Greetings from Cleveland, Ohio. Like most of you, my wife and I have been at home in lockdown since the middle of March. The “COVID-19” virus certainly has caused a lot of disruption to all our lives. None of us could have predicted this when we began 2020. However, we know that God is at work in this world, and without a doubt, His purposes are being accomplished!
Every meeting that I had scheduled through the end of May has been cancelled. Since most churches are not having in person church services, it makes sense that special meetings would also be cancelled. As things begin to open up in each state, other future meetings I have scheduled may also be cancelled. Many governors are continuing to limit gatherings of larger crowds, and therefore, pastors are scrambling to adjust their schedules. Regardless, God has been very gracious in meeting our financial and physical needs. God is using this time in our world to teach us new lessons each day.
Since I have unscheduled time on my hands, I decided to explore ways to use this time. Of course, there were projects around our house that needed attention. My wife is grateful that we have been able to tackle many of them. I have also used this time to make phone calls to encourage pastors and ministry leaders. It has been great to call some people and inquire about how they are doing. I am also working on forming more ministry ideas. I am excited about introducing these plans as they are developed. Please pray with me that God will give wisdom and use these ideas to further His work.
Virtual Missions Conference
Every year since 1970, Cleveland Baptist Church has had an annual missions conference, and this year was no exception. Despite the corona virus, Pastor Pete Folger decided to push ahead with this year’s conference. It was conducted, albeit very differently—Pastor decided to do a virtual missions conference. Two missionary families sent out of CBC, the Bob Mach family to the Ivory Coast and the Robert Mickey family to Kenya are home on furlough. Bob Mach preached the conference and did an outstanding job. There were also four other missionary couples that were part of the conference, virtually but not physically. They were the McCombies serving with BIMI west, the Christian family to Belarus, the Noland family to the Artic, and the Brown family to India.
While few would choose this way to do a missions conference, it seemed to work rather well. Because of the size of CBC and the technology that the church utilizes, they were able to pull off this conference. I was scheduled to preach a missions conference elsewhere, but as previously mentioned, my meeting was cancelled. That enabled me to attend my church’s conference. I enjoyed the meeting and was able to be a part of a mission’s dialogue with Pastor Pete, Brother Mach and Brother Mickey. We discussed many issues involved in modern missions. If you would like to see and listen to the discussion, it is on the CBC YouTube Channel. Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAF4dEhvCnY&t=38s.
Pastor Pete shared that the 2019 / 2020 mission’s giving was the greatest ever in the history of the church.
It has been difficult for all of us in ministry to make too many plans for the future since we do not know if, or when, life will return to normal. That being said, God knows and we are to stay focused on Him. In spite of this world crisis, the gospel is still very necessary. The need of reaching the world with the message of hope is still a priority. Through today’s technology the gospel message has the potential of reaching far more people than any of us can imagine. Although technology can never replace the personal interaction of preachers and missionaries preaching and teaching in a physical meeting. Most pastors and missionaries are longing for things to return a more normal state where they can see their people again. Until then, we must remain focused on our calling. Using extra time to pray and seek God and asking Him for a spiritual awakening in our world is a worthy investment of time.
Psalm 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.
Denise and I want to thank each supporter for your generous financial gifts that enable us to do this work. Your prayer support is vital, and we want you to know that we love and appreciate each of you.