How many times have we all prayed, “Lord, help me to finish the race that is set before me”? Many times, I am sure. When preaching my mother’s funeral, I used the text, “. . . what is your life? It is even a vapour . . . .” It is soon over—and eternity awaits. Hallelujah! Until then, thank God, we are renewed day by day, we finish the course, and we leave behind a legacy that will encourage maturing generations. In January of 1968, Carmen and I attended Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.’s funeral on the BJU campus. The Joneses are buried near the main entrance on a small “island” in the midst of water fountains. Dr. Bob’s marker reads, “A fight well-fought, a course well-run, a faith well-kept, and a crown well-won.” May it be so of each of our lives!
Major decisions are a part of life, and another has come for us. Carmen and I are leaving the ministry here in Hua Hin, Thailand, on Wednesday, May 29, of this year. Such decisions are very difficult, but God gives peace. Bailey’s Grove Baptist Church in Asheboro, North Carolina, has graciously offered to let us live in a lovely home next to the church, and our “kids” are helping us purchase a Lincoln MKZ to drive—with only 20,000 miles. Does that sound like a preacher’s car—or what!? Years ago at Liberty Baptist Church in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, I was walking from my Sunday school class into church. In Visitor Parking sat a flashy Cadillac from Texas! As I entered the church auditorium, I soon realized that Carl Hatch and his wife were seated on the second row. When I asked him to preach for us, he was delighted! He told his life’s story and wept all the way through. “Heaven came down.”
I could write a volume about the past seven years of teaching, preaching, and soul winning among the Thai, Karen, and Burmese under the great leadership of Mark Bosje and Tim Shook! Our team is a joy to serve with! Recently the Lord opened a door at a large sugar cane farm, housing many Thai and Karen workers. It was the largest Bible study that Starr and I have ever had! After supper, already dark, they filled the humble dwelling! It sounded to us like nearly everyone (25-30), prayed during the invitation to receive Christ! That study was just with the Karen folks, so we want to return and have one with the Thai people there. Our prayer is for the Holy Spirit to guide us and to glorify the Saviour. You do not have to know much Bible to go to Heaven, but you do have to know Jesus!
Pastor Wilkerson (the prayer warrior at First Baptist in Hammond, Indiana), Dr. Bosje, and the entire FBMI team are among God’s finest servants. We thank all of you for your love, prayers, encouragement, and financial support these seven years! Hopefully, we will be able to thank every individual, church, and family personally! Thank you, Bro. Suttles and Liberty Baptist Church, for making these years possible for the Shooks.
After arriving in Raleigh/Durham, we will spend a few days in North Carolina, then a short stay in Tennessee, then on to Indiana for Rebekah and Derrick’s wedding, then a few more days of traveling, and then back to work (part-time) in North Carolina. I imagine that Pastor Jon Shook has some suggestions. The will of God is good, acceptable, and perfect!!
Randy and Carmen Shook