Greetings from steamy Dapitan City! As many of you in the North are wishing for some of that good old-fashioned global warming, we here in the Philippines are “enjoying” an early start to hot season, courtesy of El Niño. 😊 Always a blessing! Our family is doing well, and the ministry is as busy as ever! Our kids are continuing to grow and becoming more Filipino by the day. AJ, who turned two last August, is beginning to speak English in full sentences, and his Visayan is not far behind. He’s our first truly bilingual baby, and it is simultaneously challenging and humorous to try to understand him. The question is always the same: “Is he trying to say an English word or a Visayan word?” Beth and Michael are also growing in their Visayan, and in the last two months, both of them have shared the Gospel using Visayan —not bad for eight and six years old!
God really blessed our church during the months of January and February. On January 13, in conjunction with the start of our 2nd Annual New Year’s Program, we simultaneously launched a new transportation ministry and a new adult soul-winning ministry called Power-Hour Soul Winning! Of those three, I am probably most excited about Power-Hour Soul Winning. It is only for adults and is scheduled right after our Sunday morning service. Of course, I am thrilled with the scores of children who have come to church and been saved because of our transportation ministry, but there is something special about having adults who go soul winning! Mico Columba, one of my staff men, is doing an excellent job leading the new ministry, and for the first time in the short history of our church, we have multiple adult soul winners going out to share the Gospel every week! Please pray that they would continue to be faithful and develop into the skilled soul winners that Dapitan City so badly needs.
Speaking of soul winning, God has really been blessing our soul-winning efforts over the last few weeks. At this time of year, hundreds of high school students in Dapitan are given team dancing assignments at school. While I am certainly opposed to their sensual dancing, I am very much in favor of preaching the Gospel to the teams when they get together to practice! Last week alone, Truth Baptist Church soul winners saw a grand total of 138 people trust Christ, many of whom were high school students from all over the city. God is bringing the hungry souls to us, and I love it! Thank you for your prayers.
Dividends on Your Investment
This past Tuesday evening, March 5, I had a very unusual, but equally satisfying soul-winning experience. My visiting partner and I went to visit Chin-Chin, one of our newer members who was absent this past Sunday. When we arrived at her house, she invited us in and introduced us to her aunt Lalang, who was sitting near the front door watching a movie on a small laptop. Chin-Chin then introduced us to her grandma Nieva, who had just walked out of the bedroom. Nieva sat down on a ledge across the room from Chin-Chin’s aunt, and I chose a stool next to her. As we chatted, I sized up the situation: Lalang didn’t seem to be particularly interested, but I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get the Gospel across to Nieva, who was 81 years old and rather hard-of-hearing. Further compounding my difficulties was the fact the Nieva did not speak English . . . at all! I would have to the share the Gospel in pure Visayan … pure, slow, loud Visayan. When I asked Nieva if she was sure she was going to Heaven, she responded that she was unsure. I pulled my Bible out of my backpack and asked if I could show her what the Bible said, and she quickly agreed. As I began slowly and loudly working my way through the Gospel, I realized that Nieva was deeply steeped in the false doctrines of Catholicism. About the same time, I noticed that Lalang had stopped watching her movie and was listening carefully to my loud presentation of the Gospel. As I progressed through the Gospel with Nieva, the conviction she was feeling became increasingly obvious. Her right cheek started twitching nervously, and she started fiddling with her hands. Periodically, she would suddenly slap her hands down on her knees in agitation. I’ve never seen anything quite like it! As I transitioned from God’s judgment on sin to Christ’s payment on the Cross and the gift that He freely offers us, her agitation visibly increased. God was clearly working. My hope was growing that she would soon be saved. When I reached the end of my Gospel presentation, I looked her straight in the eye and said, “Lola (“Grandma”), would you like to accept God’s gift?” She looked at me for a few seconds and then blurted out “What gift?” I had been talking specifically about the gift of eternal life for the last 5 minutes! I had explained and illustrated it very carefully! In 20 years of soul winning, I had never experienced anything like this. The conviction was still there, but her mind had gone completely blank. So, I backtracked and tried again, and the exact same thing happened again! I was starting to lose hope, but I backtracked one more time. This time, when we reached the point of decision, Nieva suddenly excused herself to go to the restroom. At that point, I turned and looked at the aunt, who was still listening intently. Not knowing how much time I would have, I just asked her directly if she was saved. She replied that she was unsure, so I carried my stool over and sat down next to her. I quickly reviewed the Gospel to make sure she understood. She did, and when I asked her if she would like to accept the gift of eternal life and be saved, she replied, “Of course!” We bowed our heads, and she put her faith in Jesus Christ. A couple of minutes later, Nieva walked back into the living room and then straight into her bedroom. About 60 seconds later, she came back out with a packet of crackers, proclaiming that she was “so hungry.” Never one to give up, I carried my stool back across the room and reviewed the Gospel one more time. This time when I asked her if she wanted to accept Christ’s gift of eternal life, she replied that she would. Her mouth was full of crackers, but considering her track record up to that point, I wasn’t going to wait for her to chew and swallow! We bowed our heads, and with a mouthful of crackers, Chin-Chin’s grandma got saved!
Yours for souls,