Our Davao Bible Fellowship meetings had been experiencing a “ceiling” of 25 until about nine days ago. In each of our three services, we never had attendance higher than that. So I asked our Facebook friends to pray about it. In our very next meeting, on Friday afternoon, we had a total of 34 in the house! Then we had 28 in our Sunday AM service! Then we had 30 in our Sunday PM service, 12 of them men or (mostly teen) boys!
With increased numbers comes more work, especially when you’re serving meals to everyone.* So Davao City Outreach has its very first full-time paid employee (Gina & I don’t take one penny from DCO funds; we live off of my early-retirement pension). Cathy is very mature & godly for a 17 yr old. She is helping with housework & cooking. Gina had been working way too many 14 hour days, so Cathy is definitely needed. She is earning P3500 (about $80) per month, plus a place to stay & free meals. OK, some of you are shocked at this wage, but please bear in mind that many live-in housekeepers in the Philippines make P3000 or even P2000 per month. Also, Cathy gets a day off every week, but most housekeepers here only get several days off per year. We’re trying to find a balance between caring for our employee & being good stewards of God’s resources.
Gina is using her extra time to do more one-on-one ministry, & to practice guitar so that she can play for our worship services. In fact, she & Cathy have begun leading the worship lately, & they’re doing a great job.
Gina & Cathy are a great team in the kitchen as well as in leading worship.
The Philippine Nurses Association of AZ (PNAAZ) has blessed our Gem Village friends with hundreds of dollars’ worth of goods for their homes. Here are a few more photos of the grateful recipients & the gifts:
We went street preaching again. We used the “public interview” method because it seems to keep people’s attention better (ask me about it if you’d like to learn more).
The team (Gina took the photos).
We are celebrating three baptisms this month…
We used your gifts to this ministry to buy 26 Bibles this month for our friends who didn’t have one, or if it was too worn to use…
We already have a long enough report now, so I’ll try to resume the individual testimonies next time. 🙂
If you would like to contribute financially to our efforts, please go to http://ripeforharvest.org/ & ensure your gift goes to “Davao City Outreach.” All of our friends appreciate your gifts & prayers so much!
When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
— from Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 9
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 believe it’s important to our friends that they feel like our meeting place is like home, a place where they can hang out for hours. We don’t want the kind of church where everyone disappears as soon as “amen” is said. This is crucial because of the difficulty here of asking people to attend multiple weekly meetings, such as a Wednesday night service or small groups. People tend to work long hours, traffic is awful at night, & public transportation is very slow, so we only ask them to attend one meeting (unless they want to serve in other meetings). Therefore, we want that one meeting to have a lot of impact. Our Sunday PM meetings often last seven hours. Plus the fact that many people in our meetings are desperately poor…So we feel obligated to feed our friends.