It’s hard to believe that I am writing our final prayer letter from Dumaguete. Our tickets have been purchased, and we are scheduled to fly out on May 19, less than three weeks from the time of this writing. Yet in many ways, it still doesn’t feel real. It is just hard to believe that we are really leaving the people in whom we have invested so much. Needless to say, we covet your prayers as we go through this final stage of our transition to a new ministry. Lord willing, we will begin scheduling meetings as soon as we arrive in the States. Please pray that God will bless our deputation and enable us to quickly get back to the field.
In the meantime, God has continued to bless our work here Dumaguete in a special way. Since our last prayer letter, Ruth and I have personally led a total of 154 people to Christ! One of those was a 25-year-old man named Donald. I led Donald to Christ on a Thursday night; the following Saturday morning, I saw him again while I was soul winning in his neighborhood. While we were talking, Donald asked me if I could come back to his neighborhood again that night. When I asked him why, he told me that many of his friends would be at the neighborhood internet café, and he wanted me to talk to them. I went back that night and led 4 more of his friends to Christ! I love being a soul winner!
This past weekend I took my third survey trip to the city of Dapitan, which is where I believe God is leading us to start our new work when we return to the Philippines. Dapitan is a city on the northern coast of the island of Mindanao. It has a population of 75,000 – 80,000 people and only 2 established Baptist churches, both of which are very small and situated far from the main populace of the city. The Catholic church is still very strong in Dapitan, but I found that the general population is very happy to talk, especially to a foreigner who speaks Cebuano. In my three trips to Dapitan, I have already had the privilege of leading nearly 50 people to Christ. In spite of the opposition of the Catholic church, the opportunities for a soul-winning church in the city of Dapitan are tremendous. “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” (I Corinthians 16:9)
A Special Prayer Request
I would like to close this prayer letter with a prayer request that is very close to my heart. My wife’s parents, Brother Scott and Debbie Christiansen, are members of our team here in Dumaguete. In recent months my mother-in-law has been diagnosed with stage IV cancer. She has multiple malignant tumors throughout her body. The doctors are saying that without a miracle, she will probably only live three to six months. Please lift her up in your prayers, and please pray for the entire Christiansen family during this time. God knows what He is doing, and we are trusting Him to do what He knows is best. “For the Lord is good . . . .” (Psalm 100:5)
Dividends on Your Investment
During my recent survey trip to Dapitan, I had a very unusual soul-winning experience that I would like to share with you. It was Sunday morning, April 26. I was sitting on my motorcycle, preparing to leave for church, when I saw 3 boys on 2 bicycles coming out of a neighborhood behind the pension house where I was staying. Surprisingly, they were not at all shy and called out to me. I responded in Cebuano and instantly had their full attention. All 3 boys appeared to be between the ages of 9 and 12. They walked up to my motorcycle, and I gave each of them a Cebuano tract and started witnessing to them. About 15 minutes later, all 3 of them bowed their heads and trusted Christ.
After they got saved, one of the boys asked me if I could talk to their friends too. I replied that I was going to church, but I could talk to them when I got back to the pension house. When I returned to the pension house after the morning service, the boys were waiting for me with 4 of their friends! I got off my motorcycle, gave each of the newcomers a tract, and proceeded to give them the Gospel. A little while later, all 4 of them bowed their heads and put their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
Later that afternoon as I was leaving to drive to the evening service at a church in a nearby city, I saw 3 junior-aged girls walking toward me. Once again I was surprised when they boldly called out to me. I stopped my motorcycle and started witnessing them. I was part way through the second point of the Romans Road when I heard a shout from behind me. I turned and saw 2 of the original boys coming toward me on their bikes. On the back of each bike was another junior-aged girl who needed to be saved! The 2 newcomers joined us, and I went back to the beginning of the Romans Road. A little while later, all 5 girls trusted Christ, bringing us to a total of 12 salvations for the day! Soul winning still works!
Yours for souls,