As 2016 went into the “rear-view mirror,” I was reminded of a famous line from literature, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” The year 2016 was the most difficult year of my life with the passing away of my wife, and yet it was a very blessed year, as I saw the grace of God at work in so many ways.
Since the Philippines is a “Christian” nation, Christmas is openly celebrated. Our church had two public performances of our Christmas program, using the cantata Christmas on the Air. Our platform was transformed into a radio station, and I was given the part of playing the older Christian gentleman who had produced an annual Christmas radio program for 20 years. God blessed with many saved and baptized, including a young woman from a local college whom my wife and I had witnessed to four years ago. Praise the Lord!
We ended the year at International Baptist Church of Dumaguete City with the following recorded results: saved – 8,468; baptized – 296. The vast majority of these decisions were from one-on-one witnessing as our soul winners went door to door, hut to hut, one on one. We praise the Lord for the fruit of new believers who learned how to share the Gospel with their family, friends, and neighbors.
College classes were out for December during our Christmas and New Year’s break. In January I was busy teaching classes on Genesis and Biblical Character Traits. It is a joy to see the Holy Spirit take the Word of God and plant its truths deep in the hearts of our students.
January 22 was our church’s 6th Anniversary Sunday. A lot of work went into this annual event, and we saw a record attendance of 614 with 41 baptized! Former staff members, Jason and Lacey MacRae, were able to visit us during this time, and Jason was put to work baptizing. The MacRaes were encouraged to see many they had won to Christ and discipled still faithful in church and Bible college and rejoiced to see in person their growth in Christ.
I wish you could be with us as we go out soul winning on Wednesdays, Thursday evenings, and Saturday mornings. I am grateful because I remember what it was to go door to door in the frigid cold of Michigan and Indiana winters! On one recent Wednesday, I took our college students out, and we saw 127 saved! It is not unusual to see over 100 saved each week as we faithfully go out to the city God has given us to reach.
On a personal family note, my son Micah and his wife Abbie were able to finish deputation and departed to serve with the FBMI team in Ghana, West Africa, on January 25. They and their luggage have safely arrived, and they are excited about this new chapter of ministry in their lives. I can only praise the Lord’s goodness as I see my children walking in the truth and willing to serve the Lord wherever God leads. Amen!
Thank you for all that you have done to encourage me in the work God has given me to do. I count it a privilege to be able to represent you and to faithfully pass on the “old time religion” to the young believers here. May God give you all a very blessed and fruitful year as we work ‘til Jesus comes!
Yours for souls,