“Robert Raif November 2020 Report”Categories: Robert Raif Reports
NOVEMBER 2020 REPORT ON THE WORK IN CORRIGAN, TEXAS [email protected]
171 CALDWELL ST. LIVINGSTON, TX 77351
It is with sadness that I tell you of the deaths of two brethren who were converted at the Estelle Unit. Spike (Kenneth Bourland) had been released a few years ago. He was 77 and had a brain tumor and he died in October. I got to talk to him and his wife on the phone in his last days, and all he could say is how thankful he was that he got to know the Lord in prison before they released him. He attended a faithful church when he could. John Martinez was out about 6 months and was worshipping with a faithful church. He lived with his family and was trying to teach them and others. He was hit by a car when he was walking home one day. He would call me once a week and "check-in." I was proud of both of these men for the changes they had made, and I am happy they died in the Lord.
Volunteers are still not allowed to enter the prisons. I am busy every day grading the lessons the prisoners send to me, explaining what they missed and why, sending new lessons, and writing to each one a personal note, and sending my sermon notes. This uses a lot more time than just grading the lessons, but I have grown to know these men and they have grown in their trust in me that I am not just a teacher when there, but their friend (and to some a brother) for life. One of the men got out 4 years ago and he is Catholic, but he called me this week about marriage advice. He is fierce-looking and big and strong and tattooed, but he said he is a different man than when he went in. He loves his wife and would do anything for his little son of a few months.
The work in Corrigan goes well. We finished Colossians and we have started Isaiah - - the Messianic prophet! I am preaching through Hebrews on Sunday nights.
Brethren, if you watch the news you are probably aware of what is going on in the Philippines. They have been devastated by two major typhoons recently. Many were already living in hunger, having no food, and living in tents in the southern part because their homes were wiped out last year from earthquakes. Now in the northern area, their homes have been swamped by overflowing rivers. Many have lost their homes and those who have not lost their homes have lost everything in them as the water came up so fast. They have strung ropes between trees and put those blue tarps over that - - sleeping in makeshift tents. They were needing money to buy food before the typhoon, now they are DESPERATELY in need. Entire congregations have no food to share now. Many of the crops have been wiped out.
There are something like 400 faithful churches in the islands. I get reports from three loyal Filipino preachers, and there are conversions every week among them. Perhaps hundreds every month in the islands. The church is on fire there and souls are being saved. Philippines is about the size of half the state of Texas, with a population of about 1/3 of the USA.
Whether our brethren are in Alabama, Alaska, or the Phillippines, we need to “Remember the poor.” The Jerusalem church needed help for years - - perhaps from the beginning in Acts 2 until 70AD, but brethren were always taking up contributions and sending to the poor. Almost every time the contribution was mentioned in the New Testament, it was for “the needy saints.” I know many of us are having a tough time now, but nothing like what is going on there. They are living on the streets and in the fields with no food and very little clothing.
This is our family, the family of God, and we want to respond with love, wisdom, and compassion as quickly as possible. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1 Pet. 1:22).
If you want to send money directly with MoneyGram or Western Union, I can put you in touch with men I know personally there. I can advise you about sending it. If you want to send it to me for me to send as a messenger, just let me know. I have a bank account just for that purpose as I am always sending funds given to me for that purpose and will give you an accounting of where your money goes.
Ron Halbrook has been going to the Philippines several times a year for many years. He knows hundreds of preachers there. He writes, “I know faithful and trustworthy men across northern and central Luzon who personally know the conditions or who can depend on eyewitnesses from various rural and remote places. We will ask these faithful and reliable Filipinos to serve as messengers to deliver emergency benevolence to the saints in keeping with Bible principles. Paul wrote, ‘Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men’ (2 Cor. 8:20-21). These men know well how to properly document the delivery of benevolence.
Individuals who want to donate $250 or more and want it to be tax-deductible can make checks to Help A Neighbor (approved under section 501 (C) 3 of the IRS Code). Churches asking me to relay funds should write the checks to Ron Halbrook. In either case, send the checks to my home address at 3505 Horse Run Ct., Shepherdsville, KY 40165-6954. H.A.N. is a labor of love. No one takes compensation for this service. Every penny donated goes to needs we have identified in some way as reflected in this report. Thank you to all who make it possible. Visit www.HelpANeighbor.net to learn more (thanks to Thomas and Jacob Keese).”
There you have it - - several ways to help your starving brethren. So often brethren ask me what is the best charity to give to that helps real people and doesn’t take half the money for “administrative costs.” Next time you want to give to a charity, think of giving to your brethren - - some who have no homes and have no money to rebuild but are honest hard-working souls living in a third world country. They are dealing with a lot of what the USA dealt with in the great depression 100 years ago. The government has mandated shutdowns there unlike what we have. And if they had not, the deaths from the Covid would be unbelievable. Once this pandemic is over, they will be able to more easily get back on their feet.
We often use James for our denominational friends, but James was writing to the church of Christ! “What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so, faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself (Jas 2:14-17).
Thank you so much brethren for the fellowship we have together in spreading the truth. My support is sufficient. Pray for more open doors - - the Lord keeps opening them. Pray for our Filipino brethren.
Yours in Him who saves, Robert Raif