TO REFLECT THE EXPANDING SCOPE OF OUR MISSION, WE JUST CHANGED THE NAME OF OUR MINISTRY TO FILIPINOS REACHING NATIONS. THE OLD DAVAO CITY OUTREACH LINK AUTOMATICALLY SENDS YOU TO OUR NEW WEBSITE, NATIONS.PH
Gina, Sandra, Geraldine, and I traveled about 11 hours to Luna, Apayao. (I’m writing from Luna.) The timing of the trip is about Gina’s mom Helen and her 80th birthday, but another big reason for the trip is that we’ve been praying for months about the Pudtol Atta tribe that is near Luna. We believe God may be calling us to send a church planter to Luna or some other town in the area, and to use that church to reach out to this tribe that desperately needs the Gospel. (It’s only 1% evangelical, according to Joshua Project, where I got the images from.) So we’ll be looking at the tribe as well as possible locations for a church.
Also while we’re here in Luna, we’ll do school ministry. Gina’s mom is a retired teacher, and two principals in Luna were once Helen’s students. Connections! So we have permission to speak to several classes of the older kids. Plus we’ll try to get into other schools while we’re there.
Your prayers are very appreciated!
Happy 80th birthday, Mommy! ❤
BTW, in the photos, red dots indicate unreached peoples, while orange and yellow represent little-reached groups. The need is great in this supposedly Christian country, because the Church has not been doing its job.
The obligatory group photo after our team’s ministry to the Tiboli tribe, about six hours away from Davao City. Food and gift distribution, gospel preaching, and kids’ ministry. And perhaps best of all, our people gained experience in cross-cultural ministry.
Attendance was down a bit in all three of our services some weeks ago… and I couldn’t have been happier! Because we sent most of our leaders as well as other disciples to minister to the Tiboli tribe all weekend. You can’t out-give God, so we reaped three blessings with our giving:
–The services back home went very well,
–Our travelers gained valuable ministry experience, and
–People in Davao rose up to serve in ways that our leaders normally do. For example, Mara Joy—who had never translated in church before—did an excellent job. (pictured)
Heaven sent its best when Jesus came to be our Savior, so churches should be all the more willing to send their best people away, whether temporarily or permanently, for the Gospel.
“Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:1-3).
Life is tough for many Filipinos. Here’s an obstacle for a lot of people that’s been here for months: The exit to get out of the neighborhood is past the machinery. So you must either go left of it and risk falling into the river, or go right and climb the unstable dirt and construction junk. Imagine carrying stuff or a baby while trying to get by. We only go there occasionally (to teach a Bible study), but I feel sad for those who live there.
Let me tell you about Joy and Cathy, as well as our Heavenly Hiring Habits. 😂
Twice in our ministry’s history, during times when we used to do a lot more feeding, Gina began to have severe menopausal symptoms. Both times we decided to hire a helper. Both times the helper was not born again. Both times we discipled them anyway, thinking, We pay your salary, so along with your duties, you’ll allow us to disciple you. 😛 (You can do that in this country!) 😮 🙂 And both ladies eventually became wonderfully born again!
Cathy has long been a discipleship leader in our church, as well as our best worship leader.
Joy, after she was saved for about a year, began to be interested in a widowed pastor in her hometown (about 2 ½ hours away) who was contacting her. She ended up marrying him—I was honored to do the ceremony—and Joy continues to serve the Lord in that church today. We had not seen her in person for a couple of years when she visited and brought us a big turkey all the way from her home. We all had a nice reunion.
Look what Bee and friends created for my 61st birthday in September! A big sign for our Buhangin church sanctuary.
Telling my testimony for about 40 minutes to a mostly unchurched group of fire victims. Big thanks to Christian and Adela for the opportunity. They worked with us to do a distribution of donated goods to 189 families. Christian and Adela live there, daily serving in this poor neighborhood. BTW, our church here donated at least as much to these victims as was sent from the USA.
While we were walking around the area that was devastated by the fire, these boys followed me for about 20 minutes. It’s so easy for me as a foreigner to make them smile and laugh, and I love doing it.
When they learned that Gina is my wife, they said (in Visayan), “But you’re so tall and she’s not!” 😂 My Gina is sweet, petite, and can’t-be-beat. ❤
This little beauty was saved from abortion, which illegal but all too common in this country. GOD caused a certain woman to persuade her friend not to abort her child, because she knew a couple who could not have children naturally. The end result is a beautiful child in the home of loving adoptive parents.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.” (Proverbs 31:8)
I want to honor Gina’s and my spiritual daughter* Daise. Besides several years of excellent faithfulness serving in various church capacities, during those years she has spent an incredible amount of time caring for her parents’ infirmities. Daise never complains, and she has only asked for help during emergencies. The family is very grateful for the times we have helped.
Pictured: At their home, ministering to Minda, Daise’s mom.
*She always calls me “Amahan” which means “Dad.”
Parking, Philippine style. We sometimes see this kind of mess at the stairway going to our third-floor church facility.
No, there is no elevator in our four-story building. I don’t know if there’s a four-story building in the country that has an elevator (except for in malls). So we get plenty of exercise on those stairs. 🙂
It’s always a joy to minister at our Bacalso site on Sunday morning.
We’re asking God to provide a better facility. They have patiently endured the tarp “roof,” the dirt floor (often mud), and the heat for years.
BTW, the last time I ministered there, it was a solid hour of teaching with no translation! This is one reason why I stopped studying Visayan. Over the years I’ve noticed that our people are learning English from me as I teach them and fellowship with them. Knowing English can help them get better jobs, plus, if they ever go out as missionaries to other countries, they would need to know English, since no one in those countries knows Visayan.
In our Buhangin location, we have one Visayan service and one English service. Most of those attending the English service learned much of their English from me.
In the Philippines, most motorcyclists do whatever works. Like waiting in the shade for the light to turn green. 😏
It’s often extremely difficult to find parking in this city. Sometimes someone is waiting who will guide you and help you squeeze into a space, and you’re supposed to give him a little money “to watch your vehicle.” Well, when I was out recently, and I came back to my vehicle, this bold little guy came up to me and said (in Visayan) that he watched my vehicle for me. 😂 I’m sure he fought off some potential car thieves. 😄 So cute!
In September we visited a public school, bringing lots of kids’ books, snacks, toys, and school supplies, but the best part was the ministry. Not only were the kids blessed by our team leading worship and by the practical Bible lesson, but many teachers and parents also witnessed the ministry. They saw a church reaching out to a school in a very poor neighborhood with God’s love.
Americans, can you imagine ministry like this in any public school in your city?
(I did kids’ ministry from 1997 to 2013, so I enjoy when I get an occasional chance to do it again.)
Visiting Safe Haven Orphanage, about an hour and a half away. We gave them lunch and a bunch of donated gifts, plus our team presented a fun program. They have 27 beautiful children, but we’re not allowed, per Philippine law, to show the kids here.
SHO is an excellent ministry to donate towards if your heart moves you in that direction. They definitely could use some help, due to some recent challenges.
A year ago, Davao City Outreach/Compass Christian Church was hit with our worst scandal. A leader–whom I always considered a dear friend–was accused of adultery and embezzlement. He did not deny the charges, but he responded by running away, leaving his wife and two young sons and moving to a far province.
Since then, the mom has been heroic, working two jobs and giving herself to the Lord and to her kids. And the church has stepped up, too, helping financially during the months before Mom got a job. Plus the guys in the church have been big brothers to the boys, giving lots of attention and love.
The church only lost a few people because of the scandal, but I’m not sure they were even with us to start with. It seems like they left because they thought we were too tough on the backsliding leader. (We carefully followed the New Testament’s guidelines about church discipline. Our goal has always been for him to repent and be restored.)
As a ministry, we learned that we ought to be less ‘loose’ about money. So for the past year, we have required receipts and details from everyone who spends, plus we have an accountant and a financial board that’s totally independent of me. They meet every three months to look at the records.
Please pray for the mom and kids. They’re strong… but being strong hurts sometimes.
After the dad left, the mom told me her older son was misbehaving more than usual. I went to visit them. I called the boy and talked tough to him for about 15 minutes, and then I gave him hope and love for another several minutes. He has totally changed since then. He has been such a big help for Mom by watching his younger brother, and he has been doing all of his chores with a very good attitude.
We so appreciate our sponsors!
To those who give, thank you so much!
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