Dear Fellow Celebrants of the Lord’s Goodness,
Fifty years ago this month we felt like Jacob when he remembered the initial trek across the land of Canaan to Haran. He reports many years later that he crossed the river with only his walking stick or as he called it his staff and now became two companies.
Only a staff for the aid of his dislocated hip helped his pilgrimage. We left Oakland California 50 years ago this month. We look back at a rented truck with all our worldly goods and two and a half priceless possessions. I suppose the staff of Jacob in Gen 32 was somewhat comparable to the sparse belongings we had accumulated in five years of marriage.
Our friends helped us pack and we began a pilgrimage to a new chapter of our lives. Jenny sat by the window on the passenger side. Wes and Dan (one and two years old) sat between us in their car seats with steering wheels. I occupied the driver’s seat for the three week journey. Like Abraham, Jenny had not been where we were going but accepted the call and commission to leave all we had known for a ministry that was totally unknown. That was May of 1966. We arrived in Florida the beginning of June and the folks there said they “knew we were called of the Lord to serve in FL because very few preachers came to Florida the beginning of June”
Our third son Roy, was born in Gainesville while I was putting a roof on the gym at camp Horizon. That was the beginning of long journey the Lord has led us on. Neither of us knew where it would lead or how He would provide. We covenanted with the Lord as His servants that we would not share our needs nor ask for support from anyone. We accepted the wisdom in knowing that the One who would allow our needs to exist would stir the hearts of His people to meet them. There were and are trials as we have taken some profound steps on this pilgrimage. But His faithfulness has been shown both miraculously and mundanely. He has taken us farther and more widely than we ever imagined.
I am sure there are many tests we have failed along the way but in spite of our fears and frustrations He has guided us along so our faith is greater and our frustrations diminished. The Lord opened a door of opportunity 30 years ago to adjust our ministry from the USA to the needs of missionaries around the world for pastoral care. That step of faith was strengthened by Paul’s consideration in II Cor. 5:8. Opposition came from the most unusual flanks but His call and our commitment left no hurdle in front of us for which He did not offer fortitude.
This new exercise took us to places we never considered. It was not our dream to travel as we enjoyed our home and occupying it. But the needs of missionaries impacted us with each different situation the Lord brought before us. We felt inadequate for these challenges but the Lord brought us through and developed a further exercise for the Lord’s people to live in the light of the resources the Father has provided for all of us in Christ.
Born out of that exercise is a collection of short devotionals that reiterated from the scriptures the extensive blessings purchased at the cross and made available by the resurrected Christ for every believer. That personal and ministry concern overflowed into the book “Blessings All Mine With 10,000 Besides!” which has been published in English by Emmaus, in Spanish by Unilit, and in 3 Indian languages by Authentic Media. This exercise was never intended to be the volume now available in so many languages and in such quantity. That is now in the process of further translation in Portuguese and other Indian languages is an answer to prayer of folks in those language groups.
Personally we are well and pleased with a resurgence of ministry opportunities in the USA. Since our stamina has declined it is doubtful we will be continuing to exercise our concern with 4 or 5 month trips overseas. This means more time is available for teaching and preaching in the USA with occasional visits overseas to missionaries. Our concern has not lessened but we trust our example will encourage others to catch up the mantle of ministry that has covered us these 30 years.
Space does not allow a full chronology of the many aspects of service to the Lord and His people over the 50 years. But we celebrate all He has done to facilitate His call on our lives. Our children have not suffered by that departure as all are applying their gifts and abilities in divine service while gainfully employed. Our grandchildren too are cared for in a measure according to their needs growing up in homes where Christ is honored and the Church is an important part of daily consideration. Our heath is reasonably well for our antiquity. Our mental acumen is acceptable for our capacities. Our faith has out stripped our fears which held us hostage in some of the early days. Our knowledge of the Father and His ways has been augmented by some serious studies of life. Our expectation of God has risen on the scale of performance because of the educational curriculum we have met. Our anticipation of Christ’s return has been heightened by the conditions of our world and His promise of our departure with Him to the Father’s House. Our needs for ministry and sharing have been adequate for our exercises. Our possessions are far more copious than when we crossed the Mississippi in a rented truck 50 years ago.
Currently we have begun the 51st year of ministry with a month in The Bahamas. Put on the calendar almost two years ago the Lord has brought it to fruition in Nassau. Though a very different culture than that of Spanish Wells, where we have been before, this was our first extended visit to the capital. Many were kind enough to say the Lord encouraged and challenged their lives through the Word. The outcome is that a month of further ministry has been put on the calendar two years from now.
We were afforded the time away from Nassau to participate in the celebration in Arkansas of marriage in the Lord of Nick Fields and Nicole Kosin, our granddaughter. Your prayer for them as they move to Tulsa for employment and “home building” as a couple will be much appreciated. Lindsey and Evan Hawthorn married in January have moved to Oklahoma City for the same two reasons.
Roy completed a semester of teaching in Dubuque, IA at Emmaus Bible College. He and Tracey survived five months separation and now together are setting their house in order for sale and the move from the deep south of Conway, SC to the Midwest. Roy will assume teaching again in the fall at Emmaus.
The rest of our family has not had many changes during the past month but the summer will make some adjustments. Some have finished college and another will start college but we will review that when the times comes.
Since we are celebrating the Goodness of God to us we cannot help but know that your care and prayer for us over the years has contributed to so many of the issues that have marked our lives and ministry. Many who sent us out from Oakland, California have gone on to be with the Lord. A handful of folks are still around who continue to lift us up in so many meaningful ways. The rewards, if they have been passed out in glory already, have been abundant for many who walked with us in our journey. Since you are receiving this letter now, your rewards will not only be here, but more abundantly in a day to come when they will be added to those you already accumulated. Your investment in so many aspects of our life is a major reason we continue beyond the fiftieth year already finished. In this way we continue
Serving the greatest Master,
Fred and Jenny
Schedule of ministry for Fred & Jenny
June 5, 8 & 12 – Waynesville Bible, NC
19 – Terrell Rd Bible, Fanwood, NJ
21 – Linwood Gospel Linwood, NJ
22 – Grace, Tenafly, NJ
23 – South Branch Bible, Flemington, NJ
26 – Terrell Rd Bible, Fanwood, NJ