Well, we had our first break-in. Last week our alarm company called us while we were putting on a children’s Good News club about 3 miles from the house. We hustled home to find a lower back window to the basement broken out and our back door opened, though the iron security door remained solidly locked closed. The burglars must have run off when the alarm sounded. It is super loud. It seems to us that nothing was taken. This is the only such incident we have had in these 18 months, other than the theft of our lawn mower, weed eater, and two gas cans off our back porch one day when they were left out as the neighbors were going to use them. More bars are going up over four back windows, and our thanks to our God for not allowing worse things to happen…so far. Other neighbors have had this happen, so it was our turn. And the best part of it was that the Lord helped me to speak to the policeman of Christ!
Cornerstone Church – Cathi and I both are teaching monthly in the children’s ministry…. participating in street evangelism in the neighborhood twice a month…and Pastor John O now has me rotating with him in teaching the Wednesday night Bible study.
The attendance for this 17-month-old church is averaging around 250-270. We are amazed at how many young people 18-30 yrs just keep coming. Our church has a very appealing chemistry to it, drawing young adults from all over Atlanta. It is overwhelming at times since we want to have a personal relationship with every one of them!
We get to have a wide variety of people over to the house for meals who are members, or who are visitors to Cornerstone. These lovely folks above are eager Christians…the guy on the right is an Atlanta police officer and guy on the left is a schoolteacher who has asked me to disciple him. We are meeting weekly. Cathi is discipling the girl on the left.
Neighborhood – Our Tuesday evening Bible study goes forward. One very encouraging note is Brent. This 55-year-old has begun to devour the Scriptures, and is showing real signs of a work of grace in his heart. This past Tuesday he was at our house for 3 hours lapping up the Word of God. He shared that he’s never had a real, true “hero” in his life, and has now come to see Jesus as his hero. Delivered recently from a life of cocaine use, he is now taken with God’s Son. We discussed the Parable of the Sower this past study from the Gospel of Mark, so he was warned that not all those who begin to follow Jesus really have the root of the matter in their hearts so as to one day be saved eternally. He seems now ready to come to church with us. Our new neighbors across the street, Dionsay and Mercedes, are among our new targets. Please pray.
City of Refuge – Cathi is leading this ladies’ Bible study in the photo (under the RATL sign pictured), with about 40 women present. She and I are now alternating this Bible study teaching one Saturday each month. Teachers from other churches fill the other Saturdays. Groups of ladies come in from churches to bring ministry, and they also sit in on the studies.
One day we had 16 from the City of Refuge ride to church on our van, and 12 more from the colleges joined us.
Last week we had 15 from the colleges and 11 from the City of Refuge. That is more than a full vanload transporting happy worshippers of God.
Good News Kids Clubs – We are cooperating with this ministry of Grace Mid-Town Church as they sponsor these Child Evangelism clubs.
We are averaging 8 homeless children at this Atlanta Mission club (above) and 20 at the other club, which meets in the English Avenue area of the west side…notorious for poverty and trouble. The children are well behaved as the Salvation Army staff of the Boys and Girls Club runs a tight ship, as does the Atlanta Mission staff. It is our interest to start more Good News clubs closer to our house and the church.
NightLight – We have discontinued our involvement with this organization that targets commercial sexual exploitation (the strip clubs and brothels). After spending over a year serving with and learning from them in this unique subculture, we are ready to go it on our own. The group is quite charismatic, but zealous for Christ and the salvation of those bound in this darkness. There had been some changes to their organization which set up an opportune time for us to make the break. Cathi and I plan to recruit some brothers and sisters from our church here to go with us to the same places, but on different nights, and a bit earlier in the evening. Those 3:00 and 4:00 AMs were tough for us old folks, especially with the City of Refuge Bible study the next morning. Please pray for fellow workers who would be a good fit to help us in such a work.
We sure appreciate each of you and your prayerful support,
Bob and Cathi Selph
PS – RATL at the City of Refuge stands for Restoration Atlanta. It’s a take-off from the Ezekiel vision in chapter 37 where God brought that valley of dry bones to life by His Spirit’s sovereign power. Pastor Jim Ellison, who has so graciously embraced us and has given to us a wonderful place full of opportunities with these precious ladies in crisis, and their children, started this ministry that serves the City of Refuge. He loves the fact that we moved here among these people. He has written a book about how it is about being with rather than doing for…which, especially short-term mission efforts, often fail at. It’s the incarnational approach to missions.