Our newest member of the Holmes family, Aaron Samuel, arrived on September 10 at 4:06 p.m.; he weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces and was 19½ inches long. He was delivered at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; we brought Aaron home to my in-laws’ on Thursday. All of his initial checkups have gone well, though we did have to get his tongue-tie clipped to help with feeding. This is Noah and LaDonna’s first time to notice a baby sibling, so they are overly excited to have him around.
Our time on furlough has started very well, with several invitations to minister in supporting churches, a chance to be a part of the first Missions Mastermind and Missions University with our mission board, the second opportunity for Joseph to go to Youth Conference in Hammond, Indiana, and the excitement of sending Brian and Victoria to a junior camp. In Nigeria, 3 Student Missions Institutes for Training in Evangelism and our first-ever Bible Club “Blitz” were conducted in my absence. The totals from the 3 SMITEs were 341 campers conducting 82 clubs, with 4,518 children enrolled and nearly 2,500 who raised their hand for salvation. Then 70 youths from 2 churches in Calabar joined Evangelist Tunde Ajayi and 4 pastors to conduct 16 Bible Clubs throughout the last week of August after the Port Harcourt SMITE. We already have a second city planned for a Blitz after next year’s Ogbomoso Camp.
In February, our ministry was honored to be the focus of a nationwide Bible Day, sponsored by Bible Education And Missionary Service (we share the same sending church in Gulfport, Mississippi). The 5,000 whole, hardback Bibles, for which BEAMS raised money, will be included in a container that several other ministries helped us to fill. Missionary Evangelist Donald Wattenbarger, with Bibles Beyond Boundaries out of Liberty Baptist Church in Crossville, Tennessee, raised funds for shipping and sourced Bibles and testaments from Mt. Pisgah Scripture Printing Ministry in Oliver Springs, Tennessee; Bearing Precious Seed in Milford, Ohio; and Bible and Literature Missionary Foundation (Bro. Bobby Lemmon) in Shelbyville, Tennessee. A new friend, Bro. Jon De Rusha, who has Back in the Battle Bibles, has provided hymnals and other materials; and Publish or Perish Printing Ministries, also in Gulfport, donated four pallets of boxes packed with Gospel tracts. Several churches and individuals have also sent Christian books for our library and funds for the distribution of materials. We are humbled by the efforts of those who have been joined together for this great effort to assist many Nigerian churches with needed resources.
Mark Holmes, written 29 September 2018