Vancouver, British Columbia: I arrived back in the USA from Nigeria on Thursday, October 26, and within 24 hours, Linda and I were on our way to Vancouver to preach for Missionary Ben Turner at the Anchor Baptist Church, located in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver. What a conference and what a church! I had the privilege to preach his Missions Conference, which started on Sunday and went through Wednesday. Brother Turner, his wife, and his family have been in this great metropolitan area for 18 years and, with God’s help, have done a wonderful job. This church is made up of a multitude of nationalities. I met people from Iran, the Philippines, China, Korea, Mexico, Honduras, and Argentina, just to name a few. They all worked together to make the conference a great success. Even before all the commitments to missions had been handed in, they were 15% above the commitments of last year. Praise God!
California: We arrived back in the USA, attended our home church on Sunday and Wednesday, and then flew out to California for a couple of meetings. In 2003, I preached a revival for a good friend of mine, Pastor Winney Biernesa of the Liberty Baptist Church (now Mactan Independent Baptist Church) in Lapu-Lapu City in the Philippines. Ryan Villaver got saved during that meeting. He got baptized, became a faithful member of the church, and then got married. Both he and his wife became nurses and ended up coming to the USA for work. God eventually led him to study for the ministry at Heartland Baptist Bible College. Upon graduation, he became the pastor of the Bible Baptist Church in Delano, California. Through a series of God-ordained circumstances, I found out about this young man and his journey. (You tell me the odds, apart from God, of this happening!) Once we got reunited via phone, Ryan allowed me to come to his church and preach to his people. Here we are with his family in his church building.
We had a wonderful three days together, as he and his wife related their wonderful journey to Linda and me. I received an added blessing when I found out that not only did Ryan get saved during that revival, but his brother and father also got saved the same night. Then he shared with me that his mother had been saved 10 years before and had been praying for those 10 years that her family would get saved. Her prayers were answered that November 5, 2003, during that revival meeting. I believe I am going to shout! Ryan then showed me a picture (on the right) that was taken the last time I was in the Philippines. It was of Linda and me standing next to his father. At the time of the picture, I had no idea who this man was or the story of his whole family. What a time of rejoicing we had in Delano, California!
Just for the fun of it, I looked back on my prayer letter from November of 2003 and found this paragraph: “A few weeks before leaving for the Philippines, I received two emails informing me that two weeks of meetings were canceled. I contacted my pastor friend over there and asked him to try setting up some meetings. Because the time was short, I did not expect much, but he was able to get me another week of meetings. Praise the Lord, that in spite of those cancellations, I was able to preach 31 times in 21 days at 10 churches, with a total of 300 souls getting saved!” Ryan Villaver, his brother, and his father were 3 of those 300 souls saved!
Missionary Evangelist James Belisle