From the Front Lines...
Here we are more than fifty days into 2003 and this is my first printed newsletter to you. I can assure you that our silence in communiques hasnt been because Ive been vacationing or just had little or nothing to say. Its been because of just the opposite.
As I write its the wee hours in the early morning of February 19th. Yesterday I returned home after a 24 day trip across the eastern and southern U.S. speaking in several churches and four conferences. Besides the absolute joy of knowing that God is using us to change and mold His Church in these last-days, we saw dozens of people - young and old commit their lives to Christ during the trip! Perhaps the high point may have been nine coming to the Saviour in one service in South Carolina alone but there are a number of fond memories racing through my mind as I recall the miles we traveled this last time out.
Melanie and I are so very grateful for those of you who pray for us on a regular basis and for your love, belief and support of our work!
Our third granddaughter, Kenzie, arrived just 36 hours before I embarked on the aforementioned ministry trip back in January. She is sweet, lovable and healthy, as is her mother, (our daughter) Kellie! You can see her and other personal and ministry photos in the Photo Gallery at www.ericbarger.com.
FIRE IN CHURCH!
If you receive our email newsletters then you may already be aware that the last Sunday morning of December my video projector caught fire and was a complete loss. It was the proverbial "hot sermon"!
Though our old unit had served us faithfully, the advances in technology have been astounding and we needed to acquire a more adequate machine soon anyway. I can tell you that I surely didnt think I would be purchasing a new projector with a retail price of nearly $9,000 during the leanest time of the year, but God knew and is making a way. Our friends at CAM Audio and Missionary Supply in Garland, TX offered us a wonder interest-free arrangement and have given us a few weeks to complete paying for it. Thus far, we have raised nearly half the money needed but were going to need your immediate help to complete the purchase in a timely manner. Please pray about your part in meeting this need, wont you? When you write, please mark the appropriate spot on the enclosed response card.
WHY WE ASK?
After I wrote to our email back in January explaining our need for a new projector someone wrote and asked why I continually share needs like that. (Read my response here.)
The writer expressed the idea that it was a lack of faith to do so. I disagree. In fact, since you can't be there 24/7 to see the actual ministry happen (both in churches and conferences as well as behind the scenes in one-on-one prayer and counseling) perhaps some who get these emails do not realize the extreme hours we put in and yes, the hardship that answering the call to ministry brings to a person and a family.
Now understand that I am not crying on your sholder in saying this but only stating fact. I LOVE doing the work God has called us to and would NEVER change a thing.
When the ministry began in twenty years ago in 1983 I had other residual income. But since 1985, Melanie and I have been completely supported 100% by free-will offerings and gifts. There is NO regular paycheck and our lives ebb and flow as the ministry prospers or tightens its belt respectively. There is no millionaire sending regular checks to keep us going. There is no foundation offering us endowments; no grants to fund our projects - only you. For it is our friends and supporters - who believe in what we are called by God to do - that we depend upon to hear from the Lord when needs are expressed and then meet those needs.
Right now, we have a major project in its infancy that I'll be sharing with you soon. We also found out this week that the need for a newer van is now eminent as the one we've used for the past 3 1/2 years is exhibiting signs which indicate the need for a major repair. When needs arise, who else can we turn to but you?
It was our plan to have been raising money this month to purchase the new vehicle were it not for the fact that we NEEDED a new projector immediately last month. If we raise cash to buy the vehicle outright, we'll save approx. 40% due to being able to purchase it through a friend of the ministry at an auto auction. When we did this in 1999, we saved $6,200 the day we drove our present van off the lot.
With all that said, I just want you to know that we have continually striven to be frugal and careful with God's money. I believe one of the reasons why we are still going ahead instead of folding our tents is because we've been careful to do what was financially right, lived within our means (i.e., our send car is a 1991 Ford Taurus which was donated to us nearly 8 years ago!) and because we have always tithed and given gifts to other ministries and individuals from the gross income of the ministry as God has led us.
I think you hear my heart and understand that we're producing materials, books, tapes, presenting seminars, and standing with those in need, thus fulfilling God's purpose in our lives. We greatly appreciate your partnership with us every step of the way.
May your steps be led by Him today and always - Psalm 37:23,
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