The year 2015 is quickly coming to a close, and there is much to reflect upon. I am so thankful for those who continue to pray for and support the work of the ministry here in Dumaguete. International Baptist Church has had a great year, although she has gone through some difficulties.
This year we said goodbye to another team family, as the Morrisseys returned to the U.S. to begin deputation to come back to the Philippines and start a new work on a neighboring island. We are grateful for the impact they had since the beginning of our work here and look forward to how God will use them in the years ahead, if the Lord tarries.
We’ve also been confronted this year with the news that Mrs. Christiansen’s cancer has returned. Already she’s pulled through a recent surgery after a tumor caused a break in her right leg. We are pleased that she seems to be rallying a bit more than expected, and it looks like she’s going to be with us into the New Year. Please pray for her and the Christiansen family during this time.
My family is rejoicing at the addition of a new little girl into our home; Ivanna Joy was born on September 29. She is six weeks old as I write this, and all has gone very well until this past week. Please pray for my wife and Ivanna, as both of them have developed what seems to be pertussis (whooping cough).
In spite of all that has been challenging, the Lord has sustained us and helped us to continue to see the victory. We’ve had some great soul-winning days this year. Our church baptistery continues to see people baptized every Sunday. Many of our church members are progressing nicely through our church’s discipleship program. The growth in our people here has been phenomenal, and I am excited to see how God is going to use them for His glory as they remain faithful.
In September we had our annual missions conference; it was well attended and a great time of encouragement for our church. As always, we have a theme and decorate. This year’s theme was “Everything for Christ.” We had a giant soul-winning day during the conference and saw 415 saved in just a few hours. We took up our Faith Promise commitments and saw a slight increase over last year. Praise the Lord for people learning to trust the Lord with their finances!
As of November 22, our church ministries have seen over 5,609 souls saved this year. It is thrilling to see many visitors week after week, especially those who were led to Christ by one of our faithful soul winners and brought to church. Already this year, we’ve seen 157 identify with Christ and His church through baptism. Please pray that more of them will continue in the faith and grow in grace.
Our Bible college students continue to make great progress, and we look forward to seeing God use them as He sees fit. What an honor it is to be used of God to teach and to train more laborers whom God can send. Please pray for them and for God to send us more students in the coming year.
We are looking forward to the New Year and a greater focus on serving our Lord as individuals in the church. Each person has been placed into the body of Christ with a purpose, and joy is found in doing the will of God. We have some great plans for the coming year that I’ll share with you in a future update. For now we are focused on finishing this year strong.
We have a Christmas Sunday coming up, and then International Baptist Church will have her first Watch-Night Service as we close out this year and welcome 2016. God has been so wonderfully good to us, and we are humbled to be part of His great work. Thank you again for your love and support.
That all the world may know,