Well, here we go again! About a month ago, we were attempting to get my family back to the United States while I stayed behind, waiting for the Philippines to open back up to tourists so they could return. Part of the flight requirements were negative RT-PCR tests. We praise the Lord that a laboratory opened in our city, which allowed us to change our original plan of my family’s having to going to Manila for a few days before their flight to be tested there. When they were tested locally, my wife’s test came back positive. That meant a scramble to change flights a couple of weeks out, but dangerously close to our visas’ expiration. A week after her first test, she had another test to see if she was negative before we tested all of the children again. It is expensive getting those tests for nine people. Sad to say, she tested positive again. After the first positive test, we expected to be forced into quarantine, so we self-quarantined. However, after the second positive test, they did contact us, and my wife had to be quarantined at a nearby hotel while the children and I were restricted to our home for 14 days. About a week into it, they tested Kelly again, and she was negative. So, the children and I went the next day to a facility to be tested, and all were negative.
The truth is, we were certain that we had COVID. I had lost smell and taste and felt horrible, and I am still recovering with an awful fatigue that just doesn’t want to go away. We are thankful that none of our symptoms were too serious.
Because of the delay, we had to cancel all plans of them returning and take another approach concerning our visas. We are attempting to extend our visas, even though we are past the 10-year extension limit. We are praying that due to the circumstances and God’s grace, they will approve it. Otherwise, we will be scrambling to exit the country before being deported. Either way, we are facing extra expenses in relation to this. Please pray for the provisions. We are hoping that this was all God’s way of keeping my family together longer on the field, though it left many in the U.S. who were anticipating their return disappointed. I win—they lose.
Our city of Dumaguete made the news recently as an area of “most serious concern” for the COVID-19 virus. Our province had gone pretty much unscathed until earlier this year when cases here began to rise. The entire
Philippines has been under quarantine, varying from place to place on the strictness of it. We were placed back on the strictest quarantine after having spent a great deal of time on the most relaxed. At this moment, we are still under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine, which limits our church attendance to 10% of capacity. In addition, all those under 18 years old and above 65 years old are confined to their homes, restaurants do not have dine-in, and many businesses such as barbershops, etc. are closed.
In spite of all of this, I am amazed at the great spirit of our church members. We hurt for the young people who are not able to attend at this time but are eager to get past these lockdowns and have the whole family together again. In the meantime, those who can attend in person do, while many are forced to watch online services either because they are too young to come or because they have children and must stay home with them.
We’ve still been blessed to have souls saved, as our members make contact with others, and to see visitors, though less frequent, during this time. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen new families added and are even looking
forward to some new students in our CHAPEL (homeschooling) ministry. They’ve announced that the entire Philippines will not be having face-to-face classes again this coming school year, which is about to start. The education was lacking before the pandemic, and it is not improving with ill-equipped homes. The joke here is that the parents are going to be smarter after the pandemic, because many of them are doing their children’s work—a very sad situation.
We celebrated our second wedding at International Baptist Church this past Friday. One of our Bible college men married one of the ladies in our church. They are a great couple, and we are excited for them. They postponed their original wedding date because we were quarantined and were willing to postpone it again, except we were released early. Please pray for Nelson and Jonna Duran as they begin their wedded life together.
We have another wedding scheduled in October for two of our staff members. We are in the last days of having our son Christian at home, as he will be leaving mid-August to start at Hyles-Anderson College. We will miss him greatly but are excited for him to begin this new phase of his life and pursuing God’s calling.
• Please pray for our visas to be approved and for the provisions for the extra costs this year.
• Please pray for a negative COVID test and safe travel to the U.S. for Christian.
• Please pray for the Philippines to emerge out of this pandemic situation and for the country to open back up. Many missionaries have been out of the country and away from their ministries for a long time.
• Please pray for us to have God’s wisdom, strength, and love as we continue to press forward during uncertain times.
• Please for our church to continue to reach the lost and disciple believers.
We love you and appreciate your prayers and support. You are making a difference here!