our days are measured against a normal of 70 years and any bonus often comes with aches, pains and groanings.

Next week my bonus totals 17 years and I agree with the Psalmist!. It seems like the past several months have been more preparation before we “fly away (verse 10).” Sight and hearing have de- creased as well as Kathleen’s memory. But God is still faithful which gives us great comfort and strength.

More than ever, I’m “numbering my days.” There are earthly arrangements to make so that what we leave behind will hopefully continue. A big priority that weighs heavily on my heart is the translation and publication of our Bible History books and helps in Arabic. We have been in- volved in this divine call to Arabic ministry for nearly 60 years. I feel strongly that the books can, as it were, leave a piece of us here mong our beloved people after we are physically gone.

During the past several months we have been working with a dear friend at church to get the books and materials online in a electronics book- store with electronic copies available any place in the world. They can also buy the physical copies in the USA and Australia where we have stock. We are also preparing them for Amazon which gives exposure on a wide scale. I believe this is a wise choice to have it all set up and thankfully Temple Baptist Church in El Dorado, KS, and our Faith Baptist Church in Sydney can easily carry on things once we “fly away” with a one- way ticket! Of course, the Lord could come and that would be wonderful too.

American evangelistGlen Weeks retired from his 42 years of Australian ministry. He has been a friend and blessing to us, to Faith Baptist and many Australian churches.

Praise and Prayer Points

We thank God constantly for the measure of health He is giving us daily. In spite of the increasing loss of memory, Kathleen is able to ferret out the church visitors, welcome them and get me to go and meet them. It’s inexplainable beyond the special ministry God has given her for this special phase in her life.

Please continue to pray for the legal issue affecting he camp conference centre that arose because of the chaos of the civil war that occurred in the seventies and eighties.

Please pray for decisions regarding the Arabic translation and publishing of our Bible History books.

Please pray for some promotional letters to Spanish-speaking countries for the Spanish books. Hopefully this will open some doors for the electronic versions where there is no printed stock.

Sydney Bible Baptist College will begin the 2019 school year the first week of February. Pray for God to call out young people to prepare for service. Critical forces of division are at work in our country that great hamper the ministries that require working together. I’m thankful that our coming fellowship in heaven doesn’t depend on our ability to get along with others! The college has passed through many obstacles and human weaknesses during the 42 years I have been involved with it and the Lord will continue His work.

Pray for Missionary Marvin Robertson as he will soon complete the OT Workbook and teacher’s manual. This will complete the Spanish project for which he and his wife have worked so hard.

Please pray for our Faith Baptist Church and Pastor Mansour. God has given many victories, to God be the glory!

Email: MissionaryOutpost@gmail.com

September 2018

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From the Good Shepherd Conference Center high in the Lebanese mountains

A godly Lebanese preacher is on the left who was a great blessing and encouragement in our early days in Lebanon, now in his nineties. In the centre is a member of our Sydney church who came to the Lord some 35 years ago;. On the right is a man in hi thirties who pastors a church down the mountain from the camp. He also is the site manager, “Mr. Make-it-all-happen” for all the camps. His father came to some of our activities in the nineteen sixties simply for curiosity and to get a ride in our van

Sunday was Father’s Day in Australia.

I spoke at our Faith Baptist Church at a joint English-Arabic Sunday morning service. I could not but remember my wonderful godly father who was such an example to us children by his love and respect for our mother. He taught us so many important values, using some very practical methods. I resorted to some examples recorded in our autobiography, Cast Your Bread:

“His father taught him the value of money by different methods. For example, he took his five-year-old son to meet the bank president to ask for a $50 loan to buy a calf to raise. The banker agreed to extend the loan and asked the lad to sign the loan papers. As a matter of precaution, the father was asked to sign as well! After feeding the calf for a year and showing the fatted calf in a county livestock show, the lad sold the calf, paid off the bank loan and tithed on the profit after deducting the expense of the cattle feed.. Prior to the calf project the father led his son to raise some chickens and tithe on the profit when he sold them.”

* To get him started, he led the boy to buy a dilapidated bicycle and, under his supervision, completely rebuild it.

Praise and Prayer Points

  • Recently an all-night prayer meeting was held at Faith Baptist Church.
    It was around 3am and I went to the office, unable to sleep (normal). An email came in from the prayer meeting:  “Just wanted to let you know that we are currently praying through the night and we’ve just thanked and praised God for you. Your testimony and hard work in ministry have been a constant and consistent anchor in the life and path of our Church. We are thanking God for your passion for Him and His house. We are thankful for the wisdom that God has blessed you with, especially helping us through the recent turmoil. We are also thanking him for your sweet supportive wife who has been by your side for many decades. Truly, our Lord has blessed us abundantly with your leadership and pastorship in our midst. We are also thanking him for your sweet supportive wife that has been by your side for many decades.
  • One of our members recently visited East Timor, a small Catholic country next to Indonesia. He reports that the missionary is using our Old Testament materials for their Wednesday evening Bible institute with great blessing!  He reports, “Many students I have spoken to have said it has been a blessing. They are amazed that I go to the same church as the Pastor they see on the screen every Wednesday night!”
  • Another member previously visited Papua New Guinea and saw our materials being used in their Bible institute. It is exciting for us to see these materials being used even in places of which we are not aware.
  • We are seeing a good number of new visitors in the services these days which is encouraging. Please continue to pray for several important steps ahead for the church’s transition to the new pastor
  • I’m asking special prayer for a matter affecting the Lebanon camp ministry. The camp season is closing out and I will give more details later. Thank you for your prayers and all you do for us.
  • Email: MissionaryOutpost@gmail.com or hrichardhester@gmail.com

 

July 2018

Aug2017 camp

Pray for Lebanon summer camps beginning soon!

The Good Shepherd Conference Center near the Cedars of Lebanon will host several camps from several churches this July through September. Please join us in prayer that many hearts will be touched by the power of the Holy Spirit through Word of God. Pray for Pastor Edgard Traboulsi, the Conference Center Director and for Pastor Eli Wardan who is the on-site manager withmuch respon responsibility.

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Sydney Bible Baptist College

College Missions Class Visit

I taught in this college for 38 years and Kathleen taught English grammar for many years as well.  The college uses our Old and New Testament Bible History courses, each one comprising two semesters of study.  The Missions class took our autobiography, Cast Your Bread, to study and discuss issues involving ministry and missions. They asked us to share a class period with them to ask questions about our 67 years of ministry in the USA, Lebanon and Australia.

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The book is available from Temple Baptist Church in El Dorado, KS  Email: missionaryoutpost@templebaptisteldorado.com or phone: 316 321 3803 

In 1952 Richard needed some good work to help pay for his second year of ministry preparation at Bob Jones University. He felt led to go to Wichita, Kansas to seek summer employment. Here is a page from Cast Your Bread:

The Important Door Handle

His hope was to find work at Boeing Aircraft’s Wichita factory for military airplanes. He repeatedly returned to Boeing’s employment office seeking work but with no success. No other door of work opened up for him. He was running out of money but decided to return one more time to Boeing’s office. Again he was refused. He walked to his car and put his hand on the door handle, ready to get in the car and drive back home to Oklahoma. His heart ached, and he prayed and asked God again to open the door for work at Boeing. He locked the car and returned to find that the Boeing Employment Office had just received a communication, minutes before, to hire more people. He was immediately hired and began work for the three-month summer break. The amazing, important car door handle was all that stood between success and failure. God stopped him at the door handle and set another important direction in his life. It was a lesson for Richard that his life was not left to chance! The Living God was in control of all details in his life, even the door handles that he grasped! From that would flow his introduction to an independent Baptist church, his establishing a new church in nearby El Dorado and his meeting his wife of now 62 years!

Showers of Blessing

  • Our church is rejoicing in “showers of blessing!” Six people were recently baptised, one couple was baptized who had attended the church for years and whose four married children and spouses are faithful and active members of the church. Other candidates for baptism are on the way. The attendance last Sunday morning was at the 300 mark with ten new people in attendance. Our pastor brought a stirring message on prayer that resulted in many responding and coming to rededicate themselves to the privilege of prayer. God has and is answering prayer and the church is again on the march forward. We are so thankful for your prayers and for God’s amazing faithfulness.

April 2018

MansourFamily

Brother Mansour Youssef, wife Sharon and children

Prayer Answered!

After nineteen months without an official pastor, Brother Mansour Youssef has been appointed as pastor of Faith Baptist Church. It is a huge blessing after the times of instability and uncertainty. Still, it has been a time of renewing and uniting after the ugliness of division where Satan’s work thrives. Satan was attempting to discourage and destroy up to the last moment, but we thank God that He Who is in us is greater than he that is in the world. I even received a letter from “seven concerned pastors” warning of dire consequences if we proceeded with the vote. I replied asking the “seven anonymous whatevers” to rewrite their letter and divulge their identities. Satan rarely signs his name, but we are told not to be ignorant of his devices!

It was a time of relief and rejoicing for most and we trust for all as we continue to move forward. Brother Mansour came in the beginning months of our church as a nine-year-old Lebanese immigrant’s son who cried for his father to allow him to come to church. Although he had an accounting business and later a building company that built our new church facilities, he has always been heavily involved in our church and was giving three days a week to help our previous pastor in the church ministry. His wife is a pastor’s daughter.

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Following Jesus in baptism

Baptisms

The church celebrated the baptisms of three young ladies aged 18 and in the twenties. Lunch and fellowship followed with a time to get acquainted with the visitors. View the recent Sunday school awards photo below.

Brother Mansour has worked with the Pulpit Committee to fill the role for 16 of those 19 long months. The Lord has truly raised him up from our midst and we are excited at what God will do in the future.

Sunday school awards for 2017

SS2018 copy

January 2018

Fire and Wildfires

We use the expression “on fire for God.” Although it is not literally found in Scripture, we understand that it means to be totally committed to Christ with no limitations or reservations. The new believer illustrates it well..That “first love” just consumes his or her entire being and that believer is ablaze for God.  This is “controlled fire” fuelled by the fruits of the Spirit and attracts people’s attention to the indwelling Christ.

There is another kind of fire that is fuelled by the fruits of the flesh. It is a wild, uncontrolled fire that is very destructive. A church going through a Satanic trial will be plagued with many distractions. One carnal, slick-talking  sower of discord among unsuspecting brethren can light more wildfires in a day than ten  wise people can extinguish in a month. When this happens, the force for evangelism is choked and the spirit is demoralised. Regaining the trust among brethren and the “fire for God” is difficult and generally takes considerable time.

The Lord is encouraging our church these days and the trust and the fire are gradually returning. New people are coming, and a good spirit of fellowship is growing. Eight people finished the discipleship course and were recently baptized. The service (see photo) was followed with lunch in the fellowship hall with a number of unsaved  present. It feels great as we get back to the mission.  God is answering prayer!

Baptismal Day

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The Pulpit Committee asked if I would be physically able to baptize  some of the candidates. I was more than happy to do so and would only need help down the steps into the “modern” baptistry that makes baptizing so easy. The hardest experience I ever had was in the Mediterranean Sea at Beirut,   Lebanon,when a big wave nearly swept the candidate out of my hands! .

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It was a real thrill for me to baptize three lovely Christian young people and a mother of three. The brethren feared I couldn’t handle the young man who was taller than I was, but the old man proved them wrong!

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Believe it or not!

We took Kathleen for her routine check to the neurologist. Since I cannot understand most of what the doctor says due to my hearing problem and Kathleen cannot remember long enough to tell me, our daughter fills the gap. When we came out of the doctor’s office, my daughter said a lady in the waiting room wanted to see me. Around twelve years ago, we had met the lady a number of times in a restaurant she managed where we often went for Sunday lunch. I remember giving her tracts and speaking with her about the Lord, but her life was busy and she didn’t really show spiritual interest. She introduced herself with details how she had known us. Then she said she had terminal cancer with little time to live and would like for me to pray for her. The waiting room was crowded and her turn was due to come at any moment. We prayed surrounded by people and asked God to work in her life and for her need for Christ as Saviour. I told her to read John 1, 3 and 5:24 when she went home and to ask Jesus for forgiveness and eternal life. Then she had to go. I was overwhelmed and amazed how God uses our feeble efforts that seem to fail years later! Keep sowing the Gospel Seed!

Website: www.MissionaryOutpost.com   Email: hrichardhester@gmail.com

November 2017

Threescore and ten years plus

Labour and Sorrow

“Labour and sorrow” in Psalms 90:10 could probably be explained as “aches and pains” that you haven’t felt before in places you didn’t know existed. Our KJV Bible translates “labour” in other places as “mischief and misery.” “Sorrow” also comes through as downright “wicked.” We “oldies” get the point: this “labour” is often unpredictable and it can be absolutely miserable. This “sorrow” doesn’t play by our rules; it can be wicked and merciless.

Ads catering to seniors seem exciting and almost romantic, but for many of us “oldies” that perception doesn’t always live up to its supposed reputation. For some, serious physical issues and sicknesses may be the menu with few options.

At age 85 I secretly hoped that the remainder of the spiritual pilgrimage  would sort of “coast” down to the awaiting glory. Instead, I am being forced to push the “spiritual vehicles” to even make it “coast.” But in spite of this “miserable labour” and “wicked sorrow,” the Lord continually reminds me to focus on what God has so graciously given us and not on those things He has withheld from us through the labour and sorrow of age.

True, I lost the sight to drive 27 years ago, and I currently struggle with very limited sight and hearing but God provided Kathleen (23 years), our daughter and loving church brethren to take us where we need to go now.

Yes, Kathleen’s Alzheimer’s has crippled her memory and abilities to do many things, but God has kept me by her side and has provided the other helps we need. Truly, He “daily loath us with benefits (Psa. 68:19),” and as we focus on that our hearts overflow with thanksgiving!

 

Day By Day

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The neurologist insists on a daily exercise schedule plus walking in a bush reserve next door to our home. Kathleen feels a big difference in her ability to work word puzzles after exercising and walking. 

20171024_162159Our great grand daughter joined this walk.

20171024_161314Out “swinging bus stop” in front of our daughter’s home where we await the 25-minute drive to church with one of the church brethren.

 

Hopes and Aspirations

  • We long to be a blessing and encouragement to many in our church. Often we invite them to a light Sunday lunch in a small cafe, after which they take us home. The long journey has taught us things we can share with them. The environment has to be conducive to my ability to hear and converse with them. Home visits are best conducted sitting at a table where I can hear best. Being able to preach twice each month in Arabic and English is a blessing from the Lord!
  • Our hearts remain burdened for the ministry in the Arabic world. We cannot forget the Lebanon ministries, churches and Beyt Mindere camp. Though we are physically separated from them, our hearts still long to see God working in those lands.
  • The book ministry is the BONUS ministry which brings a lot of joy in our sunset years. The colleges, institutes and churches that use the Bible History books and materials thrill our hearts. The Spanish editions are ever expanding in their distribution with Mexico at the top of the list. Soon we plan to have digital editions available online. This will reach some countries where we have not been able to print hard copies. We are praying for an Arabic edition of the New Testament Handbook to finish in 2018. That would be another dream come true!
    Website: http://www.MissionaryOutpost.com  Email: hrichardhester@gmail.com

DVD Lecture Links

 

New Testament DVD Lecture Links

 

Acts 1 – http://youtu.be/61akuJ-Rtq0

Acts 2 – http://youtu.be/X7wbi4y3GBM

Colossians:Philemon   http://youtu.be/RQAx2yi2JDg

Corinthians I – http://youtu.be/MUeXLCESCeM

Corinthians II – http://youtu.be/UZ58aV6P3w8

Ephesians – http://youtu.be/IjO1dKPxW9Q

Galatians http://youtu.be/N8oW07BweoU

Geography http://youtu.be/yTvv8quyVLs

Hebrews http://youtu.be/FvBb5fiafrM

History in Review http://youtu.be/wOhr8hJpLW8

James http://youtu.be/k1Bl_rpkzo0

John 1 – http://youtu.be/eprxuY8XCcI

John 2 – http://youtu.be/dpAuZ4c-ZZ8

John I II III http://youtu.be/VFyapRTzh98

Jude http://youtu.be/FuM_Y-oqiOU

Luke 1 http://youtu.be/5EkU2hIG_tk

Luke 2 http://youtu.be/UZLV2u8UhNs

Mark http://youtu.be/jABRbyNyPy0

Matthew 1 – http://youtu.be/d9nZYnEqg4o

Matthew 2 – http://youtu.be/u84UPw8MnVw

Peter I   http://youtu.be/wMXHMPlb6EA

Peter II   http://youtu.be/PY_bt2H_69Y

Preparation for Christ http://youtu.be/eTlf9gVYLz4

Revelation http://youtu.be/fxX8HYi9RIE

Romans – http://youtu.be/HxF_8PzCJto

Thess 1 & 2   http://youtu.be/lP7GfPWIBbo

Timothy I http://youtu.be/EpufGV_reRA

Timothy II   http://youtu.be/IlIgc3f7ZI

Titus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPAjeP0qR88

 

Old Testament DVD Lecture Links

 

Term One

OTBH 1.1   Term One Lesson One

OTBH 1.2   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYtOJdQKr7o&t=18s

OTBH 1.3   http://youtu.be/5RTtidVPPVQ

OTBH 1.4   http://youtu.be/tO2gri0LZ-A

OTBH 1.5   http://youtu.be/wvSllObIpKI

OTBH 1.6   http://youtu.be/lRgUechgsrg

OTBH 1.7   http://youtu.be/r47vXvRer68

Term Two

OTBH 2.1   http://youtu.be/RNGZVs2HJ7s

OTBH 2.2   http://youtu.be/opl9MnaAcYw

OTBH 2.3   http://youtu.be/PVqtqq_VsSg

OTBH 2.4   http://youtu.be/v3xn0XE-Jx8

OTBH 2.5   http://youtu.be/INkQAsQ4dH8

OTBH 2.6   http://youtu.be/pTDxGYEvKZk

OTBH 2.7   http://youtu.be/yG1gqbvugGM

OTBH 2.8   http://youtu.be/ZHzlsuaSHTg

Term Three

OTBH 3.1 http://youtu.be/JcroYTCw37A

OTBH 3.2 http://youtu.be/XTUu9_Qxloo

OTBH 3.3 http://youtu.be/vP1P6QueMPo

OTBH 3.4 http://youtu.be/Lk9eh1T8WFk

OTBH 3.5 http://youtu.be/JZDvuwKPenQ

OTBH 3.6 http://youtu.be/715pWXb8GGU

OTBH 3.7 http://youtu.be/lKMVU3xgcgc

OTBH 3.8 http://youtu.be/qbahPI3i-pk

Term Four

OTBH 4.1 http://youtu.be/0TqyuXPjyNw

OTBH 4.2 http://youtu.be/ewwqQHdcQO0

OTBH 4.3  https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=kazitl0Mv5s

ORBH 4.4  https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=E5nctdMO0PI

OTBH 4.5   http://youtu.be/QMp225xiCbI

OTBH 4.6   http://youtu.be/Cpo5SVFvbrw

ORBH 4.7

 

 

October 2017

2017 Lebanon Conference Season Concludes

2017 Jr camp

Aug2017 camp

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Children were turned away due to lack of space. There were eight different camps involving six churches. A church from Damascus sent their young people from that war-torn country and were joined by some Lebanese young people for a total of eighty. A short video of a large group of young people shouting, “Thank you, Pastor Hester!” was revived to thank me for building the camp in 1969.

Ecuador

I have never been to Ecuador or South America for that matter. What a blessing it is to see the Lord using our labours in these countries foreign to us. When we wrote the Bible History survey books for the Old and New Testaments, little did we dream where they would go.

A missionary friend of many years recently wrote:
“As you know, I brought in with me several copies of each (book) to give to the preachers in different sectors of the country.  The books were very well received and we are now promoting them within our churches. I think that they will fill a very great need both for the rest of the preachers and for our lay people.” He will be printing both books soon. We’re now preparing for another printing of the OT Spanish books in the USA. 

Prayer Concerns

  • Our church is still without an official pastor after thirteen long months.  However, for ten of those months, one of the men of the church has been volunteering fulltime ministry in the church to fill the gap. He grew up in the church and loves the church with a sacrificial commitment. He is an excellent preacher and teacher, and he knows the administration of the church well, having helped our previous pastor up to three days a week the past two to three years before the resignation. Pray for the Lord’s will to be done at the time of God’s choosing.
  • We thank God for the good spirit in the church, an air of excitement about the outreach ministries as they take their priority after Satan’s diversion from the church’s mission. New visitors are coming in. Eight candidates are being prepared for baptism.
  • Pray for our previous pastor of 22 years, Pastor Nabeel Zaydan and wife Joseline as they take up a new pastorate in Washington, D.C., an Arabic and English congregation.
  • Pray for the Sydney Baptist Bible College, its faculty and students, where we taught for many years and where I was principal for thirteen years. Also, Satan is attacking every ministry in Australia it seems. The annual National Baptist Fellowship was held in Sydney last week with good attendance and blessing. 
  • Australia is currently holding a mail-in pleibiscite that will determine whether same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land. Churches are praying for the Lord to protect the institution of the family..

June 2017

Lebanon Camp Season

Begins Soon!

9-10 Camp fr below

The weather is beautiful in Beit Mendere, high in the Lebanese mountains just down from the ancient cedars of Lebanon. The nights are cool instead of the hot, humid weather on the seacoast, some 40 minute drive away. There will be no rain until October, so there is no need for an umbrella.

The two host churches in Aaba and Ayn Nijim will direct several conferences for their children, young people, adults along with a conference for the seminary staff and students. In addition a couple of other churches will be conducting their camps at the Good Shepherd Conference Center, so it will be a busy summer for those who are responsible.

An Exciting Cuba Project?

A missionary who is burdened for ministry in Cuba goes regularly to the island has approached me about an exciting venture. He is wanting to print our Spanish Bible History books in Cuba and get them out to hundreds of pastors and Bible college students

They do not have much in the way of good resources and the missionary believes that these books would make a significant contribution in that needy country. The Cubans aren’t used to the bold colours and bound books, so the project will be done simply.

Recent Australian Church Statistics

  • 12,400 local churches in Australia
  • 30% of these have less than 25 attending
  • Just over half of these have over 50 parishioners 
  • 55% of the 12,400 are in rural and regional areas
  • 21% have 25-50 people

 

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Faith Baptist Church in Regents Park, NSW, Australia

Prayer Concerns

  • Our church is still without a pastor after eight difficult and sometimes very painful months. Thank God, there have been some great victories coming out of divisive battles for the soul of the church. Satan has viciously attacked on several fronts in a very complicated situation. I’ve been preaching for 66 years and I have never been in a situation like this. There have been many such battles in other churches but I was spared the pain until now. Please continue to pray for the Lord’s leadership and needed miracles to bring our church through this trial stronger by the Lord’s assessment.
  • Please pray for the Cuba project to come together.
  • Pray for the Lebanon conference season to be fruitful and blessed.
  • Pray for the English Bible History materials as they are adopted into use by five Bible college locations in Liberia, Ghana and South Sudan. The missionary friend in charge of this will give me more information later.

March 2017

Printed in Mexico

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Ot Bible History Manual coming together

We are thankful to report that the Old Testament Bible History Manual (Guidebook) is now printed and available. Pastor Ramos has a vibrant literature ministry in his church and is doing a great job getting the books out to pastors, churches and Bible institutes. In around one year’s time he had sold enough of the NT Bible History books to pay off the funding loan for its printing!

We are so thankful for his partnership along with those who have worked so hard in the translation and preparation of both the NT and OT books in Spanish for printing. May God reward them all for labours of love for their Spanish-speaking peoples!

“Thank You, Lord!”

An Exiting Night

At last report my second ocular implant was giving me nothing except an unintelligible sound. My first implant of over three years ago gave immediate ability to understand words, so it was a bit disappointing when the second one gave nothing. But the audiologists urged patience, saying that the brain would ultimately sort things out and that words would be on the way.

Our USA daughter was here helping with her mother after her heart problems. Melody told me goodnight and went to her room. I took off the old cochlear processor that was giving me hearing. I started praying aloud, saying, “Thank you Lord… Suddenly I realised that I heard myself say “thank you Lord” with the new processor still attached to my ear! I rushed to Melody’s door and said, “I just heard myself say “thank You, Lord!” She said, “Oh Dad, I’m so excited” which I also understood. It was so appropriate that the Lord was thanked with the very first words! It is all His mercy and He is so gracious and plenteous in mercy.

Last week the audiologist was “blown away” and said she did not expect such an amazing result and that the time frame was unusual. To God be the glory!

Kathleen’s Recovery

Since the surgery for the pacemaker, she has had no further episodes with her heart. All has gone well and the cardiologist was very pleased with everything. We thank the Lord every day for allowing us more time together, to serve Him in our limited way and to help each other. She is my salvation for seeing and hearing and I am her’s for remembering!

January 2017

Number One in The World!

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Our grand daughter is feeding her grand mother.

“I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalms  34:1

Number one?

I was asked if I would like to have the cochlear implant surgery with a local anaesthetic, which I preferred. I thought it was a common procedure. It went fine, but the surgeon kept asking if I had any pain, which I didn’t. But one time I said, “Yes, I do.” The anaesthesiologist immediately gave me more. The surgeon was perplexed when I said I still had pain, so he asked me where the pain was. I said, “It is in my foot!” Apparently I was having a cramp in my foot.

On the return visit to the surgeon, he told me that I was Australia’s first to have the surgery with a local anaesthetic and that I was number thirteen in the world. I know that you will be proud of your missionary because he is actually number one in the world to have surgery on his head for an implant and to feel pain in his foot! About the implant, I have not understood one word yet and will have to wait for the brain to sort it out and begin to decipher the electronic language.

God’s Miracles for Kathleen

Wednesday morning at the breakfast table Kathleen suddenly slumped backwards in the chair. She looked like death and there was no response. After perhaps ten seconds she began to revive. We took her to the doctor, and she repeated the episode in the waiting room. An ambulance took her to the nearby hospital. On Thursday morning she had a third episode, this time connected to a heart monitor that told exactly what happened. Her heart stopped for seven seconds, and they knew that she needed a pacemaker quickly.

Christmas holidays were on with few resources available. God had a good friend in the hospital who did the impossible, finding an available pacemaker at another hospital and asking a surgeon friend on holiday to come in just to perform Kathleen’s surgery by two o’clock that afternoon!

Our hearts are filled with gratitude to God and to the people He placed in just the right place to help us at the exact time they were needed. It was providential that she was seated during the first and second episodes and that she was connected to a heart monitor the third time, which removed all doubt about the what and why of these occurrences. We’re so thankful the Lord has again allowed us to have each other for His glory!

With Thanksgiving…

  • I did fall asleep once on duty (left photo), but I am looking after Kathleen with the great help of the grandchildren! Our daughter who lives here is away in Lebanon, and the USA daughter arrives today to help for two weeks.
  • Both the English OT Guidebooks and the OT Spanish Bible History books arrived in Sydney. Some of the church brethren unpacked all 1126 books onto the proper shelves for us.

October 2016

Good Shepherd Conference Center

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    Panoramic view towards distant Tripoli, Mediterranean in summer haze

  • “Your work here is bringing eternal results!

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Childrens’ camp bonfire

 

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Childrens’ camp

 

 

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Seminary students study time

 

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Seminary students, faculty and staff with their families

 

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Annual Seminary Lecture Series

 

So said Dr. Edgard Traboulsi

 

He is the director of the Lebanon camp facility which I built in 1969. After my 6 years of a camp ministry greatly blessed of God, war came to Lebanon stripping the four two-story buildings and grounds of metal doors and windows, electrical and plumbing, all the fencing around the camp and the theft of all equipment including the large tent auditorium. Pastor Traboulsi and his associate and their churches are doing a great job in restoring the camp facility. This summer they ran camps for their Lebanon Baptist Seminary, camps for children, youth and family. In total 7 groups from several churches ministered to over 400 campers! What a blessing for us to see this camp buzzing with ministry for God’s glory!

August 2016

Sixty Married Years and Sixty Roses

Faith Baptist Church honors old gray hairs in a memorable, precious evening!

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Pastor Zaydan’s wife, Joseline, presents 60 roses to Kathleen.

The ministry is not a bed of roses, but the accumulated experiences of ministry make  up a huge bed of beautiful rose-like blessings beyond price!  I don’t know any special significance of “60 years.” I told the church that I didn’t think they would be burdened with another ten-year celebration for us. Sixty is a blessed milestone in our gracious journey of marriage and privilege of ministry. So many thanked us for an example of loving married life and a ministry that founded Faith Baptist Church. The privilege was ours, the glory to God!

WeGirlsClosestRichard: Never one time in 60 years did Kathleen say by word or deed, “Let’s consider leaving the ministry.” Kathleen: I was so privileged to marry my handsome young man, to go to a new people and strange language, to love and serve them. Tributes from daughters Melody and Shirlene

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  • Beautiful, harmonious music from our USA daughter and children
  • Tributes from church members. These three men were with us in Lebanon since 1965 and were part of the new church in Sydney in 1976
  • Tributes from the grand children (the great-grand had her own version!).  They cited our daily walks always holding hands, grandma’s dead insect pranks and a godly life,.
  • Food and sweets and decorations by our loving  church family now made up of more than 20 nationalities. Our pastor is a son in the ministry and is one of the most unusual pastors I have ever known.
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Faith Baptist Church Fellowship Hall

June 2016

Bright Spots on a Cloudy Day

“Giving thanks ALWAYS in all things…”

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Richard’s 84th Birthday with Kathleen

Cloudy Days

I have to admit that l have felt a few foggy days the past couple of months. The great joy of celebration after completing 84 years has been squashed somewhat by several pesky, uncooperative  members of the victory team.

The first member to kick in the harness was the illustrious cochlear implant which heretofore had lifted me to an exciting level of hearing sounds unknown to me in recent years. Everything inside the head and outside was checked but to no avail as to what had caused the loss. I can carry on a decent conversation one on one, but in a noisy environment I’m hopeless. I can understand the message 60 to 70 per cent if the speaker lets me hang a little microphone onto his lapel. Otherwise I get around 20 per cent or less. Music has mostly disappeared, it just sounds like blah, blah, blah! The only instrument I can really distinguish in the orchestra is a french horn which sounds like a frustrated cow in the meadow waiting for the evening feed!

My complaint landed on the desk of the best expert the cochlear people have. You are not going to believe this, but I am dead serious! She had the gall to tell me that the problem was that I have gotten too old and that my instrumentation is wearing out! A fine how-do-you-do if I do say so! She could have said “a part seems to be missing” instead of being so blunt.

The list goes on-the eyesight had previously joined the chorus of complaints. Then, a bad tooth which I went to the dentist to fix. But lo and behold, he said there was another one in worse shape that needed to be fixed first.  How many flat tires can you have at the same time?

Thankfully some members are still rejoicing in the eighty-fourth celebration. Especially Kathleen’s eyes and ears to help me and my memory to help her Alzheimer’s. So we’re going to just keep on “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name, and forget not all His benefits.”And then there’s that glorified body deal that’s out there. It’s becoming more of a reality and a hope that “fadeth not away!” We’ve tried to put retreads on the slashed tires until the next time. I’m not sure what to expect with the “eighty-fifth party!” The Rapture and  the glorified body would be the greatest option!

For Prayer and Thanks

  • That our Pastor Nabeel’s soon visit will be a blessing to the church and pastor in north Lebanon
  • Protection for Safa and her family in Syria in a previously safe area but recently struck by ISIS suicide bombers. She just finished translating my NT book into Arabic and her sister in our church here has formatted it.
  • Pray for Pastor Robertson and Maria Esther in Spain as they are working to finish proofing and formatting the OT Handbook for printing in Spanish.
  • Pray for the current projects at the Lebanon Good Shepherd camp ground and the summer ministries  to follow. 

March 2016

Rejoicing in 84 Gracious Years

“Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed!”

R's 84thRichard’s 84th birthday with Kathleen

A Snowy Day in Oklahoma

The beginning of these 84 years occurred in an Oklahoma farmhouse on a bitter-cold stormy day before the doctor could arrive to assist with the birth.

The first highlight has to be conversion and the soon call to the ministry after one year in secular college.

The second highlight was the birth of Temple Baptist Church in El Dorado, KS, after preparation for the ministry at Bob Jones University. That church and Pastor Ron Jones continue to be a huge blessing to us, including distributing our books. We are so grateful!

The third highlight was our 17 years of missionary ministry in Lebanon. The memories include         Faith Baptist Church in Tripoli and the building of a camp and conference center below the cedars of Lebanon with its fruitful ministry. This phase ended with a destructive civil war that uprooted our ministry.

The fourth highlight has been the most fruitful-of-all ministry of Faith Baptist Church in Australia. Every ministry in which we have been involved is currently headed up by godly successors who are doing a faithful work for God. This includes the Lebanon camp ministry and the Sydney Bible Baptist College. It is a huge blessing to see each ministry manned, going forward and still loving to associate with us! To God be all the glory and honor for it all!

Sons in Ministry

The church in northern Lebanon is pastored by a godly, very capable preacher who surrendered to the ministry in one of our meetings in Lebanon after the war. God is greatly blessing Bassam’s ministry!

Nabeel was born in Lebanon the same year we arrived in 1959. We saw his wife in Lebanon as a little girl. Nabeel is one of the most gifted and godly Lebanese preachers I have ever known. Faith Baptist Church in Regents Park, Sydney is totally self-supporting, zealous in evangelistic outreach and has a great teaching and training program for members. Our OT and NT Survey courses are included in their program. We are greatly blessed to sit under the ministry of Pastor Nabeel!

Another dear son in the ministry pastors the Blacktown Faith Baptist Church which started out of the Regents Park church. It also ministers in both Arabic and English. Pastor Sam was the first person I pointed to Christ in Sydney. He is a gifted Bible teacher and also is the academic dean and a major lecturer in Sydney Bible Baptist College of which I was the principal for 13 years and a lecturer since we arrived in Australia in 1976. God’s paths for us have been pleasant and perfect! Thank you for your invaluable help and prayers!

December 2015

2015 SBBC Grads108Sydney Bible Baptist College Graduates Testify

“To a man who has an American accent, an Australian passport and a Lebanese heart, thank you for making a college like SBBC possible. I thoroughly enjoyed your OT and NT Survey courses and refer to the Handbooks all the time for assignments. Your and Mrs. Hester’s testimony is a great encouragement to me.”

“Thank you very very much for developing the Bible History courses. They have been a great blessing to me and I hope to teach them to others. Though I may not remember all the material, I will remember your life testimony and faithfulness to the Lord.”

“Thank you for your labors of love in developing the Old and New Testament Bible History courses. Thank you also for your many years of service at SBBC and among the independent Baptist movement in Australia.” 

“I remember your chapel message challenging us to make God our security and our all which has been a great blessing to my spiritual life.”

This was the off-year for my courses, but Kathleen and I could not go to the college anyway. The graduates kindly made us feel we were not forgotten in the above testimonies  written on a card and given to us at the Thursday night graduation service. Thanks to all of you also for remembering us! We sincerely trust that all of you will have a blessed Christmas and a fruitful 2016 until the coming of our Lord!

A Personal Update

The coming New Year will mark 60 years of happy married life and ministry together for our Lord. Every day we thank the Lord for allowing us to still have each other. We also thank Him for giving us the measure of health so that we can help each other and assist each other’s weaknesses.

I lost a piece of vision last year which impacted my ability to see my notes for preaching. But a laptop computer on the pulpit is pulling me through. I am so thankful to still be able to preach in both English and Arabic every month.

Recently I lost some of the hearing I had gained through the cochlea implant. The doctor and the experts are perplexed and are trying to find a cause for this surprising development.

God has graciously allowed Kathleen to be at my side to help me through these limitations of sight and hearing.

Kathleen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2012 after a long period of suspected Alzheimer’s. She lost her driver’s license in 2013. Things were very discouraging and any hope of change was hard to find. However, to God be all the glory, the doctor changed her medication and she began to stabilize. She has been stable all of this year and we see areas of improvement. We both are so thankful and rejoicing in the Lord’s goodness and grace! Of course, neither of us knows what the future holds, but our hearts overflow with thanksgiving for God’s blessing upon Kathleen. Our pastor recently told Kathleen she was the best member in the church because she grabs new visitors and brings them to him! I do not know how she can do it, but she is amazing, picking out new visitors in a crowd of several hundred, even though she struggles to know names of people whom she has known for many years. We have no explanation for some of her improvements other than the mercy and grace of a loving God!

Special Note

Please replace my old personal email rkhester@bigpond.net.au, with hrichardhester@gmail.com

October 2015

Counting Our Blessings

The Dream Come True

It began early in 2012 with the commitment of Missionary Marvin Robertson of Spain to head up the project. The New Testament book was printed in August 2015 and the Old Testament book should be ready for printing early in 2016. It was a big job for the team who were dedicated to an accurate, high-quality translation and production. Nothing was spared to this end. The head translator spent 180 hours in the final proofing of the book.

The USA printing is now available in several US book stores or churches, some of which are on the Mexico/US border. Five hundred copies were put into a container going to Nicaragua and are now available in a bookstore there.

The Spain printing is now being distributed from a church outside Madrid. The Argentina printing will hopefully occur in October. Pray about a possible printing inside Mexico and also in Colombia. Nepal has started and there is talk in Burma. We never dreamed of all this!

NT ManualWhen Our Efforts Fail, God Begins to Work!

I tried several times to make contact with a particular Bible college in Mexico that I thought might have some interest in using our New Testament Bible History book. Every attempt I made failed and I thought it was not worth any more effort.

When I sent out a form letter announcing the printing of the book, I received a letter from the academic dean of this same college. He told me that he was visiting friends in Spain and saw the lady of the house translating a book into Spanish. He looked through the book and really liked it, thinking that it would be great for their Bible college! As it happened, the lady was our chief translator. She told me later that she attended this Bible college when she was a young lady even before this academic dean was born!

Other similar incidents have happened, all to demonstrate that we serve a wonderful, Almighty God Who delights to put His treasure into earthen vessels but Who wants us to know that the excellency of the power is not of us but of Him! My focus was on a city in Mexico but God rerouted the project through Spain. How often God reroutes our hopes for deliverance through unexpected “foreign” sources and circumstances.

A Precious Surprise

Our beloved pastor told me he was going to head a project team to translate our New Testament book into Arabic! They are now up to Matthew in chapter four! That is precious to us; we are truly counting our blessings!

July 2015

Frightened or Excited?

It all depends on your perspective!

The Growing Threat

The scourge of fanatical, brutally violent Islamic jihad is spreading like wildfire. Last week it struck on three continents with scores shot dead and one decapitated. Many other plots are being foiled by national intelligence agencies. There is a feeling of fear among thinking people who have never seen this kind of religious fanaticism.

Today’s news reports that ISIS, the so-called Islamic state, has 20 million supporters or connections with people who support it. Further, there are another 20 million Arabs who sympathize with it and don’t mind it. Thousands, mostly young people, are being persuaded and won to Islam and violent jihad before the coming of Christ (according to them) who will establish Islam in all the earth. They are not a “JV Team” (Obama doctrine)  practicing violence. They are convinced, sincere Muslims who believe they are literally fulfilling the Islamic message as taught by Mohammed. Whether or not they are right does not change the fact of their serious zeal.

Crimes Against Humanity

According to the Religious Freedom Report which reports news of religious persecution, here are some current events.

  • In ISIS-controlled Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, all of the 45 Christian churches have been destroyed by ISIS. Four hundred churches in Syria have been destroyed. Similar things are happening in Nigeria, northern Africa and Pakistan.
  • ISIS has reportedly sold at auction middle-aged women for about $40, girls 10-20 for $130 and younger children brought a higher price. It is even reported that women are “given away” as prizes for Koranic games.

The Jihadists are correct that Christ is returning. But when He does, He will not establish Islamic righteousness on earth. But God can use this frightening, brutal movement to accomplish His own righteous purposes before Christ’s return.

Special Note

If you have my old personal email, rkhester@bigpond.net.au, please delete it and replace with hrichardhester@gmail.com

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A Husband’s Tragic Death

We met a lady whom we asked, in the course of conversation, about her two children and husband. She went silent and choked up. I apologized for asking but she told me her husband was gone. His death left her in a very difficult position, financially and otherwise.I asked if I could pray for her. She cried when I prayed and seemed so grateful.

We saw her again a week later and had the opportunity to talk about salvation. She accepted Christ with tears and joy! I don’t know when or if we will see her again. In this troubled world that is truly frightening, it is exciting that God has opportunities for us to be a witness and help to needy souls!

A Father’s Salvation

A Filipino lady asked me on Sunday if I knew anyone who could witness to her dad in the Philippines who has terminal cancer.

On Monday I spoke to my Filipino “preacher son” to see if he knew anyone in this far-away city. A staff member in his home church in Manila had gone to visit his sick dad who pastors in the faraway city of the dad sick with cancer! He was contacted and today, Tuesday, he and his pastor father visited our lady’s father in the hospital. Her father and wife along with her younger daughter were all saved!  Talk about timing and logistics, we serve an amazing God! That is exciting! I can’t wait for the next exciting experience!

May 2015

His Ways in the Sanctuary

They are so often inexplicable to our finite minds!

Nice Surprises

God likes to surprise His children with gifts and blessings that are often unexpected. Did He not promise to give us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think?” Eph. 3:20 He asked Abraham when human hope had vanished that he and Sarah could have a son, “Is anything too hard for the Lord (Gen. 18:14)?” When Jeremiah was faltering to believe that Judah would be returned from captivity after seventy years, God prodded him, “Is anything too hard for Me (Jer. 32:27)?” God delights to work surprises in our sometimes bewildering circumstances and ask us, “Is anything too hard for Me?”

SataBibleCollegeI love to watch God’s ways, they are so unusual, so lovely. Several years ago I attended a fellowship meeting and left a set of my Bible History materials to a national pastor from Papua New Guinea. I forgot about it and didn’t hear anything until last month when I met up with that pastor in our Sydney church. He told me that every year since he got the materials, he was using them for his Bible institute students (a dozen or so). I will never be able to go and minister in PNG but God has truly surprised me with a proxy-ministry! Many of you have experienced the same thing as you minister through your missionaries around the world. I suspect God’s wonderful way will include many surprises throughout eternity.

Prayer Points

The Spanish New Testament Bible History Handbook should be ready for the printers in June. Pray for open doors and wisdom for the distribution of the book. We have seen a couple of doors open that hold good promise and we are praying for other needed open doors in South America. Please pray and perhaps we can give a victory report next newsletter!

An Australian pastor friend named Ross is very sick with a rare blood disease. He just had a bone marrow transplant. Please pray for this godly pastor and Bible college teacher.

Understanding God’s Way

Psalms 77:12-13 reads, “I will meditate also of all Thy work, and talk of Thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?”

I recently asked you to pray concerning the loss of some sight I had experienced over the past year. My ophthalmologist sent me to another specialist in  glaucoma to get an opinion. The consensus seems to be that the loss has been caused by a combination of macular degeneration and low eye pressure. They are giving me drops to keep the pressure low to prevent hemorraghing of the fragile optic nerve at the back of the eyes. But if the pressure is too low, it damages the eye and they think that is what has happened.  The damage is permanent, they say, and it could occur again if the pressure gets too low.

One important issue I am working on is how to read my notes  while preaching. One alternative is to just open my mouth and let the Lord fill it! I have tried that option partially more than a few times during “too-busy” periods, especially in Lebanon. But I don’t like that option and am working on others!

It has again cast me upon the Lord’s providential works which, the Psalmist says are always done in harmony with His holy and righteous character. In spite of my fears and doubts so many times at threatening circumstances, at the end my discovery was always this: “Who is so great a God as our God?” His ways are always holy and right! Thanks for praying.

April 2015

Old-Fashioned Revival

Violent Extremism or Fundamental Islam Revival?

Revival movements are powerful. They source in a former glory, a dedicated purity that has been lost. They appeal to the higher instincts of the human soul that has lost the joy and purpose of a higher calling. Revival movements thrive in calling people back to fundamental beginnings.

Revival TentIslam became a very successful religious political movement that is incompatible with democracy and freedom of conscience. It spawned four major empires that reached from Spain to the Indus. Had they not been defeated in Tours, France, in 732 A.D., we could have grown up in an Islamic West. Islam conquered and converted by the sword using basically the same methods of violence and fear that ISIS uses effectively today. Sharia law, beheadings, the killing of apostates or people who criticize Islam or its prophet and the slaughter of infidels all are fundamentals of historic Islam and now with ISIS. Saudi Arabia conforms to these fundamentals except that they are not seen to be conquering and killing infidels. Even though they have exported many radical imams who promote Wahhabism, a revival movement by a Saudi theologian in the 18th century to purge Islam of corrupting influences and return it to its original purity.  This radical, militant thinking undergirds ISIS and like groups. Saudi oil dollars have financed the building of mosques and schools throughout the western countries. Saudi nationals have heavily supported radical, terrorist groups in the past.

Who are the liberal Muslims? There are moderate Muslims in the Middle East who wish for freedom of conscience from the oppressive rule of Sharia, but they are fearfully silent and thus irrelevant to our discussion. The Muslims in the West could be considered to be the “liberals” who do not hold to a literal interpretation of the Koran.

However, instead of admitting the issue, the “liberals”  and the politicians try to convince the public that the issue doesn’t exist, that the liberal interpretation is pure Islam and that Muslims are being slandered and persecuted for their faith.

Understanding the Issue

One who call himself a Muslim and believes the Koran is a Muslim. Interpretation determines what kind of Muslim he is just as it does in any religion. Interpretation makes one Muslim Shia or Sunni, another “moderate” or “literalist”or jihadist. Many jihadists believe extreme violence is permitted to spread their Islamic message. So the extremism of ISIS is Islamic extremism. It comes from three sources:

  • Economic and political issues
  • Spiritual ambition to be important to a perceived good and winning cause. This sense of a higher calling inspires converts to heroic deeds, even to suicide for the cause. Extremist recruiters build on this aspiration.
  • Theological convictions of a literal interpretation of the Koran enforce the Islamic extremist. Holy war against the infidels, Sharia law, the apocalyptic triumph of Islam, the special rewards for martyrs, all these are sincerely believed. If the Koran allows (literal interpretation) beheading, crucifixion and maiming of apostates and infidels, it isn’t a long journey to burning them alive.

Many ignore these spiritual and theological aspects and engage in senseless debate as to whether the extremists are Moslem or not. All of us should want tolerance and peace. But this problem should be confronted by Muslim leaders and scholars. It is an internal matter and no amount of denial or blame-laying can change the obvious truth.

Let’s pray for true revival and the coming of the Prince of peace!

February 2015

 Looking at a world of violence through the eyes of an 83 year-old

Faith Baptist Church Pulpit

Faith Baptist Church Pulpit

Noah’s world is described as “filled with violence.” Violence is the topic of today. If a local mosque’s statement in today’s paper is to be believed, “These events have nothing to do with Islam. Not a single person with this twisted brainwashed mentality comes from our community.”

When we began ministry in Lebanon in 1959 there were times of instability and mini-wars. But today, things are so complex and so impossible of solution. The worldwide program of some to impose “Allah’s kingdom” with its Sharia law upon all is dismissed by fearful and naive politicians as an event caused by a “handful of radical nuts” who have grievances of social injustices with the west.

But the seed of Ishmael is front and center stage, irrespective of how many of them agree or disagree with the program of “jihad.” Shiite Islam (Iran, Iraq) is vying against Sunni Islam (most Arab countries). Sunni ISIS is against all of them. Syria is being ripped apart by multiple Islamic power blocs and Lebanon is drowning in a sea of refugees. All these blocs hate western freedom of conscience and democracy. It is a frightening and violent world!

I find myself almost relieved that I am 83 years-old and closer to the coming of the Prince of Peace! Violence is reaching into the most unlikely places. A jihadist set a siege in peaceful Sydney recently that traumatized the entire nation before the death of two hostages and the jihadist.  Yes, it can happen anywhere! As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of man.

News

The Bible History materials for survey courses have gone to many places for which we thank God. It is such a blessing to see students finding benefit and blessing from using the materials.

However, one place I would never have expected to host the materials would have been in the remote country of Nepal! But God’s ways are amazing. The New Testament Bible History Handbook is being translated into Nepali. Even the NT DVD lectures are being recorded with voice-overs. My friends there tell me that it looks like I am actually speaking Nepali! Appearances can be very deceiving!

The Dean of Students at Sydney Bible Baptist College has resigned and moved out of the college apartment. Pray for the health of the Ringwaldts’ who have served faithfully in the college for a number of years. Thankfully the Lord has provided the Buhrens’ to take up the challenge. They were missionaries to Scotland and he also pastored a church in Australia for several years. Please pray for their move and settling into the college.

A Very Personal Prayer Request

Thankfully, the MS that destroyed most of my sight has been in remission for years. The 25% of the remaining sight in the one eye has allowed me, with technology, the opportunity to write some books, develop study materials and do other things that God put on my heart.

In recent months I felt I was again losing sight. Computer text had to be enlarged and reading the bigger text seemed harder. My ophthalmologist is concerned but is not confident what can or should be done. He has referred me to another specialist in mid-February for an opinion.

I would deeply appreciate special prayer for this matter. It means so much to me to still have God’s gift of very limited eyesight that allows me to remain productive.

December 2014

Another Story of Grace

Isa. 55:11 “My Word…shall not return unto Me void…”

Madonna2She was a gentle, serious girl who seemed to have a desire for God. I picked her up with several brothers and sisters and took them to Sunday school and church for a number of years in Lebanon. I hoped that she would grow up and let her light shine for Christ. Events of war overtook all of us and we lost track of her when all of us left Lebanon and eventually came to Australia.  We would not see her again for many years. We did hear that she had married.

Frankly, we lost any hope that anyone from her family would come out on the Lord’s side.  Her life passed through some deep trials, including a serious bout with throat cancer. In recent times a lady from our church invited her to church. When she knew the Hesters were in the church, she exclaimed, “Those are my people!”

Her recent testimony at her baptism told how I led her to Christ as a 12-year-old girl in the big tent at camp. She testified that she had never lost the assurance of her salvation and that she always knew she was the Lord’s. She had always read God’s Word and was not ashamed to confess her faith. She had always found great comfort and help in God’s Word and He had brought her through the darkest hours!  She contacted relatives around the world and asked them to listen to her testimony and view her baptism through our church website which they did! And her husband and children were present and heard the Gospel.

How did I feel about all this? Totally overwhelmed and awed at the miraculous ways of our Lord! 

Moods and Weathers of the Christian Life

I’m not saying that the Word of God changes-it doesn’t. “Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven.”

The tragedy of Lebanon ushered in a new mood in my life and preaching, a broken-ness with tears I had not experienced before. Again, the years of sickness in Australia brought with them a mood of desperate trust in the God Who is all-strength.

I think Kathleen’s Alzhei-mer’s has brought yet another season into my life and preaching, one of praising and thanking the Lord in a way I hadn’t known previously.  The Psalms have come alive.

I spoke at the recent National Baptist Fellowship sharing our comfort and strength derived from this exercise. I was surprised at the large number of young people who responded. The message can be accessed on www.MissionaryOutpost.com

Noteworthy requests and News       

  • Sydney Bible Baptist College held its Graduation Fellowship with five students graduating and a number of extension students receiving certificates for various courses completed. I was honored to be the speaker at the Thursday night Graduation Exercises. The college had an excellent year of blessing and teaching.
  • Our second website, www.Bible-Survey.net is now finished. It is dedicated to give all information about group classes and online studies available with our Old and New Testament Bible Survey materials. I was able to develop this site and called for a member of the church to fix the bugs and some design changes.
  • The doctor adjusted Kathleen’s medications about four months ago. It has resulted in managing her symptoms dramatically better! We really appreciate your prayers for her. Taking coconut oil has also helped her memory in subtle ways. We have so much for which to thank our Lord!

December 2005

Our 29th year of involvement with Sydney Bible Baptist College finished with a blessed time at the Graduation Fellowship. Five graduates gave thrilling testimonies, and the Word of God was preached in power and blessing. The special speaker from the USA was a real challenge and example of New Testament preaching.

About past and present prayer requests:

  1. Please continue to pray for the Iraqi man and wife and son who disappeared in Iraq and haven’t been heard from for three months.
  2. Thanks for praying for Rachel; she is in her next to last chemotherapy cycle and struggling.
  3. Please continue to pray for the Croydon Park Arabic church. The Lord miraculously worked it out for them to sign a contract to buy a piece of land that will allow them to build a church to hold what they have now and allow for future growth. They’re getting the 1.5 acre piece of land for $2.5 million, a half-million dollar discount to the price the owners were holding out for and should have received. Now the church has to sell the present church property and house next door to be able to settle the transaction by March 31st. This is a big step of faith for them, but it is probably no bigger challenge than it was 28 years ago when we bought the present church for around $75,000. House prices are now at least twelve to fifteen times more than they were then.
  4. Thank you for praying for a couple to work with the college. An experienced pastor has come forward with a real interest and burden to fill the role if the Lord will put it all together. So both of us are praying for the Lord’s will to be done. If he comes, it will probably need a year’s time for it all to happen.
  5. Please pray for my “spizarinktum” (spelling in doubt!) as we look for an answer to a severe bout of fatigue and tiredness the last few weeks. It’s ordinary to have it one or two days a week, but not all the time.
  6. Please pray for strength and wisdom as I continue to work on the New Testament Bible History Illustrated project. I hope to complete the first draft of the book we’ll use as a text maybe in a couple of months. After that I’ll start writing the lectures to prepare for videoing the lectures. The Lord has put a real burden on my heart to finish this project.


We wish all of you a most happy Christmas time and beginning for a fruitful New Year. How we thank the Lord for you, our friends in ministry, who are a vital part of all that we do. You are much appreciated.

October 2005

Sweet Rachel is just about halfway through her chemotherapy treatment. The last session gave her the most severe side effects she has had to date; she has been in bed most of the two weeks since the session with much nausea, vomiting and insomnia. For the first time since the two brain surgeries, radiation and chemo, she said, “I’m having a hard time,” and that was the extent of her complaint. She’s quite the Christian young lady.

The National Baptist Fellowship was held two weeks ago up in northern Queensland. About 80 preachers attended with an excellent attendance of the churches. It is very encouraging to see the Australian independent Baptist pastors promoting and hosting this annual meeting and doing a great job of it. We were all blessed and refreshed in the Lord.

The Outback Baptist Church, literally in the outback, bought a set of the Old Testament Bible History Illustrated course to use in their church. They are a new church way out in the outback in a mining town where it is almost impossible to rent a house for an affordable price. I believe the pastor said an ordinary three-bedroom house would rent for over a thousand dollars per week, which is far beyond their capability. Pray for Outback Baptist Church and their visionary young pastor who has a burden for that place. They have 3 or 4 people who want to study the course and learn more about God‘s Word.

Again we would ask prayer for the Lord’s leadership in obtaining a couple to live at the college, someone who will also be able to share in the teaching ministry of the college. There are some possibilities, so please pray for the Lord to give us just the couple He wants in this important position.

Another urgent prayer request is for the brother and wife of an Iraqi engineer in our Croydon Park church. This brother with his wife and son were returning to their Baghdad home recently from a church conference in the west of Iraq when they were either kidnapped or detained by someone. He is a scientist as well as a Christian and a lay preacher. Just before the invasion of Iraq, he had been arrested and imprisoned for a month or two, but the Lord graciously delivered him before the invasion began.

God is graciously giving us a measure of health and blessing to serve. I minister in different churches each Sunday and preach in Arabic a couple of times each month for which opportunity I am happy. The last prayer request is for the need of a church building in north Lebanon. They have a property but need help to build a church. They have had hassles in finding a meeting place and are “living on the brink” in the present location. This good, vibrant congregation needs a permanent home, so we are asking prayer that God might provide some help to bring this need to reality.

An urgent prayer request is for the Croydon Park Faith Baptist Church Arabic: they are seeking the Lord’s will in the purchase of a new piece of property on which to build a new facility. The auction is next week, and the church is fasting and praying two days before the auction for the Lord’s will to be made clear. Pastor Nabil and his wife are pictured above at the recent National Baptist Fellowship on an excursion. They are a wonderful couple doing a great job at Faith Baptist Church Arabic in Croydon Park.

August 2005

Thanks for continuing to pray for Rachel: she is now undergoing chemotherapy after the extensive course of radiation treatments. It is a difficult time with the side effects which have really hit her hard. She needs our prayers. One good piece of news is that the MRI did not find any cancer cells.

We are constantly reminded by others of the faithfulness of our Lord in using us with people in ways we don’t even imagine. Just last week a person was telling us that we were like parents to him and what a blessing we had always been. I was thankful for what he said and commented to Kathleen: “Isn’t it something how God works, and we don’t even realize it?”

The Bible college began its new semester one week ago with a blessed opening service. One of the graduates from the nineties brought a beautiful, challenging message from God’s Word. There was an air of excitement, and we are looking to the Lord for a good semester of study. We are asking the Lord to provide a couple to live at the college and fill in some needed gaps in the college ministry. Please pray for the Lord’s direction in this area.

We are thankful for the Lord’s blessings on the Old Testament Bible History Illustrated this month. I preached in a church about two weeks ago which had recently started up the course in the church on a Thursday evening. A family man told me that after the first session he was afraid he couldn’t handle the course work. But after a few lessons he discovered that he really could do the work, and he testified to what a great blessing it had been to him. He loves it and is so glad that he took the step!

Several sets of the course are now in the Philippines, and it has been started up on a weeknight in one church with 20 students. As well, two Bible colleges will soon be using it in their curriculum. Something else that excited me was that it was instituted into China about two weeks ago. I never dreamed I’d be able to preach or teach God’s Word in the land of China!

A pastor friend in the USA suggested that some Christian schools would be interested in the course for perhaps a senior-year Bible curriculum. He ordered a set and if it will fit the school schedule, he plans to institute it into their system. An ACE school here in Sydney is putting it into their senior year curriculum next year, and others are looking at it. So maybe it will be a blessing to some high schools. Please pray with us!

Many thanks to all of you who have been “encouragers” to keep us going for our Lord. What a great Lord and cause we serve!

May 2005

Having exceeded by three years the days of our years, threescore and ten, it often comes to my mind what I could leave as a legacy when the Lord ushers me out of this earthly realm? Certainly all that any of us has done for Christ will last in one way or another-nothing will be lost. It is so comforting to know that our labours are not in vain in the Lord; He has so promised!

When I started developing the Old Testament Bible History Illustrated back in 2003, it was to meet a local need for getting laypeople in the churches involved in serious Bible study in an interesting and exciting way. It also occurred to me that leaving something to our grandchildren could be beneficial when they grow up and some day could study it. They could learn from grandfather’s talking on 30 DVDs about the priorities that captivated his life and ministry on three continents. Maybe God would use that to be a good influence and encouragement in their lives. That was just a sidelight which appealed to me: talking to my grandchildren after I am gone.

As things progressed with the course, the Lord seemed to lead to wider thinking: maybe I could leave a little legacy that would allow me to continue speaking for Christ after the earthly race is run and finished. Some people are good at writing books and continue to speak after they are gone. Maybe I could continue teaching and preaching God’s Word by means of technology with DVDs and a Bible study course. Speaking to groups of laypeople, high school students, Bible college students, group situations-this appeals to me as an on-going ministry, small as it might be.

The Lord has encouraged us this month: we have sent two sets of the Old Testament Bible History Illustrated to India. These Bible schools are planning to begin using it starting in June!. We’ve never visited India except for a diverted airport stop once in Bombay. But it excites me to be able to be of some small use or influence for Christ in India among precious people of God who are preparing to serve our Lord-people I may never meet this side of glory!

Previously we have sent three sets of the course to Indonesia. This is all very exciting to us, and we ask your prayers that God will bless these small efforts far beyond our ability to imagine. We are asking God to continue using this course here in Australia among the churches as He has so wonderfully done in the past.

Please continue to pray for Rachel who is now having radiation treatments. I asked you to pray for her last month after her two surgeries for a brain tumor at the base of the brain. She planned a Thanksgiving service which we attended-one of the sweetest occasions I have ever attended. She sang, played the piano and gave a testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness. Her doctor and two of her intensive care unit nurses (one of them a Moslem) attended and were visibly moved; they had never heard anything like this. A plain Gospel message was given as well by a godly pastor. Rachel is nineteen years old and a real example of faith and courage in the midst of a severe trial!

Note the photo from the upper portion of the Lebanon conference ground looking down on the lower level with a dormitory and playground in view. With mountains on either side, the Mediterranean Sea is visible from the camp (not in this photo). I have not seen a campground with a more beautiful view. We built it in 1969 to be a blessing to churches in Lebanon, especially in the North, and that remains our prayer! May God richly bless all of you as we labour together for our wonderful Lord.

April 2005

We talk about “getting keen laypeople, young and old, involved in a serious Bible study” with Old Testament Bible History Illustrated. We really believe that this course could be a blessing to many people who would thrive on such a study. So we ask you to pray that God will put His hand of blessing on this endeavor and that His name will truly be glorified!

We are burdened about helping build a church building in North Lebanon for a vibrant congregation which has difficulty finding places to meet. If the Lord would bless the Bible study course, some of the proceeds could help build that church, a noble aspiration indeed! Notwithstanding, I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I developed the Bible study course in order to raise money for missions. The only reason I made this course was a burden to “get laypeople involved in serious Bible study.” At the beginning I did not believe that I had the health nor the ability to accomplish such a task. At times, before completion of the project, I felt I couldn’t continue to work the long hours and put forth the effort even one more day! But God was faithful and nursed me through the project.

After finishing the editing and making of the 30 DVDs, there was the “mountain” of getting permissions, re-editing of the media to make everything compliant with the permissions in order to secure the copyrights for all the work. Thank God it is all done now-I can hardly believe it!

Please pray for a sweet 19 year-old pastor’s daughter, Rachel, who had her second brain surgery this week for a tumour at the base of the brain. Now she will start chemo etc since they were not able to get all the tumour.

On a lighter note, our Lebanon mission home which we built and lived in was vacated last week by the Syrian army which has occupied it these years! God still brings iron curtains down! Lebanon is experiencing some big changes. Note the “freedom from Syria” demonstration in Beirut in the picture. Up to 1.5 million people took part in the demonstration. Pray for peace in that country. May God richly bless all of you for your great encouragement to us.

February 2005

So many wonderful blessings were ours on the trip in the latter half of 2004 that we weren’t able to share it all in the previous communications. We were thrilled beyond measure by the Lebanon visit. The El Dorado Temple Baptist Church segment with the 50th anniversary of our first church to plant was joy beyond description. The third segment was also very special but in a different way.

My mother was born in 1908 in western Oklahoma. Her dad plowed a furrow across the prairie from their simple home on the homestead to a little schoolhouse some mile and an half away, so that the children would not lose their way going to school. She was once taken to a faraway town in a covered wagon to have her tonsils removed without an anesthetic.

My relationship with both my mother and father was of the closest nature. I never saw them have an argument nor treat each other disrespectfully. They were born-again Christians who believed the Bible. We told Dad goodbye twenty years ago. We were able to see Mom on this trip and told her goodbye. One week before we were to leave our daughter’s on our way back to Australia, we returned to western Oklahoma for Mom’s funeral. God, in His great mercy, had set her free from the frail body that had become such a burden to her.

It was a highpoint of my life to be able to be at her funeral and to open God’s Word to comfort ourselves and to present my mother’s Saviour to any who did not know Him as personal Saviour. My older brother gave the obituary and mentioned some interesting details of Mom’s life. My younger brother and family sang one of the two hymns Mom had requested to be sung as specials at her funeral. And my daughter Melody and I sang the other song. It was all a time of deep joy and comfort that left us all with a deeper desire for that “reunion in the air” that may be very near!

The timing of her departure was nothing short of miraculous. We had prayed for some time that we would be able to be present for the funeral when the Lord should take her. Had He taken her when we were in Lebanon some weeks earlier, it would have been a real dilemma. Had it been a few days later, we would have been back in Australia. God was so good in the timing which fit perfectly with everything and without disruption. God took Dad during a 1984 furlough which had been planned two years previously. It all makes us know that we have a wonderful God Who involves Himself in the little affairs of our lives and does all things well!

We rejoice in God’s blessings during the start of this New Year. The Bible college had a wonderful opening last night for the 2005 school year. We pray God’s blessings upon you this year. Your love and concern are a great encouragement to us.

January 2005

I would like to continue with the report of our recent trip to Lebanon and the USA. Your prayers were appreciated so much, and the Lord certainly did answer prayer in an unusual way.

Lebanon was such a highlight and blessing of our trip. But the second phase would not be any less rewarding, the fiftieth anniversary of Temple Baptist Church which I established fifty years ago.

Pastor Jones planned a three-day celebration for the occasion. Five of the seven living pastors were present (one pastor is with the Lord). As a twenty-two year-old single preacher I experienced the normal trials and difficulties in founding a new work. There was no financial support extended by any church, not one dollar. I never even considered the matter at the time and simply looked to God for what was impossible for me.

To hear the other pastors tell of their struggles, trials and victories, and to see the church now was, indeed, a rich and exhilarating experience in the grace of God to that church. I’m so thankful for God’s guidance in sending me to El Dorado fifty years ago and for the small part God allowed us to have in that ministry.

Pastor Jones and his people made us feel like we had played such an important part, though we know that our contribution was so very small. We left the anniversary in El Dorado with a song on our lips and praise in our hearts to our wonderful God for His faithfulness to weak, unworthy vessels whom He has honoured with such a privilege. 1 Corinthians 15:58 seemed so vibrant in our consciousness, “Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord!”

October 2014

A Story to be Continued…

Abram should have rejected Sarah’s plan. Obtain-ing a child outside of God’s clear promise to Abram and Sarah was a huge mistake with bitter consequences. It set up a saga of conflict that contin-ues to this day. The world is at wits end how to solve it.

Frankly, there is no human solution. Many of Ishmael’s seed today do not want the conflict. Others (radicalized or convert-ed ones) would follow the Koranic teaching literally. It seems the “radicalized ones” now have the momentum and believe that “the sky is the limit” for their version of “Allah’s Kingdom” on earth.  Nothing short of Christ’s coming can settle the conflict between Ishmael’s and Jacob’s seed. Two days ago a man was arrested for alledgedly plan-ning to behead an innocent person in Sydney. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!” Ps. 122:6

Noteworthy Requests and News

Pray for true believers and churches in the Middle East who live in an atmosphere of fear and feel the brunt of the chaos that is fueling the spread of the so-called “Allah’s Kingdom.” This kingdom has no place for Christians or their churches, nor for other minorities.  In fact, there is no room even for variants within the religion of Islam.

The revamp of our website, www.MissionaryOutpost.com is now complete. Thank God for a couple of men in our church who made this possible. In the process I learned a lot and was able to assist with parts of the project! That’s exciting for an eighty-two year old! Take a look and give the website a grade. And I’d love to get an A for effort!

Fourteen students have asked to be enrolled in the Online Bible Survey Courses! We’re excited about that and we are praying for open doors for this Online ministry.

Pray for the National Baptist Fellowship coming soon in Sydney for pastors, missionaries and Christians to be encouraged.

August 2014

Both OT and NT Survey Courses
Now Online

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Expectations

We don’t expect many 80+ year-olds to enroll. But we do believe that there are numbers of keen laypeople who could have a great time spiritually taking up this free opportunity.

A group study at church is the ideal method, but online has its place since you can do it at home at your pace. It is a study course that will require dedication and effort, but there will be great benefit from this college-level study. People in different countries have taken the courses in a group setting from ages 16-85 and have testified to great blessing.

Prayer Requests

  • That the word will get around about the Online courses. Missionaries with English-speakers may benefit, even some home-schoolers. Pray that God will open doors to make these courses a blessing to many in a world made so small by the internet!
  • The pastor friend with a brain tumor is now with the Lord. Please pray for his wife Cathie. His son James is pastoring the church and needs prayer.

A dear Syrian pastor is here for a short visit to his brothers and our church. He graduated in the early eighties from Sydney Bible Baptist College and is pastoring in the “street called Straight” area. Death is never far away with shells and rockets falling indiscriminately. The church was hit once by a rocket but the people were not on the floor that was hit but on the other floor. His wife and two children are living and studying in America with his sisters while he is remaining in Syria to minister to his people. He said they had seen more people come to the Lord during these 3 years of war than they had the other 25 years combined! Please pray for this pastor whom we will call “Sam” and for his dear people, many of whom have no work due to the war. It’s hard to believe what’s happening there.