November 2008

Our trip to Melbourne and Adelaide for the National Baptist Fellowship went well. Thank you for praying. I was to speak at a church anniversary in Melbourne. It was a lovely day of fellowship with the church and pastor who had hosted the National Baptist Fellowship in 2007. The Lord blessed with an excellent day.

The brethren who put us up have a quail farm that incubates about 6000 quail eggs each week or so. I believe it was a kind of Japanese quail that grows bigger and better. That operation fascinated us since we both were brought up on farms! Kathleen once got into trouble with her dad because she was afraid that a snake might be in the henhouse when she needed to go gather the eggs one dark night!

Monday morning we flew to Adelaide in southern Australia for the 2008 National Baptist Fellowship.  The attendance was excellent with about 500-600 present in the larger evening service. The fellowship was sweet and the preaching edifying. The music program was first-class which lays the groundwork for an excellent meeting.

I sensed the Lord’s strength physically for my time of ministry. But most of all He touched hearts, especially young people, and that was a real answer to prayer. A pastor’s son who had been away from the Lord’s purpose for his life made a decision to come back. He testified to how the Lord used some difficult circumstances to break him recently, and when the challenge to let God break and use was given, he responded. We had known him since he was a child.

A young lady 21 years old came up and told me how that when she was a little girl of six years I had come over to her in the parking lot and had knelt and prayed for her. She said that had always been so precious and meant so much to her and that she could never forget it! I don’t really remember the incident, but both Kathleen and I love to talk to children and young people and challenge and pray for them. One never knows what an influence it could be! Needless to say, it was a special blessing divinely-wrapped and tenderly presented to us 15 years later!

Even today a man called our USA website number. We knew and loved his family in Lebanon. He was such a nice young man and had come to our camp and home many times. Now living in another part of the world, he said he often thought of us and had such  high respect for us. So last week he decided to put my name into an internet search and it came up! How we loved that nice young man, but Christ loved him so much more and died for the forgiveness of his sins! Our hearts jumped for joy at this restored contact with him after some 33 years. The Lord’s ways are wonderful and beyond our comprehension!

October 2008

A Texas church ran the Old Testament course last year with great success and blessing so I am told. Actually about half of the 22 students wanted to audit the course at first and not do all the work. After the first class, they changed their minds and started doing all the work and 20 have now finished the year’s course.  A number of them were older people and are ready to take the New Testament course which will be offered next year!

The big excitement for us this month is that our sending church, Temple Baptist Church in El Dorado, Kansas, with Pastor Ron Jones started the New Testament Bible History course meeting on Tuesday evening! Fifty-five people responded and started the group study! The ages of the students range from 15 to 84! Can you imagine that? An additional 40 people bought some or all of the New Testament materials (Handbook, DVDs, Workbook) to use or study at home. This all is great excitement for us old Temple Baptistites and would be a good send-off for us to Heaven, although I wouldn’t mind hanging around and seeing how it all goes and what else the Lord is going to do!

The Lord gave us some precious opportunities to minister to young people during the USA trip. Many testified to the Lord’s working in their lives in some very special meetings. What a privilege that the Lord can still use us to encourage these young lives! If nothing else, we could tell them that God is faithful and has not let us down even one time in these 58 years since being saved and surrendering to the call to the ministry!

May I again request prayer for the Regent’s Park church and their building project. This week they will be reviewing the commitments of the brethren for the building and decide what and how to do. This past year while they were waiting on the Council to finish some minor changes for the building permit, the price of the steel for the building increased about 65%. Please pray that the Lord will guide them and protect them from any hidden snares. Thank you for always being there for us!

September 2008

The first morning after our arrival in Kansas from Australia turned out to be a special day mixed with deep sadness and unusual joy. I first met Kathleen during a 1955 revival meeting being held in a rural area near Atlanta, Kansas. Doyle Hopper, my father in the ministry was preaching, Mike Schepis, a colleague pastoring in Wichita, was providing the vocal music and leading the singing, and I was playing the piano or organ. All these years we had been close friends, but now Mike was dying in the hospital. When we entered the room, his doctor, a believer, was singing to him, “There is a place of constant rest; near to the heart of God.”

His wife assured me that he did recognize me though he could not talk. I thought he faintly smiled once when I was talking about old ministry experiences. Mike and his wife had visited us both in Lebanon and in Australia. After prayer we left with an overwhelming sense of the nearness of heaven and how wonderful it will be for all of us to be with Christ. Mike checked out of that hospital that evening and took his place in Christ’s blessed presence never to suffer again. What a hope!

During our trip we met several people who want to use the New Testament Bible History  materials in different areas. One man plans to translate it into Chinese. A veteran Bible translator among tribes expressed his desire to get it translated into Burmese and into the hands of many national pastors in Burma. Another missionary plans to use the materials in Surinam for some English classes among the educated nationals and hopes to translate material into the local Dutch language as well. A chaplain is hoping to use it in his prison ministry. This is all very exciting to us!

One Bible college started using the New Testament Handbook as a companion text for their Bible Geography class. The professor likes to tie the geography to the history, and the Handbook does that in detail. Several homeschoolers bought both the Old and New Testament materials. Twenty-five NT Handbooks and twenty five NT Workbooks have been taken to Fiji for the Bible college, and they hope to soon start using them!

Please pray for a number of USA Bible colleges that are considering using the New Testament Bible History Handbook as a textbook for New Testament Survey. Several of our supporting churches have informed me that they are making plans to use the materials in a church institute class.  We are praying that many of our supporting churches will see the blessing of doing so and getting laypeople into a structured study of God’s Word in a group setting.

Thanks to all of you for praying for the trip. One further instalment of news will finish it off next month! Please pray for our National Baptist Fellowship to be held in Adelaide, South Australia at the end of the month. I need your prayers for my small part in the speaking. And please pray for the Croydon Park church (now called Regents Park church) which is facing important decisions about building a new church. They moved out of the old church property and have been meeting in a public community center for about two years. Building costs have soared, interest rates are up, and they need lots of money and wisdom to know how to proceed with the building of the new church!

August 2008

No, we are not deceased; we have just been away from home living out of a suitcase! We failed to keep you informed but we will now try to compensate. We are presently safely and happily back in Australia in our own beds!.

God gave us a wonderful and memorable trip with so many mercies in the face of every concern we had. Kathleen was very concerned about the driving in strange places and the strength to drive, but God graciously revealed His keeping hand and abundant strength. She so wanted to help me to go and do what was in my heart, and the Lord answered.

God opened the door for me to speak to about 500 young people and staff in a vibrant Bible college. The response of these young people was exciting and moving. Thank God for many young people who want to be used of God and to take the place of us who are passing off the scene!

A magnificent highlight of the trip was our stay in Temple Baptist Church in El Dorado, Kansas, with Pastor Ron Jones. We stayed at the church in a lovely little apartment, and we just loved it. We had the opportunity of getting to know so many of these wonderful people and ministering to them several times. Brother Jones and his wife and staff are great and energetic friends to us oldies!

These three weeks were a dream come true. Memories of the past flooded our minds. I came to this town in 1954 as a single preacher with a heart burdened to start an independent Baptist church. We even entered the one-room above-garage apartment (bathroom downstairs with the car) and found the same red sofa that was there when we were married and moved in! The lady who owns the property couldn’t believe that anyone could ever have live there! But we did, and we were never happier. We don’t even remember coming down the crickety stairs, walking across the unheated garage and taking a shower in that crude toilet and shower!

Really, it was luxury compared to our childhood when we trudged 30-40 yards through the cold and snow to an “out-house” toilet. Toilet-tissue was generally a page out of a mail-order catalog placed there for the occasion! We easily forget how things used to be!

God bless El Dorado’s Temple Baptist Church and pastor! Our hearts are filled with gratitude to God for a church that has kept the faith and is faithfully fighting the good fight and pursuing the same course upon which it was established 54 years ago!

May 2008

Thank you for your prayers and concern for us and for what we are endeavouring to do for the Lord. We are constantly overwhelmed by how He has so richly blessed us with His abundant mercies!

Two years ago we celebrated fifty years of marriage. Now this month we are celebrating 50 years as servants to the Arabic people in Lebanon and Australia! What a privilege it has been.

Kathleen saw the cardiologist today after several tests. He is quite confident that the irregular heart rhythms are irrelevant to the symptoms she is experiencing, so they will have to look elsewhere for the cause. They will continue with those tests after our imminent trip to the USA.

I will be performing the marriage ceremony of a Lebanese couple on Sunday. The young man was saved in Lebanon through the believers who were with me in our church there for many years.  The bride’s parents were members of the Arabic church in Blacktown where I pastored for four years. That church was also started out of our main church in Sydney.

The Gospel net swings wide and deep, so it is thrilling to see how God brings so many individual pieces of what seems an impossible puzzle into a beautiful picture that brings glory to His Name! We are so blessed and consoled to see that truly “our labour is not in vain in the Lord!”

We do pray for you our friends and your needs that God will continue to richly bless and use you. We look forward to a fruitful, blessed trip to the USA.  Thanks for praying for us.

April 2008

A friend from Lebanon emailed a virus warning message. I responded saying that we didn’t have any computer viruses nor physical viruses. I said the only virus we had was a long-time love for the Lebanese people and that we were not being able to get rid of that virus! The friend wrote back with the wish that we would never get over that virus and that she wished the people in Lebanon would get the same virus!

The Lord willing we will take a trip to the USA this summer. It will be a chance to attend some conferences, visit a few churches and to see family. We want to promote the study courses, The New and Old Testament Bible History Illustrated.

A national missionary to India previously unknown to us contacted us about purchasing the New Testament Handbook, DVDs and course materials for use in his Bible college in India! So we arranged for 100 extra sets of the Handbook and Workbook to be printed for the man to pick up in Hyderabad, India. It thrills us to think how the Lord can use these materials in places where we will probably never know nor visit.

Please join us in prayer that God will open doors in many churches where these study materials can be a tool for blessing among God’s people. A large Independent Baptist college has adopted the Handbook as the textbook for New Testament History or Survey. Other colleges are considering it for a textbook. We will be running the New Testament course in a summer session of a Bible college during our USA visit.

Thank God for Temple Baptist Church of El Dorado, Kansas, our sending church, which will be distributing these materials in the USA. That is a huge blessing to us in this endeavor of faith.

We would appreciate your prayers for Kathleen as she is having some tests in in an attempt to get some answers to her physical ailments. The cardiologist believes that the tests can sort things out by the time we travel, so please join us in intercession for this matter.

March 2008

We’re rejoicing and celebrating the faithfulness of God! On Valentine’s Day we finished the project at nine in the evening! I took the last DVD in to check it and found an obvious mistake on one of the visuals, so I corrected it, set-up the encoding process again which takes most of the night. Early the next morning I rebuilt and burned that last DVD and took them all to the man who is converting them to NTSC, the video format which is used in the USA and several other countries like Japan.

The printing of the book was scheduled to start this week in India. So we feel like a mountain has been moved from in front of us! The long days of 12-15 hours of work were becoming wearisome, so we are filled with gratitude to God for His sustaining strength that took us to the culmination of the project. Please pray for the Lord’s blessing upon the printing and shipping of the books to Australia and to Temple Baptist Church in El Dorado, Kansas.

I promised some testimonies of people who took the New Testament course in the 2007 pilot program, so here are a few:
*“This was a very practical course. A highlight was the experiences of the long ministry of the author which were condensed and passionately poured into the Bible teaching throughout the course and especially in the Logs on the Fire!”
*“This is a  unique study experience which connected me to the NT world. I gained real insight as to how, where and why each book was written. The Words to Note section of the Handbook brought NT words to real life in their historical and cultural context. The author’s experiences added a special flavor of interest to the course. My knowledge of the NT has been greatly increased as has my desire to apply what I have learned.”
*“Thank you for putting together this New Testament Survey Course on DVD.  I have enjoyed it and am still enjoying the format whereby I am forced to read the Bible books with the respective Review Notes to search for the answers to the Review Questions. This course has challenged me to be more disciplined in my study. The colourful pictures and the “Logs on the Fire” messages made the course even more interesting.  I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to have an overview of the New Testament.”
*“I really do appreciate all the hard work and time spent on putting this material together. It is really clear and easy to follow. It has much background material with many insights that I was not aware of.  It is very useful now as I read the New Testament and results in my getting a lot more out of my Bible study.”

A working mother wrote: “I am grateful for the tremendous effort put in to make  NT Bible History happen; it kept us captivated and made it so much easier to understand each book. We thank God for such a faithful servant and teacher. I highly recommend this course.”

An involved pastor wrote: “I have found this course to be balanced, informative and spiritually challenging. The lectures in company with the study material are very well presented and accurate. The course has stimulated growth in the lives of Christians as they came to a better understanding of the contents of the New Testament. I whole heartily endorse this course.”

Thanks to all of you who held us up in prayer for this project.

December 2007

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a blessed Christmas and a fruitful New Year! The weeks and months and years click off so quickly. Truly life is but a vapor as James tells us.

The 2007 Bible college year is now complete. We also completed the pilot program for the year of New Testament Bible History in the six extension locations, three of which we personally ran weekly. Graduation Fellowship Week was a great blessing and well attended. One hundred certificates were given out for the college extension classes and four students graduated from the college.

The guest speaker for the Graduation Week was Pastor Ron Jones from Temple Baptist Church in El Dorado, Kansas. This is the first church I planted as a young man back in 1954. Pastor Jones was the first pastor from this our sending church to visit us either in Lebanon or Australia, so we were really excited about this “first-in-fifty-years” occasion! He and his wife were such a blessing to us, and it was a big highlight of 2007. Several people were saved in the meetings he preached as well as a good response from Christians. A combined youth rally was held with about 300 youth in attendance. The Lord touched the heart of a young man to whose family we had ministered in the past and he accepted Christ. Pastor Jones really relates to youth and God blessed his ministry here.

We took Pastor and Mrs. Jones to meet with two of the New Testament Bible History extension classes where we heard the testimonies of the students. One couple from Cambodia and Hong Kong, relatively new Christians from a Buddhist background, took the course. Both are accountants and have to drive 45 minutes plus each way from home to the church. So every Monday night they would come for the class, sometimes in separate cars when they didn’t finish work together so that both would not be late. They gave glowing testimonies of how they had learned so much and grown so much in the Lord through the year of study. The wife thanked me for the quizzes and exams saying that they helped her to really absorb what she had studied!

Thankfully, we have completed proofreading and corrections on the New Testament Bible History Handbook and will soon be sending it for printing. Hopefully it will be available in April of 2008.

In the next letter we will send some testimonies of the students which will be of interest to you who pray and are concerned with what God is doing in lives here. Again, we pray you will enjoy a spiritual Christmas and concluding yet another year of life’s short pilgrimage.

November 2007

Another letter came from the Philippines telling of a Bible institute running the Old Testament Bible History course. A picture was attached showing the students in class. It was such a blessing for us to see them getting some spiritual benefit out of something that God burdened us to do here in another country. People we won’t meet this side of Heaven can benefit from our ministry here!

We are working long and hard towards completion of the New Testament course. I have finished the first phase of editing the DVDs and am now started through the second phase. The second phase involves, in most cases, adding considerably more visuals, maybe double the original number or more and bringing everything up to a certain quality standard that represents the best we can do. The second phase involves a lot of work but not as much as the first phase. We are monitoring the lessons at least three times each week in the classes running under our supervision. Hopefully we will catch most of the obvious mistakes and correct them.

Please pray that we might have wisdom in knowing where and how to print the Handbook for the course. A decision will have to be taken soon, and right now we are not sure what is best. The Lord willing, we hope to make a trip to the USA next year, maybe in May, so we need to have the books printed and delivered before then.

Thank you for praying for the National Baptist Fellowship which was held in Melbourne last month. It was a great week of fellowship and blessing. The preaching was inspiring and edifying. There was a terrific spirit of blessing with many decisions and even several salvation decisions. Large numbers of young people were there and responded to the preaching and invitations. The evening meetings were attended by 1000-1100 and the day sessions maybe had around 600+ in attendance. We returned to Sydney rejoicing over the blessings of the week and what God is doing among the independent Baptists of this country.

September 2007

There is always so much for which to thank our wonderful Lord. He has so graciously given strength for us to continue doing what He has burdened us to do! There is good news on the “sight front” with no further haemorrhaging in my eye and continued progress! Kathleen struggles at times with her special routine of physical weaknesses and crash-times, but she still keeps everything running in the home and in the role she so vitally plays in what I am doing. Please pray for her.

We have also been encouraged with several new Bible History classes. A church in the USA has begun the Old Testament course in their Bible institute for some keen men. Another church in the USA is starting the Old Testament course for keen laypeople to further their knowledge of the Bible. Some will do the full complement of work and others will audit the course without doing all the work.

Our website, has been redone by a Lebanese friend here in Sydney. A Lebanese friend in Lebanon created it for me in the beginning! So without our beloved Lebanese, we wouldn’t have a website! You can always find our prayer letters under new postings or just click on Current Newsletter from the Hesters when you open up the site.

One new feature on the website is a video demo with six segments taken from the Old and New Testament Bible History courses. There is less quality online but it isn’t bad and gives a good sampling of the type of studies which are involved. Each segment is about eight minutes in length:
– Personal Testimony
– Course Overview
– Paul’s First Missionary Journey
– Paul’s Reflections before Imminent Death
– Marriage and Slavery according to Peter
– Re-visiting Mt. Sinai
– Tell Jericho-an event which occurred some 3400 years ago
– Hezekiah’s Tunnel Constructed in a Troubled Jerusalem

In two weeks we will be travelling to Melbourne for the annual National Baptist Fellowship. Pray for a great meeting and that my little contribution in preaching will be anointed and used of the Lord.

July 2007

Sydney Bible Baptist College is winding down the first semester of study with only two weeks left to go. Two new student applications are in the pipeline for the new semester which excites us. We don’t usually see many new students coming in the middle of the year.

Thank you for praying for the college. I believe we are at an important point with the new pastor couple soon to be on campus for the second semester. That will give us leeway to restructure the overall curriculum of the college for perhaps a better and wider impact. Everyone is excited at what God is doing. A large special gift was given that will meet the financial commitment of the college to the new staff for the remainder of the year. That was a great blessing of God upon the college ministry that is not dependent upon any support outside Australia.

Please pray for Pastor Mario Schiavone who is doing a wonderful job leading the college as the pastor of the sponsoring church. Pastor Sam Joukhadar is the executive assistant to the principal and is so productive and efficient in his many labours for the college. Now with Pastor Trevor Ringwaldt and his wife coming to the campus, the teaching staff will be enhanced, the dorm students will be well looked after, and there will be an expansion of the college ministry among the churches with Pastor Ringwaldt’s travelling ministry on weekends and special occasions.

My place in all of this is to be of any help and counsel I can be to the overall thrust of the ministry and to encourage these faithful men and the other pastors who teach in the college. I don’t have a lot of physical strength to give to the principal’s position, but I still have a good head of grey hair and 53 dedicated years of experience for whatever that may or may not be worth!

Recently my left eye haemorrhaged breaking into the inner part filling it with blood. This caused a lot of floaties and goop though I don’t have but a bit of peripheral sight in that nearly blind eye. It also strongly influences my total sight with the other eye as well as causing nausea and lack of balance. The specialist was alarmed at the very high pressure in the haemorrhaged eye and planned a surgical procedure to remove the blood if the eye didn’t respond to medication to bring the pressure down. Thankfully the eye did respond almost immediately, and we are praying for that continued response. If the pressure stays under control, the eye can be left, and the blood will gradually be absorbed and dissipate, though that could take months to happen.

The first great blessing is that it was in the bad eye and not in the good one. I pray for God to preserve that one good eye even with its limited vision. Its 25% of normal vision along with the aid of computers and big screens allow me a fruitful connection with the world of sight for which I am so grateful to God. Thanks to all of you for your prayers and encouragement to us. God has been so gracious!

May 2007

God has answered prayer concerning an older pastor and his family who will be coming to live and serve in the college. They are godly and faithful people who will be a positive asset to the ministry in Sydney. He is gifted in building as well and will be a blessing on the campus. His wife is an excellent teacher for the ladies, so that will be another plus for the college ministry. They still have two lovely girls at home (in their twenties). This will be, however, a financial challenge for the college and we covet your continued prayers.

I have taught Systematic Theology at the college here for thirty years and will be turning that class over to the new pastor on the college team. I still teach Old Testament Bible History and New Testament Bible History, both of which I have developed (or am developing) as a DVD college extension course.

A pastor unknown to us called recently from a Middle Eastern country to ask how he could get the Old Testament course to use in his ministry there. He had heard about it from a church in the Philippines who had used it. The church in the Philippines just finished their first run of the course for 15-20 keen professional people who wanted to study God’s Word in a structured course. So it was a joy to talk to this pastor in the Middle East and encourage him in this way. We mailed him a complete set of 30 DVDs along with the four books of materials.

We find a real joy and satisfaction in being able to have a small ministry and input into the lives of people we’ve never met in a place we’ve never been! This past month we also gave sets of the Old Testament course to a missionary in Samoa and another missionary in Paraguay in South America. The missionary in Paraguay wants to take the course for his own edification and encouragement after which time he may be able to use it with students in his country in English as well as translating some of it into Spanish. The wife of a missionary in Japan requested the course for her husband who wanted it. When she surprised him with it at Christmas, he wept according to guests from Australia who were visiting at the time. He is a graduate of our Sydney college.

We are personally running three of the New Testament Bible History classes weekly. This gives us a golden opportunity to monitor and correct any mistakes in the book, materials and DVDs. The last instalment of the textbook was printed last month as well as the workbook. So now we are down to editing the remaining eight lessons from the thirty-lesson series! Believe me, that is another big answer to prayer!

We still have the final corrections to make to the textbook before printing it in its final version. Pray for God’s direction on where and how we should print it. The DVDs will need another fine-tune before printing them in their final form (and before converting them to the USA NTSC video format). After that we can go through the copyright procedures and then, finally, commit the results of what has been a long and tedious project to our Lord Who burdened us to do it and miraculously sustained us throughout the work!

March 2007

February 5th was D-Day for our project-in-making of the past two and one-half years. On that date we would hopefully start using the New Testament Bible History Illustrated course at Sydney Bible Baptist College. The goal was to finish all possible on the formatting, proofreading and arranging of the textbook for the course. I started writing it at the beginning of the process. Out of the thirty lessons to be edited and made into DVDs, I set a goal of 15 which would allow me time to finish the other fifteen during the school year and keep ahead of the classes. Then, the Workbook with review questions from which quizzes would be made, class sheets to fill out during the viewing of the DVD would need to be in place, at least some of them. The Supervisor’s Manual would also have all class materials with answer keys.

The Christian friend formatting the book did a big hunk of the work before he had to stop to do other things. As a result we desperately needed help to carry on that work (unless we just gave out our simple draft notes).

The Lord in His unique way brought people to help us. Two Australian pastors who were good with the Publisher computer program on which the work was being done did some valuable formatting work as did two girls from the Arabic churches here. I wrote the pastor of my sending church in El Dorado, Kansas, and the icing on the cake came with the secretary (of that same church we established in Kansas 53 years ago) stepping into the gap to finish off the formatting work with the Pastoral and General Epistles. I had formatted James but didn’t have the time or strength to do any more. A Bible college student who is a graphic artist did the work on a nice cover insert for the notebook that would hold the material as it was completed during the year. The book will be printed and properly bound in the future.
The first two weeks of school in February were hectic, and we wondered if we could ever get through what we needed to do. Kathleen was working long hours every day proofreading, then coming in and working with me to correct the Publisher documents as well as the other materials that needed correcting.

The first college class started with 12 students taking the first quiz. The first Monday evening Extension School session was held on the college premises and ended up with 42 in attendance counting one new man who joined late! That really excited us! Among them were many from the two Arabic churches I’ve pastored in the past, including one of the pastors and his wife!

Maybe it seems to you that this is all a lot of “fuss” about so little! Certainly it is little, but I have found in 56 years of preaching that little things representing holy desires, sacrifice and effort can be used of God, sometimes in big ways in the long term. God put the desire in my heart to do this project in a stage of my life which would be the biggest challenge I had ever faced. The physical ills caused me to wonder many times if I could ever finish the project. All of the typing, camera work for filming the lectures, computer work on editing the films and making the DVDs were done with my one feeble eye and fingers that entertain arthritis in its beginning stages. Many days the chronic fatigue led me to question the entire project. But God! He is faithful Who will do it!

Many friends here were praying for us and encouraging us. Many friends across the seas were holding us up in prayer to be able to finish something small that was very important to us! So all the fuss about this “little thing” could be justified, I believe! Three other churches here have also started running the course. All we have to do is to keep up the momentum on the materials and finish them off before they are needed. Kathleen and I are running the College course plus two nights of the evening extension schools each week. Thanks to all of you for praying for this “little project” and helping create all this fuss about so little!

December 2006

I would like to fill you in on some of the prayer requests of the recent past. About Rachel and her father: Rachel has a continued “clear” from the MRI in regards to her recent tumour and two brain surgeries. Her pastor father has just been released from the hospital after some five to six months with TB meningitis. After three weeks he will be readmitted to a rehab hospital. The disease brought on a stroke, so he can’t walk and one arm is also incapacitated. He has made much progress and is blessed to be alive and improving, thank God!

In regards to the Iraqi couple and son who disappeared, their remaining daughter is now in Australia with relatives. She is a first or second-year university student. We met her in the Arabic church and tried to be of comfort and encouragement to her. Her parents are Christians, and nothing has been heard or known of them since they disappeared while driving home from a church camp in Iraq.

We were so proud of the Arabic church that hosted the National Baptist Fellowship recently in Sydney. About a thousand were in attendance for a wonderful Fellowship meeting. A pastor father and son from the USA were the special speakers and were a great blessing. I could not but think of thirty years ago and the founding of the Arabic ministry in Sydney when they were new immigrants who did not always enjoy the acceptance of the Australian society, which is a fairly normal reaction in any society where new immigrants are entering and getting jobs and starting businesses.

Now, thirty years later, this church hosted the three-day meeting on a level that has not been paralleled, in my view, during the thirty years I have attended these meetings. The large number of members involved in the work was fabulous. The zeal, the warmth and the efficiency of the host pastor and church were all of unusual stature, and we were so thankful for what God has done and is doing through them. They are displaying the meetings of the Fellowship on their web site at: I spoke on Tuesday evening about one hour and fifteen minutes into the session on The Ministry and The Earthen Vessel just in case someone is interested. It can easily be downloaded if a fast internet line is available.

November 2006

Kathleen’s salon (front room) is a testimony to the grace of God at work in her otherwise neat and orderly life. Most of the furniture has been moved out the past six months, and the neat, respectable showcase has been converted into a messy recording studio with spotlights reflecting light off of four large discarded real estate signs! The picture wall is hidden behind a large sheet of composite board which holds large background pictures for the recording. The only comfort as one enters the distraught salon is a big picture of the Holy Land casting its shadow of hope over the distressing scene!

The recording phase of the New Testament project is finished except for one lesson and a demo DVD which will be left to the end to tie up any loose ends. The wonderful physical relief from the daily extreme fatigue remained for the months of the recording. The week after the recording finished, the fatigue returned in part, though not as extreme and regular as before. Thank you for praying! We are so thankful for God’s merciful blessings!

After some frustration and delay with equipment and software, the editing phase of the project film has now started in earnest. With many long hours I hope to be able to finish one lesson each week. At that rate about half of the editing will be completed by the time the 2007 college year begins on February the first. I have committed to running the course in the college day-session and evening extension as well as a church or two who want to run the course on a weeknight.

The prayer challenge is for the strength to do this. Along with the initiation of the editing work has come some arthritis in both hands that hinder my long hours on the computer. Would you please pray for relief to meet this challenge. The burden and desire are so heavy on my heart to finish this project.

Yesterday I received a letter from a new Australian missionary in another country that gave me further impetus to finish the New Testament project. Some excerpts are as follows:
“Firstly, I wanted to say that the O T Bible History course that you provided to me has been a great blessing, not only to the students, but to me also. I am sure you have experienced many times in your years in the ministry, that the Lord would use someone to say something that is appropriate for your situation at that particular time, and that person had no idea that that was the case! Well, the Lord has used you through the course to do that. So I thank the Lord for using you in that way. Secondly, I also had a number of requests for copies of the set (from national pastors), which I have nicely declined (until he gets our permission). I have the first group of 8 students about to finish the course (and pass). I let them do all the questions in the quizzes and tests (i.e I didn’t reduce the number of questions). I have some more students that are at different stages of completion… Thanks again for being a blessing to us.”

I cannot express my feeling of joy, that completely unknown to us, God’s people in another country are being encouraged and built up through our labours here! This is only a “drop in the bucket” of what God is doing and can do through these two projects of the Old and New Testaments as helpful tools for building up and training God’s people. So God has motivated us to press forward to completion; only we need some small relief which God can give. Thank you for making this a matter for intercession before our great God! Thank you sincerely for your help and encouragement.

September 2006

Some things in life rate extra special and fifty years of happy marriage stand high on the list. Going about life today as total white-haired strangers to others, we even find ourselves being made over as so “cute and unusual,” because of the way we act with each other! To us it’s normal; maybe that’s what makes us so abnormal in the eyes of a society that is so accustomed to broken homes.

While training for the ministry in college, I didn’t have a lot of time to think about a future wife, and, frankly, I just didn’t find the right one! After graduating from college, I went to El Dorado, Kansas, and worked in the establishment of my first church, Temple Baptist Church. My dear mother was most concerned with her son and feared that he had some aversion to marriage. Again, I was terribly busy pastoring, working on a church building and then working as an electrician to keep body and soul together. And, frankly, I just hadn’t met the right one.

That “deplorable state of affairs” dragged on until I went to a nearby country area to play the piano and organ for a revival meeting being conducted by my home pastor and another pastor friend who was leading the singing and singing (he had a lovely Italian singing voice). A high school senior in the area wanted to attend those meetings but had to finish a lot of ironing before she would be allowed to do so. Her church didn’t care much for “revival meetings,” and this young lady had dared to question the assertion of her pastor that Jesus was not born of a virgin!

I barely met that unusual young lady at the last of those meetings. But a mutual pastor friend would later play cupid and got us together. Our “courting days” took place on a red sofa in the front room of her home where I taught her the book of Romans and where we talked about what we might do with our lives. I discovered that this young lady had a tremendous love for Christ. In fact, she had long prayed to marry a preacher and made herself available to serve Christ even on the mission field if He so commanded.

It was a hot day in July fifty years ago when we committed to love and treasure each other until death changed things. Our honeymoon of three days was nourished with watermelon and baloney sandwiches! Our salary was $15 per/week at Temple Baptist Church. But never have we been happier than we were in those days.

Kathleen has ever been a dedicated wife, so unselfish with me, and never has she balked at any price we needed to pay to serve God. First it was as a pastor’s wife in El Dorado, then preparation for Lebanon when she got her Bible college training while I was on deputation, then seventeen strenuous years in Lebanon. Following that brush with death, it has been thirty years in Australia with great blessing as well as great trials.

She has been so unselfish in giving herself to our wonderful daughters and in serving a sick husband for most of the Australian experience. Sixteen years ago she became the sole driver to get me everywhere I needed to go. With my damaged sight and hearing, she is a veritable external eye and ear to me. She is a jewel in the crown of ministry to which we’ve been privileged to participate, and she is ever that dedicated home maker and companion with whom it is a joy to share life.

God has been so gracious to us. We celebrated fifty wonderful years with another wonderful day. It is, indeed, very “cute and unusual” in a day when marriage has become so trite and fickle. May God bless Kathleen and give her many more spiritual sons and daughters who are influenced by her life and example. She is, as Proverbs 31:30 says, greatly to be praised. I thank God every day for her; “Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

June 2006

The real burden God has placed heavily on my heart these days is to complete the New Testament Bible History Illustrated study series. It looks to be a 26-lesson series which will take almost a full school year to study, if the student takes one session each week. The first draft of the textbook has been written and is about 425 letter size pages in length. Now the work of writing the lectures and recording them on video is well underway. Following the completion of that phase, we will start editing the films with visuals, maps and photos added in. Each phase takes a great deal of time and work, but we are making good progress, thanks be to God.

At the end of last year, I began having bouts of extreme chronic fatigue almost every day. This fatigue affects every area of ability to accomplish what one desires to do. There has been a lot of this fatigue with the MS through the years, but I hadn’t had it this extreme for a long time, and neither had I had it so regular as it was this time, almost every day. It really slowed my work on the project.
Thank God that about two months ago relief came (no known reason except the mercy of our Lord), and I have been able to really make a dent in the current phase of the New Testament project! I am so thankful and so thrilled at what God has done. Thank you for your prayers.

I realize that we live in weak, frail bodies that are winding down for our exodus from this world. This heavy burden to finish this project may be working against a deadline, I don’t know. But life is not going to get easier, and the burden is there, so I am working hard! I would like to leave something in this world besides a tombstone with my name engraved on it. Of course, we want to leave the testimony of lives that were spent for God, but it would be nice to be able to leave something a bit tangible that might actively play a part in ministry. I believe that can be done through these Old and New Testament Bible History study series. So please continue to pray with us about the completion of the New Testament project.

A couple of weeks ago, the eye specialist who diagnosed the MS that was taking my sight some twenty years ago, also fears that he sees the beginning of macular degeneration in my one good eye which is already working at about 25% original potential. It is unrelated to MS, and he said it likes old people! I came home a bit discouraged about that, but again, I put it on the altar and gave it to God. That’s what I did twenty years ago, and the doctors said I definitely would not get any remission, but the Lord saw otherwise and gave me remission for a number of years now. So God knows about the new development, and He is in control.

We pray God’s blessing on all of you and deeply appreciate your prayers and concern. One quick request: the pastor who is the father of Rachel, the young lady who had a brain tumor whom I have requested prayer for the past year, has been sick for about three weeks with a severe headache and vomiting. Please pray for Fred and his family who have been through such a trial this past year. The doctors haven’t been able to discover what is causing it.

May 2006

Kathleen’s mother, at 100 years of age, fell into a coma and departed to be with her Lord in March. Kathleen has always wanted to be with her family for the funeral, and I had the privilege of presenting a plain Gospel message. Our daughter Melody and children presented music for the funeral as well.

It was not a sad time though “goodbyes” are always difficult. She was saved and a member of a Gospel-preaching Baptist church in her town. Her pastor had some very timely remarks about her life and stand for righteousness in the wider community. The local newspaper editor who had consistently been her philosophical opponent, wrote an unusual article commending her willingness to stand for right and to promote it in a very balanced and logical way. Had she been able to read his article, I’m sure she would literally have sat up and turned over in her grave!

We did not know this, but he said her stand (and another person or two) against alcohol had blocked the sale of alcohol in the town until very recently, which was amazing. Her pastor related of her keenness about every sermon he preached and about her attempts to help his grammar! She put tracts in with bills she paid by mail. As a little girl she had come to Kansas in a covered wagon. Truly she was an unusual lady with a keen intellect, writing ability and love for the truth. We were thankful for the testimony she left among many.

We spent 2+ weeks with our daughter and family and returned at the end of March. God really did miraculously in giving me strength for the trip, since I had been having a real bout with extreme fatigue. Also, the Lord allowed me the opportunity and strength to preach in Temple Baptist Church, our sending church in El Dorado, Kansas. It was such a blessed time for us to see this wonderful church and pastor again.

Your prayers are greatly appreciated; God is answering prayer. I’ve had some better days recently healthwise and have been able to accomplish some ministry goals. I would like to request prayer for the Croydon Park church regarding their big move. Pray for the sale of the parsonage. The church sale will be completed at the end of May, so the money from the house is sorely needed.

Please pray for the health of the independent Baptist churches in Lebanon and blessing upon their ministry in that needy country so dear to our hearts..

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!”