Please bear with the different subject matter in the first part of this update. We’ll have the usual kind of exciting news later (especially at the very end).
In some of his letters, such as Romans 15:17-21, 2 Corinthians 6, & 2 Corinthians 10-12, the apostle Paul wrote a lot about his sacrifices for the Lord. He was not violating Jesus’ warnings against proud bragging. Paul was a humble man. The Lord made sure he stayed that way (2 Corinthians 12:7). He was writing of his deeds & his sacrifices to build credibility for his apostleship, as well as to inspire the churches to follow his example as he followed Christ (1 Corinthians 4:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 11:1, 2). Is it OK if I follow Paul’s example, & write about Gina’s & my sacrifices? May the Lord keep us from even one proud thought, & may he use this update to only inspire devotion to Jesus, rather than any kind of admiration for redeemed sinners John & Gina. My desire is that many of you would prayerfully think something like this: “Hmmm…John & Gina are normal people, & they’re living a life of sacrifice as missionaries. I should ask God if a normal person like me should serve in another culture.”
Sacrifice? Well, we’re having the time of our lives, & we don’t regret anything we’ve given to our Lord.
Yesterday marked exactly 18 months since we arrived in Davao City. Including our moving/travel expenses & monthly expenses, Gina & I have spent about $27,000 of our own funds on this mission. Of that total, it cost us more than $8000 to move here, buy a car, & buy furniture. The remaining $19,000 or so comes from what we give each month from my small early-retirement pension, as well as what we’ve taken from our savings.
After withdrawing more than one-third to pay for mission expenses, we have about $21,000 in retirement savings left to last the rest of our lives (I’m 53, & Gina is 46).
Sacrifice? We’re having the time of our lives. We don’t regret anything we’ve given to our Lord.
Chandler Christian Church will be flying us to the US from May 5 to June 5 for their Mission Expo. We’ll also be doing fund-raising as well as visiting friends & loved ones. It will be our first return home since we began our mission. If you’re in the Phoenix area, we would love to speak at your church or Bible study! We could talk about whatever you want: our mission, life in the Philippines, our testimonies, or to stir a heart for missions in general. Please get in contact with us to arrange a time. It would bless your group, & it would bless us even more!
If you would like to help with transportation, food, & lodging–either by donating money for the trip, or else by offering the use of your car, spare bedroom, or cell phone–please let us know. We would be extremely grateful.
OK, we’ll go on to more exciting subjects now. 🙂
We had our sixth Davao Youth Fellowship on Friday. Only the first one had fewer than 21 kids. As always, the kids listened intently to the Bible teaching, but this time we believe we saw some breakthroughs, with kids getting closer to Jesus & turning their backs on ‘pet sins.’ Remember, most of these kids have never been to an evangelical church.
See the nice big-screen our landlord provided? Gina & I never watch TV, but it’s a great monitor for Power Point.
Gina cooked for about eight hours preparing for that meeting. I’m so blessed to be married to The Best Hostess Ever. I tell her to make simple meals more often, but since many of the people we serve have a limited diet of cheap foods that can be prepared over a fire, she really wants to bless them.
We have a new regular ministry! Not exactly weekly; so far it’s kinda every other week. We’re helping a ministry to a local high school & elementary school, teaching & befriending kids. The ministry was already doing well before we joined it, but Pastor Nick says the kids love hearing a Kano (American) teach. 🙂
Culture moment: A restaurant that “accepts” catering service rather than providing it? It must be for a special “occcation.” 🙂 We’ll forgive the English malfunctions, because the chicken meal is only P25 (about 57c).
Thank you to those who have been praying for my back & stomach pain after all that furniture moving. I ended up visiting the hospital below a few times. The doctor said I only had muscle strain in my stomach as well as in my back (thank God there are no spinal or hernia problems). Now I’m taking prescription medicine for prostate issues that were uncovered in the x-rays. I’ll be OK.
Now for this month’s most exciting news: On Saturday, we’re going with our disciples to do an outreach to the indigenous people of Datu Salumay, about two hours from here. We’re bringing them Bible teaching, food, clothing, & gospel comic books. And the entire short-term mission was dreamed up & planned by our disciples! We’re so blessed to see them grow in the Lord! We believe some of them will be full-time missionaries one day, & the others will be missions supporters…like you! Below is a photo they took at the high school on a preparatory visit to the area.
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.
To donate: http://ripeforharvest.org/home/donate/
(If the link doesn’t work, please copy/paste into your browser)
Love, John & Gina