In 2021 I preached 179 times in 43 appointments. I preached in Colorado, Mississippi, Oregon, Florida, Oklahoma, Alaska, Texas, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, California and Montana, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio. The meetings have been well attended and we’ve seen folks saved and Christians getting some things squared away with the Lord.
Once again my meetings on foreign fields folded up because of the unrealistic requirements of foreign governments. I had meetings in Canada and Australia that cancelled for the second year in a row.
Because of such draconian regulations we are probably done traveling internationally. Why? Because I am not going to some foreign country and pay them $2,000 per person to put us in “motelprison” for two weeks and I am not, by the grace of God, willingly letting any government shoot me up with the totally useless vaccine. If you think I’m wrong, that’s fine, but don’t contact me to let me know.
Kathy & I had Covid in June. Three days of Hydroxychloroquine (Do you know how bad I feel if I misspelled that?) and we were doing better. Then in October we got the Delta variant and both died. (OK, maybe I exaggerated a little!) This one put us down for about three weeks. It was mostly in the chest and also left us feeling really out of gas.
I have decided when the next variant comes out we’ll just go and stand in line to get it so we can put it behind us and go on with our lives.
My voice has pretty much returned. It took nine months rather than the three weeks my doctor told me it would. In fact, the reason it returned wasn’t because the surgery was “finally” successful but because the effects of the surgery, which the Dr. said would last 6-12 months, finally wore off. Unfortunately, the one lasting effect of the surgery is that it is more difficult for me to talk and preach than prior to the surgery.
Your vocal cords work via air pressure. If the average person needs 5lb. of air pressure to talk, before surgery I needed about 8lb. of air pressure due to the partial paralysis of my vocal cords. Now it takes about 10-11 lb. of air pressure due to what the surgery did to them. Preaching is sometimes difficult to do, especially the first few minutes until I can calm myself down and not panic due to shortness of breath. But, that being said, I can still preach! And I fully intend to until I die or the Lord chooses to retire me. Kathy and I still love what we do. We love the driving, the road hours, the fellowship with God’s people in the churches we visit and all other facets of the ministry. We love the Lord and His people and love helping them in some way.
The state of my neck is simply a fact-of-life and we deal with it as we must.
I am writing about five books presently but am focusing on completing the catalog of all the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. I have the files almost complete for the 5, 994 manuscript witnesses (If you think it’s a lower figure…that’s why I’m writing the book!) And just need to complete the text. It is going to be an obscenely expensive book to print so I will probably “pre-sell” it so I know how many to print. Because of the printing costs it will also be an expensive book to buy. Since “the Brethren” want all the information they can get but are usually unwilling to pay for it I don’t see it being anything near what someone would call a “best-seller.”
As always our greatest need and greatest request is for prayer. It is the “gas” in our tank. It keeps us going. I have often said with exaggeration, “If everyone praying for me stops today I won’t be in the ministry a week from now.” That is where we live. That is where we operate. We have no fear of the future. We both simply acknowledge that God can fold this entire ministry up in a week’s time. And that is why we have such faith in this wonderful God that we serve.
Thank you to all of you who pray for us. Prayer can get you what a check can’t!
In Christ’s Service,
Samuel C. Gipp