Rejoicing in the Work of the Lord!
Paul wrote Philippians from the Roman jail where he was imprisoned for the gospel's sake. He rejoiced in spite of much opposition and persecution because "Christ is preached" (Phil. 1:7, 18). Knowing his brethren at Philippi would suffer "the same conflict," he taught them to be al-ways "in nothing terrified by your adversaries," but rather, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice" (Phil. 1:28-30; 4:4). This great Christian considered it an honor to share with Christ in "the fellowship of his suffering" because it is a great honor to serve Christ and to spread the blessed gospel (Phil. 3:10).
I, too, rejoice greatly for the privilege of serving Christ and spreading the blessed gospel! God has been with me and my family in many ways, especially since I obeyed the gospel and began to preach it. I was born April 12, 1923 and married my wife on February 13, 1944. In this year of 1996, I am celebrating my wedding anniversary number fifty-two. Since my wife and I were born into a Hindu culture, our parents arranged our marriage without dating and other American customs. Our ancestors were from India but we were born in British Guiana (now called Guyana), South America. I was twenty and my wife thirteen when we married. During the Hindu wedding ceremony, the garment of the bride and the garment of the groom are literally tied together to symbolize joining in marriage. Then as the husband and bride walk forward, she follows behind him in symbolic recognition of his role as her guide and leader. Even the false religion of Hindu teaches that we are joined for life in marriage.
As we celebrate this 52nd anniversary of our marriage, we thank God for leading us out of the maze of false religions, including the Hindu, Roman Catholic, Baptist, and Jehovah's Witness religions. Since I learned the true gospel of Christ and obeyed it in 1973, my wife and all of our children have also been saved by the gospel and added to Christ. Many people thought I was crazy to quit my good job and begin full-time preaching in 1976. We have faced many problems and much persecution, just as Paul said we would, but God has been with us through all of our trials. Truly, we rejoice in the Lord with the beloved brother Paul because of the great privilege of serving Christ!
Since 1981 I have been preaching full-time with the Church of Christ in Vauxhall near South Orange, New Jersey. There was no true church in this community when my family and I first came here. The church which now meets here is small and exists in a vast wasteland of sin, error, and false religions. This is not a reason to complain, be-cause God is giving us many opportunities to teach so many lost souls. I rejoice because of the help of my godly wife and children. Not only has my wife been faithful to me for fifty-two years, but also she is my faithful fellow-worker in the kingdom of God. She and our children are a great encouragement and a great help in the work of the Lord. My oldest son is our song leader, and the youngest often leads us at the Lord's table.
I continue to rejoice for the help which I find in the Guardian of Truth magazine and its writers. When I published Ron Halbrook's article on the pope in our area newspapers, the article borrowed from the Guardian of Truth, I had much good response as explained in the Guardian of Truth for December 21, 1995, pages 746-747. Therefore, I contacted him about the possibility of using more articles. He sent another article which he also sent to the Guardian of Truth entitled, "Perverted Religion: `An Empty Vine.- It had several parts discussing the truth of God's Word in contrast to The Bible Perverted, Morality Perverted, Preaching Perverted, The Church Perverted, and Perverted Worship. He thought I might be able to use some parts a little at the time, but I felt it could have a greater impact as one article. Therefore, I put it all in The Star-Ledger for December 6, 1995 as a full page ad under our usual heading: "Let The Bible Speak, 1 Pet. 4:11."
My follow-up article in the News-Record on December 14 further explained that the word of God is the seed of truth, giving the world the truth about New Testament Christians and the New Testament church. I pointed out that human churches are not planted by God and are unknown to the Bible, including the Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Mormon, and all others. The result is religious confusion, division, and delusion, including fake healers and the religious circus on TV. I urged all of these people to investigate the Bible and to search for the truth.
I was not disappointed at the results of these efforts! There have been the usual verbal attacks and abuse by people who are hostile to the truth, just as explained in the article of December 21, 1995 in the Guardian of Truth. One caller threatened to find a way to get rid of me. This does not discourage us because we rejoice to suffer with Christ like Paul and the early saints. Some people call to ask for more information because the truth seems new and strange to them. Since we came out of religious error, we realize there are many people who have never been taught the truth and someone must be willing to teach it. As a result of our full page ad on "Perverted Religion: `An Empty Vine,"' two Baptist families have visited our services and given us the opportunity to teach them the truth. Also, our hearts were tenderly touched by a letter we received from an 83-year-old lady, which opens the door for further teaching. The letter said, "Is it possible to get copies of your advertisement recently in The Star-Ledger? I've never seen anything so frankly explained as this enlightening article. I am Baptist." The letter requested extra copies of the ad to mail to preachers and relatives!
The end of the story is this: Three precious souls have been baptized into Christ as a result of this newspaper article. We hope there will be more fruit to come. It is very hard to convert people in this area. We are rejoicing!
We shall continue to preach the truth in love and with great plainness of speech because the gospel of Christ is truly God's power to save sinful souls (Eph. 4:15; 2 Cor. 3:12; Rom. 1:16). To those brethren who write articles in the Guardian of Truth, remember that I am always reading them to find material which can be used in whole or in part to help in spreading the gospel in New Jersey. When I consider my godly wife of fifty-two years, my children who serve the Lord, and my brethren who help me to spread the gospel, I forget about problems and persecution and remember the words of Paul: "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice!"
Please notice a correction to my article, "Sharing in the Defense of the Gospel," Guardian of Truth, Dec. 21, 1995, on page 746. The first paragraph says I was born in "British Columbia (now Guiana)," but it should say "British Guiana (now Guyana)." This confusion occurred through a friend who helped with the typing of the article. People commonly confuse these two countries, and the change in the spelling of Guiana to Guyana adds to the confusion.
Guardian of Truth XL: 8 p. 10-11