Church of Christ
Mission USA
[printed Dec. 2008 for Nov.]
Dear brethren,                                                           
 
      Greetings from the Church at Shenandoah, Va. and the Sextons. We hope all will have a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. Since this is the end of the year, I felt it necessary to give an evaluation of what has gone on in our lives for the past two years.

      Sometimes we get wrong impressions, sometimes we give wrong impressions. I am sure you can think of many examples of each situation. I believe, in trying to do this mission work some have gotten wrong impressions, maybe because of the way something was said. For example, some have visions of us "going all over the country preaching." No it is just not possible for us two to cover those 700+ counties that are without the church, but we can do what we are able. It is very much possible to cover all those counties and more, if more churches and citizens of the kingdom would get involved in this work. What is needed is for some congregations to make this their number one mission work and get workers involved in it: the door knocking, studies, tent meetings, etc. Now getting back to impressions. I believe others got the impression that we would be living in luxury, after all a new motor home – that is for the "well to do," etc.! As I have stated before, when you own a motor home [MH] and a fixed house, the MH is a luxury, but you know we have been trying hard to sell our house and at a much reduced price. A MH is not a luxury to us – it is our house we live in.

      Now what if I had said in times past that we live in a house that has 19 lights in the living area. What visions come to your mind? I further state that we have four skylights in the house, a central vac, full basement, two heat pumps, two gas furnaces, my own power plant when needed, etc. Oh, by the way, this is the only house we have ever lived in where we can stand in one "wing" and look out the window and see another of the four "wings" to this house. Now what impressions do you have? My guess is you would think I live in some kind of a mansion.

      But more detail will calm your imaginations. The living area measures about 12' x 18' which contains all appliances, table, couch, our work station, etc. Actually it is quite crowded. The four skylights? One is a small skylight over the one and only shower stall, the other three are ceiling vent fans. The central vac has the need of only one outlet because the hose will reach throughout the house. Full basement? Did I mention that I have to stoop down to get anything out? And if I need something from the middle I have to crawl in like a snake. We have been without satellite TV since 12-07 in order to save on money for the new work. We now get a few very snowy channels via old fashioned method of antenna. One presidential debate was real snowy and the sound was so bad we could not listen to it. We muted the TV and was able to find a radio station carrying it. Of course it did not match, but we could hear it on radio and see it through the snow storm on TV. Somewhat weird. Oh, the heat pumps are small and the gas furnaces are small and too expensive to use so we try to avoid using them. We heat with the heat pumps down to about 40 degrees and then use two small electric heaters. One runs constantly at night and the other in the bedroom comes on as needed, which is a lot. My own power plant of course is a generator and is needful from time to time. The four wings are slide outs which make it much more roomy and very nice for a MH. Total living area is somewhere around 400 sq. ft. or less with the slide outs out. Did I mention how unstable our house is in high winds? Imagine your house rocking and swaying. Mansion? Not at all.

      So far, I am very content and for the most part Sandy is also, but she has confessed to going over to the house and crying a few times. I know it has been harder on her than for me and even somewhat tormenting to her, seeing the house less than fifty feet away and missing the cabinet space, the dishwasher, and many other conveniences. Most of the time, in winter, she will heat water for the dishes through the coffee maker in order to save on electricity. We keep the water heater turned off and only turn it on once a day for a little while. It is only a 10 gallon tank. We put up sleeping bags over two of the larger windows at night (and cold days) in order to save on the heating and put up two blankets to close off the cab area because it is very hard and costly to heat. It is not much trouble, but every two or three days we have to dump the sewer tank. Every night of freezing weather we have to unhook the water hose and let it drain. We use the fresh water in the holding tank at night. We are set up pretty well in case the power goes off. I keep the water tank close to full (90 gal). And then there is that power plant if we need it, however, much more expensive than from the power company. I have given most of my books away and the ones remaining I have to get on my knees to find. And there are many other sacrifices Sandy and I have made. We are by no means complaining, but I thought some wrong impressions may need to be corrected. As I stated, we are for the most part very content, but no one knows what the future may hold. We do not know how we will fair when we do start living in campgrounds all the time.

      We have suffered much financial loss because of our desire and determination to do this mission work. We are not complaining, just stating some facts. Sometimes I feel like Satan and his helpers are trying to teach me a lesson. We went forward by faith even in the face of lost support. We refinanced our house, which was almost paid for, in order to buy the MH for the work. Going full speed ahead and striving to prepare further for the work, we moved into the MH on 4-10-08, thinking, praying, and hoping our house would sell that spring and we could meet our proposed departure date for a county without the church in another state. But it did not happen and even if it had, Roger was not ready to go because of his situation. So I made plans to go into a county east of us in Virginia, even though it was going to be a greater burden on us financially. But because of Roger’s work, he wanted to door knock in his area. That was fine, but even at that it was still a financial burden on us. We always drove our car (see last month’s report).

      In looking back over the past 2 years much change has taken place in our lives. We have seen some very sad things from some brethren, while on the other hand, some very encouraging things from a few other brethren. It all started because of my desire to do a mission work in the USA that is patterned after that which our Lord gave and is seen carried out in the New Testament. We have had a few congregations to cut our support out immediately and without warning. It seems quite ungodly and nothing short of unbelief to me! Yes, America has changed (for the worse) and so has the church in many places and that is not good. Sin has not changed nor has the remedy for it. And God’s will in carrying out the gospel has not changed. Just like in church discipline where some unbelieving brethren say "It will not work," so have some unbelievers said of this mission effort "It will not work." They have no faith and no understanding! It has already worked, because we have obeyed God. But few have the faith to go ahead without seeing physical results – baptisms. Of course, we want conversions and so does God. But how will we get conversions without the preaching of the word of God? If it has failed (only in the minds of some), whose fault is it? Those who went into the work, or those who stayed behind? Those who supported the work or those who did not? The account will be settled by God.

      The work is good: it is of the Lord. The plan is good: just modified from New Testament times to take advantage of our modern means of transportation and living. What is needed now is for brethren to get behind the work and make the necessary sacrifices to get the job done! Brethren who are willing to give up their time, money, conveniences and pleasures to do the Lord’s work whether in this effort or some other. But some brethren will discourage you saying you cannot afford to door knock, etc. Or, "send your money to us and we will preach for you," etc. I cannot believe that papers and preaching on TV and radio alone is pleasing to God. Brethren, I would rather be where I am now, having tried and done what little as we have been able to do so far, then to have the material possessions back and not have done this much. And brethren, we are not licked yet! We are still proceeding ahead as much as we are able. We will be setting up residency in Texas soon as planned, but will continue to work with the church here until we are able to go elsewhere. Please note the temporary address change above. This is our daughter’s address. We will get the mail sooner by this address. We need your help, physically and financially. May I remind you of these two verses: Matt. 16:26; I Cor. 15:58. It is the Lord’s will that we "Go" and preach His gospel to the whole world – that includes the USA!

      The way it should be, could be, and will be IF brethren will do it are as follows: at least four or five good sound couples (more the better) going into these counties where the church does not exist; setting up in a central campground in the midst of towns without the church; the church providing an enclosed box trailer which contains a tent, chairs, song books, tracts, etc. for door knocking and gospel meetings; a meeting taking place at least monthly or even every other week; door knocking; and studies as often as possible. Other workers could come and go according to their abilities. Much good could be accomplished and the gospel preached in every one of these counties in time. Some congregation or congregations could sponsor a lectureship specific to the work, and appealing to RVers or would be RVers in order to recruit more volunteers. If you are not now helping in this work, are you willing as an individual or a congregation ???

      We greatly appreciate those who have helped and are helping in this effort. Please pass the word of our needs of more workers and financial support. Please remember us in your prayers.

In His Service, Perry & Sandy