Category Archives: Bahamas

Stodghill April 2018 Bahamas Update

Category : Bahamas

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
The Covenant Life Presbyterian Incorporation Papers are completed and in hand Friday April 13, 2018!!!  Praise to God who is never ceasing in His Grace and Mercy! Lord, as the song says: please “guide us to Your good pleasure. Lord, bind us to You, and seal us with Your good pleasure!”
Since last update, we have seen Covenant Life Presbyterian Church grow both in numbers and interest.  We are averaging about 25 on Sunday mornings and continue to have mid week prayer time along with two Bible studies per week.  We have several neighbors that have visited Covenant Life Presbyterian Church (CLPC).
Life has been full since our last update.  
Many of you know God opened an unexpected door for us to be the key note speakers March 15 for a marriage and dating seminar.  Over 70 people attended and the reception and feedback was wonderfully encouraging. 
Feb 25- March 4  We had the opportunity to attend a missions conference in North Alabama. While there we were given many opportunities to present the ministry in the Bahamas with the congregation, as well as throughout the community.  It was a privilege to see, first hand, the priority this church has for impacting their community and world through mission work. This church also had a very talented young lady make a cake in honor of the work here in the Bahamas! While in Alabama, we were able to meet with two of our 5 teams that plan to come down this summer. A special thank you to our host family! It was wonderful to see you again, even through the busyness of the week!!
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We were blessed to have two student teams come down on their spring break and work with us at the school and one team worked with a ministry partner of ours called the Adventure Learning Center.   At the ALC we worked a Monday Funday event where some 2000 people came and we shared with in family fun and the presentation of the Gospel at this event, as well as with each class individually in CW Sawyer Primary school.
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The Lord has opened our time at CW Sawyer Primary wide open two days per week, as well as mentoring with the 6th grade boys.  We have been encouraged by new volunteers and the school’s asking us to volunteer our time to substitute teach for a four day stretch in March.  When this class found out it was Karen’s birthday – the teacher had them sing Happy Birthday, Bahamian style to her.
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John has been asked to volunteer his time to teach medical classes at the local hospital and now is allowed to volunteer whenever he wants on the local government ambulance.  He has been asked to bring training to the island at a higher level than just basic EMT service.  Pray for wisdom in how best to facilitate this desire.  We continue to be asked regularly to help with Bahamas’ Red Cross and MTW’s disaster response ministry.
Let us share briefly a few stories of special moments of discipleship through relationship:
·        “Mr. D” is an 80 something year old friend that was angry with God for taking his daughter after a 2 month battle with brain cancer. God allowed many times for conversation, and sharing, and prayer. We are so excited to let you know that “Mr. D” has recognized his need for a Savior, and he is thankful his daughter knew this same Savior. He has since professed faith in Jesus as his Savior.
·        “Mr. B” is another 80 year old man. He is one we are still talking to, and praying for.  He believes the Bible is a great story that has many inconsistencies. He agreed to read Lee Stroble’s, A Case for Christ. He said this book did nothing for him.  He also has agreed to read CS Lewis, Mere Christianity. Please pray with us and his wife for his salvation, and need of a Savior.
·        A child at CW Sawyer, I will call him “Dee”. He was telling Karen that he recently learned that Christ died so we can live forever with Him. Karen let him know that was correct yet there is more…. God is relational, and we have a problem that affects that relationship. I am sinful, and so are you.  The cross fixed that problem. At this point “Dee” said he had never heard of sin. Do pray that our paths will cross again, and for the soil of “Dee’s” heart as God is tilling it. 
·        We recently went to our corner fruit stand by our home. “Mrs. M” is this sweet woman that works there. We wanted to buy some bananas from her. As we were paying for them, she looked at them and noticed they were Dole brand. She apologized as she remembered Chiquita Bananas are our preferred brand. This just shows that she remembered something specific about us. This is a reminder to us that we are to remember specific things about others, especially if we want our relationship to grow. This works with humans, as well as with God. 
Abstinence education- We have a wonderful friend and supporter sending us a nationally recognized abstinence educator the week of May 14-18.  Please pray God opens the door wide  for this lady to not only talk to 6th grade children at CW Sawyer, but to have opportunities to have workshops for many counselors in the government education system.
Whit Monday – This is a Bahamas national holiday, May 21. Our church, Covenant Life Presbyterian Church is planning to host a fun day on the park in Yellow Elder.  We plan to sign children up for the summer reading program, share the gospel, live music, games and feed people free of charge. This will be open to as many as 2,000 residents of Yellow Elder. As this is a very big endeavor for such a small group, we welcome your prayers for this event to bring Glory to God.
Our Son’s Wedding- May 28 we will be flying with our younger twin son to our oldest twin son’s wedding in Africa. We will be off island for one week. Please pray for this significant event in our family’s life and for traveling mercies.
We end this update with the song that we began with: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.  We thank the Lord for His mighty blessings of answered prayers for you our supporters. It is because of you that we are here. Thank you for your sacrificial and committed giving to see the gospel go out into the entire world.  As God blesses each of us, may we all be ambassadors to pass those on.  Thank you God for those you have blessed and so blessed us with through prayers, and life experiences, and all types of support!! 
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
US mailing address:  702 Wren St., Sumter, SC 29150
Bahamas mailing address:  PO Box N4534, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas

Stodghill – Bahamas February 2018 Update

Category : Bahamas

We had a new adventure during the holiday season this year, away from family, yet with many new friends and many new experiences!
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.
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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.      
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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.
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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!
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·        New babies are being formed! This year both our daughter in law and daughter are due for delivery in August.
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·        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
US mailing address:  702 Wren St., Sumter, SC 29150
Bahamas mailing address:  PO Box N4534, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas

Stodghill- November 2017 Bahamas Update

Category : Bahamas

Greeting from the Bahamas:  Only 25days left in the 2017 hurricane season!  Thank you for praying for us.  God has protected us incredibly.  This is our sixth update since arriving on the field February of this year and God has answered so many prayers. 
Ministry Update: 
Praise God!  On September 24 Covenant Life Presbyterian Church was born.  We held our first church service in the Russell’s home and have had four regular couples and a student intern from Texas in attendance.  It is amazing to see what doors have been opened in such a short nine month period of time.  Please pray for God to provide about two more core members.  With this group of 12-14 we would like to see the church move from a home setting to a rental place nearer the Yellow Elder area with a target starting date of January 7, 2018. 
Pray for Covenant life radio ministry where Dr. Russell has faithfully preached weekly for a year and half.  We are planning to invite listeners to a “meet and greet” in early December.  This will serve as a means of “seeing” how many are listening, and to get their feedback. This would also serve as an opportunity to invite them to the church starting in January. 
CW Sawyer update:  We continue to be welcomed weekly at the primary school.  CW Sawyer is one of two primary schools in the Yellow Elder area.  Last year we worked with nine third graders.  This school year we have over doubled the amount of kids the school has given us to work on reading with; but all with needs that only our Heavenly Father can fill.  Pray for us as we get more involved in the school and the lives of not only the kids but their families as well.  
We had the blessing of friends from Alabama come and visit!!  We put them to work…. Painting the class room we have been teaching in.  Their help was AMAZING!! The children from every grade wanted to watch and help! So much fun!
Love in Christ,
John and Karen Stodghill /Bahamas-  MTW

Stodghill November/ December 2016 Bahamas update

Category : Bahamas

Relief due to Hurricane Matthew

·        Thanksgiving
·        Support level update
·        commissioning services
Greetings to you this glorious Christmas season!
May we be like the shepherds when Christ was born…being filled with joy and praise and having the desire to share what God has revealed to us.
Luke 2:20 “and the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”
We have much to praise and worship Christ for this year!
Relief due to Hurricane Matthew:
Recently, we were very blessed to serve the Bahamas following the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. We had the privilege to be the ones to deliver generous checks from the donors of the PCA to MTW’s appeal for relief after Hurricane Matthew.  These monies will go to help the people on the islands of New Providence, Andros and Grand Bahamas.
The pictures below are of our check presentations: 1) to the Department of Social Services for help in replacing school books and uniforms for the children on the Island of Andros. 2) to St. Andrew’s Kirk (The “Kirk”) staff members for help in buying building and roofing supplies, and bedding for the poor and elderly in Bain and Grant’s town on New Providence Island.
Thanksgiving: bahamas2
This Thanksgiving was truly that…. A time of great thanksgiving!!
We praise the Lord that we were able to celebrate this joyous time with ALL our children, and their spouses, and ALL five (5) grandchildren under the same roof here in South Carolina.   This was an extremely special couple of days!! (ok some of you know our son John is out of the United States—- so see below how we pulled this off…)  
Support level update:
Praise the Lord with us as we can now see the “light at the end of the tunnel” at the close of our year of itinerating.   We have visited many wonderful places, worshipped and been fed by the Holy Spirit in many churches and had the opportunity to share our story for the Bahamas with many interesting and encouraging people. We thank you for your generosity and vision in spreading the gospel of Christ. Our Team Lead is currently in the process of moving to the Bahamas and plans to be celebrating Christmas 2016 in the Bahamas.  We are currently still in need of  $600 per month. Please consider what you and or your friend’s participation in this ministry might be. We are trusting God’s provision and are currently making plans to be with the rest of the team to make the move to the Bahamas in January 2017.
Commissioning Services:
We also are very excited to announce that each of our two (2) sending churches have planned commissioning services for us.  We would love each of you to be present for these as you are able!
Grace Fellowship Presbyterian in Albertville, Alabama on Sunday December 11 during the morning worship service.
Westminster Presbyterian Church in Sumter, South Carolina on Sunday December 18 during the morning worship service.
As we enter the Christmas season we want to thank our God for each of you.  Whether you are a prayer supporter, financial supporter, or a member of a supporting church we praise God that He is allowing us all to take part in this new church planting work in the Bahamas.
Thank you for being a large part of God’s plan for us to serve Christ full time overseas.
We are thankful for God’s plans, and provision for Him to be known, loved served and adored.
Prayer requests:
1)      Pray for remaining $600 monthly donations to come in as we prepare to move.
Our financial support basses is made up of 44 individuals and 9 churches giving either monthly, quarterly, or annually as well as many others who have given one time donations to our account through MTW.
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We praise God for such a network of supporters and partners who are trusting us and allowing us to represent them in this new work of discipleship and mentoring the next generation bringing “Thy Kingdom Come” to the Bahamas and beyond. Please continue to pray for the balance of our funds to come in, and what part you may have in this.
2)      Please pray as we return to New Providence Island on January 9th to firm up our housing and moving arrangements.
3)      Pray for us to have wisdom to know what to ship and what to buy when we get in country.
4)      Pray for our team and team leader as they start to establish relationships in Nassau and we transition from short term work to long term. Pray God draws us to Him and to each other as a team.
5)      Pray for our marriage during this time of transition that we will not neglect the Word and prayer time together in the midst of all this busyness and change.
1)      Praise God He has allowed us to be involved personally in the Bahamas with five (5) work opportunities this year.  We look forward to moving and staying put for awhile in the Bahamas.
2)      Praise God for allowing us one more holiday season with our family in the States.
3)      Praise God for the two commissioning services planned for us
        December 11 at Grace Fellowship Presbyterian church in Albertville, Alabama
        December 18 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Sumter, South Carolina
4)      Praise God for His amazing provision in that all our needs have been met this year as we have been without full time employment and income since January 2016.
We pray you and your families are joining us with praise and worship of the King of kings this wonderful Christmas season.
We love you all and pray for you
Merry Christmas, 
John and Karen Stodghill  
p.s.  If you are interested in making a tax deductible gift for the holidays, head over to our page on MTW’s website. Let us know if you have any questions.
Donations address: Mission to the World,  PO Box 2589,  Suwanee, GA 30024  (please put our last name and account # on any checks  Account#17065)