God is still working in Dumaguete! So much has happened since our last prayer letter, I hardly know where to begin. Since the writing of our last prayer letter, Ruth and I have been able to lead a total of 143 people to Jesus Christ! There are so many stories that I would love to share; God has repeatedly worked out the details in so many different situations. I think one of the most difficult things about writing prayer letters is choosing which stories to tell and then trying to squeeze all the details into a single page. Let me just say that our God is awesome! He never ceases to amaze me with His creativity in arranging divine appointments. Many times in the last 2½ months, I have walked away from a new convert and said “God, You’re incredible!” I can’t tell all the stories, so I chose just one of my favorites to put into this letter’s “Dividends on Your Investment” section. You’ll have to pay careful attention to the all details to fully appreciate what God did to bring about just one salvation. It was a great reminder to me that God is interested in the individual.
A New Opportunity
On April 22, my good friend and coworker, Brother Jason MacRae, and his family boarded a plane and returned to the United States. He has felt for some time that God was leading him to work with his home pastor, Brother Corey Bane. While as a friend I am happy for his opportunity to work with his home pastor, I certainly miss him here in Dumaguete. Since his departure I have become the youth pastor here at IBC, and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities that lay before us. Brother MacRae built a solid youth program with a strong core of young people who sincerely desire to serve God. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us as we work with the young people of IBC.
On May 2, just two weeks after the MacRae’s departure, International Baptist Church hosted its Second Annual Youth Rally. Our theme was “Taking My Stand,” and God blessed in an incredible way. With a total of 165 young people in attendance, we saw dozens of teenagers and college-aged young people make life-changing decisions. Please pray that each of them will have the strength and determination to keep his decisions and take his stand!
Well, I am once again running out of space, but I have one more announcement that I need to fit into this prayer letter. Ruth and I are looking forward to taking a vacation to America this coming November. Lord willing, we will be in the States from November 6 to December 4. Please pray that God will give us a safe trip. While we are in the States, we would love to see some of the many friends we made while traveling on deputation and give your church a report of what God is doing here in the Philippines. We will only be in the country for four weeks, but if you would like for us to visit your church, I would love to try to make arrangements to make it happen. Thank you for your faithful prayer and support.
Dividends on Your Investment
On December 14 of last year, Brother Stan Lawrenson, another faithful member of our missions team, led a 17-year-old young man by the name of Elmer Rusiana to Christ. The following day Elmer and his friend Julius came to church and got baptized. Almost immediately, Elmer got involved in the church. He began attending all the services and started bringing visitors to church. His sisters and several of his neighbors began faithfully attending church during that time. Within a couple months of his salvation, Elmer was faithfully going soul winning as well, and on March 1 of this year, Elmer led his first soul to Christ. Since then, he has led a total of 45 people to Christ and is still going strong! Amen!
There was, however, one sad point in Elmer’s happy story: both his parents were still lost. Both work erratic schedules, and no one from the church had ever met them.
On May 31, I was driving through Elmer’s neighbourhood to make another visit when I stopped to give a tract to a young lady named Rosily. I proceeded to witness to Rosily and her father, who had stepped outside, but I soon realized that her father was partially deaf and couldn’t understand my Visayan. Later Rosily’s mother came home but was too busy to listen. In the end, Rosily bowed her head and trusted Christ, and I continued on my way. I was concerned, however, for her father and mother, so I arranged for Bemon Grapa, one of our Filipino soul winners, to follow me back to Rosily’s house the following Thursday in hopes of leading one or both of her parents to Christ. The plan was simple: I and my partner would ride on my motorcycle, while Bemon and his partner followed on another motorcycle. After showing Bemon the house, I would then go on to make my visit. As I pulled out of the church parking lot, I glanced back at Bemon behind me, and he appeared to be ready to go. After driving a couple hundred meters, however, I realized that Bemon was not following us. I pulled off to the side of the highway to wait for Bemon, and we waited, and we waited, and then just for a little variety, we waited some more. Finally, after 6 or 7 minutes, I grew impatient (hard to imagine, I know) and drove back to the church; there was no one there! Somehow Bemon had passed us in the dark, and we never saw him!
At this point, I was a little frustrated, and I think my exact words were, “Hang Bemon! Let’s go.” We left the church again and headed north on the National Highway. We then turned down the side street where Elmer lives because our stop was located near his home. As we drove along the street, I saw two ladies ahead walking on the side of the road. I pulled up next to them, planning to give them a Gospel tract, but I was surprised to see that one of them was Elmer’s sister Leah. Oh, by the way, did I mention that Elmer was my partner that night? I greeted Leah and asked who her companion was. That’s when Elmer spoke up from the back of the bike, “That’s my mom.” Elmer’s mom was walking home from work. If we had passed by just 10 minutes earlier or 5 minutes later, we never would have seen her. About 40 minutes later at their home, Elmer, Leah, and their little sister Merlie Jane got to watch their mother bow her head and trust Christ as Saviour! Our God is awesome! By the way, after wandering in circles for a while, Bemon stumbled across Rosily’s house and got to lead her mother to Christ! I don’t believe in accidents!
Yours for souls,
Mike, Ruth, Elizabeth, and Michael Morrissey