Thursday, July 19, 2018

Prayer Letter - June 2018

I’m sitting here in my office at home, and just changed my calendar to the month of June: time to let my friends know what has been going on…mission-work-wise…in my life the past two months. They have been busy ones, and there’s not much of a prospect of it slowing down for a while.

I returned home from my travels the first of April, and was honored to be the speaker for a Thanksgiving service for a lady who has survived a two-year battle with cancer. She was saved several years ago at our Ladies’ Christmas Banquet. 

Five days later, I flew to Monterrey, to attend the funeral of my sister in law, Brenda Ashcraft. While it was a blessing getting to spend time with my brother, Tommy, and his children and grandchildren, and my son, David, there was a cloud of sorrow that seemed to hang over us as we left the cemetery. But our comfort comes in knowing we’ll see her again someday in Heaven.

There is an Indian lady in our church, Micaela, who has a heart for lost souls. She recently accompanied her son in law, who is our pastor, and a group from the church to an Indian village, and taught a ladies’ class. I pray the Lord will continue to use her.

It isn’t often that I get to teach in English, but my daughter, Ruth Miller, invited me to speak at their Mother-Daughter luncheon in Fallon, NV on May 28. And what a special treat getting to see my friend, Cathy Flores, who also spoke, and sang.

From there I flew to Phoenix, AZ. Mrs. Esther Rubio, Pastor Steven Rubio’s wife, invited me to speak at their two-day Mother-Daughter Conference. I spoke 3 times, and taught the Ladies’ Sunday school class. Pastor Rubio also had me give my testimony that Sunday morning. 

Back home on the 7th and I spoke at our Mother-Daughter Banquet on the 11th. I gave the Plan of Salvation and an invitation. Although no one was saved, I know the seed was planted.

Pastor Albino has baptized three converts in the past month, including a young lady who was saved in the Conference hosted by our church. The first night there were over 400 in attendance. Over 30 people came forward for Salvation. 

Pastor Albino was invited to preach to a group of people a couple of hours from here, and an entire family was saved.

At our monthly Prayer Breakfast last Wednesday, there were five women from the police force who attended. When I gave the invitation, one of them was saved. Thank the Lord!

A lady in our church here recently came up to me and said, “Sister, the Lord takes such good care of you.” And I couldn’t agree more. I’m not a pioneer missionary, but there are times that I must put myself at risk, knowing that I’m doing the Lord’s will, and that He will protect and provide. And He does!

Your friend,
Billie Sloan

Nahum 1:7

Friday, May 4, 2018

Prayer Letter - April 2018

If you could have lined us all up on the same day, there would have been 46 of us. That was the number of my children and their families who attended our family reunion on March 12-19 in Decatur, TX. We had a wonderful time. Thank you to the Immanuel Baptist Church, and Pastor Louis Horton, who opened the mission house to us. Since it was Spring Break, we were able to use their beautiful educational facilities, complete with gymnasium, and kitchen. It was my privilege to teach the ladies on Sunday evening.

The ministry that my husband started back in the 70’s continues to flourish. Pastor Sebastian heads up the work in Chalchihuitán, and the men in the church here attended their Conference on February 10. Ten precious souls were saved! The next day, a family joined the Church here.

It was an honor to be able to participate in the Mount Hebron Conference February 19-22. Besides the joy of teaching three ladies sessions, I got to win a beautiful young lady to the Lord during soul willing after the morning session on Wednesday. And of course, the preaching was challenging. The “icing on the cake” was getting to spend special family time with my nephew, Pastor Jonathan Ashcraft, and his wife, Jenny and their 4 precious children; and then seeing 51 people lined up on the platform after the last invitation, surrendering to full time service!

The morning after returning home, the ladies and I made our monthly visit to the nursing home. We were saddened to hear that one of the residents, Dwoña Fulvia, had passed away. But what a comfort when one of the ladies said that she had won her to the Lord in one of our previous visits.

March 2, I traveled with Ulises and Elizabeth and their children to San Francisco, CA to participate in the Annual Workers’ Conference of the North Valley Baptist Spanish Church, where my son, David is pastor. I had a wonderful time teaching 2 sessions.

From there, we traveled to Dallas, TX on the 9 th to participate in the Spanish Mission Conference of the Fundamental Baptist Church in Gainesville, TX, with Pastor Omar Vera. I was asked to give my testimony the last night of the conference. After our family reunion in Decatur, I flew to El Paso to be with my son Joel, and Margaret and their two daughters.

I was able to speak a total of 15 times to different ladies’ sessions while I was away.

During my 2-week visit in El Paso, Joel and Margaret drove me to Lubbock, TX, so that I could be with my brother, Tommy Ashcraft and his family. I was looking forward to spending special time with my sister in law, Brenda, but on Easter morning, at 9:32, the Lord took her to Heaven. While our hearts are heavy, we know that her many years of suffering are over, and she’s in the presence of the Lord. Heaven just keeps getting sweeter.

Your friend,
Mrs. Billie Sloan
Nahum 1:7

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Prayer Letter - February 2018

Lots and lots of changes have taken place in my life since my last prayer letter.  I'm sure you've already noticed a major one if you saw my prayer head.  While I tend to rebel against change, I'm sure the ones taking place in my life right now are for my good, and for the good of so many others.

My home Church, Windsor Hills Baptist Church, recently changed not only its location, but also its name to Higher Plain Baptist Church.  Please notice, also the change in the address and phone number.  But thank the Lord, my Pastor is still Bro. Tom Vineyard.  And our doctrine hasn't changed.

The church here continues to grow.  There have been people saved through our bus routes and regular church services.  On December 15 and 16 at our Youth Conference here, there were 12 young people saved.  A lady was saved when I gave the invitation in my Sunday school class on Christmas Eve.

Our New Year's Eve Sunday morning service was held on the property where our new church building is being constructed.  The men are working very hard, in order to have it ready to move into by May.  So, it looks like another big change lies ahead.  For 34 years our church, which was started in our living room, has been on our property.  I'm preparing myself emotionally for this wonderful change, which means progress in the Lord's work.

We had our first Ladies' Prayer Breakfast of the year on January 31.  The wife of our City Mayor was present.  Since she became First Lady of our town, she hasn't missed one of our Ladies' Christmas Banquets; and she almost never misses a Prayer Breakfast.  She has been attending some of our services, and is hungry for the teaching and preaching of the Word.  She was saved in a Baptist church, but attends another church with her husband. 

Our speaker for our Prayer Breakfast was my daughter, Elizabeth Martinez.  Please keep her and Ulises in your prayers, as they will be departing for the USA in a few days, and continuing their deputation as missionaries to Israel.

I will soon begin my travels for the year.  While it is an honor to be invited to speak to ladies in different conferences, my heart is here.  The only reason I ever leave home is the hope that I can be a blessing to other ladies.

May the Lord help us to keep our focus on Him.

Your friend,
Billie Sloan
Nahum 1:7

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Shepherd

I think of my Preacher as one of those people whom you think you’ll never be without, and who will always be there for you.  Humanly speaking, he’s the anchor in my life, now that my husband is in Heaven.  He’s the one person I can always count on to be perfectly honest with me, encouraging me when I need it, but exhorting me when I need a little push in the right direction, and reprimanding me for my shortcomings.

You never have to guess where you stand with Bro. Vineyard.  He’s not one to try to score points with anyone, even if it means hurting your feelings.

And when you first meet him, you immediately make a decision:  you either love him, or you hate him.  There’s no middle ground. He can conjure up feelings of being annoyed with the way he preaches, or he can amuse you with his homespun stories about his boyhood.

He can be gory, and obnoxious, using very explicit illustrations in his sermons.  He can embarrass his wife, but there is never any doubt where his passionate love lies.  This lovely lady named Jo Ann is definitely the lovely “bride of his youth.

He’s tough.  My Preacher was a Green Beret.  He’s not afraid of rattlesnakes, or scorpions, or gangs, or presidents or kings.

But he will get choked up while he’s telling the story of someone who has suffered, even if it was over a hundred years ago.

He will take on any challenge, whether spiritual or physical.

He keeps going when he’s “sick unto death.”

He has a passion for the lost, for the Jews, for missionaries, and for young men who are potential preachers.

But the greatest attribute I can think of to describe my Preacher is Shepherd.  At least it is for this sheep.

The Lord is my shepherd, but I can’t see Him.  Although I can feel His presence and His nearness, I’m not a spirit.  I’m still human. So my Heavenly Shepherd gave me another shepherd that has a voice I can hear. I’ve cried over things his voice has told me, I felt conviction for my sins, I’ve listened amazed at his adventures, over his vivid illustrations, and laughed with him when he tried to sing.

His voice is a military voice.  When he speaks you are prone to stand or sit at attention.  He speaks with authority, and you feel confident as you carry out his “orders,” or his advice. And as John the Baptist, he is also “the voice of one crying in the wilderness,” as he speaks out in favor and on behalf of the Jewish people.

He has used his voice for over thirty years to warn his sheep not to stray from the fold, while he seeks those who are lost outside.

My Heavenly Shepherd has hands, hands that were pierced for me on the cross.  My earthly shepherd’s hands have pounded crooks, gang members, pulpits and desks.  They’ve fired machine guns, and they’re karate-trained hands, so they’ve broken 2X4’s.

But they have also reached inside his pocket, and taken out thousands of Gospel tracts for the lost, and thousands of dollars for missionaries, orphans, and widows.

They have shaken other hands, hands of lawyers, presidents, kings, rabbis, generals, war heroes, and those of countless preachers known around the world.

But they’ve also shaken Tom Sloan’s trembling hands, and as they did, my earthly shepherd spoke words of encouragement and admiration to him.

My Heavenly Shepherd’s feet led him along the shores of Galilee, and they were nailed to the cross.  My earthly shepherd uses his feet to carry him across the ocean and around the world ministering to the needy, helping the hurting, defending God’s chosen people, preaching the Gospel, and encouraging missionaries.

But the most precious thing about my Preacher is that I know he loves me, and he would never do anything to harm me, my children, or my ministry.  I believe he would give his life for us.  He has faith in me.  He has confidence that I can do things beyond anything I ever dreamed I could do.  And he encourages me and challenges me to reach my full potential.

“I love you, Preacher.  Thank you for being a wonderful Shepherd.  May our loving Shepherd carry you through this valley, and bring you safely to the other side, and back to us.”

One of your sheep.
Billie Sloan
Nahum 1:7

Prayer Letter - December 2017

Is it possible that another year is coming to an end? I hope you can look back over the past 12 months, the blessings and tragedies, the failures and victories, and pray as I do every year about this time: “Lord, help me to learn something through each of them.”

On October 12 I traveled to San Francisco, CA to attend a Mission Conference in the North Valley Baptist Spanish Church, where my son, David is pastor. My son in law, Ulises Martínez, was the speaker for that Conference. He and my daughter, Elizabeth, are doing deputation in preparation to go to Israel as missionaries. While I was there, I was honored to speak twice to my daughter in law, Jolene’s College ladies’ classes.

On the 19th, I flew to Portland, OR where my  friend, Cathy Flores met me at the airport.  I got to speak 7 times in their Ladies’ Conference, and after one of the sessions when I gave the invitation, a young lady was saved. An added fun part of that trip was getting to spend time with my nephew, Jonathan Ashcraft’s wife, Jenny, who was also one of the speakers, and their precious baby girl, Megan Georgiana. “Thank you, Lord for allowing me to mix family time with my ministry.”

At our last Prayer Breakfast of the year, on October 25, there was another lady saved.

I know many of you are anxious to hear the results of our Annual Ladies’ Christmas Banquet on November 17. One hundred ladies signed our guest book. My son in law, Ulises, did an amazing job as he spoke, and 6 precious ladies were saved when he gave the invitation…one of them the wife of a former mayor of our city. Thank you for your prayers, and financial contributions to this event!

November 20-22 found me in Ixtapa, where I participated in the Pastors’ Conference, hosted by the church Ulises founded. I got to teach 2 ladies’ sessions. On the evening of the 22nd, as part of the conference, there was a Thanksgiving Banquet…thanking the Lord for giving me the joy of living in Mexico for 57 years.  Although Ulises is no longer the pastor, an amazing young man whom Ulises won to the Lord and trained, has taken over the ministry there. Ulises and Elizabeth will be here until January, and then they will continue their deputation in the USA.

After teaching the last session of the ladies’ conference in Oregon, on Saturday, the 21st, I turned on my phone, and there was a message from one of my sons: “Dr. Vineyard just passed away.” I couldn’t believe my eyes. How thankful I was, as I remembered back almost 13 years ago, the day after my husband’s funeral. Two of my sons accompanied me as I went in for my appointment with him, just to get some direction for my life as a new widow. I was glad I was doing what he advised me to do: “Billie, put yourself at the disposal of pastors and their wives, to speak to wives and young ladies.” “Thank you, Father, for the life of Dr. Jim Vineyard.”

I am sending a tribute I wrote to my former Pastor, Dr. Jim Vineyard, written almost 11 years ago, just before his surgery. (Click here to read.)

Your friend,
Billie Sloan
Nahum 1:7

Prayer Letter - October 2017

Do you ever wish you knew what the future holds for you…what lies around the corner of your life? Sometimes I think God is Merciful to keep certain things from us. I never dreamed the last time I wrote my prayer letter, what would happen September 7, a few minutes before midnight. I was awakened by my bed shaking, my house rattling, things falling and breaking. Thankfully my bedroom is close to my back door, and I was able to get out of bed, and literally hang onto my door to keep from falling. Like all tragedies, it seemed like it would never, ever end. The earthquake that shook San Cristóbal measured 8.4, and lasted for two minutes. A young man from our church and his sister, who live a few blocks away came and stayed with me until 4:00 the next morning, as we waited for aftershocks. Three people lost their lives, two of them close to our Pastor’s house. He was up all night trying to comfort those who were suffering.  I’m sure, though, that you’ve already read about this, or seen it on the news, as well as the next one that rocked Mexico City 12 days later, and claimed many lives.

And I’m sure, especially if you’re in ministry, that it doesn’t surprise you to hear that my living room was full of ladies for prayer meeting the next night, and in my Sunday school class the following Sunday, 2 ladies came forward for assurance of Salvation when I gave the invitation. The church was full that morning. I told one of the ladies, who hasn’t missed a church activity since then, not to let it wear off. “Stay faithful to the Lord, even after the horror of what happened that night settles back into normal.”


I am delighted to report that I got to win a sweet Indian lady to the Lord on Soul Winning.  Please pray for Andrea. Two of my precious grandchildren were saved recently: Elisa called me August 22 all the way from Mississippi, where her parents, Jason and Sarah are raising up a work among Hispanics. “Mimi, I got saved last night.” And a video that my daughter in law, Jolene, sent me of Micah on September 19: “Mimi, I got saved Sunday night.” “Thank you, Lord, for Jason and Sarah, and for David and Jolene…and for the Salvation of Elisa Faith and Micah James.” I have 40 grandchildren, 4 are in Heaven. Of the 36 living, 30 are saved. The other 6, I’m sure, will one day be saved when they are old enough to understand.

Our Prayer Breakfasts are being well attended every month. We recently had 10 ladies from the police force to attend, and hear a Bible lesson, and the Plan of Salvation. And a lady from our church won a gentleman to the Lord at our recent monthly visit to the Nursing Home.

Please, please take seriously the Prayer Request List for our Annual Ladies’ Christmas Banquet which I am enclosing. This event, as well as any endeavor to see souls saved, must be bathed in prayer. Thank you for yours.

Last night we closed out a weekend Conference. There were about 200 in attendance and last night at the closing invitation, 12 young people came forward surrendering to full time service.

Isn’t it just the most wonderful thing to get to serve the Lord? Thank you for being part of this amazing work.

Your friend,
Billie Sloan
Nahum 1:7

Prayer Letter - August 2017

If I could sum up my life in just 4 words, they would be, “I have been blessed.” And I’m sure you could say the same about yours. The past two months have been busy, challenging, and rewarding. Since I can’t decide which of my blessings has been the most rewarding, I’ll just tell you about them in the order in which they occurred.

On June 8, I returned from Israel with my daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, Ulises and their three children. They continued their deputation, raising support to return to that little country to serve the Lord there.

The next day, I flew to Jackson, Mississippi, where my daughter, Sarah, her husband, Jason Knabb, and my 6 precious grandchildren met me at the airport. My 10-day visit there was filled with their new ministry activities. I was over-joyed to see how God is opening up very unique doors of ministry to the hundreds of Hispanics in that area. We drove through an entire neighborhood occupied by Hispanic families who are in need of the Gospel. Sarah had her first ladies’ meeting while I was there, and invited me to be the speaker.  Please pray for the Knabb’s and this exciting new ministry.

From there, I flew to Chicago, and once again, as I have for the past ten years, was honored to speak to 9 different ladies’ sessions in the annual Fires of Evangelism Family Conference hosted in the Bethel Baptist Church, Pastor Elmer Fernandez. I do not take this, or any of my invitations for granted. I go to be a blessing, but always leave having been the one blessed.

I returned home on June 23, and began a series of lessons on Israel to the ladies here, from the countless things I learned during my three-week visit there. At our Ladies’ Prayer Breakfast on the 28th of June, we had eleven ladies from the police force present, and one of those ladies was saved. Two more ladies were saved the following Sunday.

One of the highlights of my year is getting to be in charge of Vacation Bible School. However, I have very little to do with it. My part is organizing, preparing my lesson to teach every morning in the general assembly, leading the songs while playing my accordion, and supervising. The people here do the hard work…they prepare the promotional material, the material for the crafts, and deal one on one with the children. This year we had a record attendance of 219, and there were 23 children saved, and 2 mothers. One little boy who was saved, was getting ready for Bible School one morning when he said to his mother, “Mom, I’m saved and you need to do the same.” To which she responded, “And how do you do that?” “Well, you bow your head and ask the Lord to forgive you and save you.” She answered, “Can you help me?” So he prayed simply, “Now Lord, here’s this lady that knows she’s a sinner and wants to get saved.” He led her through the prayer and the following Sunday morning she was present for the graduation exercise.  One of the teachers asked her if she got saved. “Yes,” she said, wiping the tears. Please pray that God would use Dario’s life in a very unique way to lead many others to Him.

See what I mean by being blessed?

Your friend,
Billie Sloan
Nahum 1:7