“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;

with my mouth will I make known

Your faithfulness to all generations.”

~Psalm 89:1~

Joan Hagan will be having some medical tests this week. Please keep her in your prayers. Also, Joan asks for prayers for her mother, Mrs. Betty Bethel, who continues to have several health issues.

Kelly Schneeweiss, and possibly her sister-in-law, Sarah Schneeweiss, will soon travel to Honduras for a medical mission trip. You can participate by giving toothbrushes, toothpaste, shanpoo, soap, etc. Small travel size items can be purchased or the extra travel size items from your hotel visits can be used. These items need to be brought to the church by Sunday. You may also make a donation so the needed items can be purchased. Most importantly, pray for the team and those whom the team will minister to in Honduras.

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA (BOO-kuh-rest). International Service Corps workers Floyd and Freda Angeletti ask for prayer for God to call out people to join their Bible studies. They just finished going through the “Five Love Languages for Singles.” Their home was packed each week (averaging around 23-25 per week). God brought new people to join. Pray for Floyd and Freda as they begin a new Bible study with the college-age/singles, asking that God will continue to draw the lost to come and learn more about how they can have an eternal relationship with the Lord and enjoy a God-filled life. From this group, another group is beginning. Over the years, some college-age/singles have gotten married. Pray for Floyd as he begins a Bible study for this particular group. Floyd and Freda feel blessed to see how God is growing these young couples to be more like Himself. Pray for this group to be bold in their witness and to invite their friends to join this group and study God’s Word together.

MISSIONARY PERSONAL NEEDS. As missionary personnel in restricted-access countries attempt to impact a people group or city with the gospel, they have discovered that one of their best resources is the harvest force with the national Christian church. Often they travel to remote areas and offer week-long training to the local believers in evangelism and church-planting methods. Please pray for the men (who are the frequent travelers) as they teach and encourage the believers, but also remember to pray for the wives and children who stay behind in their cross-cultural settings. Pray that they will experience God’s peace in their hearts and protection from people who know they are alone and may try to take advantage of it. Pray for freedom from accidents or illnesses that might prove to be difficult for the wife to handle alone.

There will be a share group meeting at the Alford cabin Thursday at 6:30 P.M. You are invited to attend and share in food, fellowship, and a devotional time.

Pray for Vacation Bible Schools that will be beginning today at some churches. Various churches will be conducting their VBS during June and July.

Pray for school teachers and students who are attending and teaching LEAP remediation classes during the month of June in preparation for retesting. The test will determine whether or not students will be able to move up to the next grade.

Power Point

Dr. Jack Graham

June 16, 2008


No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.


–Romans 8:37

Do you ever feel like you are just struggling to make it through the day or to the end of the week?

The apostle Paul is living proof that as believers, we can actually thrive… not just survive… in the midst of tough times!

Paul’s life is a great example to us. As we read in the Scripture, he endured hardship, abuse, pain, and persecution. But he never let his circumstances defeat him. In fact, hardships only made Paul stronger as a man and follower of Christ.

You and I know that life can be tough. We all face the pressures of day-to-day living. We all endure stress, uncertainty, fear, and anxiety. Tough times are just inevitable!

But Paul tells us that—through Christ—we can rise above it all. And through his words and his actions, Paul gives us courage that we can be triumphant in tough times!

Paul said in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Then he went on to say in verse 37, “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

If you’re a follower of Christ, then you are more than a conqueror. You’re a super conqueror!

One of the greatest lessons we can learn from Paul is that a triumphant Christian life begins with a victorious attitude. You see, the difference between the average Christian life and the abundant Christian life is attitude.

We see today that Paul had an attitude that was indomitable. Even when he was chained and in prison, his attitude was always positive… uplifting… joyous… and hopeful.

Paul knew that even in prison his spirit was free. That’s why he declared that he was a prisoner of Jesus Christ, not of Rome… or of his circumstances. That’s why he could sing songs of praise to God in prison. And that’s why he could write the Scriptures from his cell!

So let me encourage you today. If you’re going through adversity… and if you’re facing a problem or a crisis… as a follower of Christ, you’re in the grip of His grace! And you can face anything… and everything… because Jesus Christ is on your side!



Please feel free to send praises, requests, and updates to be shared.

Anna Lee


“So they said,

‘Believe on the Lord Jesus,

and you will be saved–you and your household.’

Then they spoke the message of the Lord to him

along with everyone in his house.”

~Acts 16:31-32, HCSB~

From James Rimes:

Mike Lee’s mother passed away yesterday morning.
Mike and his wife were in Tennessee but were to get back to Amite last night.

Mildred Lee Barclay

A native and resident of Amite, she died at 8:05 a.m. on Friday, June 13, 2008, at Regency Hospital of Covington in Covington. She was 86. Mrs. Barclay was a member of Wilmer Baptist Church and Walter T. Ott, O.E.S. and was owner and operator of a dairy and cattle farm. She was known for her concern for neighbors, her uplifting laughter and being a avid reader. Visitation at McKneely Funeral Home, Amite, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Monday and from noon until religious services at 2 p.m. Tuesday, conducted by the Rev. Jason Skipper. Interment in Mulberry Street Cemetery, Amite. She is survived by her daughter, Linda Lee VanWoerkom and her husband, Rick, Waldorf, Md.; two sons, Dr. Jerry Lee and his wife, Pat, Baton Rouge, and Michael D. Lee and his wife, Theresa, Amite; a stepson, Owen Barclay, Amite; four grandchildren; a great-grandchild; devoted caregivers and friends, Bernita Mason and Lisa Henderson. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Burdette Lee; second husband, Dave Barclay; parents, Thomas and Bertha Mulina; and four brothers and two sisters.

Earl G. “Blackie” Bennett

A retired welder and member of Local Union 198, he died Friday, June 13, 2008, in his home in Baton Rouge surrounded by his family. He was 90 and a native of Amite. Survived by his wife, Hazel Hughes Bennett; four daughters and three sons-in-law, Janice Godfrey, New Jersey, Deborah and Benny Langston, Independence, Toni and Darrell Boeneke, Baton Rouge, and Carmen and Mike Henderson, Brookhaven, Miss.; son, Earl N. Bennett, Alaska; 10 grandchildren, Bonnie Ehreneperger and Chandra Kay Balter, both of New Jersey, Ben and Danielle Langston, both of Independence, Jason Lofton, Baytown, Texas, Brandon Lofton, Wallisville, Texas, Courtney and Tiffany Henderson, both of Brookhaven and Maia Weber and Shane Bennett, both of Alaska; and 15 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Clayton and Lois Bennett; nieces, Pasty Woster and Linda Binder; nephews, Bobby Joe Bennett and Rodney Bennett; very special great-nephew whom he helped raise, Taylor Bennett, of Atlanta; many other nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by his parents, Frank M. and Jennie W. Bennett; sister, Merele Fortenberry; and brother, Clyde Bennett. Visitation at Rabenhorst Funeral Home East, 11000 Florida Blvd., on Sunday, June 15, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Prayer given by the Rev. Bradley McKenzie and a eulogy by Pete Gremillion at 7 p.m. following prayer. Visitation on Monday, June 16, from 8:30 a.m. until religious service at 9:30 a.m., conducted by the Rev. Bradley McKenzie of First Church of the Nazarene. Graveside service at Arcola-Roseland Cemetery, Arcola, at 12:30 p.m. Monday. Serving as pallbearers will be Darrell Boeneke, Mike Henderson, Taylor Bennett, Shane Bennett, Jason Lofton and Brandon Lofton. The Bennett family would like to express a special thank you to the Amedisys Hospice.

“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” (Philippians 2:10).
Mike Benson, Editor

IN HIS BOOK Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, Neil Postman warns us of the danger of a world of information overload…

He reminds us of a chilling futuristic vision-Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which describes a world thoroughly flooded with information. But that data is manipulated so that none of it has any significance.

A glance at the Internet or a magazine rack hints that we are living in just such a culture. We’re drowning in a sea of information often marketed by the unscrupulous. We need discernment to choose wisely whom we will listen to.

In John 6, Jesus delivered His “I am the bread of life” message (v.35). It was a sermon so controversial that, at its conclusion, many of His followers went away and stopped following Him (v.66). They chose to stop listening to the voice of Christ. When Jesus challenged His disciples as to whether they would also walk away, Peter wisely responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (v.68).

In a world swamped with confusing and contradictory information, we can, like Peter, turn to Christ for wisdom. He cuts through the words of confusion with words of life. (Bill Crowder)

Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:67-69).

Remember, it is Sunday. Keep the Son in you day!

Anna Lee


“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,

where moth and rust doth corrupt,

and where thieves break through and steal:

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,

where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt,

and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

For where your treasure is,

there will your heart be also.”

~Matthew 6:19-21, KJV~



The V.B.S. Family Night Program was wonderful. You could fee the excitement of the week of VBS. Parents and grandparents of the children were in abundance. I’m already looking forward to my next VBS! I’m sorry for those of you who do not get to participate in VBS. You’re missing out!

Thank God for the showers that were so needed. If you haven’t received one, maybe this will be the afternoon you get your turn.

I started reading the Baptist Press articles from the bottom of the list. Your heart will be blessed if you take the time to do the same.

Baptist Press
June 13, 2008

INDIANA–WRAP-UP: Messengers elect Johnny Hunt president, launch evangelism initiative.

IOWA–Iowa facing ‘historic hydrological event.’

INDIANA–Weather affects registration total.

INDIANA–Loving a leader is ministers’ wives’ topic.

INDIANA–Cullen receives ministers’ wives’ award.

INDIANA–Pastors’ wives hear from Donna Gaines.

INDIANA–Top chaplain: Prayer keeps us on God’s agenda.

INDIANA–Seminary luncheons draw alumni, guests.

TEXAS–At 104, he aims ‘to be a blessing.’

TENNESSEE–FIRST-PERSON (Tim Ellsworth): Hug your kids a little longer.

LOUISIANA–FIRST-PERSON (Keith Manuel): Dream again, Daddy.

INDIANA–FIRST-PERSON (Tony Kummer): It’s just a walk across the street.

Ruby O. Hayden
(June 24, 1916 – June 12, 2008)

In loving memory of our mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Ruby O. Hayden. She died on her wedding anniversary on June 12, 2008. She was born to Walter and Edith Ford almost 92 years ago on June 24, 1916. She is survived by her daughter, Bettie Ziebarth, her 2 grandsons, Wesley and Dale Ziebarth, and her granddaughter, Tona Phillips. She is also survived by 4 great-grandson, Brandon, Van, and Kevin Ziebarth and Jacob Phillips, 2 granddaughters, Brianna Ziebarth and Sara Phillips, 3 great-great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. She will be sorely missed but not forgotten. Rest in Peace Grandmaw. We love you. Visitation at Oak Grove Church of Christ, Independence, from 9 a.m. on Saturday until religious services at 11 a.m. Saturday. Services conducted by Bro. Dale Ziebarth and Brandon Ziebarth. Interment Loranger Cemetery, Loranger, LA. McKneely Funeral Home, Amite, in charge of arrangements.

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team of crisis-trained chaplains has deployed to Columbus, Indiana, approximately 40 miles south of Indianapolis. According to media updates, the floods have brought casualties, the hospital has been evacuated, millions of dollars of damage are estimated, and there are reports of looting arrests as residents attempt to dig out in the aftermath of the tragedy. It appears that most of the victims do not have flood insurance for their homes.

“We want to be a light in this community that was plunged into darkness and despair as the Haw Creek overflowed last week,” says Jack Munday, director of the Rapid Response Team. “In many cases people’s lives are shattered right now. Their homes are badly damaged or destroyed, along with the memories the home represents. Their feeling of safety and security is gone. They are badly in need of hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.”

Please pray:

* for those who lost their homes
* for the patients and employees of the hospital that was evacuated
* that many will come to know Christ in the midst of sorrow

When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze

Isaiah 43:2

Thank you for your prayers and support. We also greatly value your financial support.

*Online –

*Check or money order – Billy Graham Evangelistic Association,

1Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201


A duck walked into a feed store and asked the owner, “Do you have any duck food?”

The proprietor replied, “No, we don’t have any duck food.”

The next day the duck walked into the same feed store and asked the owner, “Do you have any duck food?”

The feed store owner was an ill-mannered, impatient man. He yelled at the duck, “I told you yesterday! We don’t have any duck food. Now get out of here and don’t come back or I’ll nail your webbed feet to the floor!”

Again, on the next day, the duck walked into the same feed store. This time he asked the store owner, “Do you have any nails?”

“Nope. We don’t have nails.”

“Then do you have any duck food?”

I suppose we’ve all made threats from time to time that we never intended to carry out. There have been many times I’ve heard a parent say to his or her child, “You better do this before I count to three or else!” only to count to three and, not seeing any response from the child, say, “This time I mean it — “You better do this before I count to three or else!” Our children catch on very quickly as to whether or not we intend to carry through on the promises and threats we make to them.

Sometimes things happen that keep us from following through on a commitment. But that should be the rare exception, not the rule. The apostle Paul wanted to make sure that the Corinthians knew the difference. He had told them that he intended to visit them twice, but he was only going to be able to see them once. Some of his critics used this as an opportunity to accuse Paul of being fickle and untrustworthy. Here’s Paul’s response:

“I had originally planned two great visits with you – coming by on my way to Macedonia province, and then again on my return trip….That was the plan. Are you now going to accuse me of being flip with my promises because it didn’t work out? Do you think I talk out of both sides of my mouth – a glib yes one moment, a glib no the next? Well, you’re wrong. I try to be as true to my word as God is to his…” (2 Cor. 1:15-18, The Message)

What a powerful statement to make — “I try to be as true to my word as God is to his.” Can we say the same? As Christians, we need to be known as a people of our word. We shouldn’t have to play word games like, “Well, if I say it like this, then I mean what I say, otherwise I don’t.” We need to develop a reputation for being a people of our word.

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Thanks for being there to pray each day. Please feel free to share praises, requests, and updates so we can all pray.

Anna Lee


So don’t get tired of doing what is good.

Don’t get discouraged and give up,

for we will reap a harvest of blessing

at the appropriate time.

Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

Ruby Hayden
(June 24, 1916 – June 12, 2008)

Passed away Thursday, June 12, 2008 at the age of 91. Visiting will be at McKneely Funeral Home, Amite, on Saturday, June 14, 2008 from 9 a.m. until religious services at 11 a.m. Interment will be in the Loranger Cemetery. More details will follow when available.

Please pray for all the grieving families in our area. There have been numerous deaths lately. Each death touches many family members and friends.

The AGM I wrote about will be in Hungary, not Slovakia.


June 13, 2008

“Let the little children come to Me,

and don’t stop them,

because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,”

Luke 18:16b


Some of the people here in West Africa have asthma like me. When I found that out, it made it a lot easier to relate to them and have good relationships. People here have made up lots of games that are fun. One of the games is called “Yali Dor.” You start out by throwing a ball up in the air. When it comes down, everyone tries to kick the ball between someone else’s legs. If the ball goes through someone’s legs, they have to immediately try to run to base and while they are, everybody else tries to tackle him.I like to play soccer, too (they call it football here). I am usually a goalie and sometimes I even play on the field. My friends and I make slingshots out of sticks shaped like a “Y,” rubber strips from an inner tube, and pieces of the sole from tennis shoes. After we make them, we usually go hunting for 1 to 3 hours. Please pray for my friends that they will come to know and believe in Christ and that I can be a good witness to them. NATE, age 10 (West Africa)


Please pray for my brother to do well in school. CR, age 6 (East Asia)

I live in a big city, Lusaka. My family and I go to a Baptist church, and when the kids have children’s church, I go out with them, helping out, and playing guitar for them. I have a great Youth group there! I’m strongly thinking, and wanting, to go to a boarding school, in August. Pray that God will make it clear to me and my family whether I should go or not, and when I get there, that I survive for more than 3 months! ANNA, age 14 (Central, Eastern and Southern Africa)

Please pray that God will give me wisdom as I decide what university to attend. Pray, too, that I will be diligent in my schoolwork. Ask God to help me be a witness always to those around me, every time I have an opportunity. NATE, age 17 (Pacific Rim)

My family serves in Zambia. Please pray that we will enjoy ourselves while in the United States. Please pray that we will make the most of our time with our relatives. In July we return to Zambia. Pray for help to serve and lead people to Christ. TROY, age 13 (Central, Eastern and Southern Africa)

I really like this devotional. It teaches us to be very careful in the way we handle little lives. We make lasting impressions, either positive or negative, on children.


I saw this story this morning on and just had to share it with you:

Richard Fairchild tells about a story that appeared years ago in the Christian Reader. It was called “Priceless Scribbles.” It concerns a father who touched his child’s life in an unexpected way. A young boy watched as his father walked into the living room. The boy noticed that his younger brother, John, began to cower slightly as his father entered. The older boy sensed that John had done something wrong. Then he saw from a distance what his brother had done. The younger boy had opened his father’s brand new hymnal and scribbled all over the first page with a pen.

Staring at their father fearfully, both brothers waited for John’s punishment. Their father picked up his prized hymnal, looked at it carefully and then sat down, without saying a word. Books were precious to him; he was a minister with several academic degrees. For him, books were knowledge. What he did next was remarkable. Instead of punishing his son, instead of scolding, or yelling, his father took the pen from the little boy’s hand, and then wrote in the book himself, alongside the scribbles that John had made.

Here is what that father wrote: “John’s work, 1959, age 2. How many times have I looked into your beautiful face and into your warm, alert eyes looking up at me and thanked God for the one who has now scribbled in my new hymnal. You have made the book sacred, as have your brother and sister to so much of my life.”

The author of the story, now an adult, goes on to say how that hymnal became a treasured family possession, how it was tangible proof that their parents loved them, how it taught the lesson that what really matters is people, not objects; patience, not judgment; love, not anger.

“And you, fathers,

do not provoke your children to wrath,

but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

(Eph. 6:4)

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

I hope you have had a great week. Now, I wish for you a fantastic weekend!

Anna Lee

Thursday Evening

Mary Alice Fox just reminded me that her pastor in Gastonia, NC will be traveling to Slovachia to speak at the AGM (Annual General Meeting) for our missionaries in that area). The Hatchels will be leaving in the morning. Rev. Jeff Long and his daughter left today. I think Bro. Jeff is the main speaker. Pray for them and all the others who will be working with the missionaries and MK’s next week. Thank God for the volunteers who go to all the regional AGM meetings to minister as medical staff, counselors, VBS workers, etc. Pray for safe traveling for all involved. The Hatchels will travel tomorrow.

Nancy Pledger sent an email saying two young men, Logan McConathy and Dakota Byrd, from FBC in Natchitoches will be volunteering in Romania. Isn’t it wonderful how God makes so many connections in our lives? I think it is a reassurance that many Christians are willing to go and do what they have learned at church and through Bible study. When Christians make themselves available to pray, give, and go they must be prepared for the assignment the Lord gives them. Thank God these two young me were willing to do more than just pray and give.

Thank God for the many youth and adults who gave love, time, and talents to make VBS possible this week. VBS doesn’t just happen! The VBS director this year was Judy Fowler. Please express your appreciation to her and all the others who made VBS possible. Pray for each family touched by VBS. Pray for the VBS efforts in other churches in the coming weeks.

Nanette McDonald McFerrin
(July 7, 1933 – June 11, 2008)

Died at 1:45 a.m. on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at her residence in Greensburg, LA. She was a native of Greensburg, LA. Age 74 years. Visitation at McKneely Funeral Home, Amite, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Sunday and from 8 a.m. until religious services at 10 a.m. Monday. Services conducted by Rev. Rodney Taylor. Interment Greensburg Cemetery, Greensburg.

Thursday Afternoon

Vacation Bible School has been wonderful this week. Today, we had 125 children, plus the youth and adult workers. What a joy it was to participate in working with the children who made decisions to ask Jesus into their hearts today. Thank you so much for praying for the children as they received the plan of salvation today. Please continue to pray for them as they receive additional counseling and make professions of faith at our church and some other local churches.

The VBS family night program will be at 7:00 P.M. tomorrow night. Please plan to attend to encourage and support the children. There will be a fellowship time after the program.

This afternoon on the way home from VBS, I was involved in a fender-bender when someone missed a curve. Nobody was hurt. Thank God for protecting me today just as he protected David a few weeks ago.

From Laura Cutrer:

I would like to add the familes of Greg Fortinberry and Randy Fairburn to everyones prayer list. Greg is recovering from an automobile accident that accurred on Memorial Day and is still in the hospital and Randy is fighting cancer.

Ola Mae “Sugarfoots” Phillips
(August 27, 1923 – June 12, 2008)

Died on Thursday, June 12, 2008 at her residence in Magnolia, MS. She was a native of Washington Parish, LA. Age 84 years. Visitation at McKneely Funeral Home, Kentwood, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday and from 8 a.m. until religious services at 11 a.m. Saturday. Services conducted by Rev. Milton Kliesch and Bro. Dennis Walker. Interment East Fork Cemetery, Kentwood, LA. Survived by 2 daughters, Bonnie Phillips, New Orleans, LA, Wendy Phillips, Magnolia, MS, 2 sons, Edward Phillips and his wife, Anita, McComb, MS, Patrick Phillips and his fiancee’, Janet Broome, Wesson, MS, son-in-law, William Rhodus, Isabel, LA, 12 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, 2 sisters, Betty Doris Kralicek, Choctaw, AR, Wilda R. Elarton, Osyka, MS, 1 brother, Nerlie Smith, Kentwood, LA. Preceded in death by parents, Nerlie Smith and Myrtle Bankston Smith, 3 brothers, Wilbern E. Smith, Wendell G. Smith, Bobby R. Smith, 2 sisters, Beatrice E. Smith, Arelia L. Gill.


“But to You I have cried out, O Lord,

and in the morning my prayer comes before You.”

~Psalm 88:13~

I forgot to mention that Richard Dunn was able to come home until his next treatment. Please continue to pray for Richard, Kathy, and the other family members.

Today at VBS the children will have the plan of salvation presented to them. Pray for Bro. Joey as he talks to the children. Pray for the children. May what they have heard so far have prepared their hearts for the ABC’s of salvation.

OLYMPICS 2008. As the world counts down to the beginning of the Beijing Summer Olympics, many eager volunteers are also counting down to their involvement in Olympic-related ministries. Pray that God will guide and empower all who seek to serve Him through unique opportunities that are present. Pray that many Chinese people will lay hold of something that is even more precious than Olympic gold: salvation through Jesus Christ.

JAPAN. Mrs. K, who lives in a small town in Niigata prefecture, which borders the Japan Sea, is a widow with two children. All three of them are Christians. However, because she is a widow without any specific training, it is very difficult for her to get a job to support herself and her children. She reads her Bible and prays with her children, but there is not a Christian community to encourage her. Her home is surrounded by temples and shrines, fortune-tellers, etc. The people are very superstitious and suspicious of outsiders. They turn deaf ears to her witness and make fun of her. As she and a missionary went prayerwalking around her neighborhood, she indicated that there are no other believers near her home and people shun her because she is a Christian. Pray that Mrs. K will find strength through God’s Word and that she will look to Him daily for grace and provision. Intercede for Him to pour out His Spirit and blessing on her and her family, revealing Himself to be strong and mighty both to her and to those who live in darkness around her.

SANTA CATARINA, BRAZIL (sahn-tah cah-tah-REE-nah). Over recent months, you have prayed for a new church plant among the middle/upper class in downtown Florianopolis. Missionaries Jim and Linda Malone are praising God for doors that are opening to reach professionals through weekly lunch meetings to which Brazilians come to practice their English. Pray particularly for the newest outreach that meets in a restaurant three blocks from their home and provides new contacts for the worship times on Saturday evenings in the Malones’ apartment. Also, Jim has been slowly developing relationships with the owner of a health club on the top floor of a nearby shopping mall and also with one of the elite personal trainers there. M, the owner of the gym, has been demonstrating more openness and friendliness week by week. P, the personal trainer, has been more of a challenge since he is not too sure about the “North American.” However, this relationship, too, is now showing more acceptance. Pray specifically that after nine months of “walking across the room” to these men, Jim will now be able to lead them to the place where they may begin a relationship with Jesus, be discipled, and become involved with the new congregation.

NAIROBI, KENYA (ny-ROH-bee). S is a strong Christian leader among the South Asian community of Nairobi, Kenya. For some time now, he has served the Nairobi community faithfully while having a good work opportunity; his family has remained in India. Last year he answered the Lord’s call to East Africa, and now he feels that his family needs to be with him. Pray that the Lord will provide sufficient work in order for his family to join him in Nairobi.

“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” (Philippians 2:10).
Mike Benson, Editor

FOR YEARS I wondered why firefighters carried axes to the scenes of fires…

Hadn’t the fire done enough damage without chopping away at the remaining roof or walls? Then I learned that those axes serve a valuable purpose: They uncover smoldering hot spots that might later ignite. It keeps the firemen from having to return.

A famous passage in the Bible regarding fire is found in Jeremiah 20. Jeremiah had to confront strong opposition to the message he preached. And why did he preach that unpopular message? It was what the Lord gave him to speak. In verses 7 and 8 he described those who opposed him: “O Lord, you induced me, and I was persuaded; you are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; everyone mocks me. For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, ‘Violence and plunder!’ Because the word of the Lord was made to me a reproach and a derision daily” (NKJV). The prophet faced hecklers whenever he spoke, and it was getting wearisome.

Jeremiah resolved what any of us likely would have: “Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of him, nor speak anymore in his name'” (v. 9a). But that plan didn’t work for long: “… But his word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not” (v. 9b).

That kind of motivation to speak up for the Lord is needed in all ages. Jeremiah was not the first to face opposition for preaching the truth, and he wasn’t the last. But where was the “hot spot” in this man that compelled him to speak up for God when others fought him?

He pointed to the source in verse 11: “But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome one. Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper. Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten.” Beyond the daily frustration of fighting the enemies of God, Jeremiah could see the awesome Lord for whom he spoke. That was what kept the fire burning in his heart. That was how he could press on against such great opposition.

When problems come, we can’t help but focus on the problems. When they are especially large, we grow discouraged. But the same formula that worked for Jeremiah will work for us. By shifting our focus from the trials to the almighty God we serve, we’ll find new courage and energy. We’ll soon be able to exult with words like Jeremiah’s: “Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord! For he has delivered the poor from the hand of the evildoers” (Jeremiah 20:13). (Tim Hall @

Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not (Jer. 20:9).

What good advice: Don’t focus on the problems. Focus on God!

Anna Lee