As is often the case, I’m not sure where to start. The last couple of months have been busy, with just a touch of tumult! 😊 I’m just glad that serving God isn’t boring. Let me start with some personal news. Ruth and I are happy to announce that we are expecting our fourth child. Right now, we are about three months along, so we should be looking at a birthday sometime in early November. This will be our first child born in Dapitan, and to put it bluntly, the medical care here leaves much to be desired. We’re not nervous; we know that God is in control, but please pray that God will oversee all the details of the pregnancy and delivery.
The Great Race
A few weeks ago, we started an eight-week, church-wide contest entitled, “The Great Race.” It is extraordinarily simple in its structure. The first 2 weeks, we focused on Scripture memory. The assigned passage was Psalm 119, and I allowed our people to requote their verses every day while adding any new verses they had memorized. The results were incredible! Never in my life have I seen a group of people put so much energy into memorizing the Bible! One 64-year-old man in our church memorized 60 verses in just 2 weeks! We are currently in the second phase of the contest—a 3-week period with a focus on soul winning. After 2 weeks of binge-memorizing the Bible, our people were ready to go soul winning! We are now in the third week of this phase, and though I don’t have all the data, I do know that in the first 14 days of soul-winning emphasis, our soul winners led a total of 1,168 people to Christ! I’ve never seen anything like it! God is good. In the final phase of the contest, we will focus for 3 weeks on attendance and visitors. Please pray that God will continue to bless in a special way.
Update on Our New Building
I just realized today that it was one year ago in our May prayer letter that I presented our opportunity to purchase property for our church. I was nervous because it was the first time we had ever asked churches to help us with a specific financial need. Well, God provided, and we purchased the property. Many of you had a part in that, and we thank you for it. Since that time, God has continued to provide. We bought the property in September and started building in January, and I am thrilled to inform you that our building is almost done! God has provided the funds for the final phase; and, Lord willing, it will be finished in just a few more weeks! Thank you so much to all of you who have prayed and given for this project! We are almost there!
Dividends on Your Investment
I had four soul-winning stories that I wanted to share in this letter, but I only have space for the most recent. This past Saturday, I got to go soul winning with my wife Ruth—a rare privilege that we thoroughly enjoyed! However, I would have enjoyed it more if I could have led someone to Christ. As it turned out, only two people were willing to talk to us this particular day; one was the younger sister of one of our faithful members, Farrah Bacayan, and the other was a man who was already saved. Everyone else we met was either busy, confused, or downright rude. It was a bit of an unusual soul-winning morning, even by Dapitan standards. Praise the Lord, my wife had the privilege of leading Farrah’s sister to Christ, and our members saw another 56 people saved! I, on the other hand, got shut out.
Later that afternoon, I had to go see a mechanic to pay him for some recent repairs to our family car. When I arrived at his house, the place was abuzz. There were multiple young people whom I did not recognize, and everyone seemed to be coming or going. I’m still not sure exactly what was going on. After I paid the mechanic, two young men walked past me on the front porch. I think they were going in, but I can’t remember for sure. I didn’t recognize either one of them, so I gave them both a tract and asked them where they were from. I was startled when they responded that they were from Sibugay. Sibugay is an area about four hours from Dapitan. It has a large Muslim population and has a reputation for being dangerous. I’m still not sure why these two guys were in Dapitan. I asked, they answered, and I didn’t understand. Since it really didn’t matter, I decided to let it go and turned the conversation to the topic of salvation. It was amazing how open they were to the Gospel. The least-experienced soul winner in our church could have led them to Christ, but God allowed me to do it! Adding to the enjoyment of the moment was the fact that there was an elderly man sitting behind us on the porch. I know him well and have tried to witness to him multiple times, but each time, he has refused to listen. As I shared the Gospel with the two young men, I made sure that I spoke loud enough for the man behind me to hear every word. When it was all said and done, both the young men got saved, and the old man heard the Gospel—whether he wanted to or not! 😊 After the two young men trusted Christ, I found out that they were preparing to go home in just a few minutes. I don’t know what their reason was in coming to Dapitan, but God had accomplished His purpose! SOUL WINNING STILL WORKS!
Yours for souls,