Linda and I pray that you had a wonderful, God-blessed year in 2017 and that you are looking forward to what God has in store for you in 2018. We want you to know how much we appreciate your prayers for us during the year.
God was very gracious to protect us as we traveled close to 40,000 miles last year. We had the privilege of being in 28 different churches, some multiple times, while we traveled here in this country. Some of those preaching engagements included mission conferences and revivals, along with a candidate school and a leadership meeting. God also allowed me to minister to three different churches while preaching in two soul-winning and leadership conferences in Nigeria. Then God opened up the door for Linda and me to be in Ireland for one month while I oversaw a church in the absence of the missionary family who was on furlough. We praise the Lord for the scores of folks who got saved throughout the year while out soul winning or in the services through the preaching of the Bible.
Part of my ministry involves serving as a Field Service Coordinator for FBMI in the Western Hemisphere. I maintain contact with 40-plus missionaries and try to help them as much as possible. I also oversee the missions program of my home church, Marion Avenue Baptist Church. We support around 120 missionaries, evangelists, and church planters.
Every year our church has a Live Animal Christmas Play, and I try to be here to participate in that great soul-winning opportunity. Unless you have seen this play, you cannot comprehend the impact it has on the community. We praise God that He once again met with us in a special way. In one weekend we had 7 showings, with each showing about 90 minutes long. Each showing was packed out; and, unfortunately, we had to turn people away, in one case 150 people, for 3 of the showings. The lines of people waiting to get into the church went all the way to the end of the block and then about half way down the next block. Over 5,000 persons actually saw the play, with over 400 trusting Christ as their Saviour. Each person trusting Christ received a salvation packet from the church before they left the building. What a great privilege to be a part of this great outreach.
I praise God we were able to see all of our children and grandchildren sometime between the end of November and the first week of January. Considering they live anywhere from Alaska to Indiana and Iowa, that is quite a feat. Beth Ann, Kelton, and their children came down from Alaska. We stopped in to see Jim, Holly, and their children while we were in Indiana for a meeting. Then Rachel came out to be with us for a couple of weeks. Susanna, Nathan, and their children now live right across the street from us, so it is not too difficult to see them. We certainly had a wonderful time during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
With the new year comes new trips and new meetings, so please continue to pray for the ministry of missionary evangelism.
Missionary Evangelist James Belisle