I am writing this letter, having my whole family with me in Abuja. We had several delays in our return due to required tests for travel; but, thankfully, we finally arrived on February 19. The longest furlough of our ministry was fruitful on both sides, with several goals accomplished in the U.S. and our work continuing to mature in Africa.
On January 20, the first day of class was held for the new semester of our Providence Baptist College. We welcomed 4 more students for a total of 23 men who are training for the ministry; in addition, there are 14 enrolled in Temple Baptist Institute. This is the first time that I have ever missed back-to-back orientations for our seminary, yet it is so rewarding to see our faculty and staff work together to make the classroom teaching and student activities successful in my absence. From the beginning, an inspiration for our training center was Blue Mountain Baptist College in Ogbomoso. In January, Blue Mountain’s founder, Dr. Solomon Owolabi, went to Heaven. He was truly the patriarch of our movement in Nigeria, and I was privileged to call him a friend, mentor, and co-laborer.
In 2008, when we held our first Soul-Winning & Leadership Conference (SWLC), there was no other annual multi-day pastors’ meetings of which I knew in Nigeria. In 2019, we held six SWLCs, and they have been conducted so far in 9 different venues. We can now see that at least four churches would be determined to continue these annual meetings even if an American missionary were no longer there helping to host them. The strongest of these four is Faith Baptist in Ogbomoso, led by Missionary Pastor Timothy Ojo, which conducted their church anniversary and three-day Pastors’ & Workers Conference during the first full week of February while I was still in the U.S. Missionary Evangelist Don Wattenbarger of Bibles Beyond Boundaries contributed toward the feeding of the delegates, and our ministry made sure that all the attending preachers received boxes of Bibles and New Testaments. We are grateful for our partnership with churches like this.
We are glad to report that we received donations and purchased new motorcycles for the three ministries mentioned in our previous prayer letter. Please pray for us as we progress through adding a second floor to our seminary dormitories. Updates for this building project can be found at fbmi.org/mpg/holmes. Thank you for your investment in prayers and finances for our work.
Mark Holmes, written 1 March 2021