December 2010

A Bible Conference marked the close of the Sydney Bible Baptist College school year. The preaching was challenging and the fellowship was sweet! Groups from several churches contributed to an extra special musical program that honored our Lord.


This year has witnessed the opening of several doors in Bible colleges in the Philippines for the Bible survey material that is now completed and in stock.


An invitation has been extended for me to speak in a missions conference in a church in Manila the second week of February. Several hundred pastors will also be present. The pastor has graciously scheduled for me to meet with these pastors to discuss the possible use of the Old and New Testament survey materials in their Bible colleges and institutes.


Would you please pray for:


  1. This visit to be blessed of God in opening long-term doors for this material to be a blessing to many Bible college students in the Philippines
  2. Our need of divine wisdom in setting things up to work practically
  3. Our need for special strength to fill the busy schedule of meetings and speaking engagements in several churches and Bible colleges


Finally, the conclusion of yet another year fills our hearts with praise and gratitude to God for His unnumbered blessings upon these unworthy servants. And “thanks be to God for His Unspeakable Gift” whose coming is marked even in the shopping malls of our world with beautiful music and moving words so profound, but seemingly uncomprehended by the oblivious multitudes of milling shoppers. May God give all of you a blessed Christmas!

November 2010

November 14, 2010 was an historic day for us! We’ve had some big event points in our lives, and this was one of them! It lacked two days of being exactly 34 years since our arrival in Australia.


Thirty-four years ago we had the joy of seeing God miraculously work upon our arrival with unusual results in the Arabic ministry, the likes of which we had never before seen in our years of ministry in Lebanon. That joy was compounded when the Lord opened the door for us to purchase the Croydon Park property which served Faith Baptist Church for over thirty years.


But Council intransigence and technicalities hindered any attempts to expand the facilities to contain the growing congregation, so Pastor Nabil and the congregation took the step by faith to sell all the properties and buy a new property where adequate facilities could be built. That eventually involved the church moving into a rented Council Community Center which was home to the church for 2.5 years.


When everyone walked into the opening service in the new facilities Sunday morning past, there was an air of excitement to say the least! It had been a long journey, but now we were there! At the insistence of Pastor Nabil, an unusual and gracious son in the ministry, I was the morning speaker  and he would translate the message into Arabic for the joint Arabic and English congegations.


A number of unsaved people were present along with a number of friends and well-wishers which swelled the attendance up to almost 400. Personally, I was so excited that I had difficulty getting to sleep Saturday night!


God’s blessing in allowing us to see and have a part in this important second phase of the church was overwhelming to our minds and emotions!


The new building will give adequate space for the congregation to grow to double or three times its present size. It contains two auditoriums (a picture of one of them is shown) and a large fellowship hall which also can be turned into a basketball court. All three can be opened up and form one huge auditorium! Pastor Nabil and his wife are doing a great job leading the church. The evangelistic outreach each week, the teaching of the people all the counsel of God through preaching and special classes for keen members to study the Word of God and how to minister-all is unusual and glorifying to God!


Pastor Nabil has lots of plans and dreams to further expand the church ministry of winning and teaching people! We’re so thankful to be able to be a part of it! And we constantly thank God for raising up godly and capable men to lead these two Sydney churches which have been the objects of our concern and ministry during these many years.


Two photos help tell the story of the new spacious and beautiful facilities. You can also view a presentation shown at the opening Sunday morning on the web at


The opening sermon is also on the same website.  The prayers of many people helped through the years to bring the church to this exciting phase!

August 2010

How old is “old?” These days I often say that I am “feeling old!” Both Kathleen and I seem to have recently burst into that new world of experiences peculiar to “old people!” Greatly diminished stamina, aches and pains moving around to new places. When the subject comes up, I am immediately exhorted by friends that I am only as old as I think I am (power of positive thinking). Or, I am only as old as I feel I am (power of denial). Yesterday I was told that I am only as old as my heart is (power of heredity).


Yes, I know I was born in 1932, but how old am I really? I’m confused between what I feel and what my friends tell me. So to escape from this distressing predicament I hopefully went to Psalms 90:10 which gave me a fright: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten (70 years); and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years (80 years), yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” So it appears I’ve been living on “borrowed time” for over eight years full of “labour and sorrow!”


How old is old? Well, Abraham died at 175 full of years. “Full” means abounding but it has the strong meaning of “satisfaction or satisfied” which crowned Abraham’s years. King David died at 70 and Solomon at about 60. All three of these are said to have died “full of years or days.”


Life for the Christian is not measured so much by years as it is by a quality or fullness of years. Paul insisted that to live (at any age) is Christ in all His richness and fullness.  He had learned to be satisfied and content at whatever age, in whatever situation and in whatever feeling (pain, distress, etc).

Yes, we’re getting old; we’re living on borrowed time full of labour and sorrow, but we’re also full of satisfaction and contentment ever thanking God for His innumerable mercies toward us!


I have to confess that for most of my 78 years I haven’t longed for heaven as I should. I’ve been immersed in what I believed God wanted me to do. Heaven was a glorious prospect to which I joyfully subscribed, but to actually go, not now! Perhaps that isn’t all wrong because God did give us this desire to live and achieve. But as the physical abilities begin to wane and ebb away, that longing for the perfection of our heavenly hope and the glory of Christ’s presence begins to blossom and fill the days of our years. The “borrowed time” full of labour and sorrow prepares us for that heavenly home.


How old am I? I pray God might say that I am “full of days,” immersed in satisfaction with what God has graciously chosen for me until He chooses to take me out of this earthly portion of my journey.

July 2010

It is true that every day is the Lord’s day and that we should rejoice and be glad in it (Ps. 118:24)! The “bad days” can be so much easier when we remember that.


Today, it has become very popular to pretend that a Christian should be a “blind optimist” and never admit “bad days,” as if it is a mark of spirituality to feign perfect strength and victory every moment. After all, didn’t Paul say in 2 Cor. 2:14, “Thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ?”


Verily Paul did say that, but he also said a number of other things, like 2 Cor. 2:13, “I had no rest in my spirit.” Can you believe what he said in 2 Cor. 1:8, “We were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.”


Paul did not hesitate to admit weakness and the “bad days.” The difference between Paul and many of us is that he also never failed to raise the banner of hope in God’s promise, though he may, at the time, have found comfort only by faith in a “good day” yet invisible to him.


Kathleen is having a “bad day” with an increase in the severity of some long-time symptoms and a struggle with memory.  Please pray as she has some tests during this month. The young man, the ball player, whom we mentioned in previous newsletters, has had a re-occurrence of the lymphoma shortly after the full chemo treatment. Plus it has spread to another organ. This young man is being “pressed out of measure above strength.” It is a “bad day” and he must focus on hope in Christ, “Who raiseth the dead” to manage this threatening day.


On the victory side, I had a great day last week when the project  of the OT DVDs (30 hours worth) was completed! Sometimes I wondered if I would ever get to that “day” but it happened by God’s grace and strength! I feel a heavy burden lifted because the Lord had put that burden on my heart to do this project. Thanks be to God for this victory!

April 2010

Along the way of life we have the privilege of meeting special people who are a blessing to us, even though we are endeavoring to be a blessing to them.

A girl whom we have known for years got married. Her life had been filled with tragedy. Her mother had suffered a violent death at the hands of hoodlums. Her home was filled with unhappiness. She now has children and we determined to break through the somber loneliness of one of the children. We would hug this little girl and express our love to her every time we saw here. Finally, one day she gave me the biggest and most precious smile! We pray that God will use us to bring some sunshine into that girl’s life!

A second person who likes to talk spiritual subjects with old white hairs came into my focus. I look for young people to encourage in the Lord. We’ve had many of them through all these years. We love to talk to them and challenge them spiritually. This young lady wrote us a beautiful letter of thanks with the following poem she had written on her 17th birthday. I thought it was beautiful and got her permission to share it with others:

Summer’s Seventeen

I’m seventeen in a moment; full of plans for the future.
Anticipations and rosy-tinted dreams.

I’m seventeen for a moment.  Life loves me   and I love living!
Life’s full of riches, and I am young and free.

Summer’s only beginning.  But in this long lazy summer
I must remember how brief this time will be.

Just seventeen for a moment.  Can’t waste it idly and happy.
Feasting on summer and summer’s best fruits in their prime.

I’m preparing for later, living life to its fullest
By living for Jesus.  What else counts in wintertime?

Life’s like a transluscent vapour;  here, then gone in a moment.
Man’s days are number and I know You’ve numbered mine.

Accept my first fruits of summer.  Can’t give You just what’s left over.
When life’s half-finished, please take my best from me.

While I’m young, while I’m free.
Lord, if I have any use.
Do whatever You want with me.  Take my youth, my plans, my dreams.
Here’s my best, here’s my summer at seventeen.

The final person I’ll mention is a young man eighteen years of age who had been diagnosed with lymphoma. He is a member of a professional football team at the beginning of his career. He had undergone a heavy regime of chemotherapy treatments. I’ve known him all his life, having married his parents years ago. I asked him what was the greatest lesson he had learned through this entire experience. His answer was along the following lines. He had lived for football (he had been a good testimony for the Lord along with it). His attitude toward this disease was that of quiet submission but with the thought of getting through the treatments as quickly as possible and getting back to his great love of playing professional football. In the middle of the treatments a test showed that things were not progressing as hoped and that other adverse things were happening with the cancer. This strong and youthful footballer returned home that day from the doctor devastated.

He got alone with the Lord and prayed, “Lord,  I don’t know what You are doing in my life, but I want to truly surrender all to You at this moment. You can now take football from my life, You can take my very life if that is what You think best. Everything is now Yours and not mine any longer!” This greatest lesson resulted in a heavy load immediately being lifted from his heart and a fullness of joy regardless of what happens.

There are others, but these three young people blessed me immeasurably and brought tears to my eyes!

March 2010

“Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” This beautiful verse expresses my feelings about what to write in this newsletter of blessings!

I couldn’t forget God’s mercy in giving us another year of life and service. The clock of my life ticked 78 in January, and I am being reminded every month of friends and acquaintances even younger than I who are preceding us to that wonderful destination! God has been so good to us, though that doesn’t exclude the fact that we are “feeling our age” in a new and more real way recently!

We enjoyed a great family camp in January. I had the opportunity to lead a professional person to Christ who had been invited to visit the camp by a zealous young lady. This man said he had been running away from God for years and that he did not want to run any longer. He accepted Christ in tears and went home and called some of his professional colleagues and told them that he had been saved and that his life had been completely changed! What a blessing this was to me to get in on the action though I had never met this man previously. The young lady faithfully sowed and I walked in without merit and had a part in the harvest. What a blessing for both the sower and the reaper!

The second semester in USA Bible colleges began in January and about 770 of the New Testament Bible History Handbooks were ordered as textbooks for several USA colleges. It’s a real blessing to us to know that those students are getting some benefit from our labors! Bible college students have always been a special interest and burden on my heart, so the ministry of both the OT and NT books is truly a dream that God has made into reality! It also thrills us beyond measure that the books are ministering to Bible students in several other countries including especially Fiji and the Philippines.

Besides the New Testament class which I have in Sydney Bible Baptist College, I am running another New Testament class in Faith Baptist Church in Regents Park on Monday night for twelve keen laypeople. We hope to move the class to the new Faith Baptist Church facility around June when it will hopefully be completed. It is a blessing to see new people in most every service, and God is working in hearts, both saved and unsaved.

God’s wondrous and thoughtful works to us cannot be reckoned in order-we would surely leave many out of which we are not aware! We cannot number them because they are too many! I wonder what exciting and thoughtful works the Lord will bring across our paths in 2010? He has already given us a few hints of some possibilities! Thank you for praying and we’ll try to keep you informed.

December 2009

Christmas will soon be upon us reminding us again of God’s smiling and loving face to us. The beautiful prayer in Numbers 6:24 enjoins, “The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make His face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.” God’s love to us is not a faceless, theoretical love but a visible, dramatic act. God so loved us that He gave His only Son for us.

I wrote in the Old Testament Guidebook on page 102 the following:
“Joshua’s moving farewell is recorded in chapter 24, but he exhorts the nation in chapter 23 as well.  A few things come to the forefront for review. First, there is an emphasis upon individual responsibility and not just national. Each tribe is responsible to expel the enemies from its land. Each person is responsible for his own lot. You remember that Caleb took that responsibility upon himself and drove out the enemies from his allotment. Joshua made it plain that “one man shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, He it is that fighteth for you, as He hath promised (23:10).” Personal responsibility and personal victory are a vital part of the plan. Joshua cast a broad net to the nation in exhorting them to faithfulness in cleaving to the Lord. But then in his farewell section in Shechem he came down to the individual emphasis with the statement, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (24:15).’
Modern-day Christianity has too often lost itself in the crowd and seems to enjoy the ‘faceless status’ of an impersonal testimony.  People do and say things on social web sites that they would be ashamed to do in person. The anonymity of the ‘chat room’ has snared the faceless actors into a bondage that could easily end in moral shipwreck. There are to be no ‘faceless actors’ in the ranks of God’s people. Each and everyone of us is responsible to be like Christ, to seek holiness and to serve the Lord diligently.”
God’s love displays the most beautiful face ever to grace this earth, the face of Jesus Christ! We joyfully sing, “Face to face shall I behold Him!” Our obedience to God should be a visible face of godliness, a face reflecting the love and holiness of our thrice-holy Saviour!

We feel a deep desire to gratefully reflect that Glorious Love to those about us this Christmas season! I will be preaching the Christmas message in the two churches which I have formerly pastored here. One message will be in Arabic and the other in English. The lovely face of our Blessed Saviour  shines equally bright in one language just as it does in another. Thank you for encouraging us on!

October 2009

Ecclesiastes 11:1, “Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days” is becoming more special to us as we come around the bend and head down the “final lap” of service for Christ. I say “final lap” optimistically realizing that we could be only one step away from the finish line. Whatever the case, in the meantime we enjoy immensely the surprises of the divine “thou shalt find it!”

Throwing good bread on swiftly-moving, erratic waters is hardly an endeavour to be understood, much less appreciated by most. Five dedicated missionaries in South America in 1956 literally threw their lives, like a loaf of bread, upon the jungle waters of Aucan heathenism. They didn’t live to “find it” but others in their steps did. Many an obedient  servant of God has left familiarity and security to “cast his bread” upon a people whom he did not know and perhaps a people who, to all appearances, did not even want him. It seems the height of folly to throw the most precious possession of all, one’s very life, upon uncertain, erratic waters that defy description or destination.

But when we realize that God personally undertakes to direct the surging, erratic waters, the exercise begins to make some sense. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it (both the rivers and the king’s heart) whithersoever He will (Prov. 21:1).” Humanly, I could never explain how we ended up going to a people we had never seen and whose language was unknown to us.  Lebanon was only a word on the page in our experience. But somehow that word came to fascinate our thoughts and desires and God made it the uncertain “waters” upon which we could have the “irrational privilege” of casting our “bread.”  That decision took place 52 years ago!

Now about the “last lap” that I spoke of earlier, it has become our enjoyable pastime to see how God manages many pieces of bread which surely seemed to be lost in the surging, uncertain waters of our “irregular  circumstances.”  The “puzzle-game” has been even more exciting because of the different continents God has to navigate to direct these separate pieces of bread to a certain destination. I think God really enjoys showing us His great might and literally keeping us children on the “edge of our seats” waiting for the next scene!

Forty years ago we built a conference center in the mountains of Lebanon not far from the famous Cedars of Lebanon. We had a passionate dream that this camp would be a great blessing and opportunity for the ministry of New Testament churches in Lebanon. The camp ministry was greatly blessed but six years later civil war, as it seemed, swept away the dream and the “bread” was carried out of sight by the turbulent, churning waters of civil war. Almost twenty years later some pieces of the “dream” were sighted by Faith Baptist Church of North Lebanon and missionary friends who began restoration work of the camp facility that had been stripped and partially destroyed during the civil war. But God needed another twelve years to gather the “pieces of bread” and direct them into the port destination.

Lebanon Baptist Church, Faith Baptist Church of North Lebanon and Pastor Edgard Traboulsi undertook extensive work this year towards restoring the camp facility and opening it up for a fulltime summer ministry. They named it “The Good Shepherd” conference center. A total of ten camps were held during the summer season this year, representing several churches and groups. Now back to the “last lap” and enjoying the “thou shalt find it” promise. I cannot explain the depth of the passionate feelings which overwhelmed us at this occasion of the relaunch of the ministry vision for this beautiful camp site that boasts the most beautiful scenes of any camp site I’ve ever seen, scenes of the Cedars (Solomon took many of these), the high mountain peaks, the Mediterranean Sea and the plain of olive trees below!

This occasion was not only exuberant thanksgiving to God for His blessing. It was an absolute outbreak of awe at the divine mystery of God’s workings. How a water-logged piece of bread could be found upon the wide ocean of circumstances and divinely escorted into the port of God’s purpose is something that humbles and strikes awe into the soul of the believer who longs to see the dream happen but cannot see any evidence that it could happen!

Other odd pieces of bread have surfaced in the most unlikely places, and we look forward to more surprises as we move (slowly) down the “last lap” of the race! Keep your eyes open for some surprises-you don’t know when your pieces of bread thrown supportively into the water after ours will float to the surface in full view and surprise you! Meanwhile, we’ll be resting and rejoicing in the Hands of The Great Finder!

September 2009

We all can rejoice in some God-given privilege we are allowed to enjoy. One of our distinct privileges is that of a pastor and group of people who play a special role in our lives. This sending church is extra special because I had the privilege of being their first pastor as well as the first missionary whom they sent out to another country, in this case, Lebanon and then Australia.

Although practically all of the faces have changed in that church during these 55 years, there is still one heart and one mind. We feel something special every time we return to Temple Baptist Church in El Dorado, Kansas. Pastor Ron Jones has done much to foster and maintain that special relationship.

God has led us in a marvelous way to develop some Bible study resources the past few years. We can see clearly the Lord’s hand in this small endeavor that will allow us to leave some tangible small ministry for blessing to others that can continue after we are gone. The main thrust of this project has come to focus on Bible colleges using the two books for textbooks in Old and New Testament survey courses. Right now we’re praying for 1000 students to be using each of those books each year. All thanks to our faithful God Who has granted about 70% of that initial goal. It thrills us to no end that young people studying in Bible colleges can get some benefit from our labors.

The above goal only speaks of the USA and Canada. Other countries have or are using the materials too. We just sent 150 of the New Testament Handbooks to the Philippines last month! It cost us less than one dollar per book to ship them which is fabulous!

We started this letter talking about a sending church, and this is where Temple Baptist, its pastor and secretary have stepped up to the plate (if you like baseball). Without them this thrilling extension of our lives and labors could not get to first-base. But their commitment and efficient handling of the distribution of these materials have literally been a “home-run” that is putting runs on the board! To Pastor Jones, his people and Jodi (the efficient and dedicated coordinator of the project), we give thanks to them and to God for this most special church that continues to multiply our labors for Christ!

Not only did Temple Baptist undertake all the work of handling these materials, they look for opportunities to present them to others. At their recent Ladies’ Conference they set up a table and sold a good number of the materials! And it needs to be said that we do not take one penny of the proceeds  personally though it would not be wrong to do so if that were the way God chose to provide our personal needs. Every penny made is put back into the ministry of these materials.

What is a special sending church? It is not a right but a wonderful privilege given to us by God. For a church to have been a blessing to us 55 years ago and to be such a part of our lives now in these “sunset years,” just has to be of God! I could wish the same for every missionary!

July 2009

The completion of the writing of the Old Testament Bible History Guidebook two weeks ago deserved a big celebration of thanking the Lord for His faithfulness and enablement! I started with the syllabus of about 140 large pages which I had put together back in the eighties and had used these years for the OT course. Now it has become 316 large pages nicely formatted with lots of pictures and outlines. The files are now with the printer in India. Several Bible colleges have already decided to use it for a textbook, so we are excited! Thanks for holding us up in prayer during these months of long days and nights working on this project. I am including some of the book’s foreword below:

My first experience in teaching Old Testament Bible History began with several Arabic students in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1962. Later the opportunity was presented to teach the same course in Tripoli, Lebanon, to some of our Faith Baptist Church young people who wanted to further their Biblical knowledge. More recently, I have been teaching the course in Sydney Bible Baptist College since 1977. The course has been used in a number of churches in Australia as well as being sent to 25 foreign countries for use in church settings, Bible institutes and Bible colleges. This Guidebook is an outgrowth of that course.

I believe I know some of the features that will be a real blessing in a survey book, so I have added some features to this version of the book.

  1. Bible names and words “Under the Glass” will add some salt and spice to the spiritual study diet.
  2. The “Wrap-up” for each book will help tie all the loose ends together and leave the student with a practical lesson from the particular Bible book.
  3. Lastly, “Finding Christ” will keep the study focused on Christ, the object of the study!

I could almost get amused thinking about some good things I’ve done in life that I never intended to do and which, had they been presented to me in an outright fashion, I would probably have said “No thanks!” It brings to mind my early years on the ranch where we worked cattle every year. We got the calves into a corral, then by closing a gate we got them into a small pen with a long chute that looked like they could get out through a narrow passage with an exit at the end. When the calf was coaxed into the escape route and stuck his head into the escape hatch at the end of the narrow passage, we yanked the rope to shut the exit’s steel bars to lock him into position! Then the work began: vaccination to protect from disease, tag the ear for identification, cut off the horns to make him less hurtful to others and castration of the males to make them less aggressive and less mean and to ensure tender meat in the future.

Many times God has coaxed me with a combination of circumstances that showed what He wanted me to do, something perhaps that I had no inclination to do. God put me in the narrow pen: a civil war, life spared, leaving that field, and I cried, “Dear God, my field of service is closing!” The bars clamped about my neck and the work began. Sickness that took one eye’s sight and 3/4ths of the other which left me so terribly weak and took my ability to drive. “Oh, God, why?! My world is crumbling and my ministry is gone!”  A push from behind with a closed door, a constraint on the left, a slap on the right, a painful work of discipline. Some growth vaccine for spiritual protection, a tag to better identify me as His servant in this world. A hurtful horn removed, and in some cases spiritual pruning to make me more gentle, kind and usable, more broken. God uses a range of tools to do it: sickness, physical limitations, uncanny circumstances and the list goes on.

It has been that way with writing this expanded book for an Old Testament Survey. It wasn’t something I intended to do. I didn’t consider myself able to do it anyway. But God coaxed, constrained and opened and worked, and here we are! God is very gentle and subtle with us, just as we were with those calves, to get us into a position where we can comprehend what He wants us to do. It’s wonderful that we have such a God Who is willing to spend so much time to prepare us for useful tasks which we can do together with Him to advance His work in this earth!

My wife, Kathleen, has worked tirelessly with me, doing all the proofreading and spending hours with me as I made the corrections on the computer. Our prayer is that the Lord will use this book for blessing with many. We especially pray that college students will find it a help as they prepare for what God has for them.

June 2009

Groundbreaking for the new Faith Baptist Church building site was a very exciting day! The church property that was the home of the church for the last nearly 33 years was sold three years ago. It was paid off and with the proceeds a new property was purchased on which to build. Land is very expensive in Sydney, so the land, a bit under 3 acres, was purchased. During these three years the church has saved all they could, but a large loan will be required for the building project.

Building in Sydney for this type of building also attracts a lot of exensive government-required expenditures. A huge underground reservoir to hold all the rainwater that comes on the property during a certain period of time is required. They will also be required to pay for a small electric substation. Bureaucrats have to think up something to justify their keep!

The groundbreaking service was the most unusual one I have ever attended! Pastor Nabil had planned it down to every detail, and it was a beautiful, symbolic occasion! It was a beautiful day weather-wise and a large group of the brethren were on hand. They asked me to shovel the first few scoops of dirt which I did with an experienced hand! Somebody said, “It appears you know how to use that shovel!” I said, “Yes, and I used it a lot in the Lebanese building programs, and nobody was standing around taking my pictures when I did it like you’re doing today!”

Even the small children of the members had their opportunity to shovel some dirt into the hole and be involved in the building program. They read the church covenant and rededicated themselves to it. Then the covenant was rolled up and placed in a bottle that will be buried at a particular place on the site for future generations to remember their covenant. Every one was challenged to really get behind the building program. Though the council required a building company to undertake the job, that company will allow the church the opportunity to do any work that it can contribute.

Please pray for the Lord’s hand to be upon every phase of the work: open doors for saving on the materials and labor, favorable weather and conditions-our God is concerned about all of these details. Pray for the people and their commitments to the building fund. It is a great challenge, but our pastor is leading with wisdom and spiritual insight, so we are looking to the Lord for great things!

March 2009

The saying goes that there is nothing certain in life except death and taxes. The Bible phrases it differently, confirming that “as it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment,” and “in this world ye shall have tribulation.” My father had a strong recollection of the Great Depression. He had just married and had bought a new farm with a large loan from the bank. Then the stock market crashed in 1929, banks were closed, farm products lost value and what happened after that is known in history as the Great Depression. My father stuck with the loan and the farm through almost impossible times, surviving the Great Depression and finally paying off the loan which, as a young boy, I vividly remember as being a happy celebration when we burned the mortgage paper!

We easily forget hard times, especially when times are good. Kathleen’s mother, who died in 2006 at 100 years of age, also talked vividly of the Great Depression. These oldies who experienced that period carried with them the shadow of that reality through good times and always took it into account. My earliest memories include a few of the difficulties of that period as things were slowly beginning to turn around. Children today, at least in prosperous countries, generally sense little of the value of money and often hardly know what money feels like with our credit-based society.

We have been convinced by the experts (many of them haven’t paid their taxes it seems) that nothing really could interrupt this festive, comfortable lifestyle that we have come to expect. There are safeguards in the financial world that would preclude a repeat of a depression. It could not happen again in our day! Or could it? The Bible talks about a real financial meltdown in the book of Revelation as it describes the events of the Tribulation days to come. So it follows that we could see difficult financial days again before the Tribulation.

Today some of the “rock-solid” foundations of our financial welfare are shaking uncontrollably. Banks and insurance companies have ventured into “shoddy schemes” to make a killing without, they thought, any accountability or even risk. Regulators and politicians let it happen and credit-rating agencies stamped AAA on the sham. We, the people, are rightly angry and shocked to the roots. It disturbs my feeling of wellbeing to even think long about it!

But one thing is sure: Jesus is still the same, yesterday, today and forever! This is a call for us to come back to the True Rock and trust in Him. The news states that the sale and use of video games is increasing during these difficult times. It could be hoped that the Lord would use these times to increase all of us in our faith and trust in Him. With a heavy heart we pray for all our friends in the many churches around the world that are affected by today’s trials. Actually, Australia seems to be weathering the storm much better than most of the developed countries.

We started the Old Testament Bible History course the first half of February in Faith Baptist Church of Regents Park. Twenty-two are studying the course. The first week many of them were in a state of shock after realizing how much work it looked like it would take to do the course! Several are in their late thirties or forties, but most of them are in their twenties with several university students and others in fulltime work. All are very busy and are making a sacrificial effort to devote Monday night to attending the class. On an average, the course study needs probably around four hours of homework each week. The third and fourth weeks of study witnessed the waning of the initial shock and the emergence of a holy excitement about how much they are learning! It’s a great thrill for us to observe this process in the lives of laypeople who have decided to do something definite to increase their knowledge of God’s Word. It truly fills our hearts with gratitude to God for enabling us to develop these study materials that can be used anywhere, language permitting.

“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee (Numbers 6:24-25).”

January 2009

This New Year reminds us once again of the great faithfulness of God. I will complete 77 years of this earthly pilgrimage next week. Many friends have already gone before us, so we are not taking the gift of life for granted. It is true that the strength of that life is diminishing considerably, but the spirit still is willing.

A couple of matters are paramount in our minds and hearts at the beginning of this year. First is the building program for Faith Baptist Church of Regents Park (formerly Croydon Park). As you know, they sold the former property a couple of years ago and are presently meeting in a community center. The ministry is greatly blessed and the church is growing. Pastor Zaydan and his wife are very attuned to the Lord and to the needs of this vibrant church. I know of no pastor who is doing more to teach and train his people for growth and ministry.

After a couple of years of delays and hitches, the time to build is upon them. During this time the cost of building materials has greatly increased. One blessing, however, is that the rate of interest they will have to pay on the loan has decreased significantly the past few months.

Please pray for Pastor Zaydan and his people as they confront this great challenge. Pray the Lord will keep them from every building danger and trap that could beset them. Pray for the Lord’s provision financially for what seems impossible, humanly speaking. Most of all, pray that God will protect them from division and disunity as they build for the future of this ministry.

As to the second matter, I am going to run the Old Testament Bible History class at the church on a weeknight for the school year starting in February. It appears we are going to have a good group to participate. I have been working hard revising and reformatting the Guidebook for the course. Hopefully it will be done in time. We are eagerly looking forward to spending this time with these beloved brethren. Some of them are children of people who were a big part of our ministry and others are new Christians whom we look forward to knowing better. We’re absolutely excited and expecting great things for the year!

The annual church camp was held last weekend with many blessings in lives. It was well attended from the two Faith Baptist Churches in Regents Park and Blacktown. The baptismal service was a thrill to view when a grandfather and grandchildren were baptized! The grandfather’s other son, a graduate of the Bible college and preacher in the church, baptized the grandchildren. There were other young people who were baptized after giving thrilling testimonies to God’s grace in their lives.

Thanks to you, our friends and co-workers in ministry, for standing with us yet another year. You are also in our thoughts and prayers as we enter a new year filled with many uncertainties. The problems this world faces are above and beyond the ability of any human to solve (or certainly to pay for!). “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”