As the holiday season approaches, we are planning events to reach out into our community. Trunk or Treat caught us a bit unprepared last year as we had well over a hundred visitors stop by. This year we know what to expect and will be handing out our leaflet, “The Trick is in the Treat”.
Beginning on November 26th , and continuing on Tuesday evenings for four weeks, we will be offering a series of community meetings dealing with grief using the book and video entitled “Tear Soup”. We hope to reach out with the love of Jesus to those who deal with loss and find it particularly hard over the holiday season.
Our Prayer Box has yielded contacts. It is empty on most days, but we have received a dozen written requests so far and one of those had contact information. I was able to visit and am hopeful we will see this nice couple visiting with us.
Contacts from the Summer campaigns are still active and yesterday I visited with Rick who had recently asked for a Bible. He has some health issues but promises to visit soon. Chris and Devon have had a baby since we knocked on their door and Devon recovers from a C-section. She was very grateful for visits and the card we mailed to them. She looks forward to visiting with her moth-in-law.
Todd and Pat are two visitors who have been with us for some time now. Todd asked to study about baptism recently. He had begun a relationship with a lady in the Philippines who is a member of the Church there. They are non-institutional, however, and Todd received messages warning him about our liberal group and advising him to go with the church in Elmira (N.I.) I have been able to make contact with the preacher there and we sat down for a study this past week and plan to meet again this week. Pat is a lady who comes to worship and Bible studies after visiting several churches in the area. Denise is a neighbor who visited for the first-time last Sunday and was favorably impressed and plans to return. Please pray for these contacts and for the interaction with the brethren from the non-institutional church.
Teresa is a devout Catholic lady who cuts my hair and who listens to me talk about undenominational Christianity but staunchly defends her Catholic faith. I feel that after four years I have won her confidence and she is willing to look at scriptures now. Robert is the Jehovah’s Witness whom I studied with for several weeks and I am sad to report that he eventually withdrew from the study, but I continue to pray that there is fertile soil somewhere in his heart.
A new venture for us is somewhat ironic and controversial. We have been seeking ways to use our building to interact with the community and the grief ministry was our first idea along those lines. We received a request from a young lady in the neighborhood who teaches music to home-school children. The twist is that she needed a piano, even though these are voice lessons. When we bought the building from the Pilgrim Holiness Church, they removed their piano from upstairs but left a somewhat dilapidated piano downstairs. I rolled in into an unused space and turned it to the wall and covered it up. Virginia has her own fellowship but has visited at worship and Bible study and she held her first class in our building yesterday. The piano will remain covered except for Thursday afternoons when the class operates. I would be interested in hearing others’ thoughts about this venture.
A huge development for us is the addition of Paul and Dawn Cowles to the work here. Paul will be retiring from his position as Enforcement Officer with Tompkins county, NY at the end of the year and will take on more responsibilities in preaching and teaching. They live much closer to Sayre than Sandy and I do, and we are praying that, as the church grows, they will be able to take over. Sandy and I remain well and enjoy this work but it is only realistic to look to the future continuation of the work. We will be in need of some extra support through this transition and are now prayerfully asking for help from those who are willing.
We are so grateful for the continuing encouragement from so many people in numerous places. Our first visit from Sojourners was such a blessing and we have already arranged for next year’s visit. Progress seems slow sometimes, but the Lord is at hand and we look for good things as we look for His coming.
May all the Glory be His
Arthur and Sandy Barry
Sunday, September 1st...While we were at Teresa's class reunion and over at the old church where we stayed with friends and drove down to Alliance and went to our old congregation. As we did not get down until 11 pm and we did not want to drive the 8 hours home on Saturday night so Bill Garrett filled in for me per my request.
Monday, September 2nd....Labor Day Made some visits to old church in Ohio where I preached 10 years.
Tuesday, September 3rd...I made visits to two nursing home people back at the Windham area and visited several members, 8 all together and talked with the new preacher.
Due to the fact that Teresa and I are moving into a new place and we are packing to move we decided to just take the boxes down the street a half a block where our new place is going to be. Teresa is not able to help much and getting a moving vehicle would mean packing everything in one day and unpacking it in one day. So we decided just to move things in our van and due to the fact that the couches and table and chairs and refrigerator and stove are not ours, we will only have the washer and dryer that we cannot haul in the van and we can find someone to help move it. So when we move in we will have one bed, no couch, no living room furniture at all. We will have a stove and refrigerator, so our needs later will be a couch, a couple of living room chairs and if anyone stays we will need a second bed, as the home were are moving from was completely furnished and we have a washer and dryer that our supporters bought us.
So during this month I will be moving most of the month but if there is anything I can rep[ort I will place it here when it happens. I will try to find some helpers but most of the people I have been evangelizing are women and unhealthy soup kitchen disabled. But we will make it, cause
we are always given answers in some way. God is good.
Monday, September 9th...I was in contact with Poncho Rivera.
Tuesday, September 10th-30th...We did a lot of packing and moving. Hoping to be in by the 30th of the month and out of our old place. We cleaned our old house as we went. We probably do not need to explain all the details of moving and how hard it can be and trying to keep things in order as we might need them, getting the electric, mail and other things switched into our name and some complications and still serving the church and her people. What a blessing the Lord has given. They will be putting a new roof on the house and we got a new mail box probably after they received our first month’s rent in advance. Everything is working out great and we love our new place. I have an office upstairs and a bathroom there and Teresa has an office downstairs and a bathroom. We have our bedroom on the first floor so that Teresa won’t fall down any steps at night as she did in our old place. So we have a bedroom and an office for Teresa downstairs and living room and a kitchen and bathroom and basement for our washer and dryer and a bedroom upstairs and an office for me upstairs.
All during the month whenever I could I invited people to the church. A new man very sick with very bad legs has been stopping by to leave a $20 donations each week and just recently a new person has talked about coming through me meeting him and phone calls. His name is Paul Mosberg. I will wait and see if he shows up. Also a new kid in town, Sarah Reynolds and I had a very long talk but it probably will depend on her boyfriend. We went Sunday night to the Gospel Sing at Sayre being represented by 9 people from Tunkhannock. All went well. I hope to start one again my report in October. Have a blessed day and thank you to my supporters.
On October 19, 2014, the Antioch Intiative (under the oversight of the elders of Elmore church of Christ, Elmore, AL) launched a new church plant in Sayre, PA in Bradford County Pennsylvania with brother and sister Arthur Barry working with that congregation. On June 6, 2016, a second church plant was launched in Tunkhannock, PA in Wyoming County Pennsylvania with brother and sister Jeff Wyeth working with that congregation.
On Sunday, February 24, 2019, the Elmore elders have agreed to head up an effort to plant a church in downtown Montgomery, AL. A graduate of V. P. Black College of Biblical Studies at Faulkner University has stepped up willing to serve as the preacher of that newly formed c0ngregation. More work must be done asking God to bless with the necessary funding; the gathering of a core group of mature Christians willing to attend and work in this new congregation; and, locating a meeting place. Please pray for this new effort.
Valley Cities Church of Christ
Report: October 2, 2018
The summer has passed, and Fall is moving in here in the Northeast. Today thunder storms and heavy rain kept the ladies from meeting at the building for the weekly lady’s class. Jill Shiposh was supposed to join them today, but her granddaughter is in hospital, so her plans changed anyway. Jill was contacted during the VBS door-knocking campaign in August and we discovered that she was raised in the Church in Indiana and has lived in Sayre for 27 years. She was very happy to learn of our existence, but she works as a nurse in Elmira on Sundays. She can come to most of the Bible class time but must leave just before the end. We make sure she is able to take the Lord’s Supper before she leaves. She has four adult children who are all baptized but we have not met them yet. One son is a local police officer and one is a New York state Trooper.
VBS was a great success thanks to the devotion and hard work of the brethren who came from Kittanning and Camp Hill. Quite a few contacts were made, and I enjoyed following up with Chuck and Elizabeth Talada who joined us in church with their two sons the next Sunday. I studied with them the following Tuesday and received very positive feedback from Chuck and the boys. Plans were made for a further visit, and they were excited about coming to church again. Unfortunately, that is as far as things went and they have not answered the door, or the phone, since then. I had talked briefly with Christopher, a wounded warrior as he came out to sit on his porch. He said he was interested in studying the Bible, but he had a friend arriving for a visit, so he told me to look out for him on the porch and stop for a visit some other time. A few days later I saw him on the porch and parked my car. When I climbed out he got up and headed inside. I called to him and he looked at me but continued in and closed the door behind him.
A fair bit of the work follows that pattern and it is hard not be discouraged sometimes. I am praying for God to open hearts and there are still contacts that are promising. Of the 10 youngsters who visited for VBS we have been able to get four to church at least once but Sandy did not have a single child in class this past Sunday. Sandy has taught the class for three years now and this is only the second time that has happened. She does enjoy getting to sit in on the adult class, though.
We have given thought to offering an after-school homework club for local children as we see that as a definite need. I have spoken to the area schools and the idea is welcomed enthusiastically. There is nothing of this kind except for something just beginning for Athens elementary children sponsored by the local Calvary Baptist group. Also, we are making plans for our own “Trunk or Treat” event as we are in a very good location for that. I have been talking with, and getting ideas from, members of regional churches who are involved with this outreach effort and we are excited about the prospects. I am even in the process of converting an old BBQ grill, that I was about to throw away, into “BibleMan”. (Hopefully, I will have pictures to include in the next report.) I have searched for a source for a small New Testament that we can give to children, but I am not having much success so if anyone knows of such a thing please let me know. I am looking for small, economical, readable without a false plan of salvation included.
We had a guest speaker on Sunday. Paul Cowles is an old friend and brother from my time with the church in Ithaca and he is keen to help regional churches that are small. He and his wife Dawn also join us for Wednesday Bible study. This has been a great boost for us. Sarah Bump also joined us this past Sunday. She is Patty Albro’s daughter and was a youngster when we are at Ithaca. We haven’t seen Sarah for many years. She was one of two surprise visitors, the other being Ron Moulton whom I baptized in 2015. Ron left us and has been with a Baptist group since 2016. I am not sure where this is leading but I am praying for his restoration. In all we had 14 in attendance.
There is much to be thankful for and much to be praying for and I am still praying for a replacement who can take this work to the next level. Please join in prayers for the hearts and souls who live in the Valley community and for the faith and wisdom of those of us who are ministering here.
On a health note, Sandy and I continue to be well, but I am scheduled for a cardiologist consultation and an ultrasound of my carotid after I had a very brief, and mild syncope episode while driving recently. I had been afflicted with a crazy idea that I wanted to run a marathon on my 70th birthday this year and had run a 12 mile stretch but pain from an arthritic knee has ended that pipe dream. :) Sandy had been hitting the trail with me and she would walk almost as fast as I was running so the plan is to just ease back into a walking regimen.
We are aware of the extensive network that supplies so much support from so many saints out there.
Thank you for all that you do and especially for keeping us in your prayers.
Jeff Wyeth, Evangelist
Saturday, September 1st...We were up very early to help Emily Barry put some of her stuff in storage and we ended up working there all day and went home at 9 p.m. She moved to Maine.
Sunday, September 2nd...We had morning services and it was fellowship day dinner. With Emily moving and Allen Morningstar's stay here over it definitely hurt somewhat our attendance, but our continued work will bring us new results. Malissa and Ken Lockwood said they overslept. The two that were baptized said they lived too far away. But we prayed for them and their safety. They live 35 miles away and of course a person who lives 10 miles away might say the same thing. We left after services to take our mind off of our disappointments and went to our son’s and attended church there with them, as tomorrow would be Labor Day and a holiday.
Tuesday, September 4th...We stayed last night at our son’s so that Teresa could attend a Ladies’ Meeting there. After arriving back at Tunkhannock I went to the soup kitchen and I spoke with Jim and Amy Stirling and Doreen Plummer was there also. I also spoke with Angie Force. There was a great heat wave from Labor Day until today and it was above 95 both days.
Wednesday, September 5th...Saw many at soup kitchen spoke to all. I got a lesson prepared for evening services. I got a call from Malissa's daughter that they were broke down and that they needed me to take them to Meshoppen, which is about a sixteen mile trip. I told them no problem and picked up three people and dropped them off in Meshoppen and then brought the husband back. I took him to an old house to get a tire off of a van and take the tire back to his van that was broke down in Tunkhannock. I gave him jump on his battery and he was able to leave. I did see Malissa Lockwood's grandkids, Blessings, Heavenly, Jaden, Michael, Scottie and Breanna while at their place. I dropped the women off & Malissa's two daughters.
Thursday, September 6th...I got prepared to pack and go away to my family reunion and come back on Wednesday, September 12th to check on mail and things needing done. So I left Friday to go to Ohio and worked some more in Teresa's mom and dad's house and then to see my family on Sunday in Lancaster, Ohio as most of them I will only see once a year as I am far away now. The Lord continues to bless me as we had a fine time.
Wednesday, September 12th...I am still on vacation until Saturday but I needed to return to Tunkhannock to do some things and then leave to travel some until then.
Sunday, September 16th...I returned home Saturday night and I had the opportunity to speak to a neighbor and gave them my card. She had her own RV and spoke to Teresa and I as her dogs kept coming over to our place and others were complaining about her dogs, but we did not. She was staying with an ill neighbor. We attended services and I preached and we fellowshipped afterwards. We had two visitors who had come to the Founders’ Day booth. They might keep coming they said. Asked them to go to the Pink Apple Restaurant with us but they declined, so we went and saw the new placemats with our church information on them.
Monday, September 17th...I got caught up on my mail and did some things around the house for my wife. I took her to the doctor for an appointment. I went to the soup kitchen and spoke to Ken and Roseann Staff for quite some time and I also spoke with Lena and her sister, Amy and Jim Stirling & a girl named Wendy. I also spoke with Jeff Lindsay, who had moved her from Ohio to live out his last days apparently. He will talk but moves on when I talk about the church and religion. It rained here all day.
Tuesday, September 18th...I had plans to knock doors or weed the church yard but, since Oliver Houck, the man just baptized is in the hospital in Wilkes Barre, I went to see him. I had been calling him each day and by chance his girlfriend answered. She gave me the info on that he might have a brain tumor so I rushed right over. Did not make it back until late as Teresa went with me.
Wednesday, September 19th...I went to the soup kitchen and sat with Roseann and Ken Staff and talked with Jeff Lindsay and others. I have not given up so fast on them. They are seeing me as one of them and that’s how I want them to see me. We had a visitor at services tonight as Doreen Plummer’s daughter came by. We had a good welcome conversation with her after church inviting her back.
Thursday, September 20th...I spent the day at the Gehsinger Hospital in Wilkes Barre and prayed for Oliver for his surgery, hoping they would not find a brain tumor and that it would be something he could bounce back from. I came home and stopped at the soup kitchen and was introduced to another neighbor from the girl who was just here in the neighborhood temporarily.
Friday, September 21st...I went to the Wilkes Barre Gehsinger Hospital to visit Oliver Houck and Teresa went with me. He did not look good in I.C.U. & kept moving around and could not talk and did not know me but because of prayers he was improving. I also saw the girl I baptized (Alisha Whitesell) and she was very happy that we had come, so that she was not alone. He was tied down and struggling.
Saturday, September 22nd...I went by myself to visit Oliver Houck and he did not even seem to know who I was so I prayed for him before I left.
Sunday, September 23rd...Kelly Donovan was at church and she had her niece with her. The ones from the Founders’ Day booth were not here but they say they have their own church but they are opening up.
Monday, September 24th...It was very cold today. I spoke with Alisha Whitesell about Oliver Houck and she said he was doing better. I did some more typing on my monthly report and per a request from Jimmy about an overview of what is going on here, I sent him a small report and mentioned all 3 of my baptisms and of one overseas that found Christ in baptism and went to a church of Christ there. The Lord has blessed us with baptisms and has blessed us with 25 in Ohio and 10 in West Virginia while I was there.
Tuesday, September 25th...Once again I planned to weed the church area but it rained once again. There are always papers blowing into our yard there so I try to keep up with that. I have been known at the three other congregations that I have been at where the church was nearly next door, to keep the yards looking good. I was at the soup kitchen and spoke with the Staff family, Brad Cross, Nelson Gatto and Merle Church and some others. Sometimes some like to tell me gossip about others but I tell them that is not my subject but that I will pray for all involved.
Wednesday, September 26th...I had doctor’s appointments myself this time at the Wilkes Barre Veterans place in Podiatry and then I went over nearby to visit Oliver Houck and glory be prayers were answered and he was talking to me and calling me his good buddy. Praise the Lord for answered prayer. He has a way to go but because he got his life back, he said he wants to have a party. Such nice uplifting words he gave me and I was so built up and uplifted that I felt joy in that I can look forward to teaching and working with him as he gets nurtured and becomes what God has destined him to be. Afterwards I went to the soup kitchen spreading cheer and talked with Lillian and Holly Harding who I had not seen for a while.
Thursday, September 27th...I got a call from Malissa asking me to come and pick her up that her car was going to be taken back by the rental company as she was in a car accident in Binghamton, New York a few weeks ago and her insurance will not pay for any longer.
Friday, September 28th...I was at the soup kitchen and talked with a man named Gary Johnson and to Nelson Gatto. I talked for a long time with a man I had a few Bible studies with, Carl Wiesneski. He was playing on the piano at the soup kitchen and his wife has Alzheimer’s and he told me that they would be going to Maryland to stay near their children for the winter. We always have a very good conversation.
Saturday, September 29th...My grandson was in the hospital so we spent the day visiting him. Finished up report a day early if something good happens tomorrow I will let people know. God bless and pray for Oliver Houck and Brad Wyeth. I’m doing my best to keep my wife happy, who lost both parents this spring and summer. Lots happening here and things are moving and the fields are being plowed and the harvest is coming and beginning since I have arrived. God is good and His power has been seen in three baptisms as I speak on the street to them they have returned to be baptized and God will give the increase.
On Friday, December 1st, and Saturday, December 2nd, Jimmy Davis and I are schedule to travel to Moorhead, MS to meet and dream with Gene & Madolyn Gibson concerning their need for a student center director for the community college work. They have served in that capacity for 22 years. They report that four congregations of the church of Christ have closed their doors over the last number of years in that region. We purpose to explore what involvement we might have in helping locate a student center director who might serve a reorganized congregation in that region that might include an outreach to the 50 non-member students who regularly attend Bible classes at the student center in Moorhead. We are encouraging a meeting of leaders from those congregations that once existed at a dinner meeting on Friday of that trip.
On that trip, we have been invited to Winona, MS to meet Betty Choate and to tour their operation of The Voice of Truth International. Betty featured the church planting work of the Antioch Initiative in a recent issue of that Christian magazine.
Having been contacted by Edie Connel (the Administrative Co-ordinate of Follow-Up Partners with World Bible School), she has proposed to send the Antioch Initiative the contact information of all people from 2013 to 2017 who have requested baptism and with whom other follow-up partners have placed in an inactive status. She has forward one name as a test and we expect five more from her soon. All these efforts will be plotted through the WBS website where record keeping may be historically documented. Members of the Antioch Initiative Team will be activated in the follow-up of these precious souls.
Jonathan Towell (Computer Co-ordinator with WBS) has plans to improve the WBS software to realize the full and evolving potential of the Antioch Initiative's desire to disciple souls leading to church plants in the U.S.
Other exciting developments are on the radar of which we cannot speak since their are in a proposal status.
More later as God blesses.
Someone said, "If you plant a church, you may or may not get a disciple, but, if you make a disciple, you always get a church."
Two meetings have been directed by Dr. James Crabtree on the campus of Faulkner University to discuss the launching a new congregation in downtown Montgomery, AL. Due to an increasing number of people who are moving back into the city and the increased investments and growth being realized through the face of downtown being lifted in recent years, it is believed that a congregation can thrive in downtown Montgomery. Extensive research is being done by partners in this work looking forward to our next meeting on February 27th at 5 p.m. in the President's Dining Room at Faulkner to begin bringing plans into reality. Dr. Crabtree has asked the Antioch Initiative to be among those involved in this planning and execution.
More later as God blesses...
Greetings in Jesus’ name
I pray you are well and happy in the LORD.
Things are moving quite quickly regarding our efforts to buy a new church building. Response to our fundraising appeal has been very encouraging and so many of you have been praying for our success, we know that. The brethren at Kittanning church of Christ have continued to amaze us with their steadfast commitment to helping us with this work in Sayre. The purchase price has been lowered to $95000 and we presently have around $45000 towards that. This amount includes $20000 of our own money combined with gifts you have either sent, or pledged to send.
We are expecting to sign a purchase agreement and set the closing date within days, so please keep us in your prayers. One nice little twist is that our regional fifth Sunday singing event is going to be hosted by us at the new location. I asked if we could borrow the building for that one evening (October 29) and the owners agreed. This is a perfect time to show brethren in the region where we will soon be.
Our excitement is now turning more to plans on how we will utilize this building and there is a flood of ideas we are considering. We have members with expertise in areas that are of definite interest to the community; from reading literacy and yoga to smoking cessation and crisis counseling for violence and rape. We are asking God for wisdom in these decisions.
There will be additional expenditures when we move into the building and we are still seeking funds to make sure we can cover these as well as bring the mortgage amount down to a manageable monthly payment. We are so grateful for all your help.
God is moving in this world and we intend to keep up with Him.
May all the Glory be His.
Valley Cities church of Christ
PO Box 82 Sayre, PA 18840
As Christians, we have all imagined ourselves sitting with our brothers and sisters in the church that met in Lydia's home in Philippi, or that of Philemon in the Lycas Valley. House-churches were the primary meeting places of Christians on the First Day of the Week in the First, Second, and early Third centuries A.D. In those early days, the gospel spread relationally over the Empire from house-to-house when common men who were strong in the word of God shared the gospel with their families and friends each day and in Christian assemblies in their homes on the First Day of the Week.
I was joyful to participate in their first house-church gathering with Carl and Stacy Alfieri by means of SKYPE in their Brooklyn, NY apartment from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. CST this past Sunday, 11/12/17. Carl was baptized as a result of World Bible School referring him to us for follow-up. Carl attended the Manhattan congregation for a brief time, but he and his wife desire to establish the church in their home.
This Sunday, the Lord's Supper was partaken; song of praise sung; prayers offered; and a lesson delivered by Carl and finished my me. Carl and Stacy have invited another couple to services next Sunday at 2:30 p.m. understanding their need to reach others with the gospel. Emphasis was drawn to the need for Christians to be disciples of Jesus who possess the true DNA of Jesus that will lead to reproduction of souls. Prayers will be offered that a time will come when Carl and Stacy's apartment will not be sufficient space to house all those in attendance necessitating another house-church in Brooklyn and, then, another.
Faithful men of God (e.g. Dan Wheeler, Stan Taylor, Andrew Bowens, Terry Carlisle, Jake Sutton, Don Reynolds and numbers of others) are standing by ready to take up their work of teaching and preaching in these settings by means of Internet venues such as SKYPE, Go-To-Meeting, Google Hangouts, and/or Face Time.
The two congregations established in Bradford and Wyoming Counties Pennsylvania met yesterday morning in worship to God. The first church (Sayre, PA) has talked of planting a church in Towanda, PA—the county seat of Bradford, PA. May the Lord be praised!! The dream of planting churches that meet in homes and other free spaces has been a dream expressed by the Antioch Initiative, but now, praise God, realized! We now have a standing appointment each Sunday afternoon at 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. to worship with the church that meets in Carl and Stacy's home in Brooklyn, NY.
What will be the outcome of this? All is in God's hands. The emphasis will be laid on the authority of God's word for all worship, belief, and daily living. Our prayer is that yesterday was the beginning of a historic evangelistic movement of discipleship as we see the gospel spread over the land with the saints gathering to worship God in homes and other free spaces with seasoned and grounded men of God mentoring disciples preparing them for service and reproduction.
Jesus offered an illustration of a woman putting a bit of yeast in a lump of dough resulting in the whole lump being infiltrated. Little is much when God is in it! Let us all be reminded that when we finally get into a field to spread the gospel that God has long-since been there! Let us join God in His mission for lost souls.
The story is told of a man hitting his golf ball out of bounds. When he got to the ball, it was in the center of a red-ant bed. Being an honest man, he decided to play the ball where it lay. On his first swing, half the ant bed was torn away with dead ants everywhere. On his second swing, the other half of the bed was gone with dead ants everywhere. Only two ants remained and were having a quick conversation before the terrible golfer took another swing. “What are we going to do?,” queried one ant. The other ant said, “I don’t know about you, but I am going to get on the ball!”
Yet, what are we to do to “get on the ball” in the mission of Christ. Well, simply put, we are to get on the ball by doing what Jesus commanded—“make disciples.” Making disciples will lead to the forming of new congregations with members possessing the DNA of Jesus and able to reproduce themselves. So, let’s all keep that clear—that is our mission.
On Friday, September 8th, Jimmy Davis and I traveled to Cookeville, TN to set up our Antioch Initiative booth at the Tennessee Tech Basketball Arena where the Annual Bible Bowl would be held the next day. About 2000 young people gathered at the Bible Bowl on Saturday, September 9th, and we had an enjoyable day meeting various church leaders and informing them of our efforts to make disciples in the U.S. leading to the planting of churches. During the course of the day, we met Jerry Cherry (the preacher of the Red Boiling Springs congregation) and a couple of his elders. I had been invited to preach a gospel meeting in Red Boiling Springs from Sunday, September 10th, through Wednesday, September 13th. As we follow-up on World Bible School referrals for baptisms in the U.S., Jerry Cherry (a pilot with American Airlines) said that since he and his wife can fly free that they would fly to any place in the U.S. to baptize those who no one else can easily reach.
On the afternoon of Saturday, September 9th, we were privileged to have lunch in Cookeville with the elders of Crossville, TN along with a beloved partner in this work, Don Napier. Don arranged this meeting. He is a professional newspaper man and publisher who has agreed to do all our printing free of charge as his contribution to the work.
Following the meeting with the Crossville elders, Jimmy and I journeyed to Red Boiling Springs, TN and checked into the Donoho Hotel built in the late 1800’s once visited by President Franklin Roosevelt. The home style breakfasts and dinners were delightful.
The gospel meeting was well attended and we were able to reconnect with Kenny Westmoreland of Celina, TN and Dennis Miller of Moss, TN who were both in attendance at the meeting on Tuesday evening and dedicated partners in our work. The Red Boiling elders met with Jimmy and I for dinner on the evening of Wednesday, September 13th, and listened to the exciting challenges of this work. On Wednesday morning, Jimmy and I drove back to Cookeville and met with Kevin Daughrity (one of the ministers of Sycamore congregation in Cookeville) along with three of his elders (Charles, Wayne, & Dale). On Tuesday night after service, Grant Carruth, Donnie Dowlen, and Bill Hedge (Trustees of the Smith Fund out of Nashville, TN) met with Jimmy and me to assess the progress of the work in Tunkhannock, PA with evangelist Jeff Wyeth. Those trustees provide a $48,000 per year salary and benefit package to Jeff and Teresa Wyeth. As was agreed from the outset, that sum will be reduced to $30,000 beginning March 1, 2018. Yet, those trustees assured us of their intention to continue with us in this work over the next three or four years depending on the progress of the same.
On the financial side, our priorities are:
Raising $18,000 to replace the sum being reduced by the Nashville Trustees needed by 3/1/18;
Raising operations funding for the Antioch Initiative;
And, looking for other evangelists interested in joining the team as multiple church planters.
As we pursue our new approach of following up on WBS referrals for baptisms in the U.S. and recruiting mentors who will disciple these referrals, we received our first request for baptism from Carl Alfieri of Brooklyn, NY. Carl has been assigned Jake Dutton as a mentor and is in attendance now at a congregation near his home. He plans to be baptized soon.
As you have read, we are prayerful that some of these discipleship relationships between mentors and students who are out of proximity of exiting congregations will result in the forming of new congregations of the Lord Jesus.
Follow us on the Valley Cities Website, with photo updates, sermons and Bulletin Articles.