The first three weeks of November were full of activity, as I rounded up a month-long solo trip to Nigeria. On the 1st, I preached in special services at three churches in Ibadan for an ordination, an anniversary celebration, and the kickoff to a revival meeting. That Tuesday, a Pastors’ & Workers’ Fellowship was conducted, and over thirty preachers each received boxes of John/Romans, New Testaments, Bibles, and Gospel tracts. The week before and after my Ibadan trip gave me the chance to teach a full course in our Providence Baptist College & Seminary.
The 3rd Regional Soul Winning & Leadership Conference miraculously took place at Independent Baptist Church of Calabar November 15-18. This conference was postponed in May because of restrictions; violent protests shook the area in October, and a curfew in the city was lifted just days before we arrived. The Lord blessed with another ordination service launching the special meeting, a record number of pastors attending from the region, several in the host church proclaiming that it was their favorite conference, and each church represented receiving boxes of Scriptures and resources from a container that had been cleared last year. The Friday before flying back to the U.S., I enjoyed hosting the seminary students at our home for supper and testimonies with the help of our single lady missionary, Ms. Pat Hamburg (she has a new update that I will include with the email of this prayer letter); this time of fellowship has become a tradition to which all of our students look forward. Both congregations at Truth Baptist and Grace & Glory were happy to see me on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. Grace & Glory planned an Encouragement Sunday with refreshments and an afternoon service; during the holidays, this church had a record Sunday evening attendance for its first-ever Christmas Chorale Concert. Of course, our members long to see my entire family, and we now have our paperwork complete for all of us to return to the field together in January.
Thankfully, after three itinerary changes, I was able to make it back to the U.S. in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and my father-in-law’s family in Houston. The Christmas week was commemorated by a couple of get-togethers with relatives of my mother-in-law, and that weekend was a nice time to be with my mom, my brother and his wife, and our sending church. A special Sunday before Christmas was enjoyed in Maine, as Sabrina and I were able to “get away” to meet the family and sending church of Caleb & Emily Christiansen, who will be working with us long-term starting at the end of next year.
Our supporters have been so kind to meet this particular need for other preachers in the past, so I feel confident in presenting it again. A pastor, who recently started a third-generation church, needs a motorcycle to be able to conduct an institute there, and another pastor overseeing two churches could use an okada (“motorcycle taxi”) for his works. Our recently formed Deaf Ministry has two seminary students serving fervently, and a motorbike would aide in their visitation efforts. A new quality motorcycle costs $600 and would be a great blessing to these worthy servants.
Mark Holmes, written 18 January 2021