Back From the Mountains 

Our Sierra Trek

Gavin and I have been back from the Sierras for over a week now. We planned the trip as a “coming of age” before Gavin’s 21st birthday, and it was a great time for us to share together. We climbed some awesome mountains, had great talks over many topics, practiced some bush-craft skills, and generally enjoyed the creation and our Creator.

One of our goals was to find a giant of a Bear I had seen three years ago while hunting with friends. We found what I believed to be his tracks, which were all over on the high and windy crags where I had seen him before. His hind foot measured well over 13 inches long. While we saw other bear, he eluded us, and after getting re-acquainted with the vertical terrain, I decided not to attempt a bear hunt.
During our “assault on the peaks,” and due to some poor navigation on my part, we spent some grueling and harrowing hours in a series of hidden canyons. Our traverse of the mountain face took place above steep scree slopes that ended in cliffs that fell away hundreds of feet. It was one of the most perilous and heart-pounding days of my life! I was proud of Gavin because he never faltered or complained. Though it was not my intention to go into such danger, he summed up his attitude about it later in camp by saying, “I wanted to prove something to myself on this trip, and today I think I did it.” If you could see that country, you would know this is an understatement!
As we travelled the trails, forded the crystal streams, and camped under the canopy of heaven, many of our experiences reminded me of applications to the broader lessons of life. If you want to see some of these, look at my upcoming post of the “Perilous Times Primer.” You may find some of my reflections helpful in your own life.

Deferred Deployment

Most of you are aware that our son, Cody, is serving with the USMC in the 3rd Recon Battalion. They will deploy to Afghanistan in November. About three months ago, I was thinking of Cody, and his new wife Amy, who have been married a year, but have only had about three months together. A seven month deployment would be tough for a young couple, although there are many who have had to endure it. As I thought about it, a passage came to my mind. It was Deu 24:5, which reads, “When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken.” I decided to begin to pray along this line, taking God’s Word to Him on behalf of Cody and Amy. Let me be clear, I do not want Cody to shirk his duty or evade combat service, but I believe the initial months and years of marriage are crucial to a lasting foundation. So Nan and I asked a few friends to join us in prayer that he might miss this deployment and go on the next one. From a human standpoint, it was a useless request because they were already set for deployment. Yet God heard our prayers and Cody’s company was required to leave a few Marines behind, one of whom was Cody. Amy will now be able to return with him to Okinawa, and they will have time to build their marriage before he goes on the next deployment.
I include this family vignette to encourage everyone to see and trust in the value of prayer, which is based on the Word of God. No prayer is more effective than when it is based on God’s own Word. And when we pray, we must always submit to the sovereignty and providence of God, trusting His wisdom and love—even when the answer is not what we had hoped it would be. Prayer is our mightiest weapon and we must be skilled in wielding it regarding our lives, our families, and our nation. Nothing can be more powerful and prevailing than prayer offered on the foundation of the principles and promises of the Word of God!

Basics Books for China

We wrote recently of the opportunity to print and supply 5,000 copies of the Basics book for Chinese Christians. Some of the needed funds have come in and there are other commitments to make the printing possible. We again rejoice at the grace of God. At first, the request was for us to allow the book to be printed at their expense and sold at a profit. However, in keeping with our grace policy, I countered with the idea that we would supply the funds for printing, so that the book could be distributed free of charge. This was agreed to and God has once again honored the principle, “freely you have received, freely give” (Mat 10:8). We ask that you join us in prayer for these books to be printed quickly and spread among the hungry believers in China. And we send a heartfelt thanks to those of you who supported and prayed for this to become a reality.  Only eternity will reveal the spiritual benefit of your prayers and gifts in the lives of our hungry and oppressed brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Ese Bible Institute

At this time, Roger Thiele is in Numba village teaching the students of the Ese Bible Institute. Please pray for Roger, as he has gone alone this time and will be teaching a three-week course. This course is extremely draining when you consider about six hours per day of teaching, followed by study time with the students in the evenings, along with Sunday engagements—some of which are miles away through the jungle. Please keep him in prayer over the next three weeks, especially for protection from illness, and for wisdom in answering the myriad of questions that come up. We are so thankful for his “good soldier” attitude, and the wonderful group at Curlew Community Church who send him with their blessings.

Bible Conferences

We are entering a busy time with conferences here at home and approaching overseas missions. We will be in Tecumseh, Kansas with Bob and Ann Norris for the weekend of October 16-18, for a study on the topic of Sanctification from Romans chapters 6-8.  I will share the teaching of this topic with other speakers—my subject being the eighth chapter. Nan will be teaching the ladies. The following week we will be in Uniontown, Pennsylvania at the Abundant Life Church, which is led by my friend, Nick Cook. The study in Uniontown will be the book of Titus. The next weekend we will be in Hot Springs, Arkansas, at Grace Bible Church, for a study from the book of Galatians. This is the same study I did at the Southern California conference.  Since it was not recorded, I will be repeating it, with some changes in the content.
In November, we will be with our contact in India for a pastors conference. At this time, we will distribute the first copies of the Basics book in the new Telegu translation. The following week we will join leaders in another Asian country for a Bible conference. Please keep these ministries in your prayers.
We are so thankful for the many who lift us up in prayer, and those who give sacrificially to make our work possible. May God richly bless each of you in your own life and service!
In the matchless love of Christ,
Gene Cunningham