Les Newell – Retired, living in Houston, TX
Please pray for Les as he has been hospitalized for a few days. He is feeling much better after getting an infection under control. If things continue to look good, he will be released back to his assisted living facility this afternoon.
Piano Available – Spinet piano available in Brookville, PA. Please contact Warren Harris for details at 814-849-5093.
Tom and Carol Phillips – Apollos
Yesterday I received an email from a family in Chuuk informing us that our dear friend and co-worker Matto Erra had gone to be with the Lord. It was my desire to be there for the funeral, but with the time change, it was impossible to make it in time for the funeral.
We first met Matto when we were looking for someone to help us with the language. That started a long and enduring friendship. Matto was a believer and had a real desire for his people to know the Lord Jesus Christ. As we came to the time for our first return to the States, he expressed his desire to reach his home island, Pieis. The island was about nine miles from where we lived and we did not have a boat. We told Matto that if the Lord supplied a boat when we returned we would begin a ministry. You that have been praying for us for many years will probably remember the story of the “boat”. God did supply and we started a ministry on Pieis, Carol holding children’s Bible clubs and I started with adult Bible studies. Several were saved and Pieis Baptist Church was founded. After a few years, Matto served as pastor of the church.
We were asked to produce a radio program for the radio station which we named, “Light in the Night.” After a couple of years, we began to produce it in English and Chuukese. The English programs were aired on Mon-Tue-Wed and Matto translated the programs into Chuukese and they aired Thu-Fir-Sat. Rebroadcasts of those programs are being aired today.
Matto was our translator when one was needed, but he was much more that a translator. Our families became very close. Two of his children were named after us, one Tom and another Carol. We became like grandparents to his children. Matto had three children by his first wife who passed away from cancer and five children from his present wife, Dita. Joseph, a son from his first wife, works in Grace International Baptist Church and is learning the ropes for operating the radio station.
Most of our grandchildren have visited Chuuk and often stayed overnight on the island. They learned to love a man that always had a smile and would often break out in laughter.
The last few trips to Chuuk would generally end with Matto tearing up as he generally gave a farewell speech or just said a few words about this would probably be my last trip to Chuuk. June was our last meeting in Chuuk, but we look to the day we shall meet in Heaven. The words that came to my mind as I read the email were the words that Fanny Crosby penned, “I want to see my Savior first of all, before on any others I would call.” There is a growing group of people that have been instrumental in our ministry in Chuuk and here in the States that we will see again someday, but first our Savior that made it all possible.
Please join with us in prayer for Dita and the children.