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The goal of this bulletin is to keep you up to date with the International Bible Teaching ministry through a report that you can read in 2-3 minutes.
23 December 2014

Somewhere near the Scottish border

Greetings from Northern England! Up here the sun rises at 8:30 and sets at 3:45, so we're trying to make the most of the daylight hours, visiting castles and taking in the beauty of the Lake District, along with enjoying the local fare. With the days so short, we find a good spiritual reminder: "make the most of your time" and "walk while you have the light" (Ephesians 5:16; John 12:25). We can't just drift through life, or spiritual life, without a plan. The time is too short (Romans 13:11-12). Something to think about as we look back on the old year and contemplate the new...

The UK is our final trip of the year. Sunday I preached in Manchester, and in a few days I'll share in London, yet nearly all of this visit is personal -- for family. Most of you know that my wife is British. So when we married 30 years ago, two cultures were joined. I suppose it's that way with any marriage.

Wherever you are, and whomever you're with, we wish you happy holidays, and appreciate your taking a moment to read this final newsletter of 2014.

Latin America

Since last update, we've been teaching and preaching in Colombia, Atlanta, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. In fact, five of this year's international trips (25 nations in all) have been to Latin America.

In Colombia, a leadership weekend drew in church leaders from Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Bucaramanga, Duitama, Zipaquira, Villavicencio, and Neiva. (What -- you've never heard of some of these cities? We're even!) It's good to know the word is being preached all over the country.

Two weeks later, in Brazil, we taught in the massive city of São Paulo, as well as in Belo Horizonte (see photo). Our topics: Psalms, faith, church leadership, and faith. Here, as in many nations, the church is realizing the value of small groups, for spiritual growth and for evangelism. This means a change in thinking: partly in regard to structure, but mainly in regard to relationships. Worldwide I'm observing that churches with a strong culture of small groups are usually the ones that are growing.

In Argentina I was able to present virtually through WebEx. Tuning in over the internet were fellow Christian leaders from Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and even Miami. Everything went off without a hitch. Not so that evening: our actual evening series on the Holy Spirit was delayed over an hour by a massive traffic jam. A planned public transit strike had filled Buenos Aires with cars, while a pro-marijuana demonstration around the corner from our meeting place fed the traffic snarl, or "taco," as the locals describe it. Although rich clouds of hash haze wafted towards the church building, I purposed to break through the fog and help believers to think clearly about how God works. And, despite the delay, an entire congregation in Caracas patiently waited, and remained electronically present with us till the very end. The evening was a success, for the Argentinians and the Venezuelans (and a few others listening in)!

Finally, in Chile, Vicki spent time with disciples in Viña del Mar (on the coast), before I joined her in Santiago. The Santiago congregation are especially to be commended on their work with the poor. For many of the poor, bus fare to church is beyond their meager means. So -- the Christians are bringing church to the people! At 7:30 am the disciples aren't just dropping off breakfast  and a tract; they are staying with the people for a meal. Prayer, communion, teaching, and fellowship in the busy market area are attracting many who would otherwise probably not hear about the gospel. Further, I was asked to give an open-air evidences presentation in a city park -- a number of those present showed up at church the next day! An evening lesson on Holiness, a Sunday sermon, a half day of fellowship, and we boarded the long flight back to Atlanta.

We appreciate our colleagues Flavio & Renée, Jorge & Ana, Marcos & Denise, Sebastian & Sarai, Steve & Diane, Dan & Marilena, and many others who are truly pouring out their lives in order to share the word on the continent of South America. 

2015 Biblical Study Tour in Germany & Switzerland

Every year the Biblical study tour affords an opportunity to visit a region of the world integrally connected with the Christian faith. A few weeks ago we were in Rome and Pompeii; a year ago it was Athens and Ephesus. The 2015 tour will center on church history, specifically the Reformation of the 16th century. In short, if we don't know where we're coming from, how can we understand where we're going? History is important, and a knowledge of church history is not just critical for decision makers; it's fascinating, and it's vital for all thinking Christians.

24-30 October 2015, the BST will take in Berlin, Wittenberg, Zürich, and Geneva. Trip details will be ready soon. Just send an email to be placed on the interest list.

End-of-year giving

As I believe you know, the ministry is largely dependent on your support. Special thanks to our sponsors in Britain, Australia, Germany, Japan, Finland, Canada, the US, and the Middle East. If you are in a position to make any year-end donations, the major areas of shortfall are:
  • Third world travel fund -- $7,755
  • General ministry support -- $5,624
  • Biblical training (AIM) -- $19,000
  • Teaching materials -- $4,430
Fuller details may be found here. If you're a U.S. taxpayer, please know that IBTM and AIM are 501(c)(3)s with full deductibility. Whether you're able to give or not, please remember the International Bible Teaching Ministry in prayer. I'm fully confident the Lord will provide, as he has every year since the inception of this work.

Jump-start 2015 with new Romans podcast series!

The website has been a source of biblical teaching materials for 13 years now, and is regularly visited by members and friends from 50 nations. In 2014 nearly 1000 pages were added to or updated at the website. This includes 60 new podcasts on a variety of faith-related subjects. 

Please let us make a difference in your life in the New Year. As we are fed, we are able to feed others. Jesus said, "Freely you have received; freely give" (Matthew 10:8). We begin on 1 January with a beefy daily series on Paul's letter to the Romans. Hope to see you at the website next week! 

Happy Christmas to all.

Yours in Him,
Douglas
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