March 2017 Update
This paragraph, which I wrote in our December 2015 update, I want to say again…As I write these updates that many of you have expressed appreciation for, I want you to know that I am mindful of the danger of parading our works before men. I struggle with sharing some of what Cathi and I are trying to do for Christ, as it can feel like we are trying to impress everyone. I hate that. Missionaries have to give reports. They have to tell what they have spent their time doing. We get that. But I want you to know that we despise the appearance, and especially the reality, of parading our service to Jesus before all of you. Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thy Name be glory – Psalm 115:1. Brothers and sisters, we have no delusions of grandeur about the ministry here; we have already had some disappointments and are realizing that gospel work here is very difficult. We await the pleasure of Christ in all of it. Please receive my reports in that vein. Brethren, we continue to hold these thoughts.
Neighborhood –We hear gunshots every day/night. There are reports of ongoing armed robberies of people who simply answer their doors in the daytime. Yet, a number of neighborhood men are showing interest in the Scriptures and are coming around more. Please pray for the Spirit of the Lord to conquer hearts. Below is a picture of us going out the door in order to respond to our neighbor lady right across the street whose live-in man went on a tirade one night and broke the house up pretty badly. She came over asking me to change her door locks for her. We took the little kids some fluffy toys and a Bible storybook.
Our neighborhood Bible study continues to develop. A family down the street is joining us, and is coming to church too. And more say they are coming. Here below is a shot of last week’s gathering. Brent, the taller man, and one who has been sleeping in his car down the street, eating at our house most nights lately, and always eager to study the Bible with me when he comes over, is holding one of the daughters of this family, Anna Mae. Don’t know her age, but her little legs are so crooked, it’s hard to watch her walk; and such a delight to witness her joyful, sweet spirit. Her bottom almost touches the ground when she walks, just shuffling along. Something of a harelip, too. I held her up Sunday so she could see the baptisms; she clapped with everyone else and said she wants to live for Jesus all her days just like those being baptized. She really seems to like me, and I’m crazy about her!
Cornerstone Church – Besides our both teaching in the children’s ministries, I was able to teach two of the Wednesday adult Bible studies this month…on Psalms 2 and 131, along with the entire Psalter in general. And there are always new folks to befriend and encourage on to Jesus. Opportunities to disciple new believers keep coming, and by God’s grace, we are discipling several excellent young adults.
Good News Kids Clubs – We are teaching children through the life of Jesus. Below Cathi teaches them a song using her boot-scootin’ moves as she teaches the kids a lively song about Jesus being the resurrection and the life. (Makin’ these kids AZ cowboys!) There are over 30 kids in the Tuesday club (below), which meets at a Salvation Army in the English Avenue area of the west side…again, notorious for poverty and trouble.
I was wrapped in TP in acting out Lazarus who was raised from the dead by our mighty Savior. The kids were excited to see a dead man come back to life by the power of Christ!
May we all never forget how we have been raised to new and eternal life in Jesus! This past week I taught on the arrest, the trial, and the crucifixion of our Lord. There were 33 children listening in rapt attention, certainly due to the sheer content of the lesson. They surely seemed moved by the most important story in all the Bible.
City of Refuge Shelter – Just hanging out among these ladies yields friendships and open doors for the Gospel. Cathi taught the Saturday Bible study this month on ladies having a meekness and quietness of spirit from 1 Peter 3. Time in the bus each Lord’s Day, at the Friday dinner tables, and in the children’s ministry class all provide valuable times for us to love these special people with Jesus’ love. We provide energy bars each Sunday morning on the bus on the way to church as they normally miss the Sunday breakfast. If the service goes long, like with baptisms, we’ll stop and provide pizzas so they won’t miss having lunch.
Night Clubs – We did not go to the clubs in March. We are on hold with this work until we have several reliable fellow servants to go with us.
Raising Expectations – Our involvement with this after-school program at a public school not far from our house (English Ave area) continues. We provide transportation and friendship. Below is a shot of our group appearing at an Atlanta Westside Development meeting where they shared their thoughts about the needs of our community with business leaders, including Dan Cathey of Chick-fil-A. We are trying to build relationships with the kids and with their parents through this. Learn more at http://www.raisingexpectations.org/about-us/
We are humbled at your kind emails and letters assuring us of your prayers on our behalf. How we treasure your prayers! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Bob and Cathi Selph