Dear Pastor and Church Family,
Looking back over 2013 brings a flood of memories to mind. Some are good. Some are bad; but each memory represents a lesson learned.
We are currently averaging a solid 30 on Sunday mornings and our Thursday evening attendance has doubled. Several souls have been saved; a few baptized. One couple who had been living together for over five years decided to get married. Quite a few missionaries have come through and been such a blessing to our people; and our L.A.F. activities (Lighthouse After-church fellowships) continue to be a blessing to our people. Once every two months we have our L.A.F. services. Some people come to the service visibly heavy hearted, but it is so amazing to see them loosen up and the burdens seemingly melt away after some good preaching, good fellowship, and good food. Sometimes we even have to start giving hints so people will pack up and go home!
We have also had a few interesting people visit our services and one interesting person nearly visited; but I gladly took him back where I picked him up from after his unacceptable behavior on our church van. Everything seemed fine that morning when he got on the van until I picked up one couple who attends our church pretty faithfully. He said, “Oh, no! You pick those wicked people up! Those evil people go to your church. No! Take me home now!.” Then he turned to them and started threatening to kill them and kill the baby that the young lady is expecting. I suspect that his behavior was influenced by drugs or alcohol. After all that excitement I had to stand up and preach to our people. It was a little bit of a challenge to get back in the “Spirit”; but I believe the Lord blessed that day. We had a really good Sunday with several visitors and some have returned every Sunday since.
One sad memory I have is the death of a young man whom I invited to church a couple of years ago. He finally attended our church last summer and seemed to enjoy the services. I continued to visit him and try and encourage him in the Lord, but he eventually fell away. Well, lst month we found out that the young man was shot and killed in a neighboring town. So sad; but I can’t help but wonder how differently his life would have ended had he given it to the Lord.
Family News and Prayer requests:
Everyone in our family is doing well. Me, my wife, and the kids are all in good health and excited about what the Lord will do in our family as well as in the church this year. Please continue to pray with us about the following:
1. A tractor to keep our land maintained.
2. Provisions for the nursery. Our people have done a great job in giving for that and it has come a long way; but we still ask you to pray for our nursery as we select workers for it and such.
3. Wisdom regarding our ministry for the children.
In His service,
Pastor Raymond Beckles