Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We know that God’s people are praying for us, and we do not discount it whatsoever. The past couple of years have been the most upsetting since the beginning of our ministry here nearly 11 years ago. Yet through it all, we have not been forsaken, and we see God working in the lives of the people of International Baptist Church. I am convinced that, for those who have been able to attend services, this has been a time of great spiritual growth among our members. We will have a lot of work to do in the days ahead, as we are finally starting to open up for young people to be able to exit their residences.
Yes, it has been difficult not being able to have the full aspect of ministries that we have become accustomed to through the years. Our Children’s Ministry has been practically non-existent for much of this pandemic time, as they were considered by the “experts” to be super spreaders, and even until now, there have been no face-to-face classes in the Philippines. This also means that we’ve had to halt our great School Ministry. We’ve not been allowed back into the jail for our Jail Ministry since this started. Our routes have been visited, but transportation to church for most has had to be on their own, as we have been limited on the number of people who can ride together. For several years, we have had a Homeschool Ministry, which my wife heads up with some staff and helpers. We’ve helped many of our church families to pull their children out of the public schools and take responsibility for their children’s education. We’ve been able to resume this even while other kids are struggling with the public-school solutions, which are horrible. We have a few students who come to our house each day, and my wife and workers travel other days to homes to help the young people keep up with their studies. It has been challenging, but rewarding. At least many of our children are not falling behind in their education, as so many others are right now.
We’ve had online services, and that has kept many connected, even some who live in distant cities who faithfully partake in our services. One couple, who watch from another island, recently visited us while in the area. At the end of September, we held our Missions Conference; many attended, and many had to watch online. Our theme was “Answering the Missions FAQs.” We focused on the Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why of missions. Many of our newer members learned and responded well. Our Faith Promise giving has increased already, and we were able to give a raise to the missionaries our church already supports and pray to take on more missionaries in the coming year.
Just this week, they changed our quarantine status, and it seems that we may have more flexibility. It may be because the elections are coming, and those who want to be reelected hope that people will forget, but we will take it for now and pray that things continue to move us back to “normal.”
Before the pandemic came, we were in the works to start an FM station here in Dumaguete. That has been on hold, as Americans cannot enter into the Philippines at this time unless they have an existing long-term visa. In the meantime, we have started an online radio station and are training workers. I have an hour-long morning program Monday through Friday, and it has been another great way to connect with our members. Some of our folks have been taking turns and getting better at hosting listener-request hours. There is excitement about it, and we look forward to promoting it to our city in the weeks ahead to help introduce more people to our church through another medium. Please pray for its success. You can tune in if you like at www.ibcdumaguete.com.
At the end of October, we had two of our staff members, Jason Garganian and Daisy Mae Anasario, get married. It was a wonderful ceremony for two young people who are both graduates of our Bible college and serve faithfully on our staff. They have been a great example of dating properly. We have several young families in the church now who are just starting to have children, and it is exciting to see them in church.
Soul winning continues, even though we’ve not had as many opportunities to get people in the doors as before. Still, we have frequent visitors, and we even had another baptism this past Sunday. God is even bringing soul-winning opportunities to us. I led a German man to Christ yesterday here at the church who came seeking financial help. Others in recent days have sought for help and found Jesus Christ. Pray that these converts will continue to grow in their newfound faith.
Thank you again for going to the Lord on our behalf and for your willingness to give so that others can hear about Jesus. You are making a difference here as you help us to continue in this harvest field. We love you and are praying for home as we keep up with the ever-shifting situations in America. We pray that the Lord comes for us soon, but until He does, let’s labor on together for Christ and for the souls of men.
Please continue to pray for us and the people of our church. We are gearing up to get the Gospel out more and more as the city here opens back up to more people being out and about. We are excited for the future God has in store for us. May God bless you greatly.
That all the world may know,