Thursday, November 12, 2020

Satan Hindered Us

The Devil hates the GOSPEL!!! The gospel is what saves a man from hell and changes a sinner from the inside out. Satan will not contend with a church or a believer for their own worship in the same manner that he will battle the church that preaches the gospel of Jesus. The greatest act of kindness one can show their neighbor or family member is to share this gospel with them. 

COVID19 has changed the way we think about church and the ministry of preaching the gospel. Our safety and health has been elevated to a place where some would hardly dare to hand out a gospel tract at the gas station or on the sidewalk. We say that the souls of men are precious to Jesus and that His name must be preached to the ends of the world, but we are hunkered down in our bunkers while teeming thousands have died without Christ these last several months.

Our church in Florida is a wonderful body of believers, and in many ways has been a good pattern for other churches to follow during this time of  pandemic. The church house is commonly filled, the offerings are up, the Christian school enrollment is the highest ever, and people are excited about worshipping God like has rarely been seen in our history. However, with all the blessings seen in these past nine months as we have navigated through the coronavirus as a local church, something is tragically down. What is it you might ask? It is so few number of soulwinners that we see out preaching the gospel weekly. We are lagging behind every year statistically in the numbers saved and baptized as a church in 2020 when compared to the previous 28 years. We have seen fewer souls saved through our local outreach than in any given year over the last three decades. Fewer converts have been baptized this year than ever before. This has not been by a slim margin, but by more than a 60% reduction. 

Now to be sure, we are still seeing people saved and baptized almost every week. And we are always thrilled to see the Lord praised even when "one sinner repents". However, this is not normal for us. This is not a plateauing. This is not a slight falling off. This is the most devastating decline of any figure that matters to the heart of God. This number matters more than any offering amount. These numbers represent the eternal salvation of boys, girls, and adults in our three-county community.

If this is happening in our church, I wonder how many churches elsewhere have similar signs of decline in their weekly and monthly evangelism? Someone has said that there are approximately 30,000 independent Baptist churches in America. I do not know how accurate that might be. However, let's suppose that it is close. Our salvations will drop by nearly 600 this year compared to the last 34 years during which my father has served as pastor in Middleburg. Let us suppose that our church has been in the past more affective than many Bible-believing churches in America in winning people to Christ in their own Jerusalem. Rather than likeminded churches declining by 600 souls saved annually, let's suppose that their average falls off by only 300 (that may still be a larger number than in reality). If the average IFB church were to decline by 300 fewer people saved this year than in the past years, this would mean collectively 9 million fewer people would have gotten saved in America than in previous years through IFB churches. I realize that these numbers are making a lot of suppositions, but it should also be noted that this number would not include all the other evangelical and Bible-preaching churches nationwide who proclaim the gospel in their communities as well. Neither would it include all the other gospel-preaching churches of every stripe internationally.

If the trend in other churches is like that of our church in Florida, it would mean that Bible-believing churches have done less preaching in the highways and hedges in 2020 worldwide. This has resulted in numbers of people never hearing the "old, old story". Only eternity can tell the awful affects this has had on the gospel as pastors have chosen to back off during COVID19. Truly, "hell hath enlarged herself". More people will die without Christ due to a "mask" than those who might have been lost eternally because of the many woes we rail against. 

In I Thessalonians 2 we find Paul urging the church concerning the coming Christ. In verse 4 he explains to the church which he planted in Acts 17 how that God has "trusted us with the gospel". God's message of hope and forgiveness was not placed into the hands of those who desired profit or the elevation of their lifestyle or personal recognition. He trusted the local church with the GOOD NEWS. Then as we read down through this rich chapter of God's Word, we find in verse 18 that "Satan hindered" the great Apostle Paul. If Paul was hindered in the calling God had placed upon him, should we not think that the Devil desires to hinder the work of God in 2020? 

Fear of the unknown has hindered the gospel these last 9 months. Uncertainty of possible consequences has paralyzed the church of Jesus Christ. We finally realized after numerous lockdowns that "Church is Essential". Our evangelistic efforts have stumbled over the threat of being demonized by those who might misunderstand our intentions. May we learn from our stepping back. May we open our doors once again. May we set our eyes on eternity and never let our safety and personal protection keep us from obeying the Greatest Commission that God ever gave His people. "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature". Keep the church doors open! Keep the pulpits hot! Return to our zeal for the souls of men around us! Let's never again allow fear to make us into eunuchs when it comes to preaching the GOSPEL!!!

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Necessity of Every Joint

There has always been a divide among fundamental churches in their view of the value of the national pastor versus the American missionary. This has been brought on by what I believe is the elevation of egos in the work of God, rather than realizing that only "God gives the increase". Ephesians 4:16 speaks of a "whole body fitly joined together" and that the needs of the body are supplied by "every joint". God's knowledge of what the gospel needs is far greater than what we might assume it to be.
Daniel Dawson preaching on Remba

On a recent trip to Africa in March of 2020, we saw the workings of God and the necessity of both missionary and national in that work. Missionary Tim Pledger met up with fellow church members from Floirda, Daniel Dawson and Jim LeClare in Nairobi, Kenya. There had been plans in the making for many weeks to travel to the Lake Victoria region and minister on islands where churches were established by local church-planter and HELP missionary, Pastor Joseph Njega. We were met in Kisumu upon arrival by Pastor George Situma of Heritage Baptist in Nairobi, and by Pastor Alfred Lukwa of New Testament Baptist Church just on the outskirts of Eldoret. This mission team of six along with Pastor Richard Osiro of Awendo Township, went to the Island of Remba to win souls for Jesus. 

Jim LeClare ministering to kids on Remba
The Island of Remba is several miles out into the deep of Lake Victoria. It is inhabited by nearly 15,000 people mostly of the Luo and Suba tribes. Those dwelling on Remba are fishermen. The lake provides food not only for those living on the islands, but also many who purchase their fish on the mainland of  Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Remba is poor with little hope for those who live here of ever being more than anything but lowly fishers. There is one school that is on the island and it goes only through the lower elementary grades. One would have to eventually get off the island to further their education. During our days on Remba, we saw hundreds of souls saved. The people here were trapped not only by poverty, but by drugs, alcohol, and lewdness as well. 

Baptizing in Lake Victoria
Pastor Lukwa of Eldoret was a tremdous soulwinner on the island. In one afternoon, while with Jim LeClare, he would lead 105 souls to Jesus. He earned the affectionate title, "Pastor 105" from this labor. The hearts of the people were ready to listen. As is so often, a hopeless people desire salvation from more than hell and sin, but also long for peace and calm in  their turbulent lives. Our team of  four Kenyans and three Americans were bringing the hope of the gospel to these island dwellers. 

Daniel Dawson preaching with Pastor Joseph Njega
The evidence of the need of nationals and Americans working together for the common good could be seen in various ways during the Kenyan leg of our trip. Pastor Joseph Njega, our host pastor, was won to Jesus years before while in Nairobi by now retired American missionary Lonnie Brooks. Njega has not seen nor spoken to Brooks in many years. However, Pastor Njega had planted 64 churches in this region of Kenya. The money for the buildings and lands have in part come from the HELP ministries founded by Scotty Drake 22 years ago. No American missionary could have done what Njega has been used of God to do in the Lake region. However, Njega would have never accomplished the scope of this without the aid of American churches and a missionary who first brought him the Good News. After one week, Brother Tim Pledger left Kenya and headed to meet others in Nigeria. Daniel Dawson and Jim LeClare returned to the US. The Lord had saved more than 2000 on these islands. 

Tim Pledger preaching to street boys in Homa Bay
Upon arrival into Nigeria, Brother Tim was met by Prince Weah Weah and Pastor Adewale Adesina in the town of Owerri. Brother Prince is a member of Calvary Baptist in Middleburg, Florida as well, and a recent graduate of Hyles Anderson College. Brother Prince is also a refugee of war in his motherland of Liberia. He came to the US seeking asylum with his family as a boy and miraculously saved at a Baptist Church in Boston before being called to preach. Brother Adewale was likewise saved as boy in the city of Ibadan, Nigeria and trained under the ministry of American missionary, Robert Smith. Pastor Adewale is on the staff at the Providence Baptist College in Abuja and serves with Missionary Mark Holmes. Brother Adewale is one of the premier young IFB preachers in Nigeria, and is being used of God to stir the hearts of young men throughout Africa for missions. 

Adewale Adesina preaching in Ogoja
while Prince Weah Weah sits with students
IBC, Ogoja planted by Royal Idakari
These three went by road six hours to the town of Ogoja. They came here primarily to preach to Cameroonian refugees that are being reached for Jesus in UN camps. These refugees had fled war in their own nation and now about 30,000 were living in three separate camps near the town of Ogoja. An Independent Baptist pastor, Royal Idakari came here about 3 1/2 years ago to plant a church within the town. Brother Royal is a fine young pastor who accepted Christ as a teenager by in the ministry of Missionary Dave Maskey in Port Harcourt. He was trained as well in the Bible College in Abuja. We were met by two other young preacher boys and recent graduates of Mark Holmes Bible College, Pastor Michael Solomon and Pastor Gaius Itodo. These three men served along side a Cameroonian pastor, Felix Monju. Pastor Felix was saved many years earlier while living in Cameroon though the ministry of  American Missionary, Tom Needham. He had now been in Nigeria due to the violence in his home, and is responsible for seeing thousands of Cameroonians come to Jesus despite the hardships of war.  While in Ogoja we were able to see hundreds of souls saved through schools and the Jesus Film shown at one of the Refugee Camps.
Missionaries and National Pastors in Ogoja

Pastor Sikiru in the front of the church
he pastors in Uyo
Brother Tim Pledger traveled from Ogoja several hours to the town of Uyo where he, Prince and Adewale were met by Pastor Sikiru Okunola. Pastor Sikiru was saved out of a devout muslim family in this same town years earlier after finding a gospel tract discarded on the ground. Pastor Sikiru planted this church about 8 years ago and is also a graduate of Providence Baptist College in Abuja. The land he had purchased five years ago for the church came from a love offering given by the Independent Baptist Church of Calabar. This church was planted years earlier by Missionary David Long and now pastored by a national, Nicholas Wayih. Much of the building that Pastor Sikiru has erected on the property has been funded by offerings from churches like ours in Florida. Just last year the members of the Friendship Bible Class gave generously to help in this cause. There is still much work to do in this region. Our  team of two Americans and two Nigerian pastors went to a school and preached along with Evangelist Moses Nyiku. Brother Moses, a graduate of Providence, is planning to return to his home state of Benue, Nigeria and serve the Lord helping local churches there. During this singular day of preaching and a gospel film show that evening more than 1000 souls were saved. 

Prince Weah Weah giving the gospel to refugee children
The ground for the gospel is fertile in Nigeria. in less than 6 days more than 5000 received Christ. This soil has been watered with tears and sweat of both American missionaries and national pastors. The funds to send missionaries and buy properties have come from both foreign and domestic churches. There is no part of Christ body which lacks in eternal value. The national is as needed as the American. The rope of the message is held by the strength of both. We must get past the concept that we can evangelize the world alone. We must see the supply contributed by "EVERY JOINT".

Monday, November 25, 2019

A "Melting Pot" for Missions in Mexico

America has often been referred to as the "Melting Pot" of the world. It is a phrase used to depict the diversity of our great land. One can go to any major city in the US and find every type of language and culture that can be found throughout the world represented in the neighborhoods of that metropolis. It is this mixture of our planets people that has made our nation unique and strong since its founding. We are truly a nation of immigrants.

And so it should be in every church where the gospel is preached. Long gone should be the days of people attending a "black church" or a "white church". The body of Christ ought to represent every ethnicity and class that make up our society. This should not only be the case due to the love of God for "all people", but it should also be our desire to include the diverse races so that we might be a complete and a functioning weapon to stamp out sin and darkness in the world around us. Our church on earth is not complete if we are all alike in our background and viewpoints. If everyone that made up the local church were from an elite class only, its ability to reach the "down and outer" of society would likely be lost. If the members of our church in Middleburg, Floirda, were all senior citizens, we would lose our appeal to the youthful side of our county. There must be a "Melting Pot" within a local church in order that it might utilize the gifts God has given it to reach our planet for Christ.

And so was the Missions Trip we took to Ciudad Valles, Mexico recently as six of our members went for a week to assist in the Iglesia Bautista el Calvario where Pastor Jose Castro and his family serves. Our team of members from Calvary Baptist consisted of four men and two ladies. These dedicated members gave up a week of their comforts and personal lives here in northeast Florida to be with Pastor Castro who years earlier was our Spanish pastor at Calvary. It had been over a decade since we had seen he and his family last. The modest group from Calvary included two retired men, a dear African brother from Nigeria, a Christian school teacher whose family roots went back to Mexico, a college student working on her masters, and Brother Tim Pledger, the associate pastor at our church in Floirda.

Each of these six brought a certain God-given talent and spirit with them. Brother Olu was accustomed to life in the Third World as he had only as an adult some years earlier come to live in the US. Mrs Savanna had gotten out of the US Navy a short time ago and was even recently married to a good man in our church who is currently deployed in the Gulf region. Brother Jim is a retired electrician and spent much of his childhood overseas as his father was a career Navy man. Mrs Crystal speaks Spanish and is one of our longest tenured school teachers at Calvary Christian Academy. She also, was recently married to another one of our good staff men at Calvary. Brother George in his late 70's has served in the homeless ministry at our church for years and though previously was in the military had never been on a missions trip. Then there was Brother Tim who had been over the years on many missions trips preaching the gospel in nearly 100 nations. This group with its diversity was exactly what God intended to serve in Mexico for this week. They were a "Melting Pot"" for Missions used by God over 7 days to see 335 souls saved in villages, churches, schools, and hospitals. Some sang, others preached, some distributed gospel tracts, while still others helped with financial causes in Ciudad Valles. However, all went for the same purpose, to glorify Jesus in Mexico.

The Lord is not looking for a certain type to serve Him. He is not interested in only one brand of individuals to give of their abilities for the gospel. He will use whoever is available. He needs all of us to give our best. Many churches and pastors seem to eliminate those members who have never been formally trained or who simply lack a certain pedigree from serving in a capacity of church  leadership. However, God is always searching throughout His body from the platform to the back row for someone who will just say, "Here am I". God desires a "Melting Pot" for Missions.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Euro- Africa 2019 Trip

Tim Pledger had a wonderful time with some choice servants of God in diverse ministries on his recent trip to Europe and Africa. More than 5000 souls came to Christ. He was blessed to preach beneath the snow-capped Alps in central Europe as well the Rift Valley running through East Africa. Regardless of the culture or climate, the power of the gospel of Jesus warmed the hearts of those who heard. Pray that fruit will remain. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Shadow of Our Steeples

Slovakian Catholic Church
James 1:26 describes a man who is deceived and has vain religion. The "religious" were those who crucified our Savior. They are those today who display the ornaments of pomp and formality while ignoring the needs of the soul. In February of 2019, Tim Pledger, sent out from Calvary Baptist Church in Middleburg, Floirda, traveled 2500 miles throughout Central Europe and was able to see the far reaching disaster of of what hundreds of years of "religion" can do to a region. When Christ is replaced by spires and truth is sacrificed by liturgy, the damage is catastrophic on a culture. This trip to would be a testament to the harms and bondage of corruptible "fig leaves" contrasted by the freedom from sin one finds in Christ.

Klatovy, Czech Republic
He arrived into Milan, Italy, the third week of February and was greeted by the members of the Bethany Baptist Church.This young but vibrant group of Filipino believers was led by Pastor Omar Monte. The people showed a passion to go to the streets with Brother Tim and meet people in their environment and present Christ. Over a period of 3 days, the souls of men were gathered from areas in Milan's Center. It was a beautiful city filled were castles, bustling business, and diverse people groups. What was more noticeable, however, were the large pockets of immigrants struggling to survive in an expensive European metropolis, many who had come here illegally. These groups of refugees did not seem impressed with the medieval structures of a thousand years, but had a gaze that was bent on personal survival. They were attempting to navigate themselves through a system of uncommon economics and an uncertain status. The fact that the streets were cobblestones and the bells of churches rang beautifully in the background, seemed to do little to inspire them.

Worms, Germany Steeple
During the few days in Milan, one-by-one, people from Senegal, Romania, Ghana, Nigeria, Peru and elsewhere came to Christ. Over the next 13 days, Brother Tim would travel to the cities of Zurich, Switzerland - Ingolstadt and Kassel, Germany - Klatovy, Czech Republic - Bratislava, Slovakia - Innsbruck, Austria. He would find the same circumstances in these large and becoming towns and cities along the way. The leftover religious tatters of a r\Reformation 500 years earlier offering little hope for a present generation in spiritual ruin.

One example would be the critical state of the Czech people in the town of Klatovy. Tim was met with warmth by a dear pastor, Pavel Flalka. Pastor Pavel had grown up in this beautiful and quaint town. He had been pastor of a small congregation of about 40 members for some years. He had a wonderful wife and three precious teenagers. When Pavel was seventeen and attending high school here, a friend had given him a gospel tract to read that contained the gospel. He carried it to his home and hid it in his bedroom widow for fear his parents would find him with it. You see, they like many Czechs were hard-nosed atheists. They had grown up with disdain for Catholicism and influenced by Communism and had no desire for anything concerning the Bible, or would even acknowledge a creator.

Pastor Pavel Flalka, Czech Republic
Pavel kept the gospel tract hidden for some days, and finally one evening pulled it from his window and begin to read it. He had an emptiness as a young boy that he longed to have filled by something greater than what this world had to offer. The gospel tract contained the "Lord's Prayer". As Pavel came to the first words, "Our Father", his heart broke and his eyes became filled with tears. The God who created him and had given us the Bible wanted to be his Father. Pavel pursued the young man who had given this gospel tract to him earlier and after some discussion, accepted Christ as his Savior, His mother and father were unhappy when they found out about his decision to become a Christian. They discouraged him for many years to leave the faith. His mother would die in her unbelief and his father, while critically ill even today, has chosen to reject Christ and maintain his atheism.

Worms where Luther stood trial
Thirty--nine percent of Czechs claim to be atheists and seventy-five percent of the nation do not affiliate with any religion. It is a sad state of affairs in a nation that formerly produced the like of John Huss. Huss was one of the great stalwarts of the Christian faith. Huss, a converted Catholic priest, would cry against the sell of indulgences in the Catholic Church and the authority of the Pope over the Scriptures. He would preach to the common people from his pulpit in Prague in the early 1400's until he began to draw the attention of Rome. He was seen as a rebel and divider. Huss preached salvation by grace alone and wanted his people to be free from religious bondage. In 1415, he was called to appear before the Council of Constance and give account of charges of heresy laid against him. He stood before church authority and only defended himself with Scripture. On July 6th, he was stripped naked and burnt at the stake. However, his cause would not die in the flames of Constance. Though his ashes were spread by his executioner on the Rhine River, the gospel which Huss preached would spread throughout the hamlets and villages of Czech (former Bohemia). The Hussites as they were called would become the revivalists that would keep a passion for truth and souls burning in this region for the next 200-plus years. The Moravian movement would be influenced by the Hussites and would carry the gospel across Europe.
Blue Cathedral, Bratislava

The thirteen day trek across six nations of Europe would finish for Brother Tim Pledger  in March. He would see seventy-one souls saved from among fifteen different nationalities. The Lord would bless his preaching and street evangelism, not because of any unique talent of approach, but because of the power of the Scriptures. The gospel saves men. Regardless of their color or culture, the Word of God can meet men in their present condition. It is not a belfry or the sounds of a church choir that can change the depravity of unregenerate men. It is Jesus that saves the fallen soul. The spires of Europe have left her focused upon on the pageantry of man-made religion, while ignoring the wayward sinner languishing in the shadow of her steeples. Jesus died for those hidden beneath the shadow of our steeples.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Europe Needs Jesus!!!

The Sherman, Weaver, and Dice families headed out from Calvary Baptist Church in Middleburg, Florida on Friday Oct. 12, 2018. Leading up to their trip, God had truly showed himself faithful in providing for each couple in unique and miraculous ways to be able to go. One such blessing was when the Dices septic system went out just weeks before the trip. God laid it on the heart of a church family to help them and they were given $1000. God opened one door after another to make it possible. 

After an eleven flight to London and a six hour drive the team was able to meet and work with Pastor Jody Hodnett and his family at the Bible Truth Baptist Church in Dumfries, Scotland. While there they were able to lead 11 people to the Lord! They did some street preaching and singing in a square in the city and passed out many tracts and saw people saved. Mrs. Stephanie Dice recalling this time said of one particular day when they passed out tracts in the town square, "During the over 2 hours we were doing this, Bro Sherman led Tommy and Ted to Christ, and Mrs. Sherman led Violet to Christ. Bro. Weaver led Joanna to Christ, and Mrs. Weaver led Jamie to
Christ". On another day of witnessing with the Hodnett family, Mrs Stephanie said, "That evening, Joshua led Karen, Morgan, and Brad to Christ. Bro. Sherman led Allan and Marias, and Bro. Weaver led Angel to Christ. Wednesday morning we were back at it, and Bro. Sherman led Charlie and Brittney to Christ. After much witnessing, trying, and praying, I was finally able to lead someone to Christ myself. It was such a sweet "Philippian jailer" experience when Leanne trusted Christ". The joy of winning people to Jesus in Europe never got old!!!

After ministering in Scotland, they travelled on to a town just outside of Lancashire, England and were able to meet Missionary Justin Williams of the Skelmersdale Baptist Church. While there, the three men and three ladies did an intense amount of door to door soul winning and canvassing of the area inviting people to come visit the church. In all,  9 souls were saved in England. 

Later in the week, these three couples from our church in Florida were able to drive into Wales and made a decisive effort to pass out tracts and speak to as many people as possible. In the short time there, they had 1 person saved. It was an amazing time of fellowship and focused soul winning.

They met a lot of good people, and encouraged the missionaries to keep up their good work and spread the gospel through witnessing and passing out of literature. It was also exciting to see a different culture, eat different foods and drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road! The most amazing part of the trip was watching the Lord work through them and use them to pass out thousands of tracts, witness to different ones and see some of those get saved. Our ANOM team made new friends and are so excited to see what God has in store for them next time. Over all after spending a week they saw 21 people saved in the UK. Europe doesn't need another church. Europe needs Jesus!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Ninety and Nine Slavs

At the birthplace of Joseph Stalin in Gori, Georgia (Stalin's luxury train)
The joy of preaching the gospel on various countries and to different people groups never seems to get old. In May of 2018, as a representative of ANOM, an arm of Calvary Baptist in Middleburg, Florida, I travelled to the land of the Slavic people and preached in the nations of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine.
This region of the world is known for having been the recipients of some of the most brutal forms of persecution ever handed out by Communism and Islam. The entire region had been held captive by the former Soviet Union for decades. Christians were placed in prisons and many died under the harsh dictatorship of Joseph Stalin. It is estimated that nearly 22 million died at the hands of Stalin.
While preaching in Georgia I had the opportunity to visit a Baptist church in the very town were he was born and reared called Gori. It was a reminder of the lengths one will go to promote self and brutalize their own people when they reject the gospel of Christ. Stalin, as a boy, was reared in an orthodox church and even for a time attended a seminary. However, he eventually rejected all of his Christian influences and became an avowed humanist and atheist. Now nearly 60 years after his death, within five minute walk from the place of his birth stands a Baptist Church where souls are coming to Christ and where the Word of God is proclaimed. Jesus' name will outshine the names of those who have attempted to vanquish His from the minds of men.

After preaching in Georgia and seeing souls saved in a high school, at a university, and in a house church in a village, I headed to Yerevan Armenia. Armenia was unique in that the people had suffered not only under communism in the last century, but also severely under the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) for simply embracing Christ. An estimated 1.5 million had been murdered by Islamic soldiers who came from the west to crush the Armenians and take their lands. All of the people living in this small country had personal stories of their families losses.
A older couple in Kamaris, Armenia who trusted Christ as Savior
I preached in the Baptist Church in Yerevan for a Pastor Garik Khachatryan on three occasions. There were incredible responses to the message of the Bible and salvation. Many wept in the services. Some came forward, repenting and being saved. God blessed as we conducted public services as well as house-to-house evangelism in the village called Kamaris. I was so stirred by what I saw in this land and by the hunger of the people for God.
I travelled from there under radar to the country of Azerbaijan. I met with pastors and Christian servants that had labored hard and long in this muslim land. For sake of the security of these brothers and sisters in Christ, I cannot tell of all the work for the Lord that is being done in this place, but I can tell you that many are turning to Christ as Savior. One pastor spoke to me of travelling back and forth to the neighboring country of Iran and starting more than 40 house churches in 11 cities and towns. Another pastor spoke of being imprisoned 3 times for preaching the gospel. He shared how the most recent time, he nearly died for lack of oxygen in his cell. He told how for 3 days he would place his mouth over a small crack in a stone wall and inhale all the air he could find in order to survive. These were humble saints and had all paid heavily for their faith.
Children asking Christ to be their Savior in Rivne, Ukraine
I made my final voyage on this trip to Rivne, Ukraine to be with my pastor friend, Taras Prystupa. He is an incredible pastor with an amazing church. His father and grandfather were both Baptist pastors and he had founded and pastore  this church in Rivne for the past twenty-four years. He was a visionary man of God and church planter. He had trained men that were scattered all over Ukraine and others who were also winning the lost in difficult regions along the northern borders of Russia near the Arctic Ocean, in the muslim areas of China, and even within the borders of North Korea. Pastor Taras' own grandparents had died for the gospel under the old USSR. This was a man that was the real deal. I was blessed to preach on Sunday in two separate churches and minister in a boys home as well. In all, reaching into this Slavic region of the world was eye-opening and rewarding. God used my ministering to see 99 souls saved during the 2 week trip. All Praise to the name of Jesus!

My pastor friend, Garik Khachatryan, in Republic Square, Yerevan, Armenia

Satan Hindered Us

The Devil hates the GOSPEL!!! The gospel is what saves a man from hell and changes a sinner from the inside out. Satan will not contend with...