May 2, 2017 Ministry Update
Dearly Beloved Friends,
"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth" (IIIJohn 1:2)
I thought it good to send out a ministry update while we have a short turn-around here at home before flying up to Alaska on May 18th. It's good to come in off the road and have some time to catch our breath. It has been a busy 2017 thus far for us, for which we praise the Lord. When we do have time at home, we try to squeeze in all of our doctor's appointments along with any other matters that must be taken care of before travelling again. Before heading back out in a couple of weeks, I am scheduled to have my quarterly post-cancer surgery screening and trust that the findings will continue to be positive. I am thankful for the stellar healthcare God has provided for us, and the great physicians who have ministered to our various maladies that seem to come with age. God has been so good to us!
We had a blessed revival meeting week with Pastor John Simmons and the dear folks at Mountain View Baptist Church. For the past few years we have ministered there twice a year. These are always Sunday through Sunday meetings, something that I appreciate in that it gives the Holy Spirit time to work in hearts, and for the people to break up their fallow ground as they come to hear the Word of God preached. These are always well-attended meetings. Linda was invited to speak to the ladies at a Saturday afternoon tea, something she always enjoys doing, following morning door-to-door evangelism. Pastor Simmons was used of the Lord to establish MVBC several years ago. Today they have a very nice church facility, and the work is entirely debt-free. This photo is from 2016, but since it was taken the church has accomplished a few renovations to include new carpet, a new and improved platform, and the rearranging of the sanctuary. It is a joy to work alongside of Pastor Simmons.
This coming Lord's Day I have the privilege of being the speaker for Bible Baptist Church in the South Bay area of San Diego where Brother Art Lubiano is the founding Pastor. This is a young church plant established out of Bible Baptist Church of National City, California. Ministering primarily to the cities of Imperial Beach and San Ysidro, this was a much-needed work as there has been no strong Gospel witness in the area for many years. This is a border area with the church situated just a couple of miles from Mexico. The San Ysidro international border crossing is the busiest in the world. The multi-ethnic population in the South Bay region of San Diego County is close to 500,000 and growing. The need in this area for more church plants is critical. California in general is one of the greatest and neediest mission fields in America today with a population of 40 million people, and yet just a few existing churches here in our state are reproducing themselves in new church plants. I see this as necessary more than ever for the propagation of the Gospel through newly established local New Testament churches. Some of the new works being established in California are being pioneered by men sent out of churches in other states. It is my fervent prayer that our California churches will see the need and will engage in the work of church planting. We can do it! I have been greatly encouraged by a young work in Philadelphia, the city of my birth, which is already reproducing itself in yet another new church plant. I think you will be excited, too, after viewing the video produced by the Liberty Baptist Church of Philadelphia (http://www.libertybaptistphilly.net/). Click on “New Church Plant”
"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in numbers daily" (Acts 16:9).
This past Lord's Day evening Evangelist Joe Knouf and his family were with us at our home church. Brother Knouf is a seasoned evangelist called of God to establish a new church plant in Orange County, California. Specifically, he will be planting this new work in Aliso Viejo. Orange County has a population of 3,169,776 people. This is a region with 34 different cities, and yet there are only five independent Baptist churches to minister to this burgeoning populace. That's an incredible ratio of one Bible-believing Baptist church per 600,000 precious souls. Think of that! Brother Knouf was given a great burden for Orange County having at one time lived there in his youth, and was sent out by Celina Baptist Temple of Celina, Ohio, to accomplish the work to which he was called. This good man is a powerful preacher with a heart for revival. Like me, he has a burden for the Filipino people and has ministered in the Philippines where he shared with us that close to 1,000 independent Baptist churches a year have been planted. And yet still 85% of the Filipino people remain in the darkness of Roman Catholicism. There is yet much work to be accomplished. Friends, there is no question that there is a spirit of revival in that great and needy country. Souls are being saved and churches are planting churches. The Filipino IFB churches are getting the job done! Please join us in prayer as Brother Joe plans on beginning the church plant in November. What an encouragement to see the renewed emphasis for church planting here in America.
Praise the Lord! Our home church will be celebrating its 17th anniversary on Sunday, May 21st. Planted out of Bible Baptist Church of National City, Mira Mesa Bible Baptist Church has been a Gospel lighthouse to one of the most populace areas in San Diego County. With the communities of Mira Mesa itself, Scripps Ranch, Poway, Ranch Bernardo, and neighborhoods to the south of us, there are half a million people or more crowded into tract homes and apartments. Only minutes from the main gate of Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, the church also has potential outreach opportunities into the Marine Corps community. Exciting to me is that MMBBC has already reproduced itself in a new church plant in the Riverside County City of Murrieta having sent out one of our men to establish that work under local church authority. Today Grace and Truth Bible Baptist Church led by Pastor Greg Hocson is a duly constituted and organized church and is doing very well. Just prior to the anniversary Sunday, Dr. Sam Davison, President of Heartland Baptist Bible College, will be conducting a family conference at MMBBC, and he will be guest speaker that Sunday as well. Pastor Willie Del has led the church almost from its inception. We are very thankful for him and his leadership and we love our Pastor. It is an honor for me to represent our home church as their evangelist.
Please pray for our upcoming revival meetings throughout the summer months and into the fall. We will be ministering in northern and central California, the Pacific Northwest, and on the east coast in the coming months. Your prayers for safe travel, good health, and the power of God in the meetings will be greatly appreciated. I truly thank God for the energy that He has given this “old man” of 70 years of age to preach the Word and keep up our travel schedule. My body tells me that I am an “old guy,” but I still have the energy of a man in his 30s (after I take a nap!). We do not take your prayers on our behalf for granted. They are sensed and appreciated. We pray much for you all as well. We love and appreciate you.
ALASKA FILIPINO WORK
I have been asked about the status of the Alaska Filipino church planting plans. Things are currently on hold until I hear from the Filipino-American Pastor who has been in contact with the church planting missionary in the Philippines. As soon as I know more I will let you know as to the next step. Please continue to pray with us about this much-needed work on Kodiak Island. Do stayed tuned.
As always, we thank you so very much for your faithful support of the ministry to which God has called us. Your financial support has enabled us and helped us greatly. We appreciate your gracious giving, “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account” (Philippians 4:17). May God richly bless you for it!
Addicted to the ministry of the saints,
Paul and Linda Mershon