October-November 2016 Ministry Report
Dearly Beloved Friends,
"For we preach note ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourseleves your servants for Jesus' sake" (II Corinthians 4:5).
As I begin our ministry report today, I wanted to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to all of our dear friends who were so faithful to pray for me as I underwent cancer surgery last month. The emails, phone calls, text messages, get well cards, and other expressions of love have meant more to me than words could ever express. Thankfully the cancer was caught early and the tumor was of the low grade variety. I am particularly thankful that I was not in need of chemotherapy and recovery time was short. Because I am now at high risk for a recurrence for bladder cancer, I will have to undergo routine cystoscopies for pretty much the rest of my life. My prayer is that there will be no return of cancer. Again, thank you for your faithful prayers and expressions of love and concern.
The Alaska Filipino church plant on Kodiak Island continues in the planning stages with a survey trip scheduled for next summer. We are requesting prayer regarding the national Filipino missionary church planter that Pastor Gil De Rosas has been in contact with in the Philippines. We want to be sure that he is God's absolute choice for the work, and that he will he will be able to easily obtain a ministry worker's visa to come to the United States to establish the work. Most of the details are now coming together on our end, but we will have to continue to pray about God's choice of the man who will be sent out of a local church in the Philippines, sponsored by as local church here in America. This is a much needed ministry, so your prayers are greatly appreciated on its behalf.
I am humbled to have been invited to travel to the Philippines next year to speak for a Bible conference to be held at Scripture Baptist Church in Olongapo City. Though I had not planned on traveling overseas for meetings any longer, I just sensed that the Lord would have me make this trip. I truly love the Filipino people and have counted it such a joy and honor to minister there in the past. Plans are now being made, so I will report back later as to the details of this ministry opportunity.
It is always such a joy to return to Mountain View Baptist Church where my friend (former Marine) John Simmons is the pastor. We have always enjoyed our time with this vibrant church. The past couple of years we have been with them twice a year for revival meeting endeavors, usually running from Sunday-to-Sunday. We have seen God do some mighty and wonderful works amongst the people here, including one of the most amazing conversion experiences I have ever been witness to. We look forward to being with the MVBC family again in the Spring of 2017.
Once again we had the joy of being with Central Baptist Church of Clovis, California, where Dr. James Woodley serves as pastor. This was our home church for a number of years where we served under the authority of this local assembly and the pastorate of the late Dr. Eldon Martens. We have so many good friends there at CBC and in the Clovis area, so it is always such a blessing to return there to minister to these dear folks. We enjoyed a wonderful meeting and sweet fellowship with the people of God while we were there. We gave our fifth-wheel trailer to the church a couple of years ago to be used for as "prophet's chamber." When we are at CBC, or ministering to other churches in the area, the church has been so kind to allow us to stay in our old home. It brings back many memories of our days on the road with the coach.
While in meetings in Modesto, we received word that our good friend, Bob Grow, had gone home to be with the Lord. Bro. Grow was 80 years old and had been in declining health in recent years after having suffered a stroke. Bob was a charter member of Central Baptist Church in Clovis, when the church was established in 1978. Because I was going to be in town for the revival meeting at CBC, Mrs. Grow requested that I preach for his funeral and graveside services. It was an honor to do so. Brother Bob will be missed, but I rejoice that he is now in the presence of Jesus.
Every year for the past three years I have had the honor of speaking for the special Veteran's Day services at Victory Baptist Church of Fresno, California, where my good friend Brother Rick Owens is the pastor. This is a lively, happy, growing church having been planted seven years ago. In addition to the Veteran's Say service we also had a revival emphasis as I preached there through Tuesday. The church honored the veteran's in attendance in the Sunday morning and evening services. We had active duty Air National Guard from the 144th Fighter Wing, active duty Army National Guard from a local aviation unit, active duty sailors from Lemoore Naval Air Station, retirees from various branches of the armed forces, and those who served one or two enlistments. As a Navy veteran, it was an honor to be with a group of Christian patriots who love and have served their country while at the same time “holding the faith higher than the flag.” It was a blessed day!
Victory Baptist Church hosted the California Independent Baptist Pastor's Fellowship meeting while we were there for the Veteran's Day services and "mini-revival." I had the honor of preaching twice for the meeting, and enjoyed the fellowship of the preacher brethren as well. I shared the pulpit on Tuesday morning with Pastor Larry Gibson and Pastor Brandon Campbell. I was duly impressed with the robust attendance for the pastor's fellowship meeting. There was a sweet spirit throughout each service, and we had a wonderful luncheon prepared by the ladies of the church following the Tuesday morning services.
I am filling up my 2017 and 2018 revival meeting schedule and still have some open dates. If you do not have us scheduled for a revival meeting endeavor at this time, or it has been a while since we have been with you for a meeting, please let me know if I can be a help to you. We are always excited to be in meetings with churches where we have not ministered as of late, and would be so happy to be a source of help, blessing, and encouragement to you in any way that we can. Keep in mind that Linda continues to be available for ladies meetings, camps, and retreats, and we are still conducting family conferences and missions conferences. I will be praying with you about your meeting needs.
"For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee . . ." (Philemon 1:7).
Every single day we pause to give thanks for God's provision for our every need. We live 100% by faith and trust the Lord for those things necessary to live and carry out the ministry He has called us to. Throughout the years He has taken wonderful care of us, often in supernatural ways. I am reminded of Paul's comforting reminder to the Philippian church when he wrote, "But my God shall supply ALL your need according to HIS riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). But I am also reminded that He is so good to us in providing for those ministry needs at the hand of His people as we serve Him in the itinerant ministry. We are always mindful of this and are so very thankful for your support. It is much needed and much appreciated. Our partnership with you for the cause of Christ is not something that we take for granted. In ministering to us you are ministering to other local New Testament churches, some of which could not otherwise have an evangelist come. This is true of new works or struggling churches. We make no financial requirement or any demand to come and minister to any church and always come on a by-faith, love-offering basis. God has always blessed this policy. We are just thankful that we can be used of the Lord to minister wherever He would have us travel. There are those times when we have had to finance our own travel and our own expenses, and we have always been glad to do so as the Lord always makes up the difference along the way. With all of this said, we love you all and thank you so very much for your loving-kindness and support of the work God has given us to do.
Addicted to the ministry of the saints,
Paul and Linda Mershon