Tonight we received a letter from our dear friend John Corey. He went to be with the Lord this morning, and in true John Corey fashion he had the last word. John battled cancer for almost as long as I can remember, and yet by God’s grace he outlived anyone’s most generous predictions, and in the midst of remission then recurrence, remission then recurrence, he diligently and fervently served Christ.
Over ten years ago John, Bob and I all traveled to Spassk, East Russia to teach the book of II Timothy to a little church that John had a hand in planting. Over the course of two weeks a little corner in broken-down Spassk was transformed by the gospel…and really not just that on time, but many as John traveled back and forth diligently caring for and shepherding that flock of followers.
I’m studying and teaching II Timothy this fall with a group of women who, with great passion and zeal, all want to follow Jesus, we all want to disciple others and be discipled. Here’s a chance to learn from a man who was more focused than anyone I’ve ever known. Read, and rejoice with me as you imagine what it was like for this faithful missionary to step from earth’s scarred floor across the threshold into the arms of the Savior he so deeply loved.
*John Corey went to be with the Lord on September 19th, 2012. Here is a letter he dictated to his daughter before his home-going.*
Dear Friends, September 14, 2012
I want to thank you for your support, encouragement and prayers through all the years. But the way it looks at this point, God is very close to taking me home. I have many cancer tumors throughout my body. The doctors say I can’t tolerate any more meds nor radiation. My whole body is wracked with tumors, some of them very large. God has blessed me in so many ways. Let me recount some of those blessings.
We served in Liberia between 79 – 92. War came to Liberia and we had to evacuate with very short notice. We had served there almost 13 years. After the war, I began to make many trips to Liberia to disciple and train pastors and found there were few there focusing on the churches and helping them to grow.
At the last, I was trying to help out by taking 4, 5, or 6 MP3 players with messages from our pastor Scott Gilchrist to Liberia that would help some key pastors. Some pastors benefited with that. So, the Sunday before I left the States for the 2010 trip, Scott was starting the book of 2 Peter. He would read through a book 50 times before he would study to preach on it and would copy the book. I challenged one Bible school student to read Romans 50 times and it transformed his life, his ministry, and his church and even into his denomination. The last trip in 2010, I encouraged all the pastors I was teaching, to copy the book of Philippians out. As they did that, pastors would say “I always loved this verse and would go to this verse but now I know what it means because I have understood it in it’s context!” I had given out all the players that I had. Then I met a college graduate pastor that was very fearful of demons. He had no Bible training. I was leaving the country in 2 days. I called him in and talked to him about how he was caught up with the demons. He was very thankful for the Word and what it said. I thought “How can I help this man know the truth?” However, I was leaving the country and I had no more players. I considered giving some players to pastors and leaders, but then everybody will want a player. So that bore the dream of having people read Romans 20 times and copy it out and then we would freely give them an MP3 player at our expense of $25 which we have called the ROMANS PROJECT. It just seemed like God dropped it in my lap! I didn’t feel like I dreamed it up, but God just put it there. So when I came back to the States, I started discussion with some key pastors in Liberia and the church union that I worked with. They all read Romans 20 times and copied it out and received an MP3 player with several hundred of Scott’s messages on it.
They now have selected a coordinator who has wanted for years to train pastors in Liberia. He had longed to train pastors and this opened the door for him to be doing that since his keen desire was to impact pastors in his country and elsewhere. He is very dynamic and has facilitated the project which has transformed about 3000 pastors in Liberia. We required that each one who read the book write a testimony of how this impacted them. Now we have thousands of testimonies of how this project has transformed pastors. Some have even been saved through this, transforming their lives, their ministry, and their churches.
We have distributed 6500 players in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. Our pastor, Scott Gilchrist, will be coming back this Saturday as I write this. This project has impacted so many people, transforming them. Instead of just getting up and talking to their congregations, they are speaking from the book of Romans. I have a goal in my mind to see 1 million pastors with up to 4 teaching leaders in each church complete this project which would be a 25 million dollar project for which we are seeking grants. Liberia has gone beyond anything I ever envisioned.
I met with a group that are going into Russia. I have had a Russian ministry for many years (over 30 trips there in the last 10 years) and the group’s goal is to try to translate these messages into Russian, in book form or MP3, possibly both. So, I see Russia being covered by two men going in October. If we are able to do this, Russia will be dynamically touched.
We have a vision. There are 32,000 churches in Ethiopia. Campus Crusade for Christ is working there interdenominationally. Their goal is to train 80,000 pastors and churches. We are in the process of connecting this project with them.
During the last 2 1/2 years I have been training 4-6 of my older grandkids in Romans and it has transformed them. Tomorrow, as I write this, we will be meeting together as a family, all 30 of us together. I have challenged the older kids to take on the younger ones because I wasn’t able to spend much time with them. And tomorrow as we meet, I want to lay hands on each individual, praying and challenging them to walk with God throughout their lives. I want to bless each one. Tomorrow is September 15th. I was diagnosed with cancer on 9/28/01 a few weeks after 9/11/01. Each of those days Jeanette said, “You never know what a day will bring forth.”
My family is reconciled that I will be going soon. I will be seeing Jesus face to face any time in the next shorter or longer period of days or weeks. I don’t know. But I am no longer on medicines for myeloma or radiation because my blood counts are so low with growths throughout my body. So after we meet tomorrow, whenever Jesus calls me, I am ready to go. We have been very close as a family. As far as I know, every one of the grandkids loves the Lord from the youngest at 7 to the oldest at 21. The whole family is expecting at any time that Jesus will call me home. I just wanted to have tomorrow to be able to bless them, each individual in my family.
Like Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
So as I write this, if you receive it after I depart, the family will add another short note to let you know of my departure.
Again I want to thank each of you for being a part of the encouragement to us and to our ministry and to our lives; for praying for us throughout these years. And we just want you to rejoice with me when I go, that I am with Jesus and I will see you when you come. I will be waiting for each one of you. We will rejoice before the throne of God and in His presence.
Now the responsibility for the family will be towards Jeanette and you will need to have her email address which is firstname.lastname@example.org. Jeanette’s race isn’t completed yet until God says it is time for her to come home. She still would need your support from those who are able. She deeply cares for all our family members and is a real blessing to all of them.
Held by His righteous right hand.
***John Corey is now in the very presence of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.. He was able to bless and pray for each family member as was his desire and went to be with the Lord 3 days later on September 19, 2012! Praise the Lord with us in his home-going. The Lord gave us this verse that morning, “God has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecc. 3:11
***In lieu of gifts or flowers to be sent, we would like all gifts to be designated to the ROMAN’S PROJECT
Romans Project Official website http://downtownbible.org/romans-project.html
Romans Project Blog http://mp3project-mp3.blogspot.com/