December 2014

Another Story of Grace

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

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

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

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

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

Moods and Weathers of the Christian Life

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

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

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

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

Noteworthy requests and News       

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

October 2014

A Story to be Continued…

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

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

Noteworthy Requests and News

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

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

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

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

August 2014

Both OT and NT Survey Courses
Now Online



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

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

Prayer Requests

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

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

June 2014

Youth – Strength – Greyheaded

“I will go in the strength
of the Lord God.” 

Psalms 71:16

10231726 004

I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine  only. 17 O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. 18 Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.”

Our Prayers and Hopes for Each and Every Day

We are celebrating sixty years of ministry since my ordination in 1954 while planting Temple Baptist Church in El Dorado, Kansas. 

God has given us a rich and full life of service, first in in El Dorado, then in Tripoli, Lebanon for 17 years and finally in Australia for 38 years. We gave most of our youth to Lebanon and for everything that was accomplished we have “declared Thy wondrous works.” All the credit was His. It is such a blessing to see it continuing today.

Now we are old and cry out, “O Lord forsake us not!” We desperately need His strength and grace “until I have shewed Thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” I shared with Kathleen that our infirmities in old age are a divine opportunity to show the younger generation that Christ is ever sufficient regardless of our stage of life. We try to declare and show His righteousness (right-doing). He makes no mistakes in the portion He gives us to bear.

An Evening of Godly Music

We asked prayer in our last newsletter containing the testimony of Pastor Graham West who has a brain tumor. He has declined rapidly the past two months. His ability to speak is now gone and other functions are being affected. He can still smile.

Please pray for his wife Cathie. His son has been called to pastor the church and needs prayer. He is a sincere young man who has little experience in Christian leadership.

We cannot understand why the Lord is taking this capable pastor but His wisdom is unsearchable and always right. “I will make mention of Thy righteous-ness, even of Thine only.” We should never question His gracious and right doings!

Bible History Online

A dear brother in El Dorado began the work of putting our Bible History materials online. Another brother joined in to help him and I learned how to do it as well. They finished their part on the New Testament course and I have about finished the Old Testament. A young lady from our church here has also recently pitched in to help me. I will soon give a report on this project and its potential.

Lebanon News

The time is near for a close Lebanese friend to take up the pastorship of the church just outside of Tripoli, Lebanon. Please pray some final obstacles might be removed and  for this important move that God’s richest blessings will be upon this pastor’s new ministry there. 

Lebanon Beyt Mindere Camp

Extensive renovations are under way high in the Lebanese mountains at the Good Shepherd Conference Center. Pray that the work will continue to go smoothly and finish soon in time for the summer season of camps. Several other churches beside Pastor Traboulsi’s Lebanon Baptist Church will be conducting camps in Beyt Mindere.

March 2014

Thirty-seventh Anniversary

Faith Baptist Church in Regents Park , Sydney, Australia

Someone handed me a guitar in the church parking lot and insisted that I should play something. Not knowing [Read more…]

December 2013

An embarrassing but humorous “bad-hearing” incident happened in a home where we were invited to eat. The host asked me to relate some of my favorite thoughts about the Old Testament which I did at length. After my “amazing insights,” Pastor Nabeel whispered that the host had asked for the New Testament and not the Old! I apologized to the host and said if he wanted my insights for the NT, he would have to invite me for another meal!

The “switch-on” of my cochlear implant took place in an air of suspense. The over 80% chances were that I would hear some unintelligible electronic sounds that would require several months of work and practice before the brain would be able to decipher things. Or, if the Lord had mercy, and granted our request I might understand some of it from the beginning.

Truly, the Lord did exceedingly abundantly above what we ever dared to ask or think. When the bionic ear was switched on, I could plainly understand what was said! I’m hearing things I haven’t heard for years, clocks ticking, crackling of pages of the Bibles being turned in church and other things! I warned the Arabic congregation Sunday against talking about me because now I might hear them!

The “bad ear” is now dead after the surgery unless the device is on. With the device the bad ear is hearing substantially like the good ear (music and phone excluded) plus much more because of its higher volume without distortion or blasting, unlike the regular hearing aid does. My hearing has been moved into a “new ballpark,” even though I still struggle with certain sounds as I did before. Hopefully, practice and programing the device will improve those deficiencies. The audiologists are “over the moon” with my excellent results. To God be the glory!

The Spanish translation has continued to progress and both the Old and New Testament Bible History books are about 4/5ths translated. The formatting has been delayed due to serious health issues and back surgery of Mrs. Robertson that has severely impacted their work schedule. The good news is that she is making steady progress in recovery. Please pray for these dear servants of the Lord, missionaries to Spain for many years.

Sydney Bible Baptist College Graduation Fellowship concluded with 4 graduates and a great time of fellowship. Ninety people received certificates for completed courses in the evening extension program. Courses in Faith Baptist Church were Bible Doctrine, Spiritual Growth, NT Bible History, OT Bible History and Apologetics plus some other courses like computer and secretarial skills.

We pray you will have a blessed Christmas and a great beginning to the New Year! Your encouragement remains much appreciated.

November 2013

What’s the big deal? After all, it’s just a very small piece of card. Forget that you’ve had it for 60 years? Easier said than done.

The responsible lady said that “you don’t remember things you see long enough to drive safely. Your awareness of some things is not what it used to be. It has nothing to do with you personally,” she said. “It’s just this ailment, this Alzheimer’s that you have. That’s the problem.”

But none of that eased the pain for Kathleen, a fiercely-loyal and determined lady who would do anything possible to support her husband, The few strategies and things that literally enabled me to cope physically and thereby remain in the ministry through those years of sickness were the result of her constant reading, searching and sacrifice. So this matter of driving represented something of what she was.

Frankly, I was secretly afraid that this assessment would not go well but I had the assurance that whatever the result it would, in God’s loving providence, be for the best.

But when Kathleen left with our daughter to turn the driver’s license into the Road Traffic Authority, I knelt down alone and wept uncontrollably for at least thirty minutes. I felt we had lost a piece of our being, something very important and valuable.

I cried because my heart ached for Kathleen to have to go through this. I cried because I couldn’t forget that her “card” and the ability to drive me around these past 23 years had enabled my ministry after I had lost my ability to drive due to MS. It was a profound loss that could never be recovered!

But God never takes away something without giving us something just as precious and valuable in its place. The “little piece of cardboard” was taken and a photo ID issued in its place. And when God takes something valuable, He is doing something in us that will enhance our real persons.

It almost sounds like forced optimism and feels somewhat hollow at times, but it is true. Our God, our Faithful Creator, is working on our “photo ID” and will not be satisfied until He forms in us an image like unto that of Christ, our Perfect Saviour! Yes, it hurts! Yes, we had our hearts set on keeping “the card” for several years yet. No, we can’t see much good out of it yet! But God said it’s all good and we desperately want to believe Him. In His protective presence is peace, joy and security for our fear-tossed souls on a dark and uncertain sea.

My surgery for the cochlear implant took place and I am presently moping around with my generous dose of nausea, dizziness, imbalance and general grumpiness! The surgeon told me today that all is healing normally and that I would be ready for “switch-on” of the device in a week’s time. That involves some detailed programming of the device before the magic moment.

But for 80% of the recipients, the magic moment of “switch-on” is a bewildering experience of foreboding, electronic gibberish! And it takes from 6-12 months of work and practice to realize the full benefit of this magic device. The brain has to learn its language, they say. This small computer that processes the sounds has been surgically imposed inside my cranial space (skull) and physically wired under the skin behind the ear and through the bone down into the cochlea. Quite the deal!

My verse for the surgery was Proverbs 20:12, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.” I printed it out on a little paper and gave it to the surgeon, the leading cochlear implant surgeon in Sydney with around 300 operations under his belt. I told him that I believed in prayer and had prayed for him as he used his many skills to operate on my ear that God had designed.

He thanked me kindly and related the story of the Australian, Dr. Graham Clark, who was among the first in designing and implanting a workable bionic ear. His father’s deafness had inspired him to keep working despite countless failures and criticisms from skeptical friends who thought he was whacky for continuing to try. But persistent Dr. Clark said, “I believe I have a directive from God to someday succeed!” I’m so glad he did!

My “switch-on” occurs in a week’s time. I wonder what we will hear first when we are “switched on” in heaven’s glory!

July 2013

Our Faith Baptist Church is greatly blessed these days with so many new visitors and people being saved regularly. Discipleship classes, Spiritual Growth classes, Old Testament Survey classes-many believers are participating in these opportunities and growing. I believe about 25 peple received certificates Sunday for having completed the Spiritual Growth Course. Add to that a strong preaching and teaching pulpit ministry, so we go to church every time wondering what will happen today!

Our pastor recently instituted what I call the “Hester Limousine Ministry” to get us to church and back so that Kathleen doesn’t have to drive (25 minutes each way). We have 3 different drivers each Sunday which gives us a great opportunity to share in their lives and pray with them. We had a lovely time recently with a young man driving us as I told him how his great grandfather came to the Lord in our Lebanon ministry and related events that happened about fifty years ago! We have always asked the Lord to let us be an encouragement until He takes us out and that prayer is being answered!

The doctor told Kathleen that she is not to drive alone so we are adjusting to that new standard. Her Alzheimer’s is imposing other restrictions and our life styles are, sometimes grudgingly, synchronizing with those changes. The old liberties die hard and we are asking the Lord to mercifully help us accept them thankfully and to cope.

Lancaster Baptist Church in California held a large Spiritual Leadership Conference in June and invited me to come since they were honoring some gray hairs at the conference and I had perhaps more of them than many. Plus I have been preaching and serving the Lord for 62 years. Kathleen insisted that I go when the invitation came several months ago. So I did and had a wonderful, encouraging time! Thank God Kathleen did well at our daughter’s home during my seven-day absence. The tribute can be viewed on:

With our 57th wedding anniversary in July we are overwhelmed when we think of God’s faithfulness and goodness to us all these years. We try to focus on counting our blessings which helps to take the sting out of some of the changes that are difficult to accept. As we grow older it is beautiful to see how God ties things together.

After the tribute at the conference, a lady sitting directly in front of Pastor Bill Zaydan and me asked to speak to me. She said, “When I was a little girl you came and spoke about Lebanon at our church in Ohio. I determined at that time that I would make you my missionary and pray always for you. I grew up praying for you but eventually lost track of you and didn’t even know if you were still alive. I have never ceased to pray for you and tonight I know that you are alive and that God has answered my prayers.” That was a real blessing to me. You never know who God has out there (besides those of you whom we do know about) working for your good and supporting in prayer. Truly we serve a great God!

May 2013

Sydney Bible Baptist College is off to a good first semester. God answered prayer with 13 full-time students and 18 part-time students. Additionally, there are another 90 students in the evening and extension school classes!

My course at college this year is New Testament Bible History Survey. Kathleen’s health situation requires me to miss some classes, but I really enjoy doing what I can. Please continue to pray for Kathleen and her struggle with Alzheimer’s and some other annoying physical symptoms that have plagued her for years and are now exacerbated. She is still a huge blessing helping me with matters of sight and hearing! We thank the Lord continually that He has allowed us to still have each other to help!

The Spanish translation of the Bible history survey books is progressing well. The Old Testament Guidebook is not quite half-done, and the New Testament Handbook is well over half-done!

Please join us in prayer for these matters:

-Where should we print and how can we effectively distribute the Spanish books? We are exploring one avenue right now and need the Lord’s firm direction.

-We need some special person who knows Spanish translation well and is also able to fit in the translation on powerpoint slides. We have the slides available in English and want to replace the text with Spanish. This will give us a library of powerpoint presentations for each of the 30 New Testament lessons. Later we’ll see if it is expedient to do the same for the Old Testament lessons.

-Pray for our translators and formatter:

Pastor and Mrs. Marvin Robertson, Maria Esther Alvarez and her son Arturo

-Please pray for the upcoming summer ministry of the Christian camps/conferences in Beit Mendere in Lebanon. The political situation is of concern and we pray that it will not affect the summer ministry of the camp. Renovation work is currently in process in preparation for the summer ministries. Also, the Aaba church will be moving into their new church building which will be a great blessing. For some time they have been bounced around because of unrest in Tripoli where they were previously meeting on Sundays.

I would like to share with you an encouraging letter from a pastor who ran the Old Testament Bible History course (with the DVD lectures) for some keen laypeople in his church in Alabama. It has always been my vision and prayer that many churches would find a real help from these courses just as this pastor did below:

“Brother Hester, Greetings in the wonderful Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We just wanted to let you know what a blessing the Old Testament History Bible Course was! About 15 of our church members completed the study last Thursday. Over the past months we have grown to love our time of study with you and always looked forward to ‘our beloved historical outline!’ Lord willing we will begin the New Testament History studies in August with more Christians that are hungry for the Word of God. Thank you for your service to our Lord. Let us ‘work ’till Jesus comes’ my good friend and brother!”  Pastor J.C., Grace Baptist Church

February 2013

I prayed with Johnny’s great grandfather when he accepted Christ as his Saviour in Lebanon in 1962. Later his grandparents and father prayed with me and received Christ. It was also my privilege to marry his parents here in Australia. Johnny was a very sincere, committed Christian. He had unusual ability in football (rugby style-without padding) and made the professional ranks at the age of nineteen. He became a public role model for a football-loving nation with the flash of publicity that such athletes receive.

At the age of twenty he was diagnosed with cancer. After heavy chemotherapy, he disciplined his way back (rare and almost impossible) into shape to play twelve more professional games. Then the cancer reappeared.

Last Friday morning about 2:30 am, the doctor told his mother Abbey that it wouldn’t be long until Johnny would be gone. She said she would tell him. “Johnny, it won’t be long now. It’s almost time to go and Jesus is waiting for you. Shall we call the family?” He replied, “Yes, and let’s call the relatives to come too.” She questioned, “Johnny, it’s very early in the morning. Are you sure you want to call them too?” The nurse appeared to give him a morphine shot for the unbearable pain. Johnny declined, saying he wanted to see everyone and it wouldn’t be possible if he took the shot.

When Pastor Nabeel Zaydan of Faith Baptist Church (Johnny’s uncle) arrived at the hospital after the 40-minute drive, he found several cousins talking and joking with Johnny and he was telling them that he had no fear of death because he was going home to be with Jesus. Johnny said, “What took you so long, Pastor?” He insisted on telling each relative goodbye individually. Then he asked them all to gather around him and sing a couple of hymns. They sang “Heaven came down and glory filled my soul” and “Some Golden Daybreak.” A Lebanese family in the room next door said they got goose-bumps and had never seen nor heard such an event!

Johnny was gasping for breath and in terrible pain. He asked for the nurse to come and give him the shot of morphine. Then he asked for everyone to leave except his immediate family to spend the time with them. One of his 3 brothers is also a Christian professional footballer well known in the football community. All this time Johnny was smiling and jovial. Alex, a close friend from Faith Baptist Church arrived and came in. “Johnny, Alex is here.” Alex said, “Johnny, you’re my hero. I love you.” Johnny replied, “I love you too.” Johnny was gasping for breath and almost sat up in bed and was straining his wide-open eyes. “Alex, I can’t see you.” Johnny continued, “Mum, who turned off the lights?” She said, “Johnny, it’s not the lights, it’s the valley of the shadow of death. But soon it will get bright and you’ll be in heaven.” His older brother urged, “Just commit yourself into the Lord’s hands and don’t hesitate.” Johnny was struggling to breathe and said, “Bright. It is bright!” Then his face broke out into a huge smile two times as if he were seeing something. He gasped and then lapsed. Within a few moments the family realized that the Lord had taken him and he was gone.

His death made big headlines in the newspapers, TV, radio and online news. His coaches called him the perfect gentleman whose life was guided by spiritual values, a lion heart and iron man who never complained one word or even gave an exasperated sigh during all his suffering, a 23 year-old who had taught them so much and who had made them and their players better people. The National Rugby League is establishing a yearly Jon Mannah Trophy Game that will pay tribute to him. Morally, they would like for all their players to imitate his character and strengths.

About 1500 people heard short Gospel messages during the three nights of condolences for the Mannah family at the church. After counting 2400 people inside the church for the funeral service, the men had to close the church doors. There was no place left to stand anywhere in the building. Many were left standing outside. The media reported 3000 mourners. Another two thousand people viewed the funeral online on the day and many more are still viewing it on

Johnny’s life and death touched thousands in the world. One of the football players from his club who had previously heard the witness of him and his brother accepted Christ during the funeral service. The Lord gave unusual power as Pastor Zaydan presented clearly the Glorious Gospel of Christ with tears and courage. Who knows what God is going to do? Pray with us that the Lord will use the death of this very special, unusual young man for a very special task in our midst for the revival of Christians and the salvation of the unsaved!