I felt that April 27 through May 4 was our most fruitful visit yet to Maine and Nova Scotia. We are now in our sixth year of these semiannual visits every spring and fall to these churches, and it has been a blessed road for me with these people. Every arrival in either Milo, ME or Sackville, NS is like coming home. There is no doubt that it is a long journey which can have its challenges at times. The difficulty of travel to get there this time (feel free to ask for me for recommendations on airlines!) combined with a lack of sleep and some ailing health was my first indication of the spiritual battle which surrounded this trip. Satan opposed us in many ways, and I felt from the beginning that the enemy was attempting to prevent me from arriving there. But God was victorious, provided for every need, and my luggage even arrived a day after I did! I thought and prayed much about spiritual warfare throughout the days of this trip, and realized anew how God works through our weaknesses and that Jesus is glorified through earthen vessels being hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and even struck down (2 Corinthians 4:7-12). Furthermore, it was my joy to be able to share in both churches some new truth from 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. This has been my newest study, and perhaps the most difficult one in which I have ever been involved. It has been a real time of stretching through this portion of God’s Word. However, the truth from this passage has been life-changing and impacted my life and the lives of others in ways I could not have imagined.
God is moving in amazing ways in the United Baptist Church in Milo, ME. I have shared before how this is something of a frontier church, on the edge of “civilization” before you head into the deep words of northern Maine. Milo is a depressed area with all manner of spiritual darkness there. The spiritual war is as real, and tangible, in this town as any place I have ever been. God brought Pastor Phil and Becky there over five years ago now. It has been a long road of just loving the people, presenting Jesus, and standing in Him. The past six months have seen the beginning of the kinds of breakthroughs for which we have prayed. New people are coming to the church; people are responding to Jesus; families are growing spiritually; people are coming together. In a remarkable way, the Lord is beginning to establish this church in a new way in the community. People everywhere are beginning to know that if you want to hear about Jesus, just go to the United Baptist Church. Our services this time were from April 27-30, Sunday through Wednesday. The attendance and response were both greater than I have ever seen there. There are some remarkable signs of transformation taking place, and there is a noticeable difference in the spiritual atmosphere of the church. God is working powerfully among this church. However, as we saw in 2 Corinthians 4, there is a cost to being the vessels through which Jesus is demonstrated. Even during my visit, Pastor Phil experienced a significant episode with his health, and I would invite your prayer for him. The spiritual battle continues in Milo. But I am excited to report that the Word of the Lord is growing mightily and prevailing (Acts 19:20).
On Thursday morning, May 1, I picked up the rental car to drive the eight hours to Halifax, Nova Scotia so I could arrive for services over the weekend (May 1-4) at the Church of the Nazarene in Lower Sackville. We always have special times together when I get to visit with the Nova Scotia people, who are like family to me. Yet, I clearly felt that God touched us all in a special way over these days together. There were already amazing things happening in this church before my arrival, but something remarkable continued in these services. There was response followed by powerful testimonies in every service. There was something very real about the presence of Jesus in these services. It began very unmistakably in the prayer meeting where we gathered Thursday evening, and it continued in every service throughout the weekend, which included 2 on Friday, 2 on Saturday, and 3 on Sunday. I get my workout when I go to Canada! Each time I go there, it is a joy to share in a Sunday afternoon service at a house church called Upper Room Fellowship. This house church outgrew Pastor Terry’s living room, and so he converted his garage into a chapel. They are now a point of need as they are about to outgrow the chapel, and are seeking the Lord for His direction. These people have been so kind to me. It was an additional blessing to conclude the services in Nova Scotia by preaching in the evening service at Dartmouth. Again, God moved powerfully in this time as He did every single service. I was deeply touched by the Lord Jesus in my own life on this trip and during this visit to Nova Scotia. I saw Him and felt His presence in a way that I have not in some time, and I thank Him for that. I experienced a sweet time of fellowship with Him, even in the midst of the spiritual battle and the challenges of travel. It spilled over into my preaching, has given me great joy, and has continued to affect me since my arrival home from the trip. This trip had its physical difficulties and was a particularly long time to be away from my family, but we continue to reap the fruit of His love and kindness as we respond to Him where He has placed us. We would rather be no other place.
We deeply appreciate your time and care in reading this, and your fellowship in Christ. Please let us know any way we can pray for you. If the Lord leads, we would appreciate your continued prayer for us as a family and our precious days together this summer; for the preparing of the new book to go to print; for the sharing of the Word in the campmeetings in July; and for preparations for classes this fall.
In Jesus Christ our Lord,
Evangelist, Teacher, Writer,
Husband, and Father