Paul said to the Ephesian pastors, “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house.” (Acts 20:20).
We enter the year 2020 praying we will have “20/20 vision” regarding our work for the Lord at International Baptist Church of Dumaguete City, Philippines.
December was a good month, as we saw God bless our Christmas program filled with music, a Gospel presentation, and many decisions for the Lord. According to the records we have, we rejoice that the Lord enabled us to see 6,091 saved and 234 baptized through our ministries in 2019!
We entered the New Year with our church being together for a Watchnight Service. During this evening, our team leader, Bro. Randy DeMoville, revealed the theme of this next year: “Vision MMXX” (Roman numerals for “2020”). Everyone in our church will have weekly “missions” to prod them towards being more involved in Christian service and godly habits such as soul winning, bringing visitors, Bible reading, and Scripture memorization.
In January we welcomed Dr. Bruce Goddard and his group from Faith Baptist Church in Wildomar, California. It was a blessing to host this group for a few days as they preached in our church and college chapel, as well as reached souls in several public schools. Dr. Goddard was Bro. DeMoville’s pastor when he was a teen, and it encouraged both of their hearts to see that they were still keeping the same biblical standards from decades ago.
We celebrated our 9th church anniversary in January on two Sundays, which saw a combined total of 42 baptisms and an attendance of 392 on the 26th. Hard to believe next year will be our 10th anniversary of “God is at work in Dumaguete”!
I have had an increased load of teaching in our Bible college this year, but I always enjoy being with our students, who have a heart for learning and serving our Saviour. Classes on the Gospel of John, foundational doctrines, the book of Acts, biblical standards, and Old Testament survey filled January’s class time. Arlyn, one of our college senior girls, was able to see her father saved in another city in December. I had the honor of baptizing him at IBC in January. She had been praying for his salvation for years and we rejoiced with her as God blessed her faithfulness.
As I write this, our city is at the center of news about the new coronavirus that is spreading in China. Visitors from China stayed in our city for four days and were later found to have the virus. It was tragic that one of them died from the disease while in Manila. Those who were in contact with the visitors are being watched and quarantined as we wait to see if the disease will spread. Many here are now wearing surgical masks from fear of the virus, and public schools have been closed for a few days as a precaution.
One “silver lining” was that my soul-winning partner and I were able to witness to four teen girls wearing masks as they walked along a street on a Saturday morning. They were all glad to receive Christ as their personal Saviour.
Please pray for wisdom for us, and thank you for your faithful support.
Praying for God to bless your 2020,