Each year I prayerfully seek out what trips to other countries the Lord would have me take. Oftentimes I get to know a particular ministry, they get to know me, and we develop a long-term relationship. Such is the case with Missionary Mark Holmes, who ministers in the country of Nigeria. I have preached for Brother Holmes many times in the past four years for a variety of meetings. I have been with him for his missions conference, for a family conference, and for school meetings. I have had the privilege to travel eight hours away to the villages and help in the starting of a church. My meetings with him have also allowed me to preach for national pastors, as well as other missionaries. Last year I was able to preach and teach in the National Soul-Winning and Leadership Conference held in Abuja and in a regional conference held in Calabar. This year I will once again be able to preach and teach in both of these conferences. I leave for Nigeria on April 18 and will return on May 2. I will have the privilege to be with Dr. Mark Bosje and Dr. Mike Cox. Please pray with me for God’s power and for God’s direction in the messages. Nigeria may very well be the key country in reaching Africa with the Gospel.
When dealing with foreign governments, requirements for entering their countries often change. Recently Nigeria changed its policies for acquiring a visa to enter the country. In the past, it was just a matter of filling out the application online, paying the money, and mailing in the paperwork to the embassy here in the States for their approval. This year I was required to go to one of five locations to have a personal appointment. This added step, of course, necessitated me going to the Atlanta, Georgia, area to be fingerprinted and to have my picture taken. It was a hassle and cost more money, but God worked it out that Linda and I were able to stop in to see one of my brothers and his family, whom I had not seen for 16 years. Man proposes, but God disposes.
Many years ago I mentioned in one of my prayer letters about a young man who got saved on one of my trips to the Philippines. I remember visiting this young man, Ryan Villaver, in his home. As a result of getting saved, he and his family attended Liberty Baptist Church in Lapu Lapu City for many years. Ryan eventually got married, and then God called him to preach. He ended up attending Heartland Baptist College in Oklahoma City and graduated. Recently I was thinking about Ryan and decided to see if I could find out anything about him by looking online. I was pleasantly surprised to find someone by that name was a pastor in Delano, California. I contacted that pastor and was very pleased that this was the same Ryan who had gotten saved 15 years ago in the Philippines. What a blessing to see the fruit of the seed planted years ago, resulting not only in salvation but in a life of service for God. We had a wonderful talk on the phone and are hoping I can travel to his church in the near future. For those who pray for me and support this ministry, here is fruit to your account. He is a tree of life as Proverbs mentions. Thank you for helping me reach others with the Gospel.
In His service,
Missionary Evangelist James Belisle