Having just spent 10 weeks in the U.S., we are delighted to be “home” again! We returned to our regular place of service, getting in late last night and unpacking our 21 check-in and carry-on bags. Things will be very busy these next couple weeks as we get our feet back under us and as we apply for visa renewals for my wife and daughter. Please pray fervently for these visas, as the bureaucrats often complicate matters.
Furlough Overview and Highlights
During our 10 weeks Stateside, we visited 9 states. I participated in a total of 43 meetings in 27 churches and a couple of Bible colleges. I preached at least 38 messages, including one the morning after we landed and another the night before we flew back. The highlights are too numerous to mention, but I will include a few: preaching my 50th sermon at my alma mater, closing the Missions Conference for First Baptist Church in Hammond, being at Salem Baptist Church with 38 of my family members, hearing our kids sing together, our family reunion which included sending off our oldest daughter’s family to Nigeria, having all 16 of our children and all 14 of our grandchildren together in one place, being in our home church in Roanoke, celebrating a 34th wedding anniversary with my wife, getting to spend a lot of time with my and my wife’s family, getting to see so many friends again including mentors, getting to go shooting 10 times, visiting longtime supporting churches, visiting other churches for the first time such as Capitol City Baptist Church and Fisher Baptist Church, celebrating my 59th birthday and my dad’s 81st, soul winning in Muslim Dearborn, and waking up on an airplane and overhearing my 14-year-old son giving the Gospel to the adult next to him.
Van Fund Update
As many of you will recall, one of our secondary objectives for the furlough was to raise money for a van for our family and ministry. A 10-year-old van in this part of the world costs nearly as much as a brand-new van in the U.S.A., so we had set a goal of raising $20,000. As of last night, exactly $16,000 has been given, with a couple of churches still indicating a plan to do something towards this need in the near future.
Plans and Priorities
As we get back to the work here, one of our major priorities continues to be the incil.online website, which affords Turkish-speaking people around the world access to a video presentation of the Gospel, multiple tracts and articles, and most importantly, a free, downloadable copy of God’s Word in their language. We are also making plans for a major Mastermind Conference this fall, where we anticipate many of God’s choicest servants.