Evangelists' Updates

Evangelists' Updates

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Robert Raif April 2020 Report

Monday, May 18, 2020

APRIL 2020 REPORT ON
THE WORK IN CORRIGAN, TEXAS

ROBERT RAIF
171 CALDWELL ST. LIVINGSTON, TX 77351

[email protected].      281-756-7957

 

Dear Brethren,

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Some of you may be wondering about the tornado that come roaring through Onalaska killing 3 people and destroying 50 + homes. None of our brethren were in that, but it was just 3 or 4 miles from us.

I guess we are all in the same boat, trying to figure out how best to “get together” and worship God. Our normal has been turned upside down. I wonder, is there anyone out there who will get my report? :-)

I went to the prison Friday March 20. They called me up that afternoon and said they were locking down all the prisons - - no more volunteers. Two weeks later one of the officers at Estelle died of the virus. I believe one of the inmates was sick with it too. Estelle has to be especially careful because they are a medical facility and 75% of those guys are already in weakened conditions due to diabetes, cancer, old age, amputations, organ transplants, kidney dialysis, etc.

Half of my time each week I spend going into the prisons and teaching. I’ve been trying to keep my students anchored and interested by sending them my bulletins and sermon notes about every two weeks and writing personal notes to them. Their response has been great. I send out 33 letters, and I’ve gotten 10 letters back from them so far - - some are brethren, and some growing to that. But they are appreciating the interest I show them and having something different to read to break the monotony. Estelle is keeping them all locked up except to shower. Through their letters, I’m getting to know these guys better, but it is a lot of effort. But then again, I spend about 20 hours a week driving there and teaching and coming home, plus the hours preparing. So I’ve got time on my hands. The saved gas pays for the postage.

Concerning the church in Corrigan, we are using Zoom to worship together, minus the Lord’s Supper and collection. We are using the free version, which means we get cut off after 40 minutes, and then resume the worship when everyone gets back. That works out well for us, a small congregation. I know the larger groups may have a hard time using this method, but I know we are all doing our best with what knowledge we have. It is not ideal to say the least, but it helps keep us close and in contact.

Three years ago I encouraged the members to read their Bibles daily using a planned Bible reading, and I would post the scriptures daily on Face Book and give a few words of summation. It is listed as “Corrigan Bible Reading,” One lady from Florida saw it and asked to join us, and said she needed prayers and didn’t have a Bible. So I sent her a Bible and am going to try and have a study over the internet with her. I’ve already talked to a preacher who lives nearby so that when and if the time comes that she wants more, I know where to turn.

I am so thankful for you brethren who support me with finances, but also support me with prayers and encouraging words. I ask, like Paul did, that you pray for me that I may speak boldly as I ought to speak. And continue praying for open doors - -more opportunities - - it’s working! My support is sufficient.

Yours in Him who saves,

Robert

Ricky Shanks February Report

Sunday, March 08, 2020

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.)

February  2020

Good news  at end…The work  preparing  a studio  is  just  about  finished.  I  still  have a  lot to  learn and do electronically.  We  are going to have a  couple  of practice  test  runs  the  next  two Sunday  afternoons,  “Lord Willing.”  We will  begin our effort to share the  gospel  via  the internet  on  the  18th.  It will  focus  on Facebook  live  at  first  then  to include    other  venues. We  will  try  boosting the local  exposure here  as much  as  we can afford. This  is  to  get face to  face Bible  studies  with them,  which  is  our  goal.  It  is  scheduled to  run on Wednesdays  at 11AM.  It is  my  understanding this  is  prime time for  Facebook  viewers.  The first of the weekly  programs  will  be  March  18th.  Tune in  if  you can.  I  will  need guest to  join  me  via  their  smart phone  often.  So if  there  is  someone in your  local  flock  who  has  a  working  knowledge of God’s  word and  able  to  quickly  (less  than 3 min.)  answer  questions  with book  chapter and  verse  please let  me  know. They  will  need to   have good bandwidth  at that time.  I would love to talk  with them and we can  schedule  them  to  join  us  in  this  effort.  Look  for  “Answers From the Bible”  (there  are  more than one)  or  “Bible  Compass”  with  my  name  connected  to it.  The learning  curve has  been  very difficult for me. There are dozens  of  tasks  leading up  and after each  program. I would  much rather  be  face  to face  in  front of  someone teaching God’s  word.  Hopefully  it will  all  become routine and  easier. The desired  result  will  be  many  other personal  studies  and rejoicing in heaven.  
 

Studies  with the  newer saints  are still  going well.  We  may  have lost one  back  to the world but the rest are flourishing. We  heard from Carrie again and  her friend. We did have another  study  and they  are thinking of obeying  the gospel.  Our society  today  has  been  so influenced  by  the devil  that he  has  gotten more and  more  in  such  “a  sinful  hole”  that  it  takes  more  extreme  efforts  to turn  away  from  sin so they  can  commit  their  life to  serve  God  in  baptism.  It is  getting less  frequent  to find someone whom repentance is  easy.    I’ve  seen that pattern in  several cultures. Nevertheless, with the right  heart it can be  done.  
 

Our evangelism meeting will  be on the  27th  and 28th  at end of  this  month.  I will  be able  to  speak  about it  in  our first  2  broadcast  which hopefully  may  bring out more  to the effort.  The flock  has  been  encouraged passionately  to invite their lost friends. They  have been asked  to have a  list  of 10 whom  they  are praying  about right  now. Then  7  to 10 days  before  the meeting they  are to go in  person, face to face and ask  them if they  will  come.  For  years  now  there  has  always  been no less  than  10% to come.  We pray  that will  remain true for this  meeting as  well.  
 

The flock  overall  seems  a little  more healthy. But the  rains  keep coming  just  about every  day.  Wettest  2 months  here  in  decades.  This has  not  helped their recovery.  Luckily  no  extreme  cold  temps  to go with  it. Hopefully  I will  be able to get the rest  of the  banners  replaced before long.  

We rejoice that the  kingdom  of  God grew  by  2 being  added  by  our Lord. Del  and Valeria Santos  came  by  our  booth  last  year  at  Mule  camp. Brownie reached  out to  them  with studies  in  their  home  and over  past few  months. They  decided to die with Christ in February. With no religious  background they  are  refreshing to help them  grow  in Christ without having  to undo the religious  confusion that  many  have.  The  first light  from God reached  his  heart  when  he started reading the Bible  but did  not get  much  from it, so  he stopped  and  started writing the Bible by  hand.  He is  now  up  to  Ecclesiastes  so far.  They expressed  interest in  our efforts  at the  festival  which  led to the studies.    They  have  a long way  to grow  but so far they  seem very  steady.  We hope  there will  be  many  more.

To  God be the glory.

Ricky  Shanks 

Robert Raif March Report

Sunday, March 08, 2020

MARCH 2020

REPORT ON   THE WORK IN CORRIGAN, TEXAS

[email protected]         ROBERT RAIF  171 CALDWELL  ST.        LIVINGSTON, TX 77351

Dear Brethren, I’m starting  to sound like a broken record. This report will cover two months. I  kept waiting  for something  to pan out, and it finally  did just this last Sunday.  We have been meeting  at the prison on Sunday  nights at 7, right before they  rack the guys up at 8. It has been a bad spot and only  some were allowed by  the officers to come. We recently  got the option of meeting  at 10:30 Sunday  morning.  We asked if we could have that spot and we got it. So this Sunday  we met at 10:30 and had about 1 ½ hours to worship. It was great! We  weren’t rushed. The numbers should pick up as more realize  the option of worshipping  the New Testament way. Please pray  for us to be able to keep this spot. Satan has his workers there who have kicked us out before. It is always a fight to keep a spot for the truth.
 

My going  to the prison Sunday  morning  means I  drive to Corrigan, drop Nancy  off at 9.30 when the Bible class starts, and my  heading  to the prison. I  get back to the building  at 1pm and pick up my  wife and travel home. I  miss the morning  worship in Corrigan, and worship with the church at Estelle. I  told the men that this opportunity  was too great to pass up, and that they  had the options of meeting  at another time when they  could use me in the services, or get someone to come from Lufkin and help, or to do the teaching  themselves. They  chose the latter.

We had brethren there participate is leading  the congregation. Sam only  will get those to help who are “walking  the walk.” Sam directed the singing. Keith read a Psalm. Kenneth directed us in prayer. Robert and Raymond passed out the elements for the Lord’s Supper.
 

Concerning  the prison work, the Thursday  class for the brethren concludes David Holder’s book on the Christian’s relationship with God. This week we start a study  in Revelation.  After those two hours I  do some “free” phone calling  for the chaplain for the indigent to call home for free. This has been a good experience of meeting  new men and encouraging  them to come to our studies. It has also endeared me to the Chaplain and is one reason we got the new time slot on Sunday. It also will allow me to become an official “assistant” and be able to go anywhere in the prison to find men that someone asked me to contact.

On Friday, the auditorium class is starting  a study  on how to become a Christian and what is the New Testament church. It’s an excellent video with 6 lessons presented very  clear and all true to the Book.  We studied 3 years ago, but 25 of the 30 in this class are new. After these two hours, I  go to the High Security  unit and we are studying  1 John with about 25 men with video via computer.
 

At present, I  preach Sunday  night at Corrigan and we are studying  Revelation on Wednesday  night. I’ll let you know if that changes.
 

I am so very  thankful to all of you who have fellowship with me in spreading  the truth. Together we are making  a difference in the lives of many. My  support is sufficient.
 

Yours in Him who saves,    

Robert Raif

Zimbabwe Report

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Dear brethren

I pray all is well with you, the family and I are all doing well as I continue to work in the Lord's harvest we feel blessed and loved doing his work and being in fellowship with all you brethren.

I must first apologise for the delay in my reports, this has been due to a number of reasons. We are experiencing a frequent amount of load shedding In our country. What that means is for at least 3-4 hours every day the electricity supply is turned off as our electricity supply is monopolised and only supplied by the state, unfortunately like all our state-owned entities in our country, it has been riddled with corruption and looting and as a result, it is now collapsing, this is having a huge impact on our economy. When power is off my service provider cannot run the internet service, and many times when power is restored, all the settings and connections give problems which takes time to correct and then not long after that, the power goes off again, I have only managed to send out LMT emails via my cell phone, but cannot send long or big files.

ZIMBABWE:

I am happy to report that Zimbabwe has received good rains, the Lord has answered all our prayers and it brings such relief to the country and the people. Our brethren have planted their crops and in most villages the crops are knee-high our GOD is good . We all need to continue to please pray for follow up rains over the next 3 months so their crops can reach maturity and brethren can harvest for the first time in many years.

If we receive the follow-up rains we anticipate harvest will be around early May , but only if they receive the follow-up rains needed .I am also very happy to report that I have secured enough funds to feed all our brethren in need up to the end of April , so if we do get to harvest in May,our brethren will be self-sufficient and managing to rebuild.

The work is doing well and we have baptized 7 people over the last period , the brethren are upbeat and so great full to receive the help with food and now that is has rained are excited for the next few months .In Conjane village we baptized a sister in the river, at the very same place we baptized her 2 days later a crocodile grabbed the young nephew on one of our sisters in that congregation when he was drawing water from the river, there were people around and they managed to help him get fee, he has suffered numerous bites and wounds and is in hospital so please keep him in our prayers.

We also had a child that drown in the river after the rains the river came down strong and swept the child away , so some tragic events over the last period. 

I still continue to collect and deliver maize to every congregation every month in the bush villages, and as said above I do have the funds to continue with this until the end of April, a very big thank you to all the congregations and individuals the has helped with this need, I know at times it may seem never-ending, our brethren are always asking me to please send on their eternal gratitude and love to all you good brethren.

The economic situation in Zimbabwe is still totally collapsed, very difficult to find gas and things are very expensive if you can find them, my trips in have been relatively easy, there are still the roadblocks that slow me down, and especially when you are carrying maize which is so sort after. The roads are breaking up and there is no money in the government to fix them, so my vehicle plus suspension and tyres are taking beating especially with the heavy loads.

BOTSWANA:

Botswana has also received the rains and there too crops are growing , the brethren are all well and the work is consistent. I continue to teach and preach at all three congregations and brethren are growing, it is slow and there is still a very big lack of faithful men. The children are all ways a treat and so excited to see us when we teach in the villages. My translator continues to get better each time, I pray this man will be baptized and be able to help in these works going forward.

It is still challenging worshiping out in the open in Botswana as, the weather conditions can change very rapidly and with the desert sands , it blows so bad some days you cannot keep your bible pages open .Our brethren remain faithful, I am currently working on a new contact in a new village and pray that that develops over time that I may be able to start a new work in that area .

SOUTH AFRICA:

The work at Mabalabala is doing well , we have managed to save enough funds to finally put down floor tiles in our building, the brethren are strong and faithful. The men continue to help in the worship taking active roles in the leadership, song leading , reading and preaching, It is encouraging to see them grow in confidence and knowledge.

We had a visitor over December from the JHB area , who decided to be baptized , she will be attending worship with the local congregation in JHB .We too have received rains in our farming area which is a big relief for the animals and bushveld.

Thank you brethren all for your love and fellowship along with your support , the Lords work here in Africa is strong and would not be possible without your continued love, please continue to pray for follow up rain for our brethren and for us here on the farm in South Africa .

In Christ we serve,

Warren Scholtz

Joe Hamm Jan 2020 Report

Monday, February 10, 2020

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Visiting Churches

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.

Prayer Requests

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.

Joe Hamm

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

January 20, 2020

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~ Joe Hamm - Philadelphia ~

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Kieran & Patti Murphy (in-laws)

3

1

2 Years!

Married 9

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Midweek Bible Study

5

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Southern Hospitality

Snow Day!

~ Joe Hamm - Philadelphia ~

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