Thursday, December 22, 2016

October - December Prayer Letter

The New Year is fast approaching! As we close out this year, we are encouraged to reflect on the past and set new goals for the future.
Highlights 2016
The year 2016 was a year of growth for us personally as well as our church, spiritually and numerically.  

We were especially blessed with the addition of little Rayanna on February 11th. She brings joy and delight to our family everyday.

Another of our main highlights was our trip to our home church, Bethel Baptist Church, in North Carolina.  It was a celebration of their 19th year and I was invited to preach during the service. My goal in preaching was to encourage them, but they encouraged me! Seeing so many of the people that attended there during my nine years as assistant pastor, as well as the many new faces, TRULY blessed my soul! The Bible says in Galatians 6:9 - And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  What a beautiful manifestation of that verse. Please continue to pray for us in the New Year as we aim to continue serving the Lord. My heart’s desire is to continue doing well that we all may rejoice in what the Lord has done here in Newport, Arkansas. Thank you for your prayers and faithful support during 2016! 
Pastor Fontenot (the current pastor), myself, Pastor Leon Lucas (founding pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Wilson, North Carolina)

Mrs. Lucas (founding pastor's wife) my wife-Tinyla, and Mrs. Fontenot (the current pastor's wife)

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Raymond Beckles
Lighthouse Baptist church

Newport, Arkansas

Saturday, October 1, 2016

June - September Prayer Letter

Dear Pastor and Praying Friends,

Church News
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. - Acts 2:41

 The event we are most excited to share with you is the baptism of my second daughter, Cassidy. We mentioned her salvation and enthusiasm about baptism in our last prayer letter.  She never lost that enthusiasm...until the night before when I was filling the baptistery.  The next morning she entered the waters with much fear and trepidation and a "little" prodding from my wife. I ask her the usual questions - Are you saved? Do you understand that baptism doesn't save you, but rather it's and outward expression of what has taken place in your heart. - To which she whispered her answer, "Yes".  I dunked her and raised her up.  She had a look of horror on her face.  Afterward as the church came forward to congratulate her I heard her tell one of the ladies,  "It wasn't scary at all!"  We will have to work on the lesson of honesty pronto!
We have been having a steady stream of visitors including one gentleman whom I first invited almost four years ago showed up in church last week.  I visited him, encouraged him, and did some Bible study with him in his home until he moved and we lost contact.  A few weeks back I ran into his wife and kids at Wal-Mart.  She asked about the times of the services. I told her. I was totally shocked when I saw him instead of her and the kids in church Sunday.   She didn't come because she was ill.  We are praying that we will see the whole family next week.
Last of all I will share with you that we had an unofficial work day on the grounds.  A brother from another independent Baptist church in a neighboring town called and said he and "a few" fellows would be over to help me with some work that needed to be done on the property.  I guess that by the time it was over 40 folks showed up! I guess because I stopped counting at about 25.  They helped us cut down a fallen tree, fix our garage door,  clean out the barn and fix a portion of its roof, and some ladies helped my wife clean the church.  What a blessing! We are so thankful for wonderful friends in the ministry.

Prayer requests
1. Our family's good health and wellness to continue.  My wife did have a severe sinus infection recently.  Please keep her (and us all) in your prayers during this harvest season.  The farmers have been hard at work which raises a lot of dust and allergens into the air.
2. Our church family to grow spiritually and numerically.
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support!
In His Service,
Pastor Raymond Beckles
Lighthouse Baptist Church
Newport,  Arkansas

Thursday, May 26, 2016

March - May Prayer Letter

May 26, 2016
Dear Pastor and praying friends,

Things continue to go well at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Newport.  For the sake of brevity I will share a  few of the highlights with you.

 We always enjoy Resurrection Sunday with our people and this year was no different.  We had a youth activity that was very successful.   Some young people we had not seen for almost a year attended, heard the message of salvation once again, and  were warned about the dangers of negative peer pressure.  We also had a movie night at our house with some of the ladies from church.  I had been preaching about the fundamentals of Christianity, including prayer when someone gave us the movie, "War Room".  My family watched it and felt challenged, so we decided to share it with our people.  They seemed to be challenged about prayer as well.
We continue to see visitors nearly every week. Including a man that I led to the Lord last Summer.   I have mentioned him before in a previous letter because he volunteered to cut the church lawn for free.  He did so faithfully for two years; but never would come to a church service.  Every time  I approached him about attending church, or tried to witness to him he would suddenly have something else pressing to do.  One particular Thursday evening, I was on my way into church for the evening service and he was finishing the lawn.  We struck up a conversation, I began to ask again about him coming to church, then I asked him about salvation.  To my surprise,  we stood there on the lawn and he listened and even prayed to receive the Lord! I was very late for church, but it was worth it.  The folks understood and rejoiced with us.  Well, a year later, he finally came to church with his girlfriend and son! He has come for two weeks. Please pray for  him to allow the Lord to do a work in his life.

" But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." -  Matthew 19:14

I am extremely excited to report that another one of our children is "in the boat"! Our second daughter, Cassidy, has been asking since her sisters salvation last year if she could get saved as well. Since she was only three at the time so we told her to wait until she turned five like her sister, Aaliyah.  She is only four now, but during the invitation on Sunday, March 27th; I asked all who would like to be saved to raise their hand.  She was 1 of 2 who raised their hand.  After the service, my wife took her into the nursery and asked why she raised her hand in church. She said because she wanted to go to heaven with Jesus too.  Tinyla showed her a few verses and asked her many questions.  She answered them all correctly so my wife prayed the sinners prayer with her! Cassidy is so happy about being saved and is now begging me to baptize her.   I told her she should wait until the weather warms up...about June, so that the baptistery waters won't be freezing cold.  Praise the Lord for the faith and excitement for the things of the Lord in children!
Cassidy and Aaliyah

Prayer requests:
1. Good health and safety for our family.
2. More laborers in the church.  I have been trying to encourage our people to move past the basics of Christianity on to service for the Lord.  So many think that there is one type of Christianity for the Pastor and his family and a different type for everyone else.  We are praying that the Lord will help them to see that all of us should walk by faith in love and obedience to the Lord...where ever it may lead us. 
3. Spiritual and numerical growth in our church.

Until next time,

Pastor Beckles
Lighthouse Baptist Church

Newport, Arkansas

Friday, February 26, 2016

January - February Prayer Letter

Dear Pastor and Praying Friends,                                                                     February 26, 2016
            It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.         They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.  The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.  - Lamentations 3:22-25

The Lord certainly is Good and Faithful!  We continue to see the Lord's hand in our ministry and in our lives and we are so thankful for his blessings!  The Church is doing well.  Of Course, we  would love to have every seat full  and the alter overflowing; but we are grateful for those who attend faithfully and for the visitors we continue to see every week.  Our attendance is up and, as I mentioned, we have had visitors every week except one for the last two months.  We have also been blessed to have a missionary and his wife visit as they were passing through as well as a dear brother in the Lord and his family as they were in town on family business.
I am also thankful to report that I have had two unique experiences in the past month.  Two people have come up to me and asked me to come and get them for church.  One was a grandmother of three preteens who had been attending our church.  She told me to, " Come and get them!".  I went to pick them up and two of the three were ready. 
Also a gentleman who used to attend faithfully met me at work.  I sat and talked with him on my break and he asked me to come by and get him on Sunday.  I pray he attends this Sunday
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation:  the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.   - Matthew 26:41
Family News
The year ended with the disappointing experience of the transmission going out on our old trusty van.  We are thankful for how the Lord has provided a newer vehicle for us just in time for our newest arrival.  Introducing... Rayanna Lynell Beckles.  Born Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 4:10a.m. She is our smallest baby weighing in at 5lbs. 13 oz.  and 19 inches long. Both my wife and Rayanna are doing very well.

Prayer Requests:
1.  Our family's continued good health and safety.

2.  One of our members who is really struggling with a big decision.

3. Our Church's spiritual and numerical growth.

Wishing you God's Best,

Pastor Raymond Beckles
Lighthouse Baptist Church

Newport, Arkansas

Friday, November 20, 2015

September - November Prayer Letter

Dear Pastor and Praying Friends,

Time certainly has flown by for us since our last letter.  We experienced an extremely busy Summer, but this Fall, thus far, has been a bit more laid back. Our family has gone about our normal routine-  church, work for me, and school for my wife and the kids- with relatively little excitement .  Aaliyah (6) is in the first grade, Cassidy (4) is in K-4, and Raymond DeSean (2) is enjoying his own tailored program. 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
-Proverbs 1:7,8
I am always surprised and impressed when I hear the children reading and practicing different things for school.  Even little Raymond is beginning to pick up so much just from listening to his much so that my wife has decided to start teaching him to read now instead of waiting until he is four.  I wish you could see the excitement in his face when Tinyla calls him over to the couch for his "reading time".

Psalm 127:1, 3-5
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
To continue on a family note - We mentioned in our last letter that we are expecting another little one on Valentine's Day of next year.  Normally we wait until the baby is born to find out if it is a boy or a girl; but this year my wife insisted on finding out earlier.  I am happy to share that number four is a girl and will be named Rayanna Blythe ( pronounced Blithe and means "joy") Beckles.  As February gets closer and closer we become more and more excited to meet this new addition to our family.

Lighthouse Baptist church is doing well.  This past Sunday was a bit unusual, but extremely blessed and showed us the potential of our ministry. 

Our Sunday morning began as usual, but changed with a text from one of our members who had not been in church for about a year.  "I will be needing a ride and can you pick up my friend too?"
I picked her and her family up, along with our normal Sunday van crowd, but had to return for her neighbor who wasn't ready at the time. 
This caused me to be late, but when I returned it was to a full church parking lot!  I walked into the sanctuary that morning to be greeted by about 40 people!  Only two had never been to our church before and not every attendee/member was present.

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
- Luke 18:1
I opened in prayer and we began to sing.  Not only did our people sing with unusual volume and conviction, but during the message I had great liberty from the Lord as I began to preach the first message of a series on the types of prayer mentioned in the Bible.  The message was well received.  Directly after the service many expressed to me that the message really blessed them and we continued to receive texts into the evening about how the Lord used the message.

Last Sunday was truly a great day and we are praying that this spirit and our numbers will continue and even build as we prepare to close out this year.

Prayer requests:

1.  Our family's continued good health and well being.
2.  The Church's numerical and spiritual growth.
3.  The parsonages septic system.  I mentioned in July that we were hoping to close this project out, Although the situation has improved; it is not finished.  Some professionals came out and did some work which helped; but when they saw the situation and found out how many people lived in the house they said we would really need to replace the whole system with a larger one as soon as possible.  So we ask for your prayers regarding this and any financial help is appreciated.  The total cost will be approximately $4,000 for labor and materials.

Wishing you God's best and a blessed holiday season!
In His Service,

Pastor Raymond Beckles
Lighthouse Baptist Church
Newport,  Arkansas

Friday, August 14, 2015

May - July Prayer Letter

Dear Pastors and Praying friends,

What an eventful  Summer this has been!  I am excited to announce that things have been busy here at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Newport.   Since our last letter we have held several  youth activities, a baby shower (the baby was born a few days later...2 weeks earlier than expected), two were baptized, two others have since been saved, eight adults have visited, and we experienced a couple other huge blessings which I'll share with you at the end of the letter.

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. " - 3 John 1:4

Our Youth seemed to really enjoy our youth activities this Summer.  We sang songs, played games, and I preached short sermons about things like the benefits of living an honest life and obeying your parents.  During the Summer we really like to take advantage of the time we have with our youth because during the school year they seem to disappear.  Most of the time it's due to the fact that most of their sports activities, practices, and games are held on Sundays and Thursdays.  My hope is that the things that they experienced in the house of God during the Summer will impact their school year and even their lives, regardless, we always see souls saved and no school activity can top that!


Another highlight was the baptism of my daughter, Aaliyah and the baptism of the daughter of one of our faithful members. I am so excited to include that since Aaliyah's baptism she was in the nursery with some other children and one of them said, "you have to be good and read your Bible and stuff like that to go to Heaven."  To which she replied, "No you don't! You just have to pray to Jesus and he will save you and take you to heaven."  My wife took the boy - a ten year old- and his mother and brother home after the service.  On the way he asked my wife if what Aaliyah said was true.  She confirmed it, and he said, "well, can I get saved right now?" 


Tinyla pulled over on the side of the road.  Took out her Bible and showed the young man from the Word of God how he could know he was saved.  He bowed his head and prayed right there for Jesus to cover his sins with His blood and take him to heaven when he died.  Praise God!!!   He is scheduled to be baptized this coming Sunday.

Last, but definately not least regarding the church's news was a great surprise and blessing which I received this past week.  For years we have been praying for a lawn mower or tractor to take care of the church property.  God more than provided for this need through the prayers and gifts of His people.  My home pastor, Bro. Leon Lucas, travels and helps pastors and godly families with home/church building improvments.  During his travels he mentioned that we needed a better mower  to take care of our land.  He gave and many others gave to help purchase us a new and much improved mower.  Curenlty it takes me about six hours or so to mow our lawn.                                                                

With my new zero turn mower I know that time will be cut in half or better!!!Thank you all for your part in this gift!  I am still in shock!

Family News and Prayer requests:

1.  Praise God for His provision!!!

2.  Please continue to pray for our church as MANY of our families are experiencing discouragment for on reason or the other.  We have been praying for spiritural growth and I believe we are getting ready to see it, if they will yeild to the Word of God.

3. Praise the Lord also because my wife is expecting baby #4!  Due on or around February 14th...which is not only Valentines Day, but its also a Sunday.  If he/she comes on that date it will be really interesting.

4. Please continue to pray about our plumbing/septic issue.  My hope is that in our next letter we will be able to praise God for this being taken care of as well.  He has provided the funds and even the labor.  I just need wisdom as I order the materials and schedule it to be done before the weather changes.

Future church pianist


That's it for this letter!  May the Lord bless you as you continue to serve Him. 

In His Service,

Pastor Raymond Beckles

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

March-April News Letter

Dear Pastors and Praying Friends,

     I have a lot of good news I want to share with you concerning the last couple of months.
I am most excited about the three souls that were saved over the last three weeks so I will start with their stories.
     A woman named Kelly was saved a couple of weeks ago on Saturday visitation.  I knocked on her door looking for someone else; but I asked her about her salvation before I left. She said she had always wanted to know for SURE she was saved.  She allowed me to take the Bible and show her what God has to say about eternal salvation.  Praise the Lord that after about an half hour she received the Lord with humility and tears!

Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. - Acts 8:35-38

     Timothy, a young man about 25 years old,  was saved about a week or so ago.  His girlfriend has been attending our church off and on for about two years.  She already has a solid testimony of salvation and desires to join our church as soon as possible.  They have been attending services together for the last two months.  They called me during the week and asked if I would be willing to marry them.  I agreed to perform the service only if they would submit to some counseling before they were married.  I went to visit them and first ask if they were equally yoked...meaning were they both saved.  Of course I already knew her testimony, but I hadn't heard his.  She shared hers with me again, and he said he "got saved just a few days ago".  This puzzled me because I hadn't dealt with him after any of our services; so I asked him to elaborate.  He said he had heard me telling folks how to pray to be saved after every service for two he finally decided to do it a couple of nights ago.  Praise the Lord!  I continued to counsel them and before I left he was asking me when he could be baptized.  In next months issue I hope to be able to tell you about at least 3 baptisms that will take place this month.  To wrap up this story though...they were married the next Saturday afternoon at 12:30. 

     I am particularly excited about the third salvation that took place last week.  Between our services on Sunday I retreated to me room after lunch to look over my notes for the evening service when I heard a little knock on my door.   "Daddy, can we pray?  I want to be saved."  My little Aaliyah (age 5), after answering many questions from me and my wife, prayed and asked the Lord to become her Saviour!  Every day since her salvation she has thanked the Lord...of her own accord...everytime we pray for saving her and letting her become His child.  Hallelujah!!!

 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 18:1-3

There are many other events and things that I would like to elaborate on in this letter, but for the sake of brevity I will just mention them -
1. Our folks gave enough money to put really nice carpet down in our main hallway.  This has cut down on a lot of noise and made the hall a lot more warm and cozy.
2.  Our church celebrated another anniversary! We had a good number in attendance and enjoyed some light refreshments and fellowship after the evening service.
3. Three preachers came through and were a blessing to our people as well as our family.
4.  We have seen many visitors and a few  members we hadn't seen in a long time return.

Thanks so much for your prayers and financial support!

In His service until He comes,

Pastor Raymond Beckles
Newport, Arkansas