The last two trips I took this year reminded me that God’s work is not measured in years, but in decades. Let me just share with you the thoughts I had these last two months while preaching for missionaries and pastors in the countries of Nigeria and the Philippines. These trips also reminded me of how important it is for us to continue supporting missionaries and pastors around the world.
I arrived in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, on October 12 to preach in a Missions/Soul-Winning/Leadership Conference, hosted by Dave Maskey and organized by Mark Holmes. Dr. Mike Cox and his wife were with us as well. Brother Maskey and his family have been on the field for 25 years, and the church just celebrated 24 years of being in existence. On their anniversary, they had over 1,500 in attendance, and on the Sunday we started the conference, his people did a great job of having a big day, with 877 persons in attendance and over 70 trusting Christ for salvation. But the thing that struck me was the long-term influence he is having with these people. Below is a recent picture of Brother Maskey and his family. The next picture is of me with Pastor John Abili, who was trained by Brother Maskey and was sent out to start a church. Next you will see me with Pastor Augustine, who was trained by Brother Abili and sent out to start a church. This sounds like the book of Acts— churches starting churches!
In November, I was in the Philippines preaching for Pastor Weindell Biernesa. His dad was one of the key people who first invited me to the Philippines 20 years ago. It had been 8 years since I was last in this church, and what a blessing it was to see the son continue in the footsteps of the dad in his service for the Lord Jesus Christ. During one of the services, I heard the testimony of a young man named Ruben. In 2003, I preached a revival at this church. I had mentioned in previous emails that a man named Ryan got saved in that revival and is now a pastor in Delano, California. In Ruben’s testimony, he mentioned that he got saved during that same revival. He went back to this island and, through a series of circumstances, ended up starting a church. This is Ruben and I. (NOTE: I grew the beard for our church’s Live Animal Christmas Play we have yearly. I shaved it off the night we were done. AMEN!) Then, in talking with another pastor whom I had preached a revival for in the past, he said three young people had surrendered to full-time service during that revival. He then went on to introduce me to two of the three young people. These two, the man on my right and the girl on my left, are now serving the Lord full-time in Pastor Salmaca’s church. Praise God for using us sinners to reach other sinners! May God give you a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Missionary Evangelist James Belisle