The last two months have been an absolute blur. By temperament, I am a very forward-looking person, and to be perfectly honest, right now I am sitting at my computer trying to remember what has happened over the last couple of months. I sometimes jot down notes of things that I want to include in my next letter, but that just didn’t happen this time around. I think part of the reason for the blur of the last couple of months is that we have dealt with a lot of health and vehicle issues, both of which can eat up a lot of time. We would really appreciate your prayers in both areas. Many of our people continue to struggle with a variety of health problems, and our family car has been in the shop for nearly three weeks. In spite of all that, we thoroughly enjoyed the holiday season. On Thanksgiving, we invited all of our Bible students and staff members to our house for dinner, games, and testimonies. It was a great time, with a total of 24 people in our house for the day! Christmas was quieter, with all of our students going home to be with family for at least a day or two, allowing us to have some private family time on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Now everyone is back, the ministry is in full swing again, and we are looking forward to what God is going to do in 2022!
Cebu Trip Canceled
I want to thank all of you who have been praying for AJ’s heart condition. Unfortunately, I had to cancel our upcoming trip to see the specialist in Cebu City due to new travel restrictions imposed by the government in response to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Please pray that things will calm down soon so we can get AJ the treatment he needs. He seems to be doing fine at the moment. His current medication seems to be effective in controlling the symptoms, but we won’t be able to solve the root problem until we can get a proper diagnosis in Cebu.
We are thrilled to announce that we are moving forward with plans for our first church building—another reason for my recent busyness. To the left, you can see a computer-generated perspective of what our future building will look like. Lord willing, we will begin processing our building permit sometime this week or next. Our first step will be completing the perimeter wall. Once that is completed, we will be ready to begin building. Please pray that God will bless this exciting new phase in our ministry.
There were several other things that I was hoping to write about, but I have run out of space once again. Thank you so much for your faithful prayers and financial support. I pray that God will give you a blessed, fruitful year in 2022.
Dividends on Your Investment
This story actually began way back in late October. Mary Joy, one of our church ladies, asked me to go to the hospital and visit her 24-year-old niece Marielle, who was suffering from simultaneous heart and kidney failure. On November 1, Ruth and I went to the hospital to make the visit, and I had the privilege of leading Marielle to Christ there in her hospital room. A few weeks later, Marielle went home to Heaven. Praise God for an aunt who was concerned for her niece’s salvation!
Several weeks later on December 23, Ruth and I decided to try to visit Marielle’s unsaved parents. It would not be an easy trip. Marielle’s parents live in an area of Dapitan called Tamion, and the only way to get there is to cross (dramatic music please) the “Tamion Bridge.” The Tamion Bridge is the longest hanging bridge in Dapitan. It is made of wooden planks (loose, wooden planks, mind you), attached to a steel frame suspended by cables. It is just wide enough that a single motorcycle can drive across, but walking next to your motorcycle is tight, so I drove across, while Ruth opted to walk behind me. (I can’t imagine why! 😊) Driving on a hanging bridge is a very strange experience. If I drove more than 2-3 miles per hour, the bridge would begin swinging from side to side, creating a most uncomfortable sensation with just a wooden railing between me and a long fall to the river below. On the other side of the bridge, we drove another mile or so to Tamion Central, where we were given directions to the house of Marielle’s parents. We thought our adventures were over, but we were mistaken. The path to their house was nothing more than a muddy track through slippery clay. More than once, the back wheel of the motorcycle spun out to the side, prompting Ruth to get off and walk once again. 😊 Through many dangers, toils, and snares, we finally found Marielle’s mother Marites. She was splitting firewood with several neighbors on the side of a hill. (I never did find their house.) There on the side of the hill, she and four neighbors sat down and listened as I shared the Gospel. In the meantime, Ruth got to witness to a college-aged girl down at the bottom of the hill. In the end, six precious souls put their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation! Ruth and I went home mud-spattered but very happy!
Then I got to lead her mother… Mary Joy’s sister… to Christ in Tamion… First we had to cross a narrow hanging bridge with loose boards all the way across… It’s just wide enough for one motorcycle to pass at a time… When I met a girl walking the other way in the middle of the bridge, I had to stop to let her safely pass by… Every time I started driving any faster than a slow walk, the bridge would start swinging from side to side… The path along the riverbank was less than two feet wide… Once we got to Tamion proper, they sent us down a narrow path of slippery clay mud. The path led past a house and then through a muddy creek bed. On the other side of the creek, the path was covered with tree roots that have been exposed by years of erosian
Yours for souls,