God is so good! These were some really busy months for us here in Australia, as summer is getting into full swing. This is one of the wettest, rainiest summers we have seen in our four years; it made it almost feel like the right weather for the holidays. The newspaper headlines were “Coldest, Wettest Snowiest Summer Yet.” We are praising God for March because we will be hitting four years and can start our naturalization process. Please pray that this all goes smoothly.
After Pastor Carns and Pastor Petrick visited, I finished up the area where I had taken them soul winning on the north side of town. It was interesting because I only knocked a few doors and came across a lady named Chloe. I introduced myself and the church, and I asked her if she knew what the Bible said about salvation. She sweetly asked if I could show her from the Bible. After just 15 short minutes, she prayed and asked Christ to save her. I was praising God, but I wished I could have seen someone like her get saved while our visitors were here so they could also have had a blessing. We seem to have a ministry to ladies named Chloe here; please pray that it continues and that she comes to church and gets baptized.
Please pray for Missionary Russell Blanchard, as he has been diagnosed with stomach cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The doctors are hoping by the end of March to be able to operate and remove the tumor. We sincerely need each and every one of you to pray for him and his family of eight children and his wife, who is currently pregnant with their ninth. His oldest is married and lives in the States. He is very important to us and the ministry here; we have been working together since the beginning of Calvary Baptist Church, Warragul.
On December 25, we had our annual one-hour Christmas service. We were surprised because EVERYBODY in the church came this year, plus a few visitors. We had the largest crowd ever for a Christmas service. Praise the Lord! I was starting to think maybe we shouldn’t have a special Christmas service after last year’s turnout, but I was wrong. We are trying to have as many services as we can, other than Sunday and Wednesday services, to give people an opportunity to get involved with the church. This year we went caroling before Christmas to three nursing homes in one day—a grand total of almost four hours of singing, which we will be adjusting next year. They all appreciated us so much; the one at the local hospital told me that we were the only church to come and minister to their people in any way. They had paid a group to come and carol at the beginning of the month. This is so sad when you think about the lack of ministering of the local churches of all kinds.
On December 30, I was able to perform my first Aussie wedding. My daughter Mary and Caleb started the rest of their lives with God’s blessing. It was so sweet. I took some advice for the service from Brother Carns; I gave a little excerpt about the way they met, and it went over extremely well. About 140 were there and heard the Gospel presented, many of them for the first time ever. We have heard nothing but wonderful reviews from the Aussies, who said it was the most beautiful wedding they had ever seen. Thank you for your prayers for our daughter.
We would also like to thank you so much for the cards—birthday, anniversary, and holiday—and the Christmas gifts this year. We even had many folks give wedding gifts to Mary and Caleb, and we are so grateful for your love and generosity. Please continue to pray that we are effective in soul winning, baptizing, and training of the new converts here in Australia.
Missionary in Australia