Nacogdoches & Livingston — April 2015 Newsletter

April Showers of Blessing

 Jonathan’s Joy Revisited

       In our October, 2014 monthly newsletter (accessible online at www.godtel.org), I wrote about Jonathan Moore and the joyful change we saw in him after he professed a belief in the saving power of Jesus, asked for forgiveness of his sins (violations of God’s laws), surrendered his will to God, and invited Jesus to move in and take over the control of his life. He continues to study God’s Word, to ask questions about passages he does not understand, attend Bible studies here at the mission (even though he now has his own apartment and a full-time job at Bright Coop Company in Nacogdoches), and he regularly attends church whenever the doors are open for services.

On a recent visit with him, he told us that prior to becoming a Christian he had written some bad checks to get money for drugs. He had not intended to ever pay them off, BUT GOD has been reminding him of this debt. In fact, God so troubled him about it that he contacted one of the individuals affected and told them that he had become a Christian and God was requiring him to make restitution for the debts from his past. The people he talked to were very gracious and he is now making payments on a regular basis to retire the debt. (I am reminded of Zacchaeus who, upon his encounter with the living Lord, vowed to give half of his wealth to the poor and repay four times over the amount he may have cheated anyone. God changes men who surrender to His authority.)

 More About the “Old” Salt

  If you read our March Newsletter (also on our website), you most likely remember the article about Michael Lahr. When I asked him if I had accurately reported what he had told me, he said I had but he had forgotten to tell me how he came to Texas in the first place. Here is that addendum.

As you may recall, Mike was in the U.S. Navy for 18 years. In 1983 he was stationed in New Orleans, Louisiana where he lived until 1987 when he was transferred to Tennessee. In 1990, when the Navy discharged him for alcohol rehabilitation failure, he returned to New Orleans and lived there until God “blew” him to San Antonio, Texas on a plane evacuating refugees from Hurricane Katrina.

God has many ways of getting man’s attention, some more drastic than others, but whatever it takes in a person’s life to get them to Jesus, is well worth it. After all, this fleeting mortal life is temporary and an eternity without God will be grievous, full of extremely bitter regret, excruciatingly painful, and unending torment. Thank God for the merciful gift of salvation!

 Visit from Distant “Grands”

 The last Thursday of March our daughter, Joann, and her two children, Isaac (4 y.o.) and Annalee (1 y.o.) flew from Tacoma, Washington to Houston, Texas where we picked them up at the airport. There were lots of hugs and kisses before stopping to eat at Taco USA in the Woodlands where we visited with Lufkin Mission Directors Martin and Mary Baker’s daughter Amanda. Honesty forces me to admit that Brian (Amanda’s husband) and Amanda’s daughter, Emily (1 y.o.), rivals Annalee in cuteness and intelligence.

Each time Joann comes for a visit, she blesses us by playing piano and singing special music at each of GODTEL’s three missions. When our mission staff members know she is coming, they begin to request that she be sure and sing. She has been blessed with musical talent, even if I do say so myself, and is always gracious to share with us.

We  were sad that her husband Zach was unable to come for a visit due to an extremely heavy work schedule, but we greatly appreciate his willingness to let Joann and the children travel to Texas for a visit. Early in April he will officially become a year older. Happy Birthday, Zach!

 Remembering D.A.B., E.D. — A Child & Servant of God

 This is the month that Donald Anthony Bass was born. At that time who could have known that he would marry my sister, Helen Chism, who would fast and pray for his salvation and that they would become missionaries for the cause of Jesus Christ in many parts of the world. Don and Helen touched many lives during his 84-year earthly journey which ended last June when he went HOME to be with Jesus.

Helen told me that anytime she becomes lonesome and sorrowful that her sweetheart of 59 years is no longer here with her, she concentrates on where he is now and tries to imagine the wonders of Heaven that he is experiencing. Her sorrow then lifts and she rejoices for him.

Meanwhile, she stays busy at GODTEL, writing letters to friends and family, and traveling here and there to minister in person to loved ones. Recently she spent two nights caring for Robin, my office assistant who was very ill. (Robin’s son has been suffering with one illness after another: flu, Strep Throat, and Mononucleosis — oh, the joys of day care!) Please include these in your prayers.

 Thank You

 We are very thankful to all of you who pray for and otherwise support this ministry to the poor and homeless of East Texas. May God guide, protect, and bless you with His great peace, joy, and love.

Until next month, read your Bible, make the choice to DO what it says, and be a useful Christian. The world and the Lord are watching.

 Nancy Gentry

Lufkin — April 2015 Newsletter

“ And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”   Luke 23:34

 

January, February and March. The year is one quarter over and we continue to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to all who come through our doors.

EMPLOYMENT RECORD:

New jobs-3

Total working-4

Mosaic Center-2

Praise the Lord!

     The rains came. And the rains came some more. It’s a wonder that we didn’t have to look for the ark floating down the Angelina, Trinity or Neches rivers! It was a real test to thank God in the midst of these rain-filled days. Then my thoughts went to California–they have been in a drought situation for several years. That reminder changed my attitude and truly made me thankful for ALL the rain.

Green grass and tall weed flowers brought out the spring time equipment to be  serviced and to be put into service. The yards have been mowed at least once. The garden has been turned and tilled and fertilized. The trees have been trimmed and fed. We are good to go.

And where did we go? Martin went to Livingston twice to treat for bugs. The heat system we purchased, with a grant from the T.L.L. Temple Foundation, is earning its keep. Two by two the Lufkin dorms were emptied and readied and treated. Sheets, pillows and blankets were, also, washed and dried in the high temperatures of the dryers. The residents’ clothing was not left out as they, too, were washed and dried.

The guys were having so much fun that they hurried down south and shared their expertise and experience with Livingston GODTEL. The men’s dorm heard that the guys were coming and they enjoyed their sauna treatment. Now the equipment is on break but ready to answer when the next call comes in.

It was on a Sunday, after Sunday school, that Martin and I drove to Huntsville. We were meeting my sister and her husband for lunch at Mama Juanita’s. The drive was most pleasant. The food was delicious. And the company was great! When we got to the restaurant my sister, Paula, met us at the door to show us the way to the table. We got to the table and to our surprise there was our daughter and granddaughter. We ordered and visited and ate and visited and headed out the door to our vehicles and visited some more. Amanda left first putting Emily in her car seat  for the drive home and a nap. The remaining four of us talked more. Then we each saddled up and headed to our homes. We got back to the mission in time to serve the evening meal. We appreciate Chris for “holding down the fort” while we had this time with family.

Christi and Patti are attending the Christian Women’s Job Corps , also known as The Mosaic Center. When they graduate at the end of this month they will have finished an 11-week session of Bible study along with life skills and job skills. The “Jobs for Life” curriculum strengthens and empowers these women to break the cycle of poverty and avoid bad habits or addictions thus making wiser life decisions.

Kerry landed on our doorstep early February. She already had a job driving a school bus for Lufkin ISD. While here Kerry applied for another bus driving job. The hiring process took awhile. She took trips to Houston for interviews and then the drug test and required physical for her new job. I laughed when she told me that she had been hired to drive a Houston Metro bus. Really-that is her new job. I told her she was crazy, but in the same breath I told her I had respect for bus drivers (of all kinds) and that I would be praying for her. She moved out just before the Easter weekend to get settled in Houston and start her new route-tine.

Our guest cooks reported for duty. All the meals were delicious! The desserts were heavenly. And the fellowship was a blessing to all.

Matt and Brandon came for a visit, tour and questions about GODTEL. Driving in from Palestine, they came to seek the “wiser and experienced” team of GODTEL.  God is touching lives and moving hearts in starting another helping ministry in the Palestine area. Please be in prayer with these men as they seek God’s will in this direction.

It was on a Saturday, while fishing, that Martin lost his keys, jacket and phone in the lake. A blessing was ours when we went to the phone store to get a replacement and came out with a less expensive plan than we currently had. Thank you, Lord, for hide-a-key boxes and extra keys in the office and more jackets in the closet. Martin was set to go once again.

My cup runneth over. This body of mine was treated to a massage. I had not ever had one before. I wish I had words to describe the experience. It was wonderful, relaxing, refreshing. It totally spoiled me. I don’t think I did anything else the rest of the day. Just basked in the joy of this gift.

Our cup, also, continues to runneth over at GODTEL. Thanks to you, our supporters and brothers and sisters in the Lord. Even though we serve the risen Lord (Who can do anything) we are encouraged by your giving, words of encouragement and volunteering throughout the years.

Our extended family has extended again. We thank God for the precious new life of our great nephew, Fawkes Douglas, born April 4, 2015.

“Yes, sons are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.”  Psalms 127:3

Because of Him we serve,

Martin and Mary Baker

“…Jesus said, “IT IS FINISHED”; and he bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”    John 19:30

So You’ll Know —  March 2015

1st-24 people

31st-19 people

Total helped-55 people

Praise the Lord!

 

 

Nacogdoches & Livingston — March 2015 Newsletter

 

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out …” Matthew 5:13

 

An Old Salt

      Well, he is not all that old, he’s just not in the Navy anymore—I suppose I could call him a “seasoned” salt who, I am glad to report, has not lost his savor. I am talking about Michael Lahr who works as caretaker (of goats, chickens, fruit trees, and the grounds) and handyman (assisting Bro. June with a myriad of tasks at GODTEL’s “Farm” (where our new facilities will be built once God has completely supplied the funding).

Mike was born in Long Beach, California—the son of a Navy man, and relative of Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. He grew up in Oregon, and there came a time when he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the Navy. Early in his naval career, he was stationed on an LST and was stationed in Vietnam during the conflict there ferrying Marines from one port to another, including Okinawa, Japan, and the Philippines. (He still enjoys cuisine of Oriental persuasion and is himself a very good cook.)

Spiritually, he was empty and “lost at sea” and more and more turned to alcohol to numb the pain he felt from life in general as well as one failed marriage after another: a result of his growing dependence on alcohol. The Navy tried to help rehabilitate him, but after repeated failures to do so, they terminated their 18-year association with him. That may have helped the Navy, but life did not get better for Mike.

While staying at a Salvation Army shelter in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and wanting to make a change, Maxie Laird, a former resident of GODTEL told him about the Livingston GODTEL and recommended it as a good place to get help. So, on February 3, 2011, we met Michael, read him the rules our residents must abide by in order to stay, and gave him a room. We found him helpful and pleasant. He was attentive during the twice daily Bible studies and performed his chores without complaint. After three months, he left for San Antonio to try and help his daughter, but he fell right back into old habits.

This time, however, things were different. For the first time in his life he knew he had heard real truth while at GODTEL and says God led him back to the place he had first heard it. So, in September, 2011 he returned to GODTEL with a desire to get victory over the addictions that plagued his life.

He asked God to forgive him for his sins and disbelief and invited Jesus to move into his heart. As he continued to read the Bible and hear our faithful Bible Study teachers explain God’s Word and share what God had done for them, Mike began to grow. When he became convicted that he needed to give up his harmful tobacco habit, God enabled him to be set free.

After six months, we asked Mike if he would be willing to move to Nacogdoches and help us at our new location. He agreed, and on February 2, 2013, he relocated and has just completed two years as a full-time volunteer there. In addition to the duties already mentioned, he shuttles workers from downtown to the new property and back, makes an early morning run to pick up donated pastries from Shipley Donuts and Starbucks, provides Royce rides to the clinic, makes regular pickups of donated deli items at Brookshire Bros., and other errands.

With Sincere Appreciation

We delight in hearing from former residents who let us know that their time spent at GODTEL and our efforts to help them were not in vain. Early in February we received a lovely card of appreciation from a young man who in 2012 had stayed at the Nacogdoches mission for one month but was asked to leave because he violated our rule about not being under the influence of alcohol. Then, in April of 2014 he returned and stayed just over three months. On July 21, after 98 successful days, he lost his place due to alcohol use.

On July 30, just nine days later, he checked into our Lufkin mission. He quickly found a job and worked steadily until the end of January 2015, a total of six months of good behavior! On February 6th he announced that he would be moving back to his hometown of Longview. Before he left GODTEL the first week of February, he wrote notes of appreciation to Martin and Mary Baker (Mission Directors in Lufkin) and to Bro. June and myself. This is what he wrote to us:

“I know that you already know that what you are doing is not in vain and is a calling.

“I just couldn’t leave town without letting you guys know that you are making a difference and lives are changing—mine for one!!! I arrived in Nacogdoches a drunk/homeless but with hope!

I am leaving, thanks to God, you guys, and Mr. Martin and Mrs. Mary, a home owner and at least with a foundation and knowledge of what to do to be and stay in God’s grace!

“I will forever be grateful!

L.W.”

 

He wrote further:

“Reverend June,

“I really like the way you put everything in laymen’s terms and say things the way they actually are! I prefer it when people say what they have to say and do not sugar coat it! Then again, my feelings are not easily hurt anymore because (as you have taught) I do not think with them!

Thank You”

After this young man left we learned that his grandparents, who had raised him, had died and their home was going to be taken for back taxes. He did not want to let that happen so he had been sending his earnings to pay on those taxes. Once he got them paid in full, he was able to inherit the house which is where he moved. (There’s no place like home! There’s no place like home!) (See the Lufkin March posting for more information about L.W.)

We would appreciate your prayers for him and for all our residents.

Until next month, read your Bible, pray, obey, and be a “salty” Christian. God and the world are watching.

 

 

Lufkin – March 2015 Newsletter

 

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6

 

Birthdays, travels to the north, west and south, guest cooks, visitors from the past and Valentine’s Day filled the hours, days and weeks of February.

EMPLOYMENT REPORT

New jobs-1

Total working-3

Mosaic Center-2

Praise the Lord!

     “Thanks for helping me see what a man is supposed to be doing. Forever thankful.” These were the words written to us from L.W. when he left early February. Arriving on our doorstep in late July, L.W. got a job with Malone Services at Lufkin Industries. He had already been to the Nacogdoches mission twice and had to leave because he broke the rules. When he checked in here we informed him that we were aware of his past and we would be watching him closely.

Not to worry-he saw the chance to make his life better and took it. He worked and saved and saved and worked. He volunteered for chores. By the time February came around on the calendar he reached his goal to pay back taxes on his grandparents home where he was raised. And now he has his own home. He left Lufkin with a home, extra money saved and a job to go to in Longview. Thank you, Lord, for sweet blessings. We pray for his continued walk with the Lord.

All roads lead to Lufkin. Or is it-all roads leave Lufkin? John had been here since November. Daily he left on rounds to find a job. He volunteered for chores. He went out on day jobs here and there. He came to the decision to return to North Dakota. He had funds for a bus ticket up north. He left on a Wednesday afternoon. I hope he had a warm coat. Brrr.

Ed came the end of January. His time was quite short. He was making plans to go west to Odessa. He, too, got on a bus and headed to the flat, brown and cold “land” of Odessa.

Matthew lived here as a young boy with his mother and older brother. A friend of his came by GODTEL one day and we started talking about Matthew and his family. The young lady told me that he was doing well and living not too far from Lufkin. About a week later-who would walk into the office and ask me if I knew who he was…you guessed right. Matthew. It was a blessing to see him. Starting in Lufkin, he has worked for Chicken Express for six years. He is living and working in Carthage now. And soon he will be going to Marshall to open a new store. His girlfriend came with him. We had a nice visit. What a treat. What a blessing.

Our guest cooks served us different and delicious meals this past month. We ate beans, fried chicken, soft tacos, spaghetti and meat balls, tater tot casserole and chili. That is only the main dish-imagine the sides and desserts that were served with these tasty dishes. God is good.

Martin and I drove south to Nederland for a shareholders meeting. Makes us sound important, doesn’t it? We own a few shares in our son’s business. Yes, we get to see our son. Yes, we get see our grandchildren. Yes, we get a yummy meal and visitin’ time with other family members. We even had a combo birthday celebration at the yogurt shop “Spoon-It”. It was a wonderful time. And, yes, we did get down to the business end of the trip. You know, business before pleasure-we followed the protocol. The day was too short, but we drove home with smiles and tales of our day in our hearts.

How do you get a “new” bathroom? Well, you start out trying to build a better urinal for the men’s dorm bathroom. And before you know it you have a major project going. The floor tiles were pulled up. Ceramic tiles have been put down-glue and grout in place. The walls have been given a fresh coat of paint. There is one row up the wall with the same ceramic tile. Toilet plumbing and shower fixtures have been replaced or tightened. The two bathroom doors had to be “shaved” because of the added height of the new tiles. The specially made urinal will soon have a home. And guess what God did? He sent us a tile man. Roger got here early February. Martin was still formulating his plan and, as they say, “you know the rest of the story”. Roger, with help from a few of the guys, mainly David, have worked hard. It is almost finished. Come by and see the work of art.

I know heaven will not be overcrowded. This month two more precious saints (that I know) have changed their addresses from earth to heaven. Judy Semlinger left early in the month. She and her husband were friends of GODTEL and the Bakers. We met Mr. Semlinger the first summer we moved here through his job with Child Protective Services. Judy taught at Angelina College. We met her through a resident who was attending her Child Development Class. Our paths crossed several times through the years. We were re-acquainted when the Third Thursday Methodist Guest Cooks started coming. Many in Lufkin knew her. She will be missed, but she leaves smiles, memories and blessings behind,

Our home church had a saint move up to heaven this month also, Sue Deaton. I know her two daughters better than I knew her or her husband, Bill. We are in the same Sunday school class. As lessons were taught many times stories were shared. Susan and Sherri would share life lessons or real life examples of their parents walk in the Lord. Pray for these families as they adjust to their loss.

Oh for the day when the rest of us saints are gathered up together and go up to heaven. See you there!

Because of Him we serve,

Martin and Mary Baker

February 2015

1st-26 people

28th-24 people

Total helped-54 people

Praise the Lord!

 

 

 

Nacogdoches/Livingston — February 2015 Report with 2014 Statistics

2014 Comes to a Steam-Filled End

             When the Nacogdoches assistant cook came downstairs to begin his duties at 4:30 a.m. on December 31, 2014, he glanced over into the office area and was amazed to see the room filled with steam and a fountain of hot water shooting up to the ceiling, then “raining” down on the mission director’s desk, computer, printer, record books, Bibles, etc. He was momentarily in shock, but as quickly as possible we got the water turned off and began the mop-up and dry-out operation.

What caused the “geyser” was the failure of a coupler from a previous repair of a broken pipe coming up the office wall. You see, the 100-gallon water heater that serves the first and second floors is located behind a screen in the office (and I must admit that on cold days we do enjoy the warmth it produces).

We were very thankful to locate a plumber who, though he was on his way out of town, came and hurriedly did a temporary fix. Just a few hours later, however, we noticed the coupler he had installed had begun to leak. Fearing a repeat “blow-out,” we turned the water off and tried in vain to reach the plumber to see if he would return. No answer.

We carefully monitored the situation for the rest of the day. After the supper dishes were washed and the nightly baths were finished, the water was turned off for the night. We did not want the office to turn into a “sauna” again.

Bro. June called our Livingston Mission and instructed our “resident plumber” there, Eric Johnson, to gather the needed replacement pipes and tools and drive the 65 miles between missions early on New Year’s Day to come to the rescue. He showed up with two assistants, Tunny Johnson who is very tall, to reach high places, and Darin Dirolf who is very slender, to crawl into tight places. They made a great team, the finished job was very professional and there has not been so much as one bead of moisture seen leaking from the pipe since then.

As everything in this 100-plus year old building ages, it definitely complies with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, going from order to disorder: rusting, deteriorating, falling apart, losing information. (Unlike the claims of those who believe that human beings evolved from lower life forms, a flagrant violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, our building most certainly is not “evolving” into something better. It only improves as we add energy, information, expense, and materials to it. Please pardon my jibe at the evolutionists who display great “faith” in the Evolutionary Model which attempts to explain away God and His purposeful creation and replace that with chance.) This experience with the flooded office was just another reminder of how glad we will be to relocate to new facilities once the funding is secured.

We are very thankful that the results of the office-wide downpour were not more damaging. Although several books were ruined, the phones were static-filled for several days and we lost a printer, the computer still works and the floor did dry! As in other areas, we know that God allows difficulties into our lives to grow us and work His plan but He limits the severity of those problems and does not allow them to crush His children.  We are very thankful.

One last thought, when we call upon our Heavenly
Father, He is always there. We never get an answering machine. We just need to keep in mind that God gives us one of three possible answers: yes, no, or wait awhile (to develop patience) but He does answer.

 Relocation Update

             So, how soon will we be able to relocate? At this point, only God knows the answer. We continue to pray and try to be sensitive to God’s leadership. Sometimes, when we get ahead of Him and try to take matters into our own hands and speed up the relocation process, God puts us on hold to teach us a lesson. He must delay His provision because we are trusting our own efforts rather than waiting on and trusting in God. (We do not want to be like Abraham and take 20 years for our faith to be right in order to receive the promise so we will pray, trust, and wait.)

Regarding the relocation, we were pleased to receive an email from Paul Bryant, City Editor of the Daily Sentinel in Nacogdoches which said he wanted to run an article on our relocation project. Soon after, he toured the new location and interviewed Bro. June. We appreciate his informative article which ran in the January 25, 2015 Sunday Sentinel.

Former Resident Visits

           One day, out of God’s clear blue, a man who stayed at our Nacogdoches shelter one year ago stopped by to say hello and bring a donation of towels, wash cloths, cleaning supplies, thermal shirts, T-shirts, socks, coats, pants, shirts, snacks, toilet paper, paper towels, meat, and fruit. He had driven from his home in Woodville to thank us for leading him to the Lord and, with his gift, to show his appreciation to the staff and volunteer Bible Study teachers.

What a blessing for this young man to so meaningfully express his gratitude to us when so many of those we minister to never even say, “thank you.” It helps us know how Jesus felt when He healed the ten lepers and only one returned to thank Him.

Until next month remember to give thanks always…

—  Nancy

 

2014 Statistics

______________

 Nacogdoches Shelter Totals

 Mission Residents:          708

Nights’ Lodging Provided:            9,660

Meals Served:                              34,409

Christian Help Ctr. Clients:            5,992

Professions of Faith in Christ:     7

Livingston Shelter Totals

Mission Residents:          337

Nights’ Lodging Provided:            4,706

Meals Served:                     11,525

Christian Help Ctr. Clients:            5,509

Professions of Faith in Christ:     2

Lufkin Shelter Totals

Mission Residents:          730

Nights’ Lodging Provided:            9,349

Meals Served:                     30,783

Professions of Faith in Christ:     5