I would like to encourage those who find themselves suffering, lonely and depressed during what is supposed to be one of the most joyful times of the year, to remember God really does love you, but it is hard to think on such things when there seems to be no escape from your calamity. Just try and remember that we walk by faith and not by sight.
Just because you can’t feel God’s presence nor see any sign of Him working in your situation, I assure you He is. He has promised He will not leave you nor forsake you. This is when we must hang on to the truths found in God’s Word, knowing He cannot lie and cares for His own.
I learned this fact one time while flying out of Detroit. It was winter and cold, cloudy and raining, just kind of a bummer of a day. I had not flown much at that time, so it was amazing when, as the plane was climbing, we popped through the clouds and there was the sun, as bright as ever, and the sky was blue. When I could neither feel nor see the sun, it was there all the same. So, when things seem gloomy and you feel that God has forgotten about you, just remember He is right there within a prayers’ reach of you.
We are told all things work together for our good, not that all things we may experience are good (Rom. 8:28). If you find yourself at the end of your rope, remember to tie a knot in it and hang on.
From Our Missionaries
Misión Creciendo en Cristo (Growing in Christ), North Little Rock: Juan Carlos Posadas writes, (11/20) “I thank God for allowing me to turn 57 on Tuesday, Nov. 15. I am especially grateful for another year of serving Him in His work, surrounded by people who love me and want the best for me. During the week, I was very stimulated as each Bible study group celebrated my birthday.
“Saturday, we went with the family to see the play in which Fernanda was acting in the Theater Department at Ark. State University. We arrived early to be able to celebrate my birthday on this occasion with the whole family.
“During Sunday School, one of the children opened his heart to Sayra, and let her know, through tears, that he was being teased by a classmate at school. The boy’s mother went down to pick him up from the classroom and, in the midst of sobs, she talked to Sayra about the situation. That night we went to visit them to share the Word with them, pray and motivate them to commit to God to follow Him every day of her life individually and as a family. Please pray for this family, for the bullying to stop and for wisdom for the parents to address the problem and lead their children to Christ.
“Thank you for your prayers for this ministry and for your missionary in North Little Rock.
(11/27) “Our daughter, Fernanda, spent last week with us. It was good to be with the whole family again and enjoy a higher noise level in our home. Please pray for us, specifically for the future of our children. May they be willing to follow the plans God has for their lives.
“The congregation had a Thanksgiving dinner Friday night. Each family expressed their gratitude to the Lord and we sang, studied the Word, prayed and had a good time of fellowship while enjoying the food each family brought to share. That night was special, since we had a time of consecration to the Lord and several brothers and sisters responded to the invitation. They came forward and knelt before the Lord, pledging to be faithful and serve God.
“Rocio, one of the members of the Bible study group on Thursday, did not come to the front, but she was strongly confronted, and, between sobs, she made her profession of faith after the meeting when Sayra shared the gospel with her. Pray for Rocio and her family, Judith (7) and Dulce (6), her husband’s name is Guillermo. Rocio is the first fruit of the Bible study on Thursday, and we thank God for her life. We pray that more people in the group will receive Christ as their Lord and Savior.”
Ebenezer, West Little Rock: Ruben Isturiz writes, (11/20) “We had an excellent Thanksgiving service. We had a total of 35 people, of which 5 were visitors from another church. We had a good time of fellowship as we shared the Word of God and our Thanksgiving meal. We have been praying for children and that Sunday we had seven. Little by little, their spirits are recovering after the pandemic time.
(11/27) “We were able to invite the new Venezuelan family to our home and celebrate with them on Thanksgiving. In Latin countries, this celebration does not exist, but when we arrived here, we adopted it. That is why we wanted to invite this family to celebrate it for the first time. We gathered in our living room, explained the story and then each one of us gave thanks to God. We then prayed and shared food. Pray for Eduar Hernández and his family who are not Christians, even though they have a lot of influence from the gospel. Pray for their salvation — that God will touch their hearts and they will receive the gospel message.
“This Sunday, we continued with the theme of being thankful and talked about the 10 lepers that Jesus healed, but only one came back thankful. I am thankful for the new family from Venezuela as this is the third Sunday they have been with us. I believe they are now part of Ebenezer. God be glorified!”
Faith Chapel, Flippin: Johnny Shew writes, (11/20) “Karen and I are well. Praise God and thank you for your prayers.“We got to go back to church Sunday, and it was truly wonderful. Some of our members that have been sick were also able to return, and it sure is great to see and hear the little children.
Thank you, Lord! But some of our families are still out sick, though they say they are improving and hope to return this week. There are so many illnesses going around right now, as I am sure these are in your churches, too. We are praying for God’s healing and protection for our members and visitors, and for yours, too.
“The work of planning and preparing to build our building is coming along. Though it seems slow, it must be done that way so we will have all of our bases covered. It is finally beginning to seem like a reality now, though, and we even have the Master’s Builders scheduled for the spring. We have so much to do before then.
(11/27) “Praise God, what a Sunday! Most of our families with kids were back. We still had one family out sick. They are improving, but not completely well yet. We sure missed them. Please pray with us for them.
“We had a really good number for worship. We started it off with the children coming up and singing ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ They did a wonderful job and the Holy Spirit moved from there. You can see a video of it on our Facebook page. After the service, a man that has been visiting for a while, wanted to talk to me. He has some problems, but so do we all. I asked him if he knew he was saved, and he said he was not sure. I told him he needed to be sure, and that he could know that he is saved. We talked about what the Bible says, prayed, talked some more, prayed some more and he gave his life to Jesus. Now he knows! Praise God! That’s why we’re here!
“Sunday evening, we all went to our mother church and baptized our 43rd member. Praise God, we had a wonderful service there, too! We started off with some singing, then the baptism, then we shared a wonderful testimony service with our mother church that loves and supports us and that we all love so much. What a glorious day!
“Thank you for your prayers for us, Faith Chapel, Flippin and the community where God has placed us. Please continue as He is answering them in a mighty way!”
The Table, Springdale: Clinton Morris writes, (11/20) “Sickness is everywhere, which is normal at this time of the year. My entire family has come down with a variety of illnesses, as have several other families in the church.
“My music leader had a baby girl. My children ministry leader is suffering with seizures (medical doctors are still stumped at what to do). We are still so blessed and watching as God is working in our midst.
“We are going to do another ‘Praying Through December’ as we did last year. We are praying once again for direction, unity, the people God wants us to reach and ministry protection. We are also planning for next year and placing Drew in the middle of the planning conversations.
“Sunday was amazing as we were able to use our video app to join Gio and his family to join our service. He was also able to see and participate in our small groups. I am so excited to see that a remote campus of The Table is not only possible, but could be closer than we previously anticipated!
“Sunday night, Erin had a seizure while co-leading Porch Kids. She also had an adverse reaction to the Rescue Medication. Drew and Kaley took her and Chris to the emergency room. God is providing on the job training for the future pastor of The Table. He knows what He is doing through every stage of this ministry and this church plant.”
(11/27) “This week, we had several Thanksgiving-based events. Drew and Kaley opened their house on Thanksgiving and everyone from the church was invited to come. Many of the families from the church do not have family close by, so it has been a blessing to be able to minister to their immediate needs of community and fellowship through the holidays.
“Clement preached on Sunday. He is a local owner of a flower shop and a great student of God’s Word. He picked up within our series through 1-3 John. The message was impactful, and I am glad to see that Drew will have men around him that will be able to fill in and help when those times come.
“Erin seems ‘better’ than she was last week. Pray for Chris and Erin as they have so many things going on in their young married lives. They just bought a house and are trying desperately to understand Erin’s condition.
“We are still working on the video quality of our extension church. While we had 20 people at our church service, we will now be meeting with 12 more people through our satellite church operations. Keep these ministries in prayer as we navigate through these new ideas.
“We will be kicking off our December Month of Prayer next month. We have much to be in prayer for. Thanks so much for your prayers and financial support of this church plant. Please keep all the church planters in your prayers this holiday season, because most of us are unable to make it to family gatherings because it is needful for us to remain on the field.”
Faith Journey, Benton: Bryan Clay writes (11/20) “Happy Thanksgiving from Faith Journey! We shared this week about our Thanksgiving memories from the past and family traditions throughout the years. We talked about the importance of creating meaningful traditions and building relationships within our families and churches. We should be reminded daily of our gratitude toward God and all the blessings He has given to us.
“I spoke to an FCA group of middle school students (4th-6th grade) this week at a local school. I was able to share with them about being their age when someone shared with me about Christ’s love and poured into my life, which helped lead me to salvation. I hope to get more opportunities in the future to spread the gospel and share what God has laid on my heart.
(11/27) “Since it is the Thanksgiving season, we want to take the opportunity to give ‘thanks’ to those who have supported Faith Journey Mission as we continue planting this new BMA church in the Benton area. There are many prayers and words of encouragement that help lift us up in so many ways and always come just when we need them. Thank you to those at the BMA offices. Mrs. Donna is a blessing and so willing to answer any questions this new missionary always has about everything. Paul White is a huge inspiration to me. He is always sending out words of encouragement and is willing to talk about the highs and lows that come with starting a new mission. We couldn’t do all of this without them and what they give to us daily.
“We are so thankful to have an amazing sending church in Celebration Baptist Church in Haskell. Allan Eakin is a constant source of encouragement and we appreciate the knowledge he brings to us as we continue this journey. The Celebration Church family is alway faithful in lifting us up in prayer. We can feel every prayer and it keeps us going. Thank you!”
Misión Gracia Soberana (Sovereign Grace), NWA:Roberto Marcelletti writes, (11/20) “This week we celebrated Thanksgiving, and we have so much to be thankful for. On Sunday, we were able to have our first Sunday service. The time of the service was at 12:30 p.m., but the guests began to arrive at 11 a.m. to help with all the details of our celebration.
He prepared the hearts of the guests as we prayed the Lord would open their hearts and minds to the truths of the gospel which they would hear through the songs and sermons. The theme of the sermon was ‘What is the DNA of Sovereign Grace’ — what is the basis of everything we do as a church. I laid out the importance of the gospel in being formed and transformed into disciples of Christ.
“After the service, we went to the fellowship room and shared delicious typical foods of our countries. There was a lot of good food, and we shared joy until almost 5 p.m.
“This week we are going to visit one of the new families who heard that we were discipling a group of brothers and want to start discipling.
“Finally, I want to thank God for the opportunity to serve Him in this beautiful state. My wife, Patty and I are on mission with the BMA of Arkansas, State Missions, our mother church, Epic and Pastor Jake and his family, the Ozark Association and the precious brothers and sisters of our two Mission Zones. Support is a team effort that we do in Sovereign Grace where the only one who deserves the glory is our Lord for what He does for His glory.
(11/27) “Romans 8:28-30 is perhaps one of the most well-known verses and quoted by believers during a conflict. When we meditate on it, we see that the things that sovereignly happen to the believer who has a goal to be more like Christ. So, when conflicts come and go, let’s see them as opportunities to improve our relationship with God and to experience suffering as our Savior did. Through conflicts, God exposes those sins on which we must work. Conflicts help us to involve the church and to be able to minister to each other — something that is fundamental for growth as the body of Christ, ministering to each other and fulfilling the objective of becoming more and more like Jesus. Conflicts equip us for ministry and give us compassion for those who suffer. It also gives us hope in the glorious return of Christ because, when that happens, all these conflicts we experience this side of eternity will cease. The greatest hope of the believer is His coming.
“We continue to celebrate what God is doing in our midst through our Sunday service. We had our second meeting and, even though there were effects of the flu and some people who did not attend because they had COVID, we had three new guests. One was a woman with a great need. She was very moved by the message of the Samaritan woman where we could learn Jesus takes the first step looking for the lost. He shows you, what your true need is and that there is nothing in this world — ‘physical water’ — that satisfies your true need to drink of the water of eternal life — Jesus. We had a beautiful time, then we went to the companionship room and shared as a family since one of our objectives is that they know that Sovereign Grace is a family to which they can join and we will help them not only spiritually, but in any need they have according to our possibilities.”
Epic Life, Pea Ridge: Jake McCandless writes, (11/20) “This has been the slowest week since we started in August. This time of the year, it always seems to be slow in making connections and reaching out due to all the holiday activities. This is especially the case since most of our focus is on making an impact through the schools.
With that said, every interaction and every moment is an opportunity to connect and build relationships, whether that’s pumping gas, getting a flat fixed, buying groceries or picking the kids up at school. I’m so thankful it’s not just my family trying to build those relationships, but we have a team doing so. Though it was a slow week, we had an incredible time in our Connection Group Wednesday night as we wrapped up a Discovery Bible Study series on the first names of the followers of Jesus. We looked at what it meant to be a disciple, what was meant by ‘The Way’ and finally when they were first called Christians.
(11/27) “Think small and stick to the plan — that’s what I’m reminding myself. Thinking small doesn’t mean the ‘dream’ for Epic Life Pea Ridge is to just be small, but the vision we feel we’ve been given through prayer is to pour into those God brings into our lives and help them carry out their ‘God dreams’ and reach others in their neighborhood and personal network. Though that plan may lend itself to be small for a while, it won’t stay that way. Actually, this approach leads to a much higher ceiling. The struggle we have is to not keep rushing to add more and more and skip pouring into those God has already sent our way. If we can be patient and truly pour into those who are eager to reach others, there will be a much greater impact than we can ever make ourselves.”