To Newfoundland, Canada

The O'Briens

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.

January 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.

March/April/May 2018 update from the O'Briens, missionaries to Newfoundland:

Most of this past winter, we have had a low church attendance due to illness and injury.  The flu and other illnesses have hit hard this year.  The roads and walkways were quite icy and have just recently become less treacherous.  Please pray that those that have been sick will regain their health and the injured will be healed.  Our family was not really affected by illness or injuries, and we have been praising the Lord for His strength to be able to be a blessing to others.  Among sick visits, hospital trips, support for those with terminally ill loved ones, special services, guests, activities, and our regular home and church duties, April has been overwhelmingly busy.

On Resurrection Sunday, we had our yearly breakfast at our house before the morning service.  We had very few in attendance but were grateful for those who did.

I was able to take three teens on a two-day youth activity on the other side of the island.  All of them had a good time.  One of them had not been to church since Christmas and said that he wanted to start going to church again.  The next Sunday, he was back.  Please pray for this young teen boy.  He is unsaved and tender to the Gospel but has many things working against him, pulling him in the wrong direction.

On April 15th, we had a baby dedication service in which 46 people were in attendance.  Please pray that the mother will continue to be a godly example and that through her and the children, the unsaved father will accept Christ.  Also, about 30 of the 46 who attended were their unsaved family members.  Please pray for the families of our church people to accept Christ.

During the last week of April, we had a pastor from Ontario drop in for a few days and preach during the Wednesday service.  We enjoyed his visit very much and were greatly encouraged by him.  In many places, the joy of Christian fellowship can be easily taken for granted.  An abundance of Christian fellowship is not as easily found here; therefore, we cherish those times with our Christian family.

The last Saturday in April was our annual ladies' luncheon.  The vicious viruses still hadn't given up, and, unfortunately, many people were sick.  Despite the flu that kept many at home, we still have 12 ladies and 6 girls with myself and two other guys to do the serving.  We were excited that 4 of those ladies were first time visitors!

Many of you will remember that we have been praying for coworkers since we were on deputation.  The Lord has answered that request in a most unexpected way.  The first week of February, we received a video call from a veteran missionary family asking us to pray with them about joining us in the ministry here.  As you can imagine, my first reaction was that of excitement mixed with shock.  The shock was for two reasons.  One, they are already on the mission field on the opposite side of the world; and two, they are Matt and Katie Northcutt, which some of you may already know as Emily's brother-in-law and sister.  After we got up off from the floor, they were able to share the testimony of what God has been doing in their lives.  After several days of much prayer and supplication, the Lord confirmed to both Emily and I that He indeed was orchestrating all these things.  We are so excited to be able to work as a team to accomplish a great deal more for the Lord.

There is much to do as we plan and prepare for the addition of another missionary family.  The Northcutts also have a great deal to do before arriving to Newfoundland.  they will be on their previously scheduled furlough to report to all their churches about their past term on their current field and about their future ministry here in Newfoundland.  If you would like to know more about the Northcutts and their testimony, please visit their website at

As always, thank you so much for your support in prayers and finances.  We are ever aware that our presence here is nothing of us, but it's because of you, our faithful supporters.

August/September/October 2018 update from the O'Briens, missionaries to Newfoundland:

It is hard to believe the summer is already over.  This has been quite the busy summer for us.  After spending the month of June in Georgia helping to get things settled after my father's passing, we came back to the Northcutts here and everything is running smoothly, but we had much to do.  We were able to do a lot of figuring, organizing, and planning for the addition to the ministry of the Northcutt family here at New Hope Baptist Church.  It is exciting to think about how much more can be done here for the Lord with the extra family here.  Matt Northcutt will be taking on the role of Assistant Pastor, running the music ministry, starting a teen ministry, assisting with Bible studies, helping with the children's ministries, and doing many other aspects of the ministry.  The Northcutts are praying about returning permanently to NL by June of next year, but until then they are continuing their planned furlough.  Please pray for them as they travel for their meetings.

About a week after Emily's parents left from their visit here, we had a plumbing issue in the upstairs bathroom, which caused water to damage that bathroom along with the downstairs half-bath, entryway, and part of the basement.  There was so much water damage that we had to replace flooring in the bathrooms and entryway, the ceilings in the entryway and downstairs bathroom, three walls, the upstairs bathroom vanity, two storage cabinets in the basement, and a light fixture.  Praise the Lord the insurance covered the cost, and the Lord provided the money for the deductible.

The week after the "flooding," we headed off to the teen and family camp on the other side of the island.  We had three teens, two juniors, and one lady join our family on our trip to the camp.  We taught the morning children's session again this year and had the privilege of teaching 13 children.  Everyone had a wonderful time and many decisions were made for the Lord.

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to baptize a young man that just graduated from high school.  He had accepted Christ as his Saviour the year before.  Because he lives about an hour away, we did his baptism closer to his town so his unsaved family would come.  He has had opposition from some of his family as they are very strong Anglicans and did not understand why he needed to be "re-baptized."  This young man did a great job giving his salvation testimony and in that giving the Gospel to his family.  I, also, took the opportunity to explain the Gospel and the Biblical teaching of baptism.  The next day (Sunday), we had a Baccalaureate Sunday for him, and most of his family that were there for his baptism came out for the service and graduation lunch.  His family was able to hear the Gospel again.  Also, they were amazed at the difference between a Baptist service and an Anglican service.

Our ministries are doing well.  We have seen some growth in our monthly ladies' meetings.  Our Sunday School is about the same with some children coming when it is convenient for the parent(s).  We have one lady that has temporarily moved back to Stephenville to help her aging mother.  She is saved and attends a Baptist church in British Columbia.  It has been an encouragement to have another Christian faithfully attending all the services.

In September, I have the opportunity to go to the annual National Preacher's Conference.  This year, it was in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  It was a tremendous blessing to fellowship with other pastors and to enjoy being preached to.  It was so thankful that I was able to attend.  This time greatly encouraged me in the Lord.

We had a successful Summer's End Soup and Sandwich Celebration.  This is a potluck that we do when fall arrives.  Our ladies seem to really enjoy fall baking, and the hearty soups and stews are comforting since the weather has turned chilly.  We had two new visitors come.  Praise God!  We are thankful that they came and will be praying that they will come to a regular service as well.

Emily has the wonderful opportunity to attend a music conference in October.  She will be joining several of the missionary wives from the island.  The conference is being held in Ontario.  For some reason, she is nervous about leaving me alone with our two children.  I mean three daughters. wink

Thank you again for all of your prayers and support.  We are so thankful for all that you do for us.

November/December 2018/January 2019 update from the O'Briens, missionaries to Newfoundland:

Happy New Year!  We trust you had a blessed Christmas season.  We have had a very full schedule since the beginning of fall.  In October, we were presented with an additional ministry opportunity.  A missionary who was in the process of starting a church in Corner Brook (a town about 45 minutes away) had to return to the U.S. permanently.  We began to pray about the Lord’s will in regards to taking on the church plant in addition to the one here in Stephenville.  God made it clear that this was exactly what He wanted us to do.  Since mid-October, we have been holding services in Corner Brook on Sunday evenings after our morning and afternoon services in Stephenville.  We are also holding Thursday evening Bible studies there as well.  For the Sunday service, we have been having about 5 people besides our family.

During October and November, we did more traveling than we are used to while on the field.  Emily had a wonderful time at the music conference, and she enjoyed the much-needed time of fellowship with several of the other pastor’s wives from the island.  Thankfully, she returned to a clean house and all three children accounted for.  Donna, a lady from our church, was a great help to come and clean the house while I picked Emily up from the airport!

In November, I had the opportunity to help a church on the other side of the island in replacing their roof.  It was a great time working with the other pastors and many laymen from the Baptist churches on the island. It was great to see a big job finished in such a short amount of time.

Later in November, our family attended the island’s Pastor’s fellowship and then the anniversary service of one of the churches on the other side of the island.

In December, we had our annual Christmas program on the 9th in Stephenville and the 16th in Corner Brook.  This year we were able to put on a small play and have a few musical numbers. We stretched our small core group to the max with parts, choir music, props, and lights.  We had no choice but to have Autumn (age 6) help with the lights.  That was interesting!  We all practiced for almost two months. Everyone did a tremendous job.  The Lord blessed with 44 in attendance in Stephenville and 22 in Corner Brook.  There were many first-time visitors in both services and all those in attendance were very attentive to the Gospel message that was preached.

This year, we had the opportunity to head south (Maine) for Christmas.  Our plan was to spend Christmas with Emily’s family for the first time in 7 years.  Her family was to include her parents, her grandfather, and her sister’s family.  A couple of weeks before we left, we received a call that her grandfather had had a heart attack.  Thankfully, he was home before we got there, and he has since been healing well and gaining strength.  We are praising the Lord for allowing us more time with this godly, prayer warrior.

The day we arrived in Maine, Emily’s sister’s family (the Northcutts) left to see Matt’s father who was near death from Melanoma.  We were not able to see the Northcutts until after Christmas.  That was only because we had to extend our trip because of car trouble.  With the scare of Emily’s grandfather, the loss of Matt Northcutt’s father, car repairs, injuries sledding, my father-in-law losing his vacation days and having to work without pay because of the government shut-down…the list could go on…nothing went as we had pictured our “perfect” Christmas would go.  It could have been quite a depressing Christmas.  I’m thankful that the week before we left the Lord brought me to Luke 2:19 – “And Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  As I thought on this phrase and what she pondered, I realized it wasn’t the hardships, it wasn’t who was there, and it wasn’t what they didn’t have that she pondered on.  It was the miracle that had just occurred. It was the Saviour that she held in her arms. It was the fact that God was using her.  Too many times we ponder on what is wrong instead of what is right.  If all that we can find right is our Saviour, then, what more do we need?  This applies for every day, for every problem (Philippians 4:6-9).  We have many things for which to be thankful.  One of them is your continued prayers and support.  Thank you for another year of encouragement and help in the ministry.

Please keep the following things in prayer:
- The Northcutt family as they are grieving the loss of Barry, Matt’s father, and the many things that need to be done for Matt’s mother and the children still at home.
- Matt and Katie Northcutt and family as they continue meetings on furlough.
- The growth of New Hope Baptist Church in Stephenville by seeing lost saved and Christians to continue to grow.
- The growth of Grace Baptist Church in Corner Brook (a city of 20,000) and the need of a pastor to come take this ministry and give it the full attention it needs.
- Loretta Berkshire – an older Christian lady from the Corner Brook area with stage 4 cancer who has been given six months to live. Currently her chemo treatments are going well.

February/March/April/May 2019 update from the O'Briens, missionaries to Newfoundland:

The past few months have had two overwhelming themes for our family: provision and protection.  As for both church plants, we have seen the usual springtime low attendance due to weather and sickness.  As May rolls on and the weather starts to improve, we should see the regular groups back again.  At Grace Baptist in Corner Brook, we have started having split men's and women's Bible studies.  These have been well attended and seem to be enjoyed.  A lady from Stephenville who had recently made profession of faith has been faithfully coming to the Sunday services and even rides with us to the services in Corner Brook.

We were recently reminded in a big way of God's continual care for us.  Last month, we received a house call from a company that does out yearly oil furnace cleaning and inspection.  They were in the area and noticed that our furnace was due for an inspection.  During the inspection, they found that the firebox was cracked and leaking carbon monoxide.  This answered many questions, we had recently, regarding headaches and other health issues!  We are so thankful that god kept us safe, revealed the problem, and allowed us to get it fixed before it got any worse.  We have a few cold days while we waited for a new furnace, but as of mid-March, we have a brand-new furnace that is more efficient that our old one.

We have also had a few nerve-wracking drives to and from Corner Brook.  We have had a few trips where blowing snow or spring fog took the visibility down to just a few feet.  We have also seen the Lord clear the weather up for us almost instantly.  During one trip, Autumn asked from the back seat to pray for the weather to get better.  She didn't know that I had been praying most of the way.  As we prayed as a family, the amount of snow falling and blowing dropped to almost nothing.  It was amazing to see God teaching our girls to trust Him and to bring everything to Him in prayer.

We had a busy yet enjoyable Easter Sunday.  We had a breakfast and morning service in Stephenville and supper and evening service in Corner Brook.  In both churches, we enjoyed the day with God's people, and in Stephenville, we were also thankful for a couple of visitors.

During Easter break, Courtney and I traveled across the island to attend a two-day youth activity.  This was Courtney's first year to be able to participate in this teen activity.  I was able to preach twice to the young people.  As in years prior, it was a blessing to minister alongside the other pastors and Christian workers on the island.

The Northcutts' furlough is going well.  They are excited to be close to the finish line.  They are looking to be here during the first part of August.  Please keep them in your prayers as they travel and prepare to make the move to Newfoundland.

We have a few prayers and praises to share with you:

  • In our last letter, we mentioned Loretta Berkshire was diagnosed with cancer and was given six months left.  Her last scan showed that her cancer is shrinking, and we praise the Lord for that!  Please continue to pray for her as she continues her treatments and for the doctors to have wisdom.
  • We have been experiencing some difficulty with our immigration process.  In the past, we have tried to get permanent residency but to no avail.  Without permanent residency, we are required to extend our visitor records.  Previously, these have been extended for two years at a time.  This year, we only got a 3-month extension and a 5-month extension.  If this continues, it will quickly become expensive and time consuming.  Please pray that our next application for extension will give us the two years that we have been receiving.  Also, pray as we explore the different avenues for permanent residency.  This is proving to be a time consuming, expensive, confusing, and difficult process.
  • Continue to pray for Grace Baptist Church in Corner Brook.  The rental agreement will expire at the end of June.  Please pray that we will be able to find a place to rent, and that this little church plant will have the finances to make the rent payments.
  • Over the past few months, our van has been in the shop several times for rather expensive repairs.  It is currently in the shop waiting to have the rear differential replaced.  We are praying about whether we should hope this will be the last big repair for a while and keep it, or if we should sell it and try to get at least what we still owe on it.  Thankfully, we still our older van, which is still in running condition, but it has over 200,000 miles on it and is over 13-years-old.  Please pray with us for peace regarding which decision to make.  We travel an hour one way each and every Sunday with nothing but cabin and forest between.  Because of this, we are thankful that God has kept our old van running and holding up so well.

June/July/August/September 2019 update from the O'Briens, missionaries to Newfoundland:

Thank you so much for your continued prayers on our behalf.  We have had an amazing summer and would not have without your prayers.  In our last letter, we asked that you would pray that Grace Baptist Church in Corner Brook would find a new place to meet.  The Lord provided tremendously!  We were able to rent a space for a little over $800 a month plus utilities.  They were initially asking for $1,200, but since they had not rent the space in over a year, the realtor talked them down.  We were able to move in the same day as our lease was up at our previous location.  The monthly rent is still quite a stretch for the few people who are currently attending.  Please pray that we will be able to continue making the monthly rent payment.

In July, we had a ladies' trio from Faithway College of Canada present a music program for both churches.  This group was a great blessing to our churches and family.  The day that the group arrived was our oldest daughter, Courtney's, 12th birthday.  We had a good time celebrating her birthday.  This year, she is now old enough to join me in hunting for small game.

We left for Teen & Family Camp during the last week of July.  This year, we had quite the crowd join us for the camp.  We had Donna and two young girls who are faithful to Sunday School and church go again this year.  A gentleman who had recently started coming to Grace Baptist Church in Corner Brook decided to come as well.  Two special guests, my mom and a friend from our sending church chose to come for a visit during that time and joined us at camp.  We had an adventure on our 447mi. trip.  We had to take two vehicles.  I drove the older van since the newer one was in the shop.  All of the ladies rode in Donna's car while the five girls, the gentleman, and myself were in the van.  Three hours from camp and 45 minutes from the nearest town, the transmission in the van gave out.  Thankfully, I was able to get in touch with a pastor friend in another town just as he was leaving for camp.  He was able to come and pick us up and get a tow truck sent out.  Later, when I called to set up a payment for the tow truck, the owner told me that he could not charge me because God laid it on his heart not to charge me.

The next day at camp, I found that replacing our van would be more economical than repairing it.  Our plan was to shop for a replacement the next day in St. John, but we ended up having to take my mother to the ER.  She stayed there for three days for observation.  She's much better now and will be having a follow up with her doctor soon.  We did get a chance to purchase a three-year-old SUV with very low mileage for a great price.  It has been a blessing from the Lord.

Through everything that has happened over this past year, no matter the frustration and the temptations to quit, the Lord continues to give us the "peace that passes all understanding" and reminds us that He has called us here and will provide.  On the way back from taking me mother to the hospital, Emily and I discussed how we felt it had been a good day.  We stopped and considered all that had happened in the past few days and the uncertainty of the next few.  Both of us wondered how we could have the feeling of having had a good day.  The only explanation of that is God's sweet peace throughout trials.  We discussed how that recently there were many times of just wanting to quit after all that has happened and because of not being able to see results from our efforts.  The knowledge that God has always brought us through, the conviction that we are called to be faithful, and God's promise that we will reap if we faint not have been what has kept us from quitting.  That evening as we drove the 45 minutes back to camp from the hospital, we were contacted by one of the pastors at camp to inform us that the gentleman who had come with us to camp had trusted Christ as his Saviour!  I had witnessed to him for weeks and knew that he was on the brink of salvation.  He just had to go for a head knowledge to faith.  The excitement in the car was so great.  We were once again reminded that God has a plan, and He uses us despite our failures and weaknesses.  Many times, He allows us to go through difficulties to show us and others His power and peace.

The Friday after we returned from camp, the Northcutt Family arrived on the island.  There was much busyness to get them unpacked.  Their first Sunday was also quite busy.  We had baptisms after the morning service.  Out two youngest, Brooke and Autumn, were both baptized.  It was a special treat for my mother and Emily's parents as they were all able to attend.  It was also a great encouragement to those in attendance.  We had quite a few guests to come see the girls baptized.  I was able to preach a message on Biblical baptism and present the Gospel at the same time.

We are so excited to have the Northcutts join us in serving the Lord here in Stephenville and Corner Brook.  They have already added much to the ministry here.  We are excited to implement many more things as they settle in. Please pray for them as they settle in and adapt to a new culture, especially the children.  They filled in for us for two weeks in September.  We had a family trip planned around an annual Canadian Preachers' Conference which was in Quebec City this year.  We went through Maine to visit my sister and an elderly great aunt.  We needed this short time of refreshment in the Lord and a little time with family.

Our prayer requests:

  • In previous letters, we have mentioned Loretta Berkshire was diagnosed with cancer.  She has been feeling great this summer and is looking forward to her next scan at the end of September.  Please continue to pray for her.
  • Please be in prayer for our visitor record extension.  Our current record expired at the end of September, and we have yet to hear back on the application.  Pray as we explore the different avenues for permanent residency.  This is proving to be a time-consuming, expensive, and confusing process.
  • Pray that the offerings at Grace Baptist Church in Corner Brook will start to be sufficient to cover the rent and utilities.  Also, pray that this location will not get rented to someone else since we are on a month-to-month lease.

We appreciate your prayers.

December 2019 & January/February 2020 update from the O'Briens, missionaries to Newfoundland:

It is hard to believe that another year has come and gone.  2019 was quite a year for our family and ministry.  For our family, it was a test of faith for financial provision since it was a year of vehicle and equipment break-downs and expensive replacements.  For our ministries, it was a year of new things: a new church in a new location, many new visitors, and new co-workers.  The year did end on a great note as our annual Christmas programs were well attended at both New Hope Baptist in Stephenville and Grace Baptist in Corner Brook.  At New Hope, we have 34 people in attendance with many new visitors, and at Grace, we have 24 in attendance with 5 new visitors.  Matt Northcutt wrote and directed the program.  He did a wonderful job!

We have greatly enjoyed having the Northcutts serve with us here.  We are excited about the extra ministries that we can add with their assistance.  To start off 2020, we added a new Teen & Adult Sunday School class, which Matt is teaching.  Starting in March, we are planning to have a weekly Friday night community outreach, which will be called "Unplugged."  The focus is to "unplug" from electronic devices and connect with family, friends, and others in the community.  We will have several actiivites focused around Godly character building lessons.  This program is a result of New Hope Baptist's focus for the year: "Reaching our Jerusalem."  Our goal this year is to be more involved in our community in actively showing the love of God in the immediate so other can see that the love of God is salvation.

We have three prayer requests.  First, pray for the new families that have visited our churches.  We hope that they will continue to attend and develop in faith.  Second, continue to pray for Loretta.  She has started new rounds of chemo therapy.  Third, Grace Baptist has some financial needs.

Please be in prayer as we continue to seek out opportunities and implement the plans already made.  We are excited to see the Lord work through New Hope Baptist this year.