Greetings from blazing hot . . . and then cold and rainy . . . and then blazing hot Dapitan City. The weather of the last couple of weeks has been something of a field experiment in determining how many people can get sick when the weather flip-flops every single day! It should be pointed out at this time that “cold” in Dapitan City is defined as anything less than 80 degrees. No joke! Nevertheless, I’ve never seen so many people get sick at the same time. One of our church members told me that the hospital was so crowded last week, the patients were literally sharing beds, and this is in a hospital where the beds line the hallways on a typical day! I say all that to say that we would appreciate your prayers for the health of our family and church right now. Many of us, including my wife and I, have been unwilling participants in this field experiment. The most common ailment has been a severe head cold that affects different people in different ways. Ruth seems to finally be getting over it after over two weeks! I am really hoping that my bout won’t last so long. However, through all the sickness, I have actually been greatly encouraged by the faithfulness of our people. Just a year ago, many of our people would have stayed home if it was sprinkling outside, but over the last couple of weeks, I’ve watched people be faithful to church and even soul winning in spite of the fact that they weren’t feeling well! If you’ve never pastored, you can’t possibly imagine how encouraging that is to me!
As usual, the last two months have been action-packed, and I wish I could tell all the stories. However, for sake of time and space, I’d like to focus on just two events: one past, one coming soon.
2019 Missions Conference – “Doing My Part for World Missions”
October 22-24 was our Second Annual Missions Conference. Our theme was “Doing My Part for World Missions,” and God really blessed. We were very happy to welcome my friend, Pastor Randy DeMoville, as our guest speaker for the conference. God’s guidance in the preaching was evident. Pastor DeMoville brought three powerful messages that were exactly what our people needed! We were also able to host one missionary couple, the Marquez family, going to Malaysia. They were a real blessing to our church, and I believe that our church was a blessing to them as well. Praise the Lord! We will begin supporting them this month!
Friends and Family Sunday
Please be in prayer for our upcoming Friends and Family Sunday scheduled for November 17. We are hoping and praying for a big day! Many of our people have family members who have been talking about visiting our church for months, and we are praying that God will use this special day to get them past the mental roadblock of walking into the “Baptist church” for the first time. Please join us in prayer for this special day! Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.
Dividends on Your Investment
A couple of weeks ago, we received a stark reminder of the incredible importance of our work here in Dapitan City. It was during our Tuesday morning staff meeting on October 22. We were making our final preparations for the Missions Conference when Gellete, one of our staff members, turned to my wife and said, “Ma’am Ruth, do you know about Jedda?”
Jedda—that name didn’t mean anything to me. It was not until later that I learned the whole story.
Three months before on July 20, Ruth, Gellete, and a couple other workers were visiting on our transportation route when Ruth saw a group of kids playing “Chinese.” I don’t know why the game is called “Chinese,” but the Filipino children love it. It is a very simple game using a long chain of rubber bands tied end to end. Ruth was hoping to witness to the kids but knew that it would be difficult to pull them away from their fun. She stood by and watched for a couple of minutes, looking for an opportunity, and that’s when it happened—the string of rubber bands snapped, bringing an abrupt end to their game and opening the door of opportunity that Ruth was waiting for. She approached the children and began witnessing to them. Over the next 20-30 minutes, some of the children grew disinterested and walked away, while other people walked up to listen, curious about this white woman speaking Visayan to the neighborhood children. Among those was a young lady named Jedda. She was in her early twenties and obviously pregnant. As Ruth continued sharing the Gospel, several others came and went, but Jedda and a couple of her friends stayed and listened to the plan of salvation. In the end, just 3 or 4 people got saved out of what had been a much larger group, and Jedda was one of them!
That morning on October 22, Gellete looked at Ruth and said, “Ma’am Ruth, do you know about Jedda? She died yesterday.” Apparently, Jedda had a heart condition that she didn’t know about, and on Monday, October 21, she passed away giving birth.
The following Saturday afternoon, Ruth wasn’t feeling well, but she was determined to go visiting. She wanted to meet Jedda’s family and, if possible, witness to them. She took our workers to the route, and I took the rest of the soul winners to another part of the city. At 5:07 p.m., I received the following text from Ruth: “Mama ni Jedda naluwas karon,” which translates as “Jedda’s mama is saved now!”
I am so glad that we came to Dapitan City! I am so glad that we started the Truth Baptist Church! And I am so glad that soul winning still works! Thank God for a soul-winning wife!
Yours for souls,