A Cautionary Tale
On our return from Asia, we received the following story, which confirms what I have been trying to warn people about. I will abbreviate for the sake of both time and space.
The story concerns a group of American missionaries who were working in one of the areas we had just returned from. These were not short-term workers, but residents of the country, who had started businesses in-country as a sideline to the work they were doing.
Several had gone to another Asian country for a conference. On returning to their country of service, they were informed they could no longer enter the country, even though they had homes and possessions there. They were immediately put on a flight and sent away. Other workers in-country were visited by officials at home, escorted to the airport and sent out, though they had worked in that country for a decade.
Here’s the lesson! They had been identified through social media sites, where friends were speaking of what they were doing, where they were doing it, etc.
During WWII, there were posters all over the U.S. and Britain, warning: “Loose lips sink ships.” Some Christians—even Pastors—still don’t get it! My advice: never post about the lives and activities of others you know who are working in sensitive areas. One investigator was recently quoted saying, “We no longer need to profile people if we want to prosecute them; they are doing it for us.” It’s time to wake up and realize the perilous times we are living in.
Conferences, Church Dedications, and Orphanages
Our activities in Areas 2 and 3 involved two conferences with pastors and workers. As always, one of the primary questions brought up involved eternal security. This is the number-one area of attack around the world. It is always a joy to be able to share passages of God’s Word that bring a believer from the place of insecurity to realizing their eternal security through the finished work of Jesus Christ.
For those of you who are interested, I would encourage you to get a copy of Marty Cauley’s book, New Birth by the Sovereign Wind. You can find it on Amazon. A fellow-soldier and pastor at the recent retreat in Pennsylvania gave a copy of this little book to me. In the book, he not only refutes the Arminian “work for security” position, but also the nearly identical Calvinistic “work for security,” which is called “the perseverance of the saints.” Instead, Marty presents the biblical position of God’s preservation of the saints, according to the biblical promise that those who believe in Jesus Christ “shall never perish,” Joh 10:28. I recommend the book!
Our first conference in Area 2 was in a large city, with about 50 pastors who travelled in from rural village areas. For three days, they received training on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Lessons such as these are a great encouragement to men who serve in sensitive areas, without much fellowship or encouragement from other Christian leaders. They need the teaching, the time of fellowship, and rest from their busy and demanding ministries. We were able to feed them well and send each of them home with a new set of clothes. We were also able to join a church dedication—with Ken Buck—in a new area of service.
The conference in Area 3 focused on a short course through the Basics book, since we had recently (after about 20 years out of print) been able to re-print in that language. Blair also taught an overview of Philippians. This conference was in a more remote village setting, with about 100 attending. Nan and Aurora were able to have classes with the ladies, which is always a treat for them.
We travelled to this conference in a bus from the capital city, with eight Bible Institute students. It was an eight-hour trip over rough and winding mountain roads. The pastors, their wives, and the students were very eager to learn, and we were able to hand out copies of the Basics to each of them.
Our main contact in this area was Pastor Peter and his wife, Prema. This was a new contact for us, and we were introduced to them by a fellow pastor and missionary, David Pearson from West Side Baptist Church in Pennsylvania. Peter and Prema run a small Bible Institute and an orphanage. We were so encouraged by the dedication of this young couple—both to the truth of God’s Word, and to the care of the little children.
One of our highlights was when we took the orphans out to a restaurant for a special meal. They were all dressed in their best, and wide-eyed at such a new experience. Some were hesitant to eat such “special” food but soon lost their reserve. It was so cute to watch them eat their second or third helping of noodles, while also digging into their ice cream! They are so precious, and we ask that you pray for this orphanage. Through your support to BTBM and the help of Blair and Aurora, we were able to provide for three more children to join the “family.” One of them is the little brother of a girl who is already a resident of the home and desperately wanted her sibling to join her. They had lost both parents and been separated for some time.
Please pray for both of the orphanages we visited, that we can help them continue to care for these little souls.
By God’s grace and your prayers, we remained healthy throughout our five-week journey through Asia, until our last night in country. At that time, we all came down with vomiting, diarrhea, aches and chills, which made for quite an interesting travel home!
We often struggle to convey just how thankful we are for your continued prayers and support. So often, while we are away and start the day in prayer, we first thank the heavenly Father for the team behind the scenes. We get to see with our physical eyes the lives you touch, and we pray that God will also enable you to see with eyes of faith the rich and eternal fruit of your offerings.
Pennsylvania Retreat
Over the weekend of March 12–14, we attended a men’s and women’s retreat hosted by Fairview Bible Church in Erie, Pennsylvania. Nan taught the women on the topic “From the Inside Out,” while my theme for the men was, “Don’t Look for a Hero, Be One.” The classes were well attended, and we enjoyed challenging the saints for the time in which we live. Classes will be posted on the website soon.
With thankful hearts,
Gene and Nan