Monday, 01 January 2024 02:43

December 31, 2023 News Update

Dear Friends,

In our human reckoning another year has come to a close. A year of tumult. War in every camp; death on every doorstep, sick institutions coughing up their tainted spittle. Not a pretty picture, but a realistic portrayal of evil, cosmic evil, the certain outcome of human viewpoint rejecting the only truth that can solve man’s problems.

Ah! Do not despair. The Sovereign Lord has a plan that is relentlessly moving to His ultimate conclusion. What a marvelous time to be alive. To think that God has put us where we are, at this very time, to accomplish His purposes through us. We have the privilege of representing the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of Satan-inspired chaos. Our God has entrusted us with the high honor of being ambassadors for Christ. My God shall supply all your needs through His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. What have I to fear, what have I to dread, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, `Destroy!'

The coming year may well prove to be one of sorrow, horrors, and suffering. We can’t change the world, we can’t control circumstances, but we can, through reliance on God and His Word, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, bring glory to the One who loved us and gave Himself for us. May we remember why we are here.

God has not called us to comfort and ease. He has not called us to success and prosperity. He has called us to faithfulness. So as the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians:

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

Shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.

I give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has called us into ministry. We give thanks to the Father for His mercies which are new every morning. We give thanks to the Father for each of you for standing with us so generously and faithfully this past year.

Ukraine is not much in the news of late, and yet, hundreds are dying every day. The death toll is staggering, the suffering of millions is immeasurable. Please do not stop praying for peace in that land. Below is a letter from a young man who was trained in our ministry. He is not Ukrainian but was living there when the war started. He has been faithfully serving the Lord with his family, ministering to refugees, launching an online ministry to give out the gospel of grace, and teaching in several churches. He has written such a poignant letter that I wanted to share it with you. I have withheld his name because authorities in his home country are looking for him to conscript him into the armed force to fight against Ukraine.

***************

I never thought that the events described in history books would occur in my life. But this year has changed everything. A bloody, cruel, ruthless year revealing the whole essence of human cruelty and sin. Russia has become a clear demonstration of what is happening to humanity when it rejects God's rules of morality and humanity. Killings, robbery, violence and other horrible acts have become common for the Russian soldier and for those Russian citizens who support the army destroying the sovereign state. The death of children, the suffering of people, the destruction of the lives of millions ceased to be considered something unusual and horrible. What is more terrifying than this is the excuse of this horror by people who, so called Christians, are supposed to condemn rather than approve of it, trying to cover it up with scripture. A bloody year saturated with suffering!

But in the midst of all this horror and suffering, there is a light that shines brightly in this world. For millions of people, it has become clear that confronting evil is real. That the evil that many people in the world can meet resistance. From the example of Ukraine, the world saw that freedom, peace, love and independence can be defended. The world is watching the Ukrainian people, who stand shoulder to shoulder in defense of their independence, in defense of their children, wives, parents. To defend one’s land. We see hundreds of thousands of people willing to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others. And we see thousands of true Christians stating their convictions loudly and in these trying times show that the Scripture with its highest moral principles is reality to them and not an empty tradition.

This year has shown me the faithfulness of God in whom I believe. I have seen His hand in my life under the sounds of Russian missile explosions, I squeezed my wife's hand and, hugging my son, prayed to God for protection and help. And He, my loving Father, has shown His faithfulness. We belong to Him. We live for him. And no matter where we are, we will carry His principles, His love, His compassion and grace.

Evil will be defeated, truth will prevail. Sooner or later, everyone who sows destruction, violence and pain will be held responsible for their every action, for He is just and faithful.

We want the coming year to be a year of freedom for the Ukrainian people, so that they get what they are fighting so bravely for.

We pray and believe for Ukraine. Our heart stayed there!

**************

Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Rev 2:10).


All by grace,

Jim

Saturday, 23 December 2023 06:31

December 23, 2023 News Update

God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay.
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Dear Friends,

The world has rejected the good news that God has done something about our sins. This is the essence of the gospel, the greatest good news of all human history. More than 40 times in the Gospel of John the fact is emphasized that God sent His Son. What an astounding thought! The God of the universe, the creator of all, sent His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Thanks be to God for His ineffable gift!

Another astounding fact is that Jesus deigned to become a man, humbling Himself by taking on true humanity, becoming obedient to the Father’s plan to provide salvation for the entire human race. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men (Titus 3:5). How can anyone not be overwhelmed by these facts?

It has been our passion to take this good news to a lost and dying world. During this past year we have had the privilege of teaching the grace of God in seven different countries. We have had the joy of seeing people come to faith in Christ and the joy of seeing people growing in their spiritual lives. As our friend, Ron Minton, says: “Why do we do what we do? Because we have nothing better to do! Why don’t we have anything better to do? Because there is nothing better to do!”

We have been blessed by God to be able to carry on our work. We have enjoyed good health and praise Him for His grace and mercy and abundant provision. We look forward to another year of labor in the Lord’s field. Already our calendar is filling up with teaching opportunities in many places with conferences scheduled in Europe, Africa, South America, and the South Pacific, plus numerous speaking engagements in the USA as well. Our greatest desire is that the Most High God will be magnified and glorified through this.

We thank you for your prayers, your encouragement, your faithful support. You have been used of God to supply our needs so that we are able to do what we do. May this coming year be one in which you shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. That is why we are here.


All by grace,

Jim and Phyllis

Saturday, 18 November 2023 19:15

November 18, 2023 News Update

Dear Friends,

We continue to rejoice in the blessings of serving the Lord. It is a joy to meet other believers in Jesus who love Him and want to please Him with their lives. We are in Kenya right now teaching at Crossroads Bible College in Vipingo, which is about an hour north of Mombasa in eastern Africa. On this trip we have enjoyed meeting the Windells, Greg and Michelle, who have worked here for more than 20 years. They have endured many hardships in their ministry, but they just accept them willingly as part of the job. I salute them for their tenacious attitude and their ministry, but especially for their orientation to the grace of God and desire to communicate sound doctrine to the people here.

We have had our own adventures on this trip. First of all, when we went to the airport in Houston to fly to Kenya, they didn’t allow us to board the plane because of problems with our visas. So we had to go back home, contact the embassy, and jump through a number of bureaucratic hoops. The Lord answered our prayers and eventually we got everything straightened out. We got a flight out and after more than 24 hours of travel, including layovers, we landed in Mombasa at 1:00 in the morning. By the time we got to our lodging it was after 2:00. We fell into bed exhausted, but we had to get up at 6:00 a.m. for it would take an hour to drive to the Bible institute where I would be teaching. Then I taught 8 hours. An hour drive back, supper, sleep, jet lag with a nine-hour diferential.

Since I had missed a week of teaching because of the visa snafu, they wanted me to double up on the classes and try to do everything in one week instead of two. This meant for long days in the classroom. The classroom was not air-conditioned, and Kenya is right on the equator – so it was hot and humid. The heat seemed to suck the strength out of the body while the humidity took the starch out so that I felt limp like spaghetti in a boiling pot. After three days of this the rains began. Hard rains. They weren’t of biblical proportions, but they were torrential. The road to the school was difficult, full of pot holes and detours to begin with, not to mention being extremely crowded with cars, trucks, three-wheeled jitneys and motorcycles. But with the rains flooding the roads we wondered if we would make it or get stranded along the way. Friday was the last day of their school year. I had planned to teach all day and give the final exam; however, we never made it to the school. We tried valiantly for three hours, sometimes with water over the bumper. The exhaust from the tailpipes in the cars ahead of us were under water and produced bubbles and gas that looked strange. People walking along the road in the downpour were in water up to their knees. We reached a point at which we could progress no further. Three men on a motorcycle offered to tie a plastic bag over our exhaust pipe and push us through the water. But it was at least a quarter mile across that stretch of flooded road and we did not deem it prudent to try that. So we turned around and headed back to where we were staying. I am sure the students were thanking God for the providence that caused their final exam to be canceled. When we got back the electricity went out, but after a short while the generator kicked in and we just kicked back and enjoyed a down day.

We thank God for the opportunity to teach here. The account above is not at all a complaint, but a brief description of the experience. Perhaps it will stimulate your prayers for missionaries on the field. We are truly grateful for all of you who have held us up before the throne of grace. Know that our Father has been pleased to answer your prayers on our behalf. We are safe and sound and rejoicing in His mercy and grace to us.

Today we are scheduled to fly back to Houston. We really don’t like adventures in travel. Give me a really boring trip!

All by grace,

Jim

Saturday, 30 September 2023 01:45

September 30, 2023 News Update

Dear Friends,

We are on hiatus right now, in between teaching trips. In November we will go to the east coast of Africa to teach two courses for the International Baptist Bible College: (1) Dispensations, and (2) Man, Sin, and Salvation. In December we will make a short trip to northern Brazil for a pastors’ conference, which will entail more than 20 hours of teaching on Romans 9–16.

Phyllis and I just returned from a month-long trip to Brazil. This was our first journey there since the COVID pandemic, so it was a real joy for us to go back. Phyllis spoke at a women’s conference where she detailed our departure from Ukraine when the war broke out, and then spoke about the providence of God in times of suffering, which she deals with in her booklet titled “Why Me?” You can download this booklet from our website: jfmministries.org

Brazil Womens Conference

Women’s Conference

During our four weeks in Brazil we ministered in nine different venues, speaking about 60 hours on such varied subjects as the Minor Prophets, the Books of Hebrews and Titus, how to know the will of God, and world missions, and evangelism. People were really excited about the teaching and have already scheduled us to return next March. When I told them that I could come for two weeks next year, the reply was, “Two weeks will not be enough to meet the demand because three new churches have put their names on the list for you to come to teach.” Also several other churches which we couldn’t fit into our itinerary this trip want us to come. There has been great interest for Bible teaching in the evangelical churches. So we will return there this December as well as next spring

Elvis Brazil 2023

Patricia Brazil 2023

Myers Iguazu Falls 2023

Along the way we had the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful places on earth – Iguazu Falls – where three countries meet: Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. It is the world’s largest waterfall complex with more than 300 waterfalls. Here is a link to a short YouTube video. I don’t know if there will be waterfalls in Heaven, but we certainly enjoyed this portion of God’s creation.

Looking forward to 2024 is also exciting for us as our calendar is already filling up with trips planned for Zambia, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Brazil, and French Polynesia. A couple of other places are pending confirmation. I must admit that the travel can be exhausting, but, oh, the tremendous privilege of working in the Lord’s field.

Please continue to pray for our health, stamina, and ability to communicate clearly the Word of God.

Thank you for your prayers, your encouragement, your support.

All by grace,

Jim

Monday, 29 May 2023 20:19

May 29, 2023 News Update

Dear Friends,

We are back. This time we were in Romania and Ukraine. In the past two weeks I logged almost 40 hours of teaching in four different churches in three different cities. The bulk of our time was in a small village of about 500 people named Rikhta, not far from the town of Kamyanets Padilskiy. This was after a long weekend in Chudei. I am quite sure that you have never heard of these places, but the Lord knows them. In each place we found believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and local churches where they worship God Most High. They have not had sound Bible teaching but the people are open to the Word of God and willing to sit for hours to listen to Bible lessons.

One church was interesting because of its background. It is now in Ukraine, but it had been part of Romania before World War II. The name on the church building and the Bible verses on the walls inside are in Romanian language. Many of their songs are still sung in Ukrainian. But I taught in English and it was translated into Ukrainian. At different times in their history they have been under the domination of Germany, Russia, Poland, Lithuania and Romania.

In some of the churches they meet daily to pray about the war, praying for victory, for peace and safety, for protection for those in the military, for refugees, for families that are separated because of the war. Most everyone has an app on his phone which signals an alert any time that Russian-launched missiles are detected. It was really interesting to be in Bible class when suddenly 25 telephones all began to chirrup loudly. People immediately looked at their phones and then shut them off. The missile was headed for a different part of the country.

The wave of refugees through that part of the country has abated considerably since the beginning of the war, although one pastor reported that they had hosted 15 refugees in the past week, giving them warm showers, hot meals, a place to sleep and a place to do laundry. They stay for a day or two and then travel on to other destinations.

Our time there was rich, a gratifying and rewarding experience as we met Christians living in truly out of the way places. But we were also blessed to have several people who drove all the way from Kyiv to spend a few days with us. There were long lines of cars at the border crossings, and unbelievably long lines of 18-wheelers waiting to cross. The last time we crossed the border into Poland we had to wait about 6 hours in the car. This time, however, we had a driver who took us up to the border. We got out and walked across to meet someone else on the other side. This took us only 10 minutes to cover the 200 yards and go through the check-points of the two countries.

We will be in the U.S. until August when we will go to Brazil for a month of teaching there. In June and July I will be doing pulpit fill. When we left Ukraine 15 months ago we had no idea as to what we would be doing. We are so grateful for the wonderful opportunities the Lord has been giving us. Thank you for standing with us in prayer and support.

All by grace,

Jim

Wednesday, 03 May 2023 19:33

May 2, 2023 News Update

Livingstone congregation

 

Livingstone QA session

 

2 May 2023

Dear Friends,

The trip to Zambia this year was the most exciting and gratifying of all the times I have been to Africa. I taught six hours a day for a week in Livingstone (pictures above). Most of the participants were newcomers to our conferences, and they were so enthusiastic about the teaching. There were 15 pastors there who had never been exposed to sound Bible teaching before. They were absolutely amazed as doctrinal truths were revealed to them. The attendance never slacked off, even though we started at 9:00 in the morning and went to 4:00 in the afternoon, with a break for lunch. They were clamoring for more and insisted that I come back as soon as possible.

After we finished there I flew to Lusaka and then went by car to the city of Kabwe (pictures below). Although I have been there before, we met in a different venue and had a great turnout. Again, the response was overwhelming. One pastor from a Pentecostal Holiness church exclaimed that his life had been changed and that his teaching would make drastic changes from now on. We kept the same schedule there as we had the week before. It was exhausting teaching like that day after day, but, oh, so rewarding.

Kabwe group shot

 

Kabwe pastors

We finished up there on a Friday and drove to the village of Chipembi. This is the place I had my first exposure to Africa, back in 2021, when I was invited by Gene Cunningham to go on a trip with him. The church there has a sound pastor who has been under our teaching ever since that first time. There were a few pastors from neighboring villages who came to hear us. They were just enthralled by what they were hearing. In fact, on a Saturday night at 9:00 they came to my room with a long list of questions. Even though I was tired after a long day of teaching, it was such a joy to stay up late and open the Bible with them. The Sunday service was wonderful and I got to preach for an hour and a half. After the service we had a Q&A which lasted another hour.

I am so blessed to be able to travel to these places and to teach the Word of God. To see spiritual advance is most rewarding -- I praise God for the opportunities that He continues to provide, and, of course, praise for the spiritual gift He has given me, as well as sustaining my strength to be able to keep on keeping on.

We also give thanks to God for all of you who pray for us, encourage us, and support us so faithfully. Without you we would not be able to pursue these things.

All by grace,

Jim

Sitting down on the job

Thursday, 13 April 2023 18:25

April 13, 2023 News Update

Dear Friends,

We returned last week from two weeks in Ukraine and Poland. What a joy to go back to our home in the village (no damage to it at all), and to sleep in our own bed. We rejoice that I was able to preach in person to Word of God Church in Kyiv and to see our loved ones there. Lots of hugs all around.

After a week there we went to Poland where I had the opportunity to teach for 8 straight days in 3 different churches, two hours per night. The response was positive and enthusiastic, and they clamored for our soon return.

Today I leave for a 3-week trip to Zambia where I will be teaching in Livingstone, Kabwe and Chipembi. These seminars are quite demanding because they are typically 6 hours of teaching per day. I will have a little help from Pastors Charles, Benjamin and Justin – men I have worked with for many years.

The war continues in Ukraine. We tend to forget about it because it is not much in the news any more, but it is very real and very brutal. Several of the men we have trained over the years are either serving in the military or are ministering the gospel and spiritual food to the soldiers. Please do keep them in your prayers. You may have heard on the news, from some ill-informed reporters, that the Ukrainian government is anti-Christian and seeks to shut down churches. The fact of the matter is that there are numerous Orthodox churches which are very pro-Russia and are caching weapons, reporting on military activities to the Russian military, and spouting anti-Ukrainian propaganda in their churches. Not only that, but in reality, it is the Russians who are anti-Christian. Below is a link to a recent article which gives a realistic assessment of the situation:
https://www.iswresearch.org/search?q=persecution+of+christians

We so much appreciate your prayers, your letters of encouragement, and your faithful support.

All by grace,

Jim

Thursday, 16 March 2023 07:08

March 15, 2023 News Update

Dear Friends,

The war in Ukraine continues unabated. Death and destruction rain down daily. It is difficult for us who live in relative peace and safety to comprehend the fear, guilt, and depression suffered by those who live with war every day. Please pray for Ukraine. Pray especially for God to be glorified in His children, that their faith would be strong and their witness effective. Pray that many unbelievers, as they face their own mortality, will be confronted with the saving message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Phyllis and I will be flying out today [Wednesday] for a trip to Ukraine. Assuming that all goes as planned, I will be able to preach in our home church in Kyiv next Sunday. It will be a joyous reunion for us and our loved ones there. After that I will be teaching a six-day conference in Poland. We anticipate seeing some of our Ukrainian friends there.

The next few months will be full tilt. In April I will travel to Zambia for three weeks, teaching in three different cities. In May we will return to Ukraine to teach a two-week seminary course. In June I will be filling the pulpit in a stateside church. In July we will be traveling in the US. Then in August we will be returning to Brazil for an entire month of teaching in several cities.

We praise the Lord for His abundant supply that makes it possible for us to minister in all these places where people are hungry for the Word of God. We give thanks daily for the health and strength from His marvelous grace.

We thank you for all your prayers, your notes of encouragement, and your support. You have blessed us greatly.

By grace alone,

Jim

Saturday, 25 February 2023 07:05

February 24, 2023 News Update

Dear Friends,

Today is the one-year anniversary of the unprovoked Russian attack on Ukraine. We are grieved by the death and destruction inflicted on the Ukrainian people. Tens of thousands have been killed, millions have been displaced, and entire cities have been reduced to rubble. And there is no end in sight.

There is so much talk in our media about the US involvement in this conflict. The divide over this issue is great. Many agree with our financial support and supply of weapons to Ukraine. Others believe that we have no responsibility to help the Ukrainians and that we should not be spending so much to help a country so far away. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, let me try to give a different perspective, a spiritual perspective.

We, as individuals, cannot change the politics of any of this. We may be vociferous in stating our position, but there is little we can do about it, except to write to our representatives in Congress. But we can do something in the spiritual realm. We can pray for the people in Ukraine. We can intercede at the throne of grace for the Christians there who are suffering. We can pray for their protection, for the supply of material things that are in desperately small supply in many areas. We can pray for believers to stand firm in their faith which is being tested severely.

Many of our people are taking this trial of their faith as an intensified opportunity to serve the Lord. Some of our pastors make trips to the front lines to take food, clothing, and other material things to help the brave men who are fighting for their homeland, for their wives, children, and parents. They are taking the gospel to the soldiers who are not saved, and they are teaching the Word of God to believers who need to be strengthened in their faith.

Other Christians are ministering to refugees in different ways. They provide spiritual food along with physical food. They give comfort through Scripture. They demonstrate the love of God to total strangers who are fearful, bewildered, and suffering. We get reports of those who are ministering to those who have just become widows, or who have lost their fathers, brothers, sons, and friends.

We must focus on the spiritual. Pray that many will be brought to faith in Christ in this time of tribulation. God could have prevented this war; He could bring it to an immediate end. But while He allows it to continue, let us not forget that we can minister to our brothers and sisters in Christ through prayer and through material means.

Our God is able to make all things work together for good. There is no political solution, only spiritual solutions. May we seek to glorify God in our lives here, even as fellow members of the family of God seek to glorify God in Ukraine. Pray, too, for the Russian soldiers, that they can find the salvation that has been provided through our Lord Jesus Christ.

All by grace,


Jim

Sunday, 01 January 2023 02:20

December 31, 2022 News Update

New Year’s Eve 2022

Dear Friends,

I just received the letter below from Dennis and his wife Albina. They are from Belarus but went to Kyiv in 2020 to study at Word of God Bible College. Dennis is one of the finest students I have ever had the privilege of teaching. His love for the Word is intense and His desire to serve the Lord is impressive. I am really eager to see how the Lord is going to use this young couple. They left Ukraine after the war started and went to Poland. During the past nine months he has completed his studies at Word of God College and has been faithful in ministering to Ukrainian people in the church in Poland. I was very impressed with his letter and wanted to share it with you. As we move into 2023 let us keep our eye on the goal of being pleasing to our heavenly Father.

Jim

Dennis Albina Luke

Dennis and Albina with their son Luke

Year 2022... Back in school, I would never have thought that the events described in history books would become a reality in my life. But this year changed everything, a bloody, cruel, merciless year exposing the very essence of human cruelty and sin. Russia has become a clear demonstration of what happens to humanity when it rejects the God-established rules of morality and humanity. Murder, robbery, violence and other heinous acts have become commonplace for a Russian soldier and for those Russian citizens who support the army destroying the sovereign state. The death of children, the suffering of people, the destruction of the lives of millions has ceased to be considered unusual and terrible. What is more terrifying is the justification of this horror by those so called Christians who should condemn this horror, not approve, trying to cover it up with scripture. A bloody year full of suffering!

But amidst all this horror and suffering, there's a light that brightened this world. It has become clear to millions of people that confronting evil is real. That the evil that terrifies many people in the world can meet resistance. Following the example of Ukraine, the world saw that freedom, peace, love and independence can be defended. The world is watching the Ukrainian people, who stood shoulder to shoulder in defense of their independence, in defense of their children, wives, parents. In defense of ONE'S land. We see hundreds of thousands of people willing to sacrifice for the greater good of others. And we see thousands of real Christians loudly stating their beliefs and, in these trying times, show in practice that Scripture, with its highest moral principles, is reality to them, and not mere tradition.

This year has shown me the faithfulness of God in whom I stand. I saw His hand upon my life To the sounds of explosions of Russian missiles, I shook my wife's hand and, hugging my son, prayed to God for protection and help. And He, my loving Father, has shown His faithfulness. We belong to Him. For Him we live. And wherever we are, we will carry His principles, His love, His compassion and grace.

Evil will be defeated, truth will prevail. Sooner or later, everyone who sows destruction, violence and pain will pay for his actions. For God is just and faithful. We want the coming year to be a year of freedom for the Ukrainian people, to get that for which they so bravely fight.

Praying for Ukraine and believing. Our hearts were left there!

Dennis and Albina and Luke

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