Greetings in the precious, unconditional love of our Lord Jesus, Who came to earth to set us an example, to die on a cross to shed His blood for the remission of our sins, and to rise again the third day, victorious over sin and death. Through all that JESUS has done for us, He has given to us a blessed hope. This is one of our favorite times of the year, when we have another opportunity to bask in the love of JESUS and to share His love with others. God has blessed us, in spite of us, and we thank Him for those He has brought into our lives through the years. We thank Him for family and friends who have stood by us in the good times and the bad. Our desire is to finish well for His glory and His precious Name! Bear with us as we share a bit of our life for 2019. His mercy, grace and love grow sweeter as the days go by.
Gary: This whole year I traveled many miles just in the United States. January 24, Garnet Samuels, Trinidad, came for a checkup on his eye surgery from last year, news was more surgery needed in May of this year. The Wodome Family, Togo, stayed at IGM Central starting in January, while visiting some of their supporting churches and on March 3—April 7, Koffi transported and interpreted for Etienne Degbey, Togo, while taking him to many meetings. Kouami Midekor, Togo, arrived in the USA January 27 and stayed with us while getting treatments for a back problem for several months. March 3 —April 7, Michael Grubbs, our Communications Coordinator, traveled or I traveled with Rao Jutike, India to over 16 churches. In April, Paul and Adzoa Assignon, Togo, were in the USA and visited IGM headquarters for a couple of days. In May, Garnet Samuels, Trinidad, came to the USA to have another surgery on his eye, which required that he not travel until July 6th, when he returned to his country. In June, Nancy and I celebrated our 57th wedding anniversary. July 8-19, I visited India and spoke at conferences and dedications of churches, etc. I traveled with a couple and Phil St. Denis from our home church. After a conference with the Gaddalas, Phil and I traveled to several other places to visit IGM pastors, making about 11 different plane connections over the course of the trip. Praise the Lord, our luggage made it each time. July 13-20, Holly Baltich, our Finance Manager, went on a mission trip to serve in Grenada. Then Wilson Maungo visited IGM headquarters. July 24-August 19 and Justus Wafula, Kenya, visited IGM headquarters, July 29—Aug. 6. I also made many phone calls, wrote letters, emails, counseled and mowed the lawn at the Mission. Then Vara Earlagadda India, visited IGM headquarters, August 31 to September 14. Beside all the visitors, August was busy with preparation for our Fall teams coming September 8—October 13. The first team was Godfrey and Launa Watson, Jamaica, who were transported by Michael Grubbs or me or Launa drove to some of the meetings. The second team was Kouami Midekor, Togo who transported and interpreted for Rock Otekpola, Benin. The third team was Jim Arnold who transported and interpreted for Robert and Naomi Lompo, Burkina Faso. We also enjoyed our church Mission Conference Sept. 26—October 2. In October, the three teams all arrived back in their countries safely. November 7—December 17, Alex Boamah, Ghana will be with us. So far, he has been scheduled for 14 meetings. In November, we prepared for the December 10th, Annual Council Business Meeting. I visited my cousin, Rex Furman, and wife, Andrea, in California, November 4-10. Also, during the year, I arranged 3 IGM Council Meetings besides the Annual business meeting. I supplied the pulpit two times during the year at the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Geneseo, NY. I am doing fairly well for my age, battling neuropathy, atrial fib, and pre-diabetes. I’m okay as long as I stay on my medications.
Nancy and I praise the Lord for His wisdom, strength and encouragement for the awesome responsibilities of serving the Lord through IGM. As I have said before, IGM is a faith-based mission agency. We have to raise our support, just like all our missionaries and national pastors. We still need more support because of attrition; but each month, the Lord provides some unexpected gifts. We still need travel funds. We praise the Lord that He continues to take care of our needs. Thank you for praying and/or financially giving to our needs. My email is email@example.com
Nancy: Continues to work many hours as the volunteer IGM Office Manager. Being Office Manager entails many different tasks: help with ordering and purchasing supplies, the preparation for MTS and for visiting pastors going to churches, recording of financial reports and prayer letters, answers and sends many emails, different publications, helps clean the bunkhouse rooms, helps in purchasing groceries for the National pastors staying at IGM, and many other things. March 17, 2019, Jessica Schraft, our “little missionary”, who helped Nancy in the office for several years, went to be with the Lord she loved so much. Nancy had cataract surgery June 18 and 25, and got her glasses on August 5 to correct the astigmatism and close-up vision.
Faith and Steve and family with 2 friends visited us June 29—July 5. We had family time, July 4, at our home with 13 of us. (Our oldest grandson, Steven, was unable to be with us because of working that day.) Many have asked about her hand and wrist she broke in the February 25, 2016 car accident and then December 26, 2017, she fractured a bone on her right ring finger knuckle. Praise the Lord, she can use her hand and can type okay, however, it is still stiff and has some numbness, probably because of arthritis, etc. We had a great time spending Thanksgiving at home with Luke, Jennifer, and Aubrey. We are planning on spending Christmas with Faith, Steve, and grandchildren in Forest, Virginia. Nancy’s health is pretty good. She is still taking thyroid and blood pressure medicines. Nancy and I go to the chiropractor every 2 to 3 weeks, which helps our back problems. Also, if she stays on her eating plan, that helps her health. Pray for Nancy as she serves her Savior daily. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Luke and Jennifer will celebrate their thirteenth wedding anniversary on February 9th, 2020. They continue to love the Lord and worship Him with their lives. They joined Northridge Church and teach fourth and fifth graders every Sunday morning. Luke travels ten minutes to his work at Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES in Newark. Jennifer graduated from Liberty University in May 2018, with her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (Religion, Christian Counseling, and Psychology). She is now working on her Master of Education in School Counseling and is a substitute teacher at the Christian school Aubrey attends. Aubrey started fifth grade in September and celebrated her 11th birthday on November 3rd. Do pray for them as they seek God’s will and as they raise Aubrey for His glory.
Our daughter, Faith, and her husband, Steve, will be married 26 years this coming July. It seems every year brings significant life changes in their lives. They are quickly approaching an empty nest. Faith continues to teach 4th grade at Forest Elementary School. It is a job, but in reality, it is more of a ministry as the Lord allows her to impact a new group of children each year. Steve is working for Houston Baptist University. They still live in Virginia, and Steve commutes to Houston as necessary. They remain active in their local church and enjoy working out and traveling. Our oldest grandchild, Steven, is now 23 years old. He is a fine young man and is pursuing an MBA while working full-time at Ivy Hill Golf Club. Zachary is now in his senior year at Liberty University and will graduate in May with his degree in computer programming. He works part-time and is currently interning at a software company. Zach enjoys volunteering in his church, where he works in the children’s program. Megan is also a senior at Liberty University. She is studying graphic design and wants to work in marketing. Megan is currently fulfilling her internship with a local marketing company. She continues to work with middle school girls in her church. Jonathan is a senior in high school. He just finished his final high school golf season, where he was able to compete in the state competition. He is currently doing the college tours and hopes to attend a school that will allow him to earn his degree in business and play golf. Mia is in her final year of middle school. She enjoys school, especially the time she can spend with friends. Mia continues to be an active part of her peer Bible study group.
M i n i s t r y N e w s:
February 2020 will be our 20th anniversary serving with International Gospel Missions. Praise the Lord for Holly Baltich, a single lady, who started serving IGM December 2018 as Finance Manager. Holly is a God-send to IGM, with her positive and joyful outlook, and has learned quickly all that entails in serving as Finance Manager. She also puts together display boards, helps with ordering and purchasing needed supplies, etc. and helps care for the Bunkhouse beds, laundry, and cleaning. She loves to cook and has fed many of the national pastors and wives and visitors that stay in the Bunkhouse apartment or just visit IGM. She has had Nancy and I for dinner many times. Also, we praise the Lord over and over for Cheryl Smith, who serves as Administrative Assistant, which includes many “hats” such as/receptionist/donor services/publications editor, and editing and sending out prayer letters and more. Because of situations, Jim Arnold is back as Acting FMI director (Faith Ministries International—orphan ministry) and Cheryl is back as FMI Administrative Assistant. She does anything she is asked to do. Michael Grubbs continues to serve as Communications Coordinator, booking meetings for Mission Training School teams and others needing meetings, which is very time-consuming. Since many churches do not have Sunday evening services or Wednesday services, it makes booking meetings difficult. Now we have Holly’s cat, Percy, and dog, Winston, as our security and welcoming force.
We continue to praise the Lord for our IGM Mission Central headquarters. It will be 14 years in July that we moved into our building. This year, we were able to house many national pastors and visitors. So far, we have hosted 31 or more people. We have added eight to our IGM family of National Church Planters and Missionaries, one serving in Uganda, one in Togo, five in Ivory Coast, and one in Haiti. We now have National Field Representatives serving in many countries, trying to cut down on wire transfer costs and mailing costs. Presently, we have Burkina Faso, Ghana, Grenada, Haiti, India, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Philippines, and Togo set up with National Field Representatives. Grenada still has US representatives, the Psinases, the Arnolds for the Ivory Coast, and Kouami Midekor, Togo, is Director of West Africa French-Speaking Countries. We had four IGMers promoted to glory this year, Mrs. Sarah Stockton, Mrs. Estelle Gustinvil (Jean Marie Lucien), Mrs. Shanth Emmanuel, and Evangelist Lon Springer. Pray for the Abbott Family in Mexico, as on May 6, David Abbott, Ginger Franco’s (Abbott) son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter were all killed in a tragic auto accident. Perla, David’s daughter, and Ginger’s granddaughter are still recovering from major injuries. If you are receiving a paper copy of prayers letters, etc. and have an email address, please let us know as soon as possible to help save on our mailing costs. Send to email@example.com. Thank you. We continue to use email to communicate with our Mission Family to save on postage and to keep up-to-date with communications. Thank you for faithfully praying and/or financially supporting us, our missionaries, national church planters, orphans, and the Mission Service Account. Please visit our website—www.igmgo.org. We are also on Facebook and Twitter. Cheryl sends out our IGMers’ prayer letters as they are received. Presently, the MSA (Mission Service Account—operating fund) is in need of funds. The Lord knows and will take care of us. We are seeking replacements for Nancy and I because of our aging. Do pray and any suggestions would be welcomed. The Lord is good all of the time, all of the time the Lord is good.
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NOTE: IGM OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED DEC. 23-27
Remember to keep Christ in your Christmas!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!