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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         14
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Missionaries


DaveW
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I recently wrote an article for "Rapture Ready" website, dealing with finding Charities and Missionaries who share the gospel with the lost. The intent of the article was to show that most charities have long ago stopped giving the gospel (if they ever did), and rather that missionaries may be the better spent donation for those who desire for the gospel to be preached. Charities use misleading names such as "Salvation ____" and " The ___ Cross" (just two well known names which do not give the gospel to the lost, but have the audacity to still use such terms in their charity names!). 

A shout of to brother Alan (his wife Sherry, and his family also) in the article as well. 29 years a missionary in Taiwan! What a blessing to know the gospel is being preached in Taiwan! God Bless you (brother Alan and sister Sherry) as you seek to serve Him and share the gospel with others in Taiwan.

Maranatha!

http://www.raptureready.com/2018/02/11/10-tips-choosing-charities-missionaries-ronda-lane/

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Dave, that's wonderful! We have always loved seeing/hearing from the missionaries our church supported. And we have always enjoyed missionaries coming through and presenting their burden and their field.

Our church currently does not support any missionaries on a regular basis. The members had sent a certain amount yearly or twice yearly to 4 different ones, which was great. But now we need to seriously be looking at supporting missionaries on a regular basis. Our first missionary family is scheduled to visit on July 1. It just so happens that the family are good friends of ours (my hubs and the man went to college together). They are actually on furlough. The church is excited about hosting them and having them present their ministry. Who knows, they may be the first missionaries we officially support. What a blessing to be able to do so!

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Posting about the first mission church I was saved at brought back so many memories of those wonderful days in the first few years after I was saved. It was a wonderful time of being newly saved and seeing God work in ways that I had never even dreamed of. At some time I may post some of the instances that happened in our church as a mission and maybe some of the experiences we had as a sending church as well as a supporting church to missions world-wide.

Our's was a very small church, but what God accomplished was nothing short of miraculous for a church of its size.

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13 hours ago, Jim_Alaska said:

Posting about the first mission church I was saved at brought back so many memories of those wonderful days in the first few years after I was saved. It was a wonderful time of being newly saved and seeing God work in ways that I had never even dreamed of. At some time I may post some of the instances that happened in our church as a mission and maybe some of the experiences we had as a sending church as well as a supporting church to missions world-wide.

Our's was a very small church, but what God accomplished was nothing short of miraculous for a church of its size.

Looking forward to hearing your testimony on your early experiences at the church you were saved in Alaska. God's accomplishments are always great to hear.

"For God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." 1 Corinthians 1:27-29  

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Brother Jim, what a wonderful testimony to the importance of missionaries! Had those missionaries not followed the call to Alaska, you may have not heard the gospel. (I look forward also to reading your account).

Missionaries are often not given the credit they deserve (from us, fellow believers) for their desire to reach the lost with the gospel. Many of them have given up ALL to follow Christ; their comfortable homeland, their relationships with family members who remain in free nations (some never again being able to SEE their kin, this side of heaven). The often horrible conditions they endure, some without clean water or ANY of the comforts we take for granted (clean running water, electricity, appliances such as washing machines/dryers, refrigerators, stoves, and so many others). Lack of good medical care and/or treatment, and real  persecution for God's word. There are hundreds of things we (in the US and Western nations) take for granted every day that many missionaries go without, and let's not forget; they do so WILLINGLY for the Lord!

Here in the US, many professing Christians think they are 'persecuted' if someone speaks ill of them for being a Christian. Yet we face no real persecution (YET), no risk to life and limb (yet). We should expect the world to reject us for sharing the gospel (1 Cor.1:18),  to be HATED of the world (John 15:18-19), to mock us when we tell them of Bible prophecy (Jude 1:18, 2 Pet.3:3-4, et al). And yet that is nothing close to the persecution the apostles faced. And it's nothing near to what many missionaries are right now facing in the world. 

Jesus went to the cross for OUR sins, we are ALL sinners! He had the unique foreknowledge of what horrors He would face to do so. Yet He went WILLINGLY. He said "... " nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke 22:42, also as in Matt.26:39, and Mark 14:36). 

How many of us are willing to say: "nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done"? How many of us are willing to truly submit our own will to the Lord? To desire HIS will above our own? When the Lord calls us to share the gospel? When the Lord calls us to witness to even a co-worker, friend or relative? Do some worry more about our earthly relationships  than they do about the other person's eternal soul??? 

While we can't all be pastors (women shouldn't be at all, and many men aren't equipped - nor called to be), and we can't all be missionaries that travel abroad or to remote locations of our own nations (although far more COULD than are willing to be), and we can't even all leave our homes to speak in person with others...  we can ALL do much more than we do.  There is also something we CAN  all do... PRAY for those who are sharing God's word! For pastors, for missionaries, and for any and all believers who are sharing the gospel with the lost. 

"Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;  Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." (Matt.9:37-38)

"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together
." (John 4:35-36)

Maranatha!


 

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This is a follow up of my post regarding mission work and my experiences with it in my first church, which was itself a mission work. I would like to begin by recounting an instance that I experienced early in my Christian life. As I said in my previous post on this subject, when I first attended this mission work there were only about six people attending that were not actually a part of the original people that started the work. So that made six people that were from the community. This made a total of seventeen people attending when also counting the two missionary families.

One of these people was a lady that had been contacted by the missionaries and started attending. Her husband was very anti-church and refused all attempts by his wife and others to get him to attend. This went on for a number of years until one evening at his wife’s request he decided to come with her. It was not very long after that evening that he was saved. Now this was one of those people that everybody thought was hopeless as far as his ever attending church or getting saved. And that is why I recount this happening; it is to show that no one is beyond the reach of The Gospel. To take this story one step further I would like to tell you of another miracle regarding this man. He is now the pastor of that church. This is the same man that no one ever thought would darken the door of a church. With God all things are possible.

This post will be extremely long if I recount all the wonderful things that I experienced in this church in Alaska. Looking back on this church’s history I would just like to say that over the years many missionaries and “preacher boys” came to visit and help out with the work, whether it was with actual building or helping with the ministry of our church. This was in large part because our mission was sponsored by Rodgers Baptist Church in Garland Texas. This church was responsible for sending out many missionaries and supporting many more, so it was well known for mission work. They were also a part of the Ministry of Independent Baptist College. So, many of the men that had surrendered to preach and were attending that church or college got to hear about our mission work in Alaska.

The result of this was that some of these men felt God’s call to start their ministry in Alaska. Four of these men either started missions of their own in later years or went on to pastor one of the four Independent Churches in our area.

The best part is yet to come, but I think it best if I end this post here and continue it in a separate post. It has been my experience that many times when we try to post a long message it either will not post or it gets cut off. I don’t want to type a lot of text just to have it not post.

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OK, next installment regarding missions and mission work. There came a time in the early 1980’s when a Russian couple came to our little community to visit one of our church’s families. Of course while they were here they were invited to attend our church by this family, which they did. The Russian couple was visiting for about two weeks, so they got to come to services each time we met. They seemed very interested in both the church and the messages preached. Before they left for Russia they spoke to the pastor about some meetings that were being held in their home city of Magadan, which is in Far East Russia, in what we know as Siberia. It seems that the meetings that were being held were for the purpose of studying the bible. The problem as they told it was that there was really no one there that knew much about the bible, but they had an interest, so they met in an apartment of one of the interested families.

They politely asked if our church might be interested in sending someone from the church to help teach about the bible. Even though the Cold War had ended and Russian rules and regulations were somewhat relaxed, anyone wanting to visit Russia had to have a Russian sponsor. This couple offered to sponsor anyone interested in coming to help.

Our pastor presented this request to the church during a business meeting and the church agreed to consider what to do and how to do it. This couple had to return to Russia before any kind of decision was made by the church. We had an address for them in their home city and had promised to contact them by mail if and when we could come to some decision. In the interim our church was in much prayer and discussion regarding this request.

This went on for about a month when one of our members announced that he and his family had been praying about this situation and they felt led of The Lord to answer this Macedonian call. Shortly after this another man testified that he and his family had also been in prayer and discussion about this situation. They and the first family got together and decided that they would team up and both families would go to Russia together to see the situation first hand and attempt to get some real church services going.

Together they presented their burden to the church and the church agreed to sponsor their Russian missionary endeavor. They planned on staying and holding services for three months. This was assuming that they would be allowed to do this by Russian authorities and that they could secure housing for that time.

This was to be no small endeavor since both families had under age children. In all, the two families numbered twelve people. In the end they decided that the husband and wife of each family would go, while leaving their children with family members for the time they were gone. They then contacted the Russian couple that had visited and asked them to sponsor them with the Russian government. This was done and the Russian couple also began efforts to secure housing. In Magadan housing took the form of apartments because there were no houses to be had as we know them. Apartments there have to be secured through the government. It took a couple of months to get everything ready for our missionaries departure, but at last the day they had been waiting for came and they boarded a plane for Russia.

This post is beginning to get too long so I will break it off here and post again with their arrival in Russia.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Jim,

Thank you very much for relating to us the work in Alaska, the fine ministry of Rogers Baptist Church, the Russian family visiting the church, the converts and the sending out of the two missionary families from the work in Alaska. All of it is soul stirring. God is still working in the midst of the churches, winning souls, sending out missionaries, and walking by faith.

Thank you very much for the encouraging testimonies and the history of the work of God in the work in Alaska. Looking forward to hearing more.

Alan 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
  • Administrators

I am sorry for the long lapse between installments in this story. My last installment was at the end of February, my how time slips by. I will try to pick up where I left off as I am able. I have had two things preventing me from continuing. The first is that my wife and I were notified by the owners of the house we rent that they wanted to take possession of the house once again and move back in by May 1st' at the latest. So we have been frantically trying to find alternative housing, which is extremely difficult since we live very remote from any population center. Our community is nothing more than a wide spot in the road; population 80.

We have managed to find alternative housing finally, but it is now mid-April and we only have two weeks left before the owners take possession. Of course this means the dreaded task of moving and that this place must be spotless and ready for them, as well as the new place being made livable for us. This has been a very discouraging and depressing few months.

The second thing that that has kept me from continuing this missionary story is that, for some mysterious reason my peripheral Neuropathy seems to have returned. I wrote in another place on the forums about the surgical implant I had done to remedy this situation. It has now returned and is even worse than before my implant. I am working with my specialist to determine what the problem may be. But suffice to say that with the return of this medical situation I am almost useless in trying to help my wife with this moving situation and all it entails.

This Neuropathy manifests itself in no feeling from my knees to my feet and makes my legs and feet extremely weak. This, in turn makes for extreme instability, because I can't feel what my feet are doing. I have to support myself at all times while standing or walking, either with a cane of holding on to something. Trying to do anything with both hands proves impossible, I always need one hand for support. So consequently the only things I can do manually are what can be done with one hand. Even then I wear down very quickly.

I would very much appreciate prayers in our behalf from my brothers and sisters at OB. But I have every intention in continuing my missionary story as time and strength allow. Thanks to everyone for bearing with me.

Edited to add:

I just realized that there is one other small thing that enters into my life situation at this time. That small thing is age. I thought of this as I posted my post this morning and looked at my avatar. My avatar is misleading to say the least. It is twenty years old. I am age 75 as of this last December. I have used this avatar for many years simply because it is the most recent picture of me that I have. It was taken when I was 55 years old. Sorry for the unintended deception. I mention and add this because age is a definite obstacle in situations such as I described above.

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Jim,

Thank you for letting us know what is going on in your life. We can wait until you are ready to post again.

Also, concerning your avatar. I remember awhile back when folks thought my avatar was, shall I say, "different" from others. Well, for one reason, I noticed that my facial features changed quite a bit over the years, so, I did not want a photo, I am no good in computer photo manipulation, so, I figured if I used a rock I would not have to change my avatar. 

Most folks here know that you are somewhat older than the avatar (as with most folks who use a photo avatar), so, there is no misleading.

Alan

Edited by Alan
grammer
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Thank you for your thoughts Bro. Alan. I do have to confess something concerning your avatar. Before you posted telling everyone what your avatar was, I had thought that it was a large lizard of some sort. This may have to do with the small size avatars that are allowed as an avatar. Consequently, to this day when I see your avatar my minds eyes sees a lizard. I see the eyes and what looks like a lizard's tongue sticking out. Another things that makes it look like a lizard to me is the flat shape of what would be the head, almost like and alligator.

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  • 9 months later...
  • Administrators

Wow, it looks like I have done it once again. Earlier this year I posted in regard to my long lapse in the story of my first missionary church in Alaska. At that time I apologized for not posting any more of the story since the preceding February, with a promise to continue soon. That promise was not kept due to life circumstances coupled with forgetfulness. I posted again in April, saying that I would continue with this story soon. Soon has come and gone and it is now January of the next year.

You will probably have to go back and familiarize yourself with the story so far. For this reason I post this as a reply to the original thread so that people don’t have to go back and look for the first part. I left off with the two missionary couples boarding a plane for Magadan, Far East Russia. The original Russian couple that had visited our church had been successful in procuring two apartments for our missionary couples and had successfully been able to sponsor their three month visit to Magadan with the Russian government. At this time a year had passed in preparation for this mission work.

On their arrival in Magadan they were warmly greeted by the Russian couple that had sponsored them, as well as a few of the people that had been attending the original bible classes. One of these people was a Russian woman that had been acting as a sort of leader in studying the bible. Little did we or our missionaries know, but this woman was destined to become a major problem to this new work at a later date.

Culture shock was about to insert itself on our missionaries, this is always a very real problem in foreign mission work. People in America are used to how things work and how they live all their lives in America and as such they are usually ill suited for the changes that they encounter in a totally different society. But this was to be an exploratory trip to familiarize our missionaries with Russian culture as well as begin work toward getting started as missionaries. It was one of my great privileges to watch God work in accomplishing His will and providing for it in this mission work. While the new missionary families were still in Alaska we, (our church) were very fortunate to find someone that lived in Fairbanks Alaska that spoke fluent Russian and offered to teach our missionaries the language. This person was not even a Christian which was all the more remarkable in that, because of the nature of our work in Russia he had to use a lot of Bible in his language instruction.

This was just one in a long string of miracles that God accomplished in preparation for His work in Russia. There are others, as you will see later on, that were nothing short of miracles from God that could have been accomplished in no other way than a miracle. I forget the timing of some of the events, but it was quite some time from when our missionaries surrendered to the work in Russia and when they actually got their boots on the ground there. This time was used in preparation such as learning the language selling their houses and belongings and getting affairs in order for their departure. Both families felt a great need to expedite their affairs as quickly as possible so that they could get on the mission field as soon as possible while the door to this new work was still open. This left little time for any deputation outside of our little corner of Alaska in support of the coming work. It also left no time for Bible College. This turned out to be no challenge at all to the purposes of our God in accomplishing His will for His work.

But I digress; I had started out with culture shock on their arrival in Russia. While it was severe, they took it all in stride with the help of their new Russian friends. There were things to be dealt with such as transportation, they had none at first. Fortunately everything they needed was available within walking distance. Their sponsors had even been able to procure an apartment for the new mission to meet in nearby. This was no easy task since the Russian authorities were not at all in favor of churches or any sort of religious activities. The apartment had to be rented in the name of a resident of Magadan.

Things that we take for granted were non-existent in Magadan; things as simple as grocery shopping. There were no supermarkets there as we know them. There were simple shops and outdoor stands that operated very differently from what we know here. In that culture no one went shopping for a week’s worth of groceries. All food shopping was done on a daily basis. Much of this was due to the shops only stocking what was available on any given day. One day a shop may only have bread, or possibly bread and milk. If you needed something else you had to wait until it was available or find another shop that had what you wanted. Many things you had to do without until they became available, such as vegetables and especially meat.

Money was another huge obstacle; when you went shopping you had to carry a huge amount of Russian Rubles because of the difference in the monetary exchange rate. Everything was done in cash; they had no banking system for things such as a checking accounts or credit and debit cards. They only had government money exchanges to convert dollars into Rubles. So it took a lot of Rubles to equal a dollar.

I see once again that this account is getting quite long. If the forum will not post it in its entirety I may have to break it down once again into another reply.

But while I am on the subject of money I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you of the things that our church had to go through to get missionary support to our missionaries. Because they had no time to do the customary deputation to support the work, our church, at the suggestion of our pastor, took an extremely unconventional and difficult path in respect of raising funds for the work.

First of all we, as a church determined to monetarily supply funds as missionary support in an amount that is far above what is normally supplied by a sending church. Secondly and even more unconventional, our pastor suggested that he personally go on deputation for our missionaries and present the work in Russia to churches outside of Alaska. Fortunately our pastor was a well known man of God in many places across the United States. While he pastored in churches in the lower 48 states he had made it his mission to help physically move pastors and missionaries when they had to move their residences to pastor a different work. He even bought a moving van to accomplish this work.

This of course presented a problem in that it would leave our church without a pastor for the time he would be on deputation. But again this did not present a barrier to God’s purposes. I had surrendered to preach many years before this occasion (a whole other story). Currently I was the adult Sunday school teacher. At our pastor’s suggestion our church discussed and voted to call me to fill in for our pastor during his absence. At this time in my Christian life I had many opportunities to fill in for both our pastor and sister churches pastors, as well as being asked to hold special meetings for sister churches at times over the years. This would also allow our missionaries time and opportunity to both teach and preach at home and serve as valuable experience for them. Both men, although relatively young, we well grounded and very spiritually committed Christians.

So now we come to the place where our pastor leaves for deputation for our missionaries. I am going to let the suspense build by cutting this off here with a “to be continued” at a later date not too far in the future. Now it only remains to see if the forum will allow me to post this in its entirety.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I am pleased to know that you have the time to relate to us your experiences, and your church, in the area of missions and particular missionary work in Russia. The faith of your pastor in going on deputation for the missionary family was an act of faith.

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