The Poole family and Straight Road Baptist Church want to thank you for your financial and prayer support during these unusual days. Saturday evening is our time to pray for you; as a result, our children are quite familiar with the names of both our supporting churches and pastors.
God in His mercy has basically spared our entire country. There have been very few illnesses and no reported deaths. Unfortunately, the economy was seriously affected due to the shutdown of borders, and many people have suffered. By law, we were required to stop gathering as a church, and we did for a while. People were understandably nervous, and our soul winning had to be done cautiously. However, about two months after the initial shutdown, we were basically back to normal.
In the past several months, we have seen 11 people trust the Lord for salvation; 4 of these attend church regularly. This is the fruit of patient, ongoing teaching. Tola is one of the above-mentioned recently saved, and he obeyed the Lord in baptism, hopefully, one of many more to come. He is a bright teen boy of 14. His mother was saved before she met us, but his grandmother is one of our earlier baptized converts. Now all three come to church.
We continue with our regularly scheduled services—Sunday morning, Sunday night, and midweek Bible study and prayer. We are excited about the midweek group. Most of the children are not from Christian homes. This is their first experience with learning how to pray a simple prayer in church in front of their friends. They have seen some clear and definite answers to prayer, such as success in a mother’s selling business, a job for a young lady, and the stopping of the flood-producing rains in Cambodia.
We recently added an English-language preaching service on Sunday afternoons. This benefits the two Filipino couples and two Pakistani men, in addition to potentially many other foreigners who live in our area.
Another ministry newly started is one where I preach to university students. They are in a dormitory-style house rented by another missionary. These young people are mostly from the province and come to the city to study and work. I was invited by this missionary to teach the Bible every Saturday evening. This is a vital need, as these college-trained youth are literally the ones who will be the government and business leaders of tomorrow or, better yet, leaders in church.
As already mentioned, two Filipino couples join us on Sundays. That is a set of eight hands that help us in a variety of useful ways. In addition, another missionary has allowed his two oldest children to join in our children’s service, which gives us some added reinforcements to help manage and love our Sunday school students.
Suni continues to encourage our church ladies through prayer and counseling. She was recently able to teach at a women’s conference in India via Zoom. Our children’s schooling continues with a combination of Internet and onsite learning. They both faithfully join us every Saturday as our soul-winning partners. My daughter Jerusha has really improved at the piano and uses that skill in church. My son Joseph has grown quite tall and enjoys playing basketball with a group of Filipino youth.
We have purchased an empty plot of land, 450 square meters in size, about 30 minutes from our present location. After construction, we will use this as a launching pad to start a new church, while still maintaining the old church by God’s grace.