It is always good to have people I can count on whenever I’m away on furlough. For more than two months, I was in the United States visiting my supporting churches and giving them an update about the ministry.
There’s nothing better than to be with your family and the people you love dearly. When I got home from my furlough, I was put to work right away. Pastor Tim Myers, pastor of the First Baptist Church of East Bay in Riverview, Florida, together with his wife, Ma’am Sheila, visited us. We held special services on November 10 & 11 with the theme, “Moving Forward.” Pastor Samuel Tecson of Grace Baptist Church of Tolosa, Leyte; Pastor Jeremiah Javier of Grace Baptist Church of Legazpi, Albay; and Pastor Tony Tirse of Midway Baptist Church of Babatngon, Leyte, were also present on that occasion. The ladies of our church were truly blessed by the devotion of Ma’am Sheila during their Ladies’ Meeting.
This blissful occasion was, however, mixed with a sad ambiance. One of our members, and also a foster brother of my wife Noel, was in the hospital. In 2011, he was diagnosed with leukemia. He underwent treatment and was able to recover by God’s grace. Then in October, he started to look pale again and found out his platelet level was very low. At first, they thought he had dengue fever, but further lab tests showed that the cancer was back again—and this time it was very aggressive. He was admitted to the hospital on November 9. With an AB blood type, finding donors was really challenging. On November 13 around 6 p.m., he went Home to be with the Lord. It was a difficult time for all of us. Noel, or “Kokoy,” as he was fondly called, was not a perfect person. He made a lot of bad decisions in his life, but by God’s grace, he was able to get back on the right track again. He came to live with us in 2017 and made himself useful in the ministry, picking up people and just being a good buddy to everyone, both young and old. His passing away was really painful for all of us, but we know that all things work together for good. We know he is in a much better place, free from pain and sickness. We thank God for His sufficient grace.
Shena Lou and Prince had Bible study lessons with Sir Mark, and on December 9, they were finally baptized. We praise God for this new addition to our church.
As the new year began, we had new people come to our church. Please pray that as we have Bible study lessons with them, God’s Word will have an impact on their lives. We are excited about and looking forward to what God has in store for us in 2019!
Thank you for your prayers and for your faithfulness!
Pastor Parish Javier