Fall 2008 Newsletter
GREETINGS IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST
The heat and humidity has left us and the cooler days and nights are upon us already. This year seems to be going by so fast. Maybe it's just me, but the older I get, the faster the years seem to go by.
I've met a lot of people here in Florida and have already connected with three different Jail & Prison Ministries. Most of these ministries minister on a one on one basis and are trying to get permission for me to hold a weekly service with as many inmates as possible present. I'm really looking forward to this especially with the Holidays quickly approaching us.
I've already been ministering with
a Homeless Ministry here providing meals, clothing and housing, and a weekly
church service Sunday afternoon. Many of the homeless come to Florida because
of the warmer climate. It's sad to see so many women with children living
out on the streets. This ministry also helps the elderly living on limited
incomes by making repairs on their homes and providing food on a weekly basis.
It has kept me very busy so far, and I'm blessed to be able to help those
I found a church home and they even have a motorcycle ministry. The Pastor himself, has a motorcycle and joins us for our rides after the men's breakfast that is held once a month on a Saturday morning. We have breakfast, a short Bible study, fellowship and then a 2 to 3 hour ride on our motorcycles out in the country.
The weather here is perfect for motorcycling 12 months a year. I have made many friends at this church and am blessed to be a part of it. It is very much like the church I attended when I lived in Georgia, so that is very comforting.
The last few months have not all been filled with ministry and having fun. Two people very close to me went home to be with the Lord. Gloria Flynn was my "spiritual" Mother since 1984 when I first surrendered my heart to Jesus at Landmark Church in Norcross, Georgia. She was loved by so many people that the Funeral Home did not have room to hold them all. I will miss her phone calls and her lovely voice encouraging me when things got rough. Next was Marianne Wilkerson, the wife of one of my oldest friends and supporters, Bob Wilkerson. Bob was one of the original people on my Board of Directors when God first called me into ministry. Bob has stood beside me every step of the way encouraging me not to give up for so many years. There are 2 precious angels in Heaven now looking over me. I will miss them both, but will see them again someday. How lovely it must be to see Jesus face to face.
The last few months also have been a financial struggle. With our economy the way it is, it is no surprise people have to pull their belts in tight. With so many foreclosures, businesses shutting down, and people being laid off from their jobs, it has hurt us tremendously. We too, had to cut back on a lot of our giving to those in need. It is so difficult to explain to people that you can no longer help them the way we were for so many years. Please do your best to help us financially. Thank you.
We will have a new President in office come January 2009, and I firmly believe we need to pray for this country like never before.
I have been preaching on Second Chronicles 7-14 for the last eight years and I believe we all need to pay close attention to that Scripture verse: "If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn away from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sins and heal their land."
America kills more babies than any other country under the name "abortion." And Gods Word says He hates the shedding of innocent blood. We have legalized abortion, allow pornography on our TV's and computers, and promote same sex marriages.
We want "In God We Trust" taken off our currency, and "One Nation Under God" removed from our Pledge of Allegiance.
In essence a majority of non-Christian Americans want God out of America. They think their technology and wealth can carry them through the toughest of storms. They need to read the "Book" and find out who really wins!!!
God's Word says He will always have a remnant. I believe in my heart that you and I are part of that "remnant." We need to unite in prayer and put all our denominational differences aside once and for all.
Please pray for my health and strength
and the ministry finances if you will, please. I'm going to be 65 this coming
May and have no health insurance and my body is wearing out slowly but surely.
I need your support more than ever before. I'm trusting in God to keep me
going in every area of my life until He decides its time for me to come home
Happy Holidays, to all of you, and Lord Bless you all.
A fellow bondservant,
Tom PAPANIA Spring 2008 Newsletter
GREETINGS IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.
2008 is here and Im still in the habit of writing 2007 on all my correspondence. Where did 2007 go?
I have been holding out for a miracle for quite sometime now, but it just didnt come. You see my wife Teresa filed for divorce back in May of 2006. I imagine the pressures of her health, our failing finances, her sons heroin addiction, and that I am not the easiest person in the world to live with has taken its toll on her and she decided she wanted out. I had prayed it wouldnt come to this, but it is what she wanted and I could not convince her otherwise.
I gave her the house, all the equity and the contents of the house and left with only my clothes and business equipment and moved into a nearby apartment complex.
During this time 2 of our dogs of 11 ½ years died of cancer thirty days apart from one another. So, 2006 and 2007 are years I would like to forget. Needless to say, my heart is broken in millions of pieces.
I took a sabbatical for a few months to fast and pray and try to get my life back in some kind or order. Im slowly mending and I know God will continue the healing process to completion.
Please continue to pray for Teresa and her son. Pray for her physical healing, her finances and for her sons total deliverance from drugs. Amen!!
The Prison Ministry is going full steam and weve been blessed to see about 30 men get saved each month! Praise God! We now have a large population of Hispanics in our Prison System and we have a Hispanic Pastor, Harry Valdez helping us translate our services to these men. We recently received a request for almost 100 Spanish Bibles and Pastor Harry was kind enough to purchase them for these men at his own expense. Hallelujah!!
There has also been an addition to our Prison Ministry in the last 9 months. (Hmm, 9 months= birthing period). Being a Harley Davidson owner I have recently discovered an amazing harvest field. I have come in contact with about 150 Bikers who are unchurched. The majority of them believe in God but do not attend any local church because they feel they are not accepted because of their appearance: you know, jeans, boots, leather jackets, tattoos, and some with long hair. I assured them they would all be accepted in the church that I attend. After all, if they accept me with my past, they would accept anybody. They asked me how I dressed to go to church. I told them with a suit, shirt and tie of course. They said that is why they accept you. Dress like we do for a few months and see if they still react to you the same way. I immediately accepted their challenge and wore my motorcycle boots, jeans and leather jacket to church that Sunday. I even grew a goatee to finish my new Biker look. At first people just looked at me kind of curious, but after 2 months about 85% of the people who had been very friendly towards me began to totally ignore me.
The Bikers were 100% right in their assumption of not being accepted because of their clothes. I cannot imagine anyone who has the audacity to call themselves a Christian judging people on their appearance only. We Christians should look at a person heart and not what they are wearing. I was so disappointed and angry at the same time. And when Im angered, I get highly motivated.
These Biker groups go on benefit rides almost every weekend during the entire year. Some of the rides are benefits for children with cancer, Firemen and Policeman who got hurt on the job, others who are seriously ill and have no medical insurance or the insurance ran out, others who have been out of work for a long periods of time. People this is Gods work!! These unchurched Bikers are doing more of Gods work than 75% of the people who sit in pews Sunday after Sunday. The benefit rides usually charge anywhere from $20 to $25 for each motorcycle and $10 for each passenger. 100% of what is collected goes to the person the benefit is for! Nothing is deducted for advertisement or marketing. Not one cent!
I view these registration fees as a sort of a tithe. These Bikers are 100% tithers and dont even realize it. Imagine if church goers would become 100% tithers? That would be some miracle.
God has given me such a burden for them that I am presently looking for someone to donate some space to this ministry so I can hold services for them on Sunday evenings. Most of the benefit rides are on Saturdays and Sundays and are usually over by 5 pm. So, I desire to hold a 6 pm service for them. Then when enough of them feel comfortable attending the services, I will invite them to attend the Sunday morning service I attend every Sunday before the benefit rides begin.
My Pastor, Bishop Bolin, has already told me to bring them in and not worry about what the congregation might say or think. I thank God Im under the leadership of a God fearing Pastor and not a man pleaser. Praise God!!
Can you imagine a hundred or so motorcycles pulling into that parking lot some Sunday morning and both men and women walking into church with jeans, boots, leather jackets and vests and tattoos and long hair? I doubt if anyone will fall asleep during that sermon. Hallelujah!! I pity the religious folks!!
Im also planning on inviting these Bikers into the Prisons with me once the weather warms up. Some Prisons have already had Christian Bikers ride their motorcycles right onto the Prison grounds and many inmates surrendered their lives to Christ. Praise God!
My first speaking engagement in 2008 was in Texas. Unknown to me they also had a Biker ministry. God is truly amazing! I met some of the bikers and a few of them told me how they left Biker gangs after getting saved and never regretted it. I was so blessed. I told them of my burden and they encouraged me. I also have speaking engagements in Oklahoma, West Virginia, California and Canada scheduled in 2008. So God is not done with me yet.
I need your prayers more than ever before. Im ministering with a wounded heart and an empty wallet, but I have the confidence that God will get me through all of this somehow and turn what the enemy meant for evil into something good. He is faithful to finish what He started in me. Amen!! I am desperately trying to keep my eyes and mind going forward and not looking back. What happened in the past is just that: the past. Everything God has for me is in front of me. And I refuse to take any steps backward and give the enemy any kind of victory. Amen!
I still have been unable to find
a publisher willing to publish my book. The only other option I have is to
self publish. But between graphics, printing and other expenses, I am looking
at a minimum of $10,000 of which I do not have. But God is still in the miracle
working business, so if all these things are in His will, they will all come
to fruition in His perfect timing. Amen!!
I thank all of you who faithfully pray for and financially support this ministry on an on going basis. We lost a few supporters in 2007 due to loss of employment, death in the family. (Bill Williams, a dearly beloved man of God), and our present economy. But, we are still marching forward and claiming victory over the evil one. Hallelujah!!
I opened my heart and made myself completely vulnerable in this newsletter to all of you reading this. I pray that you will not find fault with me or condemn me, but instead forgive me for any wrong doing you may think I have committed, and continue to lift me up in prayer as you have always done.
A fellow bondservant,