“Moving Christians from the pew to the harvest.” Matthew 9:36-38
May 7, 2021
The word works!!
April was a month of challenges and victories. God is faithful!
Judy has recovered very rapidly from her knee injury. No surgery! She is starting physical therapy, and we expect nothing but strength and improvement ahead. Thank you for your prayers.
On another front, I want to share a few thoughts on the state of the church post-pandemic. The media is telling us that over 20% of all churches will not reopen. They are dead. They also report that the number of Americans who attend church is at the lowest level in history. In the face of the gloom and doom, I want to share a little good news. God is moving! Over the last month, I have spoken with 5 pastors who report that their churches are financially more sound than before the pandemic, and that they see signs of growth, both numerical and spiritual. Apparently, it is possible to thrive in the midst of trouble.
I asked each of these pastors to share what they thought had contributed to their success in this time. Here are the main themes for your perusal:
- A long history of pre-pandemic teaching on financial responsibility, including the tithe.
- In some cases, the pastors reported that God had dealt with them several years ago to make adjustments in how they handled their finances, preparing for the famine, so to speak.
- Doing things to impact their community, even increasing these kinds of activities in the pandemic.
- Support for missions was prioritized and increased, not cut back.
- Staying on mission. Though methods had to be adjusted, the vision and mission remained the focus.
In each of these cases, the pastors and churches experienced many trials and difficulties. There were losses and disputes and unexpected expenses, yet God was more than enough. I know there are hundreds, probably thousands, of such testimonies. Here’s the point. The Word works. God is faithful. His grace is sufficient and then some. When you hear the blues sung in hymnic tones, don’t join in the funeral. Give God a shout and stay on mission, look for ways to impact lives, preach the Word, and listen to God. We are going over, not under!
Peru: Beginning April 21st we began our second 4-week series onWednesday nights via Zoom and broadcast over Facebook. I’m teaching on the prayer of intercession as it applies to divine healing. It has been very rich. This kind of praying has been largely ignored, even lost, to many in our movement. We need it now more that ever. It’s kind of amazing as Eduardo and I have been on the move, broadcasting from three different locations. The technology we have available makes it possible to get this message into places that haven’t heard.
Mexico: On May 1, we had our first in-person meeting with our pastors in Mexico since the graduation ceremony in December. The turnout was excellent. Pastors Alberto and Nelly Arenas hosted and did a great job. I shared with them my thoughts on the bible school plans for the fall, and what we will need to do to get the job done properly. We broadcast the meeting on Facebook live.
Our newly minted Media-Team- in-training were on hand to handle the tech. They did a great job. We are still working with Pastor Jacko from Peru in learning how to do classes and seminars live. Very soon we will be having regular live classes on the IEMFe Facebook page.
Following the pastor’s meeting, we met with our team of potential instructors for the first level Bible school this Fall. What a great group! Our plan is to spend the summer training them. I want them to grasp the heart of IEMFe, understand how to use the tools we provide, and be firmly grounded in the areas that make us faith-folk. We want to be adamant about faith, healing and the Holy Spirit, while driving down the center of the road on the essentials of Christianity and solid bible interpretation.
Doors are opening in other places as word gets out about the blessing the Bible school brings. The Zoom group in Nezahualcoyotl (Mexico) is ¾ through the first level. (Update: just got off Zoom with them and they are now 7/8 through.) With our new tech capability, we plan to make the 2nd and 3rd level classes available in digital form as we teach them in Hermosillo. That will begin in the Fall. In the meantime, we are doing our best to respond to all inquiries. For some, we really need the capacity to travel. And glory to God…
…Car’s a’comin’! We are actively looking for just the right vehicle for our Mexico crew. In April we got some paperwork done so that the right people can drive it in the right places. Soon we will be in Tijuana, Baja California, Sinaloa, and beyond.
On the road: New York in May:
- Sunday morning, May 16, Higher Ground Christian Church. Afton
- Tuesday evening, May 18. Faith Hope and Love Christian Church. Canajoharie
- Thursday evening May 20. Believers Family Church. Johnstown
- Sunday Morning May 23. Believers Church of Glenville.
If you’re a pastor, I am scheduling. My emphasis is in two areas. First, we are helping people receive their healing. My heart hurts for precious folks who know the Word, yet struggle to receive for one reason or another. (See Healing Help) God has given us some insights that are having good results. Second, I am always an advocate that Spirit-filled people need to act that way – I love the Holy Ghost and the wonderful privilege we have of speaking in tongues. Getting the Church stirred up to pray, and seeing the empty filled with power are always part of my mission.
To keep up with all that is happening with us, please visit our internet outposts at IEMFeonline, www.pastorvirgil.com, and the Pastorvirgil.com Facebook page. You will find materials that will help you to help others.
Pray for us:
- Please continue to pray for helpers. I need help with computer work, social media, and copy editing. I could also use some help with translating books into Spanish. Your prayers have produced some helpers in Mexico who are going to be a huge blessing. Now we need some English-speaking help. You don’t have to be in Tucson.
- Pray for my trip to New York, as well as our return to Mexico in June to train teachers and encourage pastors. .
Support: God is faithful! Financial support can be sent to Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson at the address below or given online at www.fcftucson.org. Make checks payable to FCFT, you can designate for missions or pastorvirgil and it will get where it needs to go. Thanks again for making this work possible.
Yours in His service,
Virgil and Judy Stokes