I trust that you are all doing well and staying safe during these unusual times. God has been very good to us here in Dapitan throughout the course of the entire pandemic. Until a few weeks ago, we had had no positive cases of COVID-19 in our entire province. In recent weeks, however, the government has begun allowing people who are stranded on other islands to return home. There is a strict protocol of testing for anyone traveling from one province to another, but apparently, it isn’t always strictly enforced. Of the over 3,000 people who have returned to our province, about 20 have tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival. Thankfully, our local government has been very diligent in enforcing a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all new arrivals, and thus far, we have yet to have a positive case that was actually contracted in our province. Consequently, we have had a good degree of freedom to go about doing our regular ministry work. We have been having three services a week for just over two months now, and this past Sunday, we restarted our regular Sunday school classes! We also have the freedom now to go soul winning anywhere we want. This past weekend alone, we were able to see over 70 people make decisions to trust Christ and be saved! Truly, God has been very good to us!
A New Sunday School Teacher
Speaking of Sunday school, I am very happy to announce that we have a new Sunday school teacher! One of the most encouraging things in the ministry is watching young Christians grow. I had the privilege of leading Joey and Irish Gantiid to Christ in their home in March of 2017. Since that time, they have grown in the Lord, and a couple of months ago during the height of the lockdown, I approached Irish about the possibility of teaching a Sunday school class. In January of this year, Bro. Jedie de Guzman, one of my staff men, replaced my wife as the children’s Sunday school teacher. He has done a great job, and the class has grown under his leadership. Now we are ready for the next step. On July 19, we will divide the class, and Irish will begin teaching the elementary girls. She will be our first non-staff Sunday school teacher, and I am so excited!
Please Pray . . .
• For safety as we go about our regular ministry work.
• That God will bless Irish Gantiid as she settles into her new position as a Sunday school teacher.
• For our upcoming Sunday school program in the month of August. It is themed after the classic board game “Risk,” but instead of a world map, we are using a map of Dapitan and calling it “Souls at Risk.”
Dividends on Your Investment
I usually reserve this spot for my personal soul-winning stories, but something happened this past Sunday that I just have to share.
As I already mentioned, Jedie de Guzman is one of my staff men. Some of you who follow our ministry updates may be more familiar with Jedie’s daughter Sofia, whom I have requested prayer for several times in the past. For years, Jedie has lived with his family in a house built on stilts above the riverbank, a very common practice here in Dapitan. When the tide is high, the river flows directly under his house.
Jedie has an uncle named Nonoy who lives in a remote area of Dapitan. To reach his house, you have to walk an hour and a half over the mountain on a narrow footpath, or you can take a boat up the river and around the mountain. Either way, it’s no walk in the park! For several months now, Jedie has been burdened for his Uncle Nonoy to be saved. Jedie told me that in the past, his uncle was always very hard and unapproachable. He had no interest whatsoever in spiritual things, and he wasn’t particularly close to Jedie or his family. So, you can imagine Jedie’s surprise when his uncle pulled up to their house in a small boat this past Sunday morning. It was nearly high tide, and Nonoy easily climbed from his boat onto the narrow, wooden bridge that connects Jedie’s house to the land.
Once he was firmly planted on Jedie’s bridge, Nonoy looked at Jedie and announced, “I’m having a very bad day today, and I want to go to church with you this morning.” Jedie was floored! He quietly reminded his uncle that they were no longer Catholic and were now members of a Baptist church. Jedie’s uncle replied that any kind of church would be fine.
They arrived at the church that morning 55 minutes early! In the Philippines, that alone would be sign of the handiwork of God! 😊 Before Sunday school even started, one of our soul winners took Nonoy aside and shared the Gospel with him. By the time Nonoy got to Sunday school, HE WAS A SAVED MAN! At the invitation, Nonoy, along with two other men, made a decision to follow Christ in baptism! IT WAS A MIRACLE THAT ONLY GOD COULD DO!
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.
Yours for souls,