Author Archives: John Wilburn

A Ministry of Big-Print Bibles

The Lord has allowed me to plant the seeds of the Gospel in many hearts through tract distribution over the last five years. This ministry brings me great joy, but there is also a burden to go deeper.

Part of evangelism is sowing the Gospel near and far…

But it also involves entering into a deeper outreach with those whose hearts are tender

The Lord has opened the door for me to begin Bible studies with friends (a number of them unsaved) where we meet one morning, and then read through a passage of Scripture. I’ve seen the Lord greatly use these studies as it gives opportunities for them to ask questions, and more detailed explanation of Scripture.

One of the things holding back these studies was the lack of quality big print Bibles in SVG. Most individuals here have severe cataracts or other eye problems, so reading fine-print Bibles are extremely hard. Adding to the problem is you cannot find many big print Bibles here, and those that can be found are very expensive.

A few months ago I asked friends to send money to purchase twenty big-print Bibles that would then be used to start bible studies in the community. The Lord responded in a way I couldn’t even imagine!

A friend from my home church Salem Baptist contacted me about helping raise some money for the Bibles they could send. After a while they realized they had put the old pew Bibles (they’ve been replaced) in storage. So with the churches permission she sent twenty-five big print Bibles at no cost for me!

I am overwhelmed by the generosity and love of Salem Baptist Church in meeting this need!

Please pray for me as I begin meeting these individuals to deliver their Bibles. Pray the Lord would allow us to meet together during the week, and through the reading of His Word, they may be led to Christ,

When Life Falls Apart

This tire is believe it or not, a very common experience in SVG! Because they sell mostly used tires here that have been patched, sometimes a tire will begin to split, and the wire is exposed. It is possible to continue driving with a tire like this, but as you can imagine, it makes blowing a tire much easier.

Life sometimes is like that tire ……

We become worn over time and begin to fall apart

Monday I was talking with a friend who has been really struggling recently with anger, stress, and lack of energy. He explained that a rest was needed. Not so much physical rest, but a mental, and emotional rest. I encouraged him to take some extended time away from people to focus on rest, bible study, and prayer.

When we become too worn and begin to fall part it is possible to continue moving along, just like the tire can still be used. But the longer we wait the greater the possibility of a greater blowup will take place.

There is often a temptation to keep driving on a split tire even though it should be replaced (after all new tires cost money). And of course there is also a temptation to keep pushing through while we fall apart.

What keeps me from doing this is God calls me to effectiveness.

Being effective means you get a proper tire.

And being effective means you step back from things to draw closer to the Lord, and become stronger physically as well as mentally.

Taking the time to care for ourselves does mean activity should be suspended for a short time. But this is worth it since we will be stronger down the road.

Satan is at Work Around You (and you don’t even know it)!

A few weeks ago I was using a visual of this power-point slide from Good Soil Evangelism describing how Satan was cast out of Heaven after rebelling against God.

A girl looked at the picture and said, “that can’t be Satan!”

I asked her why and she said, “Satan is red with pointy horns and a long tail!”

Thankfully I was able to explain that while people may THINK Satan looks that way, he was actually a very beautiful angel.

That conversation reminded me how often we expect Satan to work in huge, or massive ways. When something like persecution, false doctrine, or Believers falling away from the Gospel take place that’s obviously Satan!

Yet Satan doesn’t usually work that way….

Instead he prefers to work in subtle ways so that we don’t actually realize he’s at work till it’s too late.

Satan knows that a direct attack would lead us straight to God since we cannot face him alone. So instead he prefers to take the “back door” so to speak, sneaking slowly but surely into our lives.

It’s helpful then that we understand ways Satan is at work around us without our even knowing it.

  1. Satan opposes our message by blinding the eyes of the unsaved (2 Corinthians 4:4): The unsaved have countless excuses why they cannot accept the Gospel. This is because Satan is continually whispering in their ear “you have plenty of time!”
  2. Satan opposes our witness by making the unsaved believe they are saved when they aren’t (Mark 4:15): Countless unbelievers rely upon works (baptism, church attendance, a prayer they prayed) instead of Christ’s death on the cross
  3. Satan opposes our ministry through Discouragement (1 Thessalonians 2:17): We become so focused on results or activity that a daily walk with the Lord is ignored
  4. Satan opposes our growth through Shame (Revelation 12:10): As the “accuser of the brethren” Satan brings shame and guilt into our hearts when we fail the Lord, and tells us to just give up

These are just a few ways that we are daily surrounded by the work of Satan and his demons.

There are two responses to this

  • Understand we are fighting a spiritual battle
  • And recognize the work of Satan

First we understand just how much of life is a spiritual battle. Many of the challenges that we are face come from Satan himself who is trying to discourage, or distract us from the work of God. So Believers have to wear the armor of God so that during those attacks they can stand firm (Ephesians 6:11-14).

The second is actually more important to me…..

Satan is continually trying to gain a small foothold in my life. Not enough to bring complete rebellion, just a subtle compromise. But that small part will slowly begin to grow bigger and bigger until it consumes my life. So the encouragement of Ephesians 4:27 is needed, “neither give place to the devil.”

Satan wants us looking for someone with big horns and a tail! Because as long as we are doing that, we won’t see him quietly infecting our lives.

Memories of Reading Help

In early 2018 the Lord allowed me to begin a reading group with some boys at a local school. Twice a week I’d take them to the library (Older on Monday, younger on Friday) and we’d practice our reading skills along with review of phonics.

At first the boys weren’t really interested in reading, when they did it was done in almost a whisper. But eventually they become comfortable with it, and started showing more interest in reading books. The librarian said a lot of them started visiting her during the week for some extra reading.

One of the boys struggled a bit more than others. He could read, but it was always done very slowly, and he stumbled over lots of words. Slowly he started to gain confidence along with the others, and began to enjoy reading!

One morning he finished an extra hard page in our reading group….

When he finished all the boys applauded!

As someone who struggled with a slight learning disability as a child I know how hard school can be for some students. I also know how powerful just having a little bit of help can be. Sadly teachers in Saint Vincent aren’t able to give much individualized help since the classrooms are far too large for this. The students are usually too embarrassed to come after class, so they go on struggling, when just a little bit of personal help is needed.

I’ve seen many times a child who had told me they “couldn’t read” read one their own without any help (with a huge smile on their face) after just a few weeks of tutoring. Now that things are running smoothly at the school system I feel the Lord leading me to restart these reading groups. Please pray for me as I do this that God would open the door if it is His will, and I will be able to give the individualized help children need.

From the Archives: French Toast Sticks and Unique Challenges

Originally written July 2015

Last week I had the opportunity to spend five days at the Annual Conference of Baptist Mid Missions [1] in Elyria Ohio. It was an absolutely amazing time that the Lord used to encourage my heart.

  1. Through strong Biblical preaching
  2. Through workshops that gave practical help for challenges Missionaries face
  3. Through fellowship with other Missionaries
  4. And opportunities for short-term ministry placement while the Visa process is completed (this was before coming to Saint Vincent).

What encouraged me more than anything though was the knowledge that other people have struggles like mine

You see Missionaries are “unique people” who therefore face “unique challenges” that few people will understand except for other Missionaries

Unfortunately missionaries have little opportunity to discuss those challenges, and how God helps them since all of the time is spent ministering to others. This becomes a problem because over time Satan can make us (missionaries) believe that we are the only ones who struggle with those challenges.  And of course this leads to our acting as if everything’s fine when it isn’t.

Something like the Annual Conference allows us to step away from work for a few days and become honest about some our needs, which always reveals we aren’t the only ones struggling.

Thursday morning I ate breakfast with some missionary friends from India who had never eaten a “french toast stick” (poor souls). As we finished one of them asked why my return to Australia was delayed and I spent about five minutes giving an answer (Editors note-I could not receive a Permanent Residency Visa in Australia because of changed immigration laws). Once I finished she looked at me and said “that’s exactly what’s happening to us!”.

That simple phrase had an incredible impact because Satan loves to tell me that I’m the ONLY ONE who EVER experienced a delayed return to the mission field…and that’s just not true.

Thinking about that breakfast reminds me of the Prophet Elijah in the Old Testament who in discouragement complained that he was the only one who still stood for God in Israel. God responded by telling Elijah there was there still 7,000 people faithful people in Israel, and soon provided Elisha as a prophet to continue Elijah’s ministry

It is true that most people haven’t gone through the unique challenges I face, but that’s okay, because each of you go through struggles I couldn’t comprehend. We can praise God however that there will always be individuals who can not only understand that challenge, but share how the Lord brought them through it.

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