Piano Available – Spinet piano available in Brookville, PA. Please contact Warren Harris for details at 814-849-5093.
Carol Ciocca – Retired, living in Sebring, FL
Greetings from Maranatha Village, Sebring, Florida. These have been busy days since I last sent out an official prayer letter. Those who receive the e-mail version have had several updates since my last letter in July. I will try to bring the rest of you up to date. If you have an e-mail address and would like to receive my letters that way, please let me know.
Health: I’ve had two vein procedures. The third was rescheduled for September 29 due to Hurricane Irma. Praise the Lord the treatments seem to be working since there is no recent ankle or leg swelling.
Hurricane Irma: According to the local news, Highlands County, where Maranatha Village is located, was the hardest hit in Florida. We were without power for four days. Others in the county were without for ten days or more. Please see the Maranatha Village Facebook page for pictures of the damage done here. We are praising the Lord that no one was injured and nothing was damaged so much that it can’t be repaired. Please pray for all our maintenance people as they continue to work on the cleanup and repairs. The Village Board has opened a Hurricane Irma Relief Fund to receive gifts designated for making repairs which are not covered by insurance. For more information, please contact the Village Manager, Jerry Webber, at 11 Maranatha Blvd. Sebring, FL 33870 phone 863-385-7897. The Manor, the on campus assisted living facility, had generator power throughout the storm. They were kind to let me stay there on an air mattress for two nights so that I could use my CPAP machine. All of us without electricity had lots of spoiled food to throw out. The Sheriff’s office brought us disaster relief meals and bottled drinking water for all living here. Stores continue to restock their shelves. Many people in this county have decided not to store up so much food ahead of time in the future. During the post hurricane time, Spanish speaking Residents of Maranatha Village had the opportunity to sing together “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” in Spanish at our outdoor pavilion prayer meeting when we couldn’t meet in the church because there was no electricity. There were about eight of us and we all enjoyed being able to sing together. Please pray that we will follow the Lord’s leading in beginning a Spanish ministry through Maranatha Baptist Church.
Future ministry opportunities: Lord willing, the afterschool Bible classes in a local public elementary school will begin October 2. I am looking forward to being part of this Maranatha Baptist Church outreach. On the morning of October 10, the Sunshine Ladies Missionary Fellowship is to meet at Southside Baptist Church in Sebring. BCP missionary Ana Quintana is scheduled to be the speaker. She and her husband, Miguel, have a Hispanic ministry at Starkey Road Baptist Church in Largo, Florida. Her first language is Spanish, but she will need to speak in English to these ladies. I was asked to be available to help with translation if needed. Please pray for Ana and me that we will work well together to help these ladies to want to reach Hispanics in our area. October 8-11 is the Maranatha Baptist Church annual missions conference. So that will be a busy week.
Thank you for your much needed prayer and financial support during these busy times. You are a vital part of the ministry here and I praise the Lord for each of you.
Tim and Marsha Weeks – Eastern Regional Field Director
Saturday, September 30
Thank you for your continued prayer support for our ministry. We do not take this ministry lightly!
Pray for Tim as he will be traveling to CT next weekend:
• Safety as he flies to & from NY.
• Safety as he drives from NY to & from CT.
• Ability as he preaches and ministers to the folks at Riverview Baptist Church.
Pray for wisdom as Tim & Marsha counsel & guide young couples regarding life & ministry issues.
Pray for Becky as she adjusts to 2 children in the home and is fighting a sinus infection.
Thank God with us for the continued progress in the Leadership Training in which Tim is participating.
Thank God with us for the safe arrival of our 10th grandchild – EJ!
Jim and Janice Mitchell – Church Planters at Thousand Oaks Baptist Church in Thousand Oaks, CA
Monday, October 2
We were excited to have two couples visit our service yesterday morning. We also have had a young father and his son start attending recently partly because of the BBQ. Janice and I were able to followup with one family in the neighborhood when we invited them to dinner and they suggested we come to their house for coffee instead. We are setting up a meeting with another couple in the neighborhood that came two years in a row to the BBQ.
Please pray for our son Jamin as he waits on his wife to declare what her intentions are concerning their marriage. So far she has given no real reason for leaving him after 6 months.
Also, please pray for our monthly support which is supplemented by some bigger gifts usually. This year it has been a little short.
Tom and Carol Phillips – Apollos missionaries
Tuesday, October 3
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 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 9 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 began 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 some day, but first our Savior that made it all possible. Please join with us in prayer for Dita and the children (Tom and Carol).
Jim and Sandra Spellman – Retired, living in Morristown, MN
September prayer letter
We want to thank you for the continued prayers and support. We thank God for each and every one of you. Many prayers have been answered because of you.
Praise the Lord with us for the all the things that He has done! Jim is improving in health and praise the Lord Sandy is gaining strength. Jim recently had an opportunity to witness to a deaf man who is a member of a cult. He had some questions about the deity of Christ and baptism. Praise the Lord that God has also opened the door for us to contact more deaf folks by mail in the last few months. One man is interested in Sunday school material for the deaf. He wants to teach his friends about the Lord. Please pray for Ray. It is also a real blessing to see some young people beginning to feel a burden for the deaf community.
Please pray for the following needs:
• Pray for the deaf church in California as they are in need of a pastor
• Pray for more missionaries to the deaf community
• Pray for our supporting churches
• Pray for our health
• Pray for our nation that God would heal our nation
• Pray for our mission board and our fellow missionaries
• Pray for the contacts we have made recently, that they will produce fruit for His glory.
Thank you again for all your prayers and encouragement. We love you all in the Lord. Your fellowship is what keeps us going. We thank and pray for you often. God bless you all in your service for Him.
Paul and Janet Robinson – Church Planters at Cornerstone Bible Baptist Church in Camden, NJ
Tuesday, October 4
Janet and I just returned from Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia visiting with 24-day old, Manuel. We are asking your continued prayer for his healing. Please pray especially that the large amount of blood that bled in his brain and which is still there (but hardened), be dissolved by the help of God. We are praying that surgery will not be needed to remove this blood. Please continue to pray also for Manuel’s parents, Neurys and Umeki.
Jim and Sharon Solomon – Church Planters at Galilean Baptist Church in Fairmont, WV
Wednesday, October 4
We appreciate your prayers and ask that you will continue.
From the first council meeting we attended, we Christians have been labeled haters. Here is just a little taste of what we are dealing with. From the mouth of our city manager:
“Those that are advocating and stating publicly, which hundreds have, that it is an abomination for two males to be together, for two women to be together, that Christianity is the one true religion, that no other religion should be relevant that the Bible is the true source, that Jesus is the only Savior, and saying that everything else other than that is evil or an abomination, that’s promoting hatred. There is no other way around it.”
If not enough signatures are collected within the next 6 days to call for a referendum on the Non-Discrimination Ordinance which the Fairmont city council recently passed, this man will establish a Human Rights Commission, hand-pick the members and be the Chairman.
The ordinance itself is very vague, but opens the door for so many problems. (you can check out “Keep Fairmont Safe”, a FaceBook page, to learn more). If we do gather the signatures, it will force the mayor and city council to reconsider, and if they do not vote it down, it will go to a vote of the people.
Pray for our city, your city and our whole country, as a variety of ordinances like ours are being pushed and passed.
Pray for protection as we stand in this battle together. We know that God is in control and are trusting Him for the outcome.
But most of all, pray for humility, repentance and turning back to God to take place among His people, and for the Gospel to go forth and bring many to salvation.
Thank you for the encouragement of your partnership!
Scott and Brooke Greening – Church Planters at Grace Community Baptist Church in Schaumburg, IL
Wednesday, October 4
Congratulations to our Wisconsin friends and their beloved Packers. Despite the Packers annihilation of the Bears and “the Packs” recapturing the lead in the all-time series, we had a great night.
Thank you for praying for our Bears vs Packers neighborhood tailgate. Three of our church family helped us welcome 24 of our neighbors and friends for the evening. It was another great opportunity to strengthen our relationships.
In addition to a great turnout, a couple of additional opportunities were created. First, our next door neighbor while not attending invited us to his wife’s birthday party this Saturday. We’ve tried to connect several times with his family and nothing too significant has happened yet. Please pray that this will open doors to increased friendship.
The second opportunity involved our neighbor across the street, Alex. Alex is always very friendly but most of our conversations have centered around normal neighbor conversations–the weather, borrowing tools, neighborhood events, etc. I had talked to Alex earlier about our tailgate party but on Tuesday night the kids and I were delivering invitations to some more of our neighbors. Alex was outside so we stopped to talk and “officially” invite him. We talked for a few minutes and then Alex said he wanted to talk with me about something. He told me it was alright to invite him to the religious things we do at our house. He shared that he has learned a little bit but wants to learn more. He stated he has “friends” that come and help him learn. Unfortunately, I believe these “friends” are Jehovah’s Witnesses. I immediately invited him to our next Bible study and talked about the possibility of doing a Bible study together. I also shared that what we encourage people to do is figure out what the Bible says rather than what any person might say. As respectfully as possible, I was trying to differentiate what we would do from his Jehovah’s Witness “friends.” Please pray as God is seeming to open a gospel opportunity.
Weekend In Centerville
We enjoyed a great weekend in Centerville, IA at one of our partnering churches. It was a great time to share with the people what God is doing. It was especially encouraging for Brooke and me to reflect upon His workings. Despite the ups and downs of ministry, we can confidently thank God for the work He has done in us and through us.
Connecting This Weekend
This is a long holiday weekend for Torah’s school. That creates some extra opportunities to connect with neighbors and friends. On Friday we will be going to the zoo with Jill and her daughters Brooke and Kira. Brooke walks four mornings a week with Jill. Pray that we have a good time and for gospel opportunities. We’re praying that Jill and her husband Rob will be part of the Q Place group we mentioned last week.
On Sunday afternoon and evening our church will head out to the country to the Richardson Adventure Farm. This is an annual outing for us and we encourage everyone to use it as an opportunity to invite friends. Please pray that many guests will come and of course for gospel opportunities.
Thanks for your prayers in support of our ministry. We are grateful for your partnership in the gospel.