In His Time He Make All Things Beautiful
Hello dear friends,
It’s been months since I have written much about the work in Grenada. It’s not been for lack of desire. For us, like many of you, this year has been full of trials and tribulations and finding time to write has been a challenge. Verbal communication has never been my gift, and even writing comes with much agonising and mental effort, which is why you will see as you read this report that I started it last summer. This world is addicted to unbelief and bad news, so it’s hard to know the balance between sharing current events confirming prophecy, or sharing comforting, devotional thoughts, which sometimes don’t convey the urgency of the times. That balance can only be found in the cross of Jesus.
Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, “Behold your God.” The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.
The light of the Sun of Righteousness is to shine forth in good works—in words of truth and deeds of holiness. Christ’s Object Lessons, pp 415-416.
How should we, as God’s messengers, respond to the overspreading sin and lawlessness we see in the world? Should we cower in a corner and allow the enemy to control us through fear? No, never! We must take hold of the faith of Jesus and believe the gospel with all our heart. Light is stronger than darkness. Love is stronger than hate. Faith is more motivating than fear. Jesus will win, but as frail, sinful beings, we naturally want to flee from suffering. I am timid by nature. I will be the first to admit that I need the zeal and courage which comes only from a close connection with Jesus.
The prospect of being in Grenada the rest of our lives in this world has been weighing on my mind. To never again see our families and the home and country we have loved seems like a definite possibility. It seems like if we don’t leave Grenada in the next few weeks, there’s a chance we never will leave, (since we will not be allowed to travel), and yet we have no open door to leave. God has to keep reminding me: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:34.
“Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. 12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, [even] them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. 13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:10-13
When I think of missionaries of the past, I am embarrassed that we are so unwilling to suffer for the sake of the gospel. People like Hudson Taylor, William Carey, and Amy Carmichael left the comforts of home expecting to possibly never return. Modern conveniences like jet airplanes, cell phones, computers, electricity, or even running water were completely unknown.
Amy Carmichael for example, served the children of India for 55 years without furlough. Before she died in India in 1951, she was so humble about her accomplishments, that she asked to be buried in an unmarked grave.
When I consider the cross of Christ, how can anything that I do be called sacrifice?
The past few months have reminded me how fragile the things of this world are, and how much we owe to God for every blessing. The rapid changes we’ve seen this year as a result of the so-called global pandemic, should come as no surprise. For decades we have seen ominous signs that Satan wants to bring the world under his control and persecute those who “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus”, yet time after time, the enemy has been prevented from carrying forward his plans. How thankful we should be for the many years of peace that we have enjoyed while strong angels have held evil in check! Now, it seems like those days are coming to an end for a short time until “Michael stands up” to defend His people.
The Blessing of Suffering
Here in Grenada, God has allowed the enemy to afflict us in the past few months. Right now (Sept 13) I am typing this paragraph with my left hand – hunt and peck. Progress is slow. Yesterday I lifted a 25 pound saw stand awkwardly above my head, and a few hours later I realised I had damaged my right shoulder. Now I can only lift the arm an inch or so without severe pain. (Thankfully, that injury healed within a few days).
In August, our sweet kitty cat Spot was very sick and might have died had we not intervened. She developed a high fever for several days and refused to eat or use the litter pan. After two vet visits, a round of liquid antibiotics, and many prayers, with God’s help we were able to get the fever down and get her to start eating again.
Also in August, Carnival was cancelled by the government due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. Unfortunately there was one of many an illegal parties a few hundred feet down the road from us at the cricket field for most of that weekend. In the middle of the afternoon I drove by and several guys were half dressed, painted in black with devil horns. Several times that evening they shut off the evil music whenever we played heavenly music loudly inside our house to drown out the noise. Even though our music couldn’t be heard by the revellers, we believe angels drove back the enemy to give us a few minutes of peace. At 9:30 pm a small crowd came down the road and stopped right in front of our house with very loud music, and flashing lights. The windows were shaking. Knowing the spirits at work, we believe this was done on purpose just to annoy us. God protected us and after a couple minutes they left and headed back to the playing field.
Each week seems to be a new crisis which disrupts our family schedule and peace. I don’t share these problems with you to gain sympathy, but to hopefully offer encouragement to those who might be experiencing similar things. What are we to make of the growing list of trials we are called to bear? I’m reminded of precious encouragement I read several years ago:
The trials of life are God’s workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace. Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p 10
As Christians, we are in the middle of a cosmic war, and the battle will continue to grow more intense. We should expect it. Frankly, at this time in history, we should be concerned if we aren’t experiencing trials. It could be that we are considered no threat to the enemy, and therefore are left in a dangerous state of lukewarm security.
If we have chosen the side of Jesus Christ, He personally sends help, encouragement, and protection in the midst of the battle, so we are never called to bear more than we are able.
“For [the Lord] doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” Lamentations 3:33. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” Psalm 103:13, 14.
To all who are reaching out to feel the guiding hand of God, the moment of greatest discouragement is the time when divine help is nearest. [We] will look back with thankfulness upon the darkest part of [our] way. “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly,” 2 Peter 2:9. From every temptation and every trial He will bring [us] forth with firmer faith and a richer experience. The Desire of Ages, p 528
Last week after thinking about all the wickedness which occurred during the illegal Carnival events, I was feeling discouraged and wondering out loud, “what good is GFN radio really doing after 11 years? Sometimes it seems we are making such a small impact for such a great cost in suffering, hard work, and finances.” That morning, as I went through my list of tasks, I stopped to pick up a prescription antibiotic for the cat. In the middle of the busy pharmacy, on a high shelf, was a radio tuned to 91.3 FM for the entire store to hear. God’s peace and comfort flooded my heart as I remembered that around Grenada, there are numerous homes and businesses listening to peaceful music and precious truth every day. A few minutes later, inside the IGA grocery store, a lady came up to me with a donation and words of appreciation for GFN. “I love your radio station and have it on all day long!” she exclaimed.
Truly, if we seek to do His will, Jesus is with us every moment through the ministry of holy angels. Although we can’t see them, angels walk beside us as we go about our daily, seemingly mundane duties. Do we notice the little (and sometimes big) evidences of His love, or are we so self-absorbed that we think everything just happens by chance?
Not By Chance
In the past year or so, we have seen some amazing answers to prayer. It would take to long to review all of them. Although things were difficult during the quarantine last Spring, we have made slow but steady progress on the agriculture project in the country. Time and again God has miraculously protected and provided for the ministry and the missionaries just when needed. Here are a few highlights:
Last October (2019) I received a call from our electricity provider asking me to send them a meter reading for the station house. I keep the gate closed and locked, so they usually can’t get in to read the meter. We were already behind on that account with no funds to pay it, so it was with mixed emotions that I went to read the meter.
When got there I found that the digital meter was failing and unreadable. Later that day I called the customer service agent and informed her that the meter was unreadable. I followed up with an email and photo showing the meter. Two more months passed during which we continued to receive bills. I watched as the estimated amount owed climbed steadily, $2,597, $3,424… ($1,278 US).
Finally, one day in early January I got another call asking for access to the property to install a new meter. I waited calmly for the next bill wondering what it would show. To my relief and joy, the entire amount owed had been voided and a credit of $365 was applied. How we got from owing over three thousand EC dollars to a $365 credit, I have no idea. God works in mysterious ways.
Several times over the past year and a half we have received large donations from unexpected sources just when they were urgently needed. 2020 has been a year with many difficulties, but amazingly our finances have not been lacking. For the first time in over ten years we have not struggled to pay the bills during most of this year. While our local donations were down more than 50%, our overseas donations have more than made up the difference! A big thank you to all who have donated large and small amounts to help God’s message go to this little corner of the world during the past 12 months!
Sowing for Eternity
This past year we have received several phone calls from northern Grenada thanking us for 100.3 FM.
Even one of our future neighbors near the country project said he had been listening and enjoying the broadcast. George is someone who you would never suspect to have an interest in spiritual things. He wears a hodgepodge of homemade clothes made of nylon bags to protect him from the rain when he is working in his garden. He asked us for a copy of the Desire of Ages which we happily supplied. He reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 8:11-12.
“And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Sadly, there will be many long time church members who will be “cast out” because they are filled with pride and self righteousness. They are very dignified with a cold, formal, and intellectual religion. “Their hearts are not moved by any deep sense of the love of Christ, but they seek to perform the duties of the Christian life as that which God requires of them in order to gain heaven. Such religion is worth nothing.” SC 44.
Let us heed Jesus’ warning and humble ourselves so that He may lift us up!
Sowing for Next Year
Our project in the country is coming along slowly. Because of the lock-down last Spring we have not made as much progress as hoped, and have not yet moved in, but we are getting very close. The house needed much more work than we initially thought. It had serious moisture and mold problems, which we have thankfully mostly brought under control. Juggling that project along with regular radio station duties has been stressful. A local church member has generously offered a refrigerator which will give me the option of working in the country for several days at a time.
In April a generous donor from the US gave us enough money to purchase a BCS tractor. It wasn’t my first plan to purchase new equipment but these are in such high demand, finding a good used one could have taken many months. Once we begin farming in a few weeks we have a machine which can cut heavy brush, till, and keep our ¼ mile concrete driveway free of moss, leaves and other debris. More importantly it will be safer to use on our hilly, uneven land than a conventional riding tractor.
Linked is a video showing photos of some of the work in progress this year.
There is actually much more that doesn’t show up in photos, and contrary to appearances the writer has done quite a bit of the work. 😉
What Does the Future Hold?
This question is a burden to many minds, including here in Grenada. Right now we are possibly facing another lock-down and “Contact Tracing” has begun at most stores and government buildings. There seems to be a very determined and wicked agenda in play to force untested and potentially dangerous vaccines on the world. Already widespread adverse reactions are being reported.
What can God’s people do? There is only one thing to do. Claim His precious promises and pray for faith, wisdom, and courage to face the crisis. God has promised to help all those who put their trust in Him! We must believe that He will not allow anything to come which is not for our good.
Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the LORD surrounds His people From this time forth and forever. For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity. Psalm 125: 1-3 NKJV
Despite all the plans of the enemy, we know that God’s work in this world and in Grenada is not complete. We are already making plans to reach more people through radio, advertising, and literature. Our task is clear, to help the angel of Revelation 18 lighten this dark world with the glory of God—His self-sacrificing love.
We are thankful for all of you who have helped make that possible!
Steve, Samra, Anna and Ethan Shedell
- Regular monthly gifts of $10, $20, $50 or more to keep GFN Radio on the air.
- Shipping of equipment from Tennessee to Grenada: $600
- Driveway entry gate for country project: $2,000
- New radio broadcast Audio Card: $1,105. https://bsiusa.com/product/accessories/audiocards/audio-science-asi6720/
- New radio broadcast software: $1,999. https://bsiusa.com/product/radioautomation/simian-2-3-pro/
- Prayers that the promise of Matthew 24:14 will soon be fulfilled.
How to help:
You can donate online: http://gospelministry.org/donations/
Or by phone at: 423-473-1841
Or you can send a tax deductible donation to:
Gospel Ministries International
PO Box 506
Collegedale, TN 37315
Kindly include a separate note that it is for Grenada Media Ministry.
Contact us directly:
Steve and Samra Shedell
PO Box 2747
St. Paul’s, St. George’s
Grenada, West Indies
1 (473) 435-4297