We had a new adventure during the holiday season this year, away from family, yet with many new friends and many new experiences!
A new tradition for us here in the Bahamas is to attend a worship service on Christmas morning. This year we invited two families to attend with us. I love how God works through song….. We sang “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”. After the service was over one of the ladies asked “So does this mean that Christ was born in England?” I was totally blown away by this question! First, this non believer was paying attention to the words she was reading and singing, as well as interacting with the message to come up with this question. We are very thankful for how the Lord opens doors for us to talk about Him and share. We invited two families to our home for a traditional Christmas “American” Turkey dinner with all the “fixins” sprinkled with some foods from other countries. We had great conversations over the dinner table.
We have also had a new question of baptism of a young child and how this relates to the parents salvation, versus works mentality.
On Boxing Day the Bahamians have a parade called The Junkanoo. This new to us parade, Junkanoo, was a six hour parade that lasted into the wee hours of the night.
New Years Eve we enjoyed a beautiful fireworks show at one of the local resorts, then we went to the New Years Junkanoo parade downtown that started at 2 am and lasted until early afternoon New Years day. (John and I could only make it until 3:30am before heading home.) A large crowd was out for this too! In this new to us culture, the outfits that were represented in the parade were very beautiful! You could tell there was much time put into designing and putting these outfits together.
We have a new “scene” for church! We are excited to see Covenant Life Presbyterian Church (CLPC) “go public” as of January 14, 2018. With God’s favor we have been extended, beyond our 2 days per week volunteering educational assistance, the opportunity to meet at CW Sawyer Primary School on Sunday’s at 10:30am for public worship. Our first Sunday we had 13 people present and celebrated the Lord’s supper for the first time as a new church. Since the first Sunday we have had a few curious people come in to “check us out”. Please continue to pray as God builds His church.
As a church, we have also begun new men and women’s Bible studies. The women’s group meets on Mondays and has consistently had 8 people in attendance. The men’s group meets on Friday’s and they have had about 6 in attendance. Both groups are going through the book of John. The women have been very impressed with God’s power He gives to us through the Holy Spirit, and that God chose to use ordinary people to build His church.
As a core group of the church, we have enjoyed prayer time each Wednesday night. We know that when we ask for wisdom from God, He promises to give. (James 1:5)
New at CW Sawyer Primary School- We are now offering help on Tuesday after school hours to assist with homework. We also have new students this semester as we have had some of our students we started with last March “graduate” from requiring our resource help!! They have seen improvement in their assessment scores!! Please continue to pray for these students as God is transforming them into something new!
New opportunities are opening in the medical field. A real acceptance has been extended to John to teach some of the American Heart Association courses here on the island. John has been encouraged to volunteer two times per month with the local emergency medical services. They have also called on him to help with some Human Resource issues and lend advice in scheduling and positioning of resources throughout the island.
We thoroughly enjoyed the new experience of receiving and opening envelopes of mail!! (insert happy face here! ) Thank you so much for taking the time and effort in sending us mail. The mail system works!! It took all letters between 4- 6 weeks to get here. We had great joy in hearing from our beloved friends and supporters!
· New babies are being formed! This year both our daughter in law and daughter are due for delivery in August.
· A new daughter in law will join our family! We will celebrate our oldest son’s wedding June of this year in Africa. We are so grateful for the Godly woman God has provided for our son!
· Covenant Life Presbyterian Church is “public”
· Health for our daughter and daughter in law, as well as these precious new grand babies as they grow.
· International wedding plans will go well.
· Covenant Life Presbyterian Church’s Incorporation Papers would be approved. These papers were submitted March 2016 to the Attorney General’s office. We need this to be recognized by the government as a church. Also, so we can open a bank account in the church’s name and able to purchase and receive items with no, or reduced customs and duties charged.
Praying God’s blessings of grace and mercy for you in this NEW year!
Love in Christ,
John and Karen Stodghill
US home number (803)795-4722 (number to use to call us while we are in the Bahamas)
Stodghill -Bahamas – MTW account #17065
Donations address: Mission to the World
PO Box 744165
Atlanta, GA 30374
Bahamas mailing address: PO Box N4534, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas