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Thankful for Two Births – and for You!

15 December 2019

Dear Friend,

“Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse” here at home. Denise is still in Florida (for reasons I’ll explain in a minute), from whence I just returned. We have much for which to be thankful and much to anticipate.

A Paper-Plate Thanksgiving

Photo of Denise Kerwin and her newest grandchild“Grandma” and Chase1

Yes, we had a paper-plate Thanksgiving in Florida with our daughter and her family. Oh, we enjoyed the usual holiday menu, so don’t feel sorry for us. It’s just that there was so much going on in preparation for our new grandson’s arrival that there wasn’t time to spend on “fancification” or clean-up. Completion of a multitude of pre-baby tasks was the priority of the day.

It must have worked! We are giving thanks to God for the first birth that we’re celebrating in this newsletter, Grandson #2, Chase Edward Wherry (8 pounds, 3 ounces, 21 inches), who arrived 3-1/2 days after Thanksgiving in the wee hours of Monday morning, at 1:20, on 12/2. Father, mother, and baby were home from the birthing center barely four hours later at 5:30 a.m.! That’s the second grandchild in 2.5 years, giving us a total of six. I’ve rarely seen Denise more energized. (Grandma Power is a real thing!) Yes, we’re thankful!

Thankful for Partners

Photo of Guatemalan pastors at a teaching retreatBreak-out session at the pastors' retreat in Guatemala. Next retreat: April 30, 20202

Spanish Bible reference books stacked for distributionSpanish-language concordances, Bible dictionaries, and commentaries for pastors
in Nicaragua. You provided them!3

Photo of seminar attendees in Tingo Maria, PerúChurch leaders and pastors who completed our “What's the Context?” seminar
in Tingo Maria, Perú 4

Photo of Pastors Ángel and Marina ÁlvarezPastores Ángel y Marina Álvarez
Ángel is arranging the Honduran teaching venues for our February 2020 trip.5

But thankfulness is an overarching theme of our ministry. How does it all happen — two ministry trips to Guatemala in 2019, teaching at North Florida Theological Seminary, an extended teaching trip to Perú, two surgeries, time on the live “Pilgrim’s Progress” radio show, publishing Isaiah Reid’s Soul-Help Papers, republishing Percy Gutteridge’s Faith Is Substance, publishing teaching articles, and completing eight chapters (of an eventual twenty) for a new book? One big factor is this — partners!

I heard a testimony today about a missionary to the Himalayas. He was asked by a visitor why he was serving on that field. His answer was both simple and profound: “I got tired of talking about missions and decided I had to do something about it. So here I am on the field!” He had seen the need up close during exploratory visits to his mission field; he could no longer theorize or postpone.

Can’t go to the mission field? Not everyone can. That’s why I so much appreciate the privilege and honor of being an itinerant missionary teacher, going as your representative. I have seen “up close” the need of these eager but under-trained Latin American pastors and leaders. Denise and I share our hearts in this newsletter in order to help you, our partners, “see” that need as well, to see those pastors, to be encouraged by admiration for their selfless, sacrificial service, and to be moved by compassion for their need of training.

If, like that missionary I mentioned, you’re convicted of only “talking about missions” and praying general “God bless the missionaries” prayers, perhaps the Lord has brought you to the point of “I have to do something.” Here are a few “somethings” you can do:

  • Become a regular monthly supporter of Finest of the Wheat to help us meet our ongoing regular expenses.
  • Become a trip sponsor. For instance, the postponed Honduras teaching trip is finally ON again (hooray!) for the end of February 2020. At current airfare prices (which usually go up closer to the travel date) of only $700 (round-trip), we can train an estimated 80 pastors and leaders for around $1000 (or about $12.50 per person for a full two-day seminar in each of three locations). Guatemala (late April) will probably cost about the same, and Perú (late October) may run more like $1300-$1500.
  • Give a one-time gift to help us end 2019 in the black.

All gifts are tax-deductible for U.S. citizens (and Canadians giving through our Canadian partner ministry). Donation links are below.

Christmas Resources

Most of all at this season, we’re thankful for the “other” Birth — the glorious arrival of God’s Son that night long ago in Bethlehem. He’s the reason we go to the mission field!

As I promised in our last newsletter, I’d like to share some links to the Christmas resources we have here on our Finest of the Wheat website. First the inspirational teaching articles related to Christmas and the Incarnation. The two at the top are brand-new to the site:

  • Holiness: Preparation for His ComingNew! Here is a very different sort of Advent message (by Percy Gutteridge).
  • Wingless Angels and Their PoetryNew! If we get free of folklore and man-made interpretations of the Christmas story, there’s even more blessing to discover in the narrative of Jesus’ birth (by Jim Kerwin).
  • That Treasure Trove of Truth — Unpack that treasure chest called “Hark! The Herald-Angels Sing” (by Jim Kerwin).
  • That Treasure Trove of Truth — A missions trip to India is nothing to sniff at, especially if it yields insights into the Christmas story (by Jim Kerwin).
  • This Shall Be a Sign unto You — What was the importance of the “sign” the angel told the shepherds to look for? (by Percy Gutteridge)
  • Xmas-tide — An empty-nest couple of a century ago shares about their Christmas, and Christmases from the 1830s in pioneer America ­(by Isaiah Reid).

For Christmas carols and poetry, we offer from our treasure “things old and new” — and some of the very old lyrics might be very new and inspiring to you! There are too many to detail here, but the whole list is “wrapped up” nicely at

FinestOfTheWheat.org/carols.

We pray some of these Advent resources will be a blessing to you, and to others you know! Merry Christmas and a MISSIONS New Year from our Fellowship to you and your household!

Jim

P.S.: For a peek at the full teaching schedule for 2020, check out the expanded itinerary on our website.

Tax-Deductible Donations Gratefully Received

  1. Photo by JNK.
  2. Photo by Fermin and Lilian Chávez.
  3. Photo by JNK.
  4. Photo by a member of the Tingo Maria church.
  5. Photo of Honduran pastors by JNK.
  6. Image created employing a free-use photo from Unsplash.com taken by David Beale.
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