June 2021 Newsletter

Dear Friend of FOA,

I am very thankful for the confidence that we can have in our great God.  More and more in my life I am reminded of how little confidence we can have in anything else.  We are currently studying through the book of Colossians with our Romans house students, and we have been reminded that Christ is supreme, preeminent, fully God, the Head of the Body.  In Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (2:3) and we are complete in Him (2:10).  And, of course, the great mystery of “Christ in you the hope of glory” (1:27).  Because of truths like these (and many others from God’s Word) we have full confidence that teaching Jesus Christ is the only answer that can meet the needs of the men the Lord brings our way.  We don’t mix Christ with the philosophies of the world or traditions of men or laws of religious systems (as Paul warns against in 2:8), we just teach the truth of Jesus Christ through the Word of God.  Some of these other things appear to have wisdom, but they are of no value against fleshly indulgence (2:23).  We want to give our men that which God tells us has value and answers the problems of life, and so we preach Jesus Christ!

With summer arriving comes a lot of activity at FOA.  We are already beginning to harvest some of the fruits of the garden with anticipation of more to come.  It is always a blessing to begin reaping the harvest and seeing the fruits of our labor on our plates at supper.  Like many of you we have plenty of daily physical chores around the ministry to keep things going – from mowing grass, chopping wood and working in the garden to maintenance repairs and projects.  We have guys keeping the buildings clean and preparing 3 meals a day.  But the central part of our ministry is the men the Lord brings to us from all over the place.  Recently, we have been able to bring in more men to the ministry which brings with it great opportunities as well as new challenges.  Please continue to pray for our students and our staff.   

Finally, please pray for one of our volunteer staff members, Duane Girton.  Duane has been dealing with some physical health problems recently and we would appreciate prayers for he and his wife Mrs. Marilyn.  Thank you for your prayers and support. 

Because of our Confidence in Christ,  

Aaron Bonner

May 2021 Newsletter

Dear Friend of FOA, 

Each year as we tend to our garden here at the ministry there is a lot of maintenance involved – especially early on when the plants are starting to grow.  They are very fragile.  The weeds try to come up and choke them out.  Heavy rains can wash them out if they aren’t rooted well.  It takes time and care so the plants can grow up and mature to produce fruit.  Cultivation is key to our garden’s success.

 The garden is a lot like our ministry to the men the Lord sends our way.  Many of them are coming to us in a place of brokenness.  Some are not believers in Christ at all and need to be born again.  Others are very fragile and need to be rooted in Christ.  It is our privilege to be workers in the Lord’s field.  Some plant, others water but God gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:6).  Each day we give spiritual food to these men through the constant teaching of the Word of God.  If a man stays with us for 2 months, they will complete 112 hours of Bible study.  We believe that God uses His Word by His Spirit to transform lives.  The things of this world contend for the hearts of these men and try to choke them out – the weeds of life.  The heavy rains of life’s tribulations try to wash them out.  But the great Farmer (our Heavenly Father) is doing the work of cultivating that these lives may be firmly rooted in Christ (Colossians 2:7).  Please pray for our staff as we desire to be used of the Lord to minister to the spiritual needs of the students.

After a very long year dealing with Covid (like everyone else) we are thankful to be able to return to some normalcy.  We have decided to no longer quarantine new men coming in.  This allows our Romans students to return to the Romans house for their living accommodations, and opens up more beds in the Doctrine house to fill in the coming weeks.  We have also started to have family visits once again for our doctrine students and weekend passes for our Romans students.  These times with families are very profitable for encouragement and growth.  We hope in the next couple months to have more things return to normal.  Thank you for your prayers for us during this time of Covid and we ask for continued prayers for wisdom in the decisions made each day.

Resting in the Husbandman and the Vine (John 15),

Aaron Bonner

March 2021 Newsletter

 Dear Friend of FOA,

March is one of my favorite times of year because garden preparations are under way.  Since 2012, it has been my responsibility to oversee our garden each year.  While there is a lot of hard work involved every year in our garden there are also plenty of spiritual principles the Lord uses in a garden to teach us truth.  In just a few short weeks we will hook the plow up to the tractor and break the ground to prepare it to receive the seeds we will plant.  Each year as I plow our garden, I think of the work the Lord is doing to prepare people’s hearts to receive the seed of His Word.  Our prayer for the men the Lord sends to us is that they will have a prepared heart to receive the Word.  We pray that for men here and the men on our waiting list who we hope will soon join us.    

Preparation is a key spiritual principle that the Lord does to bring us to the place where we see our NEED.  Preparation hurts!  But it is necessary.  If we don’t prepare our soil properly, we will not have a good crop.  If people don’t see their need of the Lord then why would they be interested in His Word?  Most every man that comes through our gate is coming because he has been broken in some fashion.  Our prayer is that the brokenness will be used by God to open their hearts to the truth of His Word.  Thank you for praying with us for the men the Lord sends our way.

At the end of February we experienced quite a unique week for Mississippi with a winter weather storm that is abnormal for us.  I know much of the country experienced this storm as well.  While this storm impacted so many negatively, we were thankful that we didn’t experience any major problems.  We only lost power for a few hours and we never lost our water as so many did in the city of Jackson.  We definitely had some burst pipes from the consistent freezing temperatures, but we were able to get those fixed pretty quickly. 

As for the effects of Covid, we are continuing to bring men into the program after a few days in quarantine.  We are hopeful that we are nearing the end of a quarantine house so we can get men in much faster and fill up our beds.  Some of our men have been able to receive the vaccine at this point.  We continue to trust the Lord in His timing with this pandemic.  Thank you for your prayers and support of FOA!

Resting in Our Hope in the Lord,

Aaron Bonner

February 2021 Newsletter

Dear Friend of FOA, 

I love the simplicity of the gospel message. We must come to see our need - we can’t save ourselves or produce anything righteous or acceptable to God. That statement is offensive to many, but it is the truth of God’s Word. Only through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ can someone be saved, and as a result God receives all the glory. 

The gospel message continues into the Christian life with the same simplicity. We must come to see our need – we can’t live the Christian life ourselves. Christ tells us in John 15 that apart from Him we can do nothing. Paul tells us in Romans 7 that in our flesh dwells no good thing. This message can also be offensive to the believer. The downward growth of recognizing these truths is necessary for us to see God’s provision. Just as we found faith in Christ sufficient for salvation, we will find faith in Christ sufficient for the Christian life. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NASB). And of course, God receives all the glory. 

We have the privilege to teach these truths each day to the men the Lord brings our way. We do not teach the wisdom of the world but the wisdom from God. To the unbeliever it is foolishness but to those who are being saved it is the power of God. Thank you for being a part of what God is doing in the lives of men at FOA. 

In last month’s letter I mentioned that we had a positive Covid test from our men returning from Christmas pass. After 4 more positive tests, these men finally got out of quarantine on February 1st after just over a month. We are thankful there were no severe cases that required hospitalization. However, this delayed our ability to bring new men into our program. We look forward to once again starting the process of bringing new men in. Please pray for them to be prepared to receive the truth of the Word of God. Thank you for your continued prayers for the protection of our ministry from coronavirus. 

Trusting in the Faithful One, 

Aaron Bonner