February 2021

Dear Pastor and Brethren: February Freeze We thank the Lord that we are finally thawing out from the February freeze. Such snow and cold weather caused us to have to cancel two Wednesday evening services and a Sunday morning service. Temperatures reached eight degrees below zero at night with about eight inches of snow for some fifteen days in a row. Many water pipes froze and broke but thank the Lord ours did not nor did we have much trouble at our building although a water line did freeze but did not break. We are in the southern plains and just not prepared for that kind of extended cold weather. Low Attendance Attendance to our services also froze in addition to the cancellations. Sis. Roxanne only had one child to teach in Sunday School for the entire month. Our numbers ran as follows, 10, 11, and 9 for the Sunday services during the month. A Special Service! The Lord did bless us with a special service with the Bert Craft family, missionaries to Mexico on Friday evening the 26th. We had sixteen in attendance with some four of those being unregenerate persons. Sis. Heather Craft accompanied the congregation on the piano following my directing of three hymns. The Craft family sang two hymns, one in Spanish and one in English. I sang just before the message, “Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy,” by Joseph Hart. Bro. Bert Craft preached on the topic, “Precious, Purchased Possession.” After the service we had a time of fellowship and light refreshments. The lost heard the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and believers...

January 2021

Dear Pastor and Brethren: Another New Year 2021 started with an unusual amount of consternation and fear in the hearts of most people in general. Political fear, economic fear, and health fear seem to head the list of those fears. However, we are not afraid by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Did not the Psalmist say, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” How can we fear while seated at such a table of spiritual prosperity? Some Early Blessings Although we have, for the most part, lost our Latino outreach, we now have Jose Bautista and two of his children, Josselyn and Jesus (Hesus), regularly attending our Sunday services. We have two Mexican brothers and their lady friend expressing their desire to come to a Sunday service but have been hindered by work demands thus far. LaShonda and her boys, Dona’te, and Deonta, were out for two weeks due to Covid-19 positive results being found in Dona’te. Thankfully, the Lord prevented any serious symptoms from developing in Dona’te’s life, and they have promised to return to services the seventh of February. During January we had our highest number in attendance on the tenth with sixteen attendees. We had a repeat visitor, LaShonda’s niece, Tyasia, visit with us on the seventeenth, giving us fourteen in attendance on that Sunday. Sickness and the loss of Bro. Ruben’s three children from our services have affected our attendance numbers. We are rejoicing over the Lord’s blessings in spite of pandemic fears. Ministry Blessings I finished my...

December 2020

Dear Pastor and Brethren: Interesting Development: Years ago, at the beginning of our ministry here, Roxanne and I witnessed unto a young umnarried Mexican couple and helped Jose find employment and them a place to live. They had been living in their car for lack of income. They came to our house and to our services several times until Jose got mad at me for something I preached in an evening service at the Best Western Motel here in Stillwater. Although we saw them from time to time, they never returned to visit our services until Jose called me and poured out his heart to me concerning the harm his eleven year old daughter was experiencing. Josselin had been bullied for several years in our public schools and gotten into wicked internet subject material. Her “friends” had encouraged her to kill herself, and so she tried different ways to comply with them. Finally, her father had to take her to the emergency room here in Stillwater, and they took her to a hospital in Tulsa that deals with these situations. She stayed in the hospital for about two weeks. During that time is when Jose called me and asked us to pray for her. I prayed with him over the telephone and invited him to come to the Wednesday evening service. He came, bringing his little boy, Jesus, and I preached a message in Spanish and English concerning the nature of sin and the need to repent from it and to trust in the Lord for salvation. Josselin returned home on the 23rd, and Jose brought her and Jesus...

November 2020

Dear Pastor and Brethren: Thanksgiving Month! Although we are thankful for all that the Lord is doing, November is the month in which we give special thanks to the Lord for His wonderful works to the children of men. The mission had a fellowship dinner after the morning service on the eighth, and it was a delightful time. We all brought special foods to share with others and had a time of social fellowship which we had not had for several months. We did our best to do social distancing and kept our hygiene standards high which we always do anyway. Thus far, nobody that comes to our services has contracted the Covid-19 virus, and we are truly thankful for that blessing. Expressing Our Gratitude! The social blessings were pleasing to all of us, but the spiritual blessings from the Word of God have endeared us more to the Lord and to each other. To think upon all that the Lord has done for us, by His grace, is more that we can truly comprehend. We, as wicked sinners having offended God and deserving His wrath only, have found grace in His sight through the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Discovering, through the Word of God, that He has chosen us from before the foundations of the world to be recipients of His grace in spite of our offenses and sinful nature, makes us humble ourselves before Him in a gratitude beyond description with words. Loyalty to Christ, dedication to service, hunger for biblical truth, willingness to sacrifice, prayer for His return, a high moral standard,...

October 2020

Dear Pastor and Brethren: A Slow Uneventful Month The month of October was a slow month with little activity other than normal services. The two ladies who visited twice, Denise Park and Kelly Swanson, have not returned at all to our services. We have had a more than usual amount of sickness among those who regularly attend. Bro. Alvin Christian was out because of sickness, as well as Sis. Maginnis who is in her eighties. Sis. Connie Gaches was also sick and is in a lot of constant pain because of the broken rod in her back. Her battle with scoliosis against bone thinning and loss is very difficult, and the broken rod in her back is due to the bending of her spine by the active scoliosis. She is taking a medicine that is supposed to strengthen her bones so she can have the operation to remove the broken rod from her back. However, the medicine does not seem to be working very well, because she was supposed to have the operation last year but did not because the medicine had not done its job. Please remember these in prayer when you pray for the Lord’s work here in Stillwater. So far, thank the Lord, we have not had any infections from the Covid virus, although with life in a university town, it is all around us. The Latino Outreach Although Roxanne and I have had almost no translation work in the Payne County court for several months now, we have three Latino men with whom we are working this month. Emmanuel is an illegal Mexican who has...

September 2020

Dear Pastor and Brethren: Midweek Services Renewed We began our midweek services again but now we are having them on Wednesday night instead of Thursday night. We originally held our midweek service on Thursdays because Bro. Dick and Connie Gaches held services at the state prison on Wednesday evenings. However, the prison authorities closed down the state prison and the Gaches are no longer holding services at all in the prison. Thus we moved our midweek services up to the Wednesday evening time which seems to be a more comfortable for all who are interested. Furthermore our Lord was crucified on Wednesday and so to honor Him, Wednesday evening is the best time to hold a service. Our first service on the sixteenth was blessed with eleven in attendance which included two visitors. Our service on the twenty-third was attended by ten people giving us a good start to our new  midweek services. Reporting Our Numbers Sunday the sixth, the Lord blessed us with nine people in our morning service. Sunday the thirteenth, the Lord blessed us with fifteen people. Sunday the twentieth the Lord blessed us with ten visitors, and on Sunday the twenty-seventh, the Lord blessed us with sixteen visitors. The problem with all of these visitors is that none of them desire at this time to become members of the mission. There seems to be no desire on the part of these folks to take upon themselves the responsibilities associated with being a member of one of the Lord’s churches. Please pray with us about this phenomena. Most of these visitors claim to be born again but...

August 2020

Preaching Through the Gospel of John The Lord has blessed us richly through the study and preaching of the Gospel of John. In April of 2014, I began preaching and teaching this book, and next Sunday, Lord willing, I am preaching on the 20th chapter of John, verses 21 through 23. They deal with the Great Commission, the imparting of the person of the Holy Spirit, and the forgiving of sins in Jesus’ name, all treating of special spiritual authority given by the Lord to His Apostles, the church of our Lord being and becoming the great administrator of God’s spiritual kingdom on the earth during this present time. The Apostle Paul reveals more about the institution of our Lord, the local church, in Ephesians chapters three and four and other scriptures as well. How the Virus Threat Is Affecting Us I missed preaching on the Gospel of John for almost three months of closure, beginning on the fourth Sunday of March, and continuing through the end of May, because of the threat of the Covid Virus prohibiting us to assemble. We now have good attendance and intense interest on the part of the hearers because the subject matter is all new to them. We have not forsaken the assembling of ourselves, but just delayed that action. I am not afraid of the virus, but many are afraid. I am concerned that many believers are becoming lazy and do not want to assemble and are using the virus as an excuse not to assemble. They can listen to a preacher on the internet and think that they are doing...

July 2020

Partial Return to Normalcy We seem to be experiencing a partial return to normalcy here in Stillwater. However, medical mandates remain in place concerning mask wearing and social distancing. We have begun to translate for Latino men once again in court. We also had better attendance in our services, 12, 9, 11, and nine. We seem to be adjusting to the medical mandates and the way things are being done to accommodate them. For many churches, attendance has been seriously dampened, but we are running almost full capacity and rejoicing in the excellent spirit among the believers. Prison Closure Bro. Dick and Sis. Connie Gaches have been involved in the prison ministry for over forty years. The prison in Cushing, Ok., has closed permanently, and they have lost their prison ministry. However, Bro. Gaches still goes to the Payne County Jail for services on Sunday afternoon. There is a great spiritual vacuum in the jails and prisons, and this is a great burden to Bro. & Sis. Gaches. Latino Ministry I have not reported on the Latino outreach much because the Covid-19 virus has seriously truncated our contact with Latinos. Apparently the police have not been arresting very many of them because we have not been called into court to translate for them. However, this month we have seen four new Latino men and have translated for them in court. Their names are, Balan Dimas, Jose Gaspar, Francisco Ramirez, and Emmanuel Fernandez. I have been able to talk to Emmanuel about spiritual things a little bit because he is doing his community service with us. Forty-Seventh Anniversary With great...

June 2020 Report

A Good Resuming! As I hoped in our May report, we have resumed our Sunday morning service beginning on the seventh of June. As we did not have a Sunday School session the first two Sundays, one of the children asked when we were going to have Sunday School again. So the third Sunday in June we added back the Sunday School time for the children. I then attempted to add back the Thursday evening Bible study session, but everyone seemed opposed to that idea at this time. We have, however, had good Sunday morning services throughout the entire month. By using the term “good,” I mean that we had a good spirit among all of the ten attendees who expressed their joy at being able to hear the Word of God preached once again. Our assembly was characterized by the wearing of masks by all except me and the behavior of social distancing. Both behaviors seem to be hindering the social fellowship between the attendees, but the spiritual fellowship around God’s Word is still sweet. This service was our first since March 15 making it eleven weeks without any services. We all were happy to be back together and attentive to God’s Word. In attendance, we had ten people with us the first two Sundays of the month, and nine and six the last two Sundays of the month. Other Events Monday, the eighth of June, I had a little heart trouble which has been diagnosed as ventricular tachycardia which are medical terms for high speed palpitations of the ventricle, in my case, the left ventricle of my...

May 2020

Dear Pastor and Brethren: Hope in May We do hope to return to assembling, worshiping, and preaching in the month of June with Sunday morning, June 7th as our target date. Lord willing, I am planning on preaching on the resurrection of our Lord as told by the Apostle John in the twentieth chapter of John, which we missed back in March when we had our last service on the 15th because of the Covid 19 scare. We have not forsaken “the assembling of ourselves together,” but simply have tried to be in cooperation with the health recommendations of our local city mayor. We have a checklist of sanitation rules with which we will have to comply for our safety. They are not so very difficult to fulfill, and so we will do as they ask. The majority of our group is in the high risk level, however, I will not be wearing a mask while preaching. I have also asked Sis. Gaches to sing a song of comfort written by John Peterson, “Tell Jesus.” She said that she would wear a mask, so Sis. Roxanne will put the words in the bulletin for everyone to read while she sings. It is hard to sing through a mask without muffling the words, and the words are the important medium to convey the message of comfort. Lord willing, I will report to you the outcome of our upcoming service in June. Latino Interaction On May 28th, we had one court case with Gildardo, who has a DUI. The attorney with whom we work has had only one case for the...

April Report

April Foolishness I thought that the first day of April was April Fools’ Day??? It seems like the whole month of April has become a month of medical, social, economic, and political foolishness. Who are those among us that thought that quarantining a complete sporting entity for medical reasons would not have political, social, and economic ramifications as well? Who are those among us that thought that preventing us from buying seeds at the grocery store while buying groceries would prevent the Covid 19 virus from spreading? Who among us thought that cancelling school for the rest of the year for medical reasons related to this invisible threat that mainly threatens the elderly and infirm would for our children and young adults not contribute to the “dumbing down,” syndrome that makes it nearly impossible for our younger generations to read and mentally understand the Bible. No wonder that there are so many perversions of that Holy Text. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. The Psalmist got it right – the first time, and it is still right today. Many in our society have become corrupt and abominable in God’s sight. They have become “practical atheists” if not actual atheists. They pretend to be religious or even are religious, but they deny the power of God and the presence of God Himself. They have become gods unto themselves and think that their way of thinking and doing is right and that yours is wrong. But our God is in the heavens:...

March 2020

March Madness No, I’m not talking about basketball games. I’m talking about what is going on with the leadership of our federal and state governments. Talk of war against an invisible force attacking us on all sides causing many casualties, and deaths, and closing down many businesses and forcing many of us to stay at home as much as possible to prevent its spread. If I didn’t know better, I’d think that they were all talking about the worldwide sin problem within the human race. Sin is like that, you know. It is invisible although its results are often visible. Sin causes many human casualties and deaths, and many refrain from going to the place where they can hear about a real remedy for the sin problem – the Lord’s church. There are other analogies to the sin problem that can be drawn from what is going on in the federal, state, medical, and business fields as the result of this particular viral infection, but praise the Lord we have the remedy. Repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, followed by a daily walk with the Lord and obedience to His Word is the only remedy for a sin cursed world. That remedy is being ignored largely by the human powers that be, even as the cure for the Covid-19 viral infection, hydroxychloroquine, is being ignored and denounced by many. Sovereign Stability In spite of all the pride, confusion, ignorance, and instability, the God of the Bible is in control. He is immutable and omniscient, as well as omnipresent and omnipotent. He that dwelleth in the...

February 2020

Much Sickness The sickness that began toward the end of January has continued throughout the month of February within the body of believers and visitors that attend our services. Roxanne and I thank the Lord for His goodness to us since up until now we have not had to suffer from any of those viral infections that have been circulating in the Stillwater area. Two Children Visit Eric, about twelve years old, and his sister, Abby, in the second grade visited one Sunday morning and were in Sis. Roxanne Parrow’s Sunday School class. They are friends of the Torres children and came at their invitation. Young Eric came again to our service on Sunday night, but without his sister. My Active Preaching Ministry Presently, I am finishing the expository preaching of the Gospel of John chapter 19. I am using AW. Pink and John Gill as commentary on this Gospel. This preaching is done during the Sunday morning service, and I give a set of my notes out to all who attend the service. John 19 deals with the death of our Lord and is a wonderful study of His deity and perfect humanity as He is the God-Man. What an example He is for us to follow, although we won’t reach His perfections in this life! We will be like Him, someday, by His grace. Thursday evenings we are studying the articles of faith of our sponsoring church, Calvary Independent Baptist Church. We are presently looking at the doctrine of the resurrection, article number fourteen, of our Confession of Faith. The Lord is blessing these studies with the...

December 2019

Dear Pastor and Brethren: A Brief Summary of the Blessings of 2019 With the prospects of a new year before us, I think it would be profitable to see a summary of the Lord’s blessings during the old year. During 2019 the Lord sent us thirty first-time visitors to our services. We have tried to follow up on them with a visit as much as they have permitted us to do so. What I mean is that the visitors do not want to give us their full names nor their addresses so that we can visit with them. So we are as friendly as possible and talk to them after the services, inviting them to return, if they don’t run out just as soon as the preaching is over. Our services are not religious entertainment services but real services of true worship and Bible study. Perhaps that is the reason why none have stayed with us. However, they all have heard the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and have been invited to repent of their sin and come to the Savior. Some of Our Activities During the Year We enjoyed attending a hymn sing in January, a Bible Conference in April, and a fellowship lunch in November. Bro. Al had moved to Tulsa but returned to live in Stillwater in August. Bro. Gaches had an operation on his knee and has recovered. Sis. Gaches has had the shingles, but is slowly recuperating. Sis. Maginnis has been sick now for over six weeks. LaShonda Dale is doing well with her new job and has been coming more...

November 2019

Dear Pastor and Brethren: A Month of Praise and Thanksgiving As last month we reported as being a somewhat difficult month, this month we have some answers to prayer to report. LaShonda Dale reported that the Lord has answered prayer for her concerning a new job. She was working nights for a Senior Living Community and is now going to work for DHS in the area of Adult Protective Services. She and her family are rejoicing in this new job and are thanking the Lord for providing it for them. Working at night has ended and she now has weekends off, better income, and a better level of work. Another New Visitor The Lord sent us another new visitor, Miss Tori Marshall, a post graduate student from Tennessee, working on her PHD in agriculture. She came only once but told us she was going to be out of town during the Thanksgiving holiday. We hope that she will return to visit with us agam. Our Spanish Outreach Contact with Spanish speaking people has once again slumped although we did have the opportunity to be in contact with seven different Mexican families and individuals. We know that the Roman Catholic Church is permitting a group of young married couples to have their own Bible study in which they take turns giving their own opinions about what certain portions of the Bible mean to them. It is a “blind leading the blind” situation. Would to God they would come to our services and let me teach them; but such is not the case. The Word of God is not for “private...