“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” (John 16:22) After laying my wife’s body to rest on April 22, I spent the next two months resting, meeting old friends, and speaking in some of my supporting churches.
“Gone” is a hard word. Debbie is now gone from me; but the Lord is not gone, the Bible is not gone, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit is not gone. As I visited churches, I was privileged to share my wife’s testimony and the blessings we experienced on the mission field. I was greatly comforted by the compassion of God’s people in every church I visited. Every place I went, some would come to me and share their testimonies as to how God had helped them in their time of grief. Others would come and tell me how they had prayed for me during this last year. Many would thank me for sharing how God upheld my wife and me as Debbie faced death with full assurance of faith in our Lord’s promises.
I was able to be in several churches in Indiana and Michigan on the weekends, as I stayed with my parents at their home in Ionia, Michigan. I was great to be with them again after not seeing them for 4½ years. My mother still knows how to cook, and my parents spoiled me as I spent time visiting family members. My son Joel and his wife Crystal also live in Ionia, and their home church “adopted” me for a few weeks as I visited them when I was not scheduled elsewhere.
Several churches took up special offerings and gave them to me to help meet the expenses surrounding Debbie’s medical and funeral expenses. It always amazes me how God takes care of us if we will keep our eyes on Him. Thank you to each church, family, and individual that sacrificed to make sure all our family’s needs were met.
While in Michigan, I was able to work through the paperwork and delays of insurance companies, as well as take care of some of the final details surrounding my wife’s funeral. It was a real treat for me to travel to Maine to visit another son Amos and his wife Lacey to see how Lacey was doing following major open-heart surgery in late March. I enjoyed preaching at their home church and spending a week visiting them. I am glad to report that Lacey is doing very well.
The time in the USA went very quickly, and on June 17, I arrived back to a very warm welcome from our team, college students, and church members in Dumaguete City. My apartment had been cleaned and decorated with many notes welcoming me back home.
The Lord is helping me as I adjust to a new routine of cleaning, cooking, shopping, and being busy with our college and other church ministries. My days are filled with teaching college classes, preaching in chapel, teaching the adult Sunday school class, soul winning with our college and church members, and other responsibilities. It felt good to share the Gospel again in the Philippines and see many trust Christ. Our college students and church members have reports every week on souls being saved and family members being reached. I love it!
When I returned, Bro. Randy DeMoville, our team leader, was traveling with his two oldest daughters to Europe and the USA on family business. While at a friend’s wedding in Iowa, Bro. DeMoville got a severe MRSA infection of his foot, which required hospitalization and delayed his return to the Philippines. Thankfully, he is now back in Dumaguete and recovering well.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support as I continue to adjust and labor for the Master here in the Philippines. Pray that the Lord would bless our college students and soon get them out starting churches and teaching others about soul winning in the Philippines and beyond.
May the Lord richly bless you,