It is that time of the year again, when we celebrate the redemption that the Lord has purchased for us at Calvary. Our sins are paid for in full and God’s wrath was satisfied so that we are free to serve Him. One song writer says, “Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me; For I am His and He is mine; Bought with the precious blood of Christ.” * It is our prayer that the Lord will bring about the final redemption of our bodies and take us home. The war across the world among families, countries, churches, schools, gangs, races, and more are echoing the cry, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Rev. 22:20
In the first three months of this year, many things are slowly returning to some resemblance of pre-COVID times. We will never see everything back to norm because there are new living conditions that COVID has left with us. The restrictions of compulsory mask-wearing have been lifted but persons are encouraged to continue to wear them in public places, which includes church. Schools are back in the classrooms, meeting face-to-face. Many people are still out of jobs as some businesses are not back to normal. The country is seeing a return of some tourists which provides encouragement to our number one employment power.
While there is a positive return of some things, the Russia/Ukraine war is creating pressure on the cost of many things affected by oil and fertilizer import. Food, electricity, and transportation are three of the big areas that are greatly affected, and which are having a rippling effect on other areas. Adding to this is the weakening of the Jamaican dollar which is now USD $1 to app. JA $150, more or less, depending on where you change it.
In the midst of all that is taking place, God is good, and He is taking care of His children. We will not complain but continue to trust the Lord and see Him work, doing things thought impossible. Since the beginning of February, I have been preaching through the book of Nehemiah around the theme, “Rise Up and Rebuild.” We are emphasizing rebuilding, relationships, small groups (Men’s, ladies’, youth, Sunday School, Visitation, etc.), family, and connection with our community. Pray for us and for a revival to this end.
So far this year, we have seen a restart of all major groups except one. We have seen three persons got saved and added to the church. The last one was Mr. Clarke who was baptized on second Sunday and added to the church. This was special to entire the church. Mr. Clarke has been coming to church all the years I have been here at Black River. He turned up at my door one morning early, just before I left for Fairview, and said that he wanted to be saved. I had the privilege of leading him to the Lord and my day was filled with great rejoicing. Now he is baptized and a member of the church.
One other lady that was saved and added to the church was a Jehovah’s Witnesses. She was invited to church by one of our ladies and she trusted the Lord and was later baptized.
Praise the Lord that the door is once more opened at the All-American Medical School for their students to come to church. Most of the students are from India and are of Hindu background. But they are coming to our service. Pray for our effectiveness in ministering to them.
This year we are going back to face-to-face camp ministry. This is my last year as the “General Director.” We have identified a young man who has consented to give leadership to the ministry. Please pray with us for a smooth transition.
In December 2019, we moved into our new home but are still working on it while we are living in it. In recent times, we are blessed to be doing some tiling of a couple of rooms and another bathroom. We are trying to complete it by the end of the year.
Another note of praise is the progress our daughter, Sheneil, is making in university. We received correspondence recently that she was inducted into “The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi” in Spring 2022. This society recognizes the top ten students in different universities in the USA. We continue to pray for her progress.
Let me say thanks to our partners for your help in supporting us in ministry. Donna and I have served the Lord together here in Black River for the past 28 years. At the end of June, we will celebrate 38 years of marriage and we are indebted to the Lord for the different people that He brought into our lives to assist us on our journey. Please continue to pray for us as we press on in serving our great God Who strengthens us again and again to glorify Him. He is good and His mercy endures forever.
Audley and Donna Black
*In Christ Alone, by Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music (Adm. by CapitolCMGPublishing.com excl. UK & Europe, adm. by Integrity Music, part of the David C Cook family, email@example.com)