the lure of the labrador wild
Greetings, friends and beloved brethren, in the matchless name of the Great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Though all should fade and much be lost in these ominous times, “Yet will I rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18). For the believer, the finished work of Christ alone is cause for rejoicing!
Please forgive me for my lack of communication over the past couple of months. Things have been really busy, but I do rejoice looking back over a fruitful summer of ministry, particularly with Bishnu Shrestha, FPGM’s national partner from Nepal. Two weeks ago, he safely returned to his family in Kathmandu. I was sad to bid my dear friend farewell, but thanks for all your prayers, going back to his need for a Canadian Visa in May. All came to pass for the glory of God, and we traveled many miles together for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ. Thanks for praying. The prayers of the saints are, by His grace, a sustaining force (James 5:16). Thanks also to those of you who sacrificially gave to aid this summer’s outreach. I look back and marvel at how the Father hath provided again (Philippians 4:19)!
Over the next couple of email updates, I will attempt to recap what the Lord did this summer in Labrador & Newfoundland, up on Prince Edward Island, amongst Nepali communities here in the States, and in terms of local outreach. I pray these stories will edify and exhort unto steadfastness in the Gospel of Jesus Christ amidst perilous times about which the Scriptures forewarn (II Timothy 3:1-7; 4:1-5).
Before any recap, however, let me humbly request your continued prayers for Full Proof Gospel Ministries. After spending the summer with Bishnu, it is apparent that my family and I need to return to Nepal, perhaps as soon as the Fall. There is much work to be done, and we really need to move forward with Project Jagerna. Opportunities have opened up for church planting work in the remote West, and the open door that exists for such work in Nepal (i.e. multiple political parties that cannot come to an agreement on the formation of a new government) could slam shut at any time. For my family and I to get back over to that part of the world, as I wrote in my last update:
Aside from petitioning your prayers and God’s provision, let me also rejoice. Over the past three years, with regard to Project Jagerna, the Lord has allowed us to print 150,540 Nepali Scripture portions. Of these, 81,762 have been freely distributed to Nepali-speaking peoples all over Nepal, in other parts of South Asia, and amongst refugees living in the West. Another 58,963 have been provided to local pastors/churches and/or Christian workers for outreach amongst Nepali-speaking peoples. We have also been able to print 59,000 Nepali Gospel tracts, and most of these have been distributed. Some of you have been a part of this through your giving. The fruit is yours as is our gratitude. Going forward, we need to keep printing and continue to translate, joyfully envisioning a day when we can print complete Nepali Bibles, faithfully translated from a pure text tradition, and distribute them freely (Remember, it only costs $0.14 to print a Nepali John/Romans prefaced by a clear Gospel presentation). As the Lord tarries, we labor on.
Now, allow me to recap:
On July 15, 1903, two New Yorkers and an Indian guide from James Bay set out from the Hudson Bay Company post on Grand Lake in Labrador to explore and map out the Naskaupi River system up to Lake Michikamau, a track no white man had ever seen. Mistakenly, the three-man party, led by a 30-year old believer named Leonidas Hubbard, followed the shallow Susan River and got bogged down in the wilds beyond the Kipling Mountains. The absence of game, a dwindling food supply, and the fast approach of winter forced the expedition to turn back at Windbound Lake on September 15th, but not before Leonidas Hubbard summited a nearby peak to catch a distant glimpse of Lake Michikamau, a goal he would never attain. To this day, that little peak bears Hubbard’s name.
On October 18th, a month after abandoning the quest, the onset of starvation forced Hubbard’s two companions, Dillon Wallace and George Elson, to leave their very sick and exhausted leader behind in a tent while they set out in search of help. Dillon Wallace went after cached flour that had been abandoned on the trip up in hopes of returning to Hubbard with some sustenance to last until Elson eventually came with aid (which they prayed could be procured from trapper cabins on the west end of Grand Lake). A day or two after the party separated, Leonidas Hubbard died in his tent. Wallace returned several days thereafter, and unable to locate Hubbard, got lost in a snowstorm. George Elson, after a week of nasty bushwhacking, constructed a raft without an axe, miraculously crossed several swollen rivers, and found an occupied cabin. A rescue party located Dillon Wallace facedown in the snow on October 30th. He survived, amazingly, and was eventually nursed back to health. Hubbard’s body was likewise found and eventually carried back to New York, accompanied by both Wallace and Elson.
Back in June, in a used bookstore in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, I picked up a tattered copy of Dillon Wallace’s account of this story of suffering and triumph on the Labrador, and quickly devoured it. Having just driven nine hundred miles of gravel road up through Quebec and across the Labrador, including a 200-mile stretch just opened six months ago that finally connects Goose Bay with the coast and makes a loop possible, I realized that our path had skirted the very wilds where Hubbard met his demise. Amazingly, a little more than a hundred years after the first white men set foot in the interior, the Labrador Interior hadn’t changed much. Few know much about it; and aside from a rough gravel highway and a few small towns built around iron mines and/or a hydroelectric project, the upland wilderness remains as it was encountered back in 1903. Vast tracts of impenetrable black spruce, a plethora a raging rivers, innumerable lakes, and sheer isolation yet hold the upper-hand.
Rudyard Kipling, the well-known British poet and author, wrote in The Explorer: “Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges -- Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!” Such a voice has propelled many over the years and often unto tragedy: Chris McCandless went looking behind the ranges and perished in an old bus in the wilderness north of Alaska’s Mt. McKinley (1992). Leonidas Hubbard, having chased untrod ground behind the ranges, starved to death on the Labrador (1903). Everett Ruess, in pursuit of something lost, disappeared in the Utah canyonlands (1934); and Gene Rosellini, who chased a life behind the ranges in Southeast Alaska, completely devoid of modern technology, was sorely disappointed and drove a knife through his own heart (1991). All of these, though educated and from well-to-do American families, became disillusioned with the processed sanity of society, and in their own way declared independence, off to search behind the Ranges for something illusive, something unknown, something novel, something of real meaning. These were no fools, as many have decried; they simply came to the same conclusions about fallen civilizations that Solomon, the great King, once did: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Unfortunately, the search without yielded no lasting answer, and all (with perhaps the exception of Hubbard) perished untimely and without the Answer.
This same disillusionment has long gnawed at my spirit, and had Jesus Christ not rescued me back in 1993, I, too, might have taken to the wilds only to perish in search of the meaning and the the truth that can solely be found between the covers of God’s Holy Word. Chris McCandless, in his journals, expounded upon a plea once inscribed by Henry David Thoreau, the early American transcendentalist: “Rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness... give me truth.” I demand no less, and in the wilds apart from the sick sophistry of putrid American culture there is truth, but only half-truth--that of a fallen Creation groaning to be redeemed (Romans 8:22), natural revelation that reveals God and condemns. It cannot save. The Gospel, the Word of God, special revelation: it is the ultimate truth, the solution to Creation’s condemnation, the answer for which many seek but cannot find. It, the engrafted Word, saves (James 1:21) and in turn gives one something tangible to look for behind the Ranges: lost souls, men to whom the Gospel must be preached. Thanks be unto God for saving me, for revealing ultimate truth to me in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Had it not been so, I might have run to the Labrador years ago, in search of something I could not grasp or understand, only to perish as Hubbard did, alone in the taiga. With Christ, the urge articulated by Kipling did not disappear; it grew. And, as with other remote corners to which I have been given grace to venture, it propelled me to the Labrador back in May. Unlike McCandless, Hubbard, Reuss, and Rosellini, however, I knew what was potentially hidden behind those Ranges and why I needed to find it.
Interestingly, before Hubbard, Wallace, and Elson parted ways in the wilderness on the threshold of winter in 1903, Hubbard requested that two chapters from the Bible be read to him: John 14 and I Corinthians 13. Wallace honored the request, and such were Hubbard’s last meditations; he was dead a few days later. By God’s grace, surely he went home to be with the Lord. In reading this account, I thought of the great truths of these two chapters: Jesus Christ, the Only Way; and the efficacy of Christian charity. Then, it hit me. John 14 is the message, I Corinthians 13 is the motive, and lost souls are the object of my search behind the Ranges. Thus propelled, Bishnu, Bethany, and I set our compasses north. The lure of the Labrador wild that compelled Hubbard and his team in 1903 compelled us for the sake of the Gospel.
After picking Bishnu up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and enjoying some sweet fellowship with believers there and in upstate New York, we crossed into Quebec from some podunk town in Northern Vermont. A snotty French-speaking Border Officer gave me lots of trouble about the 12-gauge I was carrying for protection against wildlife, but thankfully, he was overruled and reprimanded by his superior.
In Quebec City, we thought to park and hit the streets, but the provincial capital’s orientation on a high bluff made parking with a trailer near-impossible. I was reminded of the streets of San Francisco and noted the physical beauty that the two cities share. A bit frustrated, we drove around so people could at least see the Gospel messages on the rear of our trailer, and a few French tracts did go out. What a natural fortress Quebec City is, and beholding its rocky ramparts above the Plains of Abraham, I at once understood why the American Revolutionaries under Benedict Arnold were unable to conquer it and thus secure Canada for the Colonies in 1775. Moreover, I marvel at how the British took this place from the French in 1759, though it cost them their commanding general. I really wanted to hit the streets in that place and was sad to move on, unable to do so. Nevertheless, the Lord used our passing through weeks later. In mid-July, as Bishnu and are were hiking the entire Black Mountain Crest in North Carolina, we stumbled upon two people below the summit of Mt. Mitchell. They were from Quebec City, and our story of having recently been through their neck of the woods obviously softened them so as to receive a Gospel tract. I again marvel at Divine Providence.
After leaving Quebec City, while pressing up the north bank of the mighty St. Lawrence River, we stopped for gas and to ask directions from a young man. He lived 150 kilometers up the road and invited us to camp in his yard for the night. This was blessed provision from the Lord and allowed us to share Christ with him and his live-in girlfriend. Both were English teachers, so I didn’t have to resort to broken French; and they lived in an old schoolhouse just outside St. Urbain. It was a quiet and glorious night under the stars. And undoubtedly, Bethany’s presence enhanced their openness to our testimonies. Please pray for Allen and his girlfriend; may the Lord save them. Certainly, their hospitality forced me to question much that I had heard about the discourteousness of French Canadiens.
The next morning, we scattered some seeds in the rain on the streets of the small hamlet of St. Urbain and then continued up Hwy. 138 along the Great River. The water was vast, the sandy cliffs towered, and soon we were amidst the black spruce and muskeg typical of the Far North. Some Gospel tracts went out in Clermont, Forestville, Baie Comeau and on a ferry across the Saguenay River. I found myself pulling broken French out of the deep recesses of my mind, having studied it for two years back in high school. Thankfully, we had French tracts and trust that the Lord used us despite our linguistic inadequacies.
Outside Baie Comeau, the route turned due north onto Hwy. 389 along the Manicougan River. We camped in a small campground near the Manic-2 Dam that night, shared Christ with the caretaker, and endured fog, mist, and cold rain. Having just come from sweltering heat down south, it was strange to don beanies, fleeces, and jackets. At least, however, the cold meant that we were still ahead of the mosquito and black-fly plagues that typically invade the area in summer.
After Manic-2, the road turned to gravel, and we would not see pavement again for 900 miles. The road was dry, so the dust was ridiculous, especially following a passing truck. In those moments, I reflected upon how discouraged I had been by the incessant rain and wetness up on the Dalton Highway in Alaska last September. The alternative would have been sunny skies and dust like we were encountering enroute to Labrador. I cannot imagine having to endure that on a bicycle. The rain on the Dalton was actually God’s caring provision, and it took me eight months to figure that out. I am reminded of Asaph’s words in Psalm 73:22, “So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.” The Lord always knows best. Why can I not see that in the moment of trial instead of always in hindsight?
Up the 389, we shared Christ with an old man, put Gospel tracts in all the S.O.S. phones, gave testimony to a lady and two men from Labrador at a gas station below the mighty Manic-5 Dam, and sowed seeds in a cafe/gas station at Relais Gabrielle. It felt like the end of the earth. One lady we encountered spoke decent English, and I considered the episode a divine appointment. Bishnu was bold, and of course, a Nepali’s presence as well as Bethany’s often stimulated inquiring minds and opened doors of opportunity behind the Ranges. Praise be unto God.
At Relais Gabrielle, gas came out to about $4.89/gallon, and it would stay that away until Newfoundland. But alas, I guess such should be expected when wilderness is as far as the eye can see. That day, we beheld the mighty Manicougan Reservoir, shaped like a giant ring (check it out on a map sometime), and Bethany frolicked along the shore in the cold wind.
Later, the gravel road turned to pavement in the middle of nowhere. Then, there were sidewalks and paved side streets, a few foundations. Weird? The town of Gagnon had been here until 1985 when the iron mines shut down. The people left, and a bit of asphalt is all that remains. Like the abandoned Anasazi ruins all over the Southwest, such is the inevitable end of man. Even at his best state, he is altogether vanity (Psalm 39:5). At least enough history of that place remained to give us a 50-mile respite from the dust on paved highway.
I wish you folks could have seen the dust we would daily accumulate in our Gospel trailer. Bishnu and I tried everything to seal it up with plastic, etc., but nothing worked. So, we covered up everything inside as best we could with tarps and were forced to evacuate an inch or two of dust each evening. What a nightmare! I am still finding Labrador dust on tracts and Bibles that were inside boxes buried in the back of that trailer.
Anyway, our last night in Quebec, we camped off the highway in a meadow alongside a river that was red with iron. ‘Twas an awesome night, an awesome site. The vast taiga, the sound of loons, a full moon, Jupiter, solitude . . . The three of us were content. Strangely, that place, though the same latitude as southern British Columbia, boasted a milieu like that of Northern Alaska: Black spruce were everywhere, it was cold, and there were no bugs. By God’s grace, our timing was perfect. Finally, I fell asleep with the 12-gauge at my side.
On May 27th, we crossed into English-speaking Labrador (Thank the Lord), but not before hitting the streets in Fermont, the northernmost Quebec town on any type of road system. We were astounded by the spiritual darkness of that depressing place. Most of the shops and many homes were inside a large complex, undoubtedly due to the harsh weather that blankets the place in winter, and we found it odd to be walking downtown streets indoors. Fermont is an iron-mining town of a few thousand people, and we saw nothing in terms of a Christian witness there, although Bishnu later heard about a Baptist Church somewhere in the area. We walked the streets and residential lanes, looking for opportunity to speak Christ. There were some encounters, including harsh rejection from a group of culinary students. This only emboldened us, and we did what we could. Atop a knoll outside of town we prayed over that place and marveled at the size of a mammoth dump truck used for mining iron ore. I could actually curl up inside the wheel and take a nap.
From Quebec, Labrador seemed a breath of fresh air. Labrador City, the largest town in all of Labrador sits near the border, and like Fermont, it too had a depressing air. Totally built around the iron industry, people come from all over Canada to work the nearby iron mines and pull in a healthy pay check doing so (much like the oil fields in Alaska). The town boasts about 8,000 people with only three churches--a Roman Catholic, an Anglican, and a Pentecostal--all sitting in a row right beside one another. Obviously, a true biblical witness is lacking in that place; and we definitely saw the fruit of it. Unlike Fermont, however, only a few rejected Gospel tracts as we combed the streets until after dark. We sowed seeds at a McDonald’s, in a mall, outside a Wal-Mart that looked like a dormitory, and along neighborhood streets. Motivated by the Lord’s command in Matthew 22:9, we didn’t allow ourselves to be discouraged by the paucity of people.
In nearby Wabush, we broke for a hotel room as multiple nights of camping had us weary and dirty. Besides, it was cold in Labrador City, and all along the Trans-Labrador Highway we beheld lakes still covered with ice. Interestingly, the French Canadian manager gave us a $50.00 discount, and I once again found myself questioning the typical stereotype often voiced about these people.
From Labrador City, we pushed across the Trans-Labrador through Churchill Falls, Goose Bay, and on to Port Hope Simpson (about 575 miles of gravel cut right through the taiga). Wildlife encountered included a family of black bears, caribou, and plenty of porcupines. No sasquatch sightings, although it definitely looked like yeti could be roaming out there somewhere. One night, we camped in the wilderness and awoke to ice all over the tent; another, we slept in the Nissan at an old logging yard. At Churchill Falls, the a/c in the vehicle quit working (thankfully, ‘twas only a loose wire as we later discovered on Prince Edward Island) and we had to wait for the electricity to come back on at the only gas station in town in order to obtain much-needed fuel. While we waited, Bishnu was bold, and numerous tracts went out. Between Churchill Falls and Goose Bay, unbeknownst to us at the time, we skirted very nearby the same patch of wilderness where Leonidas Hubbard met his untimely demise back in 1903. Other than a lonely gravel road, not much had changed. Lakes in abundance (some still frozen), endless swaths of black spruce, raging rust-colored rivers, patches of snow, and even a few sand dunes were par for the course. At Goose Bay, where Hubbard and his companions departed the Hudson Bay Company Post and ventured into the wilderness, we walked the streets of the now average-sized town, looking for opportunity to preach the Gospel. There were a few meaningful encounters, including Sunil from Sri Lanka who seemed open and listened attentively. There were a few folks out in their yards as we combed the residential area, and I started sharing Christ through a rope trick with some kids until their mom came and whisked them away. Aside from that one mother, people were surprisingly friendly and open. Most took tracts, expressing gratitude.
While in Goose Bay, we were happy to find a Tim Horton’s for coffee and learn a bit about the upcoming stretch of road. Until the end of last year, Goose Bay was the terminus of the Trans-Labrador Highway, and the only way out by land was to turn right back around and return to Baie Comeau in Quebec. However, a new stretch of road, connecting Goose Bay with the Labrador Coast had been opened ahead of schedule to allow for the Olympic torch to pass through enroute to last year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Many spoke of how politics had opened the road long before it was ready, and I began to doubt whether we could make it through. One young man saw our vehicular setup and remarked, “You’re going to have a really hard time getting through this one 50km stretch of road just outside of town. It took me 4 hours to go 50K in my little car, and there are huge boulders in the road, and that trailer will never make it, etc., etc.” The ferry didn’t start running for another month, and our only other option was to go back the miles and miles of gravel we had already come. That definitely wasn’t going to happen. So, we prepared to ditch the trailer, if need be, and inquired from a few more seasoned locals. Most said to go slow and we would be ok. Several times, we heard, “Oh, the road is fine.” Thinking the young dude was obviously exaggerating, we pressed on, although it did take an hour to find the appropriate turnoff outside of town. At the junction, we should have picked up this German hitchhiker, but I relented because we had Bethany with us. I have regretted that decision ever since as it could have proved a good opportunity to proclaim Christ.
Anyway, after crossing a range of hills with snow still on the ground, we came upon a sign that read: “Rough Road for 50km.” Later, we discovered that sign to be an understatement and that the young dude, who we thought had been exaggerating, actually spoke the truth.
It took us more than 3 hours to drive the next 30 miles, and it was a miracle that we didn’t have to abandon the trailer or deal with a flat tire. The Lord was good to us. At one point, there was no gravel, only a dug up roadbed on a steep hill. Without 4WD, I never could have gotten through, and we would have been headed back to Quebec. When I obtained that Nissan Pathfinder shortly before making this trip, I knew in the back of my mind that 4WD was a necessity and was glad to have remained firm in that conclusion. At another place, a huge crane was sitting in the middle of the road, and I had to maneuver around it. Rickety bridges, big boulders, 50km of insanity . . . ‘twas truly an adventure, and Bethany loved every minute of it.
After that section, things improved, and we made a beeline for the coast, stopping at dusk to cook while marveling at the utter solitude. It was late when we finally pulled into Port Hope Simpson on fumes. The gas station was closed, and we would have to wait until the next morning. Thank God for that extra five-gallon container I was carrying. With a full tank out of Goose Bay, and that extra five gallons, we still rolled into the next gas station on fumes--a close call. We slept in the truck at an old logging yard as the rain poured. The dust accumulated inside our trailer was absolutely ridiculous, and in those moments, I determined never to advise another soul to haul a trailer or an RV on the Trans-Labrador Highway. The only consolation was that many in remote places had seen the clear Gospel messages adorned across the back doors.
The Labrador Coast was much wetter, and the wind cut like a knife. Isolated fishing towns dotted the rocky shores, and in some of these, we were able to sow seeds, just as I had hoped the new road would allow us to do. In Port Hope Simpson, we witnessed to a lady and her daughter; there were two girls walking down the road in Lodge Bay; and tracts went out in Red Bay, Forteau, and L’Anse-au-Clair. Of course, the messages on the trailer were also a witness to other passersby. Most satisfying, perhaps, was a jaunt 30km out a side gravel road to St. Lewis, the easternmost settlement in all of mainland North America. It was only appropriate to take the Gospel to this place as FPGM had been to all other extremes on the compass. We gave out some tracts in this place that seemed the utter end of the world. The wind was brutal, the rocky coastline was barren, and huge icebergs could be seen on the watery horizon. I cannot imagine the brutality of that fishing village in the wintertime. There seemed no biblical witness in that place either, so we made sure to attach tracts to doors and vehicles. Later, the three of us hiked out to an abandoned fishing village site at Deep Creek. Over the hills, we dropped down to a bay where icebergs, some as big as houses, were nestled right up near the shore. Our timing was perfect, and the view was an amazing testimony to the Creator. In that place, Bishnu preached for a YouTube audience, and soon thereafter, the fog rolled in to cloak the vista and the surrounding beauty.
Down in Red Bay, we again found it necessary to obtain lodging, this time in old shipping quarters. The beds and hot showers were a blessed gift, and the blustery night made us thankful for shelter. In this little town began the only stretch of paved highway in all of Labrador, forty or so miles down the Coast to the ferry docks in Blanc Sablon, Quebec. For us, this meant that 900 miles of rough gravel road were finally in the rearview mirror, and, thankfully, there would be no more dust. We spent hours hosing down everything in the trailer and cleaning up that dusty mess. Never again will I take that thing on an extended gravel byway. Still the Lord was good, and all we had to show after 1500 kilometers of rough bumpiness was a loose a/c wire. Red Bay did allow for some witnessing opportunities--the family that ran the hotel/cafe, a carpenter, a photographer from New Hampshire, and a local fisherman; and for this, we were grateful. Upon departure, I felt sorrow. There was something homey about that little coastal hamlet, a microcosm of all that is Labrador and what drew me there in the first place. If only we could have traveled by boat up to Nain and preached Christ in the Native coastal villages at the foot of the mighty Torngat Mountains. Perhaps, ‘tis in store for another time.
Forty or so miles of pavement took us through a few more towns where a few seeds were scattered. We slogged a long trail out to the tall cliffs on the Battery where Newfoundland was barely visible in the distance. In L’Anse-au-Loup, we witnessed to a store owner and some folks from Port Hope Simpson; and in L’Anse-au-Clair, we lounged in a hotel lobby as I tried to obtain ferry tickets online. Our last night in Labrador was spent on the river flats near the ferry docks. ‘Twas windy and cold. Dinner involved devouring a rotisserie chicken obtained from a local market as well as some mac-n-cheese mixed with butter beans, onions, and a mess of garlic. All three of us slept like babies in the back of the Pathfinder, and dawn had us aboard the MV Apollo, crossing the Labrador Straights and bound for Newfoundland. Appropriately, opportunity arose to share Christ on the ferry as the windswept coast of a land I had long desired to see faded on the horizon.
Yes, like Leonidas Hubbard, we had felt the lure of the Labrador wild. He went searching there behind the Ranges for physically untrod territory. We went searching behind the Ranges for spiritually unreached territory. He perished, meditating upon John 14 and I Corinthians 13. We came out alive, having preaching John 14 motivated by I Corinthians 13. Though the actual number of witnessing encounters were few compared to that found in the big city, or in Nepal for that matter, we could not but rejoice. The Lord had given the command in Matthew 22:9: “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.” Tell them we have done so. Across the Labrador, we have done so!
Wow, to say this recap is long would be a bit of an understatement. And, there’s still so much to tell from Newfoundland, the Maritimes, and concerning the Nepali-speaking refugees on Prince Edward Island. Stay tuned . . .
Before bringing this edition to a close, let me say what an honor and a privilege it was to share the above adventures with my six-year-old daughter. She was a real trooper. Also, I am humbled to have shared it with Bishnu, my friend and national partner from Nepal. Back in 2007, when I first met Bishnu in that Kathmandu office, I never would have dreamed that we would one day be preaching the Gospel together in such far-off regions of the planet. Without the prayers and support of many of you reading this, such would never have been possible. To God be the glory.
Briefly, let me fast forward to last week; ‘twas busy in terms of local outreach. Wednesday evening, a couple of friends from Lincolnton and I preached outside of a Paul McCartney concert down in Charlotte, NC. We had an amazing spot just outside the doors where people were lined up waiting to get inside. The Charlotte police were great and never gave us an ounce of trouble, and I was pleasantly surprised that my friend was able to obtain a sound amplification permit for that spot. Anyway, what amazed me most was the level of laughter, mockery, and apathy we encountered from an upscale crowd made up of a lot of silver-haired churchgoers. One man exclaimed: “I listen to this stuff in church, but this is a Paul McCartney concert, for $%@&#’s sake.” Another approached and tried to grab the megaphone, threatening unmentionable things while demanding that the police shut us down. To the officers’ credit, they urged that maniac (who probably runs a business and attends church on Sunday morning) to move on. He stormed off and never returned. Others cursed, wagged their heads, or chuckled at the mention of Jesus Christ. In those moments, I realized a couple of things. First of all, I’m sad to say, the Beatles are still more popular than Jesus. Secondly, America really is in trouble, and the Remnant Body of Jesus Christ better get ready for some serious persecution, supported and carried out by the typical churchgoer. Still the Word of God went forth, a couple of believers were encouraged, and there were meaningful conversations about the Gospel.
On Friday of last week, we targeted the last of this season’s Hickory Alive events. As the night wore on, the crowd got rougher, the booze flowed like wine, and the hatred for the Gospel became more acute. What has happened to my town in the past 10 years? Such plunges toward decadence used to take generations to occur, and now everything seems to be down-spiraling at a frighteningly telescopic rate. The Scripture that came to mind all evening was Judges 21:25--“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Truly, we are living in interesting times, and true believers must endeavor to keep preaching the Gospel. With a large cross that read “Are You Ready?”, my friend and I distributed Gospel tracts and preachedbetween musical numbers. Some listened, there were a few good conversations, and the police were extremely friendly toward us. In this, at least, was a change for the better since I was arrested at that same venue back in 2008. Praise the Lord for the Word that did go out, but I inwardly weep thinking about all the young people carousing there without a clue or a care about things eternal. I guess Jesus asked a very fitting question in Luke 18:8: “When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Pray for us as we continue to take the Gospel to the streets in our local area. If you count yourself a true believer, I pray you will seek out opportunity to do the same.
Well, I’m done. If you’ve made it this far, I commend you. And again, stay tuned for the sequel to this summer’s ministry. Once more, thanks for your prayers and support. Pray for Labrador and its people, that our witness was not in vain, and that the Light will find its way into such far-off places with little or no Christian witness. American society has become fat and bloated with churchianity, yet there are places on our own continent where there is no witness. At least pray for these places. And, if you can, follow Rudyard Kipling’s advice: “Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges -- Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!” Christian, there are countless lost behind the Ranges, lost and waiting for you. “Go ye therefore and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).”
For the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ,
Jesse M. Boyd