June of next year will mark forty years since S.M.I.T.E. in Louisiana/Mississippi began its unique ministry of training independent Baptist young people in the reaching of children through Bible Clubs. Seven years ago, we carried that legacy to Nigeria, and now the movement has reached unprecedented new heights in West Africa. Starting on the last day of July, three youth camps were accomplished in four weeks, and the results were greater than we ever could have imagined, as the Student Missions Institute for Training in Evangelism welcomed 460 campers from 51 churches; they took part in 88 Bible Clubs and enrolled 4,760 children to hear the Gospel! I was humbled by all the work that Berean Baptist Church of Ogbomoso, Truth Baptist Church of Nyanya-Abuja, and Independent Baptist Church of Port Harcourt put into hosting, along with an ever-growing and hardworking group of faithful staff and graduates. We are now looking forward to the prospects of expanding to Ghana next year.
The middle of July brought an invitation to the U.S. for the unique opportunity to be the keynote at Fundamental Baptist Missions International’s Missionary Candidate School. Fifteen years ago, Sabrina and I attended our first, and we credit much of our deputation successes to what we learned during the (at that time) two-week seminar. Joseph joined me this time around and attended his first-ever Youth Conference at First Baptist Church in Hammond, twenty-three years after my life was changed by the same meeting. We were treated superbly by FBMI and its staff, and I delighted in the chance to fellowship with veteran missionaries (as well as friends at the conference) and to teach the new candidates and those on deputation. Joseph and I took full advantage of our time by spending the two weekends (before and after our four days in Hammond) in our home areas, visiting family and ministering in supporting churches.
After more than fourteen years of writing to churches semi-monthly, I am finally developing a system to keep track of those who wish to only receive our updates electronically. If you would like to help me “trim down” our postal mailing list and expenses, please let me have an email address for your church or missions department so that you can receive our prayer letters by PDF attachment. In addition to email or postal mail, you can also view all our previous correspondence by way of our website (missionaryholmes.blogspot.com) or our mission board’s site (fbmi.org/holmes). More frequent updates of our work can be accessed on our ministry Facebook page: Abuja’s Conferences & Colleges.
Mark Holmes, written 9 September 2017