Saturday, October 28, 2006

Prayer Update


Brad is leaving today to spend the next 5 1/2 weeks in the US. Please pray for safety as he travels! He leaves SA at around 12 midnight (5 pm EST) and arrives in New York at 6 pm on Wednesday (11 am EST).
There are a few other prayer requests that we have that are related to this:
  • Please pray for the safety of Mary and the kids as they remain in South Africa.
  • Pray that the kids will be on their best behaviour for Mom and won't miss Dad too awful much.
  • Pray that Brad is able to clearly share the vision of our ministry with Word of Life in South Africa with the churches and pastors that he visits.
Also, pray for the safe return of our teammates. John, Christy, CJ and Chae will be flying from New York to Johannesburg Nov. 1-2, and Alan, Rachael, Jaden and Kiana will be flying from New York to Johannesburg Nov. 13-14.

Thank you for your prayers!






Thursday, October 19, 2006

8 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor


Sometimes
pastors are the loneliest people in the church. Often their hours are long, the
pay minimal, the criticism considerable and constant. Feelings of
disappointment, discouragement, and defeat may begin to plague the best of them.



Paul's
admonition to "serve one another in love" (Gal. 5:13, ‘but by love serve one
another’) should encourage us to remember our shepherds. Here are eight ways to
make their lives better.

1. Cut the
criticism




Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers, creator and host of
television's "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood," once gave an address describing the
time he was a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and attended a
different church each Sunday in order to hear a variety of preachers.



One Sunday he was treated to "the most poorly crafted
sermon (he) had ever heard." But when he turned to the friend who had
accompanied him, he found her in tears.



"It was exactly what I needed to hear," she told Rogers.



"That's when I realized," he told his audience, "that
the space between someone doing the best he or she can and someone in need is
holy ground. The Holy Spirit had transformed that feeble sermon for her--and as
it turned out, for me too."



Unlike most workers who are evaluated once or twice a
year, clergy are often critiqued weekly after each worship service. It's not
unusual to hear people say "the music was poor," "the hymn selection was awful,"
or "the sermon was boring." We would do well to remember that most spiritual
leaders work hard to make worship a unique celebration each week.



2. Pray
regularly



Ask God to shower your pastor with an abundance of love,
hope, joy, faith, peace, power, wisdom, and courage. Pray for your spiritual leader's maturity and
growth in the faith. As you pray keep in
mind this wisdom from German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "If you treat a
person as he is, he will stay as he is; but if you treat him as if he were what
he ought to be, he will become what he ought to be and could be."



3. Express appreciation in
writing



A spoken compliment is always welcome, but a written one
can be read over and over again for years.
So, when you hear or see something you like from your minister, write an
appreciative note.



4. Use your skills to
bless



Are you proficient with computers? Help your pastor
master the church's new computer. Are
you a mechanic? Offer to service the car free of charge or at a reduced fee.



One pastor I know recalls: "I was pastoring my first
church -- a small congregation with limited resources. While there, I developed
a series of dental problems and could not afford treatment. What a joy it was
when a dentist in the church offered to treat me for free. Correcting my dental
problem involved nearly a dozen visits. He treated me carefully and cheerfully
each time. I have thought of that dentist many times since then and the memories
of his kindness continue to bless my life."



5. Squelch
gossip



If you hear a negative comment, respond with a positive
one. If misinformation is being spread,
correct it with the accurate information. Or, if people are gossiping, just walk
away.



Remember the Bible soundly condemns gossip and careless
speech. James 1:26 says, "
If any man among
you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own
heart, this man's religion is vain
." And Psalm
34:13 reads, "
Keep thy tongue
from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile “.



6. Offer to meet a
need



Some people make
their spiritual leaders defensive and angry by saying, "You need to … " That
approach is seldom welcome and almost always counterproductive. If you see a
need, approach your spiritual leader by saying, "I'd like to help by …" If you
see an area that can be improved, take responsibility for working on it.



Be an active participant in your church. Get involved by
teaching a class, leading a workshop, singing in the choir, feeding the hungry.
Ask your spiritual leader where and how you can employ your gifts.

7. Be openly
responsive


Nothing so animates and excites a spiritual leader as
seeing people respond to the preaching and teaching. Imagine the surprise and
delight of a pastor in Virginia Beach, Virginia, who, when greeting a visitor to
his church, found she came because of the kindness of a church member who was
her neighbor.



"I'm recently divorced, a single parent and new to this
community," she told the pastor. "To keep up with rent and provide for my three
children, I must work two jobs. That leaves me very little time for yard work. I
was relieved when the weeds didn't overrun my yard as I had feared they might.
However, when I made an unscheduled trip home in the middle of my workday, I
discovered the reason why the weeds had not taken over my yard.



"My 86-year-old neighbor -- a member of your church --
was on his hands and knees pulling my weeds. I barely knew this man and he was
embarrassed to be caught in this anonymous act of kindness. He explained that he
heard you preach a sermon on the importance of living a life of compassion and
kindness and decided to put that sermon into practice by weeding my lawn."



One pastor's heart filled with joy when a group of women
in Washington, D.C., responded to a sermon preached from the words of
Jesus--"
Judge not, that ye
be not judged
" (Matt. 7:1). After hearing the
sermon, the women decided to give a baby shower for the young woman who provided
childcare while they met for Bible study. She was unmarried, close to going on
welfare, and without support from her family or the father-to-be. The young
woman was moved to tears by the surprise baby shower.



Later, the women explained to the pastor, "Your sermon
taught us that it's possible to reach out to someone in need -- in this case, an
unwed mother -- without judging or condoning the situation."



8.
Throw
away the measuring stick



Don't
expect that your present spiritual leaders will do things the same way their
predecessors did. Lay aside personal agendas and preferences. Instead, focus on how your leader is being
used by God to do effective ministry now. By serving your shepherds, you will
ensure that they will not only be encouraged but will feel appreciated and continue to minister with
enthusiasm and energy.



by
Victor Parachin




Tuesday, October 17, 2006

October Hawkins Headlines


Here is a copy of our most recent prayer letter. If you prefer this method of reading our prayer letter and would like to be removed from our email list, please let us know!

You will need Adobe Reader to open the file. Click here to download free.








Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Prayer Update



Dear Friends





I
just wanted to let you know all that has been happening and what is going to
happening in the next few weeks. We got
word the other day that the Page family will be returning to SA this month. They were able to get the support level needed to
come back for a full term. Praise the Lord!!!


This also means that my trip to the US is a go. The trip was initially for a Word of Life Clubs Conference in NY, but we decided that since I am making the trip I would lengthen it and schedule some church meetings for support raising. Mary and I are still short in our support and
the increase is much needed for the ministry and for us personally. I will be in the US for a little over a month and I’ll
be able to be with my parents for Thanksgiving.
Please pray that the meetings will see God doing some amazing
things. Also be praying for the family
as they will be here in SA without me.
The kids are already missing me.

Coming up in a few weeks is our first ever FasCar Event. This is an evangelistic event geared for the
Olympian age kids. Be praying that all
the churches see the true purpose of the event.
We are excited to give the young ones a chance to bring their unsaved
friends to the event.





Prayer Requests:



  1. FasCar – Oct 21st
  2. *Need car for Nov trip*
  3. Funds for plane tickets - $1500
  4. Furloughing family – Schuster’s
  5. Local Church Leaders and Students




Praise Items:



  1. Discipleship of young people
  2. Pages returning to SA!!!
  3. Gods provision for the Ministry






In His Service,





Brad Hawkins

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Prayer Update


Well, another week has gone by, and life is still busy! I am thankful that we are able to stay that way.... We're all healthy and happy and enjoying life and ministry.

Please continue to pray for our teammates that are in the US raising support! The Pages are up to 87% of their support, and the Schusters are moving along as well, though I don't have an exact figure to share with you at this time. We are excited to see how God is working to get them back!

Please pray, also, as there have been plans for Brad to spend the month of November and first week of December in the US. This hinges on the return of some of our team so that we won't be short on the field. Brad has scheduled church meetings in the US for support raising and sharing the ministry, and is planning to attend a Word of Life Conference in NY. We know that if this is God's will, He will work out the timing.

A couple of other prayer requests - on October 21 there is a FasCar Rally. This is an event for our Olympians (elementary aged children) to race hot wheel's cars, have fun and most importantly share the gospel of Christ. Please pray for strength and wisdom as we plan, and for the children that come to be receptive to the gospel. This is our first time running this particular event.

As well, the same weekend, 10/19-22, I will be speaking at the Ladies' Retreat for our home church in SA. I will be speaking on different women from the Bible, including Eve, Rahab, and Lot's wife. Please pray for me as I prepare and share from God's Word!

Thank you for your faithful prayers and support of our ministry. God uses you to bless us, and to reach the people of South Africa for Him!

Mary, for the fam