Greetings, dear brethren, in the matchless name of Yeshua Ha’Messiach (i.e. Hebrew for Jesus the Christ)! Not a demi-god, not an enlightened man, not a consciousness, not a concept . . . but “the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5-6).
On Christmas Eve, my grandfather, a godly man whose bold witness made a profound impact on my life, went home to be with the Lord. I had the honor of preaching his funeral and thereby speaking the Gospel of Jesus Christ with clarity to all who were present, including a troop from the North Carolina Highway Patrol (my grandfather served the NCHP for 35 years and rose to the rank of Major before retirement in 1985). My grandfather, Earl Green, wasn’t much of a traveling man; and he spent most of his days within his local sphere of influence. Notwithstanding, he was a bold witness and never let an opportunity to share Christ with someone in his “Jerusalem” slip. You see, the Great Commission begins at home. Jesus Christ told his disciples in Acts 1:8 that they would be his witnesses first in Jerusalem (local sphere of influence), THEN in Judea and Samaria (beyond their own community), AND THEN to the uttermost corners of the globe (beyond their own nation). Many believers desire to be a part of the latter, but they have not and will not be faithful to share Christ on the home front. My own life is a testimony to the fact that God will not use the missionary abroad unless he is first faithful at home (cf. Luke 16:10). Earl Green was a consistent and devoted witness for many years in his local sphere of influence; he really never made it to Judea, Samaria, or the ends of the world, despite giving of his finances and holding the ropes in fervent prayer for many, many faithful missionaries over the years. His witness at home, however, was convicting; it shamed me and rebuked me years ago, profoundly, by God’s grace, altering the course of my life. As a result, the Lord taught me what is it to be a faithful witness here in one’s Jerusalem, and then He started sending me to the ends of the earth. It’s funny, my grandfather never physically traveled to foreign lands with the Gospel, but in a way, as it was his witness that helped to awaken me out of a Great Commission slumber, and as it was his finances that became one of the first regular avenues of support for Full Proof Gospel Ministries, he vicariously went with us and was a part of our preaching Christ in 40 foreign countries. Now, he is resting from his labors in the presence of the Blessed Saviour. And, we here at FPGM commit to strengthen the things that remain and NEVER forget our responsibility here on the home front, choosing to labor without benefit of furlough both THERE (the ends of the earth) & BACK AGAIN (here in the United States), at least as long as the Lord gives leave in such things. If you are interested, the message I preached at Earl Green’s funeral can be heard HERE.
Actually, since Thanksgiving, FPGM has had opportunity to labor both THERE (the end of the earth; the photo above was taken in December at 18,200 feet on the slopes of Aconcagua way down south in Patagonia) & BACK AGAIN (here in the United States). And, over the next 6 months, we foresee more of the same. Your fervent prayers and continued support, therefore, are a blessing and prayerfully desired.
From November 22nd-December 19th of last year, I was down in South America, helping Ricky get established on his new mission field and laboring to jumpstart the work. Truly, it was an amazing month of ministry, a whirlwind of activity far south of the Equator. Ricky is now living and basing out of Bariloche, Argentina; and his work has already been fruitful amongst Israeli travelers. As I type, he is in the far south, only a few hundred miles from Antarctica. He and another brother are following the Israeli trail in Patagonia, re-targeting places FPGM visited years ago: El Calafate, Perito Moreno, Fitz Roy, Chalten, etc. Please continue to pray for Ricky Springer. He is busy and faithful for the Gospel’s sake and in need of your continued support and prayers. I am managing logistics for him stateside, and just today, his support cache ran dry. We are trusting God to continually provide for his needs, confident that He will. If the Lord should lay it upon your heart to support Ricky’s work in South America specifically, you can donate by mail or online to Full Proof Gospel Ministries. Please indicate “Support for Ricky Springer” so that we can make sure the funds are properly allocated. Don’t forget: all contributions are tax-deductible for United State citizens. For more information CLICK HERE. Also, you can follow the work in South America from RICKY’S CORNER, a new blog on FPGM’s website. His recent update, MAKING JEALOUS THE BRANCHES, was fascinating and gave our ministry cause for rejoicing.
Part of my time down in Chile and Argentina was spent sowing seeds of the Gospel on the flanks of Aconcagua while attempting to summit this 22,841 ft. peak, the highest mountain in the world outside of Asia. Dylan and I composed a two-man climbing team, and we spent nine straight days on the mountain, camping four nights at Base Camp (14,368 ft.) and three nights at Nido de Condores (18,200 ft.). For days, the weather was horrendous, and the winds were treacherous. On a reconnaissance slog, after two of the worst sleepness nights of my entire life, we made it to an abandoned shelter at 21,000 ft., only 1,800 ft. below the summit. However, there were steady hurricane-force winds, and navigating the summit ridge would have been foolish in those conditions, not to mention the wind-chill factor and the threat of frostbite. Huddled in the abandoned shelter, exhausted and hypoxic, we both reminded ourselves that we had wives and children. So, we bailed thinking to try it again the following day. After another horrible night at 18,200 with winds that seemed as if they might blow our tents of the mountain, the weather only got worse. The Lord therefore closed the door on another summit attempt: we descended quickly to base camp, made arrangements for mules to pack our gear out the following morning, and then walked the 14 miles back out to the road. All in all, we came down 10,000 feet in elevation that day! Sure, there was temptation toward discouragement, but such was alleviated as we thought about how during those nine days, climbers from 18 different countries were confronted with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Maker of Aconcagua. Numerous tracts went out, and there were some real meaningful conversations with people from all walks of life and culture. Stuck at 18,000 feet in horrible winds, Dylan actually got to spend a couple hours in a tent with an Argentine mountain guide. This man was very open, and Dylan laid down the Gospel clear. As for the “Repent or Perish” flag in the above photo, we secured it nearby to an abandoned shelter as a testimony to Jesus Christ. That flag flew behind my bicycle when I pedaled it to the top of Alaska back in 2009. It seemed 21,000 ft. on Aconcagua was a suitable final resting place. Not long after we returned to warmer and lower climes, the weather remained treacherous, and two Americans died on Aconcagua. Here is the online news article about this tragedy. Looking back, Dylan and I made the right decision. But oh, the summit was so close 🙁 I actually put together a short video documentary about our Aconcagua expedition. You can view it below:
an expedition on aconcagua
Before Aconcagua, Ricky and I had the privilege of hitting up the streets of Santiago, Chile. One afternoon, we open-air preached right out in front of the Metropolitan Catholic Cathedral in Plaza de Armas. Police were standing around, but no one attempted to stop us. A few Catholics and foreign tourists got angry, but many, many Spanish Gospel tracts went out. My Spanish was rusty, but I was able to communicate the Gospel. It was fun. We also preached outside the gate of the University of Santiago, tracting students as they came in and out. Atop San Cristobal Hill, the site of a huge Roman Catholic Virgin Mary shrine, we gave out some tracts and marveled at how this place creepily reminded us of the Hindu and Buddhist shrines in Kathmandu. The statues looked the same, the candles looked the same, the people acted the same . . . no surprise, Roman Catholicism is nothing more than pagan, idolatrous religion clothed in “Christian” lingo. Sad, sad, sad! Below is some footage from the preaching in Santiago. Yeah, I know, my Spanish needs work 🙂
open-air preaching in santiago
From Santiago, Ricky and I us bused over to Mendoza, Argentina via a highway that made 28 hairpin turns as it crossed the Andes. There, we rendezvoused with Dylan, walked all over town, and placed Hebrew New Testaments in the hostels that Israeli travelers are known to frequent.
After Aconcagua, it was an 18-hour bus ride south to Bariloche where I caught up with Ricky settled into a sweet little lakeside cabin (his new home). The place reminded me of Southeast Alaska. It took a few days to recover from the mountaineering expedition, during the which we gave out some tracts on the streets of San Carlos de Bariloche and enjoyed fellowship with some local brethren. From THERE, it was BACK AGAIN to Chile as Ricky, Dylan, and I went looking for Israelis in San Martin de los Andes (Argentina) and Pucon (Chile). Again, we were about the business of placing Hebrew New Testaments in local hostels frequented by Israelis, and we did some tract distribution on the streets. The bus route over the Andes down into Pucon involved gravel roads, a high pass, and a Southeast Alaska-like milieu. Forests of Chilean pines or Araucaria trees were strangely charming; and big snow-capped volcanoes dotted the horizons. Way off the beaten path outside Pucon, we visited a local Christian family that summers in their rustic cabin on property adjacent to Villarrica National Park. Israeli backpackers are known to cross this land regularly, and these folks have a heart for ministering to them, often allowing them to camp on the property, feeding them, and sharing with them about Jesus. However, these folks had no Hebrew New Testaments or Gospel materials. So, we delivered a healthy supply, and enjoyed a couple days of quality fellowship with solid brethren well off the grid. Volcan Quetrupillan, a snowy volcano that tops out at 7,743 ft., was nearby; so Dylan, Ricky, and I climbed it in sketchy weather. After the failure to summit Aconcagua, this was a necessary thing (Only a peak-bagger would understand). Anyway, we met a Chilean Muslim up on the slopes who had already received a tract from our host early that morning. Ricky followed up, and shared Christ right there in the snow. At the summit, we found a crater filled with a huge glacier. To the east, Volcan Lanin (12,293 ft.) was colossal; and to the west, Volcan Villarrica (9,341 ft.) stood out stark: both were powerful testimonies to the handiwork of an Almighty Creator. Here’s a little video footage from this climb:
Back in Pucon, we did a little more street fishing, and the next morning, I parted ways with Dylan & Ricky. They barreled south, back to Bariloche; I went north on a 10-hour bus to Santiago. It was lonely back in the Chilean capital, but I did get to give out a few more tracts and enjoy one last beef lomo and a pastel de choclo before my return trip to the States on December 19th. Since, Ricky has been busy, using the office of an FPGM missionary well, purchasing to himself “a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 3:13). Below, is a small photo gallery from this Patagonia missionary journey, if, that is, you are interested.
So, I went THERE (to the end of the earth) & BACK AGAIN (to the home front), but the work has not ceased. After the holidays, we started the new semester off right with a local college campus preaching tour. Partnering with Brother Greg Davis (biblegreg.com), we targeted six campuses over a six-school-day period. Now, accept for the first outing at UNC-Charlotte, the weather was horrible, and it poured rain almost every day during those two weeks. Because Greg’s time was limited, we decided to go out anyway; and in this, the Lord showed us that rain and weather are not bona fide excuses for canceling the work of evangelism. Despite heavy downpours, soaked backpacks, and long periods of standing under an umbrella, it was amazing to see the conversations and appointments that the Lord had in store. Normally, it’s difficult to give out Gospel tracts on college campuses; at least that has been my experience. The students just don’t take them. However, I was amazed to see tracts go out in droves on each of the six campuses we targeted (UNC-Charlotte, Caldwell Community College, Clemson University, Western Carolina University, UNC-Asheville, and Winthrop University). From two of the campuses, we were kicked off, but not before the Word had been preached and many students had received tracts. At Clemson, it was raining, raining, raining. Saner minds would have stayed home, but a woman walked past us to turn in her work uniform to the office where she had just been fired. She heard the preaching and started to cry. After she approached, she explained that she knew the Lord had sent us there that day especially for her; she needed to be reminded that a job is just an earthly thing and that the Lord is her provider. What if we had looked at the weather and stayed home? God is good.
At Western Carolina, it was a blessing to be joined by Brother Chris Estep, a Baptist pastor in Waynesville, NC. Then, a team from New Testament Christian Fellowship in Conover, NC, including one of the pastors, joined us at UNC-Asheville. Wow, it gives me unspeakable joy to see pastors, church leadership, leading by example when it comes to bold evangelism (cf. I Peter 5:2-3). So many pastors, including the popular ones that author books and appear regularly on television (you know, the ones that can do no wrong in the eyes of American Christian naiveté), are too proud and lukewarm to proclaim the Gospel in the streets after the manner of the Apostles and Jesus Christ Himself. But, God always has His Remnant. Praise God for pastors who share Christ from the pulpit AND on the streets!
Well, Full Proof Gospel Ministries is continuing to support the work on the ground in Nepal as the Lord provides. Recently, I received an incredible update from Bishnu in which he described how the Lord allowed them to do ten year’s worth of work in ten days in one of Nepal’s most unreached corners. I wept as I read, weeping that the Lord would allow us the privilege of partnering in this work. Oh, how I miss Nepal and my brethren there. I am hoping I can at least return for a few weeks in the Fall. The will of the Lord be done. Anyway, we try to keep up with this work on FPGM’s website; see the FRONT LINES IN NEPAL BLOG. You can read Bishnu’s aforementioned update HERE. In this report, Bishnu mentions some special needs that we are trying to help meet. Please pray that the Lord makes provision. These brethren in Nepal are for real. Please keep them in your prayers.
Oh, what a joy it is to see folks that the Lord has allowed us to disciple out there on the front lines laboring faithfully and discipling others. Really, that is how the Great Commission should translate. Dylan is now in South America; Ricky is now in South America; Bishnu is running the race faithfully in Nepal, etc, etc. As has been our custom, when the discipleship of one results in his sending out, we pray for and seek out another young Christian in whom FPGM can invest. Recently, I started teaching martial arts to a 14-year-old 6’3″ homeschooled teenager who shows maturity well beyond his years. I then invited him to join me a couple of days on the college campuses. He had no fear or hesitancy in terms of handing out tracts, and we had a great time. Next week, Shawn Holes & Ken Lightsey (both of these men came to help us in Nepal last year) are coming to town, and we are going to hit the road for two weeks, targeting university campuses in Deep South. Anyway, this young man, Nate Henderson, is going with us: a homeschool mission trip, I guess you could say. I am excited about this young man and know the Lord has something special in store for him. What a privilege it is for us to be a part of his discipleship. Sorry Ricky, you have graduated to better things, my friend!
Please pray for us regarding this upcoming campus preaching tour. Lord willing, we start on Monday, February 10th; and will be working our way down through South Carolina, Georgia, Northern Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Northern Louisiana. Shawn has to fly back home from Atlanta on the 26th, and the rest of us will head back to North Carolina thereafter. Please pray for open doors to preach the Gospel, that scores of Gospel tracts will go out, and that we can be a convicting example to encourage other brethren in these dark days when freedoms are slipping away, barely noticed.
In June, I am hoping to return to Argentina where I anticipate rendezvousing with Ricky and Dylan somewhere near Bariloche. From there, we desire to follow the Israeli Trail north with the onset of the austral winter, targeting popular hotspots with the Gospel and distributing Hebrew New Testaments in Northern Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Columbia. After this, Ricky will return to America, and we shall see what the Lord has in store for him next. Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria, the uttermost part of the earth, and BACK AGAIN. THERE & BACK AGAIN, THERE & BACK AGAIN, THERE & BACK AGAIN . . . such is our calling, such is our pilgrimage. Thanks for holding the ropes through prayer and support.
For the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ,
The Boyd Family
P.S. I almost forgot . . . Earlier this year, I started an exegetical study of the Book of Revelation at New Testament Christian Fellowship here in Conover, NC. These messages are and will continue to be posted on FPGM’s PODCAST and HERE. You can also subscribe to them on ITunes (Full Proof Gospel Ministries Podcast). I pray these are an encouragement to the brethren in dark times.