Greetings from chilly Dumaguete. Serving Jesus on the mission field can be a real trial at times. I think the temperature has dropped all the way down to 65 degrees a couple of times in the last two weeks. One time while riding my motorcycle, I actually got goose bumps on my arms! In all seriousness, while you’ve been enduring sub-zero temperatures in the States, we have been enjoying the coolest stretch of weather that we have experienced in nearly four years of living in the Philippines. God has been very good to our family in the last couple of months. A lot of illness has been going around at the church, but for the most part, our family has been quite healthy. The kids are growing rapidly; Michael is now walking quite well, and Beth is beginning to add a few Visayan words to the eternal torrent of English pouring from her mouth.
Much has happened since our last prayer letter, and much will be happening in the next couple of months. Allow me to give you a couple of the highlights.
God gave us a tremendous day for our third anniversary on January 19. Our church members worked very hard, and God blessed in a special way. We had 367 in attendance for the morning service and 187 in the afternoon. Many visitors came and received Christ as Saviour, and 19 people chose to follow the Lord in believer’s baptism. Praise the Lord!
Youth Conference 2014 – Life on the Line
I’m very excited about our upcoming Youth Conference scheduled for April 2-4. Lord willing, in addition to our own young people, we will also have teenagers in attendance from several other churches on our island. The young people will hear a lot of red-hot preaching, and we are praying that many life-changing decisions will be made. Please pray especially for our youth pastor, Brother Jason MacRae, who will be carrying the bulk of the preparation work, as well as preaching during the conference. Please also be in prayer for Pastor DeMoville and me, as we will be preaching as well.
Dividends on Your Investment
On Thursday evening, January 23 (which is my birthday, by the way), I went to visit a man by the name of Roger. Roger’s teenage daughter had attended our church a couple of times, but Roger and his wife had not yet visited. When I arrived at their home, Roger invited my partner and me inside the house and asked us to sit down. As I walked in, I greeted each of the family members sitting in the living room and asked their names. Everything seemed to be progressing nicely until I greeted his wife. She was cleaning the table, and she wouldn’t even look up to acknowledge our presence. I immediately realized that this visit might not be as easy as I had hoped. Roger’s wife was not happy that we were there, and she wasn’t trying to keep it a secret. My soul-winning partner and I sat down, and I did my best to carry on a friendly conversation. Roger’s wife did not join in the conversation one time, and she continued to frown and avoid eye contact at all costs. To make things worse, the family was watching a boxing match on the television, and no one really wanted to carry on a conversation of small talk. I began to realize that I had two choices, I could jump straight into the Gospel, or I could leave and come back at a better time. I decided to jump into the Gospel. I asked Roger if he was sure he was going to Heaven and then offered to show him what the Bible says about it. He agreed, and I got up and walked across the room to sit next to him. This move, however, also brought me much closer to his wife whose disposition hadn’t changed one bit! I pulled out my New Testament, turned to his wife, and said in Visayan, “You may listen as well if you’d like.” To my surprise, she responded. She said in Visayan, “I will listen, but my tooth hurts.” The poor lady wasn’t crabby at all; she just had a severe toothache. I had just recently purchased several generic, individually packaged Tylenol capsules. I reached in my bag and offered her two capsules. She took and swallowed both pills, and before I got to the third point of the Romans Road, she was clearly feeling better. She listened intently to the Gospel, and when it was all over, Roger, his wife, their daughter, and a neighbor girl all trusted Christ as Saviour! Praise God for generic Tylenol!
If you’ve been struggling in your personal soul winning, I think this just may be the ingredient that you’ve been missing. I could be wrong, but if you’re struggling in your soul winning, I strongly suspect that you’ve been forgetting your Tylenol.
Clarisa Jucom Update:
Clarisa is 15 years old and lives on my route. She was reached through VBS last April. She has now been faithfully attending church for nearly 10 months. In addition to going to church, she also goes soul winning 3 or 4 times per week. A couple of weeks ago on January 26, Clarisa brought 11 children to the morning church service!
Thank you for your faithful prayer and support; God is truly doing great things here in Dumaguete, and I’m so glad that you have chosen to partner with us in our efforts to make a difference not just in Dumaguete but across Southeast Asia and around the world. On a more personal note, I can honestly say that I love life on the mission field. I love learning the Cebuano language and the different ways that people think and communicate. Please pray for my language studies. I’m at a point where I can lead someone to Christ in pure Visayan and preach about half and half. I look forward to seeing what God can use us to do when I am able to preach fluently to our people in their own language. Thank you for your prayers.
Yours for souls,
Mike, Ruth, Elizabeth, and Michael Morrissey