Moving Christians from the pew to the harvest.” Matthew 9:36-38
We’re all in this together.
We are so grateful for praying friends! As you may remember, Judy and I had some physical challenges last month. Thanks to your continued prayers and the grace of God, we are both doing much better. I still have a bandage on my head from a surgery in August, but I am believing the wound will be sufficiently healed so that I can get a haircut next week. Thank You, Jesus! Judy is doing much better. She is still having tests, but her blood pressure is stabilized and she is making rapid progress toward full activity. (She is greeting at our local church. She’s a natural!)
What’s God Doing? As I was preparing for our Pastor’s Breakfast in Hermosillo, I heard the question, “what’s God doing?” The news media, and often our pastors, tell us what the devil is doing. God is still God, and in everything He is doing something to forward His plan for the world, the nation, the Church, and the individual. Just a few thoughts you might enjoy:
- In the world: I believe we are in the moment when God is making one last great push to reach the nations of the world. You don’t hear about it on the news, but He is moving in marvelous ways in Iran, Russia, China, etc.
- In our country: He is separating the light from the dark. The Church has for years been blending into a darker shade of grey. God is creating sharp contrast: Love vs lust. Those who reject light will be allowed to live in the dark – sliding into delusion ( when people reject truth, the only alternative is deception. Eventually, God simply allows them to be deceived).
- And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, (2 Thessalonians 2:11 NKJV)
- Ask the LORD for rain In the time of the latter rain. The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, Grass in the field for everyone. (2) For the idols speak delusion; The diviners envision lies, And tell false dreams; They comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; They are in trouble because there is no shepherd. (Zechariah 10:1-2 NKJV)
- In the Church: See above. Don’t be shaken when people leave your congregation. Love them, minister truth to them, but don’t try to cling to them. God is pruning and prepping. Those who won’t be prepped will be pruned. Please remember: When you prune your peach tree the peaches don’t appear immediately. Don’t fret over the dead branches. Water the tree, feed its roots, protect it from the elements, and fruit will come. We face challenges:
- How do we love the sinner and decry the sin in a culture that now celebrates the sin?
- The government is openly coming for the church – how will we respond?
- In me: Becoming experientially aware that I am weak, but He is not. It’s a new level of trust. I’m daily seeing life as finite. We had to buy a new bed. The lady said, “It has a 15-year warranty.” I thought “We probably don’t need that long.” It’s just real.
- It makes me aware of making hand-offs and leaving deposits. Every day is dedicated to preparing others for the things He wants to continue, and investing myself in the areas where He has specifically given me responsibility. It’s His ministry, not mine.
- The importance of keeping a pure heart. I know this may seem obvious, but it’s not all that easy. Being free from competition, offense, and resentment may mean washing even Judas’s feet.
- I’m dead, He lives. Don’t defend the dead man, serve the Living One.
What’s God doing in you?
Great news continues in Mexico:
While the world reports that the sky is falling, I’m happy to report that, in fact, the power of God is pouring down. I travelled to Hermosillo October 1 & 2 to teach the first half of our course called “Victory over Addictions.” The spiritual battle was intense, with new challenges every day. Again, I can report that Jesus is still Lord, and the Word still works. We had about 35 students each night, and the emotional response of the students made it clear we were touching on things that matter.
The first evening I first went over the impact of addiction: Spiritual, mental, and physical. Then I talked about the nature of the problem, describing the symptoms and the process in some detail. The second evening I talked about the impact on the family. As always, the responses were very emotional, lots of tears and laughter as many discovered that they are not alone. This problem touches almost everyone. The damage and the pain are often held in secret because of shame. The church ought to be the safest place to turn, but that is not usually the case. We have been striving to change that for 40 years.
Saturday morning we had a Pastor’s Breakfast. We talked about recognizing what God is doing: In the world, in our nation, in our churches, and in us. It was a powerful time. Most of those in attendance shared how God was guiding them and ministering to their families and churches. I don’t cry a lot, but I got weepy. These ministers are growing, and their passion for God is inspirational. They are planning a Congreso January 26-28, and we will be there this year. (I had Covid last year).
The classes for Instituto Entrenamiento Ministerial de Fe are ongoing. Our “new” faculty members are no longer new but are showing themselves to be able teachers. Pastors Alberto and Nelly are overseeing things, prepping materials, coordinating schedules, etc. A special “attaboy” to them both. Pastora Nelly had surgery and is still recovering, but the classes have continued uninterrupted. That is a tribute to her leadership and the dedication of the other instructors.
New opportunities: Beginning December 1, I will begin leading teams to Hermosillo again. For several years, we did the first level classes as teams of 3-5 persons. Some came for their first missions experience; some became regular members of the team and took on greater responsibilities. Now that the first year is safely in good hands, I felt it time to begin intentional preparation for the future of IEMFe and FCF in Mexico. That begins with building new and stronger relationships between our team in the US and the team in Mexico. Pray that we can build a bridge that will carry on strong.
- October 23. 10 AM. Living Water Faith Fellowship. 7 Lewis St. Oneonta, NY
- October 23. 5 PM. Mountaintop Christian Church. 7687 County Highway 33, Bloomville, NY
- October 25. 6:30 PM.Faith, Hope and Love Christian Church. 63 Cliff St. Canajoharie, NY.
- October 28. 7 PM. Believer’s Family Church. 150 S Comrie Ave, Johnstown, NY
- October 30. 10:30 AM Believer’s Church @Glenville. 304 Swaggertown Rd, Glenville, NY
- November 23. 10:30 AM His Presence Church AZ. 4108 E. North Street, Tucson, AZ
- December 1-2. IEMFe 2. Victory over Addictions 2, Hermosillo, Sonora
Help Wanted: God has been good. I am finding more translating help, and that’s good because God is giving us more to do. The more the merrier (and the easier). I’m still looking for some help with getting our written material ready for publication. I’m almost finished getting “Water Baptism…believeth and is baptized” ready for a second edition, updated and available on Amazon. How about you do the next book to be re-published?
Thank you for your prayers and support. We are very grateful for those who help carry the load.
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 pray consistently for your financial blessing as you obey God in giving.
Visit us at 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.
We are yours in His service,
Virgil and Judy Stokes
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson AZ, 85745