I was able to make a trip to the Philippines in the month of July. This was my fifth trip back over the past 11 months; it was my personal favorite, as Emily and Bethany were able to join me. The main purpose of the trip was to perform the wedding of a faithful lay couple in our church, Jurie and Antonette Viejedor. This was a joyous and memorable occasion for our entire church family, as we celebrated the union of this godly couple, whose courtship was done properly and biblically. Emily and Bethany were excited to be flower girls in the wedding. They also were on cloud nine reuniting with their Filipino friends and life there. Oh, and the food, our kids definitely have missed Filipino food. I even got a video of Emily devouring her favorite Filipino fish soup, sinigang. I have not seen the girls this happy since we were all home in the Philippines before Jonathan’s brain-cancer diagnosis completely turned our lives upside down. It will be interesting to see how the Lord uses this trial to shape our children; for they, too, are very much affected by it.
We planned it so the sixth anniversary of our church, Harvest Baptist Church of Silay City, would take place while we were there. There were 15 first-time visitors in the main service, with 10 putting their faith in Jesus Christ. There were also many children who visited for Sunday school, all hearing the Gospel message. I was encouraged to see so many people whom God has allowed us to reach through the years, as well as some new faces. It felt strange in some ways, since I had very little input in the planning of or even the visiting for the anniversary due to being in America. We were happy to have a strong attendance of 280 folks overall. I did not take for granted what a great blessing it was to finally be there in person for an anniversary, since we were absent from it in 2015 due to furlough and in 2016 due to Jonathan’s emergency medical trip. By God’s grace during these six years, our main church has also planted two other churches, both of which are going strong.
On the home front, we are very thankful that Jonathan made it through summer with no extra hospital stays or chemo delays from sickness. It’s been a wonderful break from the cold and flu season, and he has had more freedom these past few weeks to almost be like a normal kid than he’s had the entire past year on chemo. He just finished his eighth chemo cycle, with just three 48-day cycles remaining. We finally feel like the end is in sight on this long, hard journey. If all goes well, he should finish by February.
Praise and Prayer Requests
We praise the Lord that we received the occupancy permit for the main auditorium. Please pray that we will receive the building permit for our two-story Sunday school building. Pray for the Lord to sustain Jonathan throughout the rest of chemotherapy. Pray for the Bolton family, as they will be overseeing the ministry in Silay in September and October. Please pray for a safe pregnancy and delivery for Audrey and for a healthy baby, our fifth child, due in October. Pray also for our girls as they begin another school year here at Milford Christian Academy in Milford, Ohio. They all miss home in the Philippines very much.