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Dear Partner,

We are all familiar with how Jesus fed the multitudes by multiplying the loaves and fishes supernaturally. In John's record of the event [John 6:1-13] we are given some details that are not included in the other three gospels. For example, let us look in detail at this verse:

John 6:9   There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

The Greek word translated "lad" in this verse is paidarion which means: "a small boy." We are told that he had two "small" fishes. The Greek word translated "loaves" is attos usually defined as a "small loaf or cake," composed of flour and water, and baked, in shape either oblong or round, and about as thick as the thumb. Have you ever meditated this passage from the little boy's perspective? When he woke up that morning and gathered together the little loaves and small fishes for his own food for the day, he had no idea the Lord would cause his meager provision to miraculously "feed the multitudes." He watched as the Lord gave thanks to the Father. He watched as the Lord broke the bread and fishes and placed them in the hands of the disciples. Then he watched in amazement as the disciples passed the bread and fish to the people and their baskets did not go empty. More than five thousand people ate until they were filled, yet when the disciples gathered up the fragments, there were twelve baskets of bread and fish remaining. (Our God is abundant but He is not wasteful.)

I have tried to picture in my mind how the little boy's eyes must have widened as he watched this miracle. What kind of thoughts were going through his mind? Perhaps thoughts like these:

1.   It was only my lunch.
2.   My "barely enough" is the Lord's "more than enough."
3.   He takes "little" and makes it "much."
4.   In the hand of the Lord there is no lack.

What is more normal, natural, and daily than lunch? Lunch is such an insignificant event in our daily lives. Yet when the Lord asks for that which seems trivial to us, we have the opportunity to be just as amazed as the young lad while we watch how He multiplies it to bless the world.

When Sue and I first stepped into full time ministry the first thing the Lord asked us for was our living room on Thursday nights. We didn't have much money. We didn't have theological degrees from any seminary. But we did live in a rented house that had a living room and we had time available for the Lord's use. We began having bible studies in our living room. At the Lord's direction we made recordings of the services. We also made printed handouts and lesson outlines for the people to use in their private studies (and to share with others) if they desired. All of the cassette tapes and paper handouts were given to the people for free. We didn't think much of it at the time, but looking back on it now, we were giving the Lord our "loaves and fishes" of obedience just like the little boy did.

We continued with the bible study for two years. People were blessed by it. Some were saved, some repented from backsliding, some were filled with the Holy Spirit, and some were healed. The attendance kept growing until we were averaging about fifty five people a week sitting EVERYWHERE in our living room on the couch, in the chairs, and on the floor. (There was hardly room for people to walk to the bathroom without stepping on somebody.) And then, without warning, the Lord instructed us to end the bible studies at our home. We didn't know why at the time but in hindsight we know that He was going to start sending us on the road for a season to teach the Word of God all over the USA, and eventually even overseas to Africa, Europe, and Asia.

But let's get back to the "loaves and fishes." All of those cassette tapes that were made during the bible studies and all of the printed handouts were eventually "digitized." The cassette tapes became Mp3 files and the paper handouts were made digitally available at the website so they could be printed out for free by anyone in the world who has access to the internet. Over the years the Lord has let us know how those messages have been used by various ministries around the world. We have learned of them being used in the prisons, in the jungles of the Philippines, in the Squatter Camps of South Africa, and many other places.

But I have to admit, one of the most unique ways the Lord has been multiplying those little "loaves and fishes" is through the ministry of Robyn Corbett, an Australian woman with a heart for those devastated by the earthquake in Haiti. She recently contacted us to give us a report of how the Bootcamp materials originally taught in our home bible studies have now reached some of the most remote parts of Haiti. Sue and I read her letter with amazement, with widened eyes much like that little boy as he watched the miracle. Thoughts went though our mind such as these:

1.   It was only our living room.
2.   Our "barely enough" is the Lord's "more than enough."
3.   He takes "little" and makes it "much."
4.   In the hand of the Lord there is no lack.

I have included Robyn's letter and picture at the end of this letter. Your giving is your "loaves and fishes" that make such miracles possible. Who would have ever thought how great the multitudes the Lord intended to feed from such small beginnings?

Sue and I love you and appreciate you.   We thank God for your generous and giving heart.   God bless you!


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January, 2011

Dear Gary, Sue, Erin et al - hope this reaches you!

I recently received a letter from you including testimonies from around the world, which I enjoyed immensely.

Several years ago you gave me permission to translate some of your teaching into Haitian Creole. I thought you may be interested to see how your teaching is impacting Haitians. I've attached a photo taken one year ago when I visited Haiti after the earthquake - many of the Haitians in the photo are relocated earthquake survivors. I'm the 'blanc' (having a bad hair day!) and what we're looking at on the laptop is English and Creole proclamations taken from the 'Believers' Bootcamp' material.

This part of our work is based in a region called Danty in the mountains to the north of Haiti, six hours' donkey-ride from the nearest town/city (sore butt!) and no electricity. So during the day I recharge my laptop battery, and at night we gather around and declare the Word of God. I also get to learn Creole and my Haitian family gets to learn English - works well. God's Word is changing things in Danty where, like the rest of Haiti, there has been a culture of voodoo. We continue to declare the Truth over Danty and its residents and God is faithful!

One of my leaders, a young man named Dovic (foreground in photo, beige jacket), is learning English in Port au Prince and is currently translating some more material from your Believers' Bootcamp. For the Danty people, where there are no roads/cars, we've transposed proclamations like 'my car is blessed' to 'my donkey is blessed'.

Dovic is also working in the street kids' refuge, which is our core work in Haiti. I believe that declaring the Truth (as opposed to the facts) over, to and with these kids will be life-changing for them, and for us as well!

Gary and Sue, thank you for your faithfulness in teaching God's Word and making your material freely available - your teaching has impacted my life beyond measure, and is bearing good fruit in Haiti.

Abundant blessings

Robyn Corbett
Canberra, Australia (when I'm not in Haiti)

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Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter

 

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