Happy New Year from Dapitan City! As we close out what I sincerely hope was the craziest year of our lives, we look forward with excitement and anticipation to what God is going to do in and through our church and ministry in 2021. The last two months of 2020 were busy as usual, with an extra dose of spiritual warfare thrown in for good measure. Thank you for your faithful prayers during these uncertain times. I honestly do not know what we would do without them!
Truth Baptist Bible Institute
I am excited to announce that on Friday afternoon, November 20, we launched our very own church institute! Being the incredibly uncreative person that I am, I have opted to call it (drum roll, please) Truth Baptist Bible Institute. I’m sure none of you saw that coming. We meet once a week, primarily for the purpose of training my staff. However, I also opened it up to any of our members who want to take part. God has given us an unusual staff in that only one of them had any Bible training prior to joining our team. We are using a modular structure and are currently in our third class. As of this writing, we have 9 students enrolled, and it has been a great blessing to watch as their knowledge of Scripture and ability to study the Bible for themselves has begun to grow. Please pray that the students will continue and that God will give us more students to train in the future.
Prayer Request for Ruth
I would like to ask you to pray for my wife. A couple of years ago, she was diagnosed with a hernia. Since that time, it has doubled in size, and in a recent ultrasound, we discovered that she now has a double hernia. We were planning on traveling to Dumaguete City sometime in 2020 for surgery; but, needless to say, that didn’t happen! As of right now, travel between provinces here in the Philippines is still extremely limited, even for medical purposes. Therefore, Ruth and I have recently decided to have the surgery done here on Mindanao. It certainly is not our preference, but I don’t believe we would be wise to continue waiting indefinitely for the lockdowns to be lifted. We have found a good surgeon and have begun the “wonderful” process of scheduling the surgery. I suspect that we will have a date set by sometime next week. I would be lying to say that we aren’t a little nervous, but I believe this is God’s timing. Please pray that God will place His hand of blessing on the entire procedure. Thank you in advance for your prayers.
Dividends on Your Investment
On Saturday morning, December 12, I had one of the most unusual soul- winning experiences of my life. On this particular day, I had asked Gellete, one of our staff ladies, to try to witness to the grandmother of Michelle, one of our Junior Church girls. Michelle lives very near the church, so we set out on foot. We had a total of three soul-winning groups: my partner and I, Gellete and her partner, and two of our high school men. My plan was to walk past Michelle’s house and point it out to Gellete. From there, the other group and I would continue to our planned soul-winning area.
As we walked towards Michelle’s house, I saw an older man sitting alone in the front door of his house. I stopped to give him a tract. He looked very sad, but he turned out to be rather friendly. It felt like a good soul-winning opportunity, so I turned and asked Aldwin, the older of the two high schoolers, to show Gellete where Michelle lived. I turned back to the older man and continued the conversation. I soon learned that he lived by himself and seemed very lonely. I was getting ready to turn the conversation to the Gospel when I was interrupted by a voice behind me. I turned around and was surprised to see a woman whom I had led to Christ several months before standing there. She looked at me and said abruptly, “I want you to talk to my brother.” To say I was startled would be a serious understatement! I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to just walk away from the man I was talking to, but it seemed like God was doing something special. I started to tell her that I would come to her house as soon as I finished talking to the man, but at that moment, Aldwin came back with his partner to let me know he had accomplished his mission. Aldwin, who is 19 years old, quickly took in the situation and said to me, “I can talk to him; you have an appointment.” I left that man in Aldwin’s hands and followed the woman back to her house, where she introduced me to her brother Freddy. After the initial introduction, Freddy looked at me and bluntly asked, “So, what is your doctrine?” I’ll be honest; at that moment, my heart sunk. I thought I had just walked right into a debate. I didn’t know where to start, so I started at the beginning. I told Him that we believe God made everything in six days, and then mankind fell into sin. Because of our sin, we need a Saviour. Until that moment, I had avoided asking questions because I still wasn’t sure if he wanted to debate me, but I really needed to know what he was thinking. So I stopped and asked him my favorite soul-winning question: “If you were to die today, are you sure you would go to Heaven?” He looked at me and said, “Right now, I am not sure.”
As it turned out, he was wide open to the Gospel. In fact, he was actively seeking the truth! He was the one who had sent his sister to chase us down! He had seen us walk by, and he wanted to be saved! About 30 minutes later, I had the joy of seeing Freddy bow his head and put his faith in Jesus Christ! When the morning was all over, I had gotten to lead Freddy to Christ, Gellete had gotten to lead Michelle’s grandma to Christ, and Aldwin had gotten to lead the lonely old man to Christ! I LOVE IT WHEN GOD BRINGS A PLAN TOGETHER!