Author: Ron Graham
Ron Graham’s Ministry Reports
—For the year 2008
This page holds the reports on my voluntary ministry activities for 2008 —for the information of those who take a special interest in my work.
Ron Graham’s Report for Oct-Nov-Dec 2008
Dear Brethren... This report covers the final quarter of 2008.
Summer in Childers — The mild 22 degrees of Spring is turning into the warm 30 degrees of Summer. We are enjoying good rains. Our tanks are full. A six year old grandson, on holidays with us, took delight in taking the big torch out after sundown and spotting the small green frogs that live around our back patio.
Bundaberg community outreach — The church in Targo Street has done major evangelical work by having a gospel tract posted to every home in the greater Bundaberg area. This includes towns such as Woodgate, Childers, and Gin Gin. The pamphlets went out in early December. The title and topic was Giant Problem! however we included the chart Six Steps to Grace. Members of the church organized the whole work except for the writing and designing of the tract which was my share of the project.
Bundaberg meeting times — Recently the church made some changes to the meetings schedule. The Sunday adult Bible class is now started at 10.45am, 15 minutes after the worship service ends. The class lesson goes for a half hour ending at 11.15am. Perhaps this will encourage more people to remain for the class. The Sunday evening service has been discontinued. The Wednesday evening service has been shortened a little, so as to end before 8pm but still allow a good half hour for the lesson. Susanne and I travel the 100jm round trip to Bundaberg both on Sunday morning, and on Wednesday evening.
Sermon and class topics — I delivered 24 lessons at Bundaberg during the quarter. These ranged over a variety of topics. I ran one series of lessons on the first letter of John but even that covered a number of different subjects. So this was the "variety quarter" of the year. By the way, the last lesson of the year was my 260th lesson since coming to Bundaberg.
Sunday Evenings at Childers — For some time Susanne and I have held a devotional on Sunday afternoons in our home in Childers. We are believers in "cottage meetings" and hope this will be a small step toward eventually having a church of Christ established again in Childers.
The website for the internet — The website simplybible.com maintained a high readership for the quarter. In fact it was the best quarter of the year. There were 239,157 requests for pages, an average of 2,599 per day, or more than 100 an hour. During the quarter more than 16 gigabytes of data were served. There were 2,571 requests for the home page. However most people come to the site not through the home page but from searches on Google, Yahoo, Ask, etc. For example, there were 2,552 requests for the page of Bible maps and 4868 requests for "The Last Word" a lesson defining the meaning of "Amen". One occasionally notices a peak in some topic searched for. For instance "Nadab and Abihu" seemed to be of intense interest to some large group of people for a time, and generated more than 1000 requests for my lesson "What did They Do Wrong?" Another important source of page requests are internal links, especially those generated through the search engine simplybibleFinder. Its search results page was requested 1,943 times. Whilst certain pages attract high numbers of requests, they still are a small percentage of the total requests, and hundreds of pages on the site receive quite substantial numbers of requests.
Thank you — Thanks once again for your interest and encouragement during the year now gone, and may your souls prosper in 2009. Your servant and Christ's,
Ron Graham’s Report for Jul-Aug-Sep 2008
Dear Brethren... This report covers the third quarter of 2008.
Travelling Overseas — Except for the first two weeks in July I was travelling overseas for the entire quarter. I accompanied Susanne to Tokyo Japan (where a grandchild was born) and to Edmonton Canada (where a son was married). Although I continued my ministry work significantly, we also tried to take a much needed break during our travels. We had a few day trips in Tokyo during the two months we were there, including visiting two temples. Also, since we were going to and from Edmonton via British Columbia, we took three weeks to see the Canadian Rocky Mountains. We took three different trains, a ferry from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, and a bus to Victoria on Vancouver Island. A priority on our journeys was to visit the museums of the First Nations (indigenous peoples). All in all we found the travels interesting, educational, and uplifting.
Preaching work — I preached at Bundaberg six times in early July. While in Tokyo, we attended regularly at the Ochanomizu church of Christ and I preached for the English service on eight occasions. We also attended the Edmonton church of Christ regularly in Canada, and I enjoyed sitting in the congregation and being preached to for a change. On the last Sunday of our stay in Canada we were isolated and partook of the Lord's Supper by ourselves. This single exception made us appreciate that the Lord provided lovely congregations for us to meet with while we were away. We truly enjoyed meeting and getting to know Christians of like precious faith in these far away places. We were greatly encouraged.
The website for the internet — While away I had limited access to computers, but was able to do quite a lot of work nevertheless. I took the site and some small applications with me, having installed them on a tiny memory stick. Thus I was able to work on the site and even upload to it from that portable drive when a computer could be used. Otherwise I went back to the archaic practice of writing on paper, carrying a small notebook and New Testament everywhere with me. In the spirit of taking a break, I concentrated mainly on my current pet love, studies in the book of Revelation. I managed to make a lot of progress on that work. I hope the Lord will grant me time to finish this project which is close to my heart. During the quarter the website attracted 208,291 requests for pages, a daily average of 2,264
Thank you — This is a shorter report than usual, but it would be seriously incomplete if I did not thank you for your prayers and encouragement, and your participation in my ministry. It's one thing to visit other countries and meet Christians and observe their ministries. However it is wonderful to come back to the work at home and the good brothers and sisters in Australia who are fellow dedicated workers with me in Christ. Thanks once again, your servant and Christ's...
Ron Graham’s Report for Apr-May-Jun 2008
Dear Brethren... This report covers the second quarter of 2008.
Winter in Childers — Being in the subtropical zone and on a ridge, Childers does have four recognizable seasons, including winter. However night temperatures rarely go below 10 Celsius, and day temperatures in winter are 22 or thereabouts. Although some days bring a chill wind from the south, the winter is generally so mild that we need no heating most days and nights. Some evenings we switch on a small fake log fire for an hour or two. It's really just a fan heater but it reminds us of our Bairnsdale slow combustion fire.
Sermon and class topics — In April at Bundaberg I taught on a variety of topics rather than any series of lessons. Then, in the midweek class I taught a series "The Seal of God" centering around Ephesians 1, and dealing with various aspects of the Holy Spirit's work in us. In my Sunday morning lessons I presented a series on 1st Peter on the topics God Treats us Right, Our Right Response to God, Our Right Self Image ...Set of Values ...World View and ...Mental Attitude. In all, I taught 42 lessons at Bundaberg in the quarter, including the training classes mentioned below.
Training Class for Younger Men — In April and May I conducted training classes for younger men. The classes were held over seven Sunday mornings and attended by six men, four of whom are already occasionally used as worship leaders and have a good level of skills. However there is a growing need for them to be used more, and in some cases to be doing some teaching. The training covered public leading of prayers, reading the Bible in public, some personal development skills, and especially training in how to study the Bible and develop lessons to teach. The material used in the class was my Success in the Pulpit series. Attendance was excellent, and enthusiasm high. Hopefully by the end of this year one or two of these men at least will be contributing to the teaching. That is not up to me, but I have tried to prepare them for it. I think they are able and willing to do it, and am anxious to give them as much ongoing help and encouragement as I can.
Website — During the quarter I added 11 new pages to the simplybible.com website, and continued to split some long and complex pages into shorter simpler ones. There are now currently 890 study pages, 118 service pages, 38 aptja pages, 1046 total pages. During the quarter 199,386 page requests were served to users, an average of 2,192 page requests per day. The site is comprized of 1760 objects using 15.5mb of space.
New Mobile Phone Website — During the quarter I designed a new website specifically for use on mobile phones and other miniature screen devices. This site is www.aptja.mobi (or aptja.com). Recently Telstra began making the internet available to mobile phone users so cheap that even without any plan it costs only cents to access a mobile website. Obviously this is the beginnings of very affordable mobile internet. So I decided now is the time to get a mobile site up and running. The site has to comply with strict rules to qualify for use with a .mobi domain name, and facilities are provided on the internet for me to validate each page. The site mainly comprises edited excerpts from simplybible.com the idea being to broaden the outreach of that site by making it available in a mobile phone format.
Producing Tracts — I have begun turning some of the lessons on simplybible.com into tracts, and have placed some of them in the tract rack at Bundaberg. I will later turn these into pdf files and include them on the website. They print double sided on A4 paper and have three columns to fold into three.
Health and Wellbeing — Susanne is sensible about managing her illness. We try not to focus on it, but on keeping life as manageable, interesting, and healthful as possible, especially getting the necessary rest, exercise, and good food. My health has not been as good as it should be, and the doctor sent me for numerous tests all of which came back negative except one. This put me in a high risk category (of dying very prematurely). So I saw a specialist, underwent a biopsy procedure, which happily came back completely negative. My doctor said that they'll repeat the blood test in a few months to see if it is nearer to normal. Meanwhile I should take things a bit easier. One measure I took was to go up to Bundaberg on Sunday only for the morning sessions, and not go up again at night. I know I was finding the Sunday - preaching three times and a rather late night - too demanding.
Ron Graham's Report for Jan-Feb-Mar 2008
Dear Brethren... This report covers the first quarter of 2008.
First Year in Queensland — A year ago on 9th March 2006, we arrived with the Lord's help in the pretty town of Childers, and stopped to have a look around and a cup of coffee before we went the last 50 kilometres to Bundaberg. In that first year, we lived for five months temporarily in Bundaberg and then came to live in Childers. The Bundaberg church helped us substantially to carry out this relocation. Ray and Cheryl Ward have been especially kind to us, and others also encouraged us in many ways. Hopefully we have been able to show appreciation to the church in our ministry throughout the year. In the first year at Bundaberg, I delivered 171 lessons. That year was busy in other ways too, and passed quickly. We still miss the Bairnsdale church. The folk there are very special to us, and always will be.
Preaching and Teaching — During the quarter (Jan-Feb-Mar 2008) I gave 49 lessons at Bundaberg, nearly four per week. These included a midweek series on the States of the Soul. I covered a wide variety of subjects in the Sunday morning preaching, although a few sermons especially emphasized the importance and authority of the Bible. In the Sunday adult Bible class, I continued the Seven Ems of Spiritual Understanding and then moved into a series from Philippians on Spiritual Wellbeing.
Training Young Men — One of the sermons I preached was "The Men Among You" which I also set out in a pamphlet distributed to the church members. In this lesson, the emphasis was on the need to train young men to take part in the public ministry. I have been revising and adding to the training material that I use for this purpose —in readiness for a training programme in April and May. Six young men are enrolled, of varying ages. This is just right for the best possible class dynamics, and I am hoping this course will give a boost to the church's ability to evangelize and edify in public teaching and worship leading. As I revise the training material, I am building a pdf file to contain it all in one document in printable form. When this is finished, I will make it available from simplybible.com to assist others to use it.
Website simplybible.com — During the quarter I added 13 new pages to the website, and continued to split some long and complex pages into shorter simpler ones. There are now 962 pages on the site, of which 847 are study pages. During the quarter 175,425 page requests were served to users, an average of 1,928 page requests per day. The site is comprized of 1665 objects taking up 15mb of space. During the quarter 5 gigabytes of data was transferred by users. If all those numbers give you indigestion, don't worry about it. It just means that the site is a large one, and being visited every minute, 24 hours a day. I received a number of emails mostly expressing appreciation for the site. However you can't please everybody. On one day I got two emails. One praised the website. The other said, "...What a dead gospel you preach".
Thank you again — I appreciate your encouragement of my work in the gospel, and your prayers. You and I are fellow workers together. May God make our ministry successful.