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.
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...
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.
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."
God blessed the Antioch Initiative to reach an agreement with World Bible School on Wednesday, August 9th, in Cedar Park, TX. The agreement is that the Antioch Initiative will be given access to all those requesting baptism in the U.S. through the WBS online and postal lesson series that are not otherwise covered in various sectors of the country through the mission outreaches of individual congregations of the church in the U.S. An essential element in this followup work will involved the recruitment of faithful and mature men of God being recruited throughout the country who will continue the discipleship process with said souls leading those repentant believers to their baptisms into Christ and to their continued growth through discipleship in the Lord with the teachers using internet venues (e.g. SKYPE; WeChat; Go-to-Meeting; etc.). Seeking continued blessings from the Father through prayer, we envision this leading to new church plants throughout the U.S. meeting in venues of their own choosing as it may please the Lord. The key to global evangelism is discipleship and there are no shortcuts in the discipleship process. True disciples who populate new church plants will possess the DNA of Jesus and will replicate themselves--new church plants planting churches that will plant churches until Jesus returns. Evangelists will be sought to move to various places in the U.S. with the dream of multiple church planting.
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
On Tuesday, July 25th, core members of the Antioch Initiative will meet on the campus of Faulkner University at 6 p.m., whether in person or through video conference, to discuss the following agenda items. Those included in the conference will be: Kenny Westmoreland (TN); Gene Clemons (KY); Jeff Wyeth (PA); Arthur Barry (NY); Bill Garrett (PA); Jimmy Davis (AL); Terry Carlisle (AL); Stan Taylor (AL); Marshall Reese (AL); Andrew Bowens (AL); Don Myers (AL); and Dave Laton (AL).
First, exploration and brainstorming will take place to determine consistent ways to become aware of members of the Lord's church who have relocated to parts of the U.S. where no congregation is in practical distance. Our prayerful aim will be to contact those Christians encouraging them to become the church where they live (see http://aicoc.org/index.
Second, the production of a user-friendly booklet will be discussed aimed at giving biblical guidance concerning the beginning of a new congregation in one's home or some free space in one's town.
Third, the recruitment and vetting of preachers/teachers of God's word who are sound and dependable men of God ready to teach & preach to those newly forming house churches from week-to-week by means of the live Internet. The securing of located missionaries in regions with the passion for multiple church planting must become the passion of each germinal church plant.
We would like to welcome brother Kenny Westmoreland (Evangelist of the Beech Bethany congregation in Celina, TN) as a core leader of the Antioch Initiative. Kenny has already met and informed brother Darrell Daily of Messena, NY of our church planting work and vision. I have spoken to brother Daily and he is going to meet with the men of his congregation inviting us to come preach for a few days and to become acquainted with brethren in that region very close to the Canadian border. He informed me that the nearest congregation to Messena is a 100 miles in any direction. Further, brother Daily informed us of a Men's Retreat that takes place the 3rd weekend of September at Camp Hunt in Hubbardsville, NY. We are making plans to attend that retreat where fourteen (14) congregation were represented last year.
Our aim is to network with brethren in regions of the U.S. where the Lord's church is scarce to non-existent.
What will come of all of this? Well, we are dealing with God who is the Infinite Missionary able to cause a little bit of yeast to infiltrate the whole lump of dough!
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.
CLAY COUNTY, TN
June 10th through 15th, Jimmy Davis & I traveled to Clay County, TN to make new acquaintances and contacts on behalf of the Antioch Initiative's church-planting work. There are more congregations of the Lord's church in Clay County than any other county in the U.S.
In light of our recent resolve not buy church properties or to rent church facilities, one might wonder why we continue to seek out brethren to share the challenge of planting churches in the U.S. The answer is as follows. First, we have two congregations being supported by year-to-year commitments of good brethren, but one cannot predict when or if circumstances might arise to cause one or more of those supporters to have to end their support. Kevin Donaldson shared an illustration from a brother (I cannot remember who) who said supporting works is like a Ferris Wheel that turns with new people getting on and others getting off. If there is not a continued effort to encourage new people to get on, then, eventually, one can foresee the seats being empty. We would urge all our supporters to stay on and stay the course with us as we seek to see the two congregations in Sayre & Tunkhannock reach financial independence. Sayre (the Valley Cities church) is rapidly moving toward self-support. Yet, we are committed to stand by both church-plants until that happens. Second, as we seek to disciple lost souls in the U.S. and/or to locate Christians who may have moved to regions of the U.S. where no congregation of the church exists in practical distance of where they relocated, we plan to offer our preachers and teachers to deliver lessons and sermons by internet until which time they can locate their own evangelists. As far as meeting places, they can determine where they will meet (whether in a home or free space), yet, the meeting house will be their responsibility alone. Third, we will be in prayer that God will raise up evangelists who are interested in moving to a region of the U.S with the passion to multiple church-plant and elderships who will be raised up to support those messengers and mentors of disciples of Jesus. In short, we pray for and visualize thousands of congregations being planted and becoming self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-led. Although it has been said time and again, anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed!
On Sunday, June 11th, we were permitted to give a report of the Moss congregation in Moss, TN during their Bible class hour and, Dennis Miller (Moss preacher & one of the elders) was gracious in permitting me to preach the morning lesson. The Moss congregation has partnered with us with a $500 per month donation for over one year. Kevin Donaldson (the other Moss elder) provided us with numbers of contacts while in the area leading to some face-to-face meetings, or phone conversations with interested brethren.
On Sunday night, June 12th, through Kevin's recommendation, we were permitted to meet with the six elders of the Walnut Grove congregation and their preacher, Bobby Gore. They listened with much interest and were left with printed publications to deliberate on what role they might play in our work in the future. They had an abbreviated church service on Sunday evening so they could attend the gospel meeting of a sister congregation three miles away. Jimmy and I followed them there and made acquaintance with two other elderships which led to a meeting on Thursday
15th, with the elders of the Hilham congregation with elders Bybee and Johnson--dear brothers, indeed.
Kenny Westmoreland (evangelist of the rapidly growing Beech Bethany congregation in Celina, TN) gave us several contacts. The Beech Bethany congregation is supporting the work $100 per month. Kenny has already come to Montgomery; preached at Elmore congregation; and taught two classes for me at Faulkner University as a guest professor. Kenny is working on his Ph.D. at present.
Other contacts made while in that region were equally exciting. Among them were:
All of this has made us think, yet again, that heaven is going to be a wonderful place--I want to go there--and we all want to see as many lost souls come to Jesus and join us there.
Kenny Westmoreland and others encouraged us to return to Clay County in the Fall of 2017 and promised to give us further contacts.
God bless you all. We love you all. As you know, if something good develops in this work--you will know of it through this reports. On the other hand, if some setback occurs, you will know through these communications. This work is an open-page and may God have mercy on us all. We pray we can be used (working by your sides) to see the gospel cover the U.S. and the world in our generation.
God blessed us to receive a donation of $10,000 from the Westside congregation in Searcy, AR. May God be praised. As you know, all contributions and expenditures are reported in an expanded and unabridged financial report at the end of every year.
More later as God blesses.