Moving Christians from the pew to the harvest.”
My friend, Dennis Cook, went to be with Jesus on May 10. It still Isn’t real. He seemed sort of indestructible. He and Jeanne moved to Panama with their kids in 1981 where they have made a huge imprint. The ministry they established in the Darien jungle among the Choco Embera people will resonate through generations. Dennis was a year older than me. I met him in 1986, and we have remained friends ever since. For me, he was one of those people that Hebrews describes as, “of whom the world was not worthy (Hebrews 11:38 NKJV).” His memorial service in the United States will be on August 20th, and I will be there.
It seemed good to me to identify a few things that I learned from being around Dennis. I thought they might help you or someone you know.
- You don’t have to know everything in order to start. I was amazed at the story of how the Cooks got where they are. Dennis was a bright, hard-working guy, but he was no construction worker, or cross-cultural sociologist, or radio engineer, but he was willing to show up, ask questions, and learn as he went.
- You don’t have to make a lot of noise to be heard. Dennis was funny, sometimes sarcastic, but he was generally soft-spoken and very unassuming. I always told him he reminded me of the guy on Hee-Haw with the bib overalls.
- You can count on your Heavenly Father. The tales of supernatural provision are too numerous to recount, but the one I remember is building the radio station in the middle of the jungle. When I asked him how they were going to pay for it, he gave me his standard nonchalant response, “My Dad will just have to sell another cow.”
- If you’re gonna serve Jesus, go all in. Maybe that’s my most precious memory of Dennis. He was sold out to Jesus and the power of the Word to change lives.
Lots of folks referred to him as having an apostolic ministry. I suppose He did, though I don’t think I ever heard him say that. He was a husband, a father, a friend, a disc jockey, a carpenter, a sound engineer, a Bible teacher, a construction foreman, a farmer, a diplomat, and an explorer-adventurer. He was a disciple of Jesus Christ. If he ever balked at the call of God, I’m not aware of it. We could use a few more in that mold. We’re not all called to go to the jungle, but we’re all called. Whatever your job in the Kingdom, do it greatly. Dennis did.
Please keep Jeanne and the ministry in your prayers.
New York was great: I spent most of May in New York. 15 days, 6 churches, 9 services, many meetings with pastors and leaders; it was good. I was blessed to see many of our students from years past doing work for the Kingdom. We are also grateful for all the pastors who call us “friend,” who have allowed us to be a part of what God is doing there. There is a tremendous hunger for the things of God, and He is responding. I will be planning a Fall return trip shortly.
Mexico: Ministry to the Tormented. June 24 and 25 I will be in Hermosillo, Sonora teaching our Level 2 class called “Ministry to the Tormented.” The material will help our pastors and leaders to recognize the difference between mental disorders and demonic issues. Once the “diagnosis” is made, then we can talk about the appropriate method of ministry to help people live free. As you may know, this is a subject that is dear to my heart.
The Written Word: One of the unexpected developments since we left our Senior Pastors position has been the amount of traveling I have been doing. Don’t get me wrong, I love it! Unfortunately, one side effect has been that my writing projects have been downgraded on the priority list. It’s time to do something about that. I will be taking blocks of time to do nothing but write.
- The update of “Is There an Interpreter in the House” is almost ready to go to the editors.
- The FMTI class on the tithe is under construction. The game plan is to get the course materials written, teach the class, then produce the manuscript. This one really needs doing.
- I’ve been making notes of things in our FMTI classes that need to be updated. That project needs to be done soon.
- Getting three of our existing books into Spanish is moving to a front burner.
- I’ll be moving our existing books to Amazon so we can easily use the Kindle option. That requires a good bit of updating and editing.
- Due to popular demand, we want to compile a daily devotional from the Out of the Abundance of the Heart email notes. The choosing and editing will be quite the task.
Our monthly leadership Zoom calls with our Hispanic contingent continue to good effect. I’m looking at starting another one in English for some of our connected pastors and leaders in the US.
Please note: God is neither surprised nor intimidated by the horrendous state of affairs in our country. The mission doesn’t change with the circumstances because God doesn’t change. Stay steady in your calling, and we will do the same.
God is doing great things. There is something special going on. I see it. I hear about it from others. As long as I have strength and breath, I want to be part of it. I’m still scheduling for the Fall and Winter. Holler if you’re interested.
Support. You make it possible for us to keep running. Thank you for your prayers and support. 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. We’re getting things done and fruit is happening. Let’s push on to the next level together.
PLEASE!!!! Don’t forget to visit www.pastorvirgil.com. There’s new stuff every week. You don’t want to miss it. Share it with your friends. You can help by looking at the Pastorvirgil.com Facebook page and hitting follow. Whenever you see a post, share it. This will help us reach more people. We also maintain a Facebook page in Spanish @IEMFeonline.
It’s a privilege to serve with you,
Yours in His service,
Virgil and Judy Stokes
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson AZ, 85745