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