by J. Randal Matheny, editor
I’d like to say thanks to friends, fellow workers, supporters and readers who, in one way or another, have contributed to these united efforts over the past year. Vicki and I feel a deep sense of gratitude to God for his kindness and and mercy during this new progress, on the one hand, and in the midst of many uncertainties, both personal and public, on the other.
The world is ever at war, seemingly ever more vicious and dangerous, but we enjoy the peace of God in our hearts and offer it to all who will receive it.
As the globe grows smaller, our hearts enlarge to embrace the spiritual needs of peoples, nations, cities and individuals.
With the loss of freedoms and privacy in our societies, we rejoice in the security of the gospel and the knowledge of God.
While economies falter and stumble and people risk losing jobs, investments and savings, the stability of a relationship with the Lord is our mainstay.
But life moves forward, nothing stays the same.
Our personal lives celebrated anniversaries of fives this past year. In August, we rejoiced in 30 years of marriage, having earlier married off our second son; in November, 25 years of continuous service in Brazil; in December, 15 years of work in Sao Jose dos Campos.
For the first time ever in those 25 years on the field, the Mathenys made a change January 1st to a new overseeing congregation and to a far different support situation. So service to the Lord continues, even though the network of fellowship shifts and adapts.
The past year produced amazing developments in every field of endeavor, not least in the realm of faith. And though our corner of action be small, and in spite of the uncertainties, wonderful milestones set apart 2009 as a year of progress.
- Richard Mansel’s book, The Most Important Question, was released in January by Forthright Press.
- Ministry partner Barbara A. Oliver assumed the position of Managing Editor of BrotherhoodNews.com.
- Richard Mansel settled in to the position of Managing Editor of Forthright Magazine, after assuming the post in December, 2008.
- The Fellowship Room launched on Thanksgiving Day, now with 15 active Fellows, or posters, who contribute to a dynamic website for Christian encouragement and edification.
- Mike Brooks and I planned out a book for use in Asia and South America, an overview of the systematic teachings of the Bible.
- Arrangements were made for the Somers Ave. church in North Little Rock, Ark., to assume oversight of our personal efforts on the 1st of January, 2010.
- We moved further to establish a synergistic ministry based on efforts up to the present, such as the book project with Mike.
- Barbara A. Oliver spent a month in Costa Rica studying Spanish, to prepare herself better for her ministry among speakers of that language, as well as helping to conduct a Vacation Bible School afterwards.
- Several of us have worked with social media like Twitter (@brotherhoodnews, @forthrightpress), Facebook (for FMag and FPress) and SaintsMeet.com, as well as PreachersFiles.com, to get the word about about this ministry.
These are but the tip of the iceberg, without mentioning the local work we all are engaged in.
Plans for 2010 are still in the works; good things are ahead. We’ll be reinforcing present efforts like BNc and Forthright Magazine, releasing new books through Forthright Press, beefing up The Fellowship Room.
A new project is under wraps, which we hope to launch this year, bringing together many of the best elements of the Forthright family ministry.
Finally, we offer this prayer for all our friends and readers, both personally and on behalf of the Forthright/BNc team, as we trust that 2010 will be a year of new progress in the gospel of Jesus Christ for you and of sharing the grace of God with those who remain under the power of darkness.
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good thing you do or say” (2 Thes. 2:16-17 NET).
Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He sometimes writes “7 Points.” http://randal.us