Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Thank you for your commitment to praying for us and the work that God has called us to here in Atlantic Canada.
As I write this, I am currently sitting in a hospital waiting room with my daughter, while my son is undergoing a neurological test. Earlier this month, he collapsed at church and convulsed for about 30 seconds. We had never seen this happen to him before. When it stopped, he didn’t remember anything that had happened to him. We brought him to a local hospital that day, where they took some blood work. Everything came back normal. He was sent for an MRI (last Friday) and also an EEG (today) to try and find out more. We should have results from the tests in the next week or two. Please pray.
It was alarming as a parent to see him in that state, yet unable to help him. I’d like to say that in that moment I was quietly resting in God’s grace, but honestly, I was upset and unsettled inside. Many questions and fears flooded my mind. But after praying about it, and sleeping on it, I was able to give thanks in it. I am thankful to God for His sustaining grace and for His perfect wisdom. Truly, whatever He allows is for our good, and I know that He will be with us, no matter what.
The work of the ministry remains busy here. A couple of days after writing my last report, I went to visit a man who was suffering from bone cancer. He was the uncle of a woman who irregularly attends the church. She had expressed great concern for him because he was not a believer, and he was scheduled to die by assisted suicide the next day. She had tried witnessing to him before, but he continued in his unbelief. It was a somber experience to walk into that man’s house. I had never met him before. He was surrounded by family, some visibly grieving. I introduced myself as a pastor and addressed him with gentleness and respect. But I was also direct and earnest. I asked him if he thought he was ready to stand before God. His eyes widened, and he replied, “I think you mean it the other way around.” I assured him that I meant it the way I said it, and then I shared the Gospel with him. I told him about sin, man’s need for forgiveness, and about God’s redeeming grace in Christ. He didn’t want to hear it. He said he didn’t believe. I tried to reason with him that ignoring the truth doesn’t make it go away, that we will all stand before God. Ignoring it only leaves us under His Judgment. He said, “Well, if that’s the case, then I guess my suffering won’t be over.” I tried pointing him to the mercy of God, urging him to turn to Christ. I prayed, and then left. The next day he went through with the planned procedure, ending his life by assisted suicide. His niece stayed with him until the very end, hoping he would change his mind. He didn’t. She told me through her grief how he remained in his unbelief to the end.
In my last report I had shared about the recent death of my uncle who had been hospitalized for about a month, battling an unknown condition in his lungs. Before he died, we had a good long talk about the Gospel in which I called him to look to Christ that very day, calling on the Lord for the forgiveness of sins. He said that he would. That would be the last conversation I would ever have with him, as a few days later he grew worse and had to be sedated. He remained in critical condition for another couple of weeks before finally passing away. I was asked to conduct the funeral, so I had a precious opportunity to preach the gospel to my grieving family, many of whom are lost. I was grateful to be able to point them to Christ at such a time. Please pray for their salvation.
Once more, just a few weeks later, I was called on during another time of loss when the sister of a believing woman who attends the church died after a long and hard battle with cancer. The chapel in the funeral home was full. Many had to stand in the foyer and watch through the open doors at the back of the room. Once again, I was grateful for the opportunity to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. Our area is steeped in Roman Catholicism and dead religion. The difference stands out to people, even at funerals. One woman, who spoke to me after, said she found the message very different from what she heard from the priests. She said that it made sense to her and she felt like I was talking directly to her.
I realize that I have written a lot about death and funerals in this update. As a young minister, I can remember dreading the idea of conducting a funeral. But after preaching six different funerals in the last year and a half, I can say that I am grateful for such opportunities. God opens wide doors to declare the goodness and grace of God in Christ Jesus to so many grieving people in their time of loss. Many of these people I’ve never met before. Many of them are lost, and all of them stand in need of God’s Grace. Even though I still can’t say that I look forward to such times, I thank God for them, and pray that He would use my small and feeble efforts at such times to glorify His Name in the salvation of lost souls.
Yours in Christ,