Well, it’s Friday evening, November 16, and I am finally sitting down to write my prayer letter that should have been sent two weeks ago. Yesterday we completed our first annual Missions Conference. God truly blessed everything that happened. God gave us a great attendance all three nights, and so many of our people just jumped in and did whatever was necessary. As a pastor, I could not have been more pleased with the spirit of our people throughout the entire conference. Our guest speaker, Pastor Jerry Maluyao, brought a group of his faithful church members with him to the conference, along with several men sent out from his church who are now pastoring their own churches! With Pastor Maluyao’s help, we packed out our building! The spirit of each service was great! Pastor Maluyao’s messages were right on target, and I know that God did something special in the hearts of our people. Yet I have to be honest; this morning and throughout the day today, I have found myself feeling more discouraged than encouraged. It was an emotionally exhausting week. Truthfully, it has been an emotionally exhausting month. We’ve been focusing on missions for the entire month of November, and God has really been working. However, as is always the case, anywhere God is working, the Devil will be there to fight and harass every step of the way! I have found that to be particularly true in Dapitan. I know that we are not facing anything different from what others face in the ministry, but this morning and throughout the day, I found myself dragging emotionally. Today was one of those days where God allowed me to get a lot of things done; it just so happened that very few of them were on MY to-do list for the day! As I drove home for supper a little while ago, I was feeling the weight of all the things I was not able to accomplish today because I was so busy dealing with the surprise opportunities that God brought across my path.
I ate supper with my family, kissed my wife and kids goodbye, and headed back to the office to try to catch up and, hopefully, alleviate some of the pressure that I was feeling. I drove through Downtown Dapitan, seeing the sights and hearing the sounds to which we have become so accustomed. Dapitan City is our home, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. However, as I drove through Dapitan, a strange thought just struck me with the force of a thunder bolt: I AM LIVING ON THE MISSION FIELD! I am living the life that I dreamed about when I was in Bible college, preparing for the ministry. I pastor a small, but growing, church right in the middle of a Catholic stronghold! Is that not what I wanted when I was in college? I wanted to go to a dark place and punch holes in the darkness! And that is exactly what God is allowing us to do. I have an amazing wife and three precious children. Our “little” church, with an average attendance of about 40, sends out 20-25 soul winners every week to share the Gospel and pass out tracts all over Dapitan. Every week we have dozens, and more often, scores of people saved! We are in a place where many people are willingly blind to the truth, yet there are thousands and thousands of people who are hungry and searching. This afternoon I went out to survey a new area for soul winning tomorrow morning. I was not planning to witness, but before I left the area, I stopped to give some tracts to a group of people sitting under a shelter, obviously wondering why this strange American was wandering around their neighborhood. Once I started passing out tracts, I just couldn’t help myself. I began sharing the Gospel, and a crowd began to gather. By the time it was all over, I had the privilege of seeing 18 people trust Jesus Christ as their Saviour! You know, now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I LOVE MY JOB, AND I THINK I’LL JUST KEEP SERVING JESUS! Thank you for your faithful prayers and support. You have no idea the difference your prayers make!
Dividends on Your Investment
On Tuesday evening, November 6, we took our soul winners, as we often do, to the Dapitan City Plaza. “The Plaza,” as it is commonly called here in Dapitan, is a good-sized park located directly in front of the Dapitan Catholic Cathedral. Its dark, ugly towers glower down at us as we share the Gospel, but we have found The Plaza to be our most profitable “fishing hole.”
This particular night, I was soul winning with Joey, one of our faithful adult men, and my daughter Beth. We approached a group of three young people sitting on a stone wall, and while I was talking to them, Beth walked over to a group of college men and gave them all tracts. The three I was talking to showed no interest, but as we turned to walk away, I saw one of the college men Beth had just given a tract to. He had left the group and was picking up the trash that is always scattered around the park. I greeted him in Visayan, but when he turned and looked in my direction, I immediately recognized that he was not Filipino. I was caught off guard and stumbled over my words, not sure which language to use. He seemed to understand my greeting, so in Visayan, I asked him his name and where he was from. He responded in Visayan, telling me that his name was Hasim and that his family was from the United Arab Emirates. They moved to the Philippines when he was just two years old. I cannot remember the last time I talked to somebody who was more ready to be saved! Tears filled his eyes as I explained to him that Jesus Christ paid for all his sins, and he no longer had to pay. A few minutes later, we bowed our heads, and those tears flowed down his cheeks as he sweetly put his faith in Jesus Christ. After we prayed, he asked me if I remembered him. I did not. He told me that the previous Friday, I had given him a Gospel tract, and he had read it. God allowed me to plant the seed AND reap the harvest! I LOVE IT!
Yours for souls,