DR. GARVAN WALLS, PASTOR OF MT. PISGAH BAPTIST CHURCH WAS A KEY-NOTE SPEAKER DURING THE SCHOOL FOR PASTORS IN NORTHERN ERBIL. HE PREACHED ON THE SUBJECT OF PRAYER. HIS TEACHING WAS NOT ONLY INFORMATIVE, BUT ALSO ENCOURAGING. BELOW IS HIS IMPRESSION OF THE TRIP.
July 4th is one of my favorite days of the year. I enjoy the hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, apple pie and much more. Not only at the end of the day is my stomach full but my heart is also full. My stomach is full because I ate too much. My heart is full because I reflect on the great freedom we enjoy as Americans and because of the tremendous sacrifice others have made to make this freedom available. Thank God for America. However, July 4, 2009 I was not in America. But this is one of the most memorial of all the July 4’s I have lived. I was on my way to Iraq! God had given me the privilege to go with Dr. Edgar Feghaly on a historical mission trip to the land of Babylon. Wow! The land where creation took place and the land where many Old Testament prophets spoke. What an opportunity! After being delayed by a sand storm, we arrived one day later than planned in Erbil. Upon arriving we found the weather to be very hot, but it was cool in comparison to the passion of the people to whom we would be instructing. I found those that were with us from Baghdad and surrounding areas of Erbil to be loving, kind, and zealous for the things of Christ.
The joy I experienced there will always out weigh any experience of hot weather, non air conditioned vehicles, power outages and food that I was not sure what it was. Those failed to deprive me of the joy of watching the people praising the Lord in song. I found joy in listening to them as they questioned something that was being taught, not for the purpose of arguing but the grand purpose of learning. What a joy to hear their testimony of salvation and of how they have endured in their love for the Savior in times of great adversity. I am still thrilled with the man who came to our meeting and gave his testimony of faith in Christ. He had travelled for over a hundred miles searching for the man who had witnessed to him. He found the man and he also found the Lord Jesus Christ to be the Savior of sinners! Praise the Lord.
The joy I have from all the memories is somewhat dampened with the need that exist with the Kurdish people. The need of which I speak, is the printing of the Word of God in their own language. I am sure that Bro. Feghaly will tell you about their need. I look forward to being a part of accomplishing this project.
Speaking of blessings I have to mention just briefly the time I spend with the people of Beirut, Lebanon. What a delight to see what God is doing there. Historically the church I pastor, Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church of Oliver Springs, has a great investment in the church. Mt. Pisgah supported Missionary Clyde Aynes who lead Bro. Feghaly to the Lord. Bro. Feghaly was used of God to reach the present day pastor, Bro. Mildad.
AT THE END OF THE CONFERENCE AND BEFORE WE DELIVERED THE CERTIFICATES THAT ENTITLES EVERY PERSON WHO STUDIED WITH US 2 CREDIT HOURS TOWARD HIS STUDIES IN OUR COLLEGE, PASTOR WALLS PREACHED A POWERFUL SERMON ON BRINGING PAUL DOWN THE WALL OF DAMASCUS. THOSE WHO LISTENED TO THE SERMON ARE VERY FAMILIAR WITH THE WALLS OF DAMASCUS AND THE STORY OF PAUL ESCAPING PERSECUTION BY NIGHT. HERE IS THE OUTLINE OF THE SERMON:
Acts 9: 20 – 25 we have an event in the life of Paul where he is let down over a wall in a basket. I asked the question to them as I do to you today. If you were in the basket, “Who would you want to be holding the ropes?” I told them that if there were four people holding the ropes to that basket I would want the following people holding them. I would want something that was faithful, someone that was hopeful, someone that was filled with compassion and someone that had courage. Then I asked, “Whose Duty Is It To Hold The Ropes For Others?” The answer to that question is, “It is the duty of each child of God to hold the ropes. Then I asked, “When Are We To Hold The Ropes?” To which I said, “We are to hold the ropes in dangerous times!” Paul and the Christians were hated and their lives were being sought but someone needed to hold the ropes. “We are to hold the ropes in inconvenient times!” It was midnight! May God help us to learn that the ropes need to be held even at times when it is not convenient. Then the final question I asked was, “Why Should We Hold The Ropes?” To which I answered, “Because someone held the ropes for you.” Some preacher, some parent, some friend, some co-worker, some grandparent held the ropes for you. That is one reason why you should hold on to the ropes. Then you should hold on to the ropes because you never know who is in your basket. Bro. Aynes did not know that Bro. Feghaly was in his basket. Charles Kimble, the shoe clerk and Sunday School teacher, did not know that Evangelist D L Moody was in his basket. The lay preacher who had to fill in one Sunday morning in a snow storm for the preacher did not know that morning when he said to a young teenager, “Look unto me and be saved” that he had Charles Haddon Spurgeon in his basket. You don’t know who is in your basket, so keep on holding on to the ropes. It is also noted that this could have been the only time these individuals were involved in the life of Paul but it was very important. Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do with all your might. Also the names of those who held the ropes are not mentioned. May it be so with our lives, that it does not matter who gets mentioned as long as the cause of Christ moves forward.
Dr. Feghaly, thanks again for your kindness in affording me the privilege to labor for the Lord in the land of Iraq and Lebanon.
Jesus Never Fails,
Pastor Garvan W. Walls