Thank you for your continued prayer and support. Thank you to those who’ve reached out to us over the past couple of months. A personal touch is always appreciated. I mentioned in our last letter that we began the year on lockdown. The lockdown eventually turned into a full Stay-at-Home Order due to the rising COVID-19 cases in Ontario. Premier Ford declared a state of emergency, which allowed the police to fine anyone $750 who went out for “non-essential” reasons. This complicated ministry work greatly, as we now could no longer go into church members’ homes without the threat of being fined. The isolation, quite frankly, took a toll on our youth group. A couple of our teenagers have struggled greatly with the isolation, and I beg your prayers for them. Pray for me also as I begin a “Gospel of John” outreach to teens in our area, which will give them the Gospel and a personal invite to our teen class.
Praise the Lord, we have raised all of the funds needed to mail out the last of the Gospel postcards! Please pray that as they are mailed, they will find their way into the hands of those who are searching for God. We also greatly praise the Lord that, as I write this, we are not only out of lockdown, but the Stay-at-Home Order has been lifted. I’m glad to say that we’ve had two in-person services already. The fellowship has been refreshing, and morale has significantly boosted. Please pray for our church, especially our teenagers, that they would come back to in-person services. As of this moment, we haven’t seen some folks in at least a year!
During our lockdown/Stay-at-Home Order, I was thinking of a way to keep our youth engaged in our midweek Teen Impact lessons about “Overcoming Temptation,” and the Lord led me to offer up a prize program to generate some excitement and stimulate some growth in our teens. A couple of those aspects that I’ll highlight have greatly encouraged my heart to see how above and beyond the call they have gone. First was Bible memory. Each week, I gave them a memory verse, but after the first week, it looked like there would be no clear winner if I didn’t provide some bonuses. The next week, I added the passage connected to the memory verse, and the majority did those as well—still it was a tie! Finally, I decided I would really challenge them and added the whole chapter our memory verse was found in as a bonus. Some have taken this challenge to heart, and it looks like in a couple of weeks, we will have a clear 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Totaled up, our youth group together has memorized 347 verses; one young lady has memorized 156 verses by herself! I find myself extremely challenged by this! The second highlight of this challenge was for them to tell me some things that they’ve learned in their own words. Limited space doesn’t permit me to share those, but it has been wonderfully refreshing to hear their perspectives on what I’ve been teaching them. The teens are challenging me as much as I’m challenging them! Praise God for that! Recently, I have also begun teaching the book of Acts in our midweek services, and I ask you to pray that it would stimulate a Holy Spirit-led revival of our desire to fulfill our true purpose as believers.
Here is an update on the reading lessons my wife is giving the little girl from Iran. I’m so pleased to say that the lessons have paid off, and the goal of hearing her reading the Bible is starting to be realized. She is sounding out words and is doing quite well. She has started reading Bible verses out of Genesis 1, and Liz is currently helping her read them and understand the Creation story. It’s one of the sweetest sounds I hear all week to hear a little one, who isn’t saved yet, read from the Bible and learn about the One Who made her. Pray that she will be saved through these reading lessons. Liz is now also tutoring her in math, specifically with telling time and counting money.
Pressing toward the mark,