Wednesday, 2 January 2019

PrayerletterJan2019


January 3, 2019

     Blessings on you forever, from our Father in Heaven and from His Eternal and Beloved Son at His Right Hand!  Ruth and I spent the first month of this past quarter mostly in Miami, FL, looking in on Ruth’s dear parents, as well as taking care of a few small things, before flying back to Singapore at the end of October.  Thanks so much for your love and support and prayers to God for us for so many years. The Lord allowed Ruth and me to move our family overseas to start missionary service for the first time precisely thirty years ago today, January 3, 1989.  And late next month would mark 33 years since we actually joined IGM.  So much has happened in all that time—so many Gospel opportunities have opened up to us—for which kindness of our Lord I am increasingly grateful.
Back in Singapore by November 1st, Ruth and I were able to resume the work we are trying to do to assist and encourage Emmanuel Baptist.  I was happy to be able to finish off the series of 25 messages to them during 2018 on the theme “We Are His People”.  Those last titles in the series were “We Are His Holy Nation”, “We Are His Husbandry”, “We Are His Chosen Ones”, “We Are His Image-Bearers”, “We Are His True Worshipers”, and “We Are His Beloved”.

Early in November the congregation shared a happy morning together comparing the results of our individual studies in the Book of Deuteronomy.  This was a nice follow-up to our full-day conference on Deuteronomy back in August.

Ruth and I were able to visit India, briefly, in November, and it was very pleasing to have one more (perhaps final) time to have face-to-face fellowship with some of those friends and comrades in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.  Though we possibly may not return to India again during this lifetime, I do hope we’ll be in touch, as some here in Asia are asking us to continue to give them some helps via the internet even after we’ve concluded our formal overseas missionary service.  During that short time in India, Ruth and I were able to give encouragements in the ministry to several who are doing a weekly children’s outreach, and to bless our other friends and be blessed with them in Christly fellowship.


Through your prayers, Ruth and I were able, two weeks ago, to fulfil the church camp ministry we’d been looking forward to for over a year.  She and I spoke to our respective segments of the congregation on Jesus our Redeemer, “Anointed” Prophet, Priest and King, and I was able to expand on that among the older ones to explain that we “little christs” must serve in the power of the same Holy Spirit, striving to do the works of prophets, priests and kings in the Lord Jesus’ Name and in union with Him.

Please Pray:
·         To our Father in Heaven that Ruth and I would be able to conclude a very fruitful first quarter.  Most all our efforts would be focused on helping in Emmanuel Baptist, here in Singapore. 
·         For us to be healthy and safe.  By God’s grace, we’d complete our sixtieth years this year.  Nothing major seems to be of concern at the moment, thank the Lord.  But the word “deterioration” often comes to mind.  God is love.  Please especially pray for Ruth’s dear parents’ health and strength.
·         That our Lord and Father would give us the wisdom we need as we plan for the future. 
        

                                                  
Chit-chat:                  
As one Haitian pastor once wrote in a newsletter, “I love my job of describing Jesus to the people!”  In this new year, 2019, my theme shall be “What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits to me?” (Psalm 116.12)                           Elizabeth is expecting our twelfth grandchild later this year.  The Lord is so very kind to give us more people to love for Jesus’ sake.               From June, 1986, when the very first congregation committed to begin supporting us as overseas missionaries, until now, our Father in Heaven has been using you all to keep us going—thank you once more for all your prayers on our behalf, and all your love to us for so very long.                Think about Jesus continually, because when you do you’ll be good, and you’ll always know everything is going to be ok forever.


Affectionately,
Stephen and Ruth Schaefer
John 14.23




International Gospel Missions
990 Calkins Road, Rochester NY  14623
Phone: 585-334-904

Sunday, 7 October 2018

prayerletteroct2018


Dear Praying Friends,  

May our Lord Jesus bless you all richly—and may He fill your minds continuously forever.  Ruth and I stayed on in Singapore through most of this quarter, to continue our attempts to do Gospel good there.  

I felt blessed and privileged to speak in Emmanuel Baptist a number of times, continuing the sermon series “We Are His People”.  With other teachers in the congregation, we conducted an introductory to the Book of Deuteronomy one day, with the hope of exciting more serious study of God’s Word among all those who participated.  It was received very well, it seems, and we’re hoping that such edifying times will continue as part of a healthy spiritual diet in the life of the assembly, for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Holy Scripture is always good!







Ruth continued her ministries among the ladies and the children, with good Gospel comrades in the congregation, throughout the quarter.  She and I are eager to get back to Singapore shortly.

Please Pray:

·         For Ruth and me as we are in the USA just for this month of October, in order to attend to a couple of items.  Our return flight to Singapore is booked for the 30th of this month.

·         As we are hoping for at least a week’s ministry in India in the middle of November, to teach in a couple of places including one Bible training program, and to otherwise encourage our friends in their Gospel work.

·         That Ruth and I would by used by the Holy Spirit to impress the hearts, minds and consciences of the campers we’ve been invited to address in late December.  The theme for both the adults and the children is The Works of our Lord Jesus, and the Works of Us Christians as Prophet, Priest and King.



Chit-chat:                Though Ruth and I have normally been overseas during hurricane season, we are always thinking of any of you in the possible paths of the storms.  We have to give thanks to our Father in heaven that He’s kept our loved ones safe, as quite a few of them live between Washington, DC, and Miami, FL.                      Our friends in India have been in our hearts.  Some of them we first met in 2000 and 2001.  We’d thought of visiting them in late July but we postponed til November.  This time might be our final trip to India.                        For these few weeks we’re to be in the USA, Ruth and I are mostly checking in on Ruth’s parents, trying to give them a few little helps.             Ruth had a follow-up MRI last week, and three days ago the surgeon who had done the tumor-removal in early ’17 “cleared” her.  Ruth still has some residual pains, though, whenever she’s eating.                          The Lord has allowed Ruth and me to enter our 60th years, for which we are very grateful.  We are also thankful that He put it into the minds of the airline executives to offer “premium economy” seats.  Crossing 12 times zones isn’t the breeze it used to seem to be.  God is love.



Blessings to you all,

Stephen and Ruth Schaefer

Jn 14.23



International Gospel Missions

990 Calkins Road, Rochester NY  14623

Phone: 585-334-9048

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

prayerletterjuly2018

Dear Praying Friends,

Once again, thank you for interceding for us with our Father and for supporting us as overseas missionaries all these years.  We’re back in Singapore now, and hope in the Lord to fill most of the rest of 2018 with Gospel ministry here, including time in India as well.

The weeks in the USA gave us a good opportunity to visit family, especially Ruth’s parents.  We were also able to visit some supporters, though not as many as we had hoped.  Thank you all for your patience with us.  Ruth and I needed a time to refresh ourselves in mind and body. 

Since returning to Singapore in May, it has been our privilege to join in the ministry of Emmanuel Baptist once more.  They’ve allowed me to continue the series of messages for them on “We Are His People”, as well as to co-labor with them in the Gospel in other areas.  Ruth participated in a VBS.  I’ve taught some of the youths on several days.


Another assembly had me as camp speaker.  I spoke six times on The Works of Christ and The Works of Christians.  He saves us by doing the works of Prophet, Priest and King empowered by the Holy Spirit, so that, saving and anointing us with the same Spirit, we may follow Him and do Him service as prophets, priests and kings.  I don’t know of a more comprehensive way to understand Jesus, salvation, and the Christian life than PPK.  I’ve been talking about these things every chance I get for about twenty-five years and know I’ll continue doing so forever.

Please Pray:
·         That Ruth and I would be ready for every good work (ppk) at all times.
·         That God’s Spirit should be so pleased for us to be His co-workers (ppk), that we could make a real Gospel (PPK) dent in the thinking of the people we meet every day.
·         That we would seek the Lord (PPK) and His grace.
·         That our Father in Heaven would keep us safe in all our travels with Jesus (PPK/ppk).

Chit-chat:       We enjoyed the delights of seeing Ruth’s parents as well as our grandkids, during the time in the States.  In eleven years, the Lord blessed us with eleven grands.  Since my own beloved parents went to heaven in the past few years, Ruth and I hope to increasingly provide help and comfort to her parents in as many ways as we can.  We are beginning to plan the next year or two with that in mind.             As this is our thirtieth year as overseas missionaries, by now you might expect me to be able to say that I love to preach the Word of God.  And I really do, no doubt.  But teaching batches of pastors in remote rural places and conducting one-on-one Bible and theology sessions with young men who could possibly be doing the ministry long after we’ve turned to dust are also at the top of my list.  And if any of my buddies can be coaxed into the occasional 24-hours fasting and prayer session as well, all the better!  Our Lord Jesus has shown us to the way, in everything.



Tuesday, 17 April 2018

prayerletterapril2018



Dear Praying Friends,

May our Lord Jesus fill your mind continually, and may the Holy Spirit cause you to love and admire and become just like God’s Dear Son.

We split our time between Singapore and India since our last quarterly report.  In Singapore, I continued preaching in Emmanuel, advancing the series “We Are His People”, with such titles as “We Are His Holy Temple”, “We Are His Holy Priests”, and “We Are His Witnesses”.  Ruth continued to contribute to the Children’s Gospel ministries, too, as well as in other ways.

For most of February, Ruth and I were in India, where she taught Bible lessons in a School she’s been helping in for some years.  I conducted thirteen of my usual seminars for rural pastors.  To some Bible Institute students, I also taught the Book of Hebrews (6 hours), and Bibliology (4 hours).  I was able to preach about ten times in a couple of different assemblies including on Sundays, and, as always, it was a thrill and a privilege to uplift the Lord Jesus and His Gospel.




Back in Singapore again by the end of February, it was a blessing to be able to begin doing some teaching amounting to theological seminary subjects, for a few special brothers.

Ruth and I came back here to the USA for the second half of March, and our return to Singapore is set for the second half of May.  As always, thank you for your prayers to our Father in Heaven.  He is hearing you, so keep up that good work at His throne of grace.

Please Pray:
·        For the Lord to graciously maintain our physical condition so that Ruth and I are in good shape for our return overseas next month.
·        That the Gospel ministry opportunities would multiply and flood us like an ocean for the rest of 2018, most of which we plan to be in Singapore.
·        For a possible trip to Manila, Philippines, later this year.
·        That Ruth and I would be free from the need to see any more doctors this year!

Chit-chat:           It’s always amazing to encounter the love and the hospitality of all our friends in India and in Singapore each time around.  The yearning to be of help to all of them, Gospel-wise, and to join hands in the ministry with them, always keeps us eager to know how things are with them whenever we are away.                        As we’ve gotten to spend time with family members in the past few weeks, the true Christian fellowship has been very precious.  We love to see our offspring seeking our Lord Jesus and having His obedient mindset.  May He graciously grant this to us all.                        I’m grateful for this time in the States, for several reasons, not least of which is that Ruth and I needed some refreshment in body and mind.  God is love.

Blessings to you all,
Stephen and Ruth Schaefer
John 14.23

 “Serving with the International Gospel Missions” 

990 Calkins Road,  Rochester, NY  14623                           Phone:  585-334-9048


Saturday, 27 January 2018

prayerletterjan2018

Dear Praying Friends, 
Thanks for all your love and support for so many years.  And greetings from Asia, once again.  Since our last letter, Ruth and I did a lot of traveling.  From Singapore we came to the USA for eight weeks.  During that time we visited some family, presented our missionary reports to several congregations in Pennsylvania, and checked in with our mission’s home office in Rochester, NY.

We’ve experienced such kindness and warm hospitality from our friends and supporters for so many years now.  But it never ceases to amaze, and to cause us to express our gratitude to our Father in heaven, Who sends the Holy Spirit to pour the love of God into the hearts of His own.

Before mid-December, we flew out again, to start another planned 14 weeks overseas trip. So we’ve been here in Singapore for the past five weeks already.  As always, we are hoping in the Lord that we’d be able to keep up the pace we’ve set for ourselves in Asia, for the Lord’s sake, and for His Gospel’s sake.

Lately, I’ve started delivering a series of Sunday sermons related to the theme, “We Are His People”.  Specifically, thus far, “We are His Possession” (John 10.27-29), “We are His Body” (Colossians 1.18), “We are His Slaves” (Romans 6.16-19), and, this coming Sunday, with our Lord’s help, “We are His Friends” (John 15.12-15).  So far, and looking ahead as well, I am feeling thrilled at all the excellent, edifying, Biblical and Gospel doctrines which are woven into the passages highlighting our relationship to God our Savior.

Please Pray:
•    That Ruth and I would be able to stay healthy.
•    For our time in Singapore, as well as in India (which is to cover most of February) to be packed full of excellent Gospel opportunities.  Last time in India—July/August—I was completely drained by all that the Lord allowed us to do there.  Dare I hope for the same this time?  Yes, let me be ground to powder once again.  Plenty of time to recover in the resurrection.

Chit-chat:       The Lord keeps blessing us with grandbabies.  This time it’s another girl, Anna Hope Heffernan.            Ruth and I had some occasional physical challenges during this quarter, but seem to have come through ok, by our Lord’s kindness and grace.  At the very end of December, I had about ten days or so in which it was supposed I might have something seriously wrong with my bowels.  Thankfully, a surgeon here in Singapore was able to clear me of anything cancerous or otherwise.                We started living in our suitcases, exclusively, more than a year ago, and are finding it tolerable.  I’m glad the Lord gave me such a no-nonsense wife.  Admittedly, long air travel is tougher on us than it used to be.  But, God is love, and, as always, He helps us spring back to life soon enough.                As of January 3rd, Ruth and I have now entered into our thirtieth year of overseas missionary work.  And late next month we’d mark 32 years since joining IGM.  The Lord has been very merciful to us to keep us going. 

       
Blessings to you all,
Stephen and Ruth Schaefer
John 14.23


 “Serving with the International Gospel Missions” 
990 Calkins Road,  Rochester, NY  14623      Phone:  585-334-9048




Saturday, 23 December 2017

Christmas2017

      2017 has been amazing year.  We made an emergency return to the USA, and because God is in control, he knew we needed to be there because within a few weeks, Stephen’s father went to be with the Lord, and we were able to be with him.  Then a month later, Ruth had her successful surgery.  We came back to Asia and were able to be with Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship as they celebrated their 40th anniversary.  While back in the states for two months, we visited three of our supporting churches that we had some seen for a long time.  We also got to be with our fourth daughter, Lydia, as she had her 30th birthday.  Wow, is it possible we really have four daughters over 30, but we are so young!!  The next week was Thanksgiving, when we were blessed to be with three of our daughters and six of our grandchildren.  Our third daughter also had baby #6 during the last week of November.  We'll see that new grand baby next year.
      Then we returned to Asia for the third time, and that is where we are presently, remembering the birth of our Saviour with our church family, Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship.  May the Lord bless you as well during this Christmas season.

Friday, 20 October 2017

prayerletteroct2017

                                                October 19, 2017
Dear Praying Friends,

Thanks so much for your love and support, for Jesus’ sake.  In the past quarter, Ruth and I were able to return to Asia on July 4th, with nearly full strength for Gospel ministry.  Praise God.

Through your prayers to our Father, we had 4 very productive weeks of Gospel ministry in India.  These included my preaching every Sunday, teaching Matthew ch 5 and II Timothy in a Bible Institute, speaking in a day-long conference on the doctrine of salvation, and traveling to ten remote rural areas to teach ten groups of pastors various half-day seminars on the topics which we believe to be the most important and helpful to them, always hoping to exalt our Lord Jesus and His greatness to people.  

Ruth was very busy helping in the Christian school she’s been involved with the past couple of years. 


Thankfully, the several days we had in the school in Philippines, were also very good. There I taught the Book of Psalms and spoke in four daily chapels.  Ruth conducted English sessions each day as well.

For most of the three months our focus was on Singapore.  Besides preaching each Sunday, I was able to conduct a number of training sessions for congregational leaders (on sermon preparation and on worship leading), and otherwise pursue people with the Gospel.




Overall, I feel very grateful that things are getting back to normal for Ruth and me after the very unusual first half of 2017 we had.  Thanks for continuing to pray for us.  We’re hoping to have good health and strength and eager to plan for 8-9 months overseas in 2018, with our Lord Jesus’ help and blessing.

Please Pray:

·  For our travels here in the USA, as we’ve just returned from Asia, and have arranged to visit several supporters to make missionary reports.
· Concerning our next planned overseas trip (India and Singapore), which is to start on December 9th.

Chit-chat:  In Singapore, India and Philippines, it was a real thrill for us to enter into many dozens of personal, one-on-one, times of teaching and Christly fellowship.                     For several weeks in Aug-Sept, during the weeks we had a good bit of our air travels, Ruth needed to see another ENT who put her through examinations and tests.  It was a real stress-reliever to hear him say at the end of all that, that she seemed to be fine.                 Our daughter Elizabeth new baby’s due date has been moved up to mid-November.  May the Lord Jesus bless, protect and preserve her and the newborn.              Mary, our second daughter, and her family completed 4¼ years since first departing the USA for missionary service.  They came back from Togo, West Africa, for their first regular furlough, just last week.


              Hurricane Irma threatened the homes of quite a number of our family members in South Florida, but, at the last moment, it seemed to divert far enough to the west that they really got little more than a minor power outage and a few trees blown over, harmlessly.  May the Lord be very merciful to the families who suffered much more than that.                  

Blessings to you all,
Stephen and Ruth Schaefer
John 14.23

         “Serving with the International Gospel Missions”                               990 Calkins Road,  Rochester, NY  14623                        Phone:  585-334-9048