Dear Family and Friends,
With a new year just ahead I know that God is challenging us to go and get new souls! As we go in to a new year we can only ask you to pray for more new souls here to be saved through our outreach unto them! Let me share a story to encourage you. When I first came to the Philippines 4 years ago the currency exchange rate was approx. P53 to $1. Now it's approx. P43 to $1. To put this in perspective, just imagine being called to see your boss for your annual review, assuming you'll be getting a raise, but receiving a 20% pay cut! You would probably start thinking about a new job! I only recently stopped to consider this because a Filipino friend of mine here has family working abroad in the US, who send monthly financial support to him. He mentioned to me that he was sad because of the drop in exchange rate. This opened a wonderful opportunity for me to share the Gospel of Salvation to this lost man as I was able to show him clearly that he had exchanged his eternal soul for the temporal things of this world! I told him to stop and imagine that he had lost everything because he died and went to the eternal flames of hell. Of course people don't like to think about that, but if we Christians don't give them something to think about then we cannot claim to have been faithful to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ! May God use you this year to win souls where you are and even in the uttermost parts of the world, truly this is the heartbeat of God!
We thank each of your for your prayers for the ministry here in Pampanga as God continues to bless! Church attendance remains steady at approx. 150 every Sunday morning and we're patiently praying for 1,500! We've seen a rise in the people's financial giving over the past 2 months so we're excited about that and ask you to pray for the people to learn to give more sacrificially for the work of the ministry. Please continue praying for a visitor whom I mentioned in the last newsletter, Elisabeth. She still hasn't been able to come back to Church because of her husband. One of the members recently saw Elisabeth and she said that she really wants to be able to attend. Please continue praying also for people to not have to move away to other areas to find work.
Concerning the health issues that I mentioned before, please continue praying for Sister Sarah Del Monte, who has been battling Tuberculosis. God has blessed our prayers as she has gained strength and is doing better, but there are still several more months to the medication process. Kristine's eyes also have been better lately, but she has a minor case of asthma for which we ask you to pray. It doesn't bother her too much, but she has been using an inhaler sometimes. I also asked your prayers for Jonathen and we ask for more of them. Jonathen said that he is feeling fine now, but suddenly his dad isn't! His dad has suddenly stopped allowing Jonathen from attending Church and we're not really sure why as the dad won't talk about it. My opinion though is that this is related to a superstitious belief of many of the Filipinos. We know that when we start serving the Lord that problems are on the way, as the devil is your new enemy, but many here think that if you get sick or endure sudden problems after leaving your religion that it is a sign from God that you should not have done so. I personally believe this has become the problem of this dad, though I could be wrong, but please just pray that Jonathen would be allowed to continue coming to Church as he was supposed to be the 7th on the baptism list for January 6th.
This coming January 6th will be the Church's 4th anniversary and 6 new believers will be baptized on that day; we wish it were 60, but all in God's time! Please pray for this day as it will be a one-day mission conference for the Church. Myself and a Filipino missionary to Cambodia will be teaching all day and the people are excited to learn more about foreign missions! Please pray that on this day the Church will step out in faith and provide monthly support for this missionary who will be with us on that day. I told the people that at the end of that day they will make a decision to support this missionary or not. This will be a good step of faith for them as currently their monthly giving towards mission work doesn't leave any extra funds for further missionary support. So if they decide to support this missionary they will have to reach a new goal immediately. I told them that if they decide to do this, but the new goal hasn't been reached by the end of the month, that the offering plate will be passed around and nobody will go home until the new goal is reached; praise God they like the idea!
Concerning missionaries, please pray for the family that the Church here is supporting who are working on reaching the Tibetans. The father was on his way to language class at their location and was hit by a speeding motorcyclist. Apparently in China there's an interesting law that in such a situation the Chinese doesn't have to pay the bill because the person hit was a foreigner so this also leaves them with a financial problem as an operation on the elbow might be needed. The family had to travel back to the Philippines as the medical expenses are much cheaper here. Please pray that this man's elbow would heal, without needing an operation, and that they would not be discouraged. They've only just begun they're language classes in China so you can see that the enemy is not pleased with what they are doing.
The mission work in Neuva Ecija goes well as attendance remains steady at 15+ adults and 15+ children/youth each week. I mentioned a new family in our last newsletter and the father continues to listen to Bible Studies, but the wife is not interested. Please pray for her to develop a desire. And please continue praying for one of the Bible College students to come to the point where he could work in this ministry full-time. Truly the harvest is great, but the labourers are few...please pray for more to surrender their lives to the ministry! Pray also that more Church members would get involved in the Bible College program and that even now God will raise people up from this area in Neuva Ecija to surrender to the work of the ministry.
We thank each of your for your fervent prayer and financial support for the ministry here throughout this past year. God has truly blessed because of your support and we pray that He will use us all in even greater ways this 2008!
Your in Christ,