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Malawi Update

Malawi Team

We’ve just finished our weeklong conference on Marriage and the weekend conference on the Gospel in Blantyre Malawi. We had a high number of students, the overwhelming majority were young men. God seems to be drawing young men to Mala and the church here. On Saturday there were perhaps 15 young men who came to the conference, who seemed to be converted from a Catholic university. I had a number of conversations that indicated that God was working in significant ways in their lives. It is very clear that the ministry of Paul Washer has been enormously influential in their conversions and re-orientations to reformed theology. Everywhere I go in the world and I meet young men, Paul is mentioned. During the conference on the Gospel, we were asked questions about tongues and other charismatic oriented questions, since most of them exist in a place where charismania has taken over the whole landscape and even the mainline denominations have realized that this is where the action is and have added charismatic services to their offerings, alongside their more traditional services. I feel that the Lord may have used us this weekend to stimulate some rethinking on these issues.

Yesterday Jason Dohm and I spoke at Antioch Baptist on the fear of the Lord, while Mike Davenport and Victor Maxson spoke at two different churches nearby here in the city. Deborah also met with the women to speak with them about biblical womanhood.

Jason Dohm and I were on a national secular TV station that happens to have a real Christian talk show host. He heard us preach in 2012 at the mens conference here in Blantyre. How we ended up on the show was that someone in Washington State posted on Facebook that we were going to be in Malawi, the talk show host’s daughter who was in Italy, saw the post and informed her father saying, “you need to get them on your show.” He contacted Mala and we did two half hour shows, one on marriage and the other on the Gospel.

 Today, Monday and also on Tuesday we will be doing a pastors conference here in Blantyre. On Wednesday, we will fly to Johannesburg to speak at a church there that evening, and then we fly home on Thursday evening from Johannesburg arriving home on Friday morning the 12th.

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Church Hopping in Australia

Families in Australia

Here is a map of families that registered for our Australia conferences.

The past few days have been a whirlwind as we’ve travelled from Melbourne to Sydney and Sydney to Hobart — three conferences in less than a week.

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Voices That Cry Out

During the trip, we’ve meditated on Isaiah 40, which speaks of a voice:

The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. — Isaiah 40:3

The voice said, “Cry out!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. — Isaiah 40:6

God brings about reformation through voices that are lifted up in a time of need. We were invited to a meeting with pastors and fathers who have been locally engaged in spreading the message of the NCFIC to discuss the idea of forming an association in Australia. This association would provide leadership and a voice for the FIC movement in Australia, connecting families who share the same vision and extending the reach of the message.

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At the Grave of John G. Paton in Melbourne

 

 

Today we went to the grave of one of the greatest missionaries in history, John G. Paton. Here are a few of his reflections:

His Trust in the Promise of Jesus

His courage and peace was fueled all his life long by the words of His Lord in the Great Commission, “Lo I am with you alway, even to the end of the age.” He wrote,

“’Lo, I am with you alway!’
The secret of a quiet heart!
The secret of a gallant spirit!
The secret of a sunny faith!
The text so often on the tongue! The text upon the tomb!
’Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end!’”

His Honor of His Father

One of the most remarkable aspects of his life is the impact of his father. The memory of his father was one of the centering inspiring forces that worked in his soul. Paton wrote the following about his father’s prayer closet in their thatched house, ‘but we children knew that it was a reflection of the Divine Presence in which his life was lived’. He also wrote,

‘Never,’ he says, ‘in temple or cathedral, on mountain or in glen, can I hope to feel that the Lord God is more near, more visibly walking and talking with men, than under that humble cottage roof of thatch and oaken wattles. Though everything else in religion were by some unthinkable catastrophe to be swept out of memory, my soul would wander back to those early scenes, and would shut itself up once again in that sanctuary closet, and, hearing still the echoes of those cries to God, would hurl back all doubt with the victorious appeal: He walked with God; why may not I?

His Love for Cannibals

One lesson from his life comes from the way he loved the rebellious that God called him to. He was not put off by the cannibals:

‘My first impressions,’ he tells us, ’drove me to the verge of utter dismay. On beholding the natives in their paint and nakedness and misery, my heart was as full of horror as of pity. Had I given up my much-beloved work, and my dear people in Glasgow, with so many delightful associations, to consecrate my life to these degraded creatures? Was it possible to teach them right and wrong, to Christianize, or even to civilize them?’

His Courage in the Face of Danger

His calm in time of crisis caused one friend to say he was the most courageous man he ever knew. On one occasion, when he was in a tree and being threatened from below, he reflected,

‘During the crisis, I felt generally calm and firm of soul, standing erect and with my whole weight on the promise, Lo, I am with you alway. Precious promise! How often I adore Jesus for it and rejoice in it! Blessed be His name!’

‘I have always felt that His promise, Lo, I am with you alway, is a reality, and that He is with His servants to support and bless them even unto the end of the world.’

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Scott and Kevin Down Under

Dinner with Some New Zealand Pastors

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Esther and Rebecca Courter, Claudia Brown, Rebecca Swanson

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The Coast and Countryside of New Zealand

The beautiful countryside and coast of New Zealand.

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Answering Questions on Femininity

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As we close out our time in Auckland, the young ladies in our team had a unique opportunity to sit on a panel, answering questions from other young girls and their mothers on biblical daughterhood.

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How Do You Deal with Disobedient Fathers?

After the church service in Christchurch,  we departed to another location for an afternoon/evening question and answer session with pastors and leaders from all over the island. We fielded questions about church membership, church discipline, how to deal with fathers who refuse to do their duties in their families, and how to deal with the dearth of elders and raise up new ones. We ended the time with prayer and departed to the airport for our flight to Auckland for the meetings there.

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Building God Centered Families and Churches in the South Island of New Zealand

Preaching at Calvary Chapel Christchurch

After the long flights from North Carolina, we landed in Christchurch and were immediately transported to the venue and started speaking right away. The best way to deal with jet lag is to just act like it does not exist and charge on and pray you don’t fall asleep while on the platform in mid-sentence. A local church in Christchurch, Calvary Chapel Christchurch, anchored the event and got the word out around the island. It was such a joy and privilege to be with the people there.

I gave the first message establishing the theme of the conference, Building a God-Centered Family. Throughout the day, Kevin Swanson and I continued to build on this subject, speaking on marriage, fatherhood, discipleship of children, building family economies, and the dangers of syncretism with the culture.

We were all encouraged as we left this first event. Though there are very few family-integrated churches in New Zealand, God has ignited a fire in the hearts of a few men, and they are passionately leading the charge in this critical reformation. Please pray for God’s hand of strength and blessing upon these families and for the multiplication of this work in New Zealand.

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On the Ground in Christchurch, New Zealand

On the Ground in Christchurch, New Zealand

After a long day of travel, our team has landed safely in New Zealand and are making final preparations for our first meetings in Christchurch. Kevin Swanson and I will be delivering six messages today and then preaching on Sunday morning and afternoon.

In order to prepare our hearts for the days ahead, we’ve been memorizing Isaiah 40:1-5, which begins, “‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ Says your God.” – Isaiah 40:1. It’s our prayer that God would use us to minister comfort to Gis people through the preaching of the Word, conversations, and prayer.

This passage also speaks cleary to the powerful transformational force of the Gospel. The Gospel comes and life changes for people in dramatic ways, “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth.” – Isaiah 40:4.

We’re grateful for your prayers and look forward to providing more updates from the ground.

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He Could Not Keep the Good News to Himself

Deborah’s great-grandmother writes of the impact of the salvation of her father:

My Father could not keep the good news, so a short time after he would take the train back every Sunday (after the morning service) to Martins Bay, and then walked to the hill country and preached to his own people and friends. Later on he preached in town in the market place, and opened a mission for the colored people where there was a settlement back of George St Belleville.

 We visited all these places when we visited Barbados on our 30th wedding anniversary.

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A Little Girl on Barbados Hearing the Gospel from Her Mother

Deborah’s great-grandmother recalls her mother preaching the gospel to her on the island of Barbados. She writes:

“Some of my Mothers favorite verses were:

Perfect love casteth out fear.

Godliness with contentment is great gain.

Having food and raiment therewith be content.

Let the words of my mouth, and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, Oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

How well I remember how she used to sit and tell us children of God’s simple plan of salvation!”

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A Diary Entry from the Past

Deborah’s great-grandmother writes in her diary, “my Father, Robert Thomas Lanahan Gibson (Linnie), born March 14th, 1838 in Barbados, West Indies, Below the Cliff. He married Anna Lorinthia Edwards, born Jan 21st, 1843 in Barbados, West Indies, Below the Cliff. They married Oct 11th, 1863 at St Margarets Chapel, Below the Cliff. They had 10 children.”

Robert and Anna (Deborah’s
great-great-grandparents)
Tom and Carol
(Deborah’s parents)

Scott and Deborah

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Two Centuries Later

My friend Craig Houston wrote this to me regarding our celebration of the gospel coming to Deborah’s family:

“The Grace of God is truly amazing in that He moves in the hearts of His people to bring the gospel to the regions beyond, and people there are impacted by the good news, and then they take that glorious truth of the gospel to yet another country and people. Fast forward to the two centuries, and a descendent of those converts is a preacher’s wife in NC. Praise God!”

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