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Valley Cities Church of Christ

Sayre, PA

Report: October 2, 2018

Dear Brethren,

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.

In Christ,

Arthur Barry

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