Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Today is Whitsunday. After the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord appeared to his disciples for 50 days, instructing them in the Holy Scriptures, how the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms are fulfilled in Christ.
Our Lord not only taught the Apostles, but also commissioned the Apostles to preach God’s Word and make disciples of all nations, baptising and teaching obedience to all that Christ commanded, Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suf er, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:45-47).
Our Lord empowered his apostles for this Ministry by sending the Holy Spirit, But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
This is the Great Commission of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
When was the Holy Ghost given to the Apostles? 10 days after our Lord's Ascension to the right hand of the Father: on the day of Pentecost, or Whitsunday. Christ went up, the Holy Ghost came down, the Apostles went out to make full proof of their Ministry, to preach and suffer and die in the cause of Christ.
This year, Whitsunday falls on the 28th of May, coinciding with the UK Bank Holiday and US Memorial Day. As those in the Northern Hemisphere enjoy the Summer sun and beachside amusements with their families, remember the Great Commission was not given just to the Apostles, it is the sacred duty of all God's Church in every generation. As you feel the Summer Sunshine on your face, ask this question: what are you doing to bring lost souls, bound in darkness and the shadow of death, into the warm and life-giving rays of that Sun Of Righteousness, who arises with healing in his wings?
This Whitsunday, May God reform, revive, and reinvigorate His Church for the fulfilment of the Great Commission with an outpouring of the Holy Ghost, as in the days of Pentecost, who convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement, leading sinners into the knowledge of the Truth, the Truth Of Christ that alone sets men free.
April and May have been busy months with many opportunities to serve the King of Kings. My day job teaching at a Christian High School affords numerous opportunities to help young students deal with the challenges of youth and to grow in the knowledge of Christ.
Visiting the Embassy.
During our Easter holiday, on the 12th of April I journeyed to the federal capital, Washington DC, to present my application for a South African Visa at the South African Embassy, a necessary step to begin full-time Ministry with Frontline Fellowship, a Reformed Mission to the Persecuted Church in the Cape of Good Hope. Thankfully my application was accepted and I am eager to commence work in this new field of ministry. While travelling to DC, I had the opportunity for numerous Evangelistic conversations. On the train, I talked with an elderly black gentleman named Thomas M. Thomas claimed that all people were basically good. After leading Thomas through the Ten Commandments, he admitted that we are hell deserving sinners and reaffirmed his faith in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. - Gal 3:24
Abbeville Institute Ministry
I returned to Georgia 13 April, and I immediately headed west to Pine Mountain for the Abbeville Institute 20th Anniversary Conference. The Abbeville Institute was founded in 2003 as the premier Institute for politically incorrect and unreconstructed Southern studies, exploring what's best in the Southern Tradition. Participants enjoyed superb lectures celebrating the South’s culture, traditions, history and symbols. There was time for joy-filled conviviality and fellowship. I was pleasantly surprised to meet multiple individuals who were familiar with Frontline Fellowship and valued its Ministry.
On Sunday, I was invited to lead an interdenominational worship service for the Abbeville Institute Conference attendees at the beautiful Ida C Callaway Memorial Chapel in Callaway Gardens, one of the most beautiful formal Gardens in the South. The Azalea Bowl was in full bloom as we walked toward the English-Gothic stone church. The service was well attended, and included classic hymns of the faith; including Oh God Our Help in Ages Past, All People that on Earth do Dwell, and God Save the South. I preached on Ephesians 6 and the necessity of praying always, giving an illustration of how prayer was an essential part of the Revival in the Confederate Army during the War of Northern Aggression, and how this revival led to the South becoming the Bible Belt for over a Century.
On Saturday 22 April, I hit the road again, this time to Frontline North America (FNA) headquarters in Interlachen Florida. I am a Board-Member of FNA, an organisation which seeks to promote and extend the ministry of Frontline Fellowship in the Americas. The FNA Board met and discussed various issues with regards to the furtherance of Frontline Fellowship’s ministry and fulfilment of the Great Commission in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. We also sorted over 100 boxes of Frontline Fellowship publications, books and audio-cds, for distribution in the Americas. The Board of Frontline North America concluded the day with Evening Prayer.
Ordination in Virginia
The Following Saturday was an especially important day in my ministerial calling. In the Reformed Episcopal tradition, there are three orders of ministers; Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons. For nearly 2 years, I served in the diaconate (the junior level of the Episcopal Ministry) at a small rural congregation in Florida. In preparation for my Ministry in the Cape of Good Hope, on Saturday 28th of April, I was ordained a Presbyter for The Free Church of England - Evangelical Connexion.
The Free Church of England traces its roots to the first Great Awakening and the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion. We are Reformed-Evangelical Christians in the Episcopal tradition with growing missions on four continents, including in restricted access areas and communist countries.
The ordination took place at Trinity Chapel, situated in the beautiful and mountainous farmlands of Southwest Virginia. The ceremony was attended by clergymen and friends from throughout the Southeastern United States. The rite of ordination in the Free Church of England dates back to the Reformation. It was humbling to think that innumerable missionaries and ministers had taken the very same Oaths I was taking that moment: The Puritans, George Whitfield, the Wesleys, JC Ryle, Reginald Heber, Samuel Marsden, these are just a few who commenced their ministries with these sacred vows.
“WILL you be diligent in Prayers, and in reading the Holy Scriptures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge of the same, laying aside the study of the world and the flesh?” “WILL you be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's Word,” “WILL you be diligent to frame and fashion your own selves, and your families, according to the Doctrine of Christ,” “WILL you maintain and set forwards, as much as lieth in you, quietness, peace, and love, among all Christian people, and especially among them that are or shall be committed to your charge?”
Mission to California
An important aspect of contemporary domestic missions is visiting the scattered families and small congregations of believers who do not have regular access to preaching and the sacraments.
The first weekend of May, I undertook a brief but meaningful mission to the West Coast of the United States to preach and administer the sacraments at Littlewood Anglican Fellowship outside San Francisco (A lay-led Church Plant). While there, I examined a young child in preparation for her being admitted to the Lord's Supper. It was encouraging to hear her childlike faith as we discussed the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles Creed, and the Ten Commandments. I was blessed to preach on the Davidic Covenant and the King of Kings who is eternally enthroned over the covenant Kingdom of God.
This being my first time on the West Coast, my hosts took me on a historical tour of the San Francisco Bay Area. We visited the 18th century Santa Clara Franciscan Mission station, Numerous historical markers and memorials to the Western Colonial heritage, the oldest Protestant Episcopal churches on the West Coast ( built of California redwood), and concluded my stay with viewing the natural beauty of San Francisco Bay, including the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean.
The highlight of the tour was evening prayer with my host, his wife and their seven young children at the Prayer Book Cross. We hiked the trail to the Cross, passing beautiful flowers and waterfalls, just in time to take in the magnificent sunset. This Monument stands in honour of the first Protestant worship offered on the West Coast, when Sir Francis Drake landed in San Francisco Bay in 1575 and His Chaplain, the Rev. Francis Fletcher, presided at a Thanksgiving Service according to the Book of Common Prayer in this New Albion.
Moving to Africa!
Any teacher will tell you that the last month of the Academic Year is the most rigorous and tiring for educators and students alike. After returning to Georgia, the rest of May was taken up with teaching, grading, and counselling students. The day before graduation, I gave an exhortation to our senior class (which is all male this year), on 1 Corinthians 16:13: Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Calling them to genuine Christian manliness: be vigilant, undistracted, rooted in the Truth, strong physically and spiritually, with renewed minds, embodying that famous title by Irish missionary T.C. Hammond, In Understanding be Men.
On 25 May, with the school year finished, and my RSA Visa in hand, I boarded the plane from Jacksonville to Cape Town, ending several months of bustling American Ministry. In my next report, I will update you on the new ministry God has called me too with Frontline Fellowship and the Free Church of England-Evangelical Connexion, in the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa.
Please Pray for the Continued Witness of Frontline Fellowship and the Free Church of
England - Evangelical Connexion. Please pray for the success of my ministry in the Cape
of Good Hope. Finally please pray for the Persecuted Church. Be assured of my prayers.
For Christ’s Crown and Covenant,
Ryan Louis Underwood +
The Collect for Whitsunday.
O GOD, who as at this time didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people, by the sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit; Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
To subscribe to the Rev. Underwood’s Good Hope Mission Report:
Please write to: email@example.com
Please visit our websites:
Frontline Fellowship Africa: www.frontlinemissionsa.org
Frontline North America: www.frontlinemissionna.org