In our last letter we mentioned that on July 31 circumstances would require us to move from Oregon to the home of our daughter Becky and her husband Jonathan in Michigan where Jonathan had just accepted the pastorate of a church after they had served as missionaries for 24 years. One day before that move Carolyn gave via zoom the last of a five-hour conference, one hour each week, on the subject of “Anger” to the women of the church in California where our son is the pastor. We arrived in Michigan, but on August 29 other circumstances required us to move to California.
Despite the complicating circumstances caused by COVID-19, it is encouraging to observe how God is still in control and that He can advance His kingdom even during times of chaos. Below are a few examples of what we have experienced since our last letter.
Exceptional ministry opportunities
Because the pandemic has forced so many churches and organizations to use the internet to serve their congregations and constituents, we have received invitations to give conferences via zoom in Spain and Latin American countries. When we were giving conferences in Argentina last October, Carolyn was asked to return on October 12 of this year to give a full day of conferences to over 500 women in Buenos Aires. Because COVID-19 eliminated that possibility, Carolyn has just finished recording two days of conferences which will be heard via zoom tomorrow (October 3), not only to those 500 women in Buenos Aires, but also by women in Mexico and Peru.
Then, a few weeks ago Jim received an unusual email from a student in Madrid asking him to give some conferences on hermeneutics via zoom. He said he had purchased and read Jim’s book on hermeneutics and found it to be “very useful”. What was so unusual about this request is that this student is a gypsy. Gypsies in Spain are culturally very different from the typical Spaniard. Even though one of the largest denominations in Spain is made up of gypsies, they have shown very little interest in Bible study. And, even though some gypsy pastors will visit a non-gypsy church when a conference is being given that is of interest to them, they will never invite someone to minister in their church that is not a gypsy, These facts will give you an idea of why this invitation is so unusual.
When Jim asked this student to whom he would be giving this conference, he responded 50-100 people. However, he stated that the group to which he belongs has 7,000 members, many of whom will listen to the conference later. One wonders where the Lord might be taking us with this invitation. Time will tell.
Good progress on the book
Since Jonathan and Becky live close to Grand Rapids where several seminaries and Christian universities are located, Jim hoped to visit their libraries to consult the books that had been written on the subject of love, courtship, and marriage after 1998 when Jim wrote his book in Spanish on those subjects. All those schools were either closed or did not allow outsiders onto their campus because of COVID-19, except for one which happened to have the largest library! And, because Jim happened to use the library precisely on the first day of school and when only the new students were arriving on campus, he had the entire library to himself.
To date Jim has read 51 books that were not available in 1998. He has also completed the revision of all 22 chapters of the original text of his book. Four tasks remain before he can finish the book. First, he needs to incorporate into those 22 chapters the information he considers of interest from those 51 books. Second, he needs to up-date the statistics on the public’s beliefs and practices regarding sex and marriage since so much has changed since 1998.
|Jim would appreciate your help with the third task Tyndale asked Jim to include a chapter on using the internet to find a spouse, an option not available in 1998. Some of you found your spouse on the internet or have friends that did. Would you be willing to write two or three short paragraphs explaining the benefits and dangers you encountered with that option or invite a friend to help Jim in that way? He will appreciate any help you can give him. Simply send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.|
Fourth, Jim will review the final text three or four times with a fine-toothed comb and then send the book to Tyndale for publication.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support. Continue to pray for Jim as he works on his book and for both of us as we continue to receive invitations from Spain some the five Latin American countries where we were giving conferences before COVID-19 changed everyone’s plans. Thank you so much for standing with us so faithfully.
Jim and Carolyn Fasold