Dear Family and Friends,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each of you! We wish we could say so in person, but perhaps this coming year of 2007 will give us that opportunity again! We do pray to be able to come back home for a visit sometime this year, and it may be quite possible. With growth in Church leadership I won't have any problem leaving things in the hands of the people here, which is truly the work of God's hand! In fact, we especially want to thank you for faithful prayers for the training of local leaders as God is certainly blessing in that area. One young man is preaching in Church here weekly and we ask you to pray for even more to surrender their lives to ministry!
Also, with strong growth of leadership we currently feel God leading us to plan on starting a ministry in another area that would prayerfully develop into another Church as well. Please pray for us as things unfold in that regards early this coming new year as we have been considering other nearby provinces. We are praising the Lord as members in the Church here are excited about this and some will be able to invest some of there extra time towards such an effort. With their help and 2 of us currently preaching in the Church we won't have any problem in getting such a new ministry up and going, perhaps on a weekly basis at first.
Also, members in the Church have been doing better in their financial offerings and we're continuing to challenge them to give more and more as they can surely be used by God even in financially supporting mission work! With the Philippines being so close to many other nations here in Asia I believe that God is expecting far more than even just national mission work supported by Filipinos, but even global missions, we ask you to pray sincerely about this. As you may know, this part of the world is often called the "10/40" window and sixty percent of the world's population lives in this area, but it receives less than twenty percent of America's missionary effort. (If you're not familiar with this I highly recommend that you do some personal research into it and see the tremendous need for mission work in Asia!) Much like America, I believe that the Philippines could easily become a mighty missionary-sending nation, and the truth is that it is already happening. The Filipino Christians are serious, hard-working, sacrificial, learn other languages quickly, and are FAR MORE willing to adapt to other cultures than MANY American missionaries who claim to "need" thousands of dollars a month to go abroad. The young man, whom I mentioned above, now preaching in the Church here, lives on very little and is willing to sacrifice his life for the Gospel. If God were to call him to carry the Gospel to China, he would pack up and go. One mission group that I know of here, the Asia Baptist Clearing House, is working with over 50 Filipinos missionaries spreading the Gospel in over 15 different nations throughout Asia. One fully indigenous Baptist Church in Manila (25+ years since started) that I know of has been challenged by their Filipino Pastor to give towards missions and the result is a congregation that tithes and offers thousands of US dollars per month and has trained and sent out many families from there own membership to other nations such as India and East Timor! NONE of this is supported by American dollars. That's where many American missionaries have gone wrong, not believing that the people can give and therefore not challenging the people of their culture towards Biblical, financial giving and support. Nobody is too poor to give and not challenging them to do so only keeps them poor, robbing them of God's blessing and great promise in Malachi 3:10! Currently, the members here are giving nearly US $300 a month through their tithes and offerings and we're praying for them to give even more for the Lord's work! This is prayer being answered as you will recall us asking for your prayers in these regards in recent newsletters, including for members who are having a hard time financially and struggling to find work, Jehovah-Jireh has been faithful! Please pray for these things to happen and for the vision to catch on to others as well!
Please continue praying also for the expanded outreach in the current area where we are ministering the Gospel to the lost. We've seen more and more people from with neighboring towns coming to Church and want to see much more! Many of the neighboring towns remain unreceptive to the Gospel, but some opportunities have recently opened up and through continued growth we've seen Church attendance going over 120 lately, praise God! Pray for 200 then 300, and then 3,000, etc! We believe that NOTHING is impossible for the Lord!
I also asked you to pray for the children's outreach recently and we are excited to report that the numbers are back up again with over 100 children coming out to Church on Christmas Eve! Please continue praying however for the hardened hearts of many parents, that they will come to know Christ. We also thank you for prayers for the family teachings I recently preached on in the Church, as many were enlightened about many things regarding the Christian family, please pray that each of these families will be faithful to the Lord!
Someone recently asked me how they can best pray for the work here. My advice is to just print a copy of this newsletter and read it and pray for all that we've mentioned. God WILL answer and bless!
Thanks and God bless you all!