News from Oceania
We have many people throughout Australia who've contacted us and are studying Bible Basics. We've been in contact with KIRSTY for three years now, and we're grateful to Sister Belinda Burns for visiting with her. We're delighted to announce that soon after the Carelinks conference we were able to baptize her into the Lord Jesus, and have put her in touch with other local brothers and sisters.
Yesterday we had the baptism of Juanita. She is our first contact, from the TV Seminars, to be baptised. It was lovely to have six of her family come, along with eight brothers and sisters from out of town and all our small ecclesia (except for one sister who spent two weeks in hospital - we visited her afterwards). Juanita is married with a 10 month old baby, 26 years old and Maori. She is so enthusiastic, even though she gets a lot of very strong negativity for choosing to follow scripture. After the baptism and Meeting she asked to say a few words of thanks. She spent 10 minutes thanking her family for coming, those who ran and attended Seminars, etc, and outlining her faith in the promises and Kingdom. She pleaded with all to read the Bible and accept what God says in it. Not to make the Bible fit their beliefs, but to let it free to hear God speak.
It is the biggest Meeting we have ever had here in Tauranga! It was lovely, with a wonderful shared lunch afterwards (we always do that on a Sunday). We had two other contacts from the Seminars come to the baptism and Meeting. Both are very keen and once doctrine is fully cemented will likely be baptised in the next year. One of the contacts offered to video her baptism and the Exhortation. It is his baptism gift to her. It was a good injection of enthusiasm into the Meeting and the singing was good. We only have a small Ecclesia (12 baptised previously) with normal weekly attendance being seven baptised and our children. Often we have up to 11 baptised each 2 to 3 weeks - as some members live a good distance away and only travel in each 2 - 3 weeks.
I had been visiting Juanita weekly for 4 - 5 hours at a time. We'd discuss scripture, way of life, questions, other issues, etc. We also got to form a friendship. She was like a sponge, but checked everything very thoroughly before accepting it. It has been the last two months that doctrines meshed together. One never knows where God can open hearts and lead the way. The Seminars have been good for our own children. Especially with James being able to encourage Thomas. Thomas is 27, attending Seminars and Meeting weekly and well on the way to baptism. I've been very specifically praying for each of our 10 contacts every day. God does answer prayer - but not always right away, or the way we think. We have to get in and do our bit as prayer is not sufficient to develop faith - people need the scripture and someone to guide them. With love in our Saviour,
Bro. Mark & Sis. Mary Simpson