We hope you and your loved ones have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. Though my overseas trips were completed in August, I was able to stay busy soul winning here in my hometown area. We were also busy preparing and participating in our church’s annual Live Animal Christmas Show.
Earlier in the month of November, I was able to go visiting with one of our bus captains. Normally, I try to witness to someone as the Lord gives me the opportunity. We were in a trailer park and got to talking to a lady who had just visited the church on one of our big days. She was so ready to hear the Gospel and get saved. On another occasion, I met up with our soul-winning group in Iowa City as they were visiting some apartments. Many people live there who are immigrants from different African countries. I was able to talk with Michael, visiting here from, I believe, the Congo. He listened intently to the Gospel and got saved.
I flew out to Manchester, New Hampshire, to preach a Missions-Emphasis Weekend for Pastor Dave Carlson. Dave was a teenager in my first church and started this church over 25 years ago. They have a beautiful building in the downtown section of the city and are reaching many with the Gospel. What a blessing it is to labor together with someone you were able to influence so many years ago! He has done so much more for Christ than I have ever done. I have helped in starting churches by preaching start-up meetings, but I have never started a church from scratch as he has—and God has blessed his hard work. His dad, who was one of my deacons in that first church, now lives with Dave, Laurie, and their two children. It was great to see him again, still faithful to his Lord. On one of my flights back to Iowa, I was able to witness to a Muslim lady. She did not get saved but listened carefully to the Gospel. What a joy it was to shine the light of the Gospel on this woman.
A few years back, a man came to our church for a couple of months. I remember having the privilege of leading him to Christ after a morning service. He eventually moved out of the area, and Dan Woodward, our bus director and one who visited him often, lost touch with him. About a month ago, Dan received an email from him. This is a portion of what he said in the email: “A lot has changed in my life. My faith is deeper than ever, and God has really blessed me. I’m doing well, getting to see my daughter and grandkids. None of this would be possible without being saved by Jesus, you, and Marion Avenue Baptist Church.” Some people ask skeptically, “Where are all those who claim to get saved?” Here is one of them! We may neither see nor hear from many who get saved while we are out soul winning, but God knows, so let us keep planting the seed and winning people to Christ!
Our church put on 9 showings of the Live Animal Christmas Show. These 9 shows were given in 5 days. We had over 5,000 persons come to the showings, and 459 gave an indication of trusting Christ as their Saviour. Praise God for the privilege of being a part of a church that uses multiple means to get out the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I would appreciate your prayers for my upcoming February trip to Nigeria. Specifically pray that I get the visa soon and that no further COVID requirements are added to what is needed already. Of course, pray for God’s power and leading.
Missionary Evangelist James Belisle