I pray that you are getting off to a good start this year, and. I want to state how thankful I am for everyone’s dedication to missions, even with the hardships placed on everyone since the beginning of COVID. Thanks to you, your Missions Department continues to make progress on every field, but I am fearful that missions and our churches will continue to suffer the effects of COVID for some time. The continued outbreaks send many people into social distancing for safety’s sake, only to drop out of corporate worship altogether. Please let me encourage you to be diligent concerning your health, but also not to use COVID as an excuse to be unfaithful. It’s a fine line, and I know you will do your best.
God blessed us with two mission locations organized in 2021. Praise His name! We are poised to add new men this year in various areas around the state. We will be interviewing two new candidates on Jan. 11. Please be in prayer for our current missionaries, as well as those whom the Lord will send to work with us. May 2022 be a banner year in souls being won and churches being planted. Again, I want to thank you for your faithful support. Your generosity speaks for itself.
Revolving Loan Fund News
It was brought to my attention that Commerce Road Baptist Church in Pine Bluff had disbanded and that the building was abandoned and had been vandalized and left grown up and in disarray. After a thorough search at the courthouse, the building belongs to the BMA of Ark. Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). It had always been the church’s desire for the building and property to go back to the BMA of Arkansas RLF should it ever cease to be a church.
Since then, I have located a buyer who has agreed to buy it “as is” and make the necessary improvements. It is proving to be mutually beneficial for us and them. We will recoup some of our earlier investment and the buyer, Greater Battle Chapel Baptist Church, will benefit from getting a great location and a good deal. They are extremely excited about moving there as soon as possible. We should finalize the deal sometime in early January.
From Our Missionaries
Misión Creciendo en Cristo (Growing in Christ), North Little Rock: Juan Carlos Posadas writes, (12/26) “We had a very active week — rehearsals, meetings, gift-giving for children, donations of household goods, gift cards to buy food, boxes with food. It was a nice time to share, and even more so when the community sees it as a blessing from God, since the church gives it to them. It gave us the opportunity to share the gospel with the beneficiaries, both children and adults.
“At the Christmas gathering on Dec. 24, we watched a drama prepared by the youth, a song by the Sunday School children, a special song by Fernanda and Christmas carols by the church band. The preaching was based on John 3:16, with the theme ‘Christmas is the Love of God.’
“After the Sunday meeting, we had a Christmas lunch. Each family brought food to share. The communion was excellent, and the food was delicious.
“That same evening, we hosted the youth at our house, and we had the now-traditional party with Christmas socks. We enjoyed a nice time of games, food and Bible study on the topic, ‘The Music we Listen to.’ Something that was particularly inspiring was that three young men — Jose Carlos, Marlon and Derek — did the shopping and cooked pancakes for the whole group. I thank God for the lives of these young men and their willingness to serve.
“The year is almost over, and God has been magnificent with us, for that we praise Him with all our hearts. We thank Him for all the wonders of Him, wonders that make us see 2022 with great optimism.
“May God bless you and give you a new year full of spiritual growth.”
(1/2) “On Dec. 31, we met to give thanks for the year we were concluding and to pray for the new year. Each member of the congregation had the opportunity to express their gratitude to God. We studied the presentation of Jesus in the temple and how Simeon and Ana were prepared to meet Him.
“On Sunday, at the end of the meeting, Delmi and Lemdyn were baptized. Delmi is the mother of Bella and Emilia, two young people who were baptized in June 2021; and Lemdyn is the son of Jamin and Bessy, who were baptized in October 2021. Delmi invited Jamin to come to church. They are siblings, and their families enjoy a close relationship to the degree that one family brought the other to Christ. They have been a great blessing to the church. Please pray for the newly baptized that they continue to grow in Christ and become established in the faith.”
(1/9) “From Monday, Jan. 3 to Friday, Jan. 7, we had prayer meetings from 7:30-9 p.m. Every night a man from the church led the meeting, except on Thursday when three young men led. That was the most special night for me, seeing these three young men develop the program in an excellent way.
“We had an average prayer meeting turnout of 26, which seems like a good turnout for a congregation of our size. It was an excellent week in which we shared personal needs, goals for 2022 and prayed for all of it — the activities of the church and local, state, national and world missions. We thank God for the prayer time and the families who remained faithful by coming to the meetings.
“We also give thanks for your prayers for this mission.”
Life Journey, Fort Smith: Darrin Smith writes, “The New Year started off with our attendance down. We had several families out with sickness, some were traveling and, with temperatures in the teens, some didn’t want to get out. We still had a great service. The Lord has blessed us with some faithful families. I am thankful for those who are investing so much into starting a church. Keep us in your prayers. Thanks for all your support.”
Ebenezer, West Little Rock: Ruben Isturiz writes, “Every year at Ebenezer we begin by praying for each home. We schedule the visits with the leader of each family, and we pray with Aaron’s priestly prayer in Num. 6:24-26. We have prayed for each family leader with the commitment that they will do it for their family. We pray and remind them of their commitment to God as the spiritual leader of their home, and we bless them. Last week, we prayed for Víctor, Gerónimo, José Luis, Daniel and Richard. I mention their names so that you can pray for them. Some are believers, some are not. Since we prayed for each leader, some have begun to congregate in Ebenezer, others have made their decision for Christ and some are still missing from seeking God.
“Pray for me and for my health. My general practitioner sent me to the cardiologist. My watch warned me of irregular heartbeats, now my cardiologist put me on a monitor that I must wear for a month. On Jan. 21, I must send my monitor back for them to analyze it and in February I will have the results. Pray for protection in the midst of this pandemic and the different waves of COVID as many are sick. Our children this week will be receiving virtual classes due to their school having staff and students with COVID. We trust in God and to God be the glory!”
Faith Chapel, Flippin: Johnny Shew writes, (12/26) “Our numbers were down Sunday morning — some were out for Christmas, either traveling or with family in, but most were out due to this most recent spike of COVID. We had a wonderful time of worship, though, and the weather was incredibly beautiful.
“The past few weeks have been odd. We have been having more at the Sunday evening service than in the morning. Circumstances have just worked out that way — one week was communion in the evening and yesterday was families leaving on Sunday morning. But it sure is nice to have good numbers on Sunday evening. We saw some folks that have visited with us before, and they assured us that they will be back. They even called us “our church.”
“Outreach is difficult right now, so we will just continue to talk to whomever God puts in front of us and share Jesus with them.
(1/2) “Happy New Year! Numbers were still down this week, but we kind of expected that they would be, considering COVID. We woke Sunday morning to 18° and flurries after being in the 70s all week. But we are looking forward to what God is going to do in 2022.
“This week we studied Paul’s message at the synagogue in Antioch in Pisidia. (Acts 13:13-26). This is where he reminded them of all that God had done for them that it was God that brought them to where they were, that the prophecies were true and fulfilled and that God had, indeed according to His promise, raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus (Acts 13:24). But that promise was also to us, whosoever feareth God, is this word of salvation sent (Acts 13:26). There are so many lessons and applications here. He has done great things for us, He has brought us to where we are, He is faithful and we should and will be faithful and bring this word of salvation that He has sent. Jesus didn’t tell us to pray for numbers; He told us to pray for laborers.
(1/9) “Our numbers were up this week, though still down overall. One young family had close exposure to COVID from other family members, and others are just not wanting to venture out during this recent surge in cases across our communities. We did have one return visitor Sunday morning, though, and our Sunday evening attendance is still very good.
“I need to share a disappointment with you — take the bad with the good. Adam, the young man that we helped get into John 3:16 for treatment for his addictions, has left the program. As disappointing as that is, we realize that it is not about us, and all that we can do now is continue to love him and pray fervently for God to intervene in his life, bring him to repentance and deliver him. Please join us. II Tim. 2:24-26 comes to mind.
“Thank you for your prayers for us, for our members, for Flippin and the community and for Faith Chapel. Please continue, God is answering them!”
The Table, Springdale: Clinton Morris writes, (12/26) “We enjoyed a great week with Christmas parties and forging deeper relationships with a few new people.
“The Monday night outreach is going well. It is helping build community, and is also creating a way to meet people and to continue conversations. There has been some new interest in the church from a few people who have attended. The issue is that they have is travel. They are willing to travel 30+ minutes to play board games, but do not see the value of attending church. We are praying that God will open their eyes to their need for Him.
“There are many plans for the new year. I am personally glad that we took December to pray for God’s guidance as we go forward into these plans. Several plans have been put on hold until late February, but that is fine. God also has answered specific prayer requests over the past month that has helped shape our understanding for the future.”
(1/2) “Happy New Year! The crazy weather change and cold temps caused us to cancel our Sunday evening service.
“We had 17 people at our Monday Night Community event. I am so excited to see the relationships that are forming from this. I am looking forward to schedules getting back to normal after the holidays.
“God has answered 12 of our 20 prayer requests from our December prayer emphasis!”
(1/9) “The work this week was crazy busy. We were excited to begin making plans for this year. We were looking at our future plans that we have been praying through.
“Our Monday fellowship meetings have allowed for some great gospel-centric conversations. We have two people that are talking about attending one of our Bible studies. We had 11 people at the house last week, and we had 19 people the week before. These events are helping create opportunities to build relationships within the community and a great first meeting place for new people.
“On Sunday morning, I had the opportunity to speak at Epic Church NWA. Thank you, Jake McCandless, for the opportunity to share the ministry with your people.”