Patrick & Emily
Courtney, Brooke, & Autumn
July 2017 update from the O’Briens, missionaries to Newfoundland:
Our summer children's program was the week of July 21st; please be in prayer for the children that attended. We had a youth group come up from South Carolina to help run the program. We pray that God will use this trip to call one of those teens into full-time service and maybe even direct them to Newfoundland one day.
In the past couple months, we have, sadly, been to a few funerals of your friends' family members. Every funeral is sad as we say good bye to a loved one, but when the clergy speaks of heaven and cannot tell of the assurance one can have of heaven, it leave those in attendance with a sense of hopelessness. Of these funerals, two were Catholic, and they both concluded with a mass. I had never attended a Catholic mass. It broke my heart as I listened and watched them perform a ceremony that is essentially another sacrifice of Christ since they believe the elements transform into the actual body and blood of Christ. Hebrews chapter ten came to mind and made me so thankful that His one-time sacrifice was sufficient for the sins of the whole world. During the last funeral and mass I attended, I was able to sit by a Bryan, friend of mine that I have witnessed to many times. I was able to tactfully point out that when Christ died, he died once for all, and the only requirement is faith alone in Jesus Christ. Since that day, his attitude toward the gospel has changed for the better, and he seems to be more open to it. Please pray for Bryan's salvation and that the Lord continues to bring about more of these opportunities.
Thank you for the continued prayers, and God bless!
September 2017 Update from the O'Briens, missionaries to Newfoundland:
We are praising the Lord for a profitable summer. These past two months have been full of church ministries, surprises, visitors, unexpected trips, emergency room visits and a broken ankle. We have enjoyed having several out of town visitors at church but we have also had many local visitors. There have been many weeks where we have had 20 or more in our Sunday morning service. About two months ago, we started having two more in Sunday school on a regular basis. We are excited to see slow, yet consistent, growth at church.
Most of July was spent on preparing for our summer children’s program and for a teen missions group that came to help with the program. This year was our first year having teens come to help. They did a wonderful job, and it was exciting to be able to give them a glimpse of the privilege and excitement of serving God on the mission field. Along with all the tasks involved with the kid’s program, the teen group helped us by distributing John & Romans, setting up for church services, providing special music, doing chores around the house, and digging up a part of the lawn to extend our driveway. In return for all their hard work, they received a genuine missions experience of “enjoying” a mystery meat. The children’s program went well and we were pleased with the turnout. We had 30 different children come in the two days. On the following Sunday we had four new visitors, as a result of the program. The youth pastor from the missions group preached for us that morning and he did an excellent job. We had one of our biggest attendances that Sunday with almost 40 in total. We had other special guests that Sunday. A good friend of mine was on vacation with his family and stopped in to see us. Being an assistant pastor in the Toronto area, he was willing to preach our afternoon service that we had on the beach that week.
The week after the missions group left, we left for Teen and Family Camp on the other side of the island. This year we were able to take two teen boys from our church with us. One of the boys had just recently been saved. We all had a great week and Emily and I enjoyed teaching the younger children again this year. We had a wonderful guest speaker, the teens had a great time, and two teens made professions of faith.
While at camp, I received a call from a gentleman I have been witnessing to and fishing with. He called to ask prayer for his mother who had just had a heart attack. I was able to pray with him over the phone and let him know that I would visit her at the hospital as soon as she was transported across the island to the main hospital. I was able to visit her when she arrived and also be there the next day before her surgery. I was able to give the Gospel very freely and to pray with her just before she went into surgery. The Lord has greatly opened the doors with this family.
The week after camp, my parents came for their annual visit. We had a great time with them, and the girls enjoyed spending time with Nanny and Poppy. Emily did not get to spend much time with my parents as her grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s. Emily was able to go to Maine to attend the funeral and help her parents out a bit. While Emily was away for ten days, the Lord greatly reminded me of how much of a help meet Emily is. I am so thankful for my wife. I don’t think there would be much of a ministry without her. I know the house didn’t fair as well without her, and poor Autumn had many days with “natural” hair (a.k.a. mop head). For the first few days, my mother was a great help, but then we went on a short walk where she fell on loose gravel and broke her ankle. My parents ended up having to stay an extra week and a half for my mother to have surgery on her ankle. Her recovery is going well and they have made it back to their home in Georgia.
The next few months will consist of preparing for winter as we start winterizing the house and yard, harvesting our garden, picking berries, and hunting moose (Praise the Lord we already harvested the church’s moose!). We will also be having more church dinners and activities this fall. Please pray for good attendance at each of our activities and for spiritual growth for those with whom we are privileged to work.
December 2017 Update from the O'Briens, missionaries to Newfoundland:
Merry Christmas! The end of the year is upon us and the excitement and joy of Christmas is everywhere. Here, at New Hope Baptist Church, we are getting ready for our Christmas program on the 17th. The children and adults are memorizing their lines, the choir is practicing their songs, and everyone is inviting their friends and neighbors. It is a blessing to see how church attendance has grown over the past few years. We still don’t have a big choir, but we have more than a trio! The Christmas program is a favorite for our little church since this is the one time of year that many of the family members will attend. This year we have been praying for a record attendance and that we would see someone come forward for salvation after the service. Please pray with us to this end.
Emily and the girls have been hard at work this year with homeschooling. Emily has been introducing a little bit of schooling to Autumn as she just turned five in November. Courtney is doing video school this year and is doing very well at becoming a more independent learner. Brooke’s favorite parts of school are art, science and history. The girls are doing well and are eager to learn, even when our house turns into a hunting camp for a week!
This year seems like it has been the year of the moose. I have helped harvest the church moose and three other moose, but somehow have yet to get my personal moose. This year has been the first year I have been invited to a hunting cabin and, so far, I have been in three. Thankfully, they refrained from the usual alcohol consumption because the “Baptist Minister” was there.
We have continued to see visitors come to church on multiple occasions. The step-father of one of the teens came one Sunday, and it seems hopeful that he may return. Please pray for those that come but have yet to place their faith in Christ for salvation.
I had the opportunity to attend the annual Newfoundland preachers’ conference this year on the east coast. While there I had the opportunity to visit a freshman at University from our church. We had a good visit and I was able to bring him a “little” care package from his parents.
Please be in prayer for us as we close out our year. We have many church activities and outreach opportunities planned for the rest of the month and would love to see God do great things through these. Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support.
Janurary 2018 Update from the O'Briens, missionaries to Newfoundland:
I am writing this letter in one of my usual thinking/letter writing places – in our van, overlooking the lovely Bay St. George. Today, as I sit here and write, is one of our many nasty days that we have had recently. We have had some terrible weather lately: blizzards, storms with winds as high as 120 kph, floods, heavy rains during the day with freezing at night, and snowstorms dumping 10+ inches of snow in one night. Looking across the bay, seeing the high waves, and feeling the strong wind shake our van I am reminded of Psalm 107. The first verse says, “O give thanks unto the LORD for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.” The Psalmist relates many difficult and fearful circumstances in which man may find himself that is either self-inflicted because of sin or just part of life; yet each situation is remedied with, “then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.” In verses 23-31 is the picture of men out on the sea during a great storm (possibly similar to or greater than what I am watching at the time of writing this). “They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths; their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.” Many times we find ourselves in the same proverbial position in our life or even spiritual walk – our soul is melted and we are at our wits’ end. I know I have found myself there many times, but I am thankful for the privilege to “cry unto the LORD” in my trouble and see in my life verses 29 and 30. “He maketh the storm a calm so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so bringeth them unto their desired haven.” He is our haven of rest!
Thank you for your prayers concerning our Christmas Program and special activities through the end of December. There were thirty-four at the Christmas program. Seven of those were first-time visitors and we even had our family dentist in attendance. Each participant did a wonderful job with their parts and the audience listened as the Gospel message was presented in both the play and the preaching portions.
This year we introduced to the Sunday school children the joy of Christmas caroling. We had a great time caroling to several individuals that we have ministered to over the years in some way or another. We made a few unscheduled stops to some the children’s friends and family as well.
We had a few other “firsts” in December. We had our first Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and a New Year’s Eve Service. These both were moderately attended but we were not discouraged because the weather was poor and new things can take time to catch on.
Please be in prayer for our regular activities and services since attendance is low due to weather and sickness. Please pray for faithfulness to all the services and for more hearts to accept the Gospel message.