SE Asia greetings!
Gina & I celebrated our wedding anniversary on 8/26. I’m so blessed to have this woman! She followed me halfway around the world, & I know she would follow me to the moon if God called us there.
Also, Gina & I celebrated birthdays on 9/8 & 9/18. I believe I’m a bit heavier after all of the celebrating! But overall I’ve actually lost 16 pounds in the 13 months we’ve been here. I feel great!
With Jayrol, who also was celebrating a birthday that week.
As you know, we’ve been praying about whether God is calling me to be a pastor & to start a church. Here’s what I think God is saying (& our local pastor, also a missionary, agreed):
We will pastor a church…eventually. But now, I’m not quite ready, Gina’s not quite ready, & our disciples are not quite ready.
On Saturday evenings, we have a core of about twelve committed disciples, most of whom were converted within the last several months, & we always have five to ten others visiting who have various levels of commitment.
If we were to get a building, I have no doubt that our attendance would jump to well over 30 immediately, & the number would probably grow pretty quickly afterwards. But I don’t think we’re all ready for that. I would rather make disciples than gather a crowd. We’re trying to train our disciples to make disciples. When they start doing that, I think then we’ll be ready to get a larger facility. Until then, we all need to grow spiritually.
Still, we are really excited about the growth of our disciples! They are rising up to one challenge after another. We’re training them to do everything from children’s ministry to evangelism to hospitality. Three of our young ladies went on a short-term mission to a province 12 hours away, & two of them went again a few weeks later, distributing supplies & sharing the Gospel:
As we told you before, one of our challenges is reaching men. Men are less likely to be interested in the things of God here, & men tend to be less educated, which means their English is not as good. We are trying to find places where college students hang out in order to meet more English-fluent young men. Please pray for that also.
These men were recently at our Bible Fellowship:
BTW, it’s quite proper in this culture to be barefoot in the house. Everyone leaves their shoes outside.
Our Cebuano learning is coming along well, but we’re not learning as quickly as we had been when we had weekly lessons. I think we know well over 200 words. We’ve been here fewer than 400 days, so we’re averaging more than one new word every two days. Not bad, but we have a long way to go.
Evangelist Ray Comfort had been making me uncomfortable. I follow him on Facebook, & he keeps pushing the idea that there should be more outdoor preaching by the Church. After all, many prophets did it, the apostles did it, our Lord Jesus did it, & many saints through the centuries since have done it. Actually, I had also done it several times, but not since the 1990s. Well, I recently surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. With some friends along distributing fliers, I preached for about 40 minutes near the City Hall here. I was amazed at how well these young people listened for the entire time! We’re all eager to go out & do it again. Next time I’ll turn some of our disciples loose on the crowd. Why should I get all the fun?
We baptized three people a few weeks ago. Here’s Jeremy testifying before his baptism:
We “coincidentally” (wink) received two extra $200 gifts this month. So we were able to buy that $400 stove/oven that Gina has been praying for! Before, she only had two counter-top burners & no oven, yet she was cooking for up to three dozen people every week. We thank all of our supporters for helping us bless our friends here! That includes our faithful prayer supporters, too!
Our car is slowly deteriorating. The idle is rough, the muffler is bad, the a/c is broken (which means no defogger, which can be hazardous in this climate), & it’s simply too small for the crowds we fit into it every Thursday & every Sunday. We have little cash, & lenders won’t deal with foreigners because they’re afraid we’ll go back to the US. Would you all please pray that God will move on someone’s heart to either give or else lend us enough to buy a nice vehicle? Something like this, with two bench seats in the back, would be a gigantic blessing:
Our friends here would be so excited! This is actually a very popular kind of vehicle here.
Please let me know if you have any questions about missions, our ministry, this nation, or our city.
And please pray to the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.