Our family arrived in Nigeria on the 24th of January after postponing our original departure plans by two weeks because of a delay in receiving a visa for Aaron; thankfully, we already had a “buffer” in our schedule in case something like that happened. This crew of eight traveled from New Orleans with nineteen 35-gallon Sterilite bins, three boxes, six carry-ons, two instruments, and seven backpacks! On the first Sunday back to Grace & Glory, five families (including ours) were represented in a Baby Dedication; this one was very special for me, because I had participated in the wedding of each couple on the platform (including mine ).
In early February, I had the privilege of conducting the first two of six pastors’ conferences that we have planned for 2019. The 2nd Annual Pastors’ & Workers’ Conference at Faith Baptist in Ogbomoso was a great success. It was an honor to preach with a personal friend and patriarch of our movement, veteran national missionary Dr. Solomon Owolabi, and another great friend and fellow-servant, Evangelist Yinka Fasinro. The next meeting was at Zion Independent Baptist in Jos, the church that always sends the most teenagers to our Abuja camp. My family joined me on the drive, and I preached on Friday through Sunday with the pastor of the church, Bro. Ayuba, whom I had the thrill of ordaining two years ago, and our assistant pastor, Justin Mathias. Our co-laborer, Ms. Pat Hamburg, skillfully taught also. There were nearly fifty churches represented over the seven days of preaching in two places due to the diligent work of Pastors Samuel Akande, Joseph Popoola, and Ayuba Agwom.
My biggest praise report this year is the Lord using our family and ministry to host four different couples on their survey trips throughout this year. Not all will be working directly with us in the future, but each is staying in our home and seeing our work. Bro. Seth Folkers, already a veteran of Cameroon, visited with us at the end of February after ministering in Ogoja (in the southeast part of Nigeria) to Cameroonian refugees; he should be returning with his wife and daughter at the end of this year. Arriving on the last two days of February, Garan and Anneliese Patrick stayed with us for two Sundays and visited both churches, one of our newer plants, Bible Club and school ministries, an orphanage with which we partner, the City of Refuge; and Garan taught and preached in our college. The Patricks are planning to start deputation in the summer. Next month we will be hosting the Christiansens and the Langs, who have already begun deputation; check out their information at fbmi.org/missionary/lang.
If you usually get our updates by email, included in this month’s message will be a letter that I sent to all of our Nigerian pastors with our 2019 conference and camp schedule. We would appreciate your prayers, as this should be our fullest calendar ever, and I would also like to request help as, in some specific ways, it will be our most financially costly year of ministry. In our five S.M.I.T.E.s, we will be spending about $1,200 for each camp just to print materials that will be used in classes and Bible Clubs. Also, there will be four churches that need help with feeding delegates/students who will be attending their conference/camp; in each of those churches, we will be spending around $1,000. We look forward to sending good reports of these meetings!
Mark Holmes, written 18 March 2019
The following link will take you to our ministry being featured in the Baptist Voice from Lancaster: