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The Many Faces of Missions Work

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Texas Port Ministry is one of the only places that I know of where you can do local, state, North American, and International missions all in one location.  We're able to minister to port workers who live right here in Brazoria County, truck drivers from all over the state and country, and seafarers from over 50 different countries around the world.  We encourage churches and small groups to partner with us in our missions work.  This week we had two different groups from Brazos Pointe Fellowship in Lake Jackson work with us.

On Tuesday night we had an adult small group who came and ate dinner at our ministry center.  After dinner Bobby gave them a tour of the center.  Then they joined in missions by cleaning up the Blessing Room (our clothes closet ministry) and signing Christmas cards that will be included in the Christmas gifts we give out this year.  This mission group participated in behind the scenes work.  It's work that doesn't always seem important.  However, the work they did will be beneficial to many people.  Every year we receive cards of thanks from seafarers and truck drivers who receive a signed Christmas card.  Sometimes this Christmas gift and card are the only gifts they'll receive that holiday season.  The fact that someone cares enough to personally sign a card for them blesses them in ways that we can never imagine.  This work also frees up our volunteers and staff to be able to handle other aspects of the ministry rather than be tied up with the day to day details of sorting and folding clothing.   Sometimes missions work happens in the back room behind the scenes where no one else can see.

On Wednesday night we had a group of high school boys who came to the ministry center.  We had planned for them to wash vans, but they arrived just as it was getting dark.  Instead, Bobby brought them into the center and gave them a tour of the facilities.  While they were here a group of seafarers off the FAIRCHEM BRONCO came into the center for phone cards.  Bobby and the boys engaged the seafarers in conversation about their work and their families back home.  A truck driver also came into the center during this time.  The boys were able to hear from the truck driver about his life on the road.  The driver shared with the boys about the way that Texas Port Ministry has blessed him over the months that he's been coming.  He told the boys about how lonely it is on the road and about the MP3 audio Bible Bobby gave him and how this has been helpful to him when he's overcome with loneliness.  This mission group was involved in the front end of missions work.  They didn't share the gospel with anyone, and no one was saved during their time here, but the boys engaged people in conversation.  Sometimes missions work is simply being friendly and sharing the love of Christ with the people you meet.

Missions work can take on many different forms.  As Christians, we're called to be involved in sharing God's Word with the people around us and to the ends of the earth.  Where is God calling you to serve?  In your neighborhood?  On the other side of the world?  Or maybe even at Texas Port Ministry?  Join Him in His work and partner with us in Shipping the Good News around the World.

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What a Week!!!

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Bobby, Jackie, and Michelle spent last week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a group of chaplains and ministers representing port ministries from across the United States, Canada, and parts of England.  We attended the Port Ministries International (PMI) Conference which was combined this year with the North American Maritime Ministries Association (NAMMA) annual conference.  Two times the conference, two times the resources, two times the fellowship, two times the learning - all in one trip!!

As part of the conference, we were blessed to hear from Dr. David Crosby, pastor of First Baptist Church, New Orleans, LA.  Dr. Crosby was the keynote speaker on Tuesday, and also led the morning devotion time for PMI on Tuesday and Thursday.  He challenged us with his message and reminded us to keep the main thing the main thing.

His keynote address was titled "4 Things Every Christian & Every Ministry Must Do to Succeed."
1. You MUST have a goal.
Texas Port Ministry of Freeport exists to provide spiritual, social, and physical care to the Freeport Harbor Community.
2. You MUST have self-control.
He reminded us that everything we do should point toward our goal.  What a great reminder and challenge to stay single-minded in a world that's so full of distractions.
3. You MUST have confidence.
When the walls seem too high and the giants seem too big, remember that our God is higher, bigger, and stronger!
4. You MUST have determination.
We were reminded that we never get to a place in our spiritual lives, or the life of our ministry, when we can sit back and coast along on previous successes. 

We are facing some challenges at Texas Port Ministry.  Our staff and volunteers face challenges in their personal lives.  But our God is bigger than any challenge we could ever face.  If we'll stay focused on God and our goal of reaching the Freeport Harbor Community with the love of Christ, we'll succeed.  You can join us in our mission by praying, giving, volunteering, and sharing with others how they can get involved.  With your help we'll be successful in Shipping the Good News around the World.

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Confusion & Clarity

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Early Monday morning on July 16, our ship visitors, Eddie, Mike, and Ron, were preparing to visit a ship which had docked at the harbor over the weekend.  Robyn, our truck driver chaplain, informed them that he had brought four Filipino men from this ship to the center on Saturday.  While at the center he had a good visit with one of the men, Romeo, who is a believer.  He had asked for a Bible in Tagalog, his heart language, and Robyn had also given him some Bible study materials to share with the other crew members.  Eventually, each of the men at the center also asked for a Tagalog Bible.

Around 9:30 am, the ship visitors boarded the vessel and were escorted to a meeting room.  A man in a t-shirt and jeans sat down near them and said he was glad to see the Texas Port Ministry van pull up.  He told them that the ship would soon be taking a 40 day journey to Australia. 

Soon, several men entered the room to purchase phone cards.  One of the men noticed the "Evange-Cube" sitting on the table.  Ron asked them if they would like to hear the story that went along with the cube.  He then presented the gospel, using the "Evange-Cube," asking the men to read the Scripture references aloud from a Tagalog New Testament.  The last picture on the cube illustrates the fact that every person must individually choose to accept Christ and His free gift of salvation.  Ron asked the men if they had made that choice.  One man stepped forward and said he wanted to do that now.  Three other men also stepped forward.  Romeo, the believer Robyn had met a few days before, joined the group in support of his friends and now, brothers in Christ.  Ron led them in prayer, asking each of them to pray in their own language.

All of this was happening while other crew members were coming and going in the room purchasing phone cards and needing assistance in using these cards.  Eddie, Mike, and Ron were all kept very busy, and things were a little confusing at times, but God's message was clearly presented and accepted. 

The ship visitors evenutally realized that the man they first met upon boarding the ship was in fact the Captain.  They asked him if they could pray with the crew for their safety on the long journey ahead.  The captain radioed the crew and many of them came for that prayer time.  A few days later, another of our ship visitors boarded the ship and was invited for lunch and to join them in watching the Jesus Film DVD that had been left by the previous group of ship visitors. 

4 men became believers that day because of a group of volunteers who generously give their time to show God's love to an often forgotten group of people in the Freeport Harbor Community.  There's always room for more volunteers who are willing to join God in His work in
Shipping the Good News around the World.

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Apprehension, Excitement, Anticipation

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I have been struggling recently with apprehension about our future here at Texas Port Ministry.  Times are changing for all of us and those changes have a great effect on this ministry.   Sometimes, knowing some of what is coming is not a good thing.  Then too, trying to figure out what I need to do as a result of those changes can lead to depending on myself.  That leads to worry and worry is a sin.

Recently I heard a sermon from Matthew 6:24-34 that deals with worry; how it affects us and what we should do.  One outstanding comment from the message was, “Daddy’s got this.”  A light just turned on for me!!!  Daddy God knows all and He’s got this!  I need to seek God, be who he wants me to be, and trust that He’s got this.

So, among the challenges, here’s what God did last week:

  • 5 Seafarers from on ship prayed to receive Christ on Monday.
  • 2 Volunteers returned to active duty; one on Monday and one on Tuesday.
  • First Baptist, West Columbia mission group gave us two hard days of work and a brand new Range for our kitchen.
  • 2 Truckers had real and meaningful spiritual conversations with Robyn.
  • We got Michelle’s computer back from the shop and was blessed by a donation of software and labor by DS Tech Solutions.
  • There is much more, but I’m out of room.  Let’s just say, GOD BE PRAISED!

Thank you Lord!  How exciting to see the way you proved to me that you’ve got this!

One of the FBC, West Columbia ladies commented this week, “You have not because you ask not.”  So, here goes, Lord.  I need to let you know of some of the needs that we have at Texas Port Ministry: 

  • Our mower died week before last; we need a new mower or someone who would provide their own mower and mow for us.
  • We need to replace 2 AC units at a cost of almost $12,000. The old units are on their last leg and the sooner we replace them the sooner we will save on energy costs.
  • At the end of the year, we will lose NAMB funding.  We need to add at least $20,000 to our budget income for next year to make up the difference.
  • There is more, but I’m out of room. 

Would you please join me, in prayerful anticipation of all that God will do next?

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The Harvest is Rotting

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I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!  They are ripe for harvest.  John 4:35b NIV

I recently read a devotional from the book, VOICES OF THE FAITHFUL.  The title that day was “The Harvest is Rotting.”  In this story the missionary was  working in a situation that seemed too hard.  How could there be a harvest in a land that needed to be plowed, planted and cared for before there could be a harvest.  But in God’s providence, this missionary was shown that God was indeed already at work in what seemed hopeless and the field was truly ripe for harvest.

At Texas Port Ministry we are attempting to reach Seafarers, Truck Drivers and Port Workers with the Good News of Jesus.  But most days it seems that the work is too difficult.  There are too many people that need a touch and too few workers to accomplish such a great task.  In the Freeport Harbor Community could the harvest be rotting in the fields?  Is it rotting because no one is telling them the good news?  Or could it be rotting because there are too few workers?  After all, as Michelle quoted at our banquet, “the Good News in only good news if it gets there in time.” 

I truly feel a strong sense of urgency for us, as Christians, to be busy about the work God has given us to do in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.  However, I am concerned that many Christians are complacent and don’t feel that it is their job or are frozen in their fear of talking to someone about a relationship with Jesus. 

On the same day that I read “Rotting in the Field” I also read this quote by William Booth:
“Not called!” did you say?  “Not heard the call,” I think you should say.  Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin.  Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help.  Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there.  Then look Christ in the face – whose mercy you have professed to obey – and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world.

Will you ask yourself the question, “Is God calling me to join Him in His work through Texas Port Ministry?”  For some, it will be a call to prayer.  For others it will be a call to join us in God’s harvest field.  If you keep your focus on yourself, you will never join in.  It is only when you see people as Jesus does will you move into action. 

The hymn says:
Lead me to some soul today, teach me, Lord, just what to say; Friends of mine are lost in sin, and cannot find their way.
Few there are who seem to care, and few there are who pray; Melt my heart and fill my life, give me one soul today.


My prayer for you today is that you will say “yes” to God and join Him in His harvest field before the harvest rots in the field.
Blessings to you all,
Bobby
Matthew 9:35-38

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