To access archived articles click here.
To access archived articles click here.
Resurrection Sunday Greetings!
The resurrected Lord “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’” Luke 24.45-47
Hallelujah! He has risen!
We pray that this wonderful resurrection Sunday morning will bless your hearts as you glorify God, and that the repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached around the world!
It is a wonderful time of the year. Opportunities to share what Christ has done are plentiful. We had a special Good Friday evening sing-along in our new church replant. We invited so many people, but we only had one visitor from the community come. We have been praying for by name for several weeks. It was a blessing to see her actually come. We also had a couple come from sister churches that we had invited to come join us in the outreach. It will help them to know better how to pray for the ministry here.
Resurrection Sunday morning was low in attendance as we had many away on holiday (vacation) with extended family. We did however have a sporadic visitor back and Joy (who came to Friday night’s sing-along) came and brought her single adult daughter. Three visitors from the community in one service – not bad! The message was from the Romans 6 and how Christ was raised to the glory of the Father and we too, as pictured in baptism, are dead to sin and alive to God. It was received well – maybe because it was the shortest message I have preached in months at just about 33 minutes.
We would like to spend some family time together for the next couple of days. Australian’s have a 5 day weekend with Good Friday through ANZAC day all off. While the ministry necessitates work during that time we are going to take a couple of “comp” days and enjoy being a family before Luke has to get back to school.
We pray that your weekend of celebration is wonderful and your worship of our Risen Saviour is “lifechangingly” sweet.
In His service,
Matt, Barb, Amy, & Luke Douglas
ABWE – Australia
Wow! Does time ever pass quickly when you are over-busy. We have seen many blessings of God over the last month. We would like to update you on a few.
The church is making forward momentum. We have solidified our group and have been seeing 12 locals plus our family most every week. (Remember we had just 3 members who called us here to do this replant.) We have also made great progress in the focus and plans for the church. We have enjoyed our Sunday afternoon planning sessions. Our new purpose statement reads: Living in the assurance of Christ’s salvation, we glorify God by sharing the truth of God’s Word and serving one another with hope and compassion. It is one thing to state it, but they are beginning to see how life changes as they live it out. Our Sunday morning services have been focusing on the “One Another” passages of the Bible and we are now moving back to our exegetical study of Romans picking up where we left off in chapter five.
Our church has also seen forward momentum around the property. We have been blessed with a visit from a couple from SW Michigan who has helped tremendously. In the last month we have fixed and restored the manse (parsonage) roof, replaced the bad parts of the church building roof, Painted the entry, fellowship area and sanctuary part of our church building, pressure washed the drive, ground out ten stumps that stuck up around the property, sanded some of the wood floors in the cottage building, built a sign frame to hold the posters under our church sign out front, and more! With each thing that we do to restore our church property we make the place more inviting for visitors and more enjoyable for ourselves. We have no intentions of having a Solomon’s temple style building, but to be dumpy dishonours God. The church has saved up a good bit of money for these projects, but we are going through it faster than any of us would like. If you are interested in helping the church with a gift to repaint the outside of our building, refurbish the fellowship hall to a usable level or any other project you can send a gift to ABWE or contact us for details of how to make a tax deductable gift really count in this local ministry.
Some of you received our video report in recent weeks. For everyone else we would like to offer you the opportunity to see what God is doing in this place. You can view it online at: http://www.abwedouglas.net/page5.html Feel free to make copies and have everyone interested see it. We are willing to send supporters a disk. Please email if you need one.
The family is doing well. Amy is working at a camp and making pizza on the side. While she would rather have a good paying job she is willing to work two jobs if that is what it takes. Luke is very interested in getting a job for extra spending money. Pray that in the Easter school holidays he will be able to find a good one. He is making friends faster than the rest of us as school is giving him an added advantage. He is also reminding us that he turns 16 next month. You can guess what that all means!
Barb and I have been busy in both ministry here and finishing off all the lingering details of selling our last house and looking for the next place God would bless us with. Pray with us that the sale of our home in Blacktown would soon be completed so that we can focus down here. It has been a pain to have to travel 1.5 hours each way to check the property, mow the lawn, and do maintenance each week.
Thanks once again for your prayers and support! We appreciate it more than we can ever express in words!!
Matt & Barb Douglas
During the last three months we have seen so many unusual things happen around the world: popular uprisings in the Middle East and horrific natural disasters in New Zealand and Japan. In times like these, where do we turn? The person who wrote Psalm 46 had the right idea:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble . . .
. . . the Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
As we focus on the Lord and His faithfulness to us in these difficult times, we also
recognize that He works through the prayers of His people. Peggy and I want to thank
you for faithfully praying for us. Our ministry here in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia is
ongoing. We have a daily routine of teaching, preaching, and other ministry to do. I
must say that in recent months, I have often sensed a special enablement from the Lord as
I’ve shared the word with people over here. And we have seen other wonderful answers
to prayer as well:
• Tin Yue Baptist Church, which we helped start back in 1991, celebrated 20 years
of God’s faithfulness on February 20th. It was wonderful to reflect on how lives
have been touched by the Lord through the ministry of this body of believers.
• China Baptist Theological College had its annual recruitment camp on March 11th
and 12th. I understand that fourteen sincere prospects attended the camp. Three
of them have already expressed an interest in coming to our college next year.
• I have received positive reviews from Chinese believers who have read my book,
The Frog in the Pot. I am presently discerning the Lord’s will about writing a
• I am very grateful to the Rolling Hills church in Danville CA for flying me out for
their Global Impact Celebration in March. I was able to get to know many of the
church’s members better during the five days of activities and was able to lay the
groundwork for possible short-term ministry partnerships with them here in Hong
With respect to family, we’re very grateful for:
• The birth of Naomi Rose Sonnichsen on January 17th, 2011. She is our
grandchild #5 and granddaughter #4. Peggy was able to go to central Washington
to meet Naomi and be with our daughter Amy, her husband Aaron, and the family
We also have some exciting things to look forward to in the coming months:
• The commissioning of CBTC graduate Billy Cheung on May 1st. He and his wife
Jo and their son Boaz are going to Ghana to do missionary work among the
Muslims in the northern part of the country.
• Nine people from Harmony Baptist Church (our intercultural church here in Hong
Kong) will be making their first short-term mission trip to Laos in June. There
are very few believers in that Communist country. (Less than 2% are Christians
of any kind.)
• I will be going to Myanmar (Burma) to teach a course in world religions July 11-
Thank you for your prayers and support.
Yours in Christ,
Dave & Peggy Pardini
PO Box 8585
Harrisburg PA 17105-8585
All is well in our part of Australia. You may have heard of the devastating floods up north. That is over a day’s drive away and can’t affect us. We do however truly pray for the churches and people of that area!
The church replant is going well so far. Christmas was a bit of a wash with the move and getting settled in. We tried to invite people from the area to the Christmas services, but most already had plans. Most people need more than a week’s notice. We had an enjoyable time in our new house all morning and then drove out of the area to be with other ABWE missionaries for Christmas dinner. It was a very good day.
We have had a high of 13 in a service. Considering we came with only 3 members that sounds good. That’s what – 400% growth plus. However, then consider 4 are from our family 3 had attended before and the reality looks more normal.
Sunday the 16th we start talking about strategic planning. The church has had no idea about its purpose or a plan to grow for some time. They figured if they kept doing what they had done, God might bring someone their way. Well that is a possibility, but that is not what we do as church planters. We work to plans that are based on Scripture and carefully prayed over. We desire to be a part of what God is doing in this world as we actively reach out to the people around us all the while bringing/giving glory to God. We are sure to learn much about how the ministry here will look as we meet with the congregation each Sunday at 4pm for the foreseeable future. We covet your prayers!
We have also restarted prayer meeting. If you have known us long you know we are passionate about prayer. We want to see this church become a place of prayer.
In His service,
Matt & Barb Douglas
Christmas was such a great time of joy. But suddenly gushed out an outpouring of sorrow.
The Aratu Church glowed during 2 outstanding holiday services. Friday evening’s meeting brought “Christmas in Egypt”. It blended a children’s cantata and teenager-adult drama that were extremely well done. Obviously, hours of rehearsal time had been invested.
Speaking of those hours, we were a part of that as the Senior Choir prepared “A New Heart for Christmas”. It likewise wove a moving story line between lively and lovely songs. The group had an opportunity to sing at a mall Dec. 23, then at the Sunday-evening service. Rehearsals were held almost daily for the 2 weeks before the presentations. This led Mavis to conclude, “I don’t think the Pastor and his wife should be allowed to sing in the cantata.” She has a point. But we still were glad we did it this time.
Our sacrifice was nothing compared to that of Sônia, the guest choir director. Every rehearsal meant an 80-minute round-trip, which she offered gladly. Sônia’s dedicated leading helped make the 27 choir members eager singers. We rejoiced in the talents of 5 soloists, 2 of them teenage sisters.
Within 2 days, gladness turned to sorrow, then tragedy. First of all, we heard of the resignation of Pastor Rômulo from the Pituba Church. We’d started that work in our livingroom in 1975. It once had been a prospering ministry. But as we’d seen too many times before, the shepherd didn’t know how to treat his sheep. A once-solid Congregation of 80 had dwindled to 20 sorrowing folk.
Longtime members were so concerned that two-thirds of them signed a petition early in December asking the Pastor to leave. Almost a rerun of what’d happened in Aratu 16 months earlier. But unlike that example, this man struggled to reverse this request, but finally gave in and said farewell to the Church the day after Christmas.
Sad, yes. For him, his Family and the Church. But this was nothing like the stunning news received Tuesday morning. We were told that the 19-year-old son of the Aratu Church’s previous Pastor had been killed by the police along with 2 other friends involved in a series of robberies. A shock, yes, but not a surprise. This young man had been involved with criminal elements for several years. His problems constantly had been excused by his father. They were one of the main causes of friction between that Pastor and the Church.
A year ago, Dick had expressed his concern about Filipe to his Pastor Francisco, “I fear that some morning I’m going to wake up and hear that your son has been killed–by the police or the drug people.” “Well, if it happens, it happens,” the Pastor calmly replied. The family’s bitterness is so great toward the Church that none of us even was given any details about funeral plans. Lord, please soften their hearts. And let some of us minister to them.
Life had gotten complicated here on a lesser scale, involving telecommunications. Dec. 21, fire struck the main transmission facility of the region’s major telephone, cell-phone and Internet provider. The resulting outage reached 6 states. As this is written, all we have back is low-quality cell service. Most rural cities still are unreachable. Internet may not be back till Jan. 20. So, how did you get this? We “hitchhiked” on another service fellow missionaries Stephen and Lourdinha Veness have. Yes, we’re tempted to make the switch, too.
There are busy days ahead. But we’ll tell you about those when they’re behind us. Just do remember to pray more than you might’ve done. Praise God, we’re fine. The Aratu Church is fine. But there’s lots of heavy “artillery” exploding around us. Thank you for your partnership in this challenging ministry. God bless as you look ahead to the year with two 1’s at the end.
Rejoicing in the King of Christmas,
Dick & Mavis Buck
Dear friends (finally),
They weren’t “perfect storms”, but sure have been awfully good. We obviously aren’t talking about weather, but stirring days in our lives.
It started Oct. 18, when we flew south for the annual Fiel Publishing House’s Bible Conference. As usual, it exceeded expectations for all 1,500 of us assembled from all over Brazil. A special highlight for Mavis was the ministry of Martha Peace in 4 afternoon messages. She’s one of Mavis’s favorite Christian authors.
The 22nd, we back in the sky, down to Rio Grande do Sul State. There, we once again rejoiced in 2 days of fellowship with dear Brother Willard Stull. At 92, his body has slowed considerably. But praise the Lord, his mind surely hasn’t.
We enjoyed a new feature to this travel extension. Two hours of bus travel took us into the Gaucho Mountains. We were challenged over the ministries of new missionaries Marcus Vinícius and Ana Carolina.
They’re from Hope Baptist in Salvador, and have been in Farroupilha since May. The town sounds much like Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.
But this young couple has a positive attitude about developing ministries there. These probably will be in their home at first.
The return flight to Salvador surely made this “storm” less than perfect. Dick had flown 30 years taking an aircraft receiver in his carry-on baggage. The Porto Alegre security folks said it was illegal, and would have to go as checked luggage. Back we went to the airline counter. Under extreme time pressure, we dispatched all the contents of that bag. These sadly included our laptop. Even Macs weren’t built to travel in baggage holds. That misrouting destroyed our notebook’s monitor. It’s been in “intensive care” 3 weeks. For clarification, Dick checked with the 2 major aviation agencies in Brasília and was told there’s no restriction on carrying such a radio aboard. So, do we sue the Government? Not. This damage and delayed repairs made this newsletter so late.
After a 24-hour breather, we were back at Salvador’s airport twice the next day. First, to pick up daughter Ester from São Paulo. Later, to receive longtime missionary friend Agnes Haik and traveling companion Kathy, of Lakeland, FL. Ester stayed 5 days, the ladies 3. Other missionaries shared hosting of the U.S. visitors.
Ester was our fulltime guest. She’d come for more than just tourism.
For on Friday, the 29th, she, her mother and more than 100 churchfolk pulled off a major surprise on Dick. It was his 75th birthday.
Brazilians really know how to throw parties. This one was no exception. It even included daughter Debbie and son-in-law James vis Skype from Ann Arbor, MI. Dick isn’t often speechless, but this well-orchestrated trick left him virtually that way.
Having Ester in Church Sunday brought an extra treat. She sang a lovely song in each of the 2 services. Monday and Tuesday were “family” days. They included lunch with our various missionary colleagues each day. Ester flew home late Tuesday night. We’d ask you to pray with us for her. She soon will be jobless. The Willow Creek office for which she’d worked a number of years is closing its Brazilian operation. Being the talented translator she is, Ester should be able to find work in São Paulo. She’s looking to the Lord to help her make the right connections.
The afternoon of the 4th, we went into high gear again. Back at the airport, we received Pastor Adil Reis from Fortaleza. The Aratu Church’s pastoral candidate came for 4 days. Busy for him and us.
That evening, he spoke to a combined meeting of the Men’s, Women’s and Youth Departments. He took Friday off to spend with his family.
Saturday morning, he, Dick and 2 other men drove 90 minutes to Feira de Santana for a monthly pastors’ breakfast. Pastor Adil preached.
He took the afternoon off. Mavis directed Dick and 23 others in preparing for the Christmas cantata. That evening, she attended a baby shower. Pastor Adil was interviewed by the Church Board. He preached again Sunday morning and evening. After the a.m. service, the Church got better acquainted with him in a town-hall forum. All went well. The candidate flew home shortly after noon Monday.
His “official” candidacy is scheduled in January, when he’ll come with his family. But this brief visit provided contact for the Church to have an ample basis on which to extend him a call right now. We’re not going to press that, leaving it up to the Lord’s timing. We don’t want to be presumptuous. But we suspect he’d get at least a 90% call.
Whether he’d accept it or not is something else. This obviously is a major prayer item.
This weekend, we were just hearers at a wonderful, 3-day couples’retreat. It was staged mainly by talented leaders from the Aratu Church.
But many are burned out after 6 years of that ministry, so have retired. We pray that the new directors can carry the ball effectively.
So, we’re in another calm-between trough. But here’s what’s in our near forecast:
Saturday, Aratu will host a State Women’s Assn. Mini-Congress which could bring up to 300 ladies. That evening, we celebrate Thanksgiving with the American Community. We have 3 other invitations that day, but it’s only 24 hours long.
Sunday, Dick will preach for the only time this month. And not again till Dec. 11.
Nov. 26 to 28, the Church will celebrate its 37th anniversary. As we said, Brazilians know how to throw parties. This will be no exception. It’ll include several baptisms. We will host the speaker and his wife, coming from Ceará State.
Three days later, that’ll be our destination. We will travel there to attend the Cariri Bible College’s graduation. A young lady from Aratu and the daughter of our pastoral colleague in Barreiras are among the graduates.
On the way back, we’ll visit dear friends in Petrolina, on the San Francisco River.
If the first weekend of December comes, can Christmas and New Year’s be far behind?
We praise our Lord for the true “Joy in serving Jesus”. Thank you for your part in making that possible. May He be blessing in all He sends your way.
Rejoicing in Christ,
Dick & Mavis Buck
Peggy and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!!
The presses are about to roll. My novel The Frog in the Pot is about to be printed (in Chinese). Hopefully, copies will be available to sell at China Baptist Theological College’s Bible conference next Friday and Saturday nights (3-4 December).
At the conference I will be speaking on Ezra, chapters 7-10. The theme of the conference will be: “Obtaining God’s Blessing.” Friday night: “Obtaining God’s Blessing When the Task Is Challenging (Ezra 7-8);” Saturday night: “Obtaining God’s Blessing When Obedience Is Difficult (Ezra 9-10).” Please pray for these meetings: (1) That I will effectively communicate God’s word to His people with love, but also with firmness; (2) That the Holy Spirit will apply God’s word to their hearts, and affect change according to His will. I’ll be dealing with some controversial issues in these lectures. These issues are also addressed in The Frog in the Pot.
Thank you for your prayers.
“The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans11.29) We praise God for this truth found in His Word. It starts with his gift of salvation and extends to everything we “need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His glory and virtue.” (2 Peter 1.3) AMEN! The opportunity to live our lives in service of our God is wonderful! Thank you so much for making our service for the Lord possible through your prayers and support.
We have delayed a prayer update hoping we would have big news. While God is showing us many things (some we like and others hurt) we still have not made the decision on where we will be planting the next church. While we have lowered the list from 14 to 3, we have to decide among all good options. We are at the level that the “who” will be involved is the tipping point. To be honest, most of the 14 places we have researched need a church. All the top 3 are great opportunities. We really covet your prayers as we make our decision in the next couple of weeks and get involved in the chosen community before Christmas.
Ministry continues to thrive. We shared the gospel to people 55 times in the last quarter. Some of our discipleship is seeing people get back on their feet after hard times. Other people we have encouraged to walk worthy of the calling they have received. Our labour in the Lord has not been in vain.
The family is enjoying the warmer spring days. It is great to see the grass growing, the flowers blooming and people getting outside. We have been able to do some gardening and are enjoying the green grass we have planted in the back yard’s bare spots.
In His service,
Matt & Barb Douglas
FOCUS FROM FAYE
October 15, 2010
Fall is in the air!
It has been cooler this week and I pulled out a sweater for early mornings and after dark. That means that I am also sleeping more soundly, because there is no fan humming in the background.
We started meeting in our rented building on October 3rd. It´s exciting to see and hear the way that the different believers are beginning to take more responsibility for their church building, clean up and provision of needed supplies. I enjoy the move because I don´t feel like I´m intruding into someone else´s space. However, several of the people in our local church body have had major health, financial, family and other such problems this last month. When we see growth and victory on one hand, we aren´t surprised when the enemy attacks on all fronts. This is a spiritual war zone and we continue to need your prayers.
Francisco, Lola´s husband, finished the Basic Bible study and confessed Christ as his Savior on Wednesday night. Marichuy & Josefina from Blanca´s family group are on hold until Jan & Ev´s health improves enough for them to continue their discipleship study. Raquel M. continues to gain strength, but has to wait until Oct. 28th to see if her surgeon will give her permission to begin walking again. Moni G. & son Diego are settled in and I am hoping to see them at our Celebration (Sunday service) this weekend.
Yesterday at our regular team meeting, we discussed the multiplication of Paty´s current group, just five months since the previous multiplication! I shared a list of 14 adults and 4 children with my coworkers. Much of the growth is because Juan Carlos & Socorro are reaching out to their families. Praise the Lord for the growth. So, at least a couple of the newer Christian men will be asked to be interns in the family groups. (The interns are trainees to become, Lord willing, servants in new family groups.) This is fantastic since originally the Mexican servants were both women.
I am so gratefully for your support of Avant´s work here in Guadalajara. I enjoy hearing from you, primarily via e-mail. Your prayers and financial investment are contributing toward the growth of this local group of believers. I am looking forward to that wonderful day in heaven when I´ll be able to introduce you to these people and vice versa. May God bless you for your faithfulness.
Looking forward to that great meeting in Heaven,
Col. Independencia, Guadalajara
Jalisco C.P. 44340 México
From U.S. & Canada 1-530-231-3953
Outside North America 52.33.3609.4295
10000 North Oak Trafficway
Kansas City, MO 64155