I apologize for the length of time that it has been since we last wrote to you all. However, due to a serious situation, I wanted to wait to get some definite information before updating our faithful supporters.
My wife Debbie has stage IV metastatic cancer. She battled breast cancer in 2005 and went into total remission. However, the cancer has returned with a vengeance.
We were preparing to leave for our church’s adult banquet being held on February 27, with Dr. Bruce Goddard from the USA as our special speaker. Debbie suddenly could not walk without severe pain in her hip. We thought it was a pinched nerve and took her to an experienced American chiropractor here in Dumaguete City. After several treatments he recommended we see an MD because he knew something other than alignment or a pinched nerve was the problem.
We went to a doctor in our local Silliman University Medical Center. After running a full series of tests, including an ultrasound and a CT scan, it was determined that Debbie’s breast cancer had returned. She now has tumors in her spine, ribs, skull, liver, and elsewhere. We then went to a local oncologist who has put her on a couple of medications that may give more comfort and slow the progression slightly. Both doctors are in agreement that Debbie, without a miracle, has about 3 to 6 months of life remaining, largely due to her liver having multiple tumors.
Since early March, Debbie has only been able to stand or sit for about 10 minutes before having to lie down, due to great nerve pain running down her right leg. When she lies down for about 15 minutes, she can get up for another 10 minutes. Thankfully, when she is lying down, she is not in any pain, so she can get relief and sleep at night. Just last week, Debbie was able to go to church services again because of a fancy “lawn chair” Bro. DeMoville found that lets her lay almost flat.
We need wisdom from the Lord as to how to handle our present situation. Debbie is unable to travel now, but if the one medication works as hoped, she may be able to make a trip back to the States. If she does not improve, then we will remain here in Dumaguete.
Our daughter, Ruth Morrissey, is here in Dumaguete with her husband Mike and their two children. However, on May 19, they will be returning to the States to raise support. Also, Debbie’s mother is now in hospice care in Michigan.
We would ask you to pray for our families in the States, including our five sons, their wives, and their children. We have not seen them since we left for the mission field in October of 2011. We are grateful for Skype and internet telephone, but we feel very keenly our separation at a time such as this.
However, let me say that Debbie and I are very grateful to the Lord for nearly 37 years of marriage and the wonderful years of ministry and raising a family who loves the Lord. With our youngest, Caleb’s, graduation from Hyles-Anderson College on May 8, all 6 children will be graduates of HAC. God was faithful to each one to help them through college and go on to serve the Lord Jesus with their lives.
We are still excited about what the Lord is doing here in Dumaguete City, in International Baptist Church, and in Hyles-Anderson College of the Philippines! In 2014, IBC saw 9641 recorded salvations and 309 baptisms. This year we have seen over 2600 salvations and 74 baptisms. Every week we are seeing about 50 of our people going out soul winning sometime during the week. I have been busy teaching many classes at the college, writing Sunday school curriculum, teaching the growing adult Sunday school class, and taking our college students out soul winning.
A sweet young lady reached by one of our college girls started coming to our church. Debbie helped train her to be a soul winner as she came to our Saturday outreaches. Recently Irene led a 29-year-old to the Lord while we were out soul winning. Within a few days, the man died suddenly–but he was in Heaven! Noticing the crowd gathering at his house, we led others of his family to Christ. They requested a preacher for a funeral memorial at the home. One of our college men preached and saw 24 saved! We work as a team here, and everyone has a part in this great harvest field.
Bro. Randy DeMoville, our team leader, has been very gracious to us in doing whatever he can to help our family as we go through the medical gauntlet again. Our church folks have been very sweet, and our college students are a blessing to us as they learn lessons from us that they never could learn in the classroom.
We were grateful in mid-January that the Lord spared the life of Pastor DeMoville when he had appendicitis. Due to the intervention of a couple reached by our church in the last year who work at the local hospital, Bro. DeMoville’s life was saved, and he has made a full recovery. Soul winning pays!
Dr. Bruce Goddard, Bro. DeMoville’s pastor when he was a teenager in California, brought a group of people with him on a missions trip that included visiting us in Dumaguete. They were all a real joy to be around and a great blessing to our college students. It is great to see a man of God who has been in the same church for over 40 years and is still standing true for the Lord.
As we mentioned above, Mike and Ruth Morrissey are following the Lord’s leading to return to the States. They will raise support that will allow them to return to Mindanao and plant another independent, fundamental Baptist church. I can say that Mike is probably the best soul winner I have ever personally known. His passion to learn the local language and set an example for our students to win the lost is an inspiration to us. Of course, we will miss their fellowship and the work they have done for IBC, but we are excited about their future service for Christ.
Two of our team children, Allyson DeMoville and Elisabeth Lawrenson, graduated from our team home school on April 3. My wife was involved in some of their schooling, and we are so glad that they both have such sweet spirits and want to please the Lord with their lives.
Regardless of the details the next few months bring, we want you to know that we love you all and are so grateful for your loving support, sacrifice, and prayers. It has made it possible for us to have the privilege to have a fruitful ministry here in the Philippines. We rest upon the promise of the Lord Jesus, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)
The old black Book is still our foundation, the old hymns still minister to our hearts, and the Holy Spirit is still the Comforter. Our desire is that the Lord would get the glory through our lives. “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” (Isaiah 26:4)
If you have any questions or wish to contact us, please feel free to do so (just keep in mind the time difference!). Please continue to pray for our family, team, and church as we walk through this valley together with the Lord.
Your servants in Christ,
Scott and Debbie Christiansen