I first want to apologize for such a long newsletter. I have been on the road since June 6th and leave again on September 17th. Several good works have taken place and I will try to bring you up- to-date on everything. If you ever have questions about our work please let us know.
I want to thank you for your help and support in our efforts. The Lord has truly blessed us with many friends and fellow workers in His kingdom.
Classes are now underway at the International School of Theology in Haiti.
Our grand opening day on August 9th and classes started on August 11th. For opening day we had about seventy people to attend a one day seminar. Our 24 students were present along with their families and members of their home congregations. Some of the students travel over two hours each way to attend the classes. They do not have automobiles so they have to take a tap-tap. This is similar to a taxi that is a small truck, but it only goes a short distance, so the students take several different tap-taps to arrive at the school.
We have partnered with Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver and Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee. The first two years will be a series of 49 short courses. This means we must have teachers who are willing and able to go and teach a course. We try to provide paper and pens since most of the students do not work and are unable to pay for supplies.
Each students does pay 600 goud (the Haitian money) per quarter; this comes to about $12 US. We felt it was important for them to pay a little so they will have invested in their own education. We have also encouraged their home congregations to help support them with tap- tap money and food money.
We feel it is important for the church in Haiti to do all they are able to do for themselves. It is not only our responsibility to evangelize Haiti but it is theirs as well.
The first three classes have been taught and the fourth one will begin on Monday. Donnie Bates from BVBI was able to go and teach the first class, Survey of the Old Testament. He set the standard high and that is exactly what we wanted to happen. I followed-up with the Survey of the New Testament and Robert Johnson then taught a course on Christian Evidences.
Gary Fallis arrives in Haiti on September 6th to teach a course on God's Plan of Salvation: Scheme of Redemption.
On July 19th I led a team to the island of Barbados for a one week Vacation Bible School and gospel meeting. PJ & Chris Hardy, Ida & Saber Newman and I from Lexington, along with Joe Holley from the East Colbert congregation in Mussel Sholes, Alabama joined forces to take the gospel to the isle of Barbados. We were the third week of VBS at the Hindsbury church of Christ. We had 58 energy filled young people we were able to work with. The teachers did a fantastic job and some of the local members came each day to assist.
Our focus centered on “Daily Challenges”. The challenges include: being truthful, our prayer life, humility, honor our parents and having a trusting obedient attitude toward God and His word. These are challenges we all face each day of our lives. Most of the children live with only one parent and some are being raised by their grandparents. Joe and I worked with the teenage class and had 25 students. Of the 25 students, only one had both mom and dad in her life on a daily basis. The gospel is the only way to turn families around and help make the home what God intended for it to be.
While we had VBS for three hours each day, the day did not end there. Each evening we had gospel preaching at the Barbarees Hill church of Christ. This is the oldest congregation on the island, there are four. None of the four congregations have a full-time preacher at this time. In the past the church has been strong and the members who remain are strong, yet the devil continues to find ways to hurt the church in Barbados. Please pray for the church there and pray for labors to go. If you would like to know more about the work or if you are interested in going with us on a mission trip, please let me know.
Miami Metro Mission Team
I was able to visit the Miami Mission Team and was encourage to see their progress. My daughter, Brittany, her fiancé Riley Hendrix, Jordan Smith and Mauricio & Kayla Yegros are working in Coral Springs, Florida to reach the Hispanic population. They have been there since July of 2013 and they planted a new congregation in March of 2014. While it started with only the five on the team, they have grown. Today they have 25-30 in worship each Lord’s day. The battle has been hard. They rented a building and made many repairs only to be told the church could not meet there. There are many city ordinances and laws which have slowed their process. Yet, they refuse to give in to discouragement and continue to their search to find a permanent meeting place.
They are now meeting at the Coral Springs Funeral Home. This may sound like an odd place to meet but the facilities are well suited to meet their needs and very centrally located. They are looking for another facility because they need the classroom space. Riley does most of the preaching, Jordan works with the youth and Mauricio teaches the adult Bible class and leads the singing. Brittany and Kala work together teaching the children. The services are in Spanish with some English to help those of us who do not speak Spanish. They are doing a great job but need your daily prayers. You can see more about their work by visiting http://metromiamiteam.wordpress.com.
While I was there, Mauricio baptized a lady whom they had been studying with for some time. It is thrilling to see people come to Christ but it is also thrilling to see young people doing the work of spreading the gospel. To God be the glory and honor.
On June 26 we set out for Roundup, Montana for our annual mission trip. The church is small but very dedicated to the teaching of God’s word. Ron and Cheryl Birdwell and their granddaughter Destiny, along with Art and June Roberts and Sam Holmes make up the congregation. The church has been in Roundup for many years but due to internal division most of the members have left. The few who are there now were not a part of the original but are dedicated to building the church and helping it to grow.
Carol and I were joined by Johnnie Meggs (one of our elders at Broad Street) Tim and Carol Shannon, and Pat and Charlotte Evans from Henderson, Tennessee. Curtis and Melissa Southerland along with their three children Eli, Levi and Eliza were also a part of the mission team. Eli was able to give his first devotional talk while in Roundup and did an excellent job.
We had a Vacation Bible School, (the first in several years) and oiled the building. Yes, I said oiled the building. The building has cedar siding and every few years must have a coating of linseed oil. This helps protect it from the harsh winters. This was quite a learning experience for us since none of us had ever done it before. The VBS went great with some from the neighborhood attending. We had eight children and made contact with several people in the community. This will help us plan for the next VBS in 2015.
We also had a brother in Christ to return home, Sam Holmes. Sam will be a great asset to the church in Roundup. He will be with the church in Roundup one week and then go into Billings and meet with the church there. The church in Billings (about 250 members) is a constant encouragement to the Roundup congregation. Several of the members at Billings go twice a month to worship with the church at Roundup. This is the nearest congregation which is about 55 miles away.
We were also bought the church a computer and set it up with Skype. Since it is hard to always have a preacher present, we can now preach in Montana from Tennessee or most anywhere in the world. While this is a great tool, we still hope one day to have to have a full time worker with the church.
June Mission Trip To Haiti
In June people from Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Minnesota and Barbados came together to serve the Lord in Haiti.
I, along with Curtis Southerland and Riley Hendrix went to Haiti to prepare for the opening of the school of preaching, IST. We were joined by three of the members from the Brighten Hill Church of Christ in Bermuda and four men from Alabama.
The men from Alabama, led by Joe Holley were working in areas outside the Port-au-Prince. The men from Bermuda came to visit with a preacher they are helping to support in the Jeremy and to speak at the preacher’s seminar hosted at IST. Dave and Charlene May (center) are the Inn Keepers at the guest house and great servants of God. Since this trip David has had malaria and Charlene has the Chikungunya virus. Because of their recent illness, they are taking a leave of absence but hope to return in a few months. Please keep them in your prayers.
What a joy to work with men and women who are dedicated to the growth of the Lord’s church. May God continue to use each of us as we continue to serve HIM.
Deep Sea Fishing Trip
For over twenty years Gary Sorrels has put together a deep sea fishing trip for the members at our home congregation. This was started to help build love, unity and fellowship among the members. Over the years it has expanded to those outside our church family and has been used as a tool to reach out to others. Christians are able to spend time with their families and friends and get to know others whom they may not have had an opportunity to know otherwise. One of our members even proposed to his wife while on one of the trips. They have been married for several years and now have two children.
We travel to Destin, Florida every two years and charter the Destine Princes; our group is the only one on the boat. Everyone catches fish and seldom does anyone get sea sick. I would encourage others to find ways for the church family to spend time together. We are not only to reach out to the lost but also to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. What a great few days of fellowship, fun and relaxation. Come go with us in 2016!
May God continue to use us!
Larry & Carol
To see Larry’s report with pictures, please click here.