God is so good! I cannot believe how fast this year has been going! Laura and I thought that we had sent this letter out a month ago, but to say the least, things are very, very busy.
First off, this has been the hottest summer on record in Australia, with temperatures near 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) on average in most of Australia. Because of this heat, it has been difficult witnessing to people, as everyone is just a bit on edge. While out door knocking, my son and I knocked a neighborhood I have already knocked a few times, but this time I found a lady named Laura. She came to the door and was quite pleasant and allowed me to give her the Gospel. After I got to Romans 6:23, she started asking me about our church’s stand on homosexuality. I explained that the Bible is clear about it being a sin. She allowed me to go a little further but could not get around the fact that we don’t believe that people are born homosexuals. After talking to her for a bit longer, I found out she was a lesbian. She would not be willing to give up her homosexual partner and lifestyle even for salvation. I told her that Christ died for her sins and that He loved her and wanted to give her a home in Heaven. She replied that she would rather be gay and pay for her own sins.
Talking to this lady truly broke my heart, because I have noticed that the people here are so entrenched in perversion and alcohol that they refuse to even hear the Gospel presentation. She told me that she was a frequent visitor of the Uniting Church, and she liked her female pastor there. The Uniting Church here in Australia has Baptist Union (Southern Baptist), Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, Uniting Aboriginal and Islander, and Congregational churches included—this is a mess!
But, praise the Lord, we are still seeing people come to Christ. If you remember from my past prayer letters, we have mentioned a little red-headed boy named Jack, whose life is truly tragic. Jack has been coming to church for many months with his grandfather. We want to thank you for your prayers, and we praise God because Jack received Christ as his Saviour.
In January, we had an older preacher, Pastor Trevor Ringwaldt, come and preach. He was 72 years old and in fragile health, but he was such a huge blessing. My pastor, Brother Sam Carns, taught me the importance of having older men of God preach for you. Brother Ringwaldt had a wonderful time on a working holiday (his words). He got to preach in six different churches while he was down here with us. I would like to encourage you, Pastors; if you would like to come to Australia and preach in several of our type of churches, please come.
We also had a member of one of our supporting churches in Ohio contact us about a woman she had met on the Internet and asked if we could visit her and give her the Gospel. She checked our address and thought we still lived in Berwick, which was only a 20-minute drive to her contact; however, we are now living in Moe, Victoria [NEW ADDRESS: 51 QUEEN STREET, MOE, VICTORIA, 3825]. This was over an hour’s drive, but we were more than happy to go and visit this lady’s friend Anita. On our first visit, she was extremely busy but pleasant and allowed us to make an appointment to come back and see her the following week. If anybody else ever has this kind of situation come up, we would be more than happy to follow up with these souls for you. We gave Anita the Gospel over and over, and we tried to take away all her excuses, but she refused to believe that God would forgive her if she was unwilling to forgive wrongs done to her. She carried a lot of guilt, especially over her husband committing suicide because she wanted a divorce. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44. Statistics show that approximately 65,300 attempts are made each year. We left her on good terms with an invitation to call at any time and directions to two good churches for her to visit. Please pray for Anita to be saved.
We are also starting our move to Moe, due to our previous house being put up for sale. This is very common here and a problem for almost everyone who rents. Our new address again is 51 QUEEN STREET, MOE, VICTORIA 3825. We are going to be farther out in rural Victoria, almost two hours away from Melbourne.
My wife and I are also trying to update our ministry photo, so we are sending out an email photo. You should be able to get a copy from the FBMI website.
Calvary’s annual Valentine’s Banquet went extremely well this year. We had 11 couples attend—our largest year yet! We had Pastor Ringwaldt give a little devotional; I told him if he preached over 20 minutes, we were going to start eating (just teasing him). The restaurant was the same one we usually go to in Drouin, the next town. I was surprised at the owner’s attitude this year, as he was extremely excited with us returning to him a third time. He even offered a microphone for our “speaker” and quieted the rest of the guests as he preached! The folks at Calvary don’t get much time to fellowship, so they really enjoy having this time for married couples only. I have tried over the last few years to put an emphasis on the importance of marriage and family. On that Sunday, we honored our two widow ladies with flowers.
Please pray for more souls to be saved, for the hearts of the people to become softer to the Gospel, for more Aussies to get baptized, and for our church to continue to grow. Please pray also for my friend, Missionary Andrew Steers, as his wife Laura has been diagnosed with cancer.
Missionary in Australia