Joel 2:25a says “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.” While that verse was a prophecy given to a backslidden and chastened Judah, it has brought hope to many backslidden and chastened Christians. I am thankful for thereality of that verse. Have you backslidden on God? Are you under His chastening Hand? Submit to Him. Allow His chastisement to “yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness” in your life. God wants to restore the fruitfulness that sin and its consequences have taken from you. Child of God, there is hope!
These last two months have been some of the most fruitful months of ministry since we left our first church-plant in Hoven, SD nine years ago. But first…the BIG NEWS: Angie and I are officially grandparents. Jenna Rae Ruckman was born to Jimmy & Tori on September 21st. After twenty-eight years of praying for a daughter, God blessed us with a granddaughter. We thank the Lord that both mother and daughter are healthy. In the Mfantse dialect, Angie and I are NanaBasia (Grandma) and Nana Banyin (Grandpa). We are already praying Psalm 103:17 over her: “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.” We are also happy to announce that Jesse & Leah will make us grandparents AGAIN in March of 2023.
In June, I was called upon to be the missionary-pastor of an Independent Baptist Church that was planted nineteen years ago. (When we started filling in, only two faithful young men were attending on Wednesday evenings. In 2013, the church had a crisis of leadership which culminated in a Charismatic man pastoring the church for two years.) After seeking counsel from the original missionary, my pastor, and my field director, I accepted their call. We are now averaging 50 every service. For many years, this church had neither a formal membership roll nor organization. Two weeks from now, we will re-constitute as the Mt. Calvary Fundamental Baptist Church. It is our desire to have a formal “regenerate and scripturally baptized” churchmembership. Since we began overseeing this work, we have seen at least six young men profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christalone. We are thankful to be able to reclaim this church-plant for the Lord Jesus Christ.
After struggling with health issues earlier this year, Angie is healthy and staying remarkably busy in the ministry. In addition toher normal duties, she is taking three Mfantse classes per week, teaching English, instructing the ladies in our Bible Institute, doing a neighborhood Bible club with 30-35 kids on our front porch, and teaching Sunday School and children’s church. She is not just a missionary wife…she is a missionary in every sense of the word.
In our last prayer letter, we were waiting for a building permit to begin construction of the church in Agona. To God be the glory, the foundation and pillars are finished, and the roof will be built next week. They have also been able to dig two shallow wells. THANK YOU for giving to the Lord to make this happen. We continue praying for land in Shama for the church-plant there. God has also allowed the church in Apremdo to get their building secured. They have finished the walls, windows, and doors. We were able to drill a deep well at their location which enables them to provide water for their church as well as the village. Thank you to the churches who sent VBS penny offerings to dig and drill these wells. Jesus taught us in John 4 that awell is a wonderful place to share the Water of Life with sinners.
We are aggressively, prayerfully, and intentionally building a church-planting ministry here. It is not our desire to startanything that cannot be sustained by nationals long term. Thank you for the role you play in making this ministry a spiritual success. The Judgment Seat of Christ will reveal the fruit that abounds to your account.
James & Angie