It is with great joy that I write to you once again. I enjoy reading letters, particularly the New Testament letters of the Bible, and I also enjoy writing letters. Even though in our modern world, some might say this is an old and antiquated form of communication, letter writing will never expire.
In my last letter, I neglected to say a big “thanks” for the many ways you blessed our family back on October 9th for “Pastor Appreciation.” Steph and I and the kids are grateful for this church family! All the cards, gifts, and words of affirmation mean so much to us. Thanks again for making that day a special one and for being a blessing to our family.
This past Monday (October 24th) was our bus trip down to the Museum of the Bible in DC. To say the least, it was a wonderful experience! There were 46 of us, and the majority were from our church. Big thanks are in order to Lois and Dennis Walters for doing an excellent job planning the trip, but also to our superb bus driver, Sam Harshbarger. Let me tell you, it’s not easy navigating the streets of Washington DC with a big tour bus! (You will find a few pictures of our trip at the bottom of this letter).
Dennis told us beforehand that there was too much to see in just one day, and boy was he right! One highlight was seeing “The Bible Today illumiNations” exhibit, which shows the progression of Bible translation around the world. If memory serves me correct, there are about 720 languages in which the whole bible has been translated. Along with that, over 1600 languages have at least the New Testament translated. Indeed, this is something to celebrate, but much work remains. There are literally thousands of people groups that still need the Bible in their native tongue. Translating the Bible from the original languages of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic is not a simple job. Translation work takes many years, sometimes even decades to be completed. As I stood in this display room, I was humbled by the incredible labors of countless thousands of Bible translators. It’s because of their heroic labors and that countless millions have heard the gospel in their own language.
Many have said that given the evil day in which we live, the end must be near. They may well be right, but we must be open to the possibility that it will be some time before our Lord returns. Why do I say that? Because of the testimony of Scripture itself. Matthew 24:14 says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Given that thousands of people groups don’t yet have the Scriptures, you could make the case that much more translation is needed before the return of Christ.
In reality, no one knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36). Much work remains. Our job is to labor for the cause of gospel advance and be ready for when our Master returns in glory. The apostle Peter writes, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:11-12).
Thank you for your continued giving to the ministry of PGAC. God continues to supply our need. Let me encourage you in the way of generosity and sacrificial giving (1 Corinthians 16:1-2, 2 Corinthians 8:1-7). Here in the Western world, we have so much! What a privilege to partner in the work of what God is doing here in Mifflin county and around the world.
Here is the update letter from Ross and Elaine that I read in church last Sunday:
Dear Pine Glen Alliance Family,
It is with heavy hearts that we are writing to share the news that our team will be transitioning and strategically withdrawing out of Mali over the coming months.
We covet your prayers and trust that as we move forward, we will continue to partner with you in where the Lord is leading us. As that decision becomes clear and plans are made, we will be reaching out to you with that information. We hope that we will know more by the end of November, if not before.
Until then we thank you for all the ways that you love and support us. We trust our Lord for HIs good plan for us. There are many who have still not heard the Truth of the Gospel and we want to continue to share Jesus until every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord!
We remain serving at the pleasure of the King~
Ross and Elaine
Let’s continue to lift up Ross and Elaine during this difficult time. Many of you participated in our prayer day for the Moore’s last Tuesday, and I want to encourage you to continue praying for them as they begin the process of transitioning out of Mali. Let’s pray especially that they would have a clear sense of where God is leading them next.
As I close, here are the words of Jesus in Luke 10:1-3: “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. 2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.
Let me say just two things about this passage. (1) We need to pray that God would raise up laborers and gospel workers to send forth into the harvest. (2) We need to realize that we have a critical role to play in that great work. Jesus said, “Go your way! I am sending you!” Know that there is no “little work” in the Kingdom of God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, may we be about our Master’s business. May we “spend and be spent” (2 Corinthians 12:15) in service to King Jesus! And may we be found faithful on that great Day, the coming Day of the Lord! May we hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant…..Enter into the joy of your Master” (Matthew 25:23).