The ministry is always busy, but I can’t remember any other time period in our ministry that was busier than these last two months have been! So many things have happened, yet most of them have just kind of blurred together into the background of the biggest thing that happened: GOD GAVE US A NEW BUILDING FOR OUR CHURCH, and I want to tell you how He did it!
Allow me to start at the beginning. Since our arrival in Dapitan in July 2017, we have lived in a second-floor apartment on the main highway that passes through the heart of Dapitan. Below our apartment is a large garage area that we converted into a church building. It was an excellent location for a brand-new church, and I felt that God would probably keep us in that vicinity. Behind our church there was a large, empty field, and many times I looked over that field and wondered if one day God would give it to us to build our own building. Other than the noise of traffic on the highway, it was a relatively quiet area most of the time . . . until the furniture store across the street decided that it wanted to “bless” the entire neighborhood with its filthy, blasphemous racket. (I refuse to call those sounds “music”!) Around the same time, someone built a bamboo structure in the empty field behind us, and they also began “blessing” the neighborhood with their racket. Have you ever tried preparing a message, conducting school, or having a church service when your home and church are filled with the Devil’s music? It was a very difficult time, but God was working.
Sometime during the month of July, the thought first crossed my mind, “I think we are going to have to move.” On Friday, July 27, I took Ruth for a ride on my motorcycle to show her the area where she would be soul winning the following day. As we were heading back home from the area, we saw a former boarding house that was for rent. I saved the number in my phone and called the owner later that day. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount she was asking for rent, so I asked if I could walk through the building. When I walked into the building 15 minutes later, I was amazed! It was exactly what we needed! It would need a lot of repairs and improvements, but the floor plan was perfect for us! However, as I looked over the new building, there was a nagging question in the back of my mind: where would my family go? We wouldn’t be able to stay at this new church building. If God wanted us to move the church to this new location, He would have to provide a new house for my family as well.
The following day, I learned by word of mouth that a house was available for rent about a five-minute drive from our potential new church location. I went to see the house, and it was a REAL house—not an apartment. It had four bedrooms and a fenced-in yard! Best of all, the rent was very reasonable! In two days, God gave us a building for our church and a home for our family! By the end of the following week, we were able to reach an agreement with both owners, and on Sunday morning, August 20, we had the first service in our new building! The following day, my family and I moved to our new home. God is so good to us! Thank you for your prayers and faithful support.
Dividends on Your Investment
On Wednesday, August 15, after our midweek Bible study and just four days before our big move, Maria Fe, one of our newer adult ladies, approached me and asked if I could come witness to her husband the following day. In spite of my overloaded schedule, I agreed, and we scheduled my visit for 6:00 p.m. When I arrived at their house the following evening, Maria Fe invited me in and introduced me to her husband Robert. I put out my hand and smiled. He shook my hand but didn’t return my smile. I tried to make small talk, but he wasn’t feeling chatty! I tried everything I knew to get him to relax and open up but all to no avail. Finally, in desperation, I decided to skip the “friendly stuff” and jump straight into the Gospel. I asked him if he was sure that he was going to Heaven, and he said, “No.” I asked him if I could show him what the Bible says about going to Heaven, and he said, “Yes.” So I proceeded to give him the Gospel. As I went through the Romans Road, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was accomplishing anything at all! I did not belabor the points; I moved quickly, skipping illustrations and avoiding humor. When I reached the end, I was fairly certain that I had wasted my time. I was already starting to feel bad for his poor wife, whom I knew would be so disappointed. Nevertheless, Robert had allowed me to get this far, and I had nothing to lose, so I asked Robert if he would like to call on Christ and accept His free gift of eternal life. To my surprise, his face broke into a smile. Laughing incredulously, he once again answered with just one word: “YES!” The look on his face seemed to say, “I’ve just been waiting for you to get done so I could get saved! Can we do it now?” Right then and there, he bowed his head and put his trust in Jesus Christ!
The following Sunday evening, Robert, Maria Fe, their daughter Julia, and their granddaughter Amber all showed up for church at our new building! When I greeted Robert, his face lit up with a huge smile, and being his usual “talkative” self, he said at least two or three words to me! 😊 At the invitation time, Robert decided to get baptized, so we loaded up the jeepney—three times and in the pouring rain—and took everyone back to our old building, where I had the privilege of baptizing him. As of this writing, our new baptistery is almost done and should be available this Sunday!
Yours for souls,