Ministering for the Lord in Cameroon, Brazil & USA

July, 2023

Dear Friends,

              From June 21 to 28 we endeavored to keep the unity of the Spirit in one body as we hosted the   21st World Congress of the International Council of Christian Churches in Collingswood, NJ.  It was a taste of heaven with Bible-believing Christians assembled from all around the world, encouraging each other in the things of the Lord.  Praise the Lord, we had a very good Congress with over 200 in attendance.  

              As we wrote in our last prayer letter we had been planning and preparing for this Congress for months.  It had not been held in the US for many years.  The last five Congresses had been held in Korea, Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, and Chile.  We had few resources and few people in the US to organize it, but the Lord supplied what was needed from many different quarters.  

              For example, a local Baptist church (Solid Rock) helped us greatly with a large tent (pictured left) that we used for meals, a hymn-sing, etc. They also supplied a bus with driver every day to transport people to and from the hotels. Then Solid Rock also supplied three buses for our Saturday tour of Philadelphia and gave us a van to use.  A Mennonite musical group ministered with good music on a couple of days, and for the Sunday afternoon sacred concert, and swelled our Congress choir which sang twice.  God blessed as a couple of local churches and families provided meals on designated days.  

              As you read in our last prayer letter many of our foreign delegates had trouble obtaining their visas.  Ken even submitted paperwork to our US Senator for 21 people that were having trouble.  Praise the Lord that out of those efforts, two visas were granted from Peru.  All told, roughly 40 delegates (from Brazil, Cameroon, Congo, Kenya, Guatemala, Peru, Philippines, etc.) could not come because visa interviews or visas themselves were not granted.  The brethren from Chile had no problem and 120 came from there alone.  It was also a blessing that five brethren from Brazil were able to attend.  Here is a picture of the two of us with three of the Brazilian delegates.  

              A dormitory was provided in the old Faith Christian School building next to the Collingswood church for those with limited resources.  All that was offered was basically a mattress on the floor. At first, we thought that few would be interested in that arrangement, but it soon filled up with over 50 delegates staying there.  The young people especially had good fellowship.

              So far, as our personal part in the Congress, the two of us were kept busy.  Before the Congress, Ken did some painting and Ira helped clean.  Ken was also responsible for transportation, and the Lord supplied through many different people assisting with their own cars, two rental vans, and the Baptist church vehicles already mentioned.  Ira worked in the kitchen and hosted the Brazilians.  Ken preached, helped lead a panel discussion, attended Executive Committee meetings, had a book table, and led in the opening of about half the services of the Congress.  

              One interesting thing was that right before the opening service, Ken had a tooth break half off so he could not chew or even talk well!  It took a day and a half to get an appointment with the dentist but just a half hour before the appointment, the rest of the tooth broke off, which temporarily solved the problem. Praise the Lord.

              We continue to preach in the Marcus Hook and Kingsville churches.  We also participated with the church in a Memorial Day Parade in Marcus Hook, which was a good opportunity to give out gospel tracts along the parade route.  Below is a picture of some of us at the parade.  We also attended the funeral of our longtime supporter Harold Forney in Gettysburg.  

              Finally, Leah and Luke are doing well but still would appreciate your prayers.  Leah is taking a new drug that specifically targets her type of cancer.  Luke is working and recovering still.  Thanks again for all your prayers and support.

                                                                                                                            In Christ’s service,

                                                                                                                            Ken and Ira Olson