The year 2003 was a time of tremendous growth for us. Not only did we continue to send the teaching tapes around the world to more and more people, but it pleased the Lord to send Sue and I personally to minister on other continents as well. We had never been overseas in our lives, but in a single year the Lord sent us to three continents (Europe, Africa, and Asia) to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. What an honor, and what a responsibility for us.
Sometimes it seems as if the Lord is moving extremely slow. I remember well those early days when we first entered into full time ministry. The desire to serve Him burned intensely in our hearts, yet the only avenue of ministry open to us at the time was the little bible study we held in our living room. It seemed like such a small thing. Little did we know that He was working the principle of "faithfulness" in us.
Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
He was watching to see if we would be faithful with the "little" ministry He had assigned to us at the time. Would we become weary in well doing? Would we get tired of cleaning the spilled soda and coffee stains off of our carpet each week? Would we begin abusing the sheep by demanding offerings from them? On and on, for two years, He watched to see if we would be "faithful in little." Apparently, we passed the test because today the teachings are no longer confined to about fifty people in our living room, but are being heard via cassette tapes and the Internet by thousands upon thousands of people around the world … every day.
Now, instead of moving slowly, it seems like the Lord is moving so fast we have trouble staying up with Him. We are currently experiencing some "growing pains" that we've not encountered before. Let me give you a couple of examples:
There is a young man in Nigeria who is a student in training for full time ministry. He fell in love with the teachings on the cassette tapes and began ordering additional copies for his friends and loved ones in Nigeria. We were happy to send them free and postage paid, as always, but we have hit a snag. When the box of mailed cassette tapes arrived, the customs office in Nigeria placed a large amount of "customs duty" on the box. The customs form was accurately filled out by us and the tapes were clearly marked as a "gift," yet they placed a duty amount upon the shipment anyway. In other words, he would have to pay an exorbitant amount of money just to get these "free" tapes out of the customs office for him to distribute to those who requested them.
We have had this happen several times in different countries. As another example, although we send hundreds of cassette tapes to people in Canada without incident, we recently had a case where the customs office wanted a man to pay $100.00 in custom duties in order to get his "free" tapes. Of course, the man refused and the package was returned to us. Not only did he not receive his free tapes, but also the postage spent to send it there was wasted.
As you know, we are offering more and more of the lessons in audio format at the website. This is to enable people to listen to the tapes directly from their computer. For many people, that is a good solution. It gives them instant access to the messages without having to wait for weeks to receive cassettes in the mail and it greatly reduces our expenses to produce and mail the tapes. But in the case of these Nigerian people, very few of them own computers.
Another way we are endeavoring to send the messages freely to all who desire to hear them is to put the lessons in MP3 format on Compact Discs so they can listen to them while sitting at their computers. We can put many messages on a single CD, and this method greatly reduces the shipping expenses compared with sending audiocassettes. But again, it is only a solution for those who own computers. It would be no help for those in third world countries who have no access to one. For many people around the world the only way for them to receive these messages is by audiocassette tape. So we are back to square one.
Sending the messages via audiocassette tape is by far the most time consuming and expensive way to get the messages out to those people. God only knows the number of lives that are being eternally salvaged and changed through the free tape ministry. We so appreciate your giving which makes it possible for us to continue sending the messages to a world that is starving for the truth of God's Word and the life that is in Christ Jesus.
But there are some problems that money cannot solve. I am asking each of you who are partners with this ministry to join in prayer with us regarding such situations. Please pray that the Lord will give us supernatural favor with the governments of every country where the tapes are requested. Pray for supernatural intervention to keep greed and governmental corruption from delaying and/or stopping the delivery of the audiocassette messages. And please pray that Sue, myself, and all of the staff here at the ministry will receive supernatural wisdom from our gracious heavenly Father in order to spread the gospel of His Son around the world … for free!
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,
Gary Carpenter Ministries|
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