Tuesday, September 12, 2017

June - August Prayer Letter

Dear Pastor and Praying Friends,
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.   Acts 2:47
I have much to share with you as it has been a while since our last letter.  I want to begin by thanking all of you who support us faithfully with your prayers, as well as financially! We  always ask for your prayers regarding our church's spiritual and numerical growth. We are happy to report that we are seeing both happen. 

In the middle of July,  our family went on vacation to California to visit family.  I never realize how much I need a vacation until I am leaving for vacation! We had a wonderful time of rest, relaxation, and renewal.  It was the first time for some of our family to meet our little Rayanna.  You can believe that the grandparents and grandkids thoroughly enjoyed one another; but their parents enjoyed having time alone together even more!

Once we returned home to Newport, we were greatly encouraged by how things went in the church while we were away.  Our people handled every aspect of the services themselves.  We even received reports from people in town who visited  that the service was a blessing to them.  We continue to see the hand of God in our services in a unique way since our return.  The first Thursday evening service we held in August we had about 15 visitors!  Most of whom have since returned.  Several of them have made professions of faith after our Sunday morning services.  We are scheduled to have a baptismal service next Sunday. What a blessing! PLEASE, keep these new believers lifted up in prayer! We can really see a hunger and thirst for righteousness in some of them.

Family news
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
                                                  Psalm 127:3
We have had an exciting year; but these past few months have been packed with events -  vacation, three birthdays, our wedding anniversary, stomach viruses, and  the news that we are to expect baby #5 sometime around March 24th!  God truly has been good to us.

Prayer requests:

1.  Our church to continue to experience spiritual and numerical growth.
2.  Favor in our community.
3.  Wisdom and finances to pay off the churches Mortgage supernaturally.
4.  Continued health and safety for our family.

Thanks again for your faithful prayers and support!

In His Service,
Pastor Raymond Beckles
Lighthouse Baptist church

Newport, Arkansas

Thursday, April 27, 2017

March-April Prayer Letter

Dear Pastor and Praying Friends,

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.            -Romans 1:17

We are thankful for the change in seasons once again, but we have reason to be more thankful this season especially.  Recently, severe storms ( complete with tornados, hail, flooding, and winds blowing up to 60 mph) have swept through our area.  Several buildings were damaged.  A few had their roofs blown off their apartments.  Telephone poles were snapped in two along our street.  Several neighborhoods were without power for up to five days. One gentleman just down the road from our church and home experienced a huge tree branch...and I do mean HUGE, fall onto and completely total his truck.  We praise the Lord that other than a few panels of siding being blown off, three days without power, and the loss of our church sign; we suffered minimal damage.
Our Church Family
Some of our members have been going through storms of their own.  Please join me in praying that these storms will be a source of growth for them.  One of our members, in particular, recently took in his aging mother.  She lived with him for about two months or so and came to church with him regularly.  She passed away in her bed on a Thursday morning. He thoroughly enjoyed caring for her and we enjoyed her presence in the services. She will be sorely missed.

One highlight I want to share with you is the success of our Ressurection service.  Several new families and many children were present.  Two visitors in particular met me at Wal-mart during the week and told me they were coming to my church for Easter.  Well, I've heard that before, and we live in a small town with many large churches where people usually attend where their families attend.  I was tremendously blessed when they both showed up with their relatives in tow!  Every Easter we do a pinata instead of an egg hunt to conclude our services.  Everybody loves it! We have my nieces and nephew here with us and we could tell they had hit a few pinatas during their short lifetimes; but my oldest girl, Aaliyah, had the pleasure of bursting one open this year. She was SO excited! I have decided that next year we will have three pinatas instead of two.  One for the little ones, one for the older kids, and one for the adults!  I heard some faint murmuring from the "grown kids" about not having an opportunity to try and burst a pinata.
I trust that you had a wonderful Ressurection Sunday as well. Praise the Lord that we serve a risen Savior!!!

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 1 Corinthians 15:17

In His service,

Pastor Raymond Beckles
Lighthouse Baptist church

Newport, Arkansas

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 sisters...so 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