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June 2005
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Being About the Father's Business (con't)

And they didn't stop with the pasta supper. They are taking care of needy families year round by helping them get wood for the long cold Vermont winters and doing repairs on broken down homes and helping pay utility and medical bills throughout the year. The pastor's heart is broken for the lost youth in the area. He and his congregation began to pray for resources to build a basketball court beside the church so they can invite young people to come play with them after school and during the summer. Just this past week as the pastor was visiting in Texas, a woman slipped him a check for $2,000 to help make this dream come true. As the pastor shared this miracle with those gathered, tears ran down his face. Many others shared words of testimony to how God has answered prayer in recent days and met some very frightening challenges.

In another small village of about 4500 people, a retired pastor from Texas and his wife selflessly serve as mission volunteers. They walk the streets of the tiny town just to introduce themselves to those they meet and invite them to come study the Bible on Tuesday evenings at the frame house that serves as meeting place and home. What an inspiration they are! As I was helping in their home the wife returned from the doctor's office where they had just given her the results of an MRI. They confirmed that she recently suffered a stroke. Next week she goes in for a biopsy of something going on behind her left eye. But their attitude is that the time they have left on this earth belongs to God, and they must be about His business. These health concerns are an inconvenience, and they can slow them down a bit, but they are about the Father's work, and nothing will stop them. In spite of the unknown, they were excited this past Wednesday morning, because the night before they had the first local person come to their home to study and pray, and the guest says that next week she is bringing a friend!

We were invited to the home of another couple who had once been leaders in the Ba'hai religion. Some Christians just wouldn't stop loving them and being their friends, and over a period of time they understood that they had been chasing and promoting a lie. They found Jesus Christ, and now He empowers them to visit others in the community where they speak of their faith in Christ. them and being their friends, and over a period of time they understood that they had been chasing and promoting a lie. They found Jesus Christ, and now He empowers them to visit others in the community where they speak of their faith in Christ.

The believers here are seeing God at work, and they believe that a great awakening is beginning to take place in this once dead part of our nation. About four out of five of these churches are experiencing real growth, and it is because they take to heart Christ's command to love their neighbors and take the message of hope to them. Whatever it takes, they are doing in order that another might be won to the Lord.

There are so many reasons that could be used to quit, but that is not an option here. No matter that most congregations are small and unable to support a full-time pastor. No matter that Christianity is unpopular and even hated here. No matter that they lack funds to build beautiful structures. No matter that the sub-zero winters are cold, harsh, and very long. These brethren have met the living Savior, and He is actively using their obedience and willingness to touch lives in a way that those of us who have been asleep at the wheel can hardly imagine. What a refreshing encouragement to walk with these folks for a week.

We have an open invitation to partner with them anytime. In fact, one man who was just elected director of the association's Baptist men asked me what they can do for us in Strawberry. He wants to put together a team to come help us! I wonder how we will respond? Will we hear a voice out of Macedonia praying that the Lord send someone to walk along beside, or will we just look the other way, because we are too busy and tied up with many little things that keep us from catching a vision and experiencing God?

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Strawberry Baptist Association
163 West Main, Bedford, VA 24523
www.sbava.org

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Updated 5/29/2005
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