October 2016

Good Shepherd Conference Center

  • img-20160714-wa0000

    Panoramic view towards distant Tripoli, Mediterranean in summer haze

  • “Your work here is bringing eternal results!


Childrens’ camp bonfire



Childrens’ camp




Seminary students study time



Seminary students, faculty and staff with their families



Annual Seminary Lecture Series


So said Dr. Edgard Traboulsi


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

August 2016

Sixty Married Years and Sixty Roses

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


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

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

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


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

Faith Baptist Church Fellowship Hall

June 2016

Bright Spots on a Cloudy Day

“Giving thanks ALWAYS in all things…”

R's 84th

Richard’s 84th Birthday with Kathleen

Cloudy Days

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

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

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

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

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

For Prayer and Thanks

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

March 2016

Rejoicing in 84 Gracious Years

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

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

A Snowy Day in Oklahoma

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

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

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

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

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

Sons in Ministry

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

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

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

December 2015

2015 SBBC Grads108Sydney Bible Baptist College Graduates Testify

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

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

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

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

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

A Personal Update

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

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

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

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

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

Special Note

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

October 2015

Counting Our Blessings

The Dream Come True

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

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

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

NT ManualWhen Our Efforts Fail, God Begins to Work!

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

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

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

A Precious Surprise

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

July 2015

Frightened or Excited?

It all depends on your perspective!

The Growing Threat

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

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

Crimes Against Humanity

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

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

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

Special Note

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

Camp Renov

A Husband’s Tragic Death

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

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

A Father’s Salvation

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

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

May 2015

His Ways in the Sanctuary

They are so often inexplicable to our finite minds!

Nice Surprises

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

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

Prayer Points

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

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

Understanding God’s Way

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

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

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

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

April 2015

Old-Fashioned Revival

Violent Extremism or Fundamental Islam Revival?

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

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

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

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

Understanding the Issue

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

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

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

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

February 2015

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

Faith Baptist Church Pulpit

Faith Baptist Church Pulpit

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

A Very Personal Prayer Request

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

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

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