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,
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.
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 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 .
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,
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