Words from the Woodwards

Brazil

Brazil Fermata Group

Words from the Woodwards
April, 2021

“You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” 2 Cor. 3:2,3

Dear support team,

When I first read Handbook to Happiness in about 1985, the chapter on testimonies made me do a double-take. How could there be such transformational change in people’s lives? As years have gone by, the answer has become so obvious: it is the work of the Holy Spirit using the message of the Christ-centered life! The True Vine bears fruit through abiding “branches” for the glory of God.

The Rhode Island ministry weekend (March 26-28) was one of the most encouraging ever. About 33 attended the Abiding Life seminar. The host, Rob Semco, shared his exchanged life testimony (which was the major influence—along with prayer— that drew attendance to this event). A pastor’s wife who attended called the office with a radiant testimony. She also wrote: “Thank you so much for these resources! …So important to be equipped to help hurting people. I am having such a great time reflecting on the seminar and putting it all together as I read Handbook to Happiness and my Bible. I did pray on Good Friday, surrendering myself to God. It is my turning point. I am committed to the Exchanged Life! It is becoming clearer to me and I am walking it out in faith! So glad you came to R.I. and no telling what God has in store.” Amen!

I am facilitating our second Online Workshop. Only three are attending, but they could not get this training otherwise. They are using a special web page for videos and reading during the week and we meet on zoom (internet video) on Sunday afternoons.

God continues to send counseling and training inquiries to us weekly. Thank you for praying for counselees and trainees. God is still transforming lives. The needs and opportunities are greater than ever.

Thank you so much for being a vital part of my intercession and support team. May each of us continue to grow as “living epistles”—witnesses to the saving Life of Christ.

Yours in God’s grace,

John and Linda

Counselee Correspondence

From a pastor’s wife in Cameroon, Africa:

“Hello sir, greetings. I'm in so much tears of joy today. I finally came to an understanding of many things you explained to me on the day we spoke together [on WhatsApp telephone]. I chose to suffer so much for nothing, and abandoned the course. The day you prayed for me, I had a dream, and saw you and a long line of other ministers praying for me. You asked me to enroll in some Bible classes immediately [www.GraceStudyHall.org] and ensure to complete my course.

It’s now that I understand it. Thank you, sir, for the reminders you've been sending to me. The day you sent me those Scriptures I was so convinced about assurance of my salvation. It was the part of surrender that I didn't get, and since then I have suffered a lot. It’s a wonder I'm still alive. My situation just kept getting worse, and I was just getting into all kinds of self-destructive negativity. It’s today that God has made many things clear to me. I listened to Aaron Kim's [YouTube] video again and forced myself to go on a lifeline for Christ. And today, after receiving more bad news from the hospital, I finally decided to worship rather than complain. And in the mist of that, all was made clear. I'm beginning my journey to freedom today. ‘Just want to say thank you.”


Words from the Woodwards
February, 2021

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:1-4

Dear support team,

Thank you for your partnership in ministry. In addition to the general ministry letter, I’ll add a few more personal comments.

February 6-7 Linda and I enjoyed the visit with our son, Brad, his wife Krystle and our two-month-old granddaughter, Lila. What a joy to hold her in our arms and give thanks. On page 2 is a photo of my father-in-law. Roy was deeply touched that, as an 87-year-old man, he could hold his great granddaughter in his arms. Linda continues to be busy with part-time work at Dollywood, orienting new employees and co-leading leadership development sessions.

I presented a Walk Thru the Old Testament seminar during the last week of January. About a dozen attended; each appreciated this unique way of getting the big picture of the Old Testament. (The workbook and video recordings are available.)

A couple of weeks ago, a new telephone counselee from Texas said that she had searched Google for “Jesus heals mental illness.” She found our associate Aaron Kim’s videos, and then contacted us. In her first session she was very receptive, but it became apparent that she only had a nominal Christian background and needed to understand the gospel. It was explained to her and she prayed to receive Jesus as her personal Savior. Hallelujah!

On the evening of February 9th I am to be a guest speaker for ULead—a live online Christian leadership course with about 20 enrolled. It’s a privilege to have these kind of opportunities.

Although this ministry has a heavy workload, it is such a privilege to be able to serve full-time in a way that lines up with my passion, convictions, training, gifting, and opportunities. Linda and I have been blessed with good health as we take reasonable precautions and pray for wisdom. (Also a friend gives us a free supply of an effective anti-malaria medication which has some convincing research about its effectiveness to fight Covid as well.)

Our Monday night “Deeper Life Discipleship Study” is delving into Lee Turner’s book Discover Your Riches in Christ. What a blessing. The recordings of these meetings are at our GFI website under Counseling Institute /Online Video Meetings.

Thank you again for your friendship, fellowship, and support. May the peace and joy of the Lord be your strength.

Yours in Christ,

John and Linda

Words from the Woodwards
January 2021

 

"God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea...
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah" Psalm 46:1,2,10,11

Dear prayer partner,

I trust you had a joyful Christmas and encouraging new year celebration.  2021 is off to a quick start here at GFI.  Yesterday, I had three phone counseling sessions, and this morning an in-person session with a new counselee. Thankfully, she prayed to receive Jesus Christ as her personal Savior in the first interview! Please continue to intercede for those whom God leads here for personal ministry. He knows them all by name and is ready to give transformational change as they open their hearts to His presence, grace and truth.

You will observe in the statistical report that the Lord is opening the door for many ministry opportunities. I appreciate your prayer for grace, health, strength, wisdom, and perseverance.

On Monday nights at 7 PM we have started a new series on Discover Your Riches in Christ. The meeting invitation and video recordings are at the GFI site under Online Video Meetings. The last week of January I present a four evening series on Walk Thru the Old Testament. 

You may recall that Linda was laid off from Dollywood last fall. Thankfully, she has been rehired and re-joined the H.R. team on January 11th! We are thankful that she has this opportunity to work part time and let her light shine there.

Thank you very much for your prayers and faithful financial support. God bless you as you take Him as your refuge and strength in these troubles times.

Yours in Christ,

John and Linda

Our best “Christmas gift” was the safe arrival of our granddaughter, Lilah June Woodward, born to Brad and Krystle on December 16th in Nashville!

Letter

“Thank you, Dr John, for the weekly encouragement, comfort and blessing you bring every week to so many Christians [through Grace Notes]. I have learned and have grown in ways I cannot describe through the teaching you give in the online courses [www.GraceStudyHall.org].   

I would like to do the Counselor Certification in 2021. May you and your family enjoy a blessed and peaceful 2021 as you continue to teach and preach the message of God's amazing Grace.”

D. P.  - South Africa

  


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