Jesus said, "The harvest is great but the laborers are few. . . . Pray for more laborers.: Praise God, we have seen God answer many prayers in a big and mighty way in these past few months. It hasn't been that quiet around here!
Christian publisher friends at the Lit-World Conference 2009 found themselves in the middle of a large tea plantation in Kenya. Across the ravine they finally saw men, women and children quietly picking tea. They write, "We never imagined this world existed just minutes from where the Conference was being held." They likened this quiet, lonely world to Christian writers, publishers, editors, artists etc., who also go quietly about their tasks almost unnoticed.
Every day tea pickers work methodically, fighting through weariness, loneliness and even boredom. They toil with an end product in mind. In our case our end product is Manna Publications Bible Studies/Commentaries and "Manna for Children" Bible Story booklets. All are sold for pennies or in some cases given to street children, orphans or children desperately ill in hospitals all around the world.
Many have been praying with us for God's man to take the work one more mile. The concern in all our previous Christmas letters has been who will head up the organization in America when the Lord takes Fred home. We believe God has been mindful of our need and preparing Larry Crabtree 'for such a time as this'. Larry is a retired business man with the call to preach the gospel and the vision to reach out to the millions who are asking, "Who is God? Does He care for me? How can I learn more about Jesus? Where am I going when I die?"
Please pray for Larry's busy 2010 schedule.
February - Alaska:
March - Cameroon, Africa via United Kingdom.
In April - Guatemala, also to Branson, Mo for the World View Conference.
In May - back to Harrisonburg to take part in the Valley Form TV program.
God led us to Larry through his work in Cameroon. Like us, Larry saw baby Christians in Africa with no teaching materials. Everywhere he turned books in French were too expensive. His project director in Cameroon, David Mifang, found "Manna UK" French editions on their web. So, David began to print and sell Manna Bible Commentaries in French - long before we found Larry was his sponsor. God works in marvelous ways - ways that are higher than our ways!
Last week, December 7th though 11th Fred and Larry spent every morning in conference. A retired minister on campus here at Sunnyside gave him hospitality and we were able to give him meals at the Highlands Dining Room. Several supporters from church joined us for dinner. Dr. Carlisle, Chair of the Manna Board, drove up to have lunch and represent the Board. Dr. Sloop (our pastor) spent not only time with him but invited him to share with 150 of his men next morning. When I got to church Sunday morning several of the men told me they had been there and met Larry. Every man was very positive. Pastor says he is taking the credit! He has been asking who was going to take over for a long time! And who would see to the correct theology of Fred's writings when translated into other languages. I feel a real load has been lifted. Thank you all for your part in this process.
Many of you already know that God took our lovely artist home last February but not before she illustrated eleven of the Children's stories. A local retired computer whiz did a lovely job making them into e-booklets. Doug Weeks - a journalist friend from our Laubach days in Syracuse - has all the pdf files available.
On the family front: Gay drove down at the beginning of the month. Her husband is unemployed and along with 15-16 million looking for a job. He changed jobs at the very worst time and the new job did not work out! She slept on the couch. We loved every minute of her visit.
Jeanette and Paul are due Boxing Day - the day after Christmas. Jeanette has all 3 in college. Tim is in graduate school.
Loren and Derek just celebrated their first wedding anniversary. Loren was in Syracuse and sent us a box of New York State apples. They were so good. The other day a 22lb box of cookie mix, pancake mix, muffin mix etc., arrived from Loren. All from a favorite Upstate Mill we used to patronize. Wonderful flours with no added chemicals. Loren has 2 more years in Med School before she can leave the books. The PhD part seems to be over. This young lady has known nothing but school for the past 18 years!
Fred wrote recently, "My mind turns to David's brave men who broke through the enemy ranks and brought him a drink of cool water from the well in Bethlehem. David considered the water so precious he refused to drink it."
Manna's recent 'break-throughs' into enemy territory are more modest but just as exciting. God's precious Word is far more exciting than anything we can think of and it is being distributed in countless corners of the world at a price people can afford. The world economies, like ours, are getting worse so we turn to God for answers. We continue to wait on Him for directions and the distributors to carry it through."
God Bless you all this Christmas,
Fred and Lorna