Sunday, July 2, 2017

Prayer Letter - June 2017

Greetings from Israel!

I could write a book about all the things I have seen, learned and felt these past two and a half weeks since our arrival in this beautiful little country!  In 2008 I spent five days here with my son, David. There are still precious memories I hold dear to my heart from that visit.

Actually, my second trip here began on May 12. I flew from Chiapas to Chicago, and enjoyed a wonderful weekend with Pastor Gerardo Andrade, and his wife, Bethsaida. I was invited to speak at their Mother-Daughter Banquet on the 13th. One of the ladies who attended was saved after I spoke.  I enjoyed teaching her in the ladies’ Sunday school class the next morning.

Monday, I flew to New York City, and Tuesday afternoon met my daughter and her family at the airport. It was a happy reunion. Four months ago they left their home an hour from mine, and started deputation. The purpose of this trip is to let God speak to their hearts, showing them His exact plan for their lives and ministry here. And here we are, less than a week away from our departure, and I have been amazed, and at the same time comforted at the people with whom God has put in their path…six key men who know first-hand how they need to prepare to serve the Lord and His chosen people here.  I use the word “comforted” because I was invited to join my children on this trip so that I could see where they will be living, their lifestyle, etc. A few things still worry me, but the comfort I have felt outweighs my lack of faith. God will provide and God will protect. I have given my children to the Lord.

When we fly back to New York City on the 8th, I will have been here for three weeks…long enough to see, learn and feel unforgettable sights, facts, and emotions.

The first of April, it was an honor to speak twice to ladies from each of the two congregations my son, Joel pastors in New Mexico. I have come to love Living Water Baptist Church.

During my brief opportunities that I have had to connect to the Internet, and receive messages from home in Chiapas, I am thrilled to report that during my absence a man was saved, who is the husband of a lady who accepted the Lord in my ladies’ weekly Bible study several years ago.  Also the daughter of one of the faithful ladies in our Church was saved. This past Wednesday at our Prayer Breakfast, there was a record attendance of 37 ladies, including 13 women from the police force, and the mayor’s wife. The best part, though, was that when my daughter, Anna, finished speaking and gave the invitation, a lady was saved.

Our ladies continue with their hospital and nursing home ministries.  I could speak also of the 2 young people Pastor Albino recently baptized; and the progress of the church building the men are working on; and the completion of a semester at Bible college of two of our young men.

Sometimes I think I must be God’s pet.

Your friend,
Billie Sloan

Nahum 1:7

Prayer Letter - April 2017

If you were to walk into our church on a Sunday morning, you probably wouldn’t notice her. She would look like the other Indian single moms who attend our church.  What is so special about Micaela? She has raised three daughters and a son alone, who faithfully serve the Lord. Her son attends Bible College, and one of her daughters is the wife of our pastor.

But what I would like to tell you about Micaela is her love for the lost…especially for the people in her native village. She rides the bus there often, and gathers family and neighbors in one of the houses, and shares the Gospel message with them. Several of her family members have been saved.

Recently Micaela received a phone call at 2:00 a.m. from her nephew who was suicidal. Our church had been praying for him. He called to say, "I don't want to die; I want to live. But if I live, I need Jesus. Can you help me find Him?" Micaela led him through the plan of Salvation and he said, "Tía I'm kneeling in the street, and praying for Jesus to come into my heart. I'm giving my life to God."

So why do I love working with ladies? There are those saved in my ministry who will possibly never attend a church service, or become pastors’ wives. While my desire is to see every one of them serving the Lord, my joy comes from two sources: I have done what the Lord wants me to do, and the rest is up to the Holy Spirit. And they will have a home in Heaven when they die. But at the same time, like my husband would say, “I’m looking for another Micaela.”

In the month of February, I was invited to teach ladies in two different sessions in a conference at Mount Hebron in Monterrey, where my nephew, Jonathan Ashcraft is pastor. What a joy it was to spend a wonderful week with my brother, Tommy, his wife Brenda, and their children and grandchildren for the first time in several years.

On March 3, I flew to San Francisco, and participated in the Pastors’ and Workers’ Conference of North Valley Baptist Spanish Church where my son, David is now pastor. It was an honor to speak twice to different ladies’ sessions; I also gave my testimony on Sunday morning, and my daughter in law, Jolene, asked me to speak to her college ladies’ class the next morning.

On to Fallon, NV on the 10th, I enjoyed playing for the services of the Victory Baptist Church mission conference, where my son in law, Steve Miller is pastor. It was one of the best mission conferences I have ever attended, and their Faith Promise went far beyond what they had set for their goal. On Sunday morning, Steve baptized a family of four…the result of their bus ministry! That night, Steve asked me to share my testimony. What a joy it was to teach the ladies in Ruthie’s Thursday evening Bible Study.  It goes without saying, that both in California and in Nevada, I enjoyed getting to spend time with David and Jolene, and their 5 children; and Steve and Ruthie and their 8 children.

I am writing this from Chaparral, NM, and am having a wonderful time with Joel and Margaret, and my two granddaughters. I really have to move fast to keep up with them and their different ministries here. Lord willing, I return home to Chiapas on April 7.

I don’t know what else the Lord could do to show His love for me!

Billie Sloan

Nahum 1:7

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Prayer Letter - February 2017

The relationship I have with most of my readers is missionary – church. But even the church is made up of people who have other relationships. Outside my relationship with the Lord, the most important role I play in this life is that of mother/mother in law/grandmother. So you will see some of that in this prayer letter.

On January 19-22 I spoke 5 times to ladies’ sessions in a Family Conference in Tehuacán, Puebla, hosted by Pastor Fidel Palomo, and his wife, Verónica. My son in law, Ulises Martínez, and my daughter, Elizabeth also participated.

On the 24th, Ulises and “Fizzie” drove me to the bus station, where I waved good bye to them and their three children from the bus that would take me to the airport in Mexico City, for my return home to Chiapas. It would have been just another good bye, except for the fact that this would be our last visit for a long time, as they headed out for deputation.

Ulises and “Fizzie” have literally left all, to serve the Lord. To my surprise, they told me last summer that they had surrendered to go to Israel  as missionaries…surprised, because God has blessed their ministries in Ixtapa…too many to number in this letter. Ulises is an architect and built Fizzie a beautiful house. The pastor and his family that Ulises won and trained, will live in her dream house, and take over his works.  As I waved good bye to them that afternoon, I realized: every material possession they now have, is in their Van.

I’m getting adjusted to their not living an hour away; that phone call: “Mom, we’re coming up to take you out to lunch, and spend the night.”

So this is a prayer letter, in every sense of the word: please pray for my children as they do deputation; and for me as I give my children to the Lord. May He fill this void in my life with my service for Him.

How thankful I am for the joy of staying busy, every minute of my waking hours. I am surrounded by those in my church here, who love me, and see that I am taken care of. And thank the Lord for my daughter, Anna, and her husband, Andrés and their 3 children who live only two hours away.

Another Mimi moment: I have received three wonderful ‘phone calls since the first of the year: three of my little grandchildren, Caleb, Mark, and Olivia called with the same message: “Mimi, I just got saved.” I thank the Lord for my children, who are raising my grandchildren in such a way that they accept Him as their Savior at an early age.

A young deaf man recently accepted the Lord during a hospital visit of two ladies from my Sunday school class; and a young woman was saved when I gave the invitation at a baby shower where I spoke.

Lord willing, the first of March, I will begin my travels for the year. The Lord is so Good to me…putting kind people in my path everywhere I go. May He put someone in your path today who will be a blessing to you, and to whom you can be a blessing in return.

Your friend,
Billie Sloan

Nahum 1:7

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Prayer Letter - December 2016

I’m writing this from the upstairs home of my son in law, Ulises, and daughter, Elizabeth. If I look above my computer, I can see miracles everywhere…first, God’s creation: fruit trees, hills, mountains, and a cloudless sky. I see walking miracles…Ulises walking from the orphanage building, talking with two of his pastors. I see the miracle of an architect, because that’s what Ulises was before surrendering to full time service. He will always be an architect, but he has used this gift to head up the construction of a beautiful church building, the children’s home, and the lovely house where they live.

But today is also a memorable day for our family: 12 years ago, on a Sunday afternoon, angels came down to our bedroom, and escorted my husband, Tom Sloan, into Heaven. I have shed tears yesterday and today, because I miss him, and will always love him. But God’s ways are perfect always, and I can be nothing but thankful for the 35 years I spent as the wife of the most extraordinary man I’ve ever known.

In the month of October, I was invited to speak in a ladies’ conference in Acatlán, Jalisco, where Pastor Raymond Jones heads up the work his father started many years ago. His mother, Elaine and I truly are kindred spirits: we were born in the same year; our husbands went to Heaven in 2004; and our sons took over our husbands’ works. Bro. Raymond’s wife, Laurie, and Elaine did a beautiful job organizing this event.  In the one-day conference, I spoke 4 times to about 250 ladies, including 20 pastors’ wives, who filled the beautiful auditorium. Our day was crowned with a lady being saved. As icing on the cake, my daughter, Anna, and my granddaughter, Debbie, accompanied me, and helped with the special music.  “Thank you, Lord, for precious memories, and new friends.”

The month of November is also a special month for me, because it was 56 years ago, on the 15th that the L.H. Ashcraft family crossed the US-Mexico border, and moved to the mission field. All our earthly possessions, including Mother’s ironing board, fit quite nicely into the old Carry All along with my parents, my 3 little brothers, and me. My life has never been the same.

But, I must return to the happy present, and give you the report you’ve been waiting for, and let you know how God answered your prayers for our 18th annual Ladies’ Christmas Banquet. You are tired, I know, of hearing that this year’s Banquet was our best yet; but it truly was. God provided the finances in ways too incredible, and too many to tell you. Thank you, thank you for your prayers in that area, and for the special offering you may have sent. We had an outlandish attendance…the only word that comes to my mind, when I close my eyes and see ladies sitting outside the Banquet room, and sadly ladies leaving because there was simply no room, even there. We had prepared for 150, and there were 175 present.

Jim Roggenkamp is the humblest man I know, and was superb in his delivery of the Gospel message he preached. When he gave the invitation, four precious ladies were saved, two of those, amazing answers to countless prayers! We honored 15 pastors’ wives; 7 women on the police force; 5 military wives; (3 of their husbands attended); and 7 First Ladies. The men in our church presented a special award to a captain in the Mexican army who retired after 33 years of service. Thank you for the part you had in this miracle event.

I’ve saved a little surprise for the last: we have a pastor, as of November 27. Bro. Albino Lopez was voted as pastor of our church, and I don’t know of anyone who has a greater burden and love for our people, and vision for the work. Please pray for this young man and his wife, and for their 3 precious children, that God would encourage him, and use him as He has in the past.

Have a very Blessed Christmas with those you love, and may our hearts be filled with gratitude for the birth of our Savior, and for His mission on earth: to save sinners like me.

With love and prayers,
Billie Sloan

Nahum 1:7

Monday, October 31, 2016

Prayer Letter - October 2016

I wish I could tell you that the past two months have been the most wonderful ones of my life. I could, except for the heartaches they have brought: the death of my dear friend, Peggy; a five year old diagnosed with leukemia; a telephone call from the wife of a man who just walked out on his family. I just returned from visiting a young mother who was saved four years ago after attending our ladies’ Christmas banquet. She and her husband travel to Mexico City on the bus twice a month for her chemotherapy. But Dali loves the Lord, and she loves the lost. Several weeks ago, during one of her hospital stays, she sent me a message asking me to send her the Scriptures of the plan of Salvation. I did, and the next day she sent me a picture of her and the lady she won to the Lord, who is also a cancer victim. Oh, by the way, my Thursday ladies’ Bible class was started in her home because of her desire to see her lost friends saved. Will you please pray for my precious friend?

On September 19, my husband and I would have celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary. He is in Heaven, but he was in my thoughts that day, and my mind went back to the romantic candlelight ceremony that made me Tom Sloan’s wife! His passion was taking in young Indian boys, winning them to the Lord, and training them for the ministry.  Joel Gregorio, was one of those boys who lived with us, was saved, surrendered to the ministry, married a wonderful young woman, and has started several works about 5 hours from here. They came to San Cristobal a couple of months ago, because of some complications during his wife’s pregnancy.  On August 27, Zaremi gave birth to their third child, born two months prematurely. The doctors told Joel that his wife would probably go into a coma during delivery, or have a stroke. Joel wept as I hugged him, and tried to comfort him. Imagine his joy, when the nurse came out after baby Gabriel arrived, and told him his wife was awake! The days following were ups and downs for both Zaremi and their little boy. Five days later, there were several complications, and we thought she wouldn’t make it. Hundreds of prayers went up for her all around the world. I believe God was moved, because two weeks later Gabriel and his mother were finally home together. PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!

On the day of Gabriel’s birth, there were 3 people saved during our ladies’ monthly visit to the Nursing Home. It was my joy to lead Don Manuel to the Lord!

In the month of August, I was honored to get to speak 9 times in a three-day ladies’ conference in the little town of Zumpango del Rio, Guerrero. What royal treatment I received from Pastor Mario Clemente and his wife, Noemi! This is a village work, and unpaved roads led up to the little church building on a hillside. I fell in love with those precious people! I also got to fellowship with Missionary Nathan Patterson, and his wife, Apolonia and their three children.

After my return, I spent a week in Ixtapa, and it was such a joy to see how the ministry of Ulises and my daughter, Elizabeth has grown, not only in attendance in the churches, but also to see the new works that have been started since my visit in December. The day they came for me, during lunch, Ulises gave me the surprising news that they have surrendered their lives to be missionaries in Israel. While I have mixed emotions…no mother enjoys being separated from her children…I feel honored that God chose my children to minister to His chosen people. Please pray for them, as Ulises is preparing men to take over the works that he has started, and as they do deputation. And pray for me!

Excitement is at an all-time high, as November 18, the date of our Ladies’ Christmas banquet is rushing toward us. What started out as a burden that God put in my heart 17 years ago to reach ladies in prominent positions, has blossomed into a delightful ministry involving almost every member of our church. I couldn’t do this without them, and although God receives all the glory for the ladies who have been reached, humanly speaking, I couldn’t do this without you…your prayers and your financial support. 

A special feature on the program will be recognizing Baby Gabriel, and 9 more precious little ones whose lives God has spared, including a baby who underwent open-heart surgery. The mother of another one of these babies was told shortly after delivery that he would not survive. Distraught, she asked to be left alone. She told the Lord, “I’m going to stop asking you to save my baby. I give him to you right now. And if you choose to take him,     I’ll
keep on believing.” Is it any wonder that this is the theme for this year’s banquet? Oh, by the way, God spared her baby’s life.

Have a good time enjoying God’s blessings today, and just “keep on believing!”

Your friend,
Billie Sloan
Nahum 1:7 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Prayer Request List

November 18, 2016

  1. Wisdom and discernment in all the plans and decisions to be made.

  1. Extra strength for the ladies and me as we plan and make preparations.

  1. For the wife of our City Mayor to be able to attend, as well as First Ladies of neighboring towns. We refer to ladies who are in positions of prominence as “First Ladies.”

  1. For the wives of the former mayors, military wives, wives of men on the police force, and pastors’ wives to be able to attend.  

  1. For extra finances for the cost of the Banquet.

  1. Preparation of the special music, and choice of each song. This year our special guest singer will be Cathy Flores, wife of Pastor Carlos Flores.

  1. For our guest speaker, Missionary Jim Roggenkamp, as he prepares his message for the evening, and for liberty as he preaches.                                 

  1. For the Hotel staff to be reached with the Gospel.

  1. That the Lord would prepare the hearts of the ladies who will be attending, and for many to be saved, who will be an influence to others.  We have had ladies saved in every banquet for the past fifteen years, including five former First Ladies, three military wives, two ladies who have prominent positions in our city, and a policewoman.

Note:  This Banquet is an annual affair, and will be attended by ladies, who for the most part are unsaved, and who either because of religious preferences, or pressures from home, do not attend our Church.  The Lord laid these dear ladies on my heart several years ago, and I am as burdened for them as I am for the ladies in my Sunday School Class.

Billie Sloan
Nahum 1:7

Prayer Letter - August 2016

Good morning! One of the rewards of ministering to children is seeing them after they become adults.  Since my last letter, there have been 3 ladies saved in my Sunday school class. One of those ladies rode the van years ago when our family had a route in a nearby area of town.

This year in our Vacation Bible School I taught the story of Daniel.  Every morning the children also heard preaching from different men in our church. Seven precious children were saved!

The Spanish Family Conference near Chicago has become almost like a family tradition for me. This June was my 10th annual Conference, where I was privileged to teach 7 times to different ladies’ sessions. I go to be a blessing, but I am the one who always leaves challenged by the wonderful preaching and fellowship.

From Chicago, I flew to Chattanooga, TN. Pastor Virgil Smith and his wife, Karen met me at the airport. We had never met, but by the time we reached my apartment at the Gartenhaus Training Center, which is part of the facilities of the Hamilton Baptist Church, I felt like we had known each other for years. Thank you, precious friends, for over 20 years of faithful support; for the honor of teaching the ladies’ Sunday school class; and for inviting me to share my testimony in the morning and evening services.

My visit there was somewhat over-shadowed by the news of the deaths of two people very precious to my life:  my husband’s former pastor, Bro. W.N. (Jimbo)  Bond went to be with the Lord on June 24; and two days later, my husband’s cousin, a pastor’s wife, joined him. Heaven just keeps getting sweeter.

On July 25, I was invited to speak at a farewell dinner for a military wife, whose husband recently retired after serving almost 33 years as captain in the Mexican army. They have since moved to Mexico City. Since he and another gentleman were present, I simply gave my Salvation testimony, using lots of Scriptures. He promised me that they will be attending our Banquet on November 18. We will be honoring him that evening.

At our monthly visit to the Nursing Home on the 30th of June, we walked in, we noticed a casket in an adjoining room. The former mayor’s wife, who is now the director of the home, said he was an unknown man whom they found on the street a couple of years ago. He never regained consciousness.  “No family member has ever come to visit him, or look for him. We don’t even know his name, so we named him Juan.” The lady who gave the devotional taught through tears, and she said, “God knew his name and where he was.” My greatest sorrow was that probably no one ever told Him of Jesus.

That is the purpose of our 18th Annual Ladies’ Christmas Banquet, November 18. Many of these well to do ladies of prominence who will be attending have never heard a Gospel message, or the plan of Salvation. Please take seriously the Prayer Request List I am sending.

And please pray that I will seize every opportunity to speak to others about the Lord. That’s my mission on this earth.

Your friend,
Billie Sloan
Nahum 1:7