For riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations? Proverbs 27:24
Like many I watched the ceremonies following Queen Elizabeth’s passing with a sense of deep sadnessfor her family and nation.But what struck me most was her crown and scepter resting on a purple pillow atop her coffin.
Even though she had faithfully and sacrificially served her country for over 70 years, she could not take them with her!
Every symbol of her wealth, her power, her God-given authority and responsibility, had to be left behind. Her scepter, known to hold the largest colorless diamond in the entire world, her crown the second largest, all left behind as she entered eternity. She entered just as we will one day–either a sinner saved by grace, or one who refused God’s gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us there will be crowns in heaven, crowns far more valuable than the crown Queen Elizabeth or any earthly royalty leave behind. In fact, Scripture specifically mentions 5 crowns.
Imperishable (1Corinthians 9:25) Presented to believers who have victory over the world, the flesh, and Satan.
The Crown of Rejoicing (1Thesselonians 2:19) Presented to those who win souls.
The Crown of Life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10) Presented to martyrs.
The Crown of Glory (1Peter 5:4) Presented to the Shepherds of God’s flock.
The crown of Righteousness (2Timothy 4:8) Presented to those who look forward to Christ’s second coming.
Don’t you love what the Bible says we will do with our crowns? We will place them at our Savior’s feet as we worship Him. Chills run through me as I imagine that moment.
I’m excited that the Crown of Rejoicing is given to soul winners. There is nothing in this world–no amount of riches or fame, no earthly relationship, NOTHING–that gives more joy than praying with folks to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In our ministry, the ministry of The Fellowship of Christian Farmers, God uses something as ordinary and plain as a handmade walking stick to bring the Gospel to life in folks’ hearts.
This month has been a month without festivals, but Pete and I have kept busy preparing for the next several busy months. We’ve had serious flooding here in Florida and Pete has walked through mud and water just to get to the trailer for supplies.
We’ve been in touch with several new venues, filling out applications, praying to have an increased presence this season and reach more people with the Gospel. That is our passion. Young or old, the people we share with have no guarantee of tomorrow. They need Jesus. He alone will change their lives. He alone will never leave or forsake them. He alone can forgive their sins and offer them an eternal home in heaven.
When not working on drilling holes in the walking sticks and organizing the trailer, Pete hasspent time volunteering at ECHO where we first came to know Bill Brown and the FCFI ministry. He’s also spent time volunteering at our church.
On top of everything else, Pete has been working on our RV’s electrical. When we returned from Minnesota the lights in the front of the RV no longer worked. Without light, we could not read at night unless we headed back to our bedroom. Thankfully, through trial and error he fixed the electricity just yesterday. We are also grateful that the Lord has provided, and we will soon have a new air conditioner. Pete believes he can install it himself. We can’t wait. It’s been a hot August and September!
I’m thankful to be back leading our ladies group. This year we are studying Isaiah, learning to trust God more and more each day.
During our little break, I found time to design our new business cards for FCFI Once again God provided the funds to have them printed.
Our new business card.
Pete and I enjoyed a week off to spend time with family on the beach. The only ones missing were our son and daughter in law, youngest granddaughter, grandson, his wife and their son. It was a blessing to see the Minnesota and Florida cousins and their spouses together again.
As I write this month’s blog, I’m reminded of another crown, a crown without precious jewels or priceless gold. John describes the event this way:
Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe (John 19:1-2).
Jesus willingly allowed that crown to be placed on his head. He willingly went to the cross, suffered humiliation and an excruciating death. All because He loves us.
We are so blessed at this time in our lives to be able to share the greatest story of all–the story of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. And we are eternally grateful to those who support us with their prayers and finances. You are part of a team leading people to Jesus, the only way to salvation.
We are grateful for your prayers.
Pray that God will prepare us and those we will share with this season.
Pray for souls to be saved and people to return to the Lord.
Pray for the health and continued strength of all FCFI workers.
Pray for our applications to be approved for new venues and the funds to pay to be part of them.
Pray for our health. We have never fully recovered from our bouts with covid.
Sandy’s brother-in-law, Pat, was recently diagnosed with kidney cancer. His kidney will be removed on October 4. Pray for the doctors, his healing, peace for him and Diane, and Pat’s spiritual needs.
Our vehicle’s continued health.
Pray that many souls will be saved during this year’s events.
Pray specifically for our largest event, The Sunbelt festival in Georgia, taking place in October.
Please pray for more workers. The fields are white unto harvest.
Thank you so much for your prayer and financial support. I’ll include an updated calendar in next month’s blog. Until then we remain…
We’ve all heard the same words, followed by an extremely difficult question.
I’ve got good and badnews. Which do you want to hear first?
Personally, I usuallyprefer to hear the bad news first, because then the good news can overshadow the bad. So here goes…
For a good part of this summer, Pete and I havefelt the piercing of Satan’s arrows, flaming darts aimed at our hearts and our wills to fight on.We have done our best to duck every arrow, to pray them away, to smile and carry on. We have felt incredible pain as people we dearly love have faced life-altering and painful situations. Our inability to take the hurts away was almost too much to bear. I doubt that I’ll ever forget the day I was on the phone with a loved one who could only gasp out heartbreaking sobs.
No words. Only sobs.
And there was nothing we could do, other than pray prayers that to us seemed so weak.
Besides that, we have faced a summer long struggle with lost mail, mail that was important for us to receive. Just days after arriving in Minnesota, we were attacked by the arrows of illness, thankfully not another round of Covid.Sandy fell down a full flight of stairs, hurting her neck and back and is still fighting the pain. And then there was the debilitating illness of a loved one in Florida who required hospitalization, and a granddaughter who was forced to go into labor a month early to save her kidneys, perhaps even her life.On top of everything, our dog’s trachea collapsed. We barely got past one arrow-pierce, and we’d be hit again.
Because of all these things, we had to reconsider our summer schedule. Events we had planned and looked forward to had to be cancelled. Our hearts were broken.
And then just at the right moment, Godreminded me of the words of Charles Spurgeon, words I’d read a long, long time ago:
“Consider how precious a soul must be when both God and the devil are after it”
Jesus said, “For what will itprofit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”Matthew 16:26
I thought about that for quite some time, asking myself three questions:
Is the enemy trying to discourage us because God has someone He wants us to witness to, someone He knows is ready to hear the story of Jesus sacrificing His life so they could have forgiveness of sin and gain eternal life?
IfSatan has arrows, don’t you think God has arrows of His own?
Whose arrows are stronger, Satan’s or God’s?
NOW THE GOOD NEWS
The LORD does have arrows of His own, and He has promised to protect and fight for His children.
Then the LORD will appear over them, and his arrow will go forth like lightning…Zechariah 9:14
You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day… Psalm 91:5.
The LORD has provided for our defense. Satan will do everything he can to stop us from doing what the LORD has called us to do. We must prepare for battle by staying in the word and dressing each day in the spiritual armor God has provided.
Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all to stand firm. Ephesians 6:11-13
Belt of Truth
Breastplate of Righteousness
Combat boots, the gospel of peace
Shield of Faithwith which you will extinguish flaming darts of the enemy
Helmet of Salvation
Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.
Just days after arriving in Minnesota I was talking with my friend Joyce, telling her about my latest arrow piercing. God often uses Joyce to say things that I desperately need to hear. “Ever since committing to your ministry with the Fellowship of Christian Farmers, you and Pete have been under attack.” She spoke encouraging truth, because trials mean that Satan views us as a threat, and her words reminded us to put our armor on each day.
Praise God! Just one of His arrows is far mightier than all of the enemy’s arrows put together!
God is our refuge from the enemy’s arrows. As we read and reread Psalm 91, we rested in the shadow of His wings.
GOOD NEWS FROM THE BATTLEFIELD
One of the bestgifts of summer was the birth of our third great grandbaby, Milo. Little Milo’s birth started out shaky, with our granddaughter spending over a week in the hospital prior to his premature birth at8 months. He needed care in the NICU.But he was released from care much sooner than predicted and is a healthy, beautiful baby with wonderful parents who love him dearly.
We were blessed to spend time with family we don’t see and fellowship with friends from years ago. Friends Dessa and Martin have been through horrendous times over the last few years with Martin going through a kidney transplant followed by injuries from a serious accident, yet they are amazing testimonies of God’s power and are filled with joy, faithfulness, and a growing faith.
Our son and daughter-in-law, Peter and Chris. Living almost 2000 miles away from them, makes us treasure the times we are together.
Our youngest granddaughter, Emily, graduated from high school with honors. How is it possible that our youngest grandchild has graduated? The answer can only be that we are growing older.
But there is little that can compare to the opportunity to share the gospel with a world that desperately needs to hear.
We were grateful to have opportunity to do so again this year in Anoka, Minnesotaat their huge outdoor art and craft fair. It was exciting when people came up to us with the sticks they were given last year. Others who had received sticks last year returned with friends who had not, wanting us to share the story of the beads with them.The impact of the ministry of The Fellowship of Christian Farmers was not forgotten, thanks to folks like you who keep us lifted up in prayer and support the ministry. We are grateful that we were able to share the story with about 250 folks in a state where it can be very difficult to witness.
Pete handing out sticks and sharing the story from the back of our vehicle.
Yes, it does get hot in Minnesota. For a good part of the summer temps were in the 90’s. On this day it was well over 90 and not a breeze to be felt! But what a blessing to work with my sister again this year. We, and little Bella, found shadeto sit in while attaching the beads to the sticks
The back of the car was packed full when we started, and we handed out all the walking sticks in a matter of hours.Praise God!
We made it home to Florida yesterday.
This coming Saturday we will be handing out walking sticks at a music festival at Punta Gorda’s Fisherman’s Village.
Please keep us in prayer for this upcoming season of ministry. We appreciate each of you and are grateful for the role you play in reaching others for Christ.
If you are reading this and do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, it’s as simple as putting your trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Talk to Him from your heart. Tell Him this:
I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to pay for my sin and rose again on the third day. I repent (turn away from) my sin and confess Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I surrender my life to Jesus and invite Him in. I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus.
Please let us know if you have made this decision. it’s the most important decision of your life. If you do not have a Bible and cannot afford one, we will be happy to send one to you. It’s also important that you talk to the Lord every day, just as you would talk to a loving Father. He loves you and cares about every aspect of your life. You are important to God! Also, find a good church to attend, one that teaches the Bible and helps you grow as a Christian.
God bless you all. I will share this season’s schedule in our next blog. Thankfully, our schedule is filling up, but we still have dates available and would love to visit your church to share a bit about the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Farmers.
Most of us have sung the words to this old song: One is the loneliest number. And while one may be lonely, the Bible makes it clear that one is of incredible valueto our Lord.
In the Bible we read of one lost son, one lost coin, one lost pearl of great price and one lost sheep.
In thismonth’s blog you will not read about thousands of walking sticks handed out or hundreds praying to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Instead, the focus will be on the value of one.
Before leaving for Minnesota, Pete and I were invited to set up the Fellowship of Christian Farmers’ tent for Easter service along the banks of the beautiful Peace River in Punta Gorda, Florida. The music was fantastic, and Pastor Aaron Smith of The Rock Calvary Chapel gavea powerful resurrection message. Following the message, several made decisions for Christ, and Pete and I were blessed to give Family Devotion Bibles to new believers.
Following the service, the church provided free food for all– hamburgers, BBQ, hotdogs, and drinks. While everyone stood in line for food, one young man, about 12-years-old, came up to our tent. As we shared the story of the beads with him, his attention was clearly fixed on the meaning of each single bead.
And this one precious boy prayed for salvation. Even though we gave away countless walking sticks and toys that day, this young man was the only one who made a salvation decision under the Fellowship of Christian Farmers’ tent.
Oh, the plans God must have for this one pearl of great price!
As we do prior to beginning all our journeys, Pete and I prayed for opportunities to share the Gospel and Fellowship of Christian Farmer walking sticks with those we would meet along our road to Minnesota. He faithfully answered, opening several doors as we headed north.
Even so, we had a knowing that God had something more, a specific person He was determined that we meet. And as we traveled north that knowing kept growing.
The opportunity came in Iowa City.
And the enemy did all he could to thwart God’s plans.
We had faithfully made hotel reservations for every night on the road except our final night. It wasn’t that the hotel chain we like to stay with didn’t have vacancies in our destination town of Iowa City. They did. But the nightly rate was far more than we would ever consider spending. Even though Pete told me to go ahead and book a room, I could not force myself to spend that kind of money for one night’s lodging. We would soon learn that the enemy didn’t want us staying there either. Several times I went to the reservation page, filled in all the required information right up to where it asked for our credit card, only to exit out of reservations before taking that final step to reserve.
“I can’t do it,” I told Pete. “I figured out that the hotel is right next to the University of Iowa Medical Center. That’s why it’s so expensive.”
Just hours before we were to stop for the night, I gave in to Pete’s prompting. “We’ve stayed under budget,” he said. “It’s where we’re supposed to spend the night.”
As I walked toward the check-in desk, a money-saving temptation popped into my mind. I won’t tell them we have a dog. If we sneak Bella in, we can at least save the $40 pet fee. After all, they’re charging us too much already.
That’s when another voice spoke to my heart. Isn’t that cheating? Will cheating honor God?
With dollar signs fading from view and my head back on straight, I checked in telling the young lady at the desk that we have a dog. “Oh, how sweet,” she said. “I’d love to see her.”
The above photo tells some of the story. Like us, Bellaenjoyed her stay with a clear conscience. She enjoyed looking out the window without fear of being spotted and was able to relax enough to enjoy her treats. We were able to share the walking sticks and story of the beads with hotel staff (walking sticks are leaning against the dresser), knowing we had not been deceptive.
And when we checked out, we found out the hotel was actually no more expensive than the others. Maybe because of their proximity to the hospital and the amount of companion dogs they hosted, we were not charged for Bella. Besides that, taxes in Iowa were far less than the other states we stayed in.
The next morning Pete had his weekly early morning zoom meeting. To give him the privacy he needed, I headed down to the hotel’s breakfast area for a cup of coffee. After selecting a table in a corner by the window where I could get some reading done, I headed straight for the shiny coffee urn.
On my way back to my table I passed a lady sitting alone at a long table that could have accommodated at least 10 people. “You can sit with me,” she offered.
“That’s ok. I’m waiting for my husband, and I already have a place to sit.” I pointed to the far corner of the room where my phone and reading material reserved my perfect table for two.
What’s wrong with you! The thought invaded my head before I reached my table. That woman is lonesome. How can you turn your back on her? I picked up my belongings and returned to the lady’s table. “I’d love to sit with you.” I placed my coffee cup on the table. “Thanks for the invite.”
We had barely finished introductions (her name is Connie), before she started telling me her story. A large pink pillow-like contraption was wrapped around her middle to protect the areas where she’d recently had surgery. “This hasn’t been a good year for me.” She adjusted her pink pillow. “First my house burned down, forcing me to live in my garage, and now this.” She pointed to her pillow. “Cancer in the lining of my chest. They aren’t sure they got it all.”
I felt useless and had no idea what to say to this precious woman who had been through so much. Lord, give me the right words. Don’t let me speak until you want me to speak and only let me say the things you want me to say. As I became powerfully aware of my inadequacy and His adequacy, a peace came over me, a feeling that God was in control of my tongue and heart.
I quietly listened to her story; a tale of a life filled with disappointments. It was the story of a young 18-year-old girl who bought her first home just before entering the military, the home that had just burned to the ground, the home where she raised her children on her own, where she fought hard through multiple illnesses and devastating losses.
And when the silence came, I asked the only question God had placed on my lips. “May I pray for you?”
She nodded and bowed her head as I gently placed my hand on her shoulder. By this time Pete had joined us and I knew he was silently praying because the words that flowed from my mouth did not come from my mind, carefully crafted to sound holy and powerful. They were simple, an answer to Pete’s silent prayer and my earlier prayer that God would only let me say the things He wanted me to say.
I don’t remember all that I prayed. These are the details I recall: I prayed for the doctors treating her that God’s hand would be on them, filling them with wisdom and skill. I prayed for Connie’s healing and that Connie would know how much God loves her, that Jesus died to pay for her sins…I remember praying the full Gospel presentation, everything except the commitment question, because at the very moment I should have asked the question her friend, a rough looking man with an even rougher sounding vocabulary, approached to reminded her that it was time to leave for her doctor appointment.
She quickly left her half-full coffee cup on the table and walked away.
Pete and I stayed at the large table for quite some time after Connie and her friend left. I’m not sure why but her coffee cup sitting on the table as if it was waiting for her return touched my heart with sadness.
Connie would not return.
A heaviness fell on my spirit. I hadn’t had opportunity to pray with Connie for salvation. Connie was seriously ill. Who knew how many days or months she had before she would take her final breath?
“I feel so sad.” I reached across the table for Pete’s hand. “I didn’t ask Connie if she wanted to trust Jesus. Even though it was time for her doctor appointment, I should have.” Even before the words were out of my mouth, God reminded me of the prayer He had answered just minutes before.
Onlylet me say the things you want me to say.
There are times I don’t understand what God is doing. Why didn’t he prevent the rough-mouth man from interrupting just when it was time to ask Connie if she wanted to be saved?
I don’t know.
But I trust.
I trust that God’s ways are always perfect. I trust that He has someone else who will talk to Connie at just the right time, and she will have the opportunity to turn to Jesus for salvation. After all, if God cares about a single lost son, one lost pearl, one lost coin, or one lost sheep, he cares all the more for one lost and cancer-ridden Connie.
I pray and I continue to trust that one day in heaven Connie and I will sit down, perhaps at a table for two. We’ll talk about Jesus over cups of delicious steaming drinks and Connie will share all the details of how she came to know Jesus. There will be no talk of cancer or homes burning to ashes. Great joy will fill every word.
And not one drop of our heavenly drinks will be left in our cups when our conversation is over.
I’mreminded of Paul’s words in 1Timothy 2:3-6:
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
As I write this blog, we’ve been in Minnesota for a week.It has been a joy reconnecting with family, and we look forward to seeing old friends in the weeks to come.We continue to firm up ministry plans for this summer and fall.
We are grateful for each person, including each of you, God has placed in our lives.
Our great grandson Jesse grows so much between each of our visits to Minnesota.
Our great granddaughter precious Stella Marie. I wonder how much she will grow and change while we are in Minnesota.
Our granddaughter Cassie, her husband Eric, and our newest great grandbaby who will soon make his entrance into this world. We made it to Minnesota in time to celebrate their baby shower. Such joy!
Sandy and her 93-year-young mom at the baby shower.
Pete and his sister Diane at the shower.
Sandy and her nutty sister Diane.
What a joy to attend our granddaughter, Emily’s, last high school band concert.
And in-between the fun times, we make plans for future ministry events. We have already made the necessary contacts to take part in Farmfest, a 50 acre event with over 500 exhibitors and vendors. This is a huge event, on par with the one in Georgia.
We have started work on plans to be part of this year’s International Conference on Missions (ICOM) which will take place on November 3-5 in Columbus, Ohio at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. At this time there are already 300 mission organizations registered and we earnestly pray God will work it out so we will be able to be part of this important conference. What a joy it will be to take part in this event and share the work and vision of the Fellowship of Christian Farmers with churches and other mission groups. An added bonus is that our son, Peter, will be one of the speakers.May God’s will be done.
Pete and I are so grateful for your prayers and support. We treasure you all.Please continue to keep us in prayer.Weneed your powerful prayers as we travel the road leading closer and closer to the return of our Savior Jesus Christ.
PraiseGod for safe travel to Minnesota and for His repair of our car air conditioner.
Praise Him for the prayer and financial supportfrom dear friends and family.
Praise Him for continued health and ability for both of us to be in ministry together at this time in our lives.
Praise God for each person we come in contact with and the story we have to share.
Most of all, we praise God for salvation and God’s plan for our lives…and your life.
Please pray for Bill Brown’s health and strength as he continues fighting cancer.
Pray for Pete’s brother Dave. His stomach tumor has returned, larger than before surgery. He is currently battling pneumonia.
Pray for the folks we have shared with that they will grow in Christ and that they will be protected from the enemy’s lies and snares.
Please pray for Connie, thelady from Iowa with cancer. Pray for her healing and most of all, her salvation. She is important to God, a precious lost pearl.
Our time with Bill and Kathy in New York in July for Stick Days and additional events. Safe travel, provision, souls saved, precious fellowship, and lots of sticks readied for next season’s events.
Wisdom and God’s will for a recently discovered scheduling conflict. We want to make the right choice.
Sandy fell down a flight of stairs and is having quite a bit of pain in her back and neck following the fall. Please pray for healing.
Please pray for upcoming events, Anoka’s Craft Fair, Farmfest, additional events we have learned of just today that we will be wise in making decisions.
Please pray that we will be able to attend the International Conference on Missions November 3-5. The cost for a 10 x10 booth space is high, $495, plus the cost of travel and transporting the sticks to Ohio.
Thank you. We treasure your prayers and we pray for you. May you always be…
“They gave us a spot on a hill.” There was more than a hint of disappointment in Bill’s voice. “Besides that, the ground is uneven,” one of the men added. “We’re concerned about those who have trouble walking. Someone could fall and get hurt.”
I’d seen a whole lot more flat land than hills since arriving in South Carolina, so I was surprised by the conversation as the men walked through the door of the townhome our Fellowship of Christian Farmers group was staying in during Flowertown Festival. It was the day before the opening of the event and all of the guys–Bill, Pastor Rob, Steve, and Pete–had spent the day setting up tents, tables, and chairs for the festival.
Thankfully, the hill problem was solved by sharing with those in wheelchairs and those who had difficulty walking at the entrance to our tent which was at street level, while the remainder of folks heard the story of the beads at the top of the hill where there were plenty of chairs and walking sticks.
The situation got me to thinking about the significance of the hills and mountains mentioned in the Bible.
I thought of Mount Sinai, the mountain where God delivered the law to Moses. For the Israelites it was a mountain that evoked trembling terror and acute awareness of sinful man’s enormous distance from holy God.
And then I thought of Mount Zion where the Temple once stood and where it will stand again. This mountain represents the New Covenant summarized in Ephesians 2:8-9, a verse we often share when telling the story of the beads:
For by grace you have been saved by faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Mount Zion (the New Jerusalem, New Heaven and Earth) is where Christians will live forever in the presence of God, the judge of us all. We will have nothing to fear on this mountain because of one single event that took place on another mountain.
THE MOUNT CALLED CALVARY
Mount Calvary is the location of the greatest event of history. This was the hill where Jesus died, the hill where Jesus shed his precious blood to pay the debt in full for our sin. No one can get to Zion without going through Calvary.
And all Jesus asks is that we believe…that we have what is called saving faith.
WHAT IS SAVING FAITH?
Saving faith is not believing in Jesus the same way we believe in George Washington. We believe that George Washington is a real person in history, but we do not trust him to do anything for us today.
Saving faith is not believing in Jesus simply for temporal needs such as safety when we travel or enough money to pay our bills. This is good and God wants us to trust Him for these things, but it’s not the faith that gets us to heaven.
Saving faith is trusting Jesus Christ alonefor our salvation, for eternal life. We don’t trust our own good works, church attendance, giving, or anything other than Jesus who died on the cross to pay for our sins, rose from death, and is alive today.
It’s the message of the beads. It’s the GOOD NEWS OF EASTER. And what a great privilege it is to go to crowded streets, like the streets during Flowertown Festival, and share the greatest story ever told.
Pete and I are blessed!
Our team–Bill and Kathy, Steve and Chris, Rob and Sue, Leona, Diane, Pete and I–shared the Gospel with 2000 at the Flowertown Festival. It was the first event that Pete and I have been part of that we actually ran out of walking sticks! We were too busy to keep accurate track of the number of people who prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. All we can report is that countless folks made this life changing decision.
Whenever we had a free minute, we prepared the walking sticks to be given out. In this picture Leona and Sue are busy adding the beads and cards to the walking sticks.
Our plan had been for the women in our group to leave the festival a little early so we could return to the townhouse to prepare dinner while the guys talked to the last few people and secured our site for the night. From previous experience we knew that things slow down between 3:30 and 4:00p.m. That wasn’t the case during Flowertown. The crowds never eased up, even after announcements were made that the festival grounds were closed.
It is never all work when we get this group together…especially when we’re together on April Fools Day. We thought we’d come up with a great prank on Bill by arranging our clothes on the floor as if we’d all been raptured. Bill didn’t fall for our joke for several reasons, one of which was the lack of underwear. Oh how we laughed!
Pastor Rob shared the Gospel with many folks. I wish I had gotten a photo of everyone as they shared, but we were just too busy to take many photos. And that’s the best news because God was at work in amazing ways at the Flowertown Festival.
South Carolina is deep inside the Bible Belt and one might think almost everyone here is saved. But that is not the case. Some folks do not even own a Bible.
I spoke with a mom and her adult son who were tragically lost. The mom was into wicca and told me that they use the same color beads in their outreach. “Of course, the color of the beads has a different meaning,” she explained. Her son was in theatre and had his own beliefs. I asked if he had ever read the Bible and he said he had not. “If I give you the Gospel of John, will you read it?” As I handed him the Gospel, he promised he would read it, adding this: “When I make a promise, I keep it.”
Later that day, I had just started sharing the story of the beads with a group of people when out of the corner of my eye I saw a young teen sneak up on the pile of walking sticks. Her legs were bent as if by making herself shorter she wouldn’t be seen, and her eyes darted in every direction.
She was about to steal something that could be hers for free!
“You may have a walking stick,” I assured the young girl. “All you have to do is listen to the story of the beads.” Clearly, she was embarrassed as she slumped toward the one remaining empty seat in my circle of chairs. When I was done sharing the Gospel, the young girl said she wanted to pray to invite Jesus into her heart. After praying, I asked her if she had a Bible at home and she told me she didn’t. Praise God, we were able to give her a Bible!
It’s impossible to count God’s gifts as we minister with The Fellowship of Christian Farmers. I’m sure I can’t even remember all the gifts He gave us in S.C. But one of the gifts that stood out to me was people of various races and backgrounds coming together, praying together, talking about Jesus together in little circles of fellowship. Calvary brings people together and for me, it was just a taste of what eternity will be like.
This precious family (per their request we did not include their children in the photo) stopped by our booth to bless us! Their young son (about 10 years old) prayed over us with authority and power that could only come from the Holy Spirit. Then the dad and mom prayed over us with the same Spirit. These folks own a nearby B & B and they invited us to stay with them for a couple days after the festival. Sadly, none of us could accept their generous offer because of previous commitments. Isn’t our God amazing!
AFTER THE FESTIVAL
We left the Fellowship of Christian Farmers crew about 6a.m. Monday morning and headed to the lumber yard to load up more sticks before heading home.
Easter Sunday we will be at Laishley Park in Punta Gorda on the banks of the Peace River handing out free walking sticks and gifts for the kids. The Easter event is sponsored by The Rock Church in Punta Gorda and starts at 9:30. After the Easter service, there will be water slides and food trucks. What a great way to celebrate Easter with the family!
From May 10-14 we travel to Minnesota, sharing the Gospel and walking sticks with those the Lord brings our way.
In June we will be in Anoka Minnesota (the Halloween capital of the world), handing out walking sticks at their huge Arts Festival.
In July we head to Marcy NY to help with stick days where we will prepare sticks for our upcoming events.
Thank you to everyone who supports us with your prayers and gifts. We are beyond grateful. You are part of every person who comes to Christ, every person who receives assurance, and everyone who receives a sincere touch of love and compassion at one of the events.
Please pray for Bill and Kathy as Bill continues his battle with cancer.
Pastor Rob and his wife Sue as he faces serious medical issues and wisdom in the decisions they must make. Pastor Rob and Sue are church planters and join us at several events.
All the people who prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior in South Carolina and at all the events this season that they will find good church homes where they will grow in Christ.
Those who did not pray, that God will continue to work in their hearts, calling them to Calvary and the free gift of salvation He offers.
Please pray especially for a young woman I met in S.C. who got tears in her eyes and backed away when I started to share the Gospel. This woman has been seriously hurt in the church. Pray for her healing so she will have the courage to turn to Jesus, the one who will never hurt or disappoint her.
Please pray for safe travel for Pete and I as we travel north and that we will be open to all the people God sends our way.
Please pray that all our needs will be met as we travel over 6200 miles this summer.
Please pray for continued health for Pete and I.
Have a blessed Easter. He is risen and He is working in our world today.
Do you ever forget where you put something important, like your eyeglasses or cell phone?I admit, I do it far too often.
JUST YESTERDAY I FORGOT SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT.
Iforgot to include an encouraging picture and story in the blog. In fact, I didn’t remember until I was crawling into bed. Why do I always remember important things when I’m going to bed???
Here is the story and picture. I’m sure you’ll be as blessed as we were last Saturday at the ECHOevent when a small group of children approached our tent. We thought they were going to ask for bottles of bubbles or walking sticks. But that’s not what they wanted.
These precious children wanted to sing a song for us! And so they did!
“My heart was dark with sin, until the Savior came in. His precious blood I know, has washed me white as snow. And in His Word I’m told, I’ll walk the streets of gold. To grow in Christ each day, I read my Bible and pray.”
Whata sweet gift to hear the story of the beads (also known as the Wordless Book) sung by these dear children! I simply can’t stop looking at their precious faces. I wish we could take them with us to all our events.
Looking up the song, I learned that it was written way back in 1940 by Frances M. Johnston and has been used in Sunday schools and child evangelism ministries for generations! I’m so thankful that God never gives up on us humans. He continues to speak to each generation.
Thanks for reading. Please keep us in prayer as we travel to South Carolina the end of March. Look for our next blog in April following the S.C. FlowertownFestival.Sending our love from Punta Gorda, FL–Pete and Sandy
World events of the last few weeks have left Pete and I feeling as if we are standing on the very tipping point of human history–the history prophesized thousands of years ago in God’s Word. Like so many, we have opened our Bibles to Revelation, Ezekiel 38,and the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 24.
Most important, we have sensed a tipping point urgency to share the Gospel. We look at each person we encounter with eyes more focused on eternity, asking:
“Have her/his eyes seen Jesus?”
“Are his/her ears open to the message of salvation?”
“Has she or he prayed to ask Jesus into their heart?”
“Does this person know that Godloves them so much that he gave hisonly Son to die on the cross and all she or he must do toreceive eternal life is believe in Jesus Christ(John 3:16)?”
“Do they realize that it is by God’s gracethey are saved through faith, and that it has nothing to do with the good or bad they do, it is a free gift of God(Ephesians 2:8-9)?”
IN A TIPPING POINT WORLD,
THE MOST URGENT TIPPING POINT QUESTION IS ONE WE ASK EACH PERSON WE OFFER A WALKING STICK TO.
“DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE YOU ARE GOING TO HEAVEN?”
We come across many people who say, “Yes, I know I’m going to heaven because I’ve asked Jesus into my heart.”
But sadly, others say, “Well, I hope so. I go to church, and I try to be a good person.” These folks are trusting their own good works instead of trusting Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.
Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it perfectly clear: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
During the last few weeks, it seems hearts have been more open. When we share the simple gospel truth, people seem more willing to listen and many repent of their sin and place their trust in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation.
Sadly, many do not. While in Zolfo Springs earlier this month, God gave me the opportunity to share with a man who identified himself as an atheist. He came to his conclusion without ever opening a Bible and refused to accept a Gospel of John. I can think of nothing more tragic than to stand at the tipping point of one’s life, struggling to take those final breaths without knowing Jesus.
May I share a few stories and photos of some of the people who work with the Fellowship of Christian Farmers International (FCFI), and those who recently responded to the Good News. We praise God each time a man, woman, or child accepts Jesus’ offer of salvation. These stories are just a sampling of what happens at events where we hand out walking sticks and share the salvation message. The stories happened in February and thus far in March.
God is using the walking stick ministry of FCFI in miraculous ways. We take no credit. Jesus is the ONE who opens eyes, ears, and hearts to the amazing truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is also the One who gives believers the courage and confidence to share the gospel with others.
In February Bill Brown, Ron Herrold, Cliff Kitchen, Valerie Roman, Josiah Gant, Pete, and others with FCFI traveled to Louisianna to help those who had not yet recovered from summer hurricanes. Generous gifts for this event included a tractor and $8100 worth of generators and chain saws!
These folks (Pete is in the back left) gave of their time and finances to cut up downed trees, reroof, and replace rafters. They also shared walking sticks and the message of salvation.
February also found us at the Swamp Cabbage Festival in LaBelle where we gave out about 1200 walking sticks and shared the story of the beads with that many folks. About 100 people repented of their sin and prayed to ask Jesus into their hearts.
A group of 8-10 teenagers stopped by the FCFI tent. Undaunted by peer pressure, every one of the teens prayed to receive Jesus
A young man who had recently moved to the area was living with extreme loneliness and had many family problems. He prayed to receive Christ and also requested prayer for his hurting family.
A teenager by the name of Hannah prayed with Pete to invite Jesus into her life. After praying she showed Pete her arms which were covered in scars and fresh slashes. She was a cutter, and she wanted to stop. Please join us in prayer for Hannah, for victory over the forces seeking to destroy her.
Even though I’m dealing with some health issues and had to leave earlier than planned, I was able to see God work in amazing ways. All seven of the first seven people I shared the story of the beads with prayed for salvation. That has never happened to me before.
As mentioned earlier, I believe God is using the troubling days we are living into cause people to think about eternal things and soften their hearts.
Bill, Kathy, and Bill’s daughter Laurie traveled to LaBellefor Swamp Cabbage.
Laurie worked hard all day preparing the walking sticks with beads and Bible verse cards. At the end of the day, she was able to give away one of the sticks she’d prepared and share the gospel with someone who stopped by our tent.
Rick, one of the first people we met when we moved to Florida over 30 years ago, came out to help with the event. He prepared walking sticks, shared the gospel, and caught up on days gone by with Pete. One of the men from Pete’s Bible study also came out to the event. After spending the day witnessing, he told Pete, “Telling people about Jesus has never been so easy.”
God has put the most wonderful folks in our lives.
It was evident that God’s presence was powerful at the Swamp Cabbage Festival. One of the things I willnever forgetis seeing a young woman in a beautiful green blouse walking through the festival grounds. She was heading in our direction and in my heart, I could hear God speak to me. “Step toward her. She is ready and she will pray for salvation today.” What a great blessing and joy it was to pray with this woman as she invited Jesus into her heart to be her Savior and Lord.
We must never ignore God’s voice when He tells us to witness or offer help to a stranger. That stranger’s life may very well be at their salvation “tipping point.”
Just four days after the Swamp Cabbage Festival, we madeour way to Zolfo Springs, Florida for the Pioneer Days Celebration where we handed out over 2000 walking sticks and over 200, perhaps even more, prayed to receive Jesus during the four-day event.
We are always grateful for volunteers who are passionate to share the gospel.Pioneer Days brought out some of the most passionatefolks we’ve ever worked alongside.
Travis, the Youth Pastor from an Arcadia Baptist church, did a great job of sharing the gospel with the young and not-so-young.
We can’t stop praising God for all He did at Pioneer Days. We witnessed new Christians walk away with their sticks, share the bead story with others, give their sticks away, and come back for another walking stick. One new believer shared the good news with seven friends just minutes after she was saved. The Gospel is so simple that even a child can understand. That’s the way God planned it. He didn’t make it difficult. There’s no need for a college degree to witness or understand how to receive His free gift of salvation.
Jesus loves children. The well-known story in Luke 18:16-17reveals the place children have in the ministry of Jesus.
“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Becauseof the priority Jesus placed on reaching children and because of His love for them, we welcome children into our tent, giving them inexpensive little toys, child size walking sticks, lots of love and attention as we share the story of the beads with them. When a child asks Jesus into his or her heart, we always make certain they have a Bible in their home. What a joy it is to be able to give families the Family Devotional Bible. We recently gave one to a new Christian dad who attends our church. That young man proudly carries the Bible with colorful pictures on its cover to church every Sunday.
Two precious little brothers whose mom prayed to accept Jesus are happy to pose for a photo with their new family Bible.
Thank you! Thank you for your generous gifts so we can buy Bibles. Thanks to you, we have also been able to purchase a supply of The Gospel of John. Included in this little book is a clear salvation message.
Do you notice anything different about our tent? It’s new!
On the first day of the Pioneer Days celebration a strong windblew in from seemingly out of nowhere. It blew past row after row of tents and displays without blowing one thing away. The it perched itself in all of its crazy power on our tent where it blew papers, toys, and books away. The most expensive thing we lost was our tent. The winds not only blew it down, but they also twisted its metal frame beyond repair. By the time the winds quieted down, all we could do was throw our tent in the trash.
To say we were disappointed and discouraged is an understatement.
Back at our hotel room, just a few hours later, Pete’s phone rang. It was Ron and Deb Herrold who had been working with us all day. They had gone to Cosco and wanted to let us know they were buying a new tent for the ministry! God is so good! The heat that weekend was intense, breaking all previous records. There was no way we could have stood out under the blazing sun all day without the shade the new tent provided.
There just aren’t words to express our gratitude.
Some people we meet and the stories they share are heartbreaking and unforgettable. It says a lot to me that when the folks who are burdened down with tremendous struggles, know that the Fellowship of CHRISTIAN Farmers is a safe place, a place where they will receive prayer and find God’s perfect love. Paul, the man pictured above, is someone we will never forget. He was a struggling Christian with many questions. His adult daughter had been killed in a car accident a couple years earlier. Following her death, his son-in-law committed suicide, leaving this man and his wife to raise their grandchildren. After being told his son-in-law who had accepted Jesus as his Savior, would not make it into heaven because he’d taken his own life, this man was overwhelmed with questions and living in despair. He also questioned his own salvation due to giving in to temptation. He was not attending church and Bible reading was no longer part of his daily routine. After we prayed for this man, by the end of our time together, he agreed to return to church and to spend time in God’s Word. He also agreed to have devotions with his grandchildren using the Family Devotion Bible we were able to give him. The next day he returned with his precious grandchildren, and God gave opportunity to pray with them.Please join us in praying for Paul and his family.
Another grandparent came to the FCFI tent. She was frail and worn as she tried to keep track of her two grandchildrenwho ran around taking merchandise off vendor’s tables without paying. Our conversation was repeatedly interrupted by the distressing cries of her grandchildren when they were forced to return the merchandise–a child’s backpack, a colorful sombrero–items they could not afford. During our conversation, I learned that the children’s mother was in prison because she was caught driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The children stood by their grandmother’s side weepingand between sobs saying how much they missed their mommy. It was heartbreaking when the grandmother and children did not pray to receive Christ. What a comfort to know that God’s Word never returns void. The Scripture shared and the verses on the card she walked away with are with her. Maybe she went home and prayed to receive Jesus, or maybe God will send someone else into her lifeand she will pray with that person. That is in God’s hands, which are far more capable than ours. When the woman walked away, she suddenly turned around and said, “I do have something I would like you to pray about. Will you pray that my daughter gets out of prison and comes home before Easter? The children need her home for Easter.” We prayed together for the mom’s return and continue to pray every day for that and for this family’s salvation.Will you lift them up right now?
Finally, last weekend we were at ECHO.
For the second year (last year the event was cancelled due to covid) we were blessed to hand out walking sticks and share the Gospel at ECHO’s biggest community event of the year–Global Food and Farm Festival. Since ECHO is a Christian non-profit many of the people who attend this event already know Jesus.
But not alldo.
Pete witnessed to a young single mom who gave her life to Jesus. When he asked if she owned a Bible she replied, “I think my mom and dad have one someplace.” Our latest shipment of Family Devotion Bibles hadn’t yet arrived, and we only had one left. Pete knew this woman and her son were the ones who should be given the last Bible. Praise God, our Bibles arrived two days later.
The first people Pete spoke with that day, a family with two children, all prayed to receive Christ as Lord and Savior.
Later in the day, a family consisting of dad, mom, and 2 little boys stopped by the tent. It quickly became obvious that the dad wanted nothing to do with the walking sticks or the message. He paced back and forth and ended up walking away, but his precious wife and sons stayed, and the two little boys prayed to ask Jesus into their hearts as the mother stood by them with tears of joy washing her face. She later returned with her sons to take their picture with me. This was a momentous day for this mom. As she positioned us for the picture, she made certain she got the Fellowship of Christian Farmers banner in her photo. We praise God for this mom and her sons and continue to pray for the dad’s salvation.
Whatan amazing joy to know that we will see this sweet mom and her two precious sons again one day in heaven where we will sit on the shores of the River of Life and talk about Jesus and all He has done for us.
It gives me shivers to think about this each time I meet a believer at one of our events or am part of leading someone to Christ. This is not the last time I will see this person, I remind myself, One day we will meet again in heaven and they will tell me about God’s work in their lives and how He never left them, how He was there in the good times and the difficult times giving them strength, working through them.
March 19 Revival in Wauchula
March 29 Leave for South Carolina event
March 30-31 Set up for Flowertown Festival in Summerville South Carolina
April 1-3 Flowertown Festival
April 17 Laisly Park Easter celebration (waiting for confirmation)
May 10-13 Travel to Minnesota, sharing walking sticks and message
July 8-10 Travel to Marcy New York for Stick Days
July 12-16 Stick Days. Volunteers work together to cut, sand, and prepare walking sticks for the upcoming year’s events.
Please pray for the growth of folks who have received Jesus at recent events.
The children who have received Jesus.
Upcoming events that God will prepare us, and the folks Jesus brings our way.
Bill Brown’s health as he battles cancer.
Our health and strength.
The heartbreaking events around the worldwill be used to draw folks to Christ.
God’s continued provision as we travel with much higher gas prices.
Praise God for His continued and miraculous provision as we face rising costs.
Because of the drastic rise in fuel costs, we have decided it will not be wise to take the RV north this year. Pete says that at today’s prices, it will take$1000 for one fill-up. We will be gone during hurricane season so please pray for protection on our RV. The RV is our Florida home.
Also, as you read the blog, please pray for each request mentioned.
Thank you for your prayers and support. It means so much. We are blessed to call you friend and blessed that God has allowed us to spend our retirement years serving Him. May each of you be blessed and grow in your love for our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
Perhaps you remember an old Sunday School song from childhood that goes like this:
Running over, running over, my cup is full and running over. Since the Lord saved me, I’m as happy as can be. My cup is full and running over.
That song pretty much describes our hearts. As we look over the last several weeks, we recall countless prayers answered, souls saved, and needs met according to His riches, certainly not ours.
Let me share some of the amazing things God has done.
Stella Marie, our second great grandchild, was born. She is gorgeous, peaceful, and despite last minute cautions, is 100% healthy. How we praise God for our precious little lamb!
As we shared in a previous blog, we were in need of a vehicle able to pull the Fellowship of Christian Farmers’ trailer. With the cost of diesel going up every day, it is no longer wise to use our RV to travel to events (it averages 8 mpg). We made our need known and asked folks to pray. We want to thank those who prayed and helped meet the need.
God provided the perfect vehicle, a 2013 Toyota Highlander in great condition!
We are also grateful for the wonderful turnout for the ice cream social.
Brad and Sylwia, our gracious hosts for the ice cream social. Sylwia’s has the best ice cream around. Most important, they love Jesus and use their business to glorify Him.
We were grateful that Bill and Kathy were able to make it for some ice cream and sweet fellowship. Please continue to keep Bill in your prayers as he battles cancer.
Pete with our pastor, Aaron Smith, from The Rock in Punta Gorda. We are so grateful for our church’s wonderful support.
Peggy (in pale pink) and her husband Doug (multicolored shirt) were the first friends we made when we moved to Florida over 30 years ago. We are so grateful for their friendship and support. We also praise God for our new friends from ECHOwork team, Jennifer and Dan.
Bible study friends (left to right) Joyce, Donna and Angelaenjoyed ice cream and fellowship with my sister Diane who came all the way from Minnesota to celebrate a huge life-event–she is officially cancer-free! Praise God! Along with celebrating, she was a great help with preparing for the event.
Weare beyond grateful for the amazing Bibles we were able to purchase thanks to your gifts. The Bibles are perfect for new believers and families with children. It is shocking how many homes do not have even a single Bible.
Wehave this promise: God’s word never returns void. It is a powerful, a life-changing force. We recently witnessed just how powerful Scripture is.I will do my best to keep this amazing testimony short.
A few years back my ladies Bible study prayed for Vivianna, a baby who was born with severe, life-threatening heart issues that required dangerous surgeries. Vivianna is the great niece of Joyce, one of the ladies in the Bible study.
We praise God that Vivianna made it through the surgeries and is doing great!
Not long ago, Joyce heard from Vivianna’s daddy who admitted that he was having difficulty being the spiritual leader in his home. He simply didn’t know where to begin. When Joyce saw the Family Devotional Bibles at the ice cream social, she knew she had to send one to him. When Vivianna’s daddy received the Bible, he started having devotions with his family. A few weeks after starting family devotions, Joyce received a picture of little Viviannain church with her hands raised, worshipping Jesus Christ!
God’s promise was fulfilled in an amazing way!
I’ve been reminded lately that it is not by us that miracles take place, not by our convincing words that souls are saved, not by us that families are transformed. These things all happen by the mighty hand of God. I love Exodus 6 where over and over, God has promised, I Will.
Goduses us. But He is the One who made the promises, and He is the one who fulfills promises.He is the One who will.
I will bring you out from under burdens.
I will deliver you from slavery.
I will deliver you with an outstretched arm.
I will take you to be my people.
I will be your God
I will bring you into a land that I swore to give Abraham...
I will give the land to you.
And in Matthew 16:18Jesus promises, “I will build my church.”
We witness God’s I WILL’S unfold before our eyes at each event we are part of. It is a joy and privilege to be used by Godas He releases people from their burdens, sets people free from the slavery to drugs, alcohol and so many destructive masters, takes the outcast and makes him His own, makes the promised New Heaven and a New Earth our future and eternal home.
I’m anxious to tell you about all God did at the Swamp Cabbage Festival and will post again in two weeks with stories about that event and two others. Beginning tomorrow morning through Sunday, we will hand out walking sticks and tell the wonderful story of salvation at Pioneer Days in Wauchula. An event at ECHO in North Ft Myers follows on March 9 for 4 days. Please keep us in prayer during these events. And if you are in the area, we’d love it if you would stop by.
Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
Our hearts had made the plans for the largest event we’d organized, the well over 120,000 in attendance Cape Coral Art Fair on January 8 and 9. We’d done everything we could to prepare–gathered volunteers for the event, set up a time of training, purchased Bibles to give away to new believers, purchased children’s gifts, and most important we’dspent months in prayer, asking God to prepare us for such an enormous event and prepare the hearts of those we would be sharing with.We asked our supporters and blog followers to pray with us.And you did.
Then, exactly one week prior to the event, on January 2,Pete was diagnosed with acute covid 19. Within a day, I was down with the same. We were told to quarantine for 10 days.
Our initial momentary reaction was extreme disappointment. We’d worked so diligently, prayed, gone through many ups and downs with the event organizer. Our plans were good. We were sure many people would be saved and God would be glorified. We could think of no reason for our plans to fail.
Couldn’t God have kept us from getting Covid?
We’d done everything we knew to protect ourselves.
It didn’t take long before God spoke to our hearts.
Yes, I could have kept you from getting Covid, I could have allowed you to go through with your good plans. Do you believe my plans are always perfect? Trust me in this. I am the onewho establishes your steps.
It didn’t take long before God led me to my journal and the entry I’d made just the day before on New Year’s Day.God already knew and already spoke to me about the disappointment I would feel the next day.
Proverbs 27 begins with these words:Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.
We don’t know what tomorrow, or the next day will bring.
Wherever He leads us, telling folks about Jesus at the Cape Coral Art Fair or quarantined in our RV, our call is the same.
Glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in all we say and do.
From the deepest place in our hearts, we want to thank all who prayed for the Cape Coral Art Fair. Even though our plans have been scuttled by Covid, God’s plans go forth. He continues to teach us through every victory and every disappointment. And we praise His Holy Name!
WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR NEW BIBLES
We praise God that we have been able to purchase a case of Family Devotional Bibles at a greatly discounted price. This purchase was made possible by your generous gifts. Now that we’ve seen the quality of these Bibles, our plan is to purchase more, along with the Gospel of John. In our ministry with the Fellowship of Christian Farmers we come across so many families without Bibles. These are great Bibles for family devotions with children and for new Christians to help them apply God’s word to their lives. What a blessing to acquire these at a discounted cost.
GOD WILLING, these are our upcoming events. Please keep us, the folks we speak with, and those who minister alongside us in your prayers.Thank you!We also invite you to join us at any of the events.
January 15, 16 Manatee Festival, Crystal River, Florida
January 29-February 4 ECHO work week
February 12-19 Disaster Relief in Louisianna
February 26-27 Swamp Cabbage Festival La Belle, Florida
March 3-6 Pioneer Days Wauchula, Florida
March 5-6 Strawberry Festival Floral City, Florida
Open weekends in March and April at Flea Markets
April 26-28 Flowertown Festival Summerville, South Carolina.
God’s perfect will in our ministry with FCFI
The Lord will give us a quick recovery from Covid and keep us healthyand strong
Continued provision for ministry
The Lord will prepare the hearts of those we speak with
New opportunities to witness and hand out walking sticks
Growth for those who have recently been saved
Bill Brown’s healing and strength for ministry
RV and car to keep running well
Maria, the sister of a dear friend and supporter, who lives in Ecuador, is a new believer, and has breast cancer
Will you also join us in prayer for an affordable pick-up truckso we can tow the Fellowship of Christian Farmers trailer to events?
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 4, 2-3:30P.M. ICE CREAM SOCIAL AT SYLWIA’S ICE CREAM PARLOR AT 3571 DEL PRADO N SUITE 6 CAPE CORAL, FLORIDA. ALL THOSE WHO SUPPORT US WITH THEIR PRAYERS AND/OR GIFTS ARE INVITED. PLEASE RSVP BY TEXT TO: 239-849-5527 OR 239-233-4359. WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
Thank you for all you do to support the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Farmers International.We are grateful and blessed. If you are interested in supporting our work, please go to the Giving Page or you may mail your gifts to: Pete and Sandy Singer 14880 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda, Florida 33955. If you send a gift to the IL office, please include our name in the memo. Thanks!
When Jesus was born in Bethleham, deity invaded humanity, eternity invaded time, and royalty invaded poverty. Dr. David Jeremiah
I am writing our Christmas blog from the snowy northland of Minnesota. Pete and I have traveled here to say goodbye to two precious loved ones, his sister Clare and brother-in-law, Phil. As we held wrinkled hands and looked on faces for the last time this side of eternity, this is a time of great sadness for our family. But we have this:
Because of Jesus, our sadness is invaded by joy, the joythat comes from knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord, Savior, and closest friend.
This morning I opened my Bible to the Christmas story as recorded in Luke 2.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And the angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
There are so many lessons in the Christmas story, so much that we can build our lives and ministries around. May I share just three?
Mostimportant, as the angels proclaimed the message of the gospel is for all people. There is not one person excluded from the offer of salvation. Every person who comes to The Fellowship of Christian Farmers’ tent is a person the message of salvation is for. It is up to each individual to accept or reject. This is what drives us–the message is for all–from the poorest of the poor to the richest and most powerful, no one is excluded from Christ’s offer of salvation.
The second thing I take away from the Christmas story is that the lowest of the low at the time of Jesus birth were the shepherds. They were so low that they were not allowed to testify in court or enter the synagogues, yet they were chosen by God to be the first witnesses of the incarnation and the very first evangelists. This reminds me that when I witness, it’s not about meand my strengths and weaknesses. It’s about the power of the cross.I am no more than a lowly shepherd who has been visited by by the heavenly, a shepherd who has been given the greatest gift of all, a gift I want to tell the world about.
The final lesson I want to share is that even though the shepherds were filthy from sleeping on the dirty ground with stinky animals and had no clean clothes, no soap, no toothpaste, they didn’t take time to shower before they went to see Jesus. They went with haste, in their disgusting condition, to see our Savior. Jesus takes us as we are, filthy sin-drenched, stinky sinners, and He cleans us up. His blood, shed on the cross of Calvary, is the only thing that can wash away our sin. Nothing else will do.
May the Christmas story capture you in new and glorious ways this season. May you have joy equal to the joy of the shepherds as they first laid their eyes on the newborn King, joy equal to the joy you knew when you were first saved.
Thank you for a year of prayer and financial support. You have been an amazing gift.
Speaking of answered prayer…
Our application to set up a tent at the Cape Coral Art Fair on January 8-9 has been accepted!We can’t stop praising God for this open door. The attendance is 120,000. We will need lots of volunteers to help prepare sticks and share the gospel. If you are in the area and can help, please let us know. Thank you for praying for this event. Please continue to pray for workers.
One more thing…
We invite you to an old-fashioned ice cream social and time of thanksgiving (ice cream on us). Here are the details:
Place: The beautiful Sylwia’s Ice Cream Parlor
3571 Del Prado North, Cape Coral, FL 33909
Time:2:00-3:30 on February 4 (for those volunteering at ECHO with Ron and Deb, this is the last day of the mission trip).
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you 1Thessalonians 5:18
Justa few more days until we gather around the table with family and friends, surrounded by the aromas of roasted turkey, and fresh pumpkin pie.For many, it’s the most treasured holiday of the year. Even those who do not normallytake time to thank God for the food set before them will do so on this day. It is the tradition in many families for each person to share what he is thankful for–a great new job, new home, learning how to ride a bike, recovery from a serious illness.Americans have so much to be thankful for.
Pete and I have countless reasons to be thankful this year. Almost 600 (588) people prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior at Fellowship of Christian Farmers International (FCFI) events we were part of this last year. You have been amazingly generous with your prayers and financial support. To be humbly honest, there were times we didn’t have the money in our budget to pay for the gas to travel to an event, but God always came through, using people like you. And because you made yourself available and open to God’s will, we didn’t have to stay home from even one event due to finances.
Besides praying with people for their salvation, we’ve been blessed to pray with folks for their wayward family members, physical healing, troubled marriages, assurance of salvation, wisdom in making important decisions.We’ve been able to give out cases of new, large print Bibles to new believers who did not own a Bible. This has been a year overflowing with God’s blessings. There aren’t enough thank you’s in the world for the year we have had, and the role you have played in it.
‘But as believers we are admonished to be thankful in ALL circumstances. What if zero souls were saved at an event, or no one needed prayer, or the money for ministry didn’t come in? Are we expected to be thankful in circumstances such as these?
What about Jesus? How did he respond when after working countless miracles, the folks who witnessed it all rejected him? What did he do when he was in the middle of a desolate place surrounded by thousands and thousands of hungry people with no food in sight other than seven loaves of bread and a few fish? What about when one of his best friends died and he didn’t make it there in time to pray over him or even attend the funeral? What did he do when he only had hours to live, knowing the agony of betrayal and death on a cruel cross that lay ahead for him?
He thanked his Heavenly Father.
When the people rejected Jesus instead of humbly repenting, Jesus thanked his Heavenly Father for those who, with childlike faith, did accept him.
He thanked the Lord that his perfect will was accomplished (Matthew 11:25-26).
When Jesus was surrounded by thousands and thousands of hungry people who had been following him for three long days, he thanked God for the little he had, seven loaves of bread and a few fish,and trusted God to supply more than enough to feed well over 4000 hungry people.
Jesus thanked God before the need was met (Matthew 15:36).
When Jesus stood at the graveside of his dear friend Lazarus, he thanked God for hearing his prayer.
Jesus thanked His Heavenly Father before Lazarus was raised to life (John 11:41).
Fully aware of the humiliation and agony of death on the cross that was only hours away, Jesus met with his disciples to institute the Lord’s Supper(Luke 22:14-20).
Knowing the excruciating pain, humiliation, and betrayalhe would endure, Jesus gave thanks. The cross he died on was not gold like the ones we wear around our necks. It was blood-stained slivered wood.Jesus loves us so much that he died with a heart of thanksgiving. He did what no one else could do, pay the complete price for our sin so that we could spend eternity in heavenwith him. Jesus is the one who loves us above all others.
And that is the message we love to share.
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4). Kathy and Sandy love sharing the simple message of salvationwith children. No matter how young, children are always welcomed and never turned away from the Fellowship of Christian Farmers tents.
November was another busy monthwith the Dragon Boat Festival in Hernando and Winter Haven’s Holiday Haven. We were especially thankful to work alongside Bill and Kathy BrownPlease keep the Brown’s in your prayers as they return to New York today for Bill to continue his chemo treatments.
Bill and Kathy Brown and friend at the Dragon Boat Festival. Temperatures only made it to the mid-50’s during the event and it rained most of the day. Thankfully we were able to make it through without any of us getting sick.
Pete and Sandy with their friends at the Dragon Boat Races. Despite the freezing temps and low attendance, we were able to give out about 80 walking sticks and 12 folks prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior!
Pete and Bill trying to stay warm. We thank Jesus for the joy we have in ministry.
One of the dragon boat racers came up to Sandy at the beginning of the day and said, “I don’t care about getting a stick. Just tell me the story. I love to hear the story.” When Sandy was done telling the bead story, the woman asked Sandy for prayer. She and her husband hadn’t been going to church for some time and she knew they needed to find a good church home. The two women had a precious time of prayer.
A man approached the FCFI tent as if he was drawn there by a magnet. He had just learned that he has cancer. After praying to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior, Bill met with the man and led in prayer forhis healing and peace.
One of my favorite pics from the Dragon Boat races. Pete asked, “Do you know where you are going when you die?” The speechless mascot responded by pointing toward heaven.
It was another rainy day when we ministered at the Holiday Haven.
Pete and Bill getting the walking sticks ready for a busy day. The wind was so strong that our tent almost blew away. Even though the weather didn’t draw as large a crowd as last year, we were blessed to give away about 200 walking sticks and 14 people prayed to receive Jesus. We praise God for each one!
Please thank God for what he has done this year and will do in the year to come through the ministry of the FCFI.
Thank God for providing for the ministry and Pete and Sandy.
Thank the Lord that Bill is able to do so much and pray that his treatments will do all they are supposed to do to bring healing.
Praise God for the salvations and that he is working in each new believer’s life that they will grow in Christ and find Bible preaching churches.
Praise God that we have filled out all the paper work for the Cape Coral Art Fair. Please pray that they will accept our application and that we will have ample workers for the event.
JJanuary 8-9 Cape Coral Art Fair (pending)
January 15 Manatee Festival, Crystal River
January 29-February 4 ECHO work team, N Ft Myers, FL
February 13-19Disaster Relief in Port Allen, Louisianna
February 26-27 Swamp Cabbage Festival La Belle, FL
March 3-6Pioneer Days Wauchula, FL
March 5-6 Strawberry Festival Floral City, FL
April 26-28 Flowertown Festival Summerville, SC
IIf God is leading you to support the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Farmers with your prayers or financially, please let us know. You may contact us by e mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Pete and Sandy Singer, 14880 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda, FL 33955.