Newsletter – Winter 1996


Christmas is a very special time of the year! Beyond the parties, gifts and all of the hassles that accompany this celebration, people everywhere genuinely seem more open to the Gospel. Perhaps, more of God’s people are brought to their knees as they think of the birthday of the King of Kings. However, you explain it, God’s spirit moves mightily at Christmas time.

Our family begins their celebration in early November as teams of high school and college students came to the house to help with the decorations. Between puppet trips, they worked to swag every mantle and doorway and decorate 16 Christmas trees.

They knew that it was our plan to open our home for free tours to school children, and during their visits, present them with the truth of Christmas. We would not have finished without their gifts of love.

God honored their hard work and answered our prayers mightily. Early in the summer, Linda and I began to ask the Lord to send us children and young people to hear about Jesus through the tours.

The first group contacted us in August to schedule a December visit. We were thrilled to see over 500 children and adults tour our home, representing public, private, and home schooled groups, as well as teens involved in a drug rehabilitation program. It was our privilege to share Christ with each one and we were overjoyed to see 5 precious children confess Christ as Savior.

Since our first Christmas as a family, over 22 years ago, we have celebrated each Christmas with a Jesus’ Birthday Party. This year provided a special treat as friends attended who had not been in our home in more than 10 years. It was incredible to see. Praise the Lord!

Pensacola, Florida

The end of October found us headed for sunny Florida. Doug and Lydia Moesta and her parents graciously hosted us while we were there.

On Friday, we had the unique opportunity of sharing at a public school. We presented a program of chalk talks and music that focused on the history of the American Revolution. It effectively presents the Gospel while not violating any school rules. This assembly program allowed us to share Christ with many children and their teachers.

On Sunday morning, we had the pleasure of sharing Christ at Charity Chapel and Sunday evening, we shared with the people of Pinewoods, PCA. It is always a joy to tell people about Jesus Christ and a pleasure to meet brothers and sisters that love Him so much.

God’s Awesome Power

Sometimes, it is so difficult to find words to describe the awesome things that we see God do on a particular trip. In November, we had such an adventure. Over a weekend, we shared with four puppet shows, in two cities, in two different states.

Working worked Paul Volpito and Phin Hitchcock of Augusta, Ga., we began the morning by sharing during a Saturday Bible Club at Fireside Ministries and spent the afternoon sharing at a local Boys Club. Evening found us in Columbia, South Carolina where we prepared to work with John Sellers.

On Sunday morning, we shared at two Youth Development Centers with young people 12 to 17 years. As they entered the auditorium, the puppet team was immediately struck by their size. They were big guys, and some were dressed in Army fatigues, but God is faithful to overcome our fears and give us the right words to speak.

The Holy Spirit touched their hearts as Linda shared that “in Jesus, there is hope. He is in the business of giving people a new, clean life. They had been placed there for committing crimes ranging from habitual thievery to more serious charges of rape and assault.

We saw over 115 children and teenagers commit to Christ as Savior during that weekend. It was awesome!

When you pray for us, you share in this blessing. Thank you!

Baja, Mexico 1996

We are planning a two week trip at the end of May to Los Barrilles, Mexico to work with Fernando and Vicki Cruz. We present the Gospel using puppets, chalk talks and personal evangelism in several villages around their home.

We also plan to train them to use puppets and chalk talks for street evangelism and we will leave them with a stage and curtains, puppets and a portable PA system.

Last Fall, we composed the puppet scripts in English, then mailed them to Los Barrilles, where Fernando translated them into Spanish. After receiving the finished scripts, we recorded them in our home this winter with the help of our new dear friends, Xavier Cabezas, Daniel Legters and Debbie Legters. They were terrific!

We praise God for this incredible opportunity and thank you for all you have done to make this possible!

We praise the Lord for His provision as the funds for the plane tickets and travel expenses arrived a month before our February 28 deadline.

We need your prayers and financial support for the following items as we prepare for this trip.

If you or your church would like to help with any of these needs, let us know. We need approximately $2,000 to have enough financial support to leave all the equipment necessary for Fernando to continue with the Puppet Ministry and enough for food and travel so that we would not be a burden on Fernando and Vicki while we are there.

….Puppets, portable PA system and stage and curtains

…Food, lodging and travel while in Mexico

…Josh, Matt, and Aaron to learn to perform the Spanish skits

….Fernando and Vicki as they plan our visit and seek housing

Our Thank You

Each year we look for some opportunity to help another PEF ministry. We consider this our “Thank You” for all that they do during the year to help us serve.

Many friends accompanied us as we spent a weekend working at Smoky Mountain Church Camp, in Pigeon Forge, TN. This is a wonderful Christian summer camp that Dwight Wilkinson, his family, and Mark Miller devote themselves to each year. We were able to repair storm damage to cabins, continue the new instruction, and even do a little demolition. We had such a great time! Come and help us next time!

Home Again

I grew up in a rural area, southwest of Atlanta. In November, we returned to my parent’s home and shared for the second time in the church where I grew up, Providence Baptist in Welcome, Ga.

I confess that I had less fear sharing in prisons. These are people who have known me since I was a boy and I experienced emotions ranging from overwhelming joy to crippling fear as we prepared to share.

As usual, my fears were unfounded. The people responded wonderfully and encouraged me greatly with their words, prayers, and financial support. It was a great blessing!

Update on the Team

Aaron – While we were busy with the tours at Christmas, Aaron played basketball and loved it. He is a sophomore at Gordon Lee Highschool in Chickamauga, Ga. Pray for him to be a faithful witness to his school.

Jeremy – He has really loved this year at Covenant College. He will be transferring to the Engineering Program at Southern Tech in Marietta this coming year. Pray for a summer job that will supply the funds he needs and still allow him some time to travel with us.

Matt and Josh – Both our sons will graduate this year from homeschool. They have been accepted at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and plan to commute this coming year. Praise the Lord with us for the partial scholarship that each of them received and pray that they order their time well.

All plan to continue with the puppet ministry, but each will need your prayers for wisdom and scheduling. It takes at least three of them to present a puppet show. Please pray about the possibility of another team member.

Prayer and Praise

……during a very bad virus that attacked the entire family in late December, Linda ran off the road while returning from town with medicine for the rest of us. She traveled several hundred feet down a ditch, jumped a driveway, and clipped off a steel pipe mailbox post before coming to rest in a ditch. Praise the Lord that Linda was unhurt and not even sore the next day. The Honda did not fare as well; it was a total loss.

…… a little boy grasps Linda’s leg as we prepare to leave Augusta, Ga. and begs, “Will you come again tomorrow?” Another cries,” Please, please, don’t go.”

…….continue to pray for our transportation. Our faithful van is still running and getting us to and from puppet shows. Since the accident, it is also getting us everywhere. Pray that it will last with this extra use.

…… a small child asks for help. He says,” I’ve just asked Jesus to be my Savior. I want a free Bible study, but I can’t write my name. Will you help me?