The first morning after our arrival in Kansas from Australia turned out to be a special day mixed with deep sadness and unusual joy. I first met Kathleen during a 1955 revival meeting being held in a rural area near Atlanta, Kansas. Doyle Hopper, my father in the ministry was preaching, Mike Schepis, a colleague pastoring in Wichita, was providing the vocal music and leading the singing, and I was playing the piano or organ. All these years we had been close friends, but now Mike was dying in the hospital. When we entered the room, his doctor, a believer, was singing to him, “There is a place of constant rest; near to the heart of God.”
His wife assured me that he did recognize me though he could not talk. I thought he faintly smiled once when I was talking about old ministry experiences. Mike and his wife had visited us both in Lebanon and in Australia. After prayer we left with an overwhelming sense of the nearness of heaven and how wonderful it will be for all of us to be with Christ. Mike checked out of that hospital that evening and took his place in Christ’s blessed presence never to suffer again. What a hope!
During our trip we met several people who want to use the New Testament Bible History materials in different areas. One man plans to translate it into Chinese. A veteran Bible translator among tribes expressed his desire to get it translated into Burmese and into the hands of many national pastors in Burma. Another missionary plans to use the materials in Surinam for some English classes among the educated nationals and hopes to translate material into the local Dutch language as well. A chaplain is hoping to use it in his prison ministry. This is all very exciting to us!
One Bible college started using the New Testament Handbook as a companion text for their Bible Geography class. The professor likes to tie the geography to the history, and the Handbook does that in detail. Several homeschoolers bought both the Old and New Testament materials. Twenty-five NT Handbooks and twenty five NT Workbooks have been taken to Fiji for the Bible college, and they hope to soon start using them!
Please pray for a number of USA Bible colleges that are considering using the New Testament Bible History Handbook as a textbook for New Testament Survey. Several of our supporting churches have informed me that they are making plans to use the materials in a church institute class. We are praying that many of our supporting churches will see the blessing of doing so and getting laypeople into a structured study of God’s Word in a group setting.
Thanks to all of you for praying for the trip. One further instalment of news will finish it off next month! Please pray for our National Baptist Fellowship to be held in Adelaide, South Australia at the end of the month. I need your prayers for my small part in the speaking. And please pray for the Croydon Park church (now called Regents Park church) which is facing important decisions about building a new church. They moved out of the old church property and have been meeting in a public community center for about two years. Building costs have soared, interest rates are up, and they need lots of money and wisdom to know how to proceed with the building of the new church!