My family and I had the opportunity to visit several churches that support me in my work here in Philadelphia. First, we travelled to Alabama where we visited the Riverbend congregation in Florence, AL. The brethren there also organized a wonderful potluck after worship which gave us an opportunity to better acquaint ourselves with each other. I was also reminded how much I miss southern cooking!
Second, we traveled to Red Bay, Al and were very encouraged to visit the brethren there and we were met with great hospitality. It was also a joy to visit some of my relatives while staying in Alabama. The last year was especially difficult for my family due to the death of two grandparents.
Our third stop was in Atlanta to visit the brethren at Embry Hills. Our visit with them was so refreshing and although we moved away from there in 2011, it felt like a real homecoming. It was so good to see the congregation flourishing. As always, we were met with such warm hospitality.
Finally, our fourth stop was in Gettysburg, PA. Our plan was to stay the weekend with brethren and worship with them on Sunday. However, the Lord had other plans. Unfortunately, my whole family contracted a violent stomach virus! Not only was I unable to preach, my whole family was unable to attend worship, and we didn’t get to see the brethren. We even had to delay our return home. Craig & Natalie Bishop were so gracious to host us and care for my family while we were sick. May God return a blessing to them for all that they suffered.
Growing in Number
We’ve had many new brethren and visitors attending our worship assemblies to the point that we will soon need to add more chairs in our meeting space. Kayla, a young sister from Ithaca, NY is now worshipping with us for several months. Rebecca, a sister from Liberia, has recently moved to the U.S. and plans to worship with us as well. Judy, a sister from NJ has also recently committed to worshipping with us. In addition, we have received news that three families are transferring to the area in the coming months. We are all very encouraged by the recent numerical growth, but we ask for your prayers that we may remain unified in God’s truth.
As I mentioned, there have been many health problems in our extended family over the past year. Things are looking better for the moment, but I anticipate that I will need to begin traveling to Alabama more often in the coming years. Fiona’s mother continues to need more and more care. It has been a great blessing to have them nearby. I’ve included a recent picture of them as well as some other recent pictures on the next page.
5232 Spruce St. Philadelphia, PA 19139 267-831-4019 [email protected]
January 20, 2020
~ Joe Hamm - Philadelphia ~
Kieran & Patti Murphy (in-laws)
Midweek Bible Study
~ Joe Hamm - Philadelphia ~
Report from “Ricky” William Shanks in Gainesville GA
4565 Persian Trail; Gainesville, GA 30507; Phones: 843-569-8729-Home; 843-725-9283-Cell
Dial A Bible Study: 770-835-4000 (Ext. 3 for Spanish.)
Even though this winter is not near as cold as others it seems to have much more sicknesses than normal.
Due to some storms lately I will have to replace all but one of my banners around town. They lasted a while so that is to be expected. From the many rains we have had, the mud will not support ladders standing on them. So I have to wait for a week without rain. In addition to that GA has had a very high flu rate. There has been a large portion of folks down with various kinds of flu like maladies over the past few weeks. This is slowing down the number of studies that can happen. After Janice and I got better we have been very careful to take precautions before going out. Hopefully others will be over all this soon. However we did lose one of our oldest (90) members of the flock and was buried last week. James Hollis had been suffering with breathing problems for years. We rejoice that he is now free of agony of his earthly vessel.
Our evangelistic efforts are mixed blessings. I had thought that almost all our studies with the lost had ended for various reasons. But Paige showed initiative to resume the studies and it seems to be going well. The study with Wayne has been on hold due to illnesses. Brian, a new saint, met and brought a friend last night from his connections with AA meetings. Hopefully we will be able to study with him soon. We have more new correspondence students so I working those to find more seekers. The new convert class is flourishing. Each of them is eager to come and study Sunday and Wednesday.
In an effort to speed things up in sowing God’s seed here, I’m trying to build and set up a studio in my house to broadcast a video Bible study over social media and pay for local market coverage. I need to find someone to run the equipment during the weekly broadcast. So far, I have the software, apple products for the videoing and broadcast equipment. So hopefully we can be up and running by next month. I really need a tech person to help.
We are planning two meetings this year to reach out to the lost in this area. The success of this is dependent upon the local saints doing the inviting. I believe the success of evangelism depends upon ... the effective working of every member to make the increase, Eph. 4:16. So members willing, we will have good fruit to come from this effort as well.
During this slow time it has been a good time to move my library/study to my home to make room for another class. I had to build a room in my basement and now slowly moving it all home. But through it all I have found some real strong young men at church. I need to get rid of some books. Come see us and I will load you up with some books of your own.
The church building is old enough that things are starting to break down. So repairs are underway. Also, with the construction of the highway they broke the water line again. This time the mud in the line completely prevented water flowing in the pipes of the meeting house. They quickly sent a plumber to come fix the problems.
You might like to hear how well Tammy is doing. Being new in Christ she has much to overcome. She is deeply heart sick over her family’s spiritual condition. She is so eager to share with them the good news of Christ. Each week when we study, she is almost in tears how she can help them. Only if we experienced disciples had such a passionate desire, what could we do?
Sincerely to God’s glory, Ricky Shanks
JANUARY 2020 REPORT ON
THE WORK IN CORRIGAN, TEXAS [email protected]
171 CALDWELL ST. LIVINGSTON, TX 77351
I missed reporting in December, so this report covers two months. Concerning the church in Corrigan, one lady moved here and joined the congregation. That is always an encouragement to a small group like us. We continue to study Revelation in the Bible classes Sunday and Wednesday. I have been working with this congregation for 8 years.
The prison teaching was pretty well shut down in December. There was a semi-annual lock-down for two weeks, and then came Christmas and New Year’s and they didn’t want me to hold classes because they only had a skeleton crew working.
I was excited that Art Moody was trained as a volunteer and has been going to the prison with me and even filled in for me a couple of times. He is 75 and a “retired” preacher. He knows the Bible well, but he may get a job that will limit his ability to be there when I need him. He had his doubts about going into the prison and teaching, but once he came and met the men and studied with them, he was so excited about being able to work with them.
The Thursday 7:30-9:30 am class has been studying David Holder’s book about the Christian’s relationship with God - - following Him and doing His will. These are mostly brethren who are trying to grow in the Lord. After this I go to the High Security (10-12) and we are continuing to go through the New Testament in verse by verse study. We are in James right now. These guys are usually in this unit for 3 months for educational pre-release programs. There are always new guys coming in and others leaving. There will be anywhere from 7 to 30 guys listening during those 2 hours, and they are hearing the plain simple truth and being offered a chance to ask questions.
The Friday 7:30-9:30 class is still doing studies in evidence of creation vs. evolution/atheism. We have about 28 in the class. After that class, I help the chaplain for an hour. I help the indigent make phone calls to their mom or wife. They get a free phone call every 3 months. And if it is a death or sickness and they want me to pray with them, I do that. It is another way to make contacts and hopefully encourage them to come to our studies. We’ll see how that works out. Helping the chaplain has also made him be more open toward our concerns and allowing our classes.
We’ve been meeting Sundays at 6:45pm now for 3 months. The Chaplain has given us that hour and so far no one has complained against us having that time each week. All those who want to come and worship in truth and Spirit can come. We have between 40 and 50 each time. We have only one hour, but that gives time for singing, prayer, the Lord’s supper, and a 25 to 30 minute lesson. When I leave there around 8, it gets me home by almost 10. Art is going to preach this next Sunday for the first time there.
I am so thankful to all of you who continue to participate with me in spreading the truth. My support is sufficient.
Yours in Him who saves, Robert Raif