Maligayang Pasko (Merry Christmas) from Davao City Outreach!
We so appreciate the many expressions of concern & prayer you’ve sent regarding the typhoon that’s hitting the central Philippines. We’re in the south, so we didn’t experience any substantial wind or rain. However, as I write, Gina’s family in Manila may still be in some danger, though the storm does seem to be weakening as well as moving away from that huge city.
Great news! The money for the larger ministry vehicle has been pledged! Chandler (AZ) Christian Church has committed to send $5000 for this purpose! We are so grateful to that congregation & to its leadership!
We’ve been showing you a photo of the Mitsubishi multi-cab type vehicle, but depending on what kind of deal we can find, we might end up with something like this Hyundai:
Or maybe even a 12-seater SUV. A high-clearance 4WD would be helpful during our frequent floods. Please pray for God’s guidance as we shop.
We hope to make the vehicle purchase before our Davao Bible Fellowship Christmas party on 12/20, because we will really need it then! We’re expecting about 50 people, plus neighborhood party-crashers. 🙂 Gina & I, along with our young adults, will be putting on a show (skits, songs, food) mixed in with a church service (worship, testimonies, preaching) for our Gem Village kids. It will be in a semi-public setting, which is why we probably will be getting visitors. The Gospel will be presented throughout the afternoon, so ‘the more, the merrier’!
Thankfully the facility rental will only be P500 (less than $12), but the other aspects of this outreach event–the food, chair rentals, plus the gifts we’re going to buy for all of the poor kids–are blowing up our budget…so we’re running up my personal credit card again. This is not smart money management, but we believe we simply have to do this. Christmas is a bigger part of Philippine culture than that of the US. We feel like we would be depriving our kids if we didn’t do this. Would you all please prayerfully consider whether you might help us pay the bills? Thank you. …Now I hesitate to write the following, because some might misinterpret it as some kind of attempted manipulation, but I just want you to know that we have a way of dealing with my increasing credit card debt if it comes to this. I still have my small retirement fund that I can raid again, which, of course, would incur more early-withdrawal penalties & taxes. Again, not smart money management, but living amongst the desperate poverty we are surrounded by every day, I sometimes wonder why we even need a retirement fund.
I’m sorry if the previous few sentences go against your sensibilities, folks. We’re still very new at this missionary stuff. We will be in the learning stage for a long time…until Jesus comes back.
We’re going to have our next DBF meeting in a park on Sunday afternoon. Please pray that passers-by will be attracted & will join us as we “compel them to come in,” & please pray that it doesn’t rain.
Some of our young adults will join us again on Christmas Day as we’ll drive around the city to distribute food, the Gospel message, & tracts to the poor. Please Lord, give us the bigger vehicle before then!
Earlier I mentioned Davao Bible Fellowship. That’s what we call our Sunday Bible studies from 1 to 8pm. I think un-churched folks are more likely to visit something called a “fellowship” than a “Bible study.” Davao City Outreach is kinda the ‘parent organization’ (LOL), covering the DBF, our feeding programs, teaching in seminaries, preaching in various churches, our school outreaches, our street evangelism, our prison ministry, etc. When we start a church, at this point I believe it should be called Davao Bible Fellowship. We’ll see.
Above, I’m preaching for Randy Maniquez, who is starting a church in Cabantian, a suburb of Davao City. Jane, one of our disciples, translated & helped lead worship. Most of our disciples came along with us.
Speaking of translating, I’ve been realizing what a blessing it has been in some ways that Gina & I are not yet fluent in Cebuano. Don’t get me wrong; our goal is to eventually become fluent. Now, I know enough words to make locals very happy as I throw in some Cebuano here & there (they love it when Westerners learn some of their language). But when I use a translator, the translator is learning how to minister. For example, the three young ladies who are now teaching Values in the elementary school started as our classroom translators. So this has been a valuable discipleship tool. And no one minds listening to both English & Cebuano. They appreciate the opportunity to learn more English.
Sometimes our young friends like to use our home to relax or to catch up on some work. Our house is very small by US standards—about 600 sq ft—but it’s big to most of them. Even though we don’t have a/c or a water heater, our place seems luxurious to most of them. We’re renting it for P12K (about $270) until January 15, when our lease ends. We’ll be moving out, because we need a bigger living room for all of the people God is giving us. Please pray for God’s guidance as we shop for a new home.
Jeremy (first pic) will be moving in with us this week. He’s engaged to Richelle (second pic), BTW. It looks like he’s thinking of her here.
Gina & I would love to connect with your fellowship group, Bible study, or church through Skype! We could talk about whatever you’d like: the Philippines, our mission, our personal testimonies, or to urge folks to prayerfully consider serving the Lord in another culture. I think it would be encouraging for your group–it would certainly encourage us–& it might inspire more prayer supporters & financial supporters for Davao City Outreach. And it would be a chance for us to “see” the US again for a while. The time factor should be easy enough to work out–your evening is our morning.
Please pray to the Lord of the harvest, that he would send more laborers into the harvest.