Dear Family and Friends,
We thank and praise God for your faithful prayer and financial support towards the ministry here, truly God has been blessing through your life! As you know I have now been in the ministry here for 4 years and I've learned so much that it's really been overwhelming! After 4 years I have now become 100% fluent in the national language and have learned much valuable information about the culture and mindset of the Filipinos, which is so important as I strive to reach them being a foreign missionary. In fact, as time has gone by I have noticed that I have become much more effective in the ministry here through these 4 years! Please continue praying for me to be fully effective in carrying out the Great Commission in this part of the world!
As you know we also recently held the Church's 4th anniversary, which was truly blessed as the people were challenged on this day to pursue more seriously the Great Commission! As you can see in the picture below the theme was, "Make 2008 a Year That is Truly Great!"; the word "great" was emphasizing the Great Commission of course! Praise God that the people decided to begin supporting the visiting missionary who is working in Cambodia! This marks the Church's support of a 4th foreign missionary, each of whom are being financially supported by the Church here monthly with P1,000 (approx. US $100 total monthly). Please continue praying for their desire to reach souls throughout the world, that they would desire and pursue this deeper in their souls. This coming April will present the Church with an opportunity to support a 5th foreign Filipino missionary who will be visiting us. His family is preparing to go to Thailand, please pray for the Church to walk through this door of opportunity and begin supporting this family as well.
The anniversary celebration was a huge blessing as we had preaching from the morning to the evening straight, except for a lunch and snack break. There were 4 sermons and a Sunday School lesson taught, all of which were focused on missions. It was a blessing and challenge for all. We were blessed to see about 170 in attendance as we had some new visitors out for this day. We also had 5 new baptisms on this day and are currently about to begin training some other new converts who will probably be baptized in April. There were supposed to be 6 baptisms on the day of anniversary, but one lady backed out following an argument with her mother who doesn't want her to be baptized. Pray that this lady would make Jesus Lord of her life, and not her mother.
Another blessing that has come since the new year has come has been a continued rise in the financial giving at the Church. A consistent rise in their giving is certainly a good sign of their love for the Lord. The Church is now supporting 2 full time workers (who were saved here and are currently being trained through the Bible College program) and is able to give towards local and foreign mission works monthly, praise the Lord! The Church will not have any problems supporting their own national Pastor, as soon as that time comes. They could financially accomplish this currently, but none of the Bible College students are ready (as of now) to enter the Pastorate. Therefore, pray for the Bible College students to become fully prepared for the Lord's ministry and that many others would surrender, truly the laborers are few! Please continue praying for the mission work in Neuva Ecija as attendance has gone up with over 20 children attending weekly and 15 adults. Again, please pray for laborers in this place! Pray also for a rental that could be used as an initial Church building as we are currently using a home at one of the regular attenders. We've done a little bit of looking for a place to be used as a rental, but nothing has been found as of yet.
Pray for a number of regular visitors who have not yet received the Lord and followed Him in baptism. Currently there are more than 20 regular attending visitors who have yet to make a public profession, but listening intently. Among the latest visitors is an older American man! One of the Church workers met him as he was giving out Gospel tracts in a nearby village and his regular attendance at Church has made the job of preaching interesting as he does not know the Filipino language! I've been trying my best to present the messages in Filipino and in English, but that's a tough job! However we've also started a weekly Bible study at his residence which has helped out. Please pray for this man and his wife who is a Filipina. Please continue praying also for prior visitors such as Elisabeth who have been able to come to Church, but have yet to return because of division in the family that has resulted. Pray that the Lord would reach these entire families!
Please pray also for upcoming opportunities to get into the school systems to teach weekly to the students. I recently talked to a worker from Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). They have evangelistic work going on in some of the elementary schools here and they're going to try and help us get into some of the nearby schools here. This won't be happening until next school year (June to July), but we ask you to pray early, especially for school principals, who are the ones that make the final decision. We've tried this before without success, but CEF has an approach to the school principals that will be better because they are accompanied by a memorandum from the Philippine's President. So please pray early that we would find favor in the eyes of the principals whom we will be speaking with.
Concerning the health issues mentioned before, please continue praying for Sarah Del Monte who has been battling Tuberculosis. Pray also for the missionary family to Tibet. By God's grace an operation has not been needed. The husband is recovering from the crash and they hope to be able to return to the field this March.
Again, thanks for your prayer and financial support as we all work together in carrying out the Great Commission! We pray that God will bless you richly because of your sacrifices!
Yours in Christ,
For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)
Sapagka't sa ganang akin ang mabuhay ay si Cristo, at ang mamatay ay pakinabang. (Mga Taga Filipos 1:21)