Are you wondering if I've fallen off the face of the earth? This has been a very busy time in my life. On Saturday, October 4, I left Grand Rapids for a meeting at one of my supporting churches in Elida, Ohio, Faith Baptist Church. I was one of three missionary units represented in this church that has supported me both when I was in Ivory Coast and since I've been at Bibles International. It's always good to go back to a church that has faithfully stood with me throughout the years. The pastor and his wife are friends of mine. They hosted me in their home, which was very enjoyable. The ladies of the church outdid themselves with gifts from their missionary closet. One of the ladies gave a personal gift of three kinds of gift cards, stamps, note cards, and a pen and mechanical pencil. These are things missionaries use regularly. The love gift they provided for me was exceptional.
Coming back to Grand Rapids on Thursday, October 9, I was able to stop by and visit a niece in Fort Wayne. That was also fun since I hadn't seen her since Christmas.
The trip back also provided an opportunity to enjoy God's artwork--the beautiful fall foliage. I love traveling at this time of year for that reason.
Last evening was the Harvest Dinner for Bibles International, a formal dinner for approximately 660 guests. As you can imagine, such a dinner can not be accomplished without a major investment of personnel hours. There were many volunteers who helped us to accomplish our goal of providing a delightful evening from which our guests would go away having enjoyed the evening, after having been exposed to the ongoing work of Bibles International--the work of getting Scriptures into the hands of those who don't yet have them. Cheryl Elmer, one of the ladies in our office, was in charge of this event. She did a superb job, which is not unusual for anything she oversees. Jubal Brass, a group of Grand Rapids area musicians added an extra element of worship and enjoyment for the evening. Craig Throop, missionary translator in Papua New Guinea shared with us his burden for getting Bibles to the many people groups there who don't yet have God's Word in that language. A DVD, very well done by the daughter of one of our missionaries, graphically depicted the work of the Throops in this developing country. While I played a minor role in the overall scheme of things, I enjoyed participating along with my coworkers toward the goal of making this evening one that would glorify the Lord.
Since it happened to be my birthday yesterday, it provided a very memorable occasion for me. I share a birthday with three of the retired BI missionary personnel, all of whom were with us last night, so the crowd sang their birthday greetings to all four of us! I believe it's the first time ever more than 600 people have sung Happy Birthday to me.
Please pray as my deacon's wife and I leave relatively early Monday morning to go to the office of Baptist Mid-Missions in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Lord willing, we will spend a week there doing research for one of the projects I've been assigned: writing the history of Bibles International. I am not as young as I once was, and trips like this are a bit more demanding than they used to be. Pray for safety as I drive, both to Cleveland and in and around an area with which I'm unfamiliar, and as we do the research. My ultimate goal in writing this history is to demonstrate what God can do through people who partner together to accomplish His purposes here on earth, until He returns.