“God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from His hand; and there He veiled His power.” Habakkuk 3:3-4 This passage from Habakkuk takes us back to the exodus from Egypt. The name Teman means “South,” and the reference to Mount Paran points us to the wilderness of the Sinai region. It was a significant time in Israel’s history, especially when God appeared to Moses on the mountaintop. From the people’s perspective it was the worst storm imaginable. The clouds lowered down and covered the mountaintop. Habakkuk says that, “His splendor covered the heavens…” There was the roaring of the Lord’s voice. The people also saw brilliant flashes of lightning. Habakkuk explains that it was the brightness of the Lord’s presence and that rays of light flashed from God’s hand. The juxtaposition of dark and light, of thunderous noise and lightning, were enough to strike fear in the most courageous of hearts. In fact, Habakkuk starts this prayer in v.2 with the words, “O Lord, I have heard the report of You, and Your work O Lord, do I fear.” But light from God doesn’t always bring fear. Consider this rabbinic explanation of these verses: The Hebrew word for ‘light’… is very similar to the word for ‘awaken’... According to Rabbi Michael Munk in his book The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet, this teaches that light is the element that “awakens” creation to development. Just as physical light stimulates the growth of plants, spiritual and intellectual light prods man to achieve his potential. May we all be blessed with God’s light. That value of that statement of blessing was brought home to me when I read a note from someone who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They mentioned how this time of year the sun doesn’t set until around 11 PM. Even then, it doesn’t set all the way. It just goes far enough down to create a twilight setting for a few short hours, and then it starts its way back up in the sky again. Of course, in the winter that is reversed, and they have darkness most of the day. The question that came to my mind is, “What kind of light do I live in?” We can choose the darkness with just a little bit of light. That is what our lives were like before we accepted Christ as our Savior. We were all born in sin and lived in a state of sin with just enough light to be able to see the way of salvation. After we accept Christ, we have a different choice. We can live fully in the light, or we can live in the twilight. The twilight is easier because we don’t have to fully commit either way. Our choices place us part way in the darkness and part way in the light. It’s that “semi“ realm where it’s not dark enough to sleep, but not light enough to really do anything well. Too many Christians are in this realm today. The challenge of the Christian life is to live in the light, even though it can be frightening and difficult. That is where we find God. That is where we serve God. That is where we bring glory to God. John tells us that “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (I John 1:5).” That light awakens us so we grow, and we learn, and we become all that God intends for us to be. Embrace God’s light! May you be blessed with God’s light! Blessings, Pastor Randy
SPIRITUAL VISION TEAM
07/22/2020 This meeting was especially devoted to prayer. We read scriptures listed below from the Men’s Bible Study and a couple regarding God’s love for all. We prayed as we read them for our congregation, our nation, leaders and wisdom. Devotion Scriptures: Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV2011) 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 6:18 (NIV2011) 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 1 John 5:14-15 (NIV2011) 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. Acts 10:26-28 (NIV2011) 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” 27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean...” Acts 10:34-35 (NIV2011) 34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right...” Psalm 37:4 (NIV2011) 4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 1 Kings 19:11-13 (NIV2011) 11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Business Items old Future steps for Sunday School: Our consensus is that we should resume having Sunday school in some form. A survey will be done first to determine how the congregation wants it to be. Future steps for youth and children’s ministry and outreach: A survey has been sent to parents of AWANA children to find out how many want in-person or internet lessons. Business Items new Sunday Worship Service recommendations/ adjustments: The Doxology has been added at the end of the Pastoral Prayer. Benevolence Need: We are forwarding a benevolence need to the leadership team. Other: We are proceeding with preparing to live stream. The current computer team will cross train for camera operation. Additional volunteers are needed.
It certainly has been a crazy few months, hasn’t it? It is during uncertain times like these that the Awana program becomes even more important. Both adults and children are needing to know the love of Christ and the peace that only He can give. Because of this, we have been busy planning our upcoming Awana year. Since things are so uncertain and subject to change, we have had to come up with a plan A, plan B, and plan C. These plans range from meeting in person with modifications to having lessons online. We have sent an email to our Awana families to see what they are comfortable with. After we have received those responses, we will continue with our planning. Please pray for wisdom for us as we make decisions. Please pray that we will be able to develop relationships with our Awana families while practicing social distancing and that we will be effective in reaching them with the Gospel. Please pray for the safety of our leaders and children in the upcoming months. Thank you for your prayers and support
EVENTS CALENDAR 2020:
9:30 a.m., Worship Service
(Re-Start Dates TBD)10:30 a.m., Fellowship (Re-Start Dates TBD)10:45 a.m., Sunday School for the Whole Family
6:30 p.m., AWANA Clubs 6:15 p.m., 6th-8th Grade Youth Group 7:10 p.m., 9th-12th Grade Youth Group (Re-Start Dates TBD)
Thursday’s 2 p.m., Prayer & Women’s Bible Study at BVBC 7 p.m., Women’s Evening Bible Study held at various homes
Newsletter articles are due Sunday, August 23, 2020
MISSIONARY OF THE MONTH
PAUL AND JANET HARKNESS
Paul and Janet Harkness became particularly impressed with how God was using Awana Clubs to impact the lives of children and youth, during their 20 years serving in pastoral ministry. In 2009 they became Awana Missionaries serving in Nebraska, South East Wyoming, Southern South Dakota, and South West Minnesota.
July 17, 2020 Here are some Praise & Prayer items: Praise - -Our daughter, Lucretia, who is pregnant with twins had a life-threatening situation with one of the babies. Many people prayed and at her last ultrasound the specialist stepped back in amazement and said, “That rarely ever happens. The baby is completely healed.” Oh, the power of God! -The Lord has sustained us and our family members through the COVID situation. Prayer - -Preparations are underway for this fall’s Awana Ministry Conference. All Conferences will be free online events. More information will be coming. -We are also preparing for online Basic Training as well. This too will be a free event. -Please continue to pray concerning our financial support. We could still use an additional $3,000 in monthly support.
HARLAN MOSS PRISON MINISTRY
July 2020 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:25 This past month has been a difficult time with the death of George Floyd and then the riots! Paul says in Ephesians 1:11 that God is working all things out according to the counsel of His will. God sees the end from the beginning and nothing is hidden from Him. Jesus said in John 16, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” What a great promise in these uncertain times! The Covid-19 virus has changed a lot of things since March. Even though many church buildings were closed on Sunday mornings for several months, the online services have reached many more people with the gospel. One of the inmates I have been writing regularly wrote me a heartfelt letter. He said, “I miss our fellowship and church services a lot, but I try to stay focused on God. God is cleaning His house and I see Him working on inmates. Thanks for your letters! Nobody sends me any letters. When I received your letter I cried happy tears. God is using your letters a lot to talk to me from your heart to my heart. I feel blessed. The struggle is difficult, but the blessings will be great in Christ. Satan doesn’t want me to stand firm, because he knows that God will use me to bring people to Christ. No matter how much Satan gets in the way, God will finish what He has started!” Praise the Lord for what God is doing in this man’s life! One of the men from the Springfield prison wrote me that he had worked many hours making masks and PPE gowns for the medical profession. For a month he worked long hours every day so he slept well at night! He was grateful that he could do something to help people in the medical profession during the virus outbreak. He feels God is using him during this pandemic to help others. As Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Thank you for your prayers and financial support as I work in a new way with inmates in aftercare and through letters to the men in prison. In Christ, Harlan Moss
AMANDA BENSON - PHILIPPINES
July 1, 2020 CHANGING I love it when God shows me how much He has changed me. Earlier last month, I was reflecting on how I am still not worried or anxious about not knowing when I’ll be able to return to the Philippines or knowing what school will look like this coming year. I do pray about it nearly every day, but pretty much every morning it goes: “Lord, your will be done with when I get to go back to the Philippines. I’d love to be back by August, but I know your timing and plan are best.” And that’s it. I just rest in the knowledge that God knows what’s going on. Nothing is a surprise to Him, and I have absolutely no ability to control or change the situation. But I also imagined this exact same situation happening with my 23-yearold self. How would I have reacted then? To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have worried, per se, but I definitely would have spent A LOT more time thinking and praying about it. I would have worked through every scenario in the book and planned out how I would start the school year in each situation. I would have wondered how I would be getting back and be a bit anxious about possibly having to start school from the US. But in the past ten years, God has changed me. The experiences I’ve lived through and having walked with Him longer have helped me see His faithfulness and sovereignty more clearly. I can see how He is always at work, even when I don’t see it. I have learned even more deeply that I can trust Him with everything and in everything. I’ve learned that worry is worthless. It’s not that I don’t plan or think through various scenarios (I don’t think I’d be me if I didn’t do that!), but it’s that I don’t put my trust in any of those plans. I have learned how to loosen my need for control and place that in God’s hands. What a joy to see that I am not the same person I used to be. But what an awesome thing that God still is the same; He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has been faithful before, and He will be faithful again. He’s still working on each of us who follow Him, and I know that ten years from now, I’ll be able to look back and see how He has changed me even more to be like Him. As I continue to wait to hear when I will be able to return to the Philippines (which I would LOVE if it is this month or early next month), and what school will look like, I will continue to trust and rest in Him. He will never fail. I can’t wait to see His plan unfold. Amanda Praises • Praise God for how He has continued to change me and make me more like Himself. • I have had a great month! Things have opened up a bit, which have allowed me to do a bit of traveling. I have enjoyed the time with friends and family. • Praise for continued health throughout this pandemic. Prayer Requests • Pray for continued wisdom and safety in how I spend my time. Pray for protection from the Coronavirus, especially as my parents and I travel to California for my younger brother’s wedding. • Pray for wisdom for the administrators of Faith Academy who are trying to make decisions about the beginning of school, not knowing if the staff who are not in country will be able to come in time to start school or not. Pray that God would make a way for us to return to the Philippines. • My best friend from high school was found unresponsive in her house last week by her dad. She has been in a coma since and is on a ventilator in ICU in critical condition. They found she had high ammonia levels, and is on dialysis to help that, but that is all I know. Please pray for her healing and that the doctors would be able to find what caused it.
RICK & DEBBIE BARDIN - CAMEROON
July 20, 2020 Dear Family and Friends, We have finally gotten clearance to return to Cameroon. Borders are open and we have negative Covid Tests. We would covet your prayers for our journey back. We leave tomorrow, July 21 at 7 am from Nashville. We fly to Washington DC, then Brussels and on to Douala. From there we have a car ride of about 8-9 hours of bad roads. Pray for us and our 7 bags with a large amount for the hospital make it fine. If all goes well we will arrive in Mbingo the afternoon of July 24. Join us in praising God for the fantastic almost 3 months of extra time we have had with our 2 kids and 6 grandkids!! God is SO GOOD and we are so grateful for this unexpected blessing!! We also want to thank our supporting churches and individuals who continue to give towards our support even during these challenging economic times! May the Lord bless you for this commitment.
Joy in Jesus, Debbie and Rick *UPDATE July 21, 2020 Dear Family and Friends, God has been at work in strange and mysterious ways! We were checked in and in the security line at the airport when we got the word that our flight from Brussels to Douala had been cancelled! We went back to the counter to see what happened and it seems the flight will not go. There were no other flight options for today so we retrieved our bags and came back to our daughter’s house to regroup. Pray we have discernment from the Lord when to rebook and with what airlines. There are rumors that Brussels Airlines have suspended all flights to Cameroon until further notice, and yet we keep getting emails from them that flights are still going. We do not want to be stuck in Brussels. We can fly with Air France but they have tighter weight restrictions which would require a LOT of repacking! Thank you for your faithful prayers, God is going to continue to lead and guide us. Thank you for holding the ropes and joining us in seeking His will. We’ll keep you updated. Joy in Jesus, Rick and Debbie
Missionary Contact Info.
Missionary Contact Info. Amanda Benson: Website: send.org/benson Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 113 E. Leighton St., Brandon, SD 57005 Tax-deductible donations can be sent to: SEND International PO BOX 513, Farmington, MI 48332, Missionary #169352
Paul & Janet Harkness: Website: highplainsawana.org Email: email@example.com Phone: 308.730.2468 Address: 1713 L ST, Ord, NE 68862 To partner with us by your donations: Go to https://www.awana.org/missionary/harkness/
Harlan Moss: Email: hpmoss1@Yahoo.com Address: South Dakota Prison Chaplain’s Association, Harlan Moss, PO Box 90509, Sioux Falls, SD 57109-0509 Phone: 605-940-4220
Ron & Jeannie Seck: Website: https://justaseck.wordpress.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Darwin & Karen Stoesz: Address: 1-6-27-D Shinbori, Niiza Shi, Saitama Ken, 352-0032 JAPAN
Rick & Debbi Bardin: See instuctions Below
How To Give to North American Baptist Missionaries: Step 1: Go to the NAB’s new missions webpage nabonmission.org. Step 2: Click on the “missionaries” label. Step 3: Click on the national missionary to whom you would like to designate your support. Step 4: Click on the “give to..” button on the national workers page. Step 5: Fill out the form. All gifts given through the NAB are tax deductible.