Dear Friends and Prayer Partners,
As we enter a new year, we would draw fresh encouragement from the Word of God. There had been a victory at Mizpah, and so the prophet Samuel set up a memorial stone to celebrate the occasion (1 Sam. 7.12). He called it Ebenezer – “Hitherto has the LORD helped us” – to acknowledge the help of God. We too can raise our “Ebenezer” as we recall the blessings of the past year. But we must not stay there; we must move forward to see what can be accomplished for the Lord this new year. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3.13-14).
One of our Committee members recently went on a brief holiday to western New South Wales, and was determined to hand out QMBC enrolment forms. He was pleasantly surprised that, for each knock-back, there were several who happily accepted them. Perhaps we could all continue to do this kind of thing with renewed zeal in the places where our lot is cast. We may then expect more new students.
As always over the Christmas period, incoming mail from our students was slow, but it has now picked up again. We are continuing to receive an increasing number of lessons from prisons in Hong Kong, for which we thank the Lord. The mail from Thailand continues to come on a regular basis, and the students in the prisons are very keen to do the lessons and to send in new names. Mail from other overseas countries is fairly irregular.
For many years, we have provided our students in Papua New Guinea with an envelope addressed to a Post Office box which we rent in Boroko, PNG. This reduces the amount of postage they have to pay by a considerable amount, as posting to Australia is very expensive.
We have a contact in Boroko who collects the mail from the Post Office there and forwards it
on to us here in Brisbane. Over the past year, our contact has been having difficulty finding the time to collect and send the mail on to us on a regular basis, because of his business and other commitments. This means that for those students who are able to post their answer pages, there is a long delay in getting them back. Please pray with us, that an alternative and more satisfactory arrangement will be able to be made this year.
The position of Director is still open to any interested persons, so that the work may be further developed, and we repeat here some of the requirements that should be met by prospective appointees. They should:
- Be self-funded, although some allowances may be applicable,
- Be an active member of a Christian Brethren Assembly,
- Have the ability to undertake some deputation work in the surrounding districts,
- Have the ability to lead and work with volunteers, and
- Have a working knowledge of accounting and data-based computer systems.
- For all those who have faithfully contributed to the work of QMBC, both by prayer and practical support, during the past year.
- For the amount of mail received so far this year.
- For continued new enrolments.
- For the commencement of our on-line lessons and new website.
- For the situation with the mail being forwarded on from our Post Office box in PNG, that a more satisfactory arrangement can be made.
- That a permanent Director will be forthcoming to oversee the work.
From our Students
Please take time to read the enclosed excerpts from some of our students’ letters and answers to assignments, which we are sure you will find interesting.
From Students doing the basic Courses:
Philip, age 45, Thailand:
Thank you for your reply [to his questions] and your word of advice and encouragement. In fact, it has given me a sense of belonging and hope, especially the verses from the Bible. By God’s grace I will continue to do these lessons, because with the little I have done it has added so many things to the spiritual aspect of my life. I can now talk to my friends and other people about Jesus Christ.
In a further letter from Philip he writes that he is thankful for “what our Lord has done for my spiritual growth and what I have learned in this prison through your lessons, encouragement, advice, Bible passages and pamphlets and most especially your prayers. You have also helped in opening my eyes to see the purpose of God in my life. Maybe coming to this prison is God’s design that I came in contact with you, for my spiritual growth. When I was in the free world I never knew that God existed. May almighty God continue to strengthen you”.
Claude, age 36, Thailand:
I’m so happy to receive my lessons once again, and I say thanks for it. In Lesson D10, I learned that Christ is our All in All and Himself is the answer to all our needs and He is our righteousness, our joy, our peace, our love. If I told you about my life back in my country you must see that I have to love this Man. I didn’t even believe if I could write English [because] I didn’t go to school in my life. DR Congo is French speaking, but since they killed all my family I used to tell God ‘let me die too because there is nothing I can do in this world since I didn’t go to school’. But God has now started to show me I can do it. Now I can speak English but not much [his letter was written very neatly and with a fair understanding of English].
Joseph, age 42, Thailand:
I am so pleased to be your student. I fully understand that my salvation is a free gift given to me by God through the death of my Redeemer Jesus Christ. Also I learned [in the lessons] that I cannot change my way of living by myself, but Christ who now lives in me will do the work of changing because He is the answer to all my spiritual and material needs. I have also learned that as I have given my life to Christ I don’t need to worry about the outcomes in my life, but always confess my sins whenever I fall into any sin, and at the same time believe that my sins have been forgiven as I confess them to Him. All I need from the Mailbox Club is spiritual back-up.
Gerald, age 30, Hong Kong:
I give thanks and glory to God for everything in my life as I continue to bask under His grace, for what He has been doing and changing my former ways to be renewed in the image of Christ through the spirit that He has given us…I’m also happy because now I cannot worry again about stamps in this place because I received your return letter [the reply paid envelope] once again. I’m grateful for all things I’ve been learning through the lessons.
Grace, age 25, Hong Kong:
If you are a Christian you are a new creature, things will begin to change…why I am saying this, I was a Christian but doing things of the world, not knowing my front or back. Not knowing the importance of being a child of God and how much He loves me. I am a new person now, I believe in God and He has a purpose to keep me here [in prison].
Carolyne, age 32, Hong Kong:
Thank you so much for the work of the Lord that you are doing reaching out to people like us [in prison]. It’s a double blessing to your ministry and to us as well. Sometimes we are down, especially being locked up behind bars is not easy at all, it’s only God’s mercy and love that we manage a smile and to stay strong and focused.
I came to know my Lord Jesus Christ through the reading of the Holy Bible. All the bad things I used to do before, especially smoking and alcoholism, I have stopped taking them by God’s grace. Now, through these lessons I can boldly share the Bible with my friends, even non-Christians. Also these lessons have helped me a lot [together] with some tracts you sent to me, and words of encouragement through your letters and also your prayers. I can quote accurately the Bible without looking in it. I am planning to start a little fellowship group in my building just to continue to study the Bible and to pray.
From students doing the Panorama Course:
Sogo, Papua New Guinea:
[Answering questions on Jonah.] The captain and his sailors were fearing for their lives. After they had thrown Jonah overboard, they greatly feared the LORD and offered a sacrifice to him. They believed and changed to worship Jonah’s God, the LORD of Israel. Jonah was prepared to sacrifice his own life to save the ship’s crew, and when the sea became calm, they recognized it as a miracle. They had to believe in Jonah’s LORD, the true God of Israel.
Jackson, Hong Kong:
Yes, I have experienced victory in my own life through prayer. It was when my grandson had cancer (Stage 2). I prayed and fasted, and the doctors couldn’t find any trace of it after much examination. All glory to God!
Evelyn, age 33, Papua New Guinea:
I have received Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour. I have been baptized and I am still strong in the Lord through his Word. I always quote Jer. 1:5 and Acts 17:28. I know I can’t have victory outside of Christ. [And I now know in reality that] “in God we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
Jean, age 38, Papua New Guinea:
Praise the Most High God who helps me to study His Word in these lessons, and put it into practice in the church, teaching Sunday school, encouraging Christian friends, praying, and giving praise to the Lord.