The Lord continues to show Himself faithful as we continue to labor with Him in Dumaguete. Thank you for your continued prayer and support. As I write this letter, we are all in the midst of a worldwide health scare; our city has been at the center of this news in the Philippines, as the earliest case in the Philippines passed through our city. Currently, there is a confirmed COVID-19 patient in our city’s best hospital, who contracted it from outside our area. The president of the Philippines announced last night that our capital city, Manila, will be under a month-long lockdown. It is expected that various provinces and cities will be following with their own restrictions. Our schools are currently suspended, and there is talk of banning large gatherings. Already we are seeing fear among people as they limit their travel and interactions.
Please pray for us, as we pray for you, knowing that this problem is causing alterations to your daily lives and may continue to for the near future. Praise the Lord! He is in control, and we do not need to fear. He doeth all things well.
In January, we celebrated the nine-year anniversary of International Baptist Church; we took two Sundays to celebrate the occasion. One Sunday was for our church members to enjoy, and the other was a big day to bring in visitors. On both Sundays we had visitors, with professions of faith and baptisms. We are still blessed to have only seen one Sunday in the past nine years where our baptistery was not used. God has been so gracious to our faithful workers. I have to remind them continually that this is not typical of most churches and that we should not take for granted what God is doing among us. We are happy that this is fruit to your account.
Also in January, we were able to host a group from Faith Baptist Church in Wildomar, California, for a few days. They visited in our school ministry and helped us as we got started in a new school. This ministry allows us to minister weekly to the same young people, mostly Grade 6. We are currently in four schools, with prospects for more the next school year. We are even helping a church in a nearby city get started doing what we are doing in their location. These schools are in areas where we also have routes that pick up families on Sundays, so it works well to be able to introduce them to Christ and Bible teaching and then bring many to church. Please pray for more open doors in this area.
In 2019, we had more than 6,092 souls saved throughout our ministries and 234 who followed the Lord in baptism. Already this year we’ve seen 50 baptized of the 1,315 saved in our ministries so far. It is exciting to see soul winners bringing converts to church to be baptized. It is also exciting to see those who continue to come and grow in their new faith. Please pray that these new believers will continue.
This year marks our tenth year in the Philippines, which means some immigration challenges for us. Please add this to your prayer list, as we are facing extra immigration work and travel in the midst of this current health crises, with uncertain travel restrictions. Already we have tickets to leave the country at the end of June to visit the team in Thailand, then coming back to the Philippines, fresh, to apply for new missionary visas. We need to see God do some amazing things between now and then to make it all work out. We covet your prayers.
Then, if you would pray for and consider supporting a new family that will be coming to join us, Lord willing, this year. The Daniel Williams family, who served previously in China, are ready to return to the mission field and have decided to come serve as part of our team in the Philippines. They will be in Texas and California in the months ahead. You may find their details on the FBMI website (www.fbmi.org).
Thank you for being faithful.