Author: Ron Graham
This page reports my voluntary ministry activities for the information of those who take a special interest in my work.
Dear Brethren... This report covers the second quarter of 2015.
During April, May, and June, I presented 23 Sunday lessons in Bundaberg. These included 13 sermons, and 10 Bible class studies. In May I presented a new series of lessons on Jude’s short letter, both in the sermons and the classes.
In the Bible classes we continued to study more on the parables of Jesus, except for May when we had the special series on Jude.
In the quarter, I added 14 new pages to the simplybible.com website. These included the series on Jude’s epistle, three other new lessons, and two more pages of Encouraging Bible Verses. There are now 1,343 Bible study lessons and articles on simplybible.com.
Behind the scenes, April was the month for managing domain names. The main (canonical) domain name was switched from simplybible.com.au to simplybible.com (but the .au version remains valid). I also secured simplybible.org and simplybible.net and redirected them to simplybible.com to provide the three most general and most popular domain extensions for the simplybible website.
Also behind the scenes, May was the month for improving the search facility by which the website produces a list of lessons for a keyword or phrase entered by the user. June was the month of the purge, which got rid of many accumulated images, files, and functions that were no longer in use.
The figures for page views over the quarter continued to be high. For April 78,011; May 80,884; June 93,758 (source Awstats). That's the same level as January and February, but March remains the top month for 2015 so far, at 112,449. Mobile phones are the main device now accessing simplybible.com.
Susanne’s relatives on North Ambrym Vanuatu, suffered badly from the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam. Being on a remote island, they did not get the immediate help that Port Villa received. In the village of Batrarao, all the houses were wrecked and the food gardens decimated. Not long before the cyclone they suffered a severe earthquake and a volcano eruption.
The cyclone destroyed most of their few possessions. The people all got sick after the cyclone, and Paul lost his dear wife Eslin who died of that illness. Paul and Eslin were the two who showed most interest in our teaching when we were there some years ago. They both used to come and listen.
The church at Bundaberg responded quickly, devoting one Sunday’s collection toward Susanne’s effort to help her Vanuatu family. Several individuals added considerably to this, including Susanne’s family. This led to a very significant deposit into the chief Sali’s account —he is Susanne’s next of kin in Vanuatu. Other deposits followed, and need to continue for a time.
The rebuilding of houses has begun, and the food gardens are replanted, but life in the village is going to be difficult for a long time.
In addition, Susanne sent 15 boxes with whatever was thought to be useful, such as small tents, tarpaulins, clothing, household items, and rugs. People donated good clothing for adults and children, suitable for the Ambrym climate, and alsohelped with postage. The boxes cost over $100 each to post, and some took three months to reach the village. But at least they got to the people who did not get much help from anywhere else.
Among the boxes sent, one was filled mainly with large print New King James Bibles, folders of printed lessons from simplybible.com, and some hymn books. (The only “Christianity” established in the village is Seventh Day Adventism.) The church at Bundaberg purchased the Bibles and paid the postage. The people were delighted to receive the Bibles because they are in simple English which they can understand.
The Bibles were requested by chief Sali, and not sent on our initiative. Sali also requested “teaching from the church of Christ”. That is a strong sign that there is interest in true Christianity.
There is a basic mobile phone system in Vanuatu, but the cyclone destroyed most of the towers including the one on North Ambrym. It also made it nearly impossible to recharge phones. So it was weeks before we had any phone contact. Fortunately we got on to a gentleman on a nearby island whose phone was working and who was going to North Ambrym. With his help we were able to talk briefly to Sali. Later the phone system started working better. Phone calls are very expensive however, and I have put some of my working funds toward the calls necessary to expedite the help, material and spiritual, that we have sent.
On each phone conversation, Sali has expressed his thanks to the family and the church of Christ for the assistance given him and his people. He especially mentioned the Bibles. Not only has the help addressed daily needs, but it has encouraged and heartened people who have suffered great loss and isolation. Their appreciation has opened a door for the Word.
Again may I say how much I appreciate those who keep on helping me in the Lord’s work. By joining me in the ministry you enable things that I could not possibly do on my own.
Love and best wishes in Jesus.