In the history of our ministry, I don’t know that we have ever experienced a span of six weeks that was more packed with activity than the eleventh month of 2022 through the first twelve days of December. November 1 & 2 were the closing services of another successful Missions & Leadership Conference at Independent Baptist Church of Port Harcourt with Missionary Evangelists Jeff Walters, Denton Bell, and Jim Belisle. The trio of guest preachers also partnered with me for a Pastors’ & Workers’ Fellowship at Victory Independent Baptist Church of Ibadan the next week.
Not long after those visitors returned to America, we welcomed Pastor Jay Reed and his son Austin of Global Baptist Church Planters, who joined Missionary Evangelist Curtis Hall of BEST Missions for a Spirit-Renewal Meeting, which was hosted by both Abuja churches where I am co-pastoring. Grace & Glory and Truth Baptist conducted a soul-winning Saturday, regular Sunday services, and a weekday revival service. An Open House for Providence Baptist College & Seminary was held on Monday, and many area pastors (several who have been helped by Global) were present. Bro. Curtis Hall then joined my family, Ms. Pat, and three missionary couples working with us for the 4th Annual Soul-Winning & Leadership Conference at Zion Independent Baptist Church in Jos. The fellowship among us foreigners and the members and area pastors was wonderful, and our drive together to and from Plateau State was successful.
While the Youngs, Patricks, Christiansens, Langs, and Ms. Pat all gathered at our house for Thanksgiving, Truth Baptist Church, along with Missionary Olawale Orekan, hosted the first annual camp for our Friends of the Deaf ministry. More than 120 Nigerian deaf people gathered for the multi-day event, which concluded on Sunday, with dozens professing salvation and thirteen following the Lord in baptism. It was especially gratifying to see our staff organize a program from start to finish with very little involvement from me. The dawn of a new month did not slow things down, as Mrs. Emily Christiansen organized our pastors’ wives and other missionary wives for an inaugural Women of Truth Ladies’ Conference. A Thursday and Friday Youth Conference followed soon after at Truth Baptist Church, and our almost overwhelming schedule concluded with a refreshing first-ever Marriage Retreat for Grace & Glory Baptist Church, hosted by Missionary Garan Patrick.
Our break officially began with the Providence Baptist College & Seminary students writing their last exam on December 15. Both of our churches held cantatas on the 11th and 18th, Sabrina and I hosted a staff holiday fellowship at our house on the 23rd, and it felt like home once again to have all the missionaries with us after church on Christmas Day. Our kids opened presents on Christmas Eve, and the week after Christmas included special three nights at a local hotel where we filled the days with games, fellowship, and going out to eat. Thank you for your support and prayers throughout 2022!
Mark Holmes, written 9 January 2023