Hello from SE Asia!
Gina & I are excited about what God is going to do in 2015!
This ^ can be said of Davao City Outreach! We moved here in 2013, started getting to know the place, & were refining our strategy. In 2014, we did much good by the grace of God in a variety of ways. In 2015, I believe this is going to grow like crazy! May it be so, Lord!
We needed a larger living room because of our Bible study group & feeding program, & we found a nice place for only $45 more per month. After we moved in, the landlord asked if we would be interested in moving again! –downstairs, into a place that is about twice as big, for only an additional $91 per month! The total rent is $409 for this very nicely furnished home with a very large living room, two restrooms, three bedrooms, a huge kitchen (including an extra oven, two big dining tables, & a large fridge), covered parking, & a shaded patio for a kids’ play area during Bible studies. It’s 1525 sq ft! (Our home in the US was only slightly bigger than that!) The unfurnished place we just spent a year in for $272 a month was only a bit over 600 sq ft, & we thought that was a bargain. I am amazed that this place is not being rented for $700. We’ll sign the contract today & start moving again tomorrow (please pray for my back!).
Another benefit of this home is the traffic…foot traffic, that is. It seems like hundreds of high school kids walk past our place four times a day. Gina, our disciples, & I will regularly go out to chat with them, sharing our faith & inviting them to our fellowships. I have no doubt that some of them will be saved.
Young convert Jeremy has been living with us for a couple of months. Now that we have a bigger place, we’ll ask another young man to stay in the third bedroom. Having men stay with us is a good way to increase quality time with our disciples.
$409 per month rent is minuscule by US standards, but it’s a lot for us. We now have a huge living room because we believe God is going to fill it with new converts twice a week. That’s why we stepped out by faith. Will you please prayerfully consider a monthly gift, or a one-time gift, to support our outreaches? http://ripeforharvest.org/home/donate/
We had a couple of very generous one-time gifts in December, so we were able to give a wonderful Christmas party to all of our friends. This is the first time that almost all of us were together at one time. A few of the 50+ people pictured are guests from other ministries, but most are the ones you directly impact when you pray for & when you give to Davao City Outreach (we also have several DCO friends who were not able to come to the party).
Only in the Philippines: A store I was in on 1/10 was playing nonstop Christmas music. Keep in mind that stores start playing it Sept. 1. 🙂
Normally Filipinos love love songs. So I guess half the year is Christmas, & the other half is Valentine’s. ❤
Our Gem Village friends enjoyed their one visit to our intermediate home (our next meeting will be in the big place). We also had one meeting here with our disciples last Sunday from 1pm to 8:45pm (after being in church together all morning). We simply love each other so much, they hate to leave. I’m so blessed to have Gina, who is an amazing, talented, & charming hostess.
Below, Gina & I are with Nene & Oning Diayon. Oning has been my local MVP ever since we arrived in August 2013. He has spent many hours teaching Gina & me Cebuano. Whenever I have internet or phone problems, I contact high-tech Oning. Every time I need to know where in the city I can find something, Oning will know where it is. Oning is even the one who hooked us up with our new landlord.
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.
We thank you so much for your prayers! You are a part of this mission when you pray for us!
Please pray that the Lord of the harvest would send out laborers into his harvest.
Love, John & Gina