Grace & peace to you all!
We finally were able to purchase our SUV. It’s a very well-maintained 2003 Toyota Revo (a model not available in the US), & we got it for $5340. It can seat 10 American-sized adults comfortably, so you can be sure that we’ll fit more than that sometimes. We put it to use right away–the kids below got a ride home before Gina even got a chance to ride in it (more about these kids later).
Last month I went on & on about what a blessing Oning Diayon is to us. So after the Lord blessed us with the SUV, we gave our little Kia to Oning. He’s married with two young kids, & he’s always helping people, so he needs more than his motorcycle to get around in. Gina & I are blessed to be a blessing. (It rains a lot here, so unfortunately the car was quite dirty when we presented it to him) (Oning also “photo-bombed” the previous photo. Can you spot him?) 🙂
Here’s the Davao Bible Fellowship gathering yesterday. We meet on Sundays from 1 to 7pm, & that’s after being in church for three hours. Notice that God is blessing us with more men. (The children were outside)
Our new home is fully furnished (amazing that a $409 a month home can be so nice, so big, & furnished as well!), so we had plenty of furniture to lend to our disciples. Young people who had no refrigerator, table, sofa, etc., suddenly had them. And they are all so grateful. Again, Gina & I are blessed to be a blessing.
His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
For the first year & a half of our mission here, we had a tiny car & a 600 sq ft home. We devoted both of them fully to the Lord’s work. Now, by the grace of God, we have a big home & a big SUV…And a new, already-fruitful weekly outreach with which to put the home & the vehicle to work!
Soon after we moved to this big home, I noticed that a horde of high school kids passes in front of our home at 4pm every day. I thought, “Harvest!” So our disciples, Gina, & I began to befriend them & invite them to a fellowship every Friday from 4 to 5:30pm. Our first Davao Youth Fellowship had eight kids. The second grew to 21 (two arrived after the photo was taken)! Yes, they are all girls, except for one bading (homosexual boy)…who called himself a girl. Yes, of course we loved him just as much as we loved the other kids.
They all listen closely to the testimonies & the teaching.
There was a group of four or five boys that came to the door, but when they looked inside & saw all of the girls, they fled. Yes, things are different here in the Philippines!
In an hour or so, I’ll be going to a doctor about my back pain & my hernia. Way too much moving furniture in the last several weeks (we moved twice, we helped others move, & we loaned furniture to others). Please pray with us about this.
My friend & mentor Ken Sandberg, pastor of “Church 153” in Davao City, recently gave us a very nice endorsement:
I would just like to say to the friends of John & Gina in America– This couple is the REAL DEAL! They are doing an amazing work for God here in the Philippines. Many lives are being changed for the better as they share the gospel everywhere they go. John & Gina attend our church faithfully, bringing many visitors with them. They also serve as ushers and occasionally teach in different settings (Sunday School, home groups, & at outreach breakfasts for men/women). John is also teaching at our Calvary Bible Institutes here in Mindanao. We are truly blessed by the lives and ministry of this amazing couple. PLEASE, if you don’t already, prayerfully consider becoming monthly financial partners with them in their mission work. I know the Lord will bless you as they are very good ground to sow your seed into.
When you support us, you support YWAM-trained missionary Jane Subala, because Gina & I are her main sponsors…& adoptive parents, sort of. She calls us Mommy & Daddy, & we call her anak ko (“my daughter”). 🙂 Jane works every week in the slums of Agdao (the poorest section of Davao City). She also goes on short-term missions to unreached tribes on our island, & of course she does a lot for Davao City Outreach (she’s in the photo with the high school kids).
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