I was planning to write to you before my trip to Liberia for a delivery for friends there. Just today, I found out that the mother Sara had delivered last night! Wow! Praise the Lord all is well. Sara and their son (seven-pound Noah) are both fine. It was a nice, "easy," quick, uncomplicated, exciting birth. Thank you for your prayers for her. Now that my services are not needed, we are trying to get a refund on the ticket. Please pray that it will work out.
This has been an encouraging month. Our attendance has been better, despite all the rain. We have had outreaches due to a member of our church who died. He was a faithful man with a fruitful life. His wife is also a member, so Dan had a lot to do with the services and burial--a more Christian funeral, as opposed to the pagan way of weeping and wailing. She has been a good testimony through it all. Here, the funerals are like the old-time wakes--you sit up with the dead. It started at 9 p.m. outside under tents. Hannah, Max, Seth and I were in the crowd passing out tracts and witnessing on the street. We also had to make sure that all those seated received tracts and booklets of John and Romans, with the plan of salvation on the back. If we missed anyone, someone would come to one of us and tell us (wanting us to come to their section). We stayed from 9:30-11 p.m. both Saturday and Friday nights. The "wake" went on for a week. Dan preached and also did the graveside service on the next Saturday morning. God held off the rain for the morning service, although it was pouring again on the drive over. There were probably around 300 there on the first Saturday and 600 on Friday night. Salvation was clearly presented. People listened and all received the tracts. Pray for all those who heard. We will never know of the fruit until we get to heaven. This was all a very different experience for Max (the young man who is here visiting). Imagine using a funeral as an evangelistic outreach.
The rain has fallen for four days and nights straight. Our new wall has a crack in it and is very bowed out. I have been praying that it will not fall down. Like in the day of Noah, God is in control of the storm, and He is also in control of the wall (the ark). The ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic was built by professionals (smile). I read that somewhere. The rain makes a good illustration of the story of Noah, which I am teaching right now. The sun, when it is out, is very hot; that makes a good illustration of hell--the fires that burn and burn and never go out. Women here make a fire every day to cook over; the sun is flames put in motion by God. Every time there is an earthquake, a hurricane, etc., it is showing just a drop of the awesome power of God.
The rain has not stopped our normal church activities. Dan teaches in the village every Sunday afternoon from 1:30-4:30 p.m. It takes us 30 minutes to get there. A while back, there was only one main bad hole in this spot with a stick in it. Now, there are two--with just enough space to go through in the middle of them. You have to know where that hole is and not come upon it suddenly. Continually pray for our safety.
Dan started with six students who registered for Bible school class and now has 21. It encourages us to see people wanting to learn. We are willing to teach, and we need people who are disciples who want to learn and take the time and effort necessary to study. It has to start in the heart.
During this time on Sunday afternoons, I go teach the ladies. Three villages are lined up some miles apart. Every week, I go to a different village. Again, the ladies are eager to learn. They requested that I come, they line up the meeting and I get to go "preach."
Pray for all these who have heard. Pray for the tract ministry. There is not the plethora of reading materials here as in America, so people like to receive tracts and read them. It is God Who has to open their understanding, and His Spirit who has to convict of sin. Pray for people to understand and be saved.
Love in Christ,
Dan and Joan, Ruth Marie, Hannah, Seth, Lydia, Susanna, Isaiah, Stephen, Rebekah, Josiah, Joseph, Esther, and Gideon