Evangelists' Updates

Evangelists' Updates

“Joe Hamm June Report”

Categories: Joe Hamm Reports


Lights in A Sinful World

Thanks be to God we made it safely through the night. As I write this letter, our community is picking up the pieces from vandalism, looting and violence against the police. We have seen so much hatred and frustration, often being directed at those who are simply trying to help. And we have seen so much greed by those taking advantage of the civil unrest. We have seen the media spinning narratives from the air that don’t always match the reality of the situation on the ground. This community has torn itself apart. We live in a minority community and so many minority-owned businesses were destroyed. As the looters were systematically working their way toward our house, as police fired tear gas canisters down our block, as we closed our windows and rushed the children to the back bedroom for safety, I actually considered leaving this place. We have experienced so much sin and lawlessness since moving to Philly. It seems that few people value human life, so few have regard for the law, and so many have disdain for authority. Men shooting men, children shooting children, men beating women, and citizens shooting police officers who are sent into our community to restore order. People are so quick to blame others, yet so few are willing to accept responsibility for their own actions. We all want justice as long as it’s not against ourselves. When we sin, we hide from God’s judgment. That is true regardless of the color of our skin. It is true regardless of where we live. There are many people on both sides of the political debate proposing false solutions to our problems. I’m very concerned when Christians begin taking sides and adopting these false solutions. The only solution for peace and unity

is Jesus Christ. The Gospel is not a theoretical solution, it is a very practical one. It speaks to every area of our lives. Every sector of society, every discipline of study, every area of our public & private life should presuppose and be informed by God’s Word.

We must not only allow preachers to speak truth in the pulpit, but also in the statehouse, the laboratory, and the classroom. Why? Because the Bible should inform how we think about everything.

Someone asked my wife today, “At what point do you leave Sodom?” I’m not sure I know the answer. However, I do know that Jesus suffered to save lost sinners. We should be willing to suffer too.

My Father’s Death

In late December or January, my father contracted a flu virus which turned into pneumonia. The virus attacked his liver and he was admitted to the UAB hospital in Birmingham, AL so that he might receive a liver transplant. However, due to the COVID-19 shutdown, the surgery was delayed and he did not survive. Because he contracted the virus before the official COVID-19 outbreak, the doctors do not believe it was related. I’m thankful that I was able to attend his funeral service in Alabama on May 8.

Family Sickness

The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in this area on March 6. However, in late January, I came down with what I thought was a really severe flu which matched the symptoms of those being reported in China. Testing was

~ Joe Hamm - Philadelphia ~

June 1, 2020

not widely available at that time, but I was taking Hebrew classes with many students from Asian countries who had recently returned after the holidays. Perhaps I was exposed, but we will never know. This flu-like disease quickly turned into pneumonia and I was in the bed for several weeks. Following my sickness, each member of our family experienced two days of sickness followed by three weeks of low-grade fever. We isolated our family even before the official lockdown. We were advised by Fiona’s doctor to stay home and we all recovered. Thankfully, no one else in the church has experienced the severe symptoms of this disease.

Worshipping During The Shutdown

The church here normally meets on the campus of UPenn in downtown Philly. However, because the campus has been closed, we’ve been unable to meet there. The Raif family has continued to open their home for the brethren to worship together on Sundays. We even had three visitors worship with us yesterday. Those who have not felt safe coming continue to listen to the service over the internet. We hope that the city will re-open soon and that the whole church can gather together once again.

Growing In Number

Despite the shutdown, the Lord continues to bless the church with growth. Matt & Meagan Smith recently moved here from Birmingham for work. Nick & Tifanee Lane just moved here from Kentucky for the same reason. As I mentioned in my last report, several other brethren are planning to move here after things return to “normal.”

And Growing (More Babies)

We are also growing in other ways. Four of the ladies in our small group, including my wife Fiona, are expecting babies. Please pray for the Lord’s protection upon them.

A Special Need

With the expected birth of our sixth child in December, we will need to purchase a larger van. A family of eight will no longer fit into a seven passenger van. For some time now, it has been difficult to give other people rides to church because of our limited seating. We are hoping to purchase a used 15 passenger van so that we can transport our own family and also have plenty of room for others. I do believe that a large van will not only be helpful to us, but will also be a blessing to others we are seeking to serve. I anticipate the cost to be $20k. If you are in a position to help, we would appreciate your consideration.

A Final Word of Exhortation

During these evil days, let’s commit to loving one another more fervently. Let’s be willing to listen to our brethren who have experiences different than our own. Let’s determine that we’re not going to allow this world to divide us. Let’s compare everything being said with God’s Word. Read the Scriptures daily with your family so they will know how to properly view the world.

“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
- Numbers 6:24-26

Love in Christ,

Joe Hamm

Joe Hamm
5232 Spruce St. Philadelphia, PA 19139 267-831-4019 [email protected]


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Southern ~ Joe Hamm - Philadelphia ~ Hospitality

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~ Joe Hamm - Philadelphia ~

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~ Joe Hamm - Philadelphia ~

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~ Joe Hamm - Philadelphia ~