So much has happened in the last two months that I really have no idea where to begin. Here in Dapitan, we are still technically locked down on paper, but practically speaking, with the exception of a 6:00 p.m. curfew for minors and the mandatory wearing of masks in certain institutions, our area of the Philippines is back to life as normal. As of right now, we have only one active COVID-19 case in our entire province. God truly has been very good to us throughout the entire pandemic. We are now running a regular ministry schedule, including three services a week (adjusted for the curfew), Sunday school, and soul winning. Recently, we even had an official youth activity that was attended by over 25 of our young people. I wish I had time and space to share with you everything God has done in the last couple of months, but for this letter, I want to focus on what God did during our mid-year Sunday school program.
Sunday School Program – Souls at Risk
In my last letter, I requested prayer for our upcoming Sunday school program for the month of August. Thank you so much for praying. It was, without a doubt, the most fruitful program we’ve ever had in our three years of work here in the Philippines. Truth Baptist Church soul winners led a total of 573 people to Christ all across Dapitan City! (Not bad for a city still pretending to be in lockdown! 😊) I’ve never seen our people get so excited about soul winning. It was awesome! God also gave us many visitors, including a man named Julius, who used to attend my weekly chapel service at the Dapitan City Jail before the lockdown began. His story is just too good not to share, so I decided to put it in the “Dividends on Your Investment” section.
Two other visitors that God gave us during the contest were two young men named Jomar and Christian. On Sunday afternoon, August 2, the very first week of the program, one of our soul winners named Gellete met Jomar and had the privilege of leading him to Christ near his home in an area called Talisay. The following Wednesday morning, Jomar brought his cousin Christian to the church at 8:30! For some reason, they had gotten confused and thought we had a service at 9:00 a.m. Though we obviously did not have a service at that time, we invited them inside, where Bro. Mico, one of my staff men, was able to lead Christian to Christ! We invited them to come back at 4:00 p.m., and to our surprise, they did! Actually, they arrived over 30 minutes early. Since that first visit, Jomar has come to at least one service every week, but Christian, on the other hand, hasn’t missed a single service! Both have now been baptized, and they are starting to get excited. A couple of weeks ago, Christian brought his sister Lyn to church, and she got saved! Last Sunday, Christian brought a couple of his high-school neighbor friends to church, and they got saved. However, this past Wednesday night was the shocker. I’m pretty sure that Christian and Jomar brought half of their neighborhood to church! Pardon my hyperbole, but that’s what it felt like! In reality, including Jomar, Christian, and Lyn, we had a total of 12 people from Talisay in church on Wednesday night! They were early as usual; and, in a neat turn of events, Gellete got to lead 5 of their visitors to Christ before the service even started!
Thank you so much for your prayers and faithful support. We have faced a lot of spiritual battles of late, but God’s hand of blessing has been incredibly obvious through everything. Please continue to pray. Specifically, I’d like to ask you to pray for the marriages in our church. The Devil always attacks the home, and Dapitan is no exception. Please join me in praying that God will strengthen the marriages of our people! Thank you once again. God is good!
Dividends on Your Investment
I preached for the first time at the Dapitan City Jail on July 26, 2019. After my message, Julius, one of the inmates at the time, approached me and introduced himself in Cebuano. He then asked me a strange question. He said, “Do you think that people in jail are not happy?” I looked at him in bewilderment, but before I could respond, he continued. “I am happy that I am in jail, because here in the jail, I got saved.” I later found out that another inmate had given him a book that contained the plan of salvation. Julius had read the book and been saved just a few weeks before I met him. For the next seven months until the lockdown, Julius continued to attend my chapel services at the jail. By his own admission, before his arrest on charges of illegal drug possession, he was very much an addict, BUT GOD CHANGED HIS LIFE INSIDE THAT JAIL! Due to the lockdown, I have not been able to preach at the jail or even visit since mid-March. However, unbeknownst to me, in late July, Julius reached a plea-bargain agreement with the prosecution and was released. On Sunday morning, August 9, he walked into Truth Baptist Church with his wife and three children. At the invitation time, one of our ladies had the privilege of leading his wife to Christ, and Julius made the decision to be baptized! Three and a half weeks later, they are still coming, and we are praying that Julius’ wife will also soon make the decision to follow the Lord in baptism.
Yours for souls,