April, 2018 Ministry Update
Mershon Ministry Update
Evangelist Paul Mershon
Dear Supporting Churches and Praying Friends,
MISSIONS CONFERENCE - VICTORY BAPTIST CHURCH OF BEND, OREGON
On this round of meetings I had the privilege of preaching for the annual missions conference at Victory Baptist Church in Bend, Oregon. I must say that this may well be one of the best conferences I have been a part of in recent years. We praise the Lord for this vibrant work planted just 15 years ago when the Lord led my friend, Pastor Richard Peil, to come to this central Oregon high desert city to establish what is currently the only independent Baptist church in this community of almost 90,000. Bend is now considered the fastest growing city in the state. God has given them a beautiful building situated along one of the busiest highways in the city. It was a personal joy and blessing for me to interface and fellowship with three fine young missionaries throughout the week, and I was encouraged by this new crop of young men coming along today who are following "the old paths, where is the good way." It was indeed a spiritually refreshing week.
During the missions conference week we took time out to do some door-to-door evangelism. A busload of church folks headed out to the west side of the City of Bend on a rainy Saturday morning where we witnessed and handed out New Testaments containing a simple four part Bible study that introduces folks to the saving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of these New Testaments were distributed that day. My wife and I, along with the missionaries and their families, knocked doors in an apartment complex largely populated by students attending Central Oregon Community College. There is no doubt that this is a liberal institution in a very "blue" state, so I am sure that those attending are subjected to much secular-humanist "teaching." Linda and I had opportunity to speak with several young men and women who received us well and afforded us some interesting conversations, especially with a young woman who professed to be an atheist. The thing I wish to share with you is that here we were, two "old folks" sharing the Gospel with young men and women, most of them younger than our own grandchildren. We did not have to be "hip," did not have to somehow adapt our approach to these young people in order to be "relevant" to their generation, or appeal to them on any other basis other than with the truth of the Word of God. The Gospel message transcends the so called "generation gap." We need to understand the younger generations and what makes them tick, and love and care for them as they are right where they are, confronting them with grace and kindness with the truth that lost men and women of any age are sinners in need of a Saviour. The Gospel truth is relevant to every and any generation.
We were with the folks of VBC for a little over two weeks, and as it always is, it was a blessing to enjoy our fellowship with them. The pastor asked me to speak to the staff folks on a couple of occasions as well, and I enjoyed sharing my heart with them regarding various areas of the ministry. We love these dear folks, and thank God for this wonderful Gospel lighthouse God has established in a very dark place.
BLESSING IN TRI-CITY, OREGON
MY SPIRITUAL BIRTHDAY
MY SPIRITUAL BIRTHPLACE
During the missions conference at Victory Baptist Church, I commemorated my 44th spiritual birthday on April 7th. For me, Midway has a very special place in my heart, and I have a deeper connection to her than most as this was the place where I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. It was on the night of April 7, 1974 at 2300 (11:00 P.M.) in the Fighter Squadron ONE FIVE ONE First Class Petty Officer berthing compartment that I came to repentance and faith, and placed my full saving trust in the shed blood of Christ as my Savior from sin. I was wonderfully converted that night, and have never gotten over the joy that was mine in having the full assurance of forgiveness and eternal life in Christ Jesus. The ship had been forced to get underway from her anchorage while making a port call in Pusan, Korea, due to a severe typhoon passing through the area. While riding this storm out at sea off the coast, it was on that blessed night in mention that I came to Christ. Having heard the Gospel message many times throughout my childhood and then in my young adult years, I had been a Christ-rejecting scoffer wanting to live for the sinful indulgences of the flesh and have my own way. But God is faithful, and through many supernatural events in my life over the year before I was saved, and especially the last six months before I placed my full and complete trust in the blood that cleanses from all sin, I was finally brought to an end of myself, recognized that I had offended a holy and righteous God, broken and violated His Law, and saw, for the first time, my totally lost condition. Praise God for those who witnessed to me, for those who prayed for me, and for God's Spirit Who quickened me! Now, there is far more to the story than I am recording here, but suffice it to say that the Midway has a very special place in my heart as my spiritual birthplace.
I am now a life member of the USS Midway Museum and have the privilege of visiting the ship anytime I like. The photograph that I have posted today is of me kneeling just one deck above the very spot where I was saved 44 years ago. When I stand directly over this spot where I was born-again just one deck below, I am overwhelmed with emotion and a renewed sense of God's unspeakable goodness! Hallelujah! What a Savior! Now, I know that perhaps for many the physical location where one was saved is of no major import. But for me it is! I don't know how you would respond, but I have been refreshed and renewed spiritually going back to the spot where God saved my soul that wonderful night. I hate to sound like a melancholy or a romantic, but it means much to me to revisit my spiritual birthplace. As I read the scriptures I see that a location is mentioned where some of the saints of God came to know Christ. For the Apostle Paul it was on the road to Damascus. For the Philippian jailor it was the jail house where he had charge of those prisoners incarcerated there, Paul and Silas included. For the Samaritan woman it was at Jacob's well. For Cornelius there was a certain place. The same would be true of Zacchaeus and the disciples and you and I. Everyone has a time and a place they can look back to when and where they were saved by the grace of God. For some it was in a pew, or at an old-fashioned gospel altar, or a prayer room, or in all sorts of places, some certainly very interesting. Surely many have revisited and considered where they were physically born. I have passed the hospital where I came into this world 71 years ago many times. Some were born at home in a specific house, and others in all sorts of diverse places. So why then would one think it strange to consider, and even revisit the place where they were born-again! I am glad that I have had that opportunity so many times and rejoice that God has given me that opportunity.
ANOTHER BLESSED REVIVAL MEETING IN MODESTO
It is always a real blessing for us to return to Mountain View Baptist Church where Brother John Simmons is the founding Pastor of this good work. God has been so good in knitting our hearts to the Simmons and the church family. For the past six years I have preached revival meetings there every six months. There is no question that these dear folks are pretty much “revival ready” when we come to minister there, for which I praise the Lord. We have seen the Lord do some mighty things there at MVBC, including one of the most powerful and unusual conversions I have ever witnessed in a reival meeting in my many years of reaching. To God be the glory!
BLESSED MEETINGS IN CHILLIWACK, BRITISH COLUMBIA
It is always a joy to return to Faith Baptist Church in the Beautiful Fraser Valley of British Columbia for revival meetings. We have been returning every year for several years now, and have always enjoyed the sweet spirit of these dear Canadian people, and fellowship with longtime pastor, Randy Hoxie and his wife Ruth. Brother Hoxie originally came to Canada as a missionary out of Michigan. This past year he retired from the active pastoral ministry due to health reasons, but he continues to stay active in teaching the Word of God, both in an adult Sunday School class, and twice a week for Bible College classes. Recently Brother Justin Wamsley accepted a call to pastor Faith Baptist Church coming from Grace Baptist Church in Surrey, B.C. While I was here at FBC for meetings, Independent Baptist pastors from the region assembled in order to ordain Brother Wamsley. I had the privilege of speaking for this gathering of men following a prayer breakfast the morning of the ordination service. I conducted a family revival conference while at FBC, and I thank God for the decisions that were made, and the moving of the Spirit of God in each and every service. To God be the glory!
(Photo to the left of Pastor and Mrs. Hoxie, and the photo to the right of Pastor Wamsley before the ordination counsel)
BRITISH COLUMBIA BAPTIST COLLEGE
When I am preaching in Chilliwack at Faith Baptist Church, Pastor Steve White of Grace Baptist Church in Surrey, B.C., graciously extends to me the opportunity to come and share my heart with the Bible College students at Wednesday morning chapel. It was indeed a blessing to be asked again this year while we were in Canada. Pastor White is a Canadian church planter, and now pastor of GBC, having served there for many years after he established this work. It is a vibrant church with one of the most fruitful and innovative evangelistic outreach ministries I have seen anywhere.
(Pastor Steve White and yours truly)
This last round of meetings we were out on the road for five weeks and we are back at home base for a season of rest. We appreciate your prayers for us as we travel the highways and byways of America and Canada. We truly appreciate your prayers on our behalf. It means a great deal to us that you uphold us before the Throne of Grace. Throughout the tens-of-thousands road and air miles we have travelled over the years, we have been kept safe under the shadow of His wings, and we rejoice in this.
Please do continue to pray for our health. Both Linda and I are dealing with back issues, mostly due to sciatica, making long-distance driving a bit of a challenge. But God has been gracious to us, and we are thankful that His grace is sufficient in this light affliction. Following bladder surgery to remove a malignant tumor in 2016, I remain cancer-free, and thank God for this. Thank you all for your prayers on our behalf.
Please pray with us that God would enlarge our coasts and open the doors, not only to new ministry opportunities, but also that we might keep our revival meeting schedule full. I always have open dates going into the new year, but the Lord graciously fills in where we are lacking. I do not like downtime but desire to stay as busy in the work of the Lord as possible. Pastor, if you have not already done so, be sure to schedule us to be with you for a revival meeting or other ministry endeavor. That would be a great blessing indeed!
We continue to pray for the need for church planting all over the country, but have been particularly burdened for the need of Filipino works in Alaska, particularly on Kodiak Island. Thus far the Lord has not provided a Filipino missionary willing to go, but we believe that in His time he will send exactly the right man for the work. In addition to this need, we have been praying much for a church plant in the Hillcrest area of San Diego where one of the largest concentration of folks from the LGBTQ community live. It has been on my heart for some time that there needs to be a Gospel witness in that area, and what better way to accomplish this than to have a local New Testament church there in the vicinity.
We love and appreciate you all, and thank God for you. You are in surely in our prayers and we lift you all up before the Throne of Grace. Thank you so very much for your kind and gracious support of the ministry God has given to us, and for partnering together with us in the ministry of evangelism and revival. You have been faithful! May God richly bless you for it.
Addicted to the Ministry of the Saints,
Paul and Linda Mershon
Mira Mesa Bible Baptist Church
San Diego, California
Pastor Willie Del