“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die:”
When transitioning into the Evangelism ministry, little did we know the path that God would take us on over a year’s time. It was a year of financial struggle, faith, disappointment, much prayer, financial security, blessings, spiritual growth, new beginnings and relationships. This year has been an opportunity for spiritual recovery and new vision for the future. And it is amazing how God leads you in one direction with a feeling of knowledge and understanding of His will, only to have Him reveal to you His bigger plan that leaves you awestruck and sometimes nervous. If it were not for the call into Evangelism, we would have never viewed the great need for a Bible-preaching church in the Vilas County area on such a personal level as we do now.
When entering evangelism, God gave us a verse in which to guide our ministry upon (Revelation 3:2a), a verse to compel us to serve the struggling churches in WI. Now, I see more clearly how this one verse applies to so many areas in our own lives; how that we need to be watchful in and strengthen our time with God, our marriages, church attendance, childrearing or any number of items that may come to your mind, less these very important areas die and bring forth no fruit. So, this begins the journey of Northern Lakes Baptist Church, our second church-plant to reach those who need Christ.
A glimpse at our August 2016 newsletter will sum up the need that God has burdened us with. “There is a great need here in the Northwoods of WI; good Bible preaching churches are few. Many northwoods Christians are forced to compromise, many are not willing to stand strong for what they know is biblical, few are willing to drive long distances to attend a Bible-preaching church while many are willing to drive an hour or more to go grocery shopping. Folks, what happened to the days when church was the center of everyone’s lives, when Sunday was a day when the family got ready for church, when church was a place to gather around the Word of God and it was more than just a building?
For many of the lost here, there is only tradition and religion to rely on for security. Perhaps, they say to themselves, “I am a good person, surely this is enough to get me to heaven.”
As you and I know, good works will not take us to Heaven through salvation. Only trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior will take you to heaven as Romans 10:9 states, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” There are many that come to this area to relax, retire, or play, but our desire is that every man would be saved.
Busy, Busy, Busy
As many of you have, we have kept a very busy schedule. Our family at times travel in many different directions due to work schedules, school, college and the evangelism ministry. We are continuing in the Evangelism ministry until the church-plant is in full operation. With the busy schedules and evangelism, there are opportunities to meet new people, give the Gospel, be a testimony and give encouragement. Occasionally, it is hard to know if we are coming or going, but God always gives grace.
During this busy time, my family and I have been praying and planning for this new church-plant and since our last update, we are currently at 80 % of our needed support for the first year. We have about $1,700.00 of the $3,600.00 for the startup costs.
Our oldest daughter, Cheney, has worked many, many hours on this website that is nearly completed.
We are almost finished with our newspaper story and are excited about the 17,000+ homes it will reach in our area. After it runs on our family and the starting of a new church in the area, we will be promoting the church through local advertisements in the Spring for the first two “Get Acquainted” meetings. This will allow us to meet with those interested in the church to give our past church-plant history, the church constitution and by-laws, the church goals and vision. Please continue to pray for us as we try to take every necessary step to ensure this church is started properly and according to God’s will.
Our main prayer requests are for a more permanent building to meet in for Sunday Services and for the Lord to prepare the hearts of folks in our area to reach with this new church.
We have several options for meeting in buildings, but the Lord has not made it exactly clear on what would be the best location. There is a town hall in Phelps that costs roughly $50/each use. A Chamber of Commerce building that would be a great location for the get acquainted meetings. Also, a few commercial buildings may be affordable, but we are still inquiring about operating costs on these. In addition, there may be the possibility of using the local school. We of course want to keep the building costs very low since we have yet to see how many people will be coming to and/or interested in the Bible studies and church services.
From our past experiences, we know how important it is to have a good building location for a church-plant. We would like to have a stable location as much as possible before promoting the church location. Once again, please pray for the right building for this special work.
As always, my family and I would like to thank each of you for your prayers and support. It is always a joy to serve the Lord with each of you in your different fields of ministry! May the Lord bless your year of 2017 as we labor together for the Lord in our different fields.
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father…”
—I Thessalonians 1:2-3
May the Lord Bless,
Pastor Shawn Suri and family
Below is some photos previewing Pastor Shawn Suri speaking at Twin Ports Baptist Church in Superior, WI.