Living together outside the bond of marriage is very common in the Philippines and is silently accepted by society. However, this situation has never been accepted by the church nor approved by God. One of our goals as ministers of the gospel is to help unwedded couples make their cohabitation Biblically and legally right. After much counseling and prayers, we praise God for answering our prayers. We held the first wedding ceremony for the church. Anthony and Genie were living together for six years. When they became believers in Jesus Christ, God convicted their hearts and they decided to get legally married. But this has been hindered because of financial issues. After much counseling and prayers, they decided to pursue their desires. God is indeed faithful to answer our prayers and they got married. This example has made a big impact on the church and the community, many unmarried couples are living together in the community, and many attend the church. We are hoping this event will encourage others to choose legal marriage as well. Anthony and Genie are serving in our new church planting work and are active in church ministries.
- We are praying and planning to hold a mass wedding in the church when the pandemic is over.
- Pray for the provision and success of this plan.
- Pray for Anthony and Genie to continue to grow and become mature in their marriage and in the Lord.
Many Christians feel awkward when they hear the word “evangelism,” maybe because they have not been taught, encouraged, or trained from the very day they believed and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I foresaw that if these people in the church are not equipped for ministry from the very beginning, there was the danger that their coming to church will just be an act of religiosity. This month, as part of our discipleship process, I intentionally conducted an evangelism training every week and empowered them to share the gospel with at least one person each week. I praise God that the young boys have responded positively and are eager to learn and share God’s Word. Right now, they are enjoying the training and actively sharing the gospel as they continue to learn the different approaches to present the gospel.
- Pray for more people to come to Christ.
- Pray for continual enthusiasm to share the gospel.
- Pray for more believers to respond to the call for intentional evangelism.
Planning, evaluation, and a cohesive team are essential factors in order to sustain a ministry. Intentional discipleship is one of the core values that we work hard on in the church. In order to sustain this area, we need to have a regular time of evaluation, planning, and strengthening of the team. God gave us an opportunity to meet with all the discipleship leaders in the church, which we have not been able to do since the pandemic. It has been harder to closely monitor the discipleship groups, so we decided to have a discipleship evaluation, planning, refreshment, and team building. We thank God that through this event we have a lot of realizations and took some practical steps to improve the discipleship process in the church and empowered our leaders. After the evaluation and planning, we went out for team building and refreshments. We thank God for the team becoming closer to each other. Everyone was refreshed and energized for the long haul of ministry. Right now, we have fifteen discipleship leaders who actively disciple the believers from all levels each week through small groups. Glory to God for transforming the lives of these leaders. They formerly were living in darkness but have become agents of light.
- Pray for God’s sustaining grace on these leaders.
- Pray for God to raise up more discipleship leaders in the church.
- Pray for continual life transformation for all of our church members.
Last month, we gathered eighty-five families for a worship service; they are beneficiaries of our monthly distribution of relief goods. This month, despite all the obstacles of transportation, weather conditions, and the road right of way going to the church, we gathered them for worship, ministering, and encouragement. Due to the limited space in the church, we divided the congregation into two worship services. One met in the morning, the other in the afternoon. It was a privilege to minister to these families despite the limitations and restrictions of the pandemic. Right now, many are regularly attending church every Sunday. Some are already volunteering in the church ministries.
- Pray for the continual transformation and spiritual growth of the people.
- Pray for salvation for their unsaved loved ones and relatives, especially the husbands.
- Pray for God’s provision to continue the relief goods programs.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them.” Youth days are the most critical days of our life because it is the period of exploration and risk-taking. Many young people have ruined their life at this stage from the lack of guidance on the right path to take. We are so blessed that God has given us many youths in the church. Mentoring and talking with these youth is a great responsibility and necessary to help them grow in their faith. We continue to disciple the young people of the church to become faithful followers of Jesus Christ and to equip them to become leaders as well. We praise God for the wisdom and strength to creatively minister to the younger generation despite the age gap. Many are actively serving in different ministries in the church and leading others to Christ.
- Pray for God’s continual direction to the life of these young people.
- Pray for more discipleship leaders who will disciple them because they are growing in number.
- Pray for the salvation of the parents and other unsaved members in their families.
In this time of the pandemic, it is almost impossible to have and hold a face-to-face fellowship because of the limitations and other restrictions. Last month, we praise God that the youth leaders from our mother church intentionally sacrificed to come to our church to meet our young people and youth leaders for fellowship and mentoring. For many months, they have been doing this virtually but last month we were able to meet in person. The mother church youth leaders had been meeting each month with our youth leaders but last month they met with the entire youth group too. Everyone enjoyed the fun and fellowship. They learned from the Word of God and the time of prayer. God willing, we will do this every second Sunday of the month.
- Pray for the spiritual growth and maturity of these young leaders.
- Pray for more young people to come to Jesus in this decaying generation.
- Pray for God’s protection for my family and all the church members. The covid cases in Cebu are rising again.
- Pray for wisdom to continue doing the ministry creatively despite the restrictions.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of the church members.
- Pray for provision, many of the church members have lost their jobs.
- Pray for our country and city, pray for guidance for our government leaders.
- Pray for God’s sustaining grace in this time of severe trials.
I have mentioned the bond paper donation in previous reports, which connected us with the public-school teachers. This month we had the third opportunity to minister to the teachers and give them more paper for printing modules. They were grateful to God and the church for the unexpected blessing.
- Pray for this ministry to go further.
- Pray that we can establish a Bible study with the teachers.
Children are precious to God, and He loves them to participate in His kingdom. Even though our country still has many restrictions because of the covid crisis, we praise God that the kids are still participating in the worship service every Sunday. Aside from their own children’s church program, the kids also participate in the adult’s worship service and other activities—what a joy to see the growth of these little ones in the kingdom of our eternal God.
- Pray for the children that none of them will fall away.
- Pray for the salvation of their parents.
- Pray for the continued growth and transformation of these children.
Since we reach out to people living in remote and slum areas, the “poverty mentality” is in their heads, and most of them are entangled in loans right and left. As their pastor, my aim and joy are not only to release them from spiritual bondage but from financial poverty as well. I have seen that they lack wisdom and knowledge of handling their finances properly; this is one of the causes of their extreme poverty.
This month, I approached my friend, a financial advisor and active in helping people with their finances. I asked him to help our church members and others in the community to gain financial freedom. We praise God; we organized a “community savings group” to help through its continued financial education and practical wisdom. We are teaching them to save first before they spend and get rid of the loans offered by many micro financings. I praise God that many church members have responded positively and are now learning to be better stewards of God’s blessings.
- Pray for total financial freedom for all our members and complete dependence on God as the source and generous giver of our needs.
- Pray for the financial breakthrough of our people.
This covid crisis was not a joke; it brought many damages to all of us, but we praise God because there is a light shining brightly through the darkness. The pandemic slowed us down but also gave us more opportunities and open doors for the gospel. This month we had another way to serve and minister to the people in the community. Since many of our neighbors have suffered financially and even sometimes are unwise when it comes to financial stewardship, we created a project called “cooking for a cause.” We chose twenty families in the community whom we think are the poorest of the poor and decided to give them a delicious and nutritious meal for the whole family every week. We cooked the food, packed it, and distributed it to the families. Upon distribution, we always offer a prayer. They are not only receiving a blessing, but we are also teaching them to be generous at the same time. Aside from the food we gave them for their whole family, we also gave them an extra meal for another entire family. We encouraged them to gift these extra meals to different families each week of their choice. We praise God because we are not only reaching twenty families but even more each week. Through this blessing, they have felt the love of Jesus Christ tangibly.
- Pray for these families to heartily seek the source and not the resources.
- Pray for God’s continued provision for this new church ministry.
- Pray for more families to come to know Christ.
“Apart from me, you can do nothing,” Jesus said. (John 15:5). One of my jobs is teaching and encouraging our people to depend on God and not anyone or anything else. Also, to assist them in developing a growing intimate relationship with God daily. This month we intentionally went deeper with our prayer life and dependence on God. We believe these are vital for every believer to have inner strength and peace despite the continuous challenges in the world. I am happy and praise God to see these believers growing in their personal walk with God. With the ongoing global crisis and challenges, I teach the people to be global and missional with their prayer life, whether private or corporate. Currently, our Sunday worship and prayer meetings are growing in number.
- Pray for more knees to bow down before God.
- Pray for continuous intimate relationships with God.
We believe that childhood needs to be fun and enjoyable because you can never go back to it when you are old. The summer season is almost over in the Philippines. Most Filipinos did not enjoy this summer the same way as past ones because of the pandemic and restrictions.
At Light of Life Community Center, summer with the kids was not canceled. This month, we were so grateful to God that we could hold a special event with the kids before the summer season ends. Despite the ongoing restrictions, we held a kid’s day camp at the church. God is amazing. We expected to have a maximum of fifty campers, but God sent seventy-six children and thirty-two volunteers. It was a meaningful and memorable experience for the kids and their first time attending a kid’s camp. The event was just one whole day but full of priceless happiness on their faces, great lessons, and wonderful memories for everyone. We thank God for His full provision, from finances, volunteers, strength, wisdom, good weather to timeless life lessons. Ninety percent of the children who attended the camp are regular church attendees, and we praise God because, after that day, we have even more children in our kid’s program. Glory to God, who loves the children deeply.
- Pray for our part in training and discipling the children to follow Jesus with all their life faithfully.
Healthy ministry is all about healthy relationships with God and with God’s people. In the church, we intentionally choose healthy relationships. This month we deepened our relationships with the church members by spending quality time with them. After the worship service, we went out for a simple dinner. I was able to know our church people in a more profound sense and minister to them personally. As our church family is getting bigger, I need to guard against allowing my relationships to become shallow. It is good to spend time with them aside from the ordinary days and schedules. We praise God for granting us a healthy church family and healthy relationships.
- Pray for continuous deeper relationships among church members.
- Pray for constant vertical and horizontal relationship growth.
Imagine a world without mothers! Mothers play a unique role in the world and our lives. There is much worth in celebrating their existence. Two years ago, we had only seven mothers in the church for our Mother’s Day celebration. This year we had so many more mothers. Praise God! What a joy to celebrate and bless the mothers. The festival was meaningful and emotional as the children and husbands expressed their love for our mothers. We thank God for their untiring sacrifices and love.
- Pray for these mothers to continue to seek the Lord.
- Pray for God to give us more mothers in the church.
I have mentioned our ongoing music training occurring at the church every week. This month, God answered our prayers, and we have increased the training to twice a week. We thank God because Pastor Jay-ar, who used to train our young people last year, is now back and committed to teaching our praise and worship members every week. Pastor RJ is continuing to train our individual musicians. Praise God for these two musicians who joyfully and voluntarily train our music team in the church.
- Pray for God to be glorified in our lives through music.
- Pray that through music, we can reach more souls for Christ.
“Intimacy with God” is one of our core values in the church because we believe that unless we remain in the vine, we cannot continue to live. This month, we had a personal retreat day to cultivate this value in the lives of our church members. People are constantly bombarded with the world’s noise every day in the city, and they can hardly hear God’s still small voice. We brought one of the discipleship groups to a calm, solitary place to have time alone with God to put our teachings into practice. We spent half the day singing, meditation of God’s Word, and prayer; the rest of the day was for team building. Eleven young people, youth leaders, and volunteers were able to experience spiritual renewal and refreshment on this day. These youth have gained new strength and perspective in the ministry. Glory to God who refreshes us during our weariness.
- Pray for the continual spiritual growth of young people.
I have mentioned our monthly relief goods operation. This month we again distributed relief goods to ninety needy families in the community, including rice, groceries, and vitamins for the children. Praise God. We invited the beneficiaries to a corporate worship service. They all attended, and we split the group into two—forty-five families in the morning and the other forty-five in the afternoon. We thank God for the opportunity to feed their physical bodies and their souls with the Word of God. We plan to have a monthly worship service with them but praise God that many regularly attend every Sunday worship.
- Pray for these ninety families to be nurtured in Christian faith and practice.
- Pray for salvation for these ninety families.
Seeing lives being transformed by God into Christlikeness is our greatest joy and reward. These women were formerly living a life unpleasant to God, leading other women in the community into drinking and singing video karaoke. But our God is a God of many chances and unlimited forgiveness. God called them out of darkness and into his marvelous light. Before, those who sang karaoke are now singing praises to the Lord, leading the church in worship to our God. We praise God for the remarkable transformation of these women.
- Pray for the women to continue to be a good influence in the community, leading people to serve and worship God.
- Pray for more women in the community to be transformed by the power of the gospel.
Our adopted daughter, Ester, has battled for her life with a rare disease called myasthenia gravis. She fought with this disease so much that many times she was forced to stop schooling. We struggled with her financially and emotionally in this journey. But God is gracious to her and us; this month was a big victory and a celebration of God’s favor. Ester graduated from our very own Bible school with the degree of AB-Christian Education. God is faithful and good.
- Pray that Ester can find a job; she is still taking her maintenance medication.
- Pray for God’s continuous favor upon her life.
God willing, we will have praise and worship refreshment, team building, and commitment singing next month.
- Pray for our plans for water baptism.
- Pray for the provision, protection, and success of these events.
Our people are struggling with the road right-of-way. The owner of the private vacant lot, which the people use to enter and exit, is planning to fence the entire property, and there will no longer be an access point. Pray that we will be given a right-of-way road.
Children’s ministry is vital in every local church because when you lead a child to Christ, you not only save his soul but his whole life. Last month I mentioned that we revived our AWANA children’s ministry. This month we celebrate another victory because the children are even more excited and bring their friends to church. The group is rapidly increasing in number. Each Sunday, we give stars to the kids to motivate them to be punctual, attentive and participate in all activities. On the last Sunday of the month, the kids can use their stars to buy something from the AWANA store. We thank God they are even more motivated and enjoying church, including the Bible stories and games. We are grateful to the active volunteers who make every Sunday the best possible.
- Pray for life’s transformation for these little ones.
- Pray for the spiritual and character growth of the volunteers.
Last month I reported that one of our core leaders passed away from heart failure. It is never easy for a family to go through the pain and sorrow of losing someone they love. This family is also facing persecution from the neighborhood and relatives because of their faith. Despite all the trials, we are grateful to God for His sustaining grace and unfailing love for this family. The three Barabas sisters are the daughters of this core leader. Despite their loss and the persecutions, they are even more active youth leaders and faithful praise and worship members at the church. They have faithfully continued the ministries that their mother had left unfinished. These sisters also have continued the spiritual disciplines in their home that their mother had established. As of now, the family is still in the process of healing. They continue to serve the Lord in the church faithfully.
- Pray for emotional healing for the Barabas family.
- Pray for spiritual strength to persevere through all persecutions and trials.
- Pray for the salvation of the father.
- Pray for continued joy in serving.
The Great Commission of Jesus Christ is the mission of the church. And so intentional discipleship is one of our non-negotiables. Despite the crisis and challenges our church and the world faces, we praise God that our discipleship groups of all ages are continuing. Despite the sun’s heat, the women have diligently walked to attend the weekly discipleship. We thank God that about ninety-five percent of the church members are participating in the groups. Others who have received the training are now leading discipleship groups.
- Pray for wisdom, joy, and courage for our discipleship leaders as they mentor their people to have growing relationships with Jesus Christ.
- Pray for the spiritual growth and maturity of the church members.
- Pray for God to open more discipleship groups.
One of the struggles of the studies in their blended learning modality is the lack of internet connection. The families have no financial capability to have internet in their homes, accessibility to internet cafes is limited, and their homes are not set up to be a place of learning. They live in remote areas, and houses are tiny with lots of family members. In previous reports, I mentioned how the church is helping this need by opening the building to the students in the community to be a learning center. As we evaluated this solution, we found that it has been practical and helpful to the families.
However, we wanted to do more to help and serve the students in their education. This month, we provided a computer for use at the church for free, with wi-fi and printer capabilities. Our desire is for the students to be fruitful and efficient in their studies. We praise God for blessing our church with many young people. They were happy about the computer availability, and the parents were grateful because they are no longer financially strained in this area and know their children will be safe at the church. We thank the Lord for making the church a source of blessing to the community.
- Pray that this ministry will touch many lives for Jesus Christ.
- Pray for us to be faithful and good stewards even with the minor things that God has entrusted to us.
- Pray that we can be even more of the channel of God’s blessing to the community.
The livelihood program is one of the church ministries most affected by the covid crisis that hit our country. It has been over a year since this struggle started, both individually and as a group. The program became stagnant because of the limitations and restrictions. But despite the challenges we face, God is faithful to sustain us. This month we called the officers for a meeting. We planned how to improve the livelihood program by creating more goods and services. The program has been a big help and blessing to the people in the community, and with the help of our Almighty God, we will pursue ways to improve it. I thank God for these committed volunteers who selflessly give their time, effort, and resources to serve the people.
- Pray for the livelihood program to revitalize and make it a blessing to the community.
- Pray for wisdom and passion for the officers to serve the people by running the program appropriately.
In previous reports, I mentioned the sudden and tragic death of Jerry. Unfortunately, his death left his two children fatherless and his wife a widow. I also reported their financial struggles as Jerry was the breadwinner and how the church has tangibly shown the love of Christ to the grieving family. Just as God says in His Word, He is the father to the fatherless, and He cares for the widows and orphans. This month the church gave a sack of rice and bulk groceries, which would be enough to feed this family for more than a month. God loves and cares for His people. We thank God for allowing our church to be a channel of His love and blessing to this family. We praise God that this family is faithfully serving God in the church.
- Pray for the mother to find a decent job that will provide for their family’s needs.
- Pray for wisdom and courage for the two older siblings in their studies.
I have been reporting on the weekly music training these past few months, and we praise God that our labor has not been in vain. This month our new keyboard player has improved sufficiently to play during our corporate worship service. Before, we only had the drums and guitar. The vocalists are also improving. We thank the Lord for richly blessing our church members with musical talent to be used for His glory. The music training is continuing each week, and the musicians keep on learning and improving their skills. We praise the Lord for providing musicians to lead the congregation in worship.
- Pray for the musicians to continue to offer their lives and talents for God’s service.
- Pray for their spiritual growth and maturity as they continue to grow in their faith.
The pandemic and covid crisis are still uncertain, and many companies have not recovered economically, especially the small ones. The entire situation has affected most of our country’s people, and in general, the whole country is struggling. Many of the church members and their constituents are striving to obtain their daily needs. Because of this situation, the church continues to look for ways to reach out and help with the physical essentials.
This month we gave relief goods to the ninety most needy families in the community, including our church members. This time we had bags with vegetables, groceries, rice, and hygiene kits. About ninety percent of these families are regular attendees of our weekly Bible studies and discipleships. We thank God for His unceasing provision in this time of severe trials. We are grateful for the privilege of being the channel of His grace and blessings. The church was able to show the love of Jesus Christ in a tangible way to the neediest families. They were happy and grateful that the church is there in their time of need.
- Pray that the gospel will grow in their hearts through these small gifts and result in life transformation.
- Pray for God’s continual favor and provision for His people, especially until everything is back to normal.
Youth ministry is a challenge, especially in handling the millennials; it requires a lot of wisdom, dynamics, patience, and energy. We are grateful to God that about fifty percent of our church members are young people. They are the potential future pastors, missionaries, Christian educators, and church leaders. Because of their impact on the future, careful and intentional discipleship is essential with a solid spiritual foundation. Due to the pandemic restrictions, most of the scheduled activities and programs for the young people were canceled.
This month we are thrilled to God for the successful youth event, “Youth Jam,” with the theme “extravagant,” expounding the extravagant love of God in John 3:16. We are grateful to God for the fifty-three young people who attended. We filled the time with fellowship, praise and worship, a special presentation, delicious food, and an evangelistic message from scripture. After the large group, we split into smaller groups for discussion and counseling with their small group leader as their facilitator and counselor. Afterward, everyone enjoyed the bountifulness of God’s delicious foods and fellowship with each other. We praise God for the success, the abundance of provision, and especially the new souls who committed their lives to Jesus Christ. After this event, many new young people came to the church for corporate worship. We give glory to God for His amazing grace.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of these young people. Many are struggling with peer pressures and addiction to gadgets, pray for wisdom and strength to persevere.
We are planning to have a water baptism next month if God is willing. Pray for the provision, protection, success, and spiritual strength of the candidates.
Pray for wisdom to choose the right person to replace the leadership of Maryjean, as she is now with the Lord.
- Pray for wisdom and strength to lead the church to the next level.
- Pray for income for the church members; many are still jobless.
- Pray for joy and strength for our discipleship leaders as they lead their respective small groups.
- Pray for the continued growth and transformation of our church members.
- Pray for more open doors for the gospel.
When the covid crisis hit our country about a year ago, the most affected ministry in the church was the children’s programs. The kids kept asking us when we would start the AWANA program. We prayed and thought of ways to continue to minister to the children despite the restrictions set in place. This month, we are so grateful to God for answering our prayers; we could revive the AWANA program for the kids. We went house-to-house to sixty children in the community to share this great news. We gave them t-shirts, facemasks, goods, and booklets for their weekly lessons. We thank God for the active volunteers who helped us by reaching out to the children at the parents. Everyone was so happy to receive the unexpected gifts and overjoyed by the news that we would be starting the kid’s program again. Currently, we average about sixty kids each week.
- Pray for the young children to grow and walk in the ways of the Lord.
- Pray for the local government to remove the restrictions on gathering children.
Our AWANA program is now so big that we have limited space to gather everything in the same place each week. So we decided to have one large group just once a month and do smaller groups on the other Sundays during the month. When we did our first big group, we also had our AWANA fair. We concluded the lesson series for the month and had a fun time bonding with the teachers and children. The time was filled with fun, learning, and special memories. The children also received their rewards for attending church faithfully for the entire month. These rewards were to motivate the children to be active and participate in the lessons and activities. The kids are pretty excited and are starting to bring their friends to church.
- Pray for God’s continual protection of the little children as they are the most vulnerable group.
- Pray that we can reach the parents who do not yet know God through the witness of their kids.
Time flies so fast. Three years ago, the newest group of volunteers were kids in the AWANA program. When we started up the program, we realized we need more volunteers as most of the volunteers are already multitasking. I was amazed by the group of young ladies who joyfully offered to minister to the kids. They are growing up so quickly. Every Friday afternoon, we meet with this group for preparations, mentoring, training, and prayer. Blezzet is in twelve grade and has a big heart for the ministry; we promoted her to be the children’s ministry head. The ladies are active and eager to serve God with all of their capacity. They are recruiting even more youth to volunteer each week.
- Pray for the continued spiritual growth of the youth volunteers.
- Pray for God to give us more volunteers as the ministry is growing.
Matthew 19:14 “Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Children have a special place in the kingdom of God. Last month I mentioned how we extended the space for the children outside the church building to accommodate more people. This month, we praise God that the area is already functional. Despite this extension, the place is still at capacity because the number of children increases every Sunday. Even though we are still facing challenges with space, we are grateful to God because the kids are so excited every Sunday to come to church. Right now, we are maximizing what God has entrusted to us.
- Pray for a better place for the children.
- Pray for good weather on Sundays because the current location has no roof, just the shade from the trees and the side of the building.
Job 1:21 “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” It is hard to let go of a person whom you loved and treasured in the church. The whole church is grieving due to the loss of our dear sister in the Lord, Mary Jean. She was one of our church leaders and a very active church member. Though Mary Jean was young in the faith, she led her whole family to Christ and handled two Bible studies in the community every week. Her three Bible study mentees are active youth leaders in the church. Mary Jean suffered from heart failure for about three weeks and finally went home to the Creator this last month. It was sudden and painful; the whole church is grieving with the family. Despite the sadness, we are also comforted by the assurance of a perfect place in the future. We rejoice in the hope of the life that the Lord promised in His Word. Though Mary Jean went ahead of us, she left us with many good memories and life lessons.
- Pray for God’s continued comfort and healing, especially for the family.
- Pray for financial provision for the family left behind as Mary Jean’s husband was forced to stop working to care for her.
- Pray for God to replace the leadership position that Mary Jean held at the church.
- Pray for wisdom and guidance to choose the right person.
Our joy and reward in the ministry are to see lives being changed and transformed by God. Greg gave his life to the Lord two years ago, and from then on, his entire family faithfully served the Lord. I constantly saw Greg’s love and passion for serving God and his willingness to learn and grow. This month, I gave Greg the opportunity and privilege to preach at the church. It was his first time preaching during our Sunday worship, and Greg was nervous yet excited. By God’s grace, Greg delivered his message with accuracy and enthusiasm. I was glad because now he can help me in the preaching ministry. Greg is now regularly sharing and preaching in our community. Glory to God.
- Pray for Greg’s continued passion for preaching the gospel.
- Pray for his continued spiritual growth.
Last month I mentioned the music training that Bro. RJ started with our young people. We thank God that the training has continued, and the musicians are improving with their skills. Even more youth have expressed an interest in learning music. Currently, the trainees are playing in the church to gain performance experience, and RJ is continuing to train them. We thank God for using music as a bridge to reach the young people in the community.
- Pray for more musicians at the church.
- Pray for fast learning.
In my last report, I mentioned the “couple’s night”, a special event we held for the couples. God is working in the lives of these couples and has opened doors for us through this event. Ondo and Ren-ren asked me to have a Bible study in their house. Before this event, they were apathetic to the church and us, but now the wife started to join us at the church and has even brought two friends to our weekly study and church. We thank God for the new harvest and new disciples who have decided to follow Jesus.
- Pray for God to continue to work in their lives.
- Pray for more open doors for the gospel.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of all the church members and leaders.
- Pray for our upcoming youth jam event.
- Pray for provision, strength, wisdom, and especially salvation for the young people at this evangelistic event.
- Pray for safety. This past month, we were forced to stop our worship service. One Sunday, there was illegal cockfighting in front of the church; the police raided the place and caught many gamblers. Our church worship service and ministries were distracted by these events.
- Pray for safety and provision for the church members, the covid crisis is still occurring, and cases are rising.
- Pray for wisdom for the authorities as they make decisions.
- Pray for wisdom and strength to manage the church.
Children are precious in the eyes of God
But Jesus called for the little ones, saying, “Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.Luke 18:16
During the covid crisis, the most challenging and potentially forgotten group was the children’s ministry. Officially we are not allowed to gather the children, nor are they even supposed to leave their homes. This month, we praise God that our children’s ministry did not stop but instead continued to grow. Since we cannot prevent the kids from coming to church and we will not turn them away, we ministered to them, and the group is growing in number. They participated in the worship service by singing songs as an offering of praise. What a joy and encouragement to see these little ones giving their time and talents to Jesus as their way of worship and service.
- Pray for the children to grow and walk in the Lord.
- Pray for the safety and protection of the children.
In previous reports, I mentioned a good problem that we were facing. Our church building is no longer large enough to accommodate the people during our worship service, so we decided to remove the wall between the worship hall and the children’s church to use the entire space. We also fused our two worship services into one to save the energy of our volunteers. Now we can fit all the adults in the worship space. However, now there is no space for the kids. If we add them to the adult group, then we run out of room.
As we thought through this dilemma, God gave us wisdom and the solution to our problem. There is a small vacant place beside the church that we can use as a temporary worship place for the children as we pray and search for a more comfortable option. We praise God for the temporary shelter where we can minister to the children in the community.
The world says that February is the love month, but for believers of Jesus Christ, every day is a heart day. As the world celebrated, we grabbed this opportunity to minister to the couples in the community. We have seen marriages on the rocks and problematic couples. Unfortunately, these issues contribute to the negative behaviors of the children. It has been my heart’s cry to reach out to the couples because if the marriage relationship is strong and healthy, then the whole family will be the same.
I praise God for granting my prayers. We held a special event for the couples, and God sent forty-six couples from the community. The place was filled with love, romantic music, delicious food, and a powerful message from the Lord. As we ministered to the couples that night, many of them cried out before the Lord and were reconciled to each other. Others recommitted to each other as they again exchanged marriage vows. Everyone was filled with joy and gratefulness for this first-time experience. We thank God for Pastor Cris, who joyfully ministered to these couples with the Word of God. Most of all, we praise God that many of the couples again started attending church and joined the worship service following this event. New Bible studies are now opening. Glory to His Name!
- Pray for more harvest in His vineyard.
- Pray for the seeds planted in their hearts and grow and bear much fruit, especially in the husbands.
- Pray for more families to be transformed in this community.
Intentional discipleship is one of our core values in the ministry because we believe it is the backbone of life transformation. We thank God for the people who consistently attend our discipleship through the different life groups or small groups. Despite their hectic schedules, the women joyfully and consistently join our weekly discipleship and are eager to learn the Bible. Despite the covid crisis and resulting restrictions for church worship services, our church discipleship continues in different modes and has grown even more. We praise God for the avenues of growth that He provides for his people.
- Pray for the continued spiritual growth and life-transformation of the women.
- Pray for salvation for their husbands and all members of their households.
It has been a while since our musical training at the church had stopped. We praise God that last month the music training again started. God answered our prayers by sending Arjay to help teach our keyboardist every week. His expertise has been a massive blessing as Arjay is a music teacher by profession. Pam-Pam has started to train the next generation of guitarists in the church and is a fine guitarist. Despite his youth, my eldest son plays the drums during our worship and is training the next generation of drummers. We praise God for giving us young people with open hearts who are always available to God.
The corporate face-to-face prayer meeting was paused when the covid crisis hit our country. We were grateful to restore this meeting in our church, especially as people are so hungry for God’s Word and prayers. Since we started meeting in prayer in the church, the number of people has grown. I am pleased to see people kneeling before the Lord in prayer, and not only during times of distress.
The covid crisis is not yet over, and our country and people are still in agony while we continue to fight for victory. Many in our community are suffering economically due to the job loss caused by the covid crisis. Despite these severe financial trials, God’s provision continues to flow abundantly to his people every day. We gave sacks of rice, ham, and other condiments to the community’s most affected families. We praise God that the people are still praising God, despite the length of the crisis. God has never yet allowed his people to miss a meal on their table. The need for food is an excellent area of ministry and a great outreach opportunity because even the prominent Roman Catholic churches in our area have not given a single meal to their church members or people. With the simple act of providing food, we can show the love of Jesus Christ tangibly. Thank God for his provision.
- Pray for the people’s eyes to focus on the provider and seek after God rather than only seeing the gift.
- Pray for God to continue giving his special financial and spiritual provision for his people.
- Pray for the small gift to open the unbelievers’ eyes so they can see the love of God, His most incredible gift.
- Pray for the covid crisis to come to an end and everything to return to normal.
- Pray for wisdom and strength for the students and parents as everyone struggles with the new modality of learning.
- Pray for the spiritual growth and maturity of our church members. Pray for our country to recover economically.
- Pray for God’s continual protection for his people against the virus and other illnesses.
- Pray for wisdom and joy for all our church leaders and discipleship leaders.
- Pray for a larger and better place for our AWANA ministry.
In previous reports, I mentioned our opportunity to connect with our community’s public-school teachers by donating bond paper. This paper is greatly needed for the modular method. We praise God for the privilege this month of blessing the school and the teachers by bringing another twelve rims. The teachers were grateful for the gift because they have experienced the scarcity of supply due to the high demands. We are thankful to show God’s love through this simple act of kindness. We pray to establish a good rapport with the teachers for the Lord’s use.
- Pray for the establishment of deeper and healthy relationships with the teachers.
- Pray for opportunities to share the gospel.
- Pray for this outreach to be sustained until we get a harvest.
Music is vital in church life, but for a non-musical pastor, this is a great challenge. We have struggled in this area because God has not gifted me with great musical ability. We just started training musicians in the church and are grateful that God has provided music-minded members and a trainer. We are trying to form a choir before the upcoming second anniversary of our church. We are thankful that so many people have responded in joy to use their God-given gifts to worship and honor God. We thank God that Faith from Lighthouse church is available and willing to help us in this matter. Through the church choir preparations, the church members are even more encouraged to serve God.
- Pray for the continued enthusiasm of the church members.
Praise the Lord for the ability to honor him with music and worship.
In every church, one faces problems. A good mentor of mine once said that a problem-less church is a lifeless church. Since we reopened for face-to-face corporate worship, we have encountered problems each Sunday, but it is a good problem. Our challenge is how to fit everyone inside. Our first attempt was to conduct two worship services, but we discovered this was physically and mentally draining for our volunteers. To solve this issue, we removed the wall that divides the worship hall and the children’s church to create one larger room to accommodate the entire audience. So now our challenge is where to put the church during worship. Our children’s ministry is also growing, and they are an essential part of our church. But God always has a way when there seems to be no way. Currently, we are maximizing what God has given us for His glory and the furtherance of His kingdom.
- Pray for a larger place for our worship service.
- Pray for the continual growth of the church.
It is always a joy as ministers of the gospel to see lives being changed and believers growing in love and walking with the Lord. Mae used to be shy when I first met her two years ago. We shared the good news of salvation with her, and unexpectedly, God brought her into our home a few months later. As she grew in her love for God, Mae decided to become more equipped and prepare for ministry by studying at the Bible college. Currently, Mae is active in church ministry and functioning as the head of the praise and worship team. She also intentionally mentors the junior youth at the church. Praise God for the changed life that touches our lives for Jesus Christ.
- Pray for Mae’s continual spiritual growth.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of the young people whom she is discipling.
A parent’s joy is to see their children grow in the Lord and walk in the truth. My wife and I praise the Lord for blessing us with two boys who love to serve God. Our eldest son enjoys playing the drums and is now the drummer at our church. He wants to improve his skills in music. This month, he went to our mother church to receive training from a professional drummer. He was so excited because his uncle was his teacher and one of Cebu’s known professional drummers. They have a regular schedule of practice every Saturday afternoon. We praise the Lord that my son is improving significantly.
After training with his uncle, my son scheduled a weekly drum training for the boys in the church. He is so excited to pass along what he has learned to his fellow youth and see them play in church too. Three young people are learning with my son, despite their young age.
- Pray for my son’s continual spiritual growth and love for the Lord.
- Pray for these youth to continue to seek God and serve Him with all their hearts.
Preaching God’s Word accurately and dynamically is an enormous task and equipping the saints also to teach others is essential. Every time I ask the church members to join the homiletics training, they are hesitant and afraid. However, this month, several young ladies joined my Saturday class despite their hectic schedules and educational pressures. I designed this class to intentionally train the believers in the church to teach the Word of God accurately and dynamically whenever they go. Like many people, they will experience stage fright, but they choose to learn because they want to share the scripture with others. I am training them on how to speak at small gatherings like prayer meetings and fellowships.
- Pray for the passion of these young ladies for the Bible to grow.
- Pray for more transformed lives in the community.
- Pray for more people to commit to diligently preaching the gospel.
The New Year is usually the most-awaited and celebrated event of the year. But for one family, it is hard to celebrate since they are grieving. This family is active in our church. Jerry, the head of the family, is a carpenter who works hard for his family. He desired to earn some extra income for the holiday season, so he went to work on Christmas eve. But an unexpected tragedy hit, as he held a steel bar, it accidentally touched the mainline electric wire that caused him to fall from the second story of the building. He was brought unconscious to the hospital, and God took him home a week later. I heard of his death while the fireworks to welcome the new year were lighting up the sky and immediately went to assist his family. His wife is illiterate and knew nothing about the process and procedures at the hospital. Despite the hardships and challenging situation, God’s mighty hands are at work. This year might be sad, but God is faithful. The whole church joined together to ease the family’s burden; we conducted a nine-night funeral service and ministered to them. I believe that God is slowly unfolding his purpose in taking Jerry as He comforts this family.
- Pray for God to continue comforting the family.
- Pray for God’s provision to be showered upon the family, especially as Jerry was the financial breadwinner.
With great joy, I watched a former drunkard, now a young believer, preaching the Word of God to a crowd. I have mentioned Greg in previous reports as a person against Christianity. In one of my open-air preaching events, Greg surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. His family became active in the church, and Greg later became one of our leaders. When Jerry died, I gave Greg the opportunity and privilege to peach during the funeral services, using what he had learned in our preaching class. At first, Greg was hesitant and nervous, but later, he said yes. It was a significant testimony and impacted the community because people knew Greg and his background. It brought great joy to my heart to see Greg proclaiming the gospel to his former co-drunkards. Since then, Greg has been excited to preach at the church and is even more active in the ministry.
- Pray for Greg’s continual spiritual growth and passion for God.
Anthony was also once a drunkard and hater of Christians. He is the brother-in-law of Greg. One night while I was doing Bible study with Greg, we invited Anthony to join us. At first, he hesitated, but then out of respect, he sat with us. That night God convicted his heart, and Anthony surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. That was the beginning of his transformation. He is active in the church and joined Greg at the preaching class each week. I asked him to preach at Jerry’s service as well, and he passionately and enthusiastically proclaimed the gospel to his neighbors and friends. It is encouraging and energizes my spirit to see him. Formerly, Anthony had no direction in life, but now he is passionate about proclaiming the gospel. He desires to continue his studies at the Bible school because he wants to respond to God’s call to the ministry.
- Pray for Anthony’s continued passion in the ministry.
- Pray for his continued spiritual growth and his whole family.
Jerry left an illiterate widow, Minda, and his daughter and son. It is hard for Minda to figure out how to sustain her family because she knows she cannot find a job due to her educational disadvantage. As the body of Christ and as her church family, we decided to supply their daily basic needs while she is unstable. We praise God that a generous member of the church provided a sack of rice that is enough to feed the entire family for a month. It helps significantly to lighten their burden. In this way, we were able to show and share the love of Christ. With the help of the brethren in the church, the family is slowly moving on and surviving. We praise God for caring for this widow and orphans.
- Pray for God’s continual comfort.
- Pray for God’s daily provision.
Making disciples is the great commission of Jesus Christ and must be the backbone of all ministries in the church. In the past two years, we intentionally disciple the people to become obedient and faithful followers of Jesus Christ. We praise God that the discipleship groups of all levels are meeting each week. The people hunger for the Word and are eager to know and experience God. Many are active members and volunteers in the church.
- Pray for the believers to continue to seek God.
- Pray for the salvation of their unsaved loved ones, especially their husbands.
The praise and worship team is a vital ministry in the church. When we started two years ago, we had one single guitarist who led us in worship at every gathering. When one of them was absent for any reason, it was a real struggle. We praise God for working in the lives of his people; right now, we have twenty-three active members in our music team. This month we did an evaluation and strategic planning to reach our goal this year – to empower the saints to reach the next generation for ministries. We thank the Lord for new members joining the team for many different age groups. The Lord enables the one He has chosen, and He will never lack anything in His work.
- Pray for wisdom and harmony in the team.
- Pray for character development in each member of the team.
- Pray for spiritual growth.
The psalmist declares – “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want.” As our Shepherd, He provides and protects. God never fails to provide for the needs of His people. This month we again distributed bags of rice, snacks, and Bible story booklets for the kids. The families are so grateful because many of them have still not been able to return to work.
The church has experienced severe trials this past year, and they have not been easy to handle. Yet, we know God is on His throne and controls every event in the world, even the tiny details of our individual lives. The church’s normal activities may have paused but as Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:9, “…struck down, but not destroyed.” The church stands on the promises of God despite the ongoing storm. We celebrated our second anniversary and rejoiced in God’s goodness and faithfulness. We did not officially invite visitors because of the current situation but wanted to have a few people for a simple but meaningful celebration. To my surprise, people in the community who had never entered our doors came to the event. There was barely enough room even though we had already expanded the space. It was meaningful as many of the husbands and non-believers had the opportunity to hear the Word of God. It was indeed a celebration of life. Everyone was rejoicing and went home filled with joy and awe in their hearts.
- Pray for the Word of God planted in their hearts to grow and bear much fruit.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; they are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness.” This testimony is what Arcely expressed to the crowd at the second anniversary. She is a young lady with many struggles in her life, including her family. When I met Arcely two years ago, her personality was quite a challenge to deal with, but we patiently and lovingly minister to her, and she has grown in faith and character. Arcely became active in the church ministries and is now the youth president. During our celebration, she could hardly contain her desire to declare and testify to the goodness of God in her life and how God has transformed her. What a joy to see this young lady growing in the Lord and enthusiastic in serving the living God. She leads the young people in the church, handling the discipleship group, and active on the praise and worship team and other ministries.
- Pray for her continued spiritual growth and character formation.
- Pray for the salvation of her whole family.
- Pray for a new place for the children to meet.
- Pray for the growth of the church.
- Pray for wisdom, protection, and strength.
- Pray for the covid crisis and our government as they respond to the rising cases.
- Pray for more souls to come to know Christ.
The educational system in the Philippines has been dramatically affected by this pandemic. In private and public schools, the teachers, students, and parents struggle to adjust to the new normal. As a church, we asked how we could help during this time and connect with the schools to minister to the teachers. God is faithful and answered our prayers. I went to the school and discovered they desperately need paper since the most common modality of learning uses printed modules. Upon knowing this fact, our church donated reams of bond papers to the elementary school, and now we plan to do it each quarter for the rest of the school year. It is an excellent opportunity to be a blessing to our public schools and minister to the teachers. The school personnel thanked God for the donation. Many teachers use their own money to deliver the students’ necessary items.
- Pray for my wife Christine to minister to her co-workers, the other teachers at her school.
- Pray for more opportunities to minister to the teachers and other personnel.
- Pray for salvation and transformation of the teachers by the grace of the gospel.
Celebrating the Christmas season is difficult after the loss of a loved one, especially during the pandemic. The Into family was in deep sorrow due to Pedro’s sudden death. He was the head of the family and was in a motorcycle accident just two weeks before Christmas. The family had once attended one of our Bible studies but had various reasons not to join the church. They stopped coming to the Bible study for a while. When Pedro died, the family asked if we could do the funeral services. I was surprised they had not called their priest but instead asked us to minister to the grieving family and friends. It was a significant opportunity to preach the gospel every night for nine consecutive days, and we praise God that the family was comforted with the Word of God. Furthermore, after the burial, the family has started to join the church and gave their hearts to God.
- Pray for continual comfort and strength for the family.
- Pray for the family to continue to seek the Lord.
Many people have returned to their respective workplaces, but most of the community is still struggling with adequate daily provisions. I believe this scarcity is an aftereffect of the pandemic and lockdown. To help with this issue, the church blessed our neighbors by giving them seventeen kilograms of rice. We praise God that we blessed eighty-six needy families, including some of the church members. We thank God for His continual, faithful, and unexpected provision from the first day of the lockdown to the present. The families are so grateful to God for this food. The local government has stopped giving relief goods to its constituents, but by God’s grace, the church can still provide. Furthermore, many of these beneficiaries are now attending the church.
- Pray for God’s continual provision until the pandemic is over.
- Pray for more people to open their hearts to the gospel.
During the earthly ministry of Jesus, he valued the people who voluntarily followed Him and worked alongside Him in ministry. We see by His example that He loved and cared for them. A real struggle in a church is a lack of volunteers and workers, especially when there are many ministries. Thankfully, the Lord has given us many volunteers. At last year’s volunteer appreciation dinner, we had about twenty volunteers; this year, we have thirty-three active volunteers. All church members work in different ministries every week. It is our great joy and fulfillment to see these young believers who were once living in darkness, now an agent of light and life transformation. We held our volunteer’s appreciation dinner as a simple and tangible way to thank them for their commitment and sacrifices to the Lord and ministry. We wanted them to know that we value them as much as Christ appreciated His people.
God is great and worthy of praise. When we started this ministry two years ago, we had only two young and committed couples working with me. But now, thirty-three volunteers are working for the furtherance of God’s kingdom and the glory of His name. Last year I purchased a simple token of appreciation for my core leaders from my pocket. But this year, God used Pastor Steve to buy bags of rice for my core leaders. Each year we desire to have our volunteers increase in numbers, and we want them to feel loved, valued, and appreciated.
- Pray for spiritual growth and maturity for these church volunteers.
- Pray that they will become more effective and productive in the ministry as they grow in the Lord.
- Pray for God to give us more volunteers to shine His light in the dark places.
What a joy and blessing to be in the family of God; when we first came to this community, we were nobody, but now we are a big family. All because of the grace of God and His love that unites us in Christ. We celebrated our second Christmas party as a church and family. We enjoyed everyone’s presence with fun, games, surprises, bountiful food, and the Word of God that brought us together. It was a meaningful experience for everyone because it is only in this church that they experienced the Christian celebration of Christmas that glorifies God. Last year, we had one celebration as a church, but this year our numbers were too much for the church building to accommodate, so we had three parties. We split the groups into adults, youth, and children.
We praise God that we had about fifty youth who joined the celebration, and these are regular Sunday worshipers. There were more than a hundred children who joyfully joined the party. We thank God that even during this pandemic, we can still celebrate the real essence of Christmas.
- Pray for the church to continue to grow.
- Pray for every member to be salt and light in their homes and communities.
- Pray for safety and protection for each member of the church.
Despite all the challenges and struggles that the church’s people are facing, God gave us a new experience and opportunity to be a blessing to those in need. Starting in October, I encouraged the church members to bring something every Sunday until December. We planned to go caroling to the poorest of the poor in our community and give them the items that the believers collected. Praise the Lord; we organized twenty-seven bundles of joy for twenty-seven families. Everyone was excited. We had quite an adventure navigating through a dark and muddy place with no electricity along the narrow and challenging road with dogs barking here and there. But everyone was happy and energetic as we sang Christmas songs and gave our Christmas presents to the families. The recipients were quite shocked and surprised to receive gifts, and the whole process seemed unusual to them, but they were grateful. We praise God for His protection, provision, strength, and opportunity to show the love of Jesus Christ this season despite the severe crises our country is battling. We also thank the Lord for the church members; for many of them, this was their first time experiencing a Christmas that celebrates Christ. Praise God, for He is the reason for the season.
- Pray for the twenty-seven families to feel and experience the love of God personally.
- Pray for God to open doors for the gospel.
This next year, our church goal is “empowering the saints to reach the next generation for ministries.” Pray with us that God will bless our goal and make it materialize in His mercy, power, and grace.
- Pray for our nation to stop the lockdowns; people suffered so much with the lockdowns.
- Pray for church growth and spiritual maturity for every member.
- Pray for wisdom and strength for my family as we labor for God.
- Pray for God’s continual protection and provision for the church.
- Pray for more open doors for the gospel.
- Pray for the discipleship program at the church to be strengthened and double in numbers.
- Pray for God to raise more leaders in the church.
The pandemic and resulting restrictions have been devastating to the church ministries; the one most affected is the children’s ministry. However, these circumstances cannot stop or slow the work of God in bringing souls to His Kingdom. The local government units have not allowed churches or other establishments to gather children in any way. Kids fourteen and under and not yet allowed to leave their houses. Because of this regulation, our weekly children’s ministry is on pause. Before the pandemic, we would regularly gather around eighty children.
Two months ago, the government allowed churches to open again at fifty-percent capacity, but children were supposed to stay home. When we announced that the churches would be meeting, the kids asked when they could gather again for children’s ministry. Unfortunately, I could not yet say yes but had to tell them to wait till the right time. But God continues to reach the children with His love. Since we opened the church, some parents brought their kids with them. Since they are here, we cannot ignore these kids. So, each week we have approximately thirty kids who show up with their parents. We have not yet started the regular gathering of the children nor invited the neighborhood kids. We praise God for the enthusiasm and eagerness of the children.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of the children as they continue to seek the Lord.
- Pray for wisdom and strength for our church volunteers.
- Pray for the safety and protection of the children from the virus and other illnesses.
The pandemic and lockdown are unpredictable, and we do not know for sure when it will end. But the situation has given us a broader opportunity to show God’s love to our impoverished neighborhood. Last month the church distributed food packs and other supplies to ninety families. Most of them are active in attending our Bible studies and discipleship groups. We praise God for His unfailing provision that our church has never lacked anything during this severe and widespread crisis. God has made us a channel of His hope and love to every household in the community.
The people we ministered to were grateful and praised God. The government is no longer giving aid to its constituents, but the church can help them still. We cannot afford to provide goods for everyone, but the relief items we did provide for these ninety families have significantly impacted the entire community. We praise God for His faithfulness, and we continue to reach the lost.
- Pray for salvation and life transformation for these ninety families.
- Pray for safety and strength for our volunteers.
- Pray for God to continue to work in the hearts of the people.
Doing life together is one of our main discipleship pathways in the church. In these small, connected groups, the individuals find significant spiritual growth and life transformation. We praise God for His work in their lives. We now have eighteen groups handled by eleven leaders, from junior youth to adults. Despite the current challenges, God has strengthened the groups and empowered the leaders to minister. Most of the people in the groups are also active in the church. Praise the Lord.
- Pray for the continual transformation of the believers and salvation for their families.
- Pray for wisdom, joy, and courage for the life group leaders.
- Pray for God to establish more life group leaders.
Music is vital to the worship of the church. We praise God that we have been able to continue the music training each week. We are grateful to the Lighthouse community church and their praise and worship team who helped us.
This month was another victory because the current group has started training the next generation, the junior youth, to become a part of the team. We are discovering lots of potential future church leaders. In previous reports, I shared our prayer request for a keyboard. We praise God for answering our prayers. He is indeed faithful, just, and worthy of praise.
- Pray for spiritual maturity and skills enhancement for each member of the praise and worship team.
- Pray for wisdom and strength for our music trainers.
Intentional discipleship is a non-negotiable in our church because it is the backbone of everything we do. It has always been our joy and prayer to have as many discipleship groups as possible. This month God granted us another prayer by establishing another group of six women. Jen-Jen started attending the church and my discipleship program this past year. After the lockdown ended and we began our regular discipleship group schedule, I approached Jen-Jen about leading a new group. At first, she was hesitant and afraid because she has a minimal education, having only attended till third grade. But God empowers the weak, and now Jen-Jen is leading the newest group weekly.
- Pray for Jen-Jen’s spiritual growth and maturity.
- Pray for the salvation of her entire family.
- Pray for the spiritual growth and transformation of the believers.
Youth ministry is challenging, especially when one is no longer a youth. We thank God for blessing us with every active young people in the church. Before the pandemic, I had started a discipleship group with the boys but unfortunately had to pause. But once again, God answered our prayers to gather the boys. They are so eager to learn the scripture and be used by God; many new people are joining. Some of the boys are volunteering in the church. While I do this group, my wife is discipling and equipping the young ladies who also volunteer in the church.
- Pray for God to give us leaders for the youth; we still have young people who are not in a group because we lack the leaders.
- Pray for their strength to overcome temptations; we know they are vulnerable and face peer pressures.
- Pray for spiritual growth and maturity.
We just finished our annual church evaluation and strategic planning session. Last year we had a single goal, “equipping the saints to do the ministry” based upon Ephesians 4:11-13. All of our energy, resources, time, and church activities focused on equipping the saints. We are grateful to God for His favor and grace that allowed us to accomplish this goal. Fifty percent of the church members were trained for ministry since this fifty percent are now active volunteers. We added eleven discipleship leaders and four new core group leaders. We sent a missionary to Indonesia, commissioned two couples to start a church plant work in the next town, and recruited thirty-three volunteers from among the membership. For us, these numbers show a big win despite the challenges of the last year from the pandemic. We give God all the glory.
For the next year, God has moved the hearts of the core leaders with the single goal to “empower the saints to reach the next generation” from 2nd Timothy 2:2. As we continue to equip the first generation of believers, we will focus on reaching and building the next generation of believers, volunteers, and leaders. Our goal may be challenging, but everyone is excited to be a part of achieving it. May our Gracious God be with us and help us to accomplish our intentions.
- Pray for God to help us stay focused on our goal.
- Pray for God to enable every member of the church to duplicate themselves by mentoring another person.
- Pray for the spiritual growth and maturity of every church member.
- Pray for wisdom and guidance for every step we take.
Strong, healthy, and growing relationships are vital for effective teamwork. After our church evaluation and planning, we had a day of refreshments and team building. I brought our core leaders and their families together to a private resort. We had a great time. I had opportunities to spend time beginning relationships with the nonbelieving family members and creating deeper friendships with my core leaders and my own family. I am amazed at God’s work in the life of His church. When we did our team building and refreshment time last year, we only had five couples, but this year we had eight couples and forty-eight people, including their entire families. We praise God for His work over the past year in this remote location where people live under the poverty level. To God, be the glory.
- Pray for the salvation of the nonbelieving family members.
- Pray for God’s continual work of transformation in the lives of the leaders.
- Pray for even more joy and strength to serve the Lord.
- Pray for wisdom and provision for the new year.
Our focus for the year is the “equip the saints to do the work of the ministry.” Our vision is “multiplying healthy churches in our communities and beyond.” This month was a big win for the church as we officially commissioned two couples and their families to work full-time with our church planting work in our outreach location of Liloan. Alvin is one of our core leaders in the church; God called him to work full-time in ministry when we started in Liloan. Anthony and his family are among the first converts in the church. We trained and equipped them and are thrilled they desire to join Alvin and his family in ministry. It is a joy to see the expansion of the church and the growth of God’s people. Currently, these two couples and working joyfully and harmoniously in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. Glory to our Living God.
- Pray for wisdom and strength for Alvin and Anthony.
- Pray for more open doors for the gospel in Liloan.
- Pray for a new community church to be established in the outreach location of Liloan.
One of the non-negotiables in our church is intentional discipleship for all ages. We praise God for our fully functional discipleship groups this month for the men, women, youth, junior youth, and children. These ministries were significantly impacted when the pandemic hit our country. For a time, authorities prohibited us from going out or having any gatherings. Now we praise God for answering our prayers. All of our discipleship groups and activities are going again.
This month I focused on equipping and empowering our discipleship leaders. Many of them were discouraged and had a hard time adjusting to the current events. But despite these challenges, God is good. He lifts the downhearted and strengthens the weak. Now our leaders are consistently and actively meeting with their groups. New leaders are training, and new groups are opening as well. We praise God for His sustaining grace to all our leaders and members.
- Pray for God to establish more discipleship leaders in the church.
- Pray for our church members to be fully equipped for the ministry.
- Pray for more people to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and have a growing relationship with Him.
Children are always precious in the sight of the Lord. They play a unique role in His kingdom. Until now, the government, under the covid-19 guidelines, have not allowed children to leave their homes. Churches have not been able to gather children at all. But since our church is a community church in a rural location, the children keep coming to church every Sunday. It is hard to ignore this ministry opportunity. This month, we encouraged young people to form groups of children for discipleship and church participation training. We desire to win the next generation to Christ and not lose them to the world. We praise God that these young children are so eager to be a part of the church and joyfully offer their talents for God’s glory. Our goal is to incorporate them into the praise and worship team.
- Pray for the children to be thoroughly equipped for God’s kingdom and walk in His ways faithfully.
The pandemic and the economic results have greatly devasted our country, the lives of individuals, and the church. It has been six months since the pandemic put our livelihood program at the church on hold since people could not attend. When we were able to reopen the church building, one of our primary goals was to help the people get out of debt and start financial rehabilitation to sustain their families. This resolution is a considerable undertaking because many people have been out of work for six months with no job or other income source. Many went into debt to survive. But we praise God, who is our Jehovah and will always provide for us even when it seems impossible. God opened the option of restarting the livelihood program. The people are happy and excited because they have help and hope, spiritually, emotionally, and financially. Just like Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry, He fed the people before He preached the gospel. We thank God that the people are starting to recover what they have lost and are gaining from the livelihood program.
- Pray for God to bless the livelihood program as a channel of blessings to others.
- Pray for wisdom and strength to manage.
- Pray for full financial recovery for all the church members.
The public schools have officially opened for module learning. This new method of education is a real challenge and struggle for all students and parents. Face-to-face classes are not allowed, and most of the students chose the modular printed option, which requires the students to do their work at home with their parents to teach and supervise them. Most of their houses are not conducive to learning, either too small or with lots of distractions. Many of the students have higher levels of education than their parents. The church chose to respond to these challenges by providing the building and facilities for places of learning. We offer help to the students for convenient research on the computer with internet access. We have relieved the parents’ burden through this assistance and helped the students focus on their studies.
- Pray for the students to be diligent in their studies.
- Pray for the parents and students to have patience and adjust to the new method.
- Pray for life to return to normal.
In previous reports, I shared about our music training with the help of Pastor Jay-ar. Unfortunately, his service has come to an end. But God is faithful and sent Pastor Arnel and Faith to continue training the musicians. Pastor Arnel is working with the instrumentalists, and Faith is doing voice lessons and teaching song leading. Now we have a choir at the church. We praise God that the music team’s musical skills are improving and their relationship with God.
- Pray for the growth of each believer on the music team.
- Pray for God’s provision for our desire to purchase a keyboard for the church.
One of our struggles during the worship service has been the sound system, as no one was able or knowledgeable enough to operate the equipment. We prayed about this issue for a while, and this month God granted our request. Matt, the husband of Faith, is a professional sound guy in Cebu’s big churches. He offered free training to the young people in operating the mixer and other technical skills. His offer was unexpected since we did not know that Matt and Faith were following our worship service through live streaming, and God had placed a burden on their hearts to help us. Matt has trained four youth to run the sound system, which is a blessing since we conduct two worship services each Sunday.
- Pray for more volunteers since the current volunteers are now multi-tasking, and their loads doubled due to the two services.
Praise the Lord for Pastor Arnel, Matt, and Faith stepping in to train the youth in music.
Though most of the members are now back at their respective workplaces and have their expected income, many are still suffering financially. This month we continued to distribute relief goods to the church members and Bible study attendees. We gave rice, eggs, food packs, and snacks to eighty-six families in the community. We praise God for continuing to provide for His people despite the crises and uncertainties caused by the pandemic. The people are grateful and praise God.
- Pray for the people to seek the Provider rather than merely the provisions.
- Pray for God to continue to provide for the most affected individuals.
- Pray that we can reach more people and families with the good news of Jesus Christ.
The most vulnerable people in the community are the senior citizens and persons with disabilities, but sadly they are also the most neglected. For many months, we distributed relief goods to the community, but we unintentionally missed the neighborhood’s senior citizens and persons with disabilities. When we realized this, the church decided to extend help and show God’s unconditional love to forty-eight senior citizens and persons with disabilities in our community. We gave them essential goods and offered prayers and counseling. The response was surprise and joy as the love and care showed by the church was unexpected. We thank God for giving us the privilege and opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ.
- Pray for these families to seek God more than material possessions.
- Pray for the salvation of entire families.
- Pray for physical health and strength.
Volunteers are essential for successful events. Many churches struggle with a lack of needed volunteers. We thank God for sending us committed individuals who are excited to help every time we need them. When we decided to bless the senior citizens and persons with disabilities with relief goods, our two concerns were provisions and enough volunteers. God gave us leaders and members who always on the move every time. The work became light and joyful because many hands worked together for one purpose and goal, to glorify God and expand His work on earth.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of the volunteers.
- Pray for more believers to be actively committed to the work of God.
Michelle is the mother of baby Alyana. We ministered to this family with relief goods, prayers, and counseling. Alyana is the second of children, her father works for a construction company, and Michelle cares for the kids. Alyana is a beautiful and lovely girl but was born with a congenital cleft palate. In the Philippines, the medical procedure to fix the cleft palate is expensive, and the parents cannot afford it. They have deep concern and desire for their daughter to have surgery soon, but their daily income is just enough to cover their daily needs. The parents were happy for our visit and are now asking for prayers that their daughter will have the opportunity and finances for the needed surgery.
- Pray for Alyana to have the opportunity and provision for the corrective surgery.
- Pray for the family to seek the Lord as they wait for this surgery.
- Pray for baby Alyana to grow in the ways of the Lord.
Pray for wisdom and guidance as we start our church evaluation of the past year and planning for the next year.
- Pray for our desire to thank our volunteers with a volunteer’s night.
- Pray for provisions and favor for this event.
I have noticed many of our youth and volunteers carry excess baggage from their past. I plan to conduct a retreat focusing on releasing this baggage and finding freedom when the pandemic is over.
- Pray for wisdom, provision, spiritual readiness, and our preparations. for my family.
The battle against COVID-19 is continuing in the Philippines. Many Filipino pastors are struggling to adjust to the new platforms in ministry. Despite the unfavorable circumstances globally, this is an excellent time for pastors to join forces together. I have shared regarding the group I am a part of that has encouraged me. Pastors from many denominations across Southeast Asia are mentoring each other. It is an excellent avenue for my growth because we learn from each other’s experiences and minister to each other’s needs/
- Pray for God to continue to protect his servants and sustain them to be even more effective in the ministry.
- Pray for the families of the pastors, especially at this time of crisis, that God will spare them from discouragement and blazing arrows of the enemies.
Life on earth is uncertain. When everyone in my household was excited and preparing for the return of corporate worship at the church, a day before Sunday, an unexpected event took place to my family and two visitors. Just a few hours after dinner, seven in the household suffered from diarrhea, fever, aches, and abdominal pain for five days. Ester, my adopted daughter with the exiting immune disease, collapsed and was unable to breathe. We rushed her to the hospital, and everyone was afraid to come near us, thinking we were infected with COVID-19. But the doctor declared that we got food poisoning.
We thank God for sparing us from COVID-19. It was a dark moment for my entire family, and I felt anxious about caring for them because I was also suffering and sick. God is amazing, and we felt His tangible love and care through the people who ministered to us. Unexpectedly, our church family took turns coming to the house to tend us day and night until we were better. I did not know where to get the money to pay for Ester’s hospital bill, but God used Pastor Steve to pay the debt in full. Indeed, the declaration of King David, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me, came true to us when we were in the valley of the shadow of death. We praise God for orchestrated everything so beautifully when we were powerless and helpless. We magnify the name of Jesus because everything is now back to normal, and everyone has recovered.
There is always a rainbow after the rain and sunshine after the storm. We had a family retreat and refreshment with quality time for bonding and recharging while we contemplated the wonders of God’s creation and the beauty of God’s gift of life and family. After six months of the lockdown and recent illness, our family was able to spend a night at a resort. We were refreshed and gained a new perspective on life and ministry. We praise our good and loving heavenly Father.
In previous reports, I shared about our musical training. A nearby local church whose pastor is a good friend of mine, Pastor Jay-ar, watched our online weekly worship service without my knowledge. God put the burden on their hearts to teach our music team as they are new and young in the faith and just learning music. I was overjoyed because this was an answer to our prayers. Pastor Jay-ar focused on teaching the instruments while their worship team concentrated on vocals and song-leading. Over the past month of weekly training, I have seen tremendous growth in our musicians’ lives, both spiritually and in skills.
- Pray for the worship team to continue to grow and be used powerfully in ministry.
- Pray for God to provide musical instruments to the church.
The circumstance, approach, and ministry strategies may change, but our message and mission will not. Everything we do in the church focuses on the mission and vision that God has given us. Despite the circumstances and challenges of the past few months, we continue to “lead people to have personal and growing relationships with God. We prioritize and focus on intentional discipleship and mentorship at all levels. The men, women, youth, and junior youth discipleships continue each week. Many of the first-generation disciples are also leading discipleship groups with the next generation.
- Pray for the first-generation believers to continue to grow and faithfully teach.
- Pray for wisdom, strength, and joy for our leaders.
- Pray for more new disciples to sprout.
The school opening is fast approaching; time has no regard for the hardships our education department faces from the pandemic concerns. Because of the new modality of online learning, many parents in the community are worried and nervous. To ease the parents’ concerns and encourage them, our church gave out school supplies and food packs to eighty-six children who are in the daily tutorial and child development program at the church. The parents and children were thrilled to receive the presents. It is such a joy to see their grateful faces rejoicing in God’s gifts of provision. It also is a specific opportunity to show the love of God tangibly, especially during this time that they are facing severe crises.
- Pray for the parents, students, and teachers as they adapt to the new method of education.
One of our national heroes declared that young people are the future of our nation. But how can they be the future if their lives are broken and destroyed at a young age? We are grateful for God blessing our church with many youths who will be the future Godly leaders in the church and community. Because of the pandemic, our government only allows our church to operate at half-capacity. In my previous report, I shared our solution of dividing the youth and adults into separate worship services. We are continuing these two services. The young people are growing in number and spiritually; they feel more comfortable with a service tailored to their age group. The youth are more consistent in attending, and each week has new faces. We praise God for what He has done in the teenagers’ lives and what He will do in the future.
- Pray for the youth to grow deeper in their knowledge and walk with God.
- Pray for more discipleship leaders to intentionally mentor and train the newcomers.
- Pray for the young people to be thoroughly equipped to further God’s Kingdom.
- Pray for the salvation of their parents and siblings.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3rd John 1:4 Many parents have shared that raising a millennial child is not straightforward due to the influence of computers and technology. Parenting is a big responsibility, as well as a great privilege and joy. I rejoice to share that my children love and serve the Almighty God even at a young age. As a minister of the gospel, there is no greater sense of accomplishment for my wife and me than seeing my children walking in the truth. We rejoice for the help and grace of our good and loving God. Our ten-year-old Brook is playing the guitar and drums. Reed is five and offered a song of praise during the service. Mae, our adopted daughter, is serving as the Praise and Worship leader.
- Pray for our children to continue to grow and walk in the ways of the Lord.
- Pray that they will love the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength.
- Pray that God will surround them with godly friends who will influence them to serve the Lord faithfully.
- Pray for our country to recover economically from the devastation caused by the pandemic and lockdown.
- Pray for our President and all governing authorities.
This pandemic has been a test of faith for the entire congregation, but the pressure is even more when an unexpected tragedy hits. Elvie is a mother of three young children, and her husband is currently in detention for an illegal-drug related case. She is selling scrap material as her only source of income to sustain her family. They lived in a shanty built from scraps until last month when their home burned down due to an electrical failure. Elvie was away at the time looking for scraps, and everything was destroyed except the lives of the three children. They were in shock from the trauma. The family did not know what to do or where to stay. We immediately responded by providing for their basic needs of food, clothing, and housewares in addition to counseling. The family is temporarily sleeping beside their burned house in a small tent. The entire event tested Elvie’s faith. She was quite active in the church before her husband was imprisoned, and then she started struggling to attend the church. Despite the hardships, Elvie is striving to follow Jesus and lead her family in the ways of God.
- Pray for spiritual, physical, and mental strength for the entire family.
- Pray for provision and fast recovery.
- Pray for protection and health as they are temporarily sleeping in an unsafe small tent.
When God opens the doors to pour out his blessing, no one can shut them even during severe crises. Alice is an active attendee in one of our Bible studies and a sympathizer to the church. I dedicated the new house of Alvin and Melchora last month when they moved to a new place, and it was the first time many had witnessed a house dedicated to the Lord. Alice was renovating their house and asked me to bless it rather than the usual method of calling a priest to officiate. It was a privilege to bless their home as the entire family, and the community heard the Word of God.
- Pray for the genuine conversion of Alice and her entire household.
- Pray for Alice to become a growing and faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.
I have shared in the past about Mae’s story. She is our adopted daughter, who came from the community where we were ministering two years ago. Mae’s family was suffering financially and unable to send her to school, so we welcomed her into our home. Mae is now a college student and decided to enroll in the theological college to become more equipped to serve in the ministry. Due to the pandemic, the government does not allow face-to-face classes; everything is online in public and private schools. Mae did not have the essential gadgets for her studies and would wait until I finished my work before borrowing my laptop for school. We tried to look for a new and cheap laptop, but since they are in high demand at this time, the prices were exorbitant, and many stores were out of stock. But God is gracious and full of surprises. We praise God for using Pastor Steve to bless Mae with the laptop she needed to succeed in school. Mae is grateful to God because now she can enjoy her classes and complete the requirements conveniently. She is even more active in the church ministries and is growing in her walk with God.
- Pray for Mae to be able to finish college and be a fruitful minister of the gospel.
- Pray for Mae to be more effective and productive in her schooling and ministry.
I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. 1 Timothy 2:8. The men’s discipleship intentionally supports the men to be spiritual leaders in their community, church, and homes, leading their own families into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. This month, I praise God that despite the busyness and challenges they face, the men are faithfully striving for spiritual growth and attending the weekly discipleship. They are leading their family devotions as an application for our lessons. Ismael’s wife is not yet a believer. Ismael started Bible studies with his wife, and she has been attending the church for over a month now. Ismael’s entire household is now with us in fellowship. We praise God for His saving grace.
- Pray for these men to influence others to follow Jesus Christ.
- Pray for them to continue to hunger and thirst for God.
- Pray for more men in the community to come to faith.
Music is a vital part of the church. We praise God for blessing us with youth who love worship and leading the congregation. All of them are young in the faith, so we desire to train them to be better worship leaders and musicians. God answered our prayers by sending Pastor Jayar to train our team. He had availability since Cebu City was still locked down and so I grabbed this opportunity. We had twenty young people join music training every Friday, Saturday, and Monday. We improved their skills in playing the instructions, voice quality, and dynamic song leading. We plan to hire another trainer to help do the voice lessons so Jayar can focus on the instruments. After a month of intensive practice, I see improvement in many ways.
- Pray for God to raise more skilled musicians, including singers, in the church.
- Pray for the young people to offer their lives to God’s service and influence others.
- Pray for instruments since we only have a guitar.
The elderly and children are the most vulnerable to the virus. Aside from helping the church members and community with relief goods and livelihood, we also desire to protect vulnerable people. God answered our prayers by enabling us to distribute vitamins and pack meals to eighty-six children in our tutorial program. We strive to boost their immune systems so they can fight the virus and other illnesses. The children were happy, and their parents were too since vitamins, especially vitamin C, have become quite expensive due to the high demand. Unfortunately, we have had to stop the children’s daily tutorial since we are not allowed to gather them as a group, but we continue to monitor them in their homes.
- Pray for the children to have safety and protection from all sickness.
- Pray for them to grow in the knowledge and ways of the Lord.
We experienced the most exciting moment of the church during this pandemic. I mentioned that we again had to stop corporate worship and use the virtual platform because of cases near the church. But after the recovered, we opened the church and had worship together. But after two Sundays, we were forced to stop because the local government became strict in implementing the ordinances and would not allows us to gather. The people were so excited to worship, but their excitement turned to frustration. But despite the constant changes and challenges, we still praise God because people are continuing to seek Him, and we have new people coming to the church. We are praying that next month we can again be together in-person.
- Pray for the church congregation to continue to seek, hunger, and thirst for God despite the uncertainties and discouraging situation.
- Pray for the normalcy of life; and that this pandemic will end in God’s perfect timing.
- Pray for the spiritual growth and life-transformation of every church member.
When we reopened the church, we decided to have two service times because of the numerical growth and social distancing. So, we separate the adult and youth worship services to cater to new people and their specific needs based on their life status. When we divided the groups, we expected it to be less crowded, but both services were full to our surprise. At this time, we have had more new people come to the church, and many youths I did not know by name have joined the worship service because they know it is intended for them.
We praise God for the positive feedback we received from these two Sundays. The young people were thrilled to have fellowship intended for them. I found it convenient to address their specific needs and struggles they face. It would be tiring for the volunteers and me to conduct two services with only an hour interval between, but the joy of serving cannot be compensated. And the joy of seeing lives transformed by God is beyond measure. Since we only had two Sundays of worship last month, we continue to minister to the newcomers as best as we can. Everyone is excited and praying for corporate worship again soon.
The youth face many distractions, especially in this digital age. The many youths in the church bring anticipation as they will be the next generation of leaders, pastors, Christian educators, and missionaries. Despite the pandemic and government restrictions, we are intentionally mentoring the youth because they have value.
- Pray for intentionally mentoring for the youth, for them to continue to seek God and grow spiritually.
- Pray for their strength to overcome temptations and resist peer pressures.
- Pray for more ministers to mentor the youth.
- Pray for the salvation of their unsaved parents and siblings.
I desire to hold a retreat focused on the grace that sets us free geared to the young people and the whole of the congregation because I see they carry a lot of baggage in life.
- Pray for God to grant this desire in His timing.
- Pray for the school year as everything is entirely online; we plan to offer students a free tutorial.
- Pray for wisdom and provision in this area.
- Pray for wisdom and strength for my wife and me to handle the quality of our children’s education; the new method is challenging since we both work full-time.
- Pray for protection and provision for the congregation; many believers are still recovering from the devastation brought by the pandemic lockdown.
- Pray for our two worship services and more open doors for the gospel.
In my previous report, the whole congregation was rejoicing that we could have corporate worship after three months of being locked down. Everyone enjoyed fellowship, was encouraged and ministered to one another. But life in the fallen world is uncertain. Unfortunately, after a month of worshiping again together, our town’s coronavirus cases increased and became closer to the church location.
Two ladies who faithfully attend my weekly Bible study and Sunday worship service had a close relative who was positive with the virus and died. As this person lived in the same area as these ladies and near the church, the incident created much panic in the whole community and church members. I immediately called a meeting with the church leaders. After much deliberation and prayer, we decided to temporarily stop corporate worship and go back to “Simbalay” or house church through Facebook live streaming. This time around, we struggled even more with being unable to fellowship in-person, but God is faithful in protecting and sustaining us by His grace. Though it is a new level of challenge, we have seen God working graciously in His people’s lives as everyone was able to adjust, and we were able to show God’s love by extending help and prayers to the families being affected.
- Pray for God’s continual protection, provision, and sustaining grace for His people in the church.
- Pray for God’s wisdom on how to shepherd the flock during this challenging time faithfully.
- Pray for more profound love and joy for the people as they follow and serve the living God.
People suffer from scarcity due to the pandemic through many are already back to work, but they are still in crisis because of the debts they accrued during the lockdown. The government has stopped giving relief goods to its constituents, and the people have cried out in worry. This month, we continued to provide rice and other relief goods to the needy church members as a church. We followed the example of the early church in Acts two by using church funds and personal contributions from individuals with big hearts to provide for the brethren’s needs who are struggling for food. We praise God for teaching us to give sacrificially and grow in our character. With this generosity, we have been able to show the love of Christ tangibly to our neighbors. There are still individuals in the church who have no stable income or permanent jobs.
- Pray for God’s continued provision and protection.
- Pray for daily rice for the families who are struggling.
Our mission has not ended; we continue to lead people to have a personal and growing relationship with God. Our discipleship at the church is ongoing; the women are determined to attend the faith class every week. I teach theology—knowing what we believe and why we believe it. I intentionally train these women as future leaders in the church. These women are also our current life group and Bible study leaders. They are eager to learn the scriptures and grow in Christ-likeness.
- Pray for more in-depth knowledge and personal relationships for these women.
- Pray for wisdom, joy, and courage as they handle the different Bible studies each week.
- Pray for salvation for the entire household and their husbands and kids to know Jesus Christ.
The young people are vital to the church’s life because they will one day be receiving the leadership baton in the church, and their discipleship today will affect their leadership in the future. Since there were no school classes and not many activities this summer, we grabbed the opportunity to be intentional in teaching the youth and deepening their walk with God. We praise God for seeing the spiritual growth and character transformation in teenagers this past year. Our sacrifices and labor in the Lord are not in vain. The majority of the young people are actively discipling the junior youth to be faithful and active followers of Jesus Christ.
- Pray for strength and protection for the youth as they face peer pressures in life.
- Pray for wisdom and perseverance as they mentor the junior youth.
- Pray for salvation for everyone in their families.
“Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3
Children are a gift and blessing from God, but parenthood also brings great responsibility. The primary responsibility is to bring children up in the ways of the Lord. We praise God for the gift of life given to the young couple Roland and Jessyman. They asked me to dedicate their child to the Lord, and I was puzzled because they are devoted Roman Catholic and wondered why they had not requested the priest to baptize their child. So, when we did their counseling, I asked them.
They answered that they desire to follow the Bible, and they wanted to follow Christ. Roland stated that when the pandemic was over, he wished to proclaim his decision to follow Jesus Christ through water baptism. I was amazed by his announcement because he has never gone to the church since we started in the community, but he confessed that he was observing our lives and everything we were doing. So, amid this pandemic, we offered this child to the Lord, the second child dedication since our church started a year ago. My heart was glad and praised God because of what he has done in the lives of the people in the community and the significant impact the church as already had on the people.
- Pray for God to continue to minister in the hearts of this couple and that they will decide to commit their lives to follow Jesus Christ.
- Pray for more couples to desire to follow the Lord.
Ministry burnout is a common issue that pastors face in the ministry. Mentorship plays a vital role in pastors’ lives and is beneficial as we deal with the current problems and crises. I am blessed and privileged to be mentored by pastors who have been long in the ministry. This past month we met virtually every week for encouragement, empowerment, and prayer through zoom, which has helped me face the new discouraging and draining situation. I was not prepared for the sudden change in ministry platform, along with many of the other pastors, it was challenging to adapt to the new normal. I praise God for the godly men who are journeying with me. As we shepherd the flock of God, is it also crucial for the shepherds to have shepherds. Right now, by God’s grace, my burden feels light because many carry the duties of ministry together, and most of all, Jesus Christ is our chief shepherd and is the one who faithfully carries the weight of us all.
- Pray for continuous joy as I run the race with perseverance that God has marked out for us.
- Pray for wisdom to creatively and faithfully minister to the flock even during darkness.
- Pray for protection for my family as I go out each day to minister to the community.
School opening is fast approaching and brings new challenges to the students and parents. The government is not allowing face-to-face classes due to the ongoing battle with the coronavirus pandemic. As parents, our primary concern is quality education for our children. So we have prepared our house as an avenue for learning and prepared our hearts and minds to face this new normal optimistically. I built the children’s study table and involved them in the process to emphasize the value of education. They are excited that their parents will be their teachers this year. We are doing a daily study routine in preparation for the beginning of school since they had such a long summer break from the lockdown. We praise God for giving us two biological sons in grade school, and two adopted daughters in Bible college. This year will be challenging for them all, but we trust God for His provision and sustaining grace. He has been faithful from the beginning until today, and we believe He will never change because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
- Pray for wisdom as we face the challenges of the coming school year.
- Pray for provision and strength because having two daughters in college is expensive.
In the beginning, God planned, designed, and instituted marriage, and it is sacred in his eyes. God created marriage to be happy, joyful, God-fearing, and Christ-centered. Marriage is a great blessing and privilege. Last month, my wife and I celebrated twelve years of God’s faithfulness and goodness in our marriage life. We praise God for His blessing and for using us to bless other couples. We are also grateful for the many other couples who have surrounded our family and journeyed with us. God is faithful and true to His promises.
- Pray for more anniversaries to celebrate.
- Pray for God to use us to minister to other couples.
- Pray for more blessings to our family and for God to expand our outreach to others.
We plan to resume corporate worship services soon, and please pray for protection on everyone in the church.
- Pray for our country, president, and authorities to make wise decisions and for our country to recover financially from the pandemic.
- Pray for daily provision for our church members as many still suffer financially and have not been back to work.
Summer is the busiest and awaited season of the year in the Philippines. Every summer, we do camps and church retreats, but this year was different. All activities canceled due to the pandemic; everyone was forced to stay home. Camps, retreats, and fun had become just a dream, but my family said nothing is impossible.
On the last day of summer before the first day of the rainy seasons, we decided to have a one-day family camp. “God’s Comfort is Quick” was our theme from Isaiah 66:13, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” We praised God that we had a vacant lot at the back of our house, where we held our activities. It was fun with lots of timeless lessons for my entire family. We started with morning devotions led by my eldest son, Kerith, and then had small groups, games, and teambuilding. We ended with meaningful worship around the campfire. It was refreshing to the soul and spiritually strengthening. Through this experience, God has brought us closer together and comforted us.
- Pray for the protection of my family.
- Pray for spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and relational strength.
- Pray for wisdom and discernment as we decide about the education of our children for this year. The country and government are still concerned and our department of education is uncertain.
In the past three months, we struggled with the sudden shift of congregational worship from a pulpit platform to the virtual platform; the change was due to the national government declaring no social gatherings. It was a challenge no one anticipated nor prepared for. Many of our church members were not able to join us virtually because they do not have internet access in their homes. Their option is to purchase a prepaid internet load or to buy food to feed themselves. Despite these issues, God has been faithful in encouraging, strengthening, and sustaining his people.
This month was a big celebration because the government is allowing the churches to conduct worship services at fifty-percept capacity. God was working in the hearts of the people and for three Sundays, God is sending new people to the church so that we were beyond the required numbers. Because of this good problem, we decided to conduct two worship services to maintain social distancing and to address the special needs of young people. We split the adults from the youth and junior youth. We praise God for the fruitful harvest in his kingdom despite the ongoing pandemic. The gospel is unstoppable.
- Pray for wisdom and strength as we conduct two worship services each Sunday.
- Pray for the continual abundant harvest in His vineyard.
- Pray for joy and strength for all our church volunteers.
- Pray for safety and protection and for more open doors for the gospel.
In my last month’s ministry report, I asked for your prayers regarding the building for the children’s church. I thank you for your prayers as God has granted them. The building has not been completed because of the resource limitations, but we used part of the building that is complete for the children’s ministry activities on Sundays. As of now, we only have our church member’s children participate in Sunday school. Large gatherings are prohibited, so our community outreach to the children is on pause until further notice. We praise God for His faithfulness in providing and sustaining His work from the very beginning until now.
- Pray for the completion of construction.
- Pray for wisdom on creative ways to minister to the children in the community.
- Pray for spiritual growth and character formation of these little ones.
- Pray that God will raise up more future church leaders through this God-given facility.
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” Psalm 103:13. Fathers play the most significant role in the family because God has put the heaviest responsibility on their shoulders for their family. Whatever may happen in their families, God will call them to account. Despite the severe challenges that the fathers are facing right now, both internal and external pressures, because of the pandemic, God has been faithful in sustaining and guiding our fathers to continue to fulfill their home and church responsibilities.
This month we gave the fathers simple tokens of appreciation and offered their lives to God for godliness and service. The fathers formerly lived in debauchery but by God’s grace, they have been transformed and are now actively serving in the church. Praise God for his irresistible grace.
- Pray for God to bring more fathers to the church.
- Pray for God’s wisdom and sustaining grace to the fathers as they continue their responsibilities despite the hardships brought by the pandemic.
- Pray for daily provision because some of the fathers still have no stable income due to the pandemic’s effects on the economy.
Doing life together through life groups is one of the ministries in the church. The purpose is to strengthen the social relationship of everyone both in the church and in the community. It has been three months since our life groups have met together due to the lockdown and I was quite concerned about this isolation. This month, I praise God that most of our life groups have started meeting again. I see the excitement and eagerness of the believers to study the scriptures and learn from each other. We have several candidates for water baptism that had been scheduled for last spring but was postpone due to restrictions from the local government. Their group is meeting on Fridays each week.
- Pray for the continual life transformation of everyone.
- Pray for spiritual growth and joy in serving God.
- Pray for the salvation of their entire family.
- Pray for protection and health.
Marriage is the idea of God, and He instituted it on the earth. Family is also a beautiful gift from God. In the Philippines, it has become partially acceptable for two people to live together outside of marriage, even in Christian communities. As a minister of the gospel, one of my tasks is to advocate to make right every wrong lifestyle, including cohabitation outside of marriage. Anthony and Jenny have been together for many years but had not married. They are new believers and try to follow Jesus in everything but became convicted that something was wrong with their living together. Just in the past few months, they struggled in their relationship, and this affects their walks with God. Upon learning this, I called their attention to God’s institution of marriage and did marital counseling with them. We praise God for granting us a fruitful and meaningful conversation; we ended up with the decision that they will make their relationship right by solemnizing their marriage legally. They are hopeful of doing so by next year. Both are active in the church and are volunteering in ministries as they seek to grow in the Lord.
- Pray for God to grant their desire to solemnize their marriage and pray for their preparations.
- Pray for Anthony and Jenny’s continual spiritual growth.
Men are the hardest group of people to reach for Christ. Another challenge is training them to lead their families in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. One of the lessons in ministry that I learned during the lockdown was to focus on equipping the saints, especially the men, with how to feed themselves the Word of God and how to lead their families into healthy and growing relationships with Jesus Christ. This month God granted my deepest desire to intentionally disciple the men to become faithful followers of Jesus Christ and to lead their families and the community into godliness and holiness.
This month we evaluated our ministries and shifted our focus more onto discipling and equipping the people to take responsibility in their homes, churches, and community. I was able to gather the men each week in our area. Other men outside our area have not yet been able to join us due to the border restrictions. I praise God for giving me a few men to start with, and they are enjoying our weekly conversations and studies.
- Pray for the brave men to take a stand and accept their spiritual responsibility.
- Pray for spiritual growth and character formation as they seek the Lord.
- Pray for more men in the church.
- Pray for the group to continue and to grow.
Our women’s ministry is also continuing, and more women are joining with the desire to lead their families in Christ.
- Pray for these women with unbelieving husbands and for entire families to come to salvation.
- Pray for growing disciples in the church.
- Pray for transformation and growth.
- Pray for increasing joy as they serve and follow the Lord.
When the Holy Spirit convicts the heart of a person, no one and nothing can stop them from following Jesus Christ. A year ago, Neneng became curious about the new worship gatherings happening near our house and visited the church. This visit became a turning point in her life as God convicted her heart causing her to surrender her life and decide to follow Jesus. Neneng was baptized a few months later. During the lockdown, Neneng’s mother and siblings from another province called her on the phone crying and begging her to stop going to church and to not change her religion. Neneng gently answered them with scriptures she had learned in our Bible studies. She shared the gospel with her family on the phone. Thanks be to God, at present, her whole family is active in the church. Jonnalyn, one of our leaders, is discipling Neneng every week.
- Pray for Neneng’s growth in the Lord, pray for the salvation of her family members who live in other provinces.
- Pray for Jonnalyn as she mentors Neneng to become a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.
The young people are the next generation of potential future leaders in the church and community. But before they reach leadership positions, they need to establish a strong foundation to prepare them to be quality leaders. We praise God for sustaining the youth through the past few months when we were unable to have in-person contact. They continued to seek the Lord and practice the Biblical principles we taught them before the lockdown. We are grateful to God for keeping the lives of these young ones from falling. This month we resumed our meetings, and they are eager to learn and excited to meet again with their discipleship leaders. Our focus is character building. Every youth is active in the children’s outreach ministry, and they also work hard in reaching their unbelieving friends and relatives.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of young people.
- Pray for wisdom and strength as we separate youth worship service.
- Pray for strength and protection as they face peer pressure.
Our goal of intentional discipleship is more than the classroom setting, but is to produce fruitful Christians is a day to day life. Queen Ann is one of our active youth in the church. During the lockdown, we did not expect her to grow or excel in the Lord because she was a quiet Christian. But when we resumed the youth discipleship, we learned that she has been doing Bible study and weekly discipleship with friends in her neighborhood. She is happy for the group to be back together so that she can teach what she has learned from her mentor. Queen Ann has twelve youth in her group who have a healthy and growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and they are interested in joining the church.
- Pray for spiritual growth for Queen Ann.
- Pray for continual courage and joy in serving Jesus.
- Pray for the salvation of her entire family.
Jenel is a typical junior youth in the church and a neighbor of Queen Ann. Before the lockdown, he went on and off to church and was occasionally at the junior youth discipleship. But during the lockdown, Jenel faithfully attending the weekly discipleship of Queen Ann; he was encouraged and influenced by her example and started leading another discipleship group from his neighborhood. We praise God for His beautiful work in the lives of these two youth. Instead of roaming around since there were no school classes, these youth devoted themselves to serve God and learn His word with their friends.
- Pray for the continued zeal of Jenel for God.
- Pray for more people to come to Christ through his testimony.
- Pray for his family.
We praised God for never abandoning his people in the three months since the government declared the lockdown. Most of the people lost their jobs and source of income, but God amply supplied our needs. We are grateful for His sustaining grace and abundant generosity last month; we gave the ninth batch of relief goods to eighty-seven families in the community, including church members. We provided rice, multivitamins, groceries, and hygiene kits. We see the joy in their faces for the blessings in times of scarcity. The church members who voluntarily helped distribute the goods were filled with joy too. The people in the community marvel and inquire about our faith when they hear people praising God for His goodness and love.
- Pray for the ability to provide daily food to the church members who have no permanent or stable income.
- Pray that people will seek to follow and glorify the source rather than the resources.
- Pray for fruitful harvest despite the pandemic.
Even if establishments were permitted to operate, many people still feel the crisis of the pandemic and are suffering financially, not being able to return to work. As I saw the financial condition of our people in the church, I genuinely thought about how we could help them. I asked God for wisdom, and He encouraged my wife and me to help the people find their daily bread instead of always giving relief goods for survival only. So we gave a small amount to Ailyn and Greg as the capital to start a small business of selling fish, a “sari-sari” store or small grocery store. Their business has expanded from a few kilos of fish to a larger volume of orders in just three weeks. We praise God that we were able to help them start and for their diligence and resourcefulness. Ailyn and Greg have set aside a portion of their profits to give to the church as their offerings. We praise God that they are learning to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to them.
- Pray for God’s financial blessings on their newly started livelihood.
- Pray for wisdom on how we can help others in the church who are suffering financially.
- Pray for the believers to not only grow spiritually but in all aspects of life.
- Pray that we are not put back in lockdown. The number of cases has increased slightly after the government lifted some border restrictions, pray for the church to not be affected, and for the protection of each member.
- Pray as we decide what is best for our children’s education, the department is still uncertain.
- Pray for wisdom, strength, and joy for all of our discipleship and life group leaders to lead their groups in healthy and growing relationships with Jesus Christ.
It has long been our prayer to have a better and safer place for the children in the church to gather for worship and activities. They had been meeting in an open space outside, which was wet during the rainy season. There is no more space in the church to add another room, and we did not have funds for it; but God makes the impossible, to be possible. Last December, I mentioned in my reports that the Lord blessed a church member with a new two-story house. Their old house is next door to the church, and so they forwarded the blessing by offering the building for the Children’s Ministry, with a renewable thirty-year agreement. We praise God for answering our prayers.
Our next challenge was renovating the house to make it useable for children’s ministry. We did not have the funds needed, but God answered our prayers, using donations from many individuals. We were supposed to start the construction a few months ago but could not begin due to the lockdown. After two and a half months of lockdown, we are now in the general community quarantine, which allows us to start the construction process. We desire to prepare the location so it will be ready to go when we resume regular operations. Because of the lockdown, most of the hardware stores do not have enough construction supplies.
- Pray for the materials we need to finish the project.
- Pray for finances to complete the renovation.
- Pray that God will use this building to bring more people and children into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in the community and beyond.
- Pray for us to use creative means to reach more people and children for Christ during the pandemic.
As I mentioned in previous reports, the majority of our church members and the entire community have financially suffered because they lost their jobs and sources of income due to the lockdown. But our God is faithful, as King David proclaimed. “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters.” Despite the severe crisis, God’s people lack nothing because the Lord continues to provide for His people’s daily needs. This month, by God’s grace, the church was able to give the seventh and eighth waves of relief goods, including rice and canned food to all the church members and some of the needy neighbors in the community. Through this effort, I saw and heard people praising God for not letting his people go hungry or beg for food in this hour of trial. I heard unbelievers praising God; their churches or religious affiliations never gave anything to help them, and yet our church has freely extended our hands to help them. They have witnessed that none of our church members have missed even a single meal. We praise God for his perpetual help and care for His people.
- Pray that the church members can return to work.
- Pray for God to continue to use the church as a channel of his blessings and will continue to make an impact on the community.
- Pray that everyone will be able to adjust to the new normal.
- Pray for more assistance to our brethren in need.
- Pray for the church to continue to trust God and seek His presence beyond His provision.
It has been three months since we stopped meeting for corporate worship, classes, and other church activities because of the lockdown. Everyone has missed each other, and many prayers are being lifted to God, asking Him to bring everything back to normal. This month we rejoiced because the Lord has answered some of our prayers. The government has lifted our status from enhanced community quarantine to general community quarantine. Select establishments and companies are allowed to open, and some people can return to work. Churches are not allowed to have corporate worship, but we can have small group Bible studies of ten people or less. We rejoice that some of our church members have returned to work. We can do the discipleship, Bible studies, and life groups face to face. Most of our life groups have an average attendance of ten people, so we split them into groups of five. Everyone is so happy and excited because the virtual platform is just not the same as physical gatherings and interactions. We are enjoying everyone’s presence and looking forward to larger groups.
- Pray that everything will be back to normal.
- Pray that I can focus and concentrate on equipping the saints to feed themselves and do the ministry.
- Pray for the discipleship and small group leaders, for God to enable them to passionately disciple others in Christ.
- Pray for protection for everyone.
It is a great blessing to be part of God’s people worldwide, especially in this time of uncertainties. Ministry is not a lone ranger role; we are supposed to help each other and grow together for His glory. Having a mention in the ministry is a great blessing and crucial for us young ministers. We need wisdom from the older and more experienced ministers. This kind of mindset can be challenging for Filipino pastors, but I praise the Lord for providing me with mentors and coaches who guide and empower me to reach my maximum potential. I participate in a group of pastors from different denominations and have found an avenue for learning, comfort, safeguards, accountability, and growth. During the lockdown, many pastors fought discouragement because of the sudden unfavorable circumstances and how their ministries were affected. I praise God for rescuing me from misery and encouraging me through weekly mentoring via zoom and video connections. I have three weekly groups that have helped lift my soul during severe trials and uncertainties. I give God the glory for these connections and their blessings.
- Pray for personal growth in the ministry, both in knowledge and character.
- Pray for wisdom and blessings for my mentors in God’s Work.
- Pray for more strength and joy in service because the journey is long and rough to navigate.
The pandemic has brought devastating effects upon many lives, families, institutions, and the economy but has also brought opportunities that we never had before. Besides intensively teaching my household with the Word of God daily, I have had opportunities to express my love and care for my family in ways I never did before. The barbershops are closed, and my kids are not allowed to go outside. The summer season and the weather gets hotter every day, these all culminated in my learning the new skill of haircutting for my kids. It is fun when we seek to serve and express genuine love for our family. They are my faithful supports and joy in both the ups and downs of life. I praise God for the gift of a family who is always by my side.
- Pray for my children to grow in knowledge and wisdom of the Lord.
- Pray for them to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- Pray for continual protection of my entire family and that we may be a channel of God’s blessing and love to others.
Mothers play an important and unique role in the family, community, and church. We praise God for giving us godly women who radiate God’s marvelous light in their homes, church, and community. Despite the pandemic and restrictions on gathering, we still managed to celebrate, bless, and honor the mothers. Our children serenaded them with the sweetest melody, and we blessed them through prayers and simple food. The majority of the active members in the church are women, and they have tremendously impacted the society since the day they first knew Jesus Christ.
- Pray for God to bring more godly women to the church.
- Pray for the continual spiritual growth and character formation for the women.
Trials do not come to put us down and paralyze us, but God allows them to accelerate our faith, trust, and service to Him. Amidst the discouragement and fear brought by the pandemic, the church leaders went house to house with prayers, caring, and sharing with the neighbors and fellow church members. Since I live outside the barangay and entering is restricted, the leaders who live there did the ministry work. It is a joy to see them growing in their passion and love for God and His work.
Babylo was a sympathizer to the church before the lockdown. When the leaders went to her house, she decided to go with them and visit her neighbors with encouragement. Right now, the church is striving to remain healthy and grow despite the present circumstances. Praise God for His sustaining grace.
- Pray for the safety and protection of our leaders as they minister to their community.
- Pray for them to continue to show love and passion for God and compassion for people.
- Pray for Babylo’s spiritual growth and the salvation of her entire family.
Mary Jane is a perfect example of our desire to create disciples that are making disciples. She has four daughters, and her husband works on the other island, seldomly returning home. I still remember the first time I met Mary Jane, her personality was timid, but I sensed her interest in God and His works. She started attending my weekly discipleship and slowly gained confidence until she now leads one of our life groups. During the lockdown, I was able to visit her and was overwhelmed with joy to see her directing her family in daily devotions. She is training her daughters to lead, and they take turns each night. Mary Jane is trying to reach her husband with the gospel too.
- Pray for Mary Jane to continue growing and passionately serving God.
God has done a fantastic thing in the lives of people during this crisis; houses instantly became places of worship, and parents started teaching their children. This response is the original desire of God for parents to train their children in the way to go, and I praise Him for the growth I have seen in the lives of the brethren.
- Pray for blessing and safety of her family.
- Pray for the salvation of her husband and protection as he works far from his family.
We can see and appreciate the beauty of life despite the pandemic if we seek and look for it. I grabbed the opportunity to intentionally disciple my entire household with the Word of God. Last month I taught them the art and science of preaching the gospel or homiletics. They enjoyed the instruction. For the application, my family helps me give daily devotions to the church members and taking turns leading our family devotions. This month, we studied our twelve statements of faith in detail, knowing what we believe and why we believe it. I am also starting to teach systematic theology to gain a more in-depth and broader understanding of God. Everyone is enjoying the education. It is a joy to see them seeking God every day. It is always my greatest desire and prayer that my family will love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to walk in the ways of the Lord for their entire lifetime.
- Pray for the desire to seek God to continue after the pandemic ends.
- Pray for God to continue using my household to be his hands and feet.
Our God is sovereign. He has the authority, right, and power to control all things in accordance with His perfect will. Everything that happens in the universe and our individual lives, both bad and good, God uses to accomplish His purpose. This month, my wife and I were supposed to fly to Canada for a church renewal weekend. Everything was ready, and we were excited, but then our trip was canceled because of the pandemic. We believe God had a better plan though we were disappointed not to be able to make it. Our mentor invited us to join the virtual prayer summit attended by thousands of pastors and workers from around the world. It is a great encouragement to be with God’s people, bowing before His throne in worship, adoration, and prayer. We were indeed renewed spiritually and gained a new perspective in ministry. We praise God for the opportunity. Despite being thousands of miles away from each other, we are still one in God.
In previous reports, I mentioned how we converted our dressing room into a prayer room. We had a daily prayer routine from eight to five to apply what we learned from the Word of God. A few weeks later, God impressed on my heart to expand the prayer ministry to more people. I invited the church members to commit thirty minutes to prayer a day. I am amazed at the response. People are signing up for spaces, from the junior youth to adults, not only from our church but also from other churches. I feel the hunger of the people to speak with God. Our twenty-four seven prayer time is fully booked, and it is overwhelming to hear testimonies of how God is renewing people as they seek and meet Him in prayer.
- Pray for God’s wisdom and guidance for the ministry in this new normal.
- Pray for my family as we consider education for our children in light of the pandemic.
- Pray for wisdom, strength, courage, and joy for our church leaders, Bible study leaders, and life group leaders.
- Pray for a great harvest in the church during this season.
- Pray for our government and authorities to have wisdom from God in their decisions.
- Pray for economic restoration in our country.
- Pray for the practice of prayer to continue even after the pandemic and to become a lifestyle for every believer. God is not interested in periodic visits from us but in our habits
COVID-19 is causing a lot of troubles and hardships for every family in our country and the whole world, but we place our trust in God because we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Though everyone is aware of the adverse effects of this pandemic, we in the Lord also try to see the other side of things and seek to appreciate the beauty of life despite the unfavorable circumstances. During this time, we are forced to stay home by the government; we are using this opportunity to learn and grow together as a family in the Lord.
I was teaching in the Bible school before the quarantine, but now I have switched students and have become a Bible school teacher to my entire household. This month, we discussed basic homiletics and interpretation of the Bible. We are enjoying our time together doing new things and are treasuring the quality hours spent in fun, learning, and growing together. My wife and children are developing more passion for studying and sharing the Word of God through our classes. As part of the application, each one is taking its turn to lead the family devotions. We converted a room to a prayer space and did a daily prayer chain from eight to five. I created a curriculum for my family, and in the next few weeks, I am planning to teach our statement of faith, systematic theology, missions, and other related subjects. Everyone is excited about their assignments and to get up in the morning for new learning. I praise God for this opportunity to train my entire household to go deeper in their relationship with God.
- Pray for the continual spiritual growth of my family even after the pandemic is over.
- Pray for daily protection and provision in my household.
- Pray for good health since it is now the summer season in the Philippines, and people get sick more often due to the higher temperatures.
This month our local government became stricter in implementing the lockdown. We are only able to go out twice a week to buy food and other basic needs, crossing into the borders into different villages in no longer allowed except for essential personnel or front liners. But despite these hardships, we continue to find creative ways to minister to our church members. Even though the borders are closed, communication is still open, and we thank the Lord for the advances in technology that allows us to feed the people through live-streaming via Facebook. We are doing daily morning and evening devotions, and even non-church members are watching and hearing the Word of God. I am planning, God willing, to create online training to teach my church members how to feed themselves with the Word of God since many of them are still young in their faith. This training will be beneficial as we do not know when the pandemic will be over, and the lockdown end time is still uncertain.
- Pray for our brethren to continue to seek the Lord at this time of crisis.
- Pray for wisdom for other creative ways to minister to our people.
- Pray for the spiritual joy of our brethren amidst the severe trials.
In every situation, there is always an avenue for growth and service; no person or nothing else can stop the people of God from serving Him. As part of the homiletics class, my ten-year-old son and two adopted daughters shared the Word of God with our brethren during the devotionals. They have been a great help in this new image of ministry. As parents, we are filled with joy to see our son with the heart of ministry as he develops love and passion for sharing the Bible. It is our prayer that he will grow up loving God with his heart, soul, mind, and strength and that he will always walk in the ways of the Lord.
I have mentioned Mae in previous reports. She is one of the new believers in the community and was suffering financially and struggling with school. Due to her situation, my family adopted Mae and are her foster parents. She was shy and knew little of the Bible when she first came to our house, but a year later, she is active in the ministry and passionate about sharing the Word of God. There is so much joy in watching people come to Christ, especially as their lives transform into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Mae’s life is a testimony to God’s grace and goodness. If God’s wills, she has decided to enroll in the Bible college when the classes are open again.
Ester, our adopted daughter, who is fighting Myasthenia Gravis disease, is currently doing well. A few months ago, Ester needed to stop her studies, but she has since regained her strength. We are happy to see that despite her condition Ester desires God to use her for His glory.
- Pray for my children’s continual spiritual growth and love for God.
- Pray for provision for Esther’s daily medication, especially at this time of crisis.
- Pray for wisdom and strength as they face peer pressures as young people.
Our lockdown was extended till mid-May, but this date is still uncertain. The extension has brought more pressures and crises to our brethren as it has been more than a month already since they lost their jobs, and the government subsidy has not provided enough food supplies and relief goods to get them through this time as it is not quite enough food for a week. Our ministry distributed food to one-hundred and twenty families last month, but for most, the quantity will only last for a week or two. The people are desperately crying for help, just like the Israelites in the wilderness. It breaks my heart to see them in such desperate need. God answered our prayers just like he sent manna from heaven and quail for the Israelites. God sent provisions through the Light of Life Community Center; we were able to give the second, third, and fourth waves of relief goods. This last time we gave rice, eggs, canned goods, an entire chicken, and vitamin C for the children to one-hundred and twenty families, including our neighbors in the community. The people were full of joy and praising God, exclaiming that God has not abandoned them in this time of severe crisis. Our prayers are for the people to hunger and thirst for the Word of God and righteousness beyond just desiring physical food. Now that the lockdown has been extended, the food the families have will not be enough, but we are trusting that God will continue to supply our needs until the pandemic is over just as the scriptures say, “He who began a good work in you will bring it on to completion.” Unity and volunteerism are essential character traits to fight against whatever crisis that we are facing in life. Despite the hardships we face, we are making sure that our brethren are safe and cared for during this time.
- Pray for continual daily provision for the members of our church.
- Pray for people to desire God and His word at this time of crisis.
- Pray for the protection and good health of the volunteers and believers.
- Pray for God’s intervention in this pandemic.
As congregational worship is no longer allowed at this time, we are doing our worship service at home, calling it “Simbalay” which means worship. This method of meeting together using live-streaming is unusual because everyone is used to congregational worship. I used this opportunity to explain and remind the congregation of God’s character that He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. We can worship Him anytime and anywhere because the church is not a building but the people. Our God is the complete and total opposite of the false gods of the world who are dead. Our “Simbalay” is not much different than the early church worshiping in their homes. I praise God that we have been able to adjust. There are unique blessings in this pandemic; husbands and others who did not regularly attend the church are now joining their family and watching live-streaming at home. Our prayers are for the unbelieving members of the family to come to know Jesus Christ.
- Pray for our brethren to continue to seek the Lord and grow even though we cannot meet together as a congregation.
- Pray for us to be encouraged in our faith despite the trials we face.
- Pray for protection from discouragement and the darts of Satan.
- Pray for hope and strength in God during this time.
- Pray for my safety and security as I minister to the church members.
“Simbalay” means house church. Our God is infinite; He is free from all limitations. He knows everything and has no restrictions. His attributes cannot be exhausted or strained. Although for a time, we can no longer gather in person as a congregation for corporate worship due to the government restrictions but still our hearts and spirits can join in worshiping our Living God in our homes. We praise God for the technology that we have available to continue our church ministries and worship services using live-streaming on Facebook. I offer a daily morning and evening devotion and exposition of God’s word to our church family. In this way, I can continue to feed and nourish the flock daily despite this global pandemic. Many of my members do not have internet access, and so they cannot view the videos, pray for creative ways to minister to them. We believe and trust that one day a rainbow of God’s hope and victory will appear.
Raising millennial children has unique challenges because of the changing world and growing technologies that could either help them draw nearer to God or pull them away from Him. As Christian parents, it is our greatest desire and prayer for our children to grow up loving the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Seeing them actively and joyfully serving the Lord is our greatest reward. One of our most memorable victories and joys in the ministry was seeing our ten-year-old son Kerith, sharing the Word of God through the Bible story to the children in our outreach. It was his first time speaking in front of a crowd. He was nervous but excited, and we cheered him on. Our son is an active volunteer on the praise and worship team, playing the electric drums. We praise God for his desire and joy to serve God despite his young age.
- Pray for our children to continue to grow and walk in fear of the Lord.
- Pray that God will use them powerfully and effectively in the ministry.
Equipping the church and Bible leaders is my focus for this year, to help them grow in faith and practice, but this is impossible without the necessary tools for growth. Aside from our regular weekly discipleship meetings, I was praying for my desire to give my leaders a study Bible to aid their knowledge, to help them go more in-depth in learning and for their study habits to become more manageable. I struggled on where to get the needed funds to purchase multiple study Bibles. These Bibles are not cheap, and our resources are limited. God answered my prayers and used Pastor Steve to give five Cebuano study Bibles to my church leaders. They were happy and blessed by these gifts. Our weekly discipleship is more exciting and enjoyable as we delve into God’s Word. Arlene was so thrilled by this gift that, in her excitement and passion, she opened a new Bible study group in her neighborhood and is fervently sharing the gospel with anyone within her reach.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of our leaders and the salvation of their unsaved loved ones.
- Pray for ministry effectiveness and the impact on the entire community.
The great commission of Jesus Christ is to make disciples and not just converts. Our primary desire is to make disciples who will go on to make more disciples, which is never an easy task, nor does it happen overnight. It takes time, treasures, and talents to invest in the life of another person and see a significant change in their life. The real battle and greater challenge in ministry are to produce disciples with a passion and desire to serve God in ministry, only possible by God’s grace.
We praise God for John, through years of others investing in his life, he is now investing in others through discipleship. Many years ago, John was scared to lead a Bible study; he always had excuses. Now God has molded his life through intentional discipleship in the church, and by God’s grace, John is confidently leading a Bible study and discipleship every week with the praise and worship team members.
- Pray for John to continue to grow in the Lord and make a significant impact on others.
- Pray for the health of John’s family, recently his children were sick, and this affected his ministry at the church.
One of the many ways we can equip believers in ministry is to incorporate them into the activities in the field, encouraging them to get out of their shell and comfort zone. One of our sister churches in the next island, Lapu-Lapu, was struggling severely as their pastor resigned and left the church devasted. One of the members desperately asked us for help to revive the church. When I heard this request, I contemplated it, asking God for his will. He impressed upon my heart to help this church. I used this opportunity to expose my church members to a field outside of their comfort zone and current ministry context. As a church, we committed to helping our sister church once a month for the first-weekend worship service. I brought our praise and worship team to minister to the brethren in Lapu-Lapu, and we were blessed as well by the visit.
- Pray for the Gateway Evangelical Free Church and its ministries to be revived and to continue to proclaim the gospel.
- Pray for our ministry team and the brethren we are encouraging.
Life on earth is full of uncertainties. Just weeks ago, the church rejoiced because ten new brethren decide to follow the Lord Jesus and express this faith through water baptism. We scheduled our celebration, but two days before, the government of the Philippines temporary canceled all social gatherings, including church worship services, and closed the borders in our country.
In compliance with these unfavorable circumstances, we had no choice but to postpone our baptism and all other ministries and activities. It does not lessen our faith. But we have to be prudent and wise in decisions to protect our congregation and welfare of everyone. We do not know how long this will take for the pandemic to be over, but we keep on trusting that God is sovereign and in control.
- Pray for our brethren who are candidates for water baptism, that they will not be discouraged but will continue to serve and grow in the Lord.
- Pray for the church members and each family to be safe and for their daily provision.
- Pray for the church to continue to touch lives for Jesus Christ, despite the challenges that we face.
Since the time that our government implemented the enhanced community quarantine, most of our church members have significantly suffered from the scarcity of food as they lost their jobs. The livelihood of our members are typically from driving a motorbike or pump boat. When they have no work, there is no pay as it’s based upon daily wage. Many companies have closed, and many people are suffering financially.
- Pray for the church members to find peace and strength in the Lord.
- Pray for the church mission of making disciples continue despite the uncertainties.
- Pray for the pastors and leaders to have wisdom and courage to use creative means to minister to people diligently.
- Pray for the believers to continue to seek and obey the Lord during this time.
One day I roamed around the community to check the situation with my church members and found that most have no more food to feed their families. It broke my heart and brought me to my knees. I asked God to sovereignly provide the daily basic needs of his people just as he provided for his people in the wilderness for forty years. God alone is our creator, owner, and sustainer of all things.
We praise God for answering our prayers, He used people to provide food for our church members generously, and we extended help to our neighbors in the community. By God’s grace and generosity, we gave relief goods, rice, and groceries, to one-hundred and twenty families in the area four times in only a week. The people exceedingly rejoiced and praised God for the unexpected aid in their time of severe need. We thank God for the volunteers who helped us to repack the goods and distribute them despite the sun’s heat. We have formed a ministry called Pray, Care, and Share Opportunity (PCSO).
A pastor can give encouraging words from the heart, but how will these words find room inside if their stomach is hungry, their minds and anxious, and their hearts are troubled? Following the example of Jesus Christ, we used the food and groceries as a practical and tangible way to show God’s love.
- Pray for God’s continued provision as the relief goods are not enough to sustain the large families for very long.
- Pray for God will stop the virus not only in our country but for the whole world.
- Pray for the church members to trust God to provide and not be easily anxious.
Jenny has two boys and is away from her husband. She was a victim of the typhoon Ondoy, and their house in Manila was destroyed, and they had nothing. Jenny returned to Cebu with her boys and hoped to find refuge with her sister. Unfortunately, they were not able to agree with many things, and Jenny needs temporary shelter. As she had nowhere to go, we are allowing them to stay at our home in my study room. In her desperate condition, God is helping us ministry to Jenny, and they are attending church and starting to know God through the scriptures. Jenny is caring for her seven-month son and so finding a job is particularly challenging.
Our leaders have used this Pray, Care, and Share Opportunity to share the love of Jesus and hope in Christ. Ailyn, one of the church leaders, is using the distribution time and contacts to pray for neighbors. She is sharing the love of Jesus Christ despite the hardships we all face. We praise God because the neighbors have commented that we are different because, in addition to the material help, we are offering prayers and counseling to them as well.
- Pray for safety and protection Ailyn’s family as she gives aid and shares the love of Jesus.
- Pray for the people whom we have touched by the love of Jesus Christ, for the Holy Spirit to continue to speak and minister into their hearts.
Hardships and crises in life are opportunities and avenues to grow in the Lord and to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Jonalyn is joyfully and courageously going with us to distribute food, despite the crisis her family is facing. Jonalyn’s husband is not making an income because he can no longer transport passengers using the pump boat as it has now prohibited. Jonalyn went to Amelyn’s home and the neighbors doing Pray, Care, and Share Opportunity. Amelyn is a believer who was expecting to be baptized this past month. Her husband is a jeepney driver, and they are struggling financially due to the lockdown. When we learned this, we went to their house to minister to them and brought aid.
- Pray for Jonalyn and her family to recover financially and for protection from the virus.
- Pray that God will speak to Jonalyn’s husband through this time of severe trials and that he will come to salvation.
- Pray for Amelyn’s family.
Anthony works the night shift, and without even taking a nap, he has helped us with the Pray, Care, and Share Opportunity to his neighbors. He is choosing to be a channel of God’s love and blessing despite difficulties. Anthony desire to bless the elderly people because they are the most vulnerable. We praise God for the transformation of Anthony’s life; before salvation, he was known as a bad influence in the community. Anthony and his wife and both active volunteers in the church and our outreach. God is using them to show His love for the lost.
- Pray for provision for Anthony’s family as the company he works for is closing soon due to the pandemic.
- Pray for wisdom and strength for Anthony as he leads a Bible study.
Our Prayer Warriors Praying for people in the Community!
- Pray for our families to maximize our time for the glory of God while staying at home.
- Pray for our country to be able to recover economically.
- Pray for wisdom and guidance for our government authorities as they fight against COVID-19.
- Pray for protection and safety for all the front-liners who are risking contact with the virus to serve our country.
It has long been our prayer and desire to gather and organize the parents from our outreach in Calero, Liloan. We had a lot of attempts to engage them in ministry but continued to fail because the parents were not willing to cooperate. I knew we didn’t win their hearts and trust. This month was a great victory because God answered our prayers. After months of ministry to the community, by God’s grace, we are slowly winning the hearts of the people to Christ. We gathered and organized the parents to help us serve the children by cooking the food for the children’s feeding program. It was their first time working together as a community to serve their children voluntarily. I discovered that a lot of their hesitation when we first approached them was due to their reservations with each other and us. By God’s power, their barriers were broken. The parents were happy and excited to cook and serve the children. This event has started the development of closeness and social interactions in the community. Many parents are now committed to helping us every week at the outreach. We praise God that due to this feeding program, the number of children we have been ministering to each week has doubled.
- Pray that through the feeding program, we can establish a home Bible study with the women.
- Pray for the salvation of the women and their entire families.
- Pray for more volunteers from the community to join us and hear the gospel.
I have shared of Ester, our adopted daughter, and her illness in previous reports. God graciously enabled her to recover, and she had returned to school this year. Just recently, however, the doctor and school advised asked her to rest as she was physically weak again. Right now, Ester is staying at home to rest with the hopes that she will recover quickly and be able to return and finish the semester. Despite her condition, Ester continues to serve God. She is active in our outreach, teaching the children, and making a significant impact in their lives.
- Pray for fast healing and recovery so that Ester can return to school soon.
- Pray for Ester to continue to serve God and grow despite these discouragements and pressures.
- Pray for provision for her daily medication.
Children are precious to God, and He uses them to fulfill His purpose and plans. We value the children and display this through intentional discipleship, so they become faithful followers of Jesus Christ. They will be the future of the church. We are blessed by God with more than a hundred children to minister to every week. In addition to our regular teaching, we desire to have them participate in the Sunday worship service so they will not only grow in knowledge but in their love, service, and commitment to the Lord. This month we had the children lead the praise and worship time, read scripture, and present songs. They were happy to feel that they belonged to the family of God and were overjoyed to serve God in their capacity. The experience has created more excitement among the children for church every Sunday.
- Pray for the continued spiritual growth of the children.
- Pray for the salvation of the entire family.
- Pray that the children will be God’s instruments for the gospel so we can reach the parents in the community.
Clean and safe water is vital for the health of individuals and families. God has led us to reach out to some of the poorest and most remote communities in the Philippines, where clean and safe water is hard to find. The well water is used for washing and cleaning because it is unsafe for drinking. People pay a high price to haul their clean water from a distance. Last year, the community experienced a diarrhea outbreak due to water quality. This incident caused me to pray and ponder on how to help with this issue. The idea came to my mind of providing a water filter for every family in the community. God heard our prayers and used people; He provided us with the ability to give a portable and reliable water filter to every family in the area. Now the people have access to clean and safe water. The money they save from no longer needing to purchase drinking water is going to provide for other essential needs of their families. They can draw water from the well to make clean through the filter.
- Pray that the people will be good stewards of their water filters.
- Pray that God will use the water filters as a way for people to know and recognize the real living water, Jesus Christ.
Burnout can be a common problem for Christian ministers and is a challenge we try to avoid. We praise God for giving us volunteers to help lighten the work of the ministry, and we can accomplish great things working together. As a preventative for burnout, we intentionally give our volunteers rest from their area of ministry each month with a time of refreshment and realignment. The young people who minster in our outreach to Calero, Liloan, went out for a time of reconnection to gain new perspectives and energy. We find it helpful to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of our volunteers. Because of this rest, the volunteers became more excited, committed, and effective in their ministry as they felt our care and value for them. Our ministry team has drawn closer to each other.
- Pray for the volunteers to be even more effective in ministry. Most are still young and new in their faith, pray for spiritual growth and strength.
- Pray for the salvation of their families; many of their family members are not yet believers.
Our country has problems with teenage pregnancy, and according to recent surveys, the number of cases is increasing every year, and the morality of our countrymen is decreasing. We are alarmed by this painful truth as we have many young people and children in our church. It is our responsibility as shepherds of God’s folk to not only feed them but to protect them. This month we took the opportunity to educate and protect our youth from the influence of the decaying generation. The world celebrates the love month; we held an event called “true love waits,” where the youth from our church and other churches received education and guidance on the principles of Biblical love, courtship, and marriage. We praise God that we brought eighteen youth from our church. We challenged them to wait for the right time, right person, and to desire the excellent, perfect, and pleasing will of God in their life partner. This event can reach beyond these eighteen teenagers into the church and community as they apply these principles. I see even more focus and desire to seek and obey the will of God in their lives.
- Pray for the young people as they face peer pressures and temptations in many forms.
- Pray that the Lord will protect and empower them to maintain their purity.
- Pray for their influence and testimony to other youth as they contrast the distorted norms of the world.
- Pray for their success in life and ministry.
God answered our prayers for the children’s church by giving us a place for them to meet. They had been gathering outside the church in an open space. Despite the small size and lack of convenience, we are still grateful for God’s provision for this house. We desire to maximize the space and make it more comfortable.
- Pray for the provision to renovate the building soon as summer is approaching, and we have a lot of activities planned for the children.
- Pray for God to protect these children and to guide them by His Word.
- Pray for the future church leaders, pastors, and missionaries.
The men and women in uniform in our country have a vital role in the government and are among the most influential people in our communities. It has been our prayer to minister to the local government officials and agencies, especially as Christianity is a minority religion in our country. We have struggled to make this connection, and God answered our prayers. Last month we started a group of eight police officers, including the PNP chief in our community. I conduct a small weekly group interactive Bible study with them. I see our relationships and Bible study become deeper each week as they continue to seek the truth.
- Pray for the genuine conversion of those in uniform, including their families.
- Pray for God to grant us more Godly influence among our government authorities and agencies.
Nurturing young believers to grow and mature in the Lord is a challenging task. God has given us eleven discipleship groups. We face the challenge of consistency with the groups, some grow fast, but others are struggling. Currently, most of the groups are growing in their knowledge, relationship, and Christ-like character.
- Pray for wisdom, joy, and strength for our discipleship leaders.
- Pray for spiritual growth for the leaders and members.
- Pray for an increase in leaders and groups.
One hundred years ago, the Philippines was a recipient of missionaries, and we are grateful they brought Christianity to us and made such a significant influence in the lives of Filipinos. Now we are pleased that we can send missionaries cross-culturally. The work is still tremendous for world evangelism, and everyone should be thinking beyond just their community. One of our aims as a church is to equip believers to do the work of ministry, close and far. Despite the youngness of our church, we have sent and support a missionary to Indonesia. This month, we had the opportunity to expose our members to cross-cultural awareness and training at our mother church. I thank God for making my members more eager to participate in cross-cultural missions as well as ministering to their local communities. We are thinking of doing short-term missions locally or internationally.
- Pray that the church will continue to desire to participate in missions.
- Pray that another believer will respond to the missions call.
- Pray for the Lord to protect and provide for our missionary in Indonesia.
- Pray for our desire to conduct another water baptism next month.
- Pray for the candidates as they face discouragement and persecution because of the decision to follow Jesus.
- Pray for good weather and provisions.
- Pray for our church planting outreach to Calero, Liloan, and for a community church to be established in this area.
- Pray for our summer activities – DVBS, music training, and youth camp.
- Pray for wisdom and provision.
- Pray for my family as we plan to transfer our children to another school, pray for guidance.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it” Proverbs 22:6. Building a strong foundation starts in the early stages of life. In today’s generation, bringing children into the church is hard as their parents are not often believers, and gadgets bombard the children themselves with values that are not Biblical. God has given us a good working relationship with our Korean brethren, who continue to help us teach and disciple fifty children from the community. These children are actively involved in the church, and we see the lasting impact that God’s grace is making on their lives.
- Pray for the children to continue to grow in the knowledge and character of the Lord.
- Pray that they will be a good influence in their homes and communities, especially as many of them are in unbelieving families.
Leading someone to have a personal and growing relationship with God is the reason for our existence in the ministry. So we rejoice when we see the gospel transforming the life of a new believer. Maricris was once a shy and reserved young lady, but in the past few months as we invest time and effort into her life we have seen her grow and mature. We discovered she has a hidden talent for music. Maricris is moving out of her comfort zone and is more committed to serving the Lord. Now, she is an active volunteer in our outreach teaching team and is leading children to Christ. She is currently leading the congregation in corporate worship to our God on Sundays. We saw her grow from being very shy to a shining child of God.
Maricris leading worship!
- Pray for Maricris to have continued spiritual growth and joy in serving the Lord.
- Pray for the salvation of her entire family; this is her main prayer request and desire.
Some say that it takes many generations to cause a community transformation. But I would say that God can use one genuinely transformed life to make a significant difference and impact in the community in Jesus’ name. Since the beginning of our ministry, our vision is to establish a community church. Our community values formation program is handled primarily by Elvie, who is enthusiastic in partnering with me in this endeavor. As part of this program, we teach Biblical truths and principles in our study of God’s Word.
- Pray for more people in the community to learn the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and experience a genuine life transformation.
- Pray for wisdom and strength for Elvie and myself as we continue this program.
- Pray for the community to be influenced through the believers.
Properly and intentionally passing the baton in ministry is never an easy task but can be a great joy and a sense of fulfillment. Despite the newness of our work, we aim to go deeper into our teaching. We share the gospel, but we don’t stop there, but we intentionally disciple, teach and mentor young leaders to become God’s future leaders in His service. We praise God for giving us youth who have devoted their lives to the glory of the King of kings. We appointed the core leaders for the Youth for Jesus (Y4J) ministry, and it is our privilege to see them grow in knowledge and character as they actively and joyfully lead their peers in the Lord.
Pastor Lito mentoring our future young leaders!
- Pray for these young leaders to stay firm in the Lord despite the present peer pressure they face.
- Pray for the upcoming fellowship with the theme of “True Love Waits”.
- Pray for our YFJ summer youth camp in May and provisions and life-transformation of the participants.
“God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful 1 Corinthians 1:27. Every child is precious in the eyes of God, and we should never underestimate their impact on ministry. Through the scripture, we see stories of God using children to accomplish great things through His mighty power. Aira was one of the young ones we ministered to in the community, and we saw her big heart for God. Every Saturday, she insisted on going with us to the outreach. At first, we wrongly underestimated her by thinking she could contribute nothing. This month the Lord rebuked us and reminded us that it is only by His grace and power that we can do ministry and accomplish anything at all. We allowed Aira to go with us to the outreach and were amazed as her joy in doing the simple things. Despite her youth, she prayed in front of the people in the community, distributed snacks, and helped assist with the children during small group and counsel time. Now Aira is an energetic volunteer during our Saturday outreach and Sunday AWANA program. Praise God for her life dedicated to serving Him.
Aira leading the group in Prayer!
- Pray for Aira to continue to grow in the Lord and to follow the path of righteousness.
- Pray for the salvation and transformation of her entire family.
A simple thing can accomplish much when God blesses it. We opened the new church planting work in Calero, Liloan and a few months ago, we encountered challenges and rejections in the community that discouraged us and made it difficult to continue to touch lives for Jesus Christ. We were most discouraged by the declining number of children in attendance, and the parents were not participating. However, we praise God for strengthening us and giving us wisdom on a solution. This month, we brought a special treat as a snack for the children in the community, and God used is it to increase the number of children who came. I also organized the parents to do the cooking; this task will bring them closer to each other, and I can spend more time ministering to them.
- Pray for salvation and transformation of people in the community and more open doors for the gospel.
- Pray for wisdom, strength, and perseverance as we serve in this challenging place.
It is a joy to serve God by reaching all ages in the community. The boys tend to roam around playing, and their potential can be overlooked, but through proper nurturing and discipleship, God can use them to further His kingdom. This month, I started gathering them for regular weekly mentoring; God has grown the number of participants since we first started. We enjoy fellowshipping together and eating food in addition to the nourishment of God’s Word. Activities are planned that encourage them to seek God more, even at a young age. The boys are now active in joining the Sunday worship and AWANA program.
Young boys sharing a meal together during bible study!
- Pray for the spiritual, mental, and physical growth of these boys.
- Pray for salvation for their families.
- Pray for wisdom and guidance as their stage of life is vulnerable to bad influences.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8 As we looked back on last year, there was nothing in the community except people who were perishing, living in darkness, and without hope. But God is so loving, full of mercy and grace that he brought forth salvation and transformation to the community. This month we celebrated our first anniversary as a church expressing the goodness and faithfulness of God. We praise God that during the event, He brought so many people that we ran out of chairs, but they all had the opportunity to hear the gospel.
- Pray for the visitors to come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
- Pray for the church to continue making a lasting impact on the people in the community.
Nobody can question the compelling living testimony of God’s mighty working transformation in the lives of people who are well known in the community. Ailyn and Arlene were both living in darkness and sin, but God showed them mercy and grace. A year ago, they encountered God personally in one of our Bible studies, and both gave their lives to Jesus Christ. God is molding and transforming them into the image and likeness of His son as they continue to serve God despite persecutions. During our church anniversary celebration, Ailyn and Arlene courageously stood in front of the crowd to give their life testimony proclaiming the power and goodness of God.
- Pray for Ailyn and Arlene’s continued spiritual growth.
- Pray for Ailyn, one of our core leaders in the church, to have wisdom and courage to lead her small group. God has used her to influence others to follow Jesus.
- Pray for the salvation of Arlene’s entire family.
God is life. He is the source, the giver, and the sustainer of life. Every life belongs to Him, but sadly the majority of people do not acknowledge this, nor do they know the purpose of their life. Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion, and many people believe and practice its wrong and unbiblical doctrines. One of the main hindrances for people to join Christianity is that they are blinded from the truth and misled by false religions.
We praise God that the Lord has opened the mind of the people in the community and the church, freeing them from the wrong teachings of Roman Catholicism. Two parents decided to dedicate their child to God at our church anniversary instead of letting the priest do the child baptism. This event was a great curiosity to some in the community and has challenged their beliefs and practices. We praise God for giving these parents the courage to stand firm in their convictions. They are actively serving in the church.
- Pray that God will continue to open the minds of the people in the community and set them free from the bondage of the wrong teachings of Roman Catholicism.
- Pray for more people to desire to dedicate their children to God at the church rather than following the practice of infant baptism.
Recently, many of the church members and children in the community got sick.
- Pray for healing and good health.
- Pray for wisdom, strength, and spiritual growth as I lead the church and my family.
Children should be loved and protected, for they are precious to God. We are grateful to God for blessing us with many children in the church. They are our future leaders, pastors, and missionaries. This month, we held a special thanksgiving celebration for children with fun and abundant food. We have ministered to these children for two years already and see how the Lord is working powerfully to transform their lives. They are faithful and excited to attend church every Sunday and learn about God through the AWANA program. We praise God for His love and sustaining grace to these little ones.
- Pray for the children to continue to grow and walk in the ways of the Lord.
- Pray that we can reach the parents with the gospel through the witness of the children.
We celebrated Christmas by sharing the message of salvation. In the community, many people celebrate the exterior trappings of Christmas. Still, few know or experience the real essence of the season as there are few believers. We planned our first community Christmas party in Calero, Liloan. We had ordinary Christmas items with lots of fun, food, and prizes. Also, I intentionally used the event to preach the gospel to the entire community. Our regular attenders came and brought many new young people and adults who then had the opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ.
- Pray for the gospel seeds that were planted to grow and bear much fruit.
- Pray for God to lead us and give us wisdom as we follow up with those who made a confession of faith in Jesus Christ.
It has been six months already that God has sustained our Child Development program through the daily tutorial class at the church. This month was another mark of God’s faithfulness as we celebrated the first Christmas party with this group. We shared the good news of salvation to the parents and children of the ninety children in our community who are a part of this program. Parents are starting to get involved in the church, and many of the children are also active in Sunday school.
Pray that we can add more children to our tutorial program. Pray for the children to continue to grow in the Lord, and for their parents to be saved. When Jesus came to the world over two-thousand years ago, he was not only concerned about the spiritual condition of the people. He also met their physical needs by feeding the hungry, healing the sick, letting the blind see, and cleansing the demon-possessed. As much as is possible, we follow the same approach to meet the spiritual needs of the people through meeting their physical needs. God has used our livelihood program to address both the spiritual and physical aspects of poverty. Many people came to faith through the program, and the grace of God transformed their lives. Last month was their third profit-sharing, and everyone was glad to have the financial benefits as it is an expensive time of year.
What a joy and blessing it is to be in the family of God. When we first came to this community, we were nobody. We had no connections, but now we are a family — all by God’s grace and His love that united us in Christ. We celebrated Christmas as a family with fun, games, surprises, plentiful food, and the Word of God. It was a meaningful experience as, for many, it was their first-time celebrating Christmas in a way that glorified God. The congregation understood the real message of Christmas. They committed to bringing this message to their unsaved loved ones and friends. Once they were the recipients, but now, they are the messengers.
What a joy it is to be part of God’s family. When we first came to this community, we were nobody. We had no connections, but now we are a family, all because of God’s grace and His love that united us in Christ. We celebrated Christmas as a family with fun, games, surprises, plentiful food, and the Word of God. It was a meaningful experience as, for many, it was their first-time celebrating Christmas in a way that glorified God. The congregation understood the real message of Christmas. They committed to bringing this message to their unsaved loved ones and friends. Once they were the recipients, but now, they are the messengers.
- Pray for the growth of the believers.
- Pray for them to be salt and light in their homes and communities.
Life on earth is short and unpredictable. We were busy with our festive activities and schedules when an unexpected incident happened suddenly, my father-in-law passed away. Nobody expected this as he was healthy. We were grieving, and it was even harder as his birthday had also been approaching. God brought us comfort through His words in Matthew, we do not have the guarantee of a problem or trouble-free life, but we do have endless hope in Christ. This was not a sorrowful goodbye because we will see my father-in-law in heaven again someday. We praise God for the people who showed their love and sympathy to us. Thank you to our White Fields family, through Pastor Steve, who helped us financially with the burial expenses. Though we are grieving, we are comforted that our beloved father-in-law is now in the best place, enjoying the best life.
- Pray for complete emotional comfort and healing for my wife and her siblings.
Youth for Jesus (Y4J) is one of the more challenging ministries as the youth face peer pressures and the negative influences of technology. We thank the Lord for blessing us with many young people in the church, and we are intentional in our discipleship approach with them. Part of this process is to organize the Y4J in our district with six evangelical-free churches in Cebu North. Each church has two youth representatives serving as members of the core leadership team. We praise the Lord that despite their youth in faith and age, they are eager to learn, grow, and be used by God. They have started planning for the upcoming Y4J summer camp and fellowships. There is excitement to use their spiritual gifts and abilities and exercise their independence and maturity. This is indeed one of our victories in Christ as we see the youth shine in their faith and know that our labor and sacrifices for the Lord are not in vain.
Last month, our youth were able to join the Doulos Youth Fellowship hosted by the youth officers at the Mabolo Evangelical Free Church, our mother, and sending church. This is a great experience and training for our youth as they observed how their peers organized and ran the program. They were ministered to and learned more truth from God’s Word as they mingled with other youth believers. We praise God that sixteen young people from our church were able to join the fellowship.
- Pray for the youth to continue to grow in the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Pray for the youth officers to be joyful and productive as they serve in the youth ministry.
- Pray for the continual joy and courage of these young people as they serve the Lord.
Pray for provision and strength as we celebrate the first anniversary of the church. Pray for wisdom and guidance as we intensify our church ministries and for provision as we build the children’s church beside our existing building. It will serve as another classroom for our children’s tutorial during weekdays and the children’s church on Sundays.
- Pray for a full-time worker to focus on the new church planting work in Calero, Liloan, and for the establishment of a community church in this location.
- Pray for more open doors for the gospel.
During the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, He valued those who came alongside Him to learn and follow His word. We are grateful for all our volunteers, and we praised the Lord for blessing us with many volunteers. We have about 20 volunteers from our mother church who help us in our AWANA program every Sunday afternoon, and more than half are church members in Tayud who are now serving as volunteers in different areas of our ministries.
It was our great joy and fulfillment to see these young believers who were once living in darkness but now have become an agent of light and transformation. This month we held a “Volunteer’s Appreciation Dinner” it is our tangible and straightforward way of saying thank you for their commitment and sacrifices for the Lord. Indeed, God is great and worthy of all praise.
We started the ministry a year ago with two committed young couples with me, and now there are 53 volunteers all working together every week in the ministry for the furtherance of God’s kingdom and the glory of his name.
- Please pray for the 53 volunteers, that they will continue to commit their lives to the Lord.
- Please pray for the ministry’s challenges and hardships.
- Please pray for more volunteers as the church expands.
- Please pray for continuous spiritual growth and Godly living of the volunteers.
Church Evaluation and Planning
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Ephesians 4:11-12
What a wonderful thing to work in the ministry with a team. The load is lightened, and more tasks are accomplished smoothly and efficiently when many brains and hands work together as one. Just this month, we had our church evaluation for the past year and did our planning and goal setting for next year.
We praise God for His mighty work in and through us that has resulted in fruitful outcomes. We reached our goal from last year to establish the first community church. In the past ten months, God enabled us to build a community center and baptized thirty-two new believers. We started a new church planting work in the community of Calero, Liloan. We began the children’s daily tutorial class and sponsored one hundred and fifty-six students. Twelve life-group Bible studies were established to train new church and ministry leaders.
Our goal for the next year is to equip the saints to do the ministry. If it is God’s will, and by His grace, we will focus our effort, time, energy, and resources in training and equipping the church members for ministry and leadership. We praise God for giving us sufficient volunteers this past year. We have a desire to see more people getting involved.
Our second goal is the same as before. We desire to plant one community church every two to three years to fulfill our long-term vision to multiply healthy churches in our communities and beyond. We will never stop planting churches as long as we live if God wills. We started the new church planting work in Calero, Liloan. By next year, if God wills it, we are focusing on establishing a community church in this location.
- Pray for wisdom for the church leadership as we equip the congregation to do the ministry and be the next generation of leaders.
- Pray for the church members to have teachable hearts.
- Pray for our goals to be met by God’s grace.
- Pray for more people to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Calero: New Ministry Outreach
Reaching a community for Christ is not easy and full of struggles and challenges. It has been six months since we started working in Calero. We faced rejection and discouragement from the initial negative responses. Still, we trusted God had brought us in this place. We have seen God working not only in the people we minister to but also in the lives of the volunteers. Through our discipleship, we see the volunteers becoming closer to God and more passionate in ministering to the children. The kids are excited about each week’s outreach. They are growing in their own relationships with God through the AWANA program. Sherry, who formerly did not like children, is now enthusiastic in teaching them God’s Word.
- Pray for the spiritual growth and character formation of our outreach volunteers.
- Pray for more open doors for the gospel in this area.
- Pray for spiritual growth and hunger for God’s Word in the people, including children, in Calero.
Children are the future leaders and ministers. If we do not intentionally train them now at this young age to follow Christ, they will follow the world instead. We praise God for the large number of children we have in the church. This blessing is also a great responsibility to teach them to be faithful followers and ministers of Jesus Christ. This role requires having a heart for children and the skills to reach them. Our children’s ministry has thee groups, the daily tutorial, the Saturday outreach, and the Sunday AWANA or Children’s Church. This month the focus of our series was the importance of scripture. What a joy it is to see the children praising and learning about God on the weekends, not roaming outside. We have seen tremendous growth and transformation in the past year in these children. Many also attend the junior youth discipleship being led by our young people.
- Pray for the children and youth to continue to grow in the Lord.
- Pray for covering and protection as they start to encounter peer pressures.
- Pray for provision for our plans to renovate the house beside the church to become the location for the children’s church, so they no longer need to meet outside.
Children are precious in the eyes of God, and they should be valuable to us as well. Many times, scripture mentions the importance of protecting and training our children. But the truth is that many children are being abused in many forms and often the perpetrators are the adults, worse is that they are generally close relatives. Our church advocates to protect the rights and uphold the dignity of the children. To celebrate children’s month, we gathered the children and parents in the community for a series of lectures concerning the rights and protection of the children. The kids themselves did some presentations. Most of the attendees were children and parents who are a part of the church, but we also invited parents who do not come to church. We praise God that the parents are committed to protect, love, and care for the children and to uphold their dignity.
Our desire is to help stop the malnutrition in the community through our monthly feeding program. We regret to say that we have not done a monthly feeding for a while due to financial constraints. But despite our limitations, God is the source of everything we need to remain faithful to the end. We praise God for His surprise provision through answered prayer. At our celebration of children’s month, we were also able to provide delicious and nutritious food to more than a hundred children in the community. The parents participated and supported the event to make it successful by preparing and serving the food. The church leaders took care of the spiritual feeding of the children. It was a great event giving emphasis to the importance of our children’s physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual development.
- Pray for the children to walk in the ways of the Lord as they grow older.
- Pray for the parents to be able to bring and lead their children in the path of righteousness.
- Praise the Lord for the monthly feeding, pray for the ability to continue this program.
Daily Tutorial Class
In previous reports, I have mentioned God answering our prayers for the children’s daily tutorial. We praise God that despite all the changes we faced, He is faithful to sustain us. After six months of teaching these children, we are now seeing transformation and growth. When they were first enrolled in the program, the children were wild and hardhearted. Now they behave well in class and are enthusiastic about learning the stories of God in the Bible; they even share with their parents what they learned in class. Through this ministry, we have been able to reach the parents with the gospel, and many are now attending the Bible studies and Sunday worship service.
- Pray for two full-time teachers that will bring wisdom and patience to handling these one-hundred students.
- Pray for this program to enable us to reach more parents for Christ.
The intermediate stage of life, the youth, is challenging for ministry because it is when a person tries to explore everything and faces crisis identity and the strength of peer pressures. The realization of the hard reality of life in the real world hits the youth at this age. However, despite these struggles, this age is perfect for spiritual training as they are open to the gospel and are already doing a deep search for the truth. We have increased our efforts this month to train the youth. I praise God that the older youth are doing weekly discipleship with the younger ones. This approach works well as the age gap is not too big, and they can relate to each other easily. The number in our discipleship group has almost doubled.
- Pray for the faith of the young people to be rooted in God so they will not be moved when they face the pressures of life.
- Pray for the leaders to grow deeper in their own relationships with God as they live as an example to their trainees.
Getting a health check in the Philippines is quite expensive in general and almost impossible for the poorest of the poor, the unemployed, and the elderly. As we minister to these groups, we see and feel the need of the people for medical care. We desire to help them, but our resources and powers are limited. It was our dream to conduct a free medical mission in our community as there are quite a few elderly and people who are unable to afford a doctor. This month was an answered prayer.
Through the efforts of our Korean brethren who are medical doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and social workers, we were able to conduct a four-day free event. Over two-hundred patients were served each day, infants to the elderly, including the students in the Tayud Elementary school. They received free health checks, medicines, and bundles of joy. Many were ministered to by this event. As a result, they inquired about the church, others were encouraged to serve God, opened their homes for Bible studies, and many found physical relief.
- Pray for those who received physical healing to find their spiritual healing in Jesus Christ ultimately.
- Pray for our ability to follow-up with those who were saved or expressed curiosity about God.
Living in physical, financial, and spiritual misery is never desirable. But many people are here from unfavorable circumstances or because of wrong or poor decisions in their lives or as a result of other’s choices. Joedisa is the mother of three young children; they live in an isolated place beside the seashore in an uncomfortable and unsafe house. I met her a month ago in one of the public hospitals where she had delivered a thin, premature (seven months) baby with a lot of complications. At that time, she was so desperate and hopeless. Her husband has no permanent work but only sells delicacies to earn an income of a hundred to two hundred pesos a day (two to four dollars). Due to these circumstances, they were trapped in deep debt to the hospital and other people. We came to minister to Joedisa and to demonstrate the love of Christ by extending our help. God cares for everyone and answers the cry of those who call on Him in desperation. Last month, Joedisa unexpectedly showed up to the Bible study with her baby, who was doing well. This was her first encounter with God and the beginning of her spiritual journey. Now she is regularly attending the life group Bible study every Friday and eagerly learning about God.
- Pray for the salvation of Joedisa’s husband.
- Pray for Joedisa’s spiritual growth and life transformation by God’s grace.
- Pray for financial provision so they can pay the remaining balance at the hospital.
The role of teachers is vital in equipping the saints to do the ministry. We had a desire seven months ago to start a children’s tutorial ministry. One of our concerns was who would be the teachers as the church is young, and the congregation primarily are new believers. God is great and faithful and blessed us with capable women. Rhea Mae and Mildred are our two full-time teachers. Christine and Melchora are part-time. This month we celebrated Teacher’s Day to show our gratitude and appreciation of our teachers. They are faithful in serving the children and training them to become more like Christ. It has been four months so far, and God has provided for all our needs.
We have ninety children who regularly attend this group. Ten dropped out for various reasons, but God has sustained the entire program. We are looking forward to the great things the Lord will do through His work in the hearts of the children. As the children grow in the knowledge of God, a desire to serve Him is displayed in their actions and behaviors. This change has caused many of the parents to start attending Bible studies.
- Pray for wisdom and strength to our teachers as they impart knowledge of God’s Word and Godly character to the children.
- Pray for the children and their parents, siblings, and friends to come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
Our primary goal in the ministry is to multiply disciples. Our mission is “to lead people to have personal and growing relationships with Jesus Christ.” This means not only evangelism but training new believers to lead others to Christ and to become disciple-makers. Joshua is a twelfth grader in our community. We met him this past spring during the “Youth for Jesus Camp.” We started training him to follow Jesus and encouraged his involvement in our outreach ministry in Liloan. We praise God to see Joshua’s eagerness to learn and rapid spiritual growth. He is leading the Junior high boys who were hesitant at first to join the ministry as most of our volunteers are ladies. When Joshua joined the team, he gathered the boys and taught them separately. Now they are excited to attend the outreach. They are growing in their knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and in their relationships with God. We praise God for using Joshua to reach these boys.
- Pray for Joshua’s continual spiritual growth and maturity.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of his discipleship group that meets each Saturday.
To accomplish our mission, we have to start at the very beginning. When we first reached out to the new community at Calero, it was challenging since we knew no one in the area, and the people were not responsive to the gospel. After a month of intense prayer, God led us to Sister Masing who is now our person of peace (contact person) in the area. I shared the gospel with her, and a week later, she brought her nephew Michael to meet us. Michael brought his friends and cousins with him to the Bible study, but so far, they have been unresponsive. Masing and Michael have remained faithful. Anthony is teaching and mentoring them each week.
- Pray for Michael and Masing to grow spiritually.
- Pray for more open doors for the gospel and for new people to come to the Bible study.
- Pray for wisdom and courage for Anthony as he leads the Bible study.
Millennials are challenging to lead to Christ because of the gadgets and peer pressures. God has given us plenty of young people in the church. Still, sometimes, we struggle to keep them growing in their personal walk with God, especially the boys, as we lack a dynamic leader for them. This past month I spent some time in prayer and contemplation over this issue. I decided personally to gather and mentor the boys, even though I am no longer young. God will still use me to train them to be faithful followers of Jesus. Since I started this group, God has added more young men to the church. Glory to His name!
When you share the gospel to the elderly, their soul is saved for eternity; however, quite often, their physical bodies and lives were destroyed by past foolish living. But when you share the gospel with youth, their soul is saved and their future lives from the potential destruction caused by the evil influences of the world. King Solomon was wise when he commanded the young people to remember their Creator in the days of their youth. We are going door-to-door to gather all the young people in the community. They are inviting their friends each week, and many are now attending church.
- Pray for the young people to continue to grow and serve the Lord.
- Pray for the youth to be a good influence on their fellow young people in the community and to bring others to faith in Jesus Christ.
- Pray that their eagerness to follow Christ until the end.
- Pray for the salvation of the parents, as many of them are not believers.
- Pray for the faith of the children to bring their parents to faith.
Our small groups for women are growing. We started with one group of five women a few months ago, and now God multiplied the participants. We now have thirteen groups with eight to ten women each. They regularly meet together to minister to each other by sharing their burdens. They feel safe in the group as they show the love of God to each other in tangible ways. Transformations truly happen in small groups of people who are really connected with each other.
- Pray for the women to continue to make a difference in their community.
- Pray for the salvation of the husbands, many of them are not believers.
- Pray for the men to see the transformation of their wives and come to faith in God.
In my previous reports, I beg your prayers to pray for the salvation of the men in our community and that the Lord would add more men to our church. This month our prayers were answered. The Lord has added the men in our church. We started the church 9 months ago with only 3 men attending, but now there are 11 men attending the church every Sunday. I Baptized 6 of the men already. The men are also excited for their small group where they are ministered to and encouraged by each other.
Jason once persecuted his wife Karen when we had a Bible study with her, but just two months ago, their world turned upside down. Karen stopped attending, but Jason started to become active in the group and in the church. Last month, Jason accepted Christ and declared his faith through water baptism and is even more dynamic and involved in the church. He is praying for his entire family to serve the Lord with him.
- Pray for Karen to rejoin Bible study.
- Pray for more men in the community to be added to the church.
- Pray the men will stand firm in their faith and boldly proclaim the gospel in their community and in their homes.
- Pray for God’s grace to reach the entire neighborhood.
The young ladies in the church are taught by Christine, Melchora, and Desiree each week. Over the past few months, we have seen the growth and transformation of their lives. The young people are all volunteers in our outreach ministry in Liloan. Besides their current involvement, five young women decided to go the extra mile. When we arrive back at the church from our outreach on Saturday afternoon, instead of resting or going home, these girls keep going. Desiree, Arcely, Hazel, Faith, and Mae started a group to reach those who are younger than them. They take what they learned in their discipleship group and pass it along. What an incredible joy to see even new believers intentionally mentoring others.
- Pray for God to bless the passion in their hearts to make a difference for Christ.
- Pray for spiritual growth and more discipleship groups.
Family is a gift from God, and I praise Him for blessing me with a beautiful God-fearing family. As the head of the family, it is always my desire and joy to see my family growing in the Lord and joyfully serving Him. Due to the demands of ministry, sometimes I feel that I fail to have enough quality time with my family. Still, this month, God blessed us with the privilege of joining a three-day family camp and spending quality time together. During one of our morning devotions, my eldest son, Brook, was assigned to lead. As a minister and father, my heart was thrilled to see my nine-year-old encouraging the adults to learn the Word of God. I praise the Lord for my family’s active involvement in ministry.
- Pray for the continual spiritual growth of my son and that he will walk with the Lord to the end.
- Pray for God’s sustaining grace to my family and ministry.
Every believer has their own unique conversion story, but the same God is worthy to be praised for them all. This month, I brought some of my members to evangelize door-to-door. On the last day of our two weeks, I was going to call everyone to get ready to leave as I was quite tired. As I went to do this, I saw a lady doing laundry by the well. Just because I needed a rest, I sat down on the wall and started to have a conversation with her. She informed me that my companions had tried to share the Bible with her, but she was busy doing laundry and did not have time to stop. When I heard this, instead of opening my Bible, I started to tell her the story of the Samaritan woman. She began to get interested as I spoke, in the end, I shared the gospel, and she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. She asked if I had a copy of scripture, and I gave her the Cebuano Bible and, as she requested, marked the story of the Samaritan woman. Her name is Jennifer, and she wants to have a Bible study in her home.
- Pray for Jennifer to continue to seek the Lord and for the salvation of her entire family.
- Pray for the Bible study in her home.
Children are precious in the eyes of God. We praise Him for giving us over a hundred children to minister to every week. But since we started the worship service this past January, the children met outside the church in the open space. We struggled with the heat of the sun in the summer and the mud during the rainy season. We have prayed for a convenient place for the children that can accommodate them all and allow us to reach even more from the community. Just this month, God answered our prayers.
Emilda, one of the members in our church, offered to rent us a house next to the church. She is an active member and one of our Bible study leaders. We purchased the land for the lot that the church is on from her, and the land size is similar. The church leaders agreed to rent the house and lot for thirty years at a consistent rate. Our primary concern now is to raise the money we require to renovate the area for use as a children’s church and additional classroom for our tutorial ministry.
- Pray for the provision to renovate the house.
- Pray for more children to come to know Christ through the children’s program.
- Pray for the ability to use this space as soon as possible.
- Pray for our upcoming medical mission’s event that is an opportunity to reach more people for Christ.
- Pray for my wife, Christine, to find work.
- Pray for health for our church, many members got sick this past month.
“ People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” Matthew 3:5-6
There is an overwhelming joy in the father when his children decide to follow Jesus and publicly express their faith through water baptism. In the Philippines, baptism is a divisive religious and family issue that can cause disowning and persecution and from the non-believing family and community.
In July, the angels in heaven and the whole church celebrated with great joy when we baptized sixteen new believers. After the event, persecution arose from the neighborhood, and I was concerned this would result in discouragement and fear in our brethren, but our God is faithful and kind. He preserved the faith of his people and blessed us with even more great things.
- Pray for spiritual growth and strength for these new believers.
Praise the Lord for men in the community, becoming believers, and leading their families in Christ.
This month we held another celebration of victory; more lives were blessed and transformed by the power of the gospel. We again baptized sixteen believers, including two entire families. It was indeed a wonderous answer to our prayers for men to become believers, God not only blessed us with men but whole families. Dodoy and Neneng are only a month old in their faith. Still, they understand the truth, and their entire family decided to follow Jesus Christ through baptism. Jinky and Ale are a couple who previously ignored the gospel, but the Holy Spirit worked in their hearts and brought them to faith. They were also baptized and are active in serving in the church with their entire family. We praise God for the transformation we witness in the lives of these individuals, their families, and the community.
- Pray for their testimony to bring more men to faith.
Ministering to the millennials and today’s youth is quite challenging because of the distractions for the world. When we started to reach out to the community in Barangay Calero, Liloan, we sought to reach all ages. With the youth, we struggled as there was no positive response from them. Our volunteers were discouraged by the constant adverse outcomes, but we kept praying and trusting God to bring people to faith in Him. After a few months of prayers, we praise the Lord for answering our cries. The six youth were shy at first, but God has helped us develop a healthy and growing relationship with them and opened their hearts to the gospel. They are active in the outreach each week and excited to learn new things from the scriptures.
- Pray for these youth to continue to seek the Lord.
- Pray for the salvation of their entire families.
- Pray for their growth in knowledge and fellowship with God.
Children’s ministry is vital to the church because they are the next generation. We are using the AWANA program and have seen our group of children growing in their understanding of God’s Word. As our group has grown, we increasingly thank God for the volunteers. Naomi is one of our leaders; despite her busyness with work and with other church ministries, she still effective in leading the children’s ministry. This month, she taught a class on storytelling for our volunteers to demonstrate its ability to present the gospel while maintaining the attention of the children.
- Pray for wisdom and strength for Naomi as she leads the children’s ministry team.
- Pray for Naomi’s family, especially as she is the only one in her household with employment.
”Truly I tell you, anyone, who will not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17 Children are always precious in the eyes of God. When they express faith as a child, they have no doubts. But children are also vulnerable, and it is our duty as adults to protect these young ones and lead them to Jesus Christ. We praise God for the children in Liloan who always welcome us with joyful hearts and are eager to learn about Jesus. They overlook the discomforts of our meeting place in their excitement to be taught from the Bible. Mae and Palema are two young people from the church who volunteers each week to instruct the children. They were recipients of our outreach program last year, and through intentional discipleship have grown in their faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Now they are reaching others with the gospel.
- Pray for spiritual growth and ministry effectiveness for Pamela and Mae.
- Pray for the children to grow and walk in the ways of the Lord.
- Pray for more children to come to know Jesus Christ.
In previous reports, I have mentioned the launching of our life groups. These groups meet each week, providing a small and safe community to do life together and grow in the Lord. The new believers are showing hunger for God’s Word. We stopped meeting under the shade of a tree when our church building was built. This transition caused some people to stop attending the church, however, through the life groups, revival has occurred, and our attendance has grown. A group meets under the tree, and some of them are willing to join us inside the church building. We praise God for spiritual revival and victory.
- Pray for the continued spiritual growth and sanctification of the believers.
- Pray for them to continue serving the Lord despite hardships and hindrances.
- Pray for the building itself to not cause concern for the people, but for them to become comfortable within its walls.
We praise God for giving us enough volunteers to handle the small groups, all ages, from children to adults. We believe that life’s transformation occurs best in small groups where the participants are comfortable to share all aspects of their lives. Elaisa is a college student who handles the intermediate level group. She was shy at first but is now gaining confidence and effectively ministering to the children.
Since we minister to the poorest of the poor in the community, we face particular challenges that need the extra mile of love and care. God tangibly showed his love for us, and so we wished to show His love to the people in the same manner. I noticed that many of the children had broken shoes or were barefoot. We brought this issue to God in prayer and thought about how we could use this situation to show God’s love. Through the generous gifts of our brethren, we were able to give fifty new pairs of sandals to the children along with other necessities. We saw the priceless joy on their faces as parents and children felt the love of Christ.
Pray for the children to grow in their knowledge and love of Jesus Christ and for Elaisa to be molded by God as she ministers to them.
- Pray for the parents to be reached for Christ through the witness of the children.
In previous reports, I have shared about Anthony and how God saved him and transformed his life. He continues to grow in the Lord and desires to be used in ministry. Last July, I baptized Anthony and his wife. They are both active volunteers. This month, Anthony learned I needed a Bible study leader in our church plant in Calero. He requested to accompany me. Now Anthony is leading Bible studies in Calero and Tayud. At first, he was tense and afraid, now by God’s grace, he is gaining confidence and skills in leading people to have a personal and growing relationship with God.
- Pray for spiritual maturity and ministry effectiveness for Anthony and his wife.
- Pray for spiritual growth for the people in the Calero and Tayud Bible studies.
Pamela is a young lady with a great love for God and has been a positive impact on our ministry. We met last year, and we have seen her grow exponentially in her understanding and faith in God. Currently, she is a leader in our outreach program and our praise and worship ministry. This month she went the extra mile by being a storyteller for the children. She did an excellent job despite this being her first time.
- Pray for Pamela to grow in her faith and become even more useful for the ministry.
Being a church planter is not an easy role, and I appreciate the support and company of other church planters. I thank the Lord for the community of pastors who have the same heart and vision in ministry. I was privileged to host and organize our church planter’s equipping event. This is our third year to encourage and equip the church planters with this even, and we meet twice a year. I praise God that I was ministered to by my colleagues.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 Children are a gift and a blessing from the Lord, I praise God for them. However, along with every blessing comes responsibility; the most significant task of the parent is to train up the child in the way he should go in the Lord. Reed, our youngest son, is four years old. His birth was a miraculous display of God’s power. Now Reed is active and eager to go with us for the outreach program and joyfully joins the other children in the community. I see the joy in his face as he learns Bible stories every week.
- Pray for the church planters to continue to obey their calling despite unfavorable circumstances and challenges.
- Pray for my family and me to strive to finish the race victoriously.
- Pray for the growth of the church. We are growing in number, and the leadership is searching for a roomier and more convenient place for worship.
- Pray for God’s guidance and provision.
- Pray for the spiritual maturity of our church leaders.
- Pray for the establishment of a new community church in our outreach location of Liloan.
- Pray for our medical mission next month.
In my previous reports, I mentioned our first Youth for Jesus (Y4J) camp. This event was a turning point in the lives of many of our youth. Many choose to get involved in the church ministries, and some even decided to proclaim their decision to follow Jesus through water baptism. The leaders met and concluded a follow-up fellowship every other month would encourage the youth to bond, learn from God’s Word, and grow in their relationships with God and each other. So we held our first Y4J fellowship and our church had the privilege of hosting it. Fifty-seven youth from five different new pioneering churches attended in addition to seventeen youth from our church. It was heartwarming to hear testimonies from the young people of how God is working in their lives and how He is using them to reach others for Christ. We created a group of core Y4J youth leaders from these churches. We have seen them grow in their leadership skills as well as spiritual character. They are active and joyful in serving the Lord.
- Pray for the continued growth and spiritual transformation of these youth.
- Pray for strength and wisdom, many of the young people are being forced by the schools to attend the worship service in the Roman Catholic church as part of their grade, and they are reluctant to do so as they already understand and know the truth.
We believe that life transformations and spiritual growth can be done best in small groups. One of our ministry methods to strengthen the church is to establish as many small groups as possible. Sometimes this is a struggle as we lack enough volunteers and leaders. My core leaders already have many commitments in the church. As we minister to many new believers, they are still growing in their understanding of God’s Word and their faith. It takes time for them to be ready to lead a small group.
- Pray for God to strengthen and bless the small groups and for every member to grow in the Lord.
- Pray for genuine life transformation to happen through this ministry.
This month, the Lord opened my heart and mind to see this great need and an answer to our challenge. God has given us qualified people in the church, and we have enough to help us accomplish the work. God impressed on my heart to encourage new volunteers and leaders from the larger group, including those who are still new in their faith. We launched the “Life Group” ministry and praised the Lord for granting us success. We had over ninety people who attended. We grouped them geographically into small groups with eight to ten members in each group. We currently have eleven life groups meeting each week to learn God’s Word and grow in their relationships with God and each other. I meet with the leaders for training, equipping, empowering, and encouraging them. I praise God for their commitment and desire to serve.
I mentioned our campus ministry and intent to engage the youth to be missionaries at their schools. We conducted training this summer with Chai teaching on evangelism. Since then, the youth have been bold and active in sharing their faith on campus but have struggled to establish small groups. So we planned and prayed about equipping them for this task and empowering them to form groups. We held a follow-up training this month to focus on establishing small Bible studies and trouble-shooting challenges. It was encouraging to our youth and caused them to be more intentional and determined. We are grateful for Chai’s availability and expertise in teaching our youth.
- Pray for the young people to establish small group Bible studies on their school campuses.
- Pray for God to enable them to saturate the schools with the gospel.
There is a Philippine proverb that says “ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan” which means the young people are the future of our nation. But how can they be the future if they are not disciplined in Christ? Teenagers are under attack by the enemy with many temptations and pressures from inside and out. We desire to raise the next generation of champions in the church, so we intentionally disciple our youth. They meet each week in small groups to build stronger and deeper relationships with God and each other. Their leaders encourage them to grow in their personal walk with God. We have seen tremendous spiritual growth and genuine transformation. My wife, Christine, spends lots of time with her group and is creative in dealing with this generation. Most of the young people are actively serving God in various ministries in the church.
- Pray for the youth to have spiritual strength to withstand peer pressure.
- Pray for male leaders to train the boys to be godly men.
We started the daily tutorials for ninety-five children in the church. It was challenging to get this ministry started due to tight resources but praise the Lord, He provided for our needs, and the ministry is continuing. This month our two full-time teachers focused on developing the social image and self-esteem of the children. Many of them come from dysfunctional families, and to boost their academic performance, we first sought to encourage their self-confidence. We did many activities that included the parents to increase quality time and bonding. We had a birthday celebration for everyone, and to my surprise, many of them expressed that it was their first time having their birthdays celebrated. It was meaningful and memorable; through this experience, the children felt their importance and value in the eyes of God.
- Pray for the breakthrough moment in the lives of these young children where they recognize their need for a Savior and call on Jesus Christ.
- Pray for the children to grow in the knowledge of God and understand His love.
Arcily is a ninth-grader and the second child among seven siblings. When I first met her ten months ago, she was shy and reluctant to attend the Bible study. Through persistent prayers and many invitations from her friends, she finally decided to join the discipleship group, and that was her turning point. She became active in church activities and started to grow in her walk with God. Last month, she expressed her desire to follow Christ through water baptism, but her parents did not permit her to. Instead of getting discouraged and rebellious, Arcily chose to honor and obey her parent’s decision and continue to serve the Lord. She is an active member of the praise and worship team, shows passion in teaching the children in our outreach, and joyfully serves the Lord in the church in many ways.
- Pray for the salvation of Arcily’s parents and the entire family. Pray for Arcily’s continuous spiritual growth.
The first time I met Sherry Jane, she was hesitant and shy. Little by little, she witnessed the transformation of her parents by the power of the gospel and began to join them at church. Last month, she proclaimed her decision to follow Jesus through water baptism with her parents and older sister, Blezet. She is more active in volunteering and is one of our praise and worship leaders. She goes above and beyond by teaching in our outreach program and enjoys ministering to the children. She is bold in sharing her faith in school with classmates. I give glory to God for the transformation in her life in such a short amount of time.
- Pray for God to continue to mold Sherry and use her life for his glory.
James is from the community of Libo, our second outreach location. I first saw James at the youth Bible study, but he stayed at a distance from the group. One of his peer’s bullied him to the point that James stopped attending the Bible study. But Kim, a concerned friend of his, was quite persistent in bringing James, to the point that he was almost dragging him to the youth group. Through this friendship, James became active in attending. I talked with him, and he has a lot of baggage from his past that he was not able to cope with and did not know where to get help. When James discovered the church family who valued him and accepted him, he was blessed. He has grown in his knowledge and walk with the Lord. Last month, he was baptized and is now even more active and joyful serving the Lord in the church. He helps with our new church plant in Liloan and loves teaching the children.
- Pray for James to grow in his relationship with God and for his family to come to salvation.
I have shared about the new mission work in Liloan and how this is an answer to our prayers. There are thirty-five children and ten young people who regularly attend the weekly outreach; the children wait excitedly for us every week. I thank God for our youth and couples who passionately volunteer their time to reach the people. Since this area has the poorest of the poor and malnourished children, so we are planning to start a feeding program. In the two months we have been ministering here, we see the mighty hands of God working in the lives of the people and drawing them to desire to know God.
The scriptures speak the truth when they say “the son of man came to seek and save the lost.” When we first engaged in the community, the people were puzzled, and many rejected the Word of God. They were busy and uninterested in us or the message we were bringing. After a few weeks of interacting with the children and youth, God opened the hearts of the adults. I saw a group of men drinking, and when they saw me, they invited me to join them. I sat with them, and we had a conversation. They were drunk, but after a few minutes, I was surprised when they asked me to have a Bible study. I was hesitant, thinking that they were drunk and so under the influence of the liquor. But I said yes and started sharing with them about the gospel from the life of Zacchaeus. We should not underestimate the power of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit, no matter the present condition of a person. Four of them accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They are not drunk anymore, and we have a regular Bible study every week.
- Pray for a community church to be established here. Pray for the provision to start a feeding program and other relevant programs to reach the people with the gospel message.
- Pray for the men’s Bible study to continue and for the genuine conversion of the people in this community.
- Pray for more open doors for the gospel.
- Pray for a larger and more convenient location for worship, we are outgrowing our current place.
- Pray for God to raise more Godly leaders in the church.
- Pray for wisdom and strength as I lead the church.
- Pray for our volunteers to grow in their relationship with God.
- Pray for health for my family, the unstable weather conditions are causing them not to feel well.
The Scriptures remind us that “…our labor in the Lord is not in vain.” A year ago, we started our toil, labor, and investment into the people in this community. We knew our task was simply to bring the good news to the people and to leave the results to the Lord; He is the one who makes it grow and bear fruit. God has brought tremendous spiritual growth to the lives of his people. Displaying obedience to God through water baptism is a significant religious issue in the Philippines and can cause persecution and fear among believers. This month we celebrated in victory as sixteen young believers choose to declare their faith in Jesus Christ through baptism. This event has impacted the entire church. Many of these individuals actively share their faith and serve in the church. I personally praise God even more as my nine-year-old eldest son and my eighteen-year-old newly adopted daughter were among those who were baptized. After the baptism, just as we expected, our brethren again faced persecution from the neighbors. But we praise God because he has protected the faith of His people and sustains them despite this persecution. All of the newly baptized believers continue to declare their faith and joyfully serve Jesus Christ.
- Pray for God to keep them in the faith, and make them salt and light to their families and community.
Good education integrated with Christian values is an excellent asset for the success of our children, but it is a challenge here as Christianity is a minority. It has long been our dream to support the academics of our children, but we struggled with the many logistics such as location, teachers, volunteers, materials, and more. Despite all of these things, we continued to trust God. We started a daily tutorial with morning and afternoon classes from Wednesday to Saturday. Praise the Lord for this answer to our prayers. We have two full-time teachers and two part-time volunteers to handle the ninety-five children from the community. The focus of our classes is to empower the academic performance of the child at school with the integration of Christian values to help them in all areas of their lives; to be a better student, a better child at home, a better citizen in the community, and most of all, a better follower of Jesus Christ and display a Christ-like character. While the children have their classes, we hold a Bible study with the parents.
- Pray for the teachers and volunteers to have a continued passion to minister to the children and their parents.
- Pray for these children and parents to have a genuine encounter to God, resulting in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Our vision in the church is “Multiplying Healthy Churches in our Community and Beyond,” with the intention of establishing one community church every two to three years. Just this month, God opened the door to a new location. We visited the Barangay Calero in the town of Liloan near the coastal area. I brought a few young people and members from the church for a scouting mission to observe and study the culture of the people, their needs, and how we can approach them with the gospel. We see the hunger for God’s Word; there is no Christian church within the vicinity. The majority of the people are financially poor as the husbands are fishermen, and the wives are unemployed. Evil practices are present in this place. After our visit, we debriefed and decided to pursue work in this place as the people are perishing and in need of hearing God’s love through evangelism.
After we decided to pursue work in Calero, Liloan, I urged the people to send an entire month only in prayer. We walked the community and prayed at the schools, government offices and streets for the salvation and transformation of people asking God to open doors for the gospel, and to destroy the works of the enemy. Our focus was prayer only to prepare the place for God’s Work but also to teach each member of the team to be dependent on the Lord. While we did our weekly prayer walks, we met some children and parents. They were puzzled because we are strangers there and they wondered why we kept coming back each week. We started to establish good relationships with them and told them our purpose is to share with them the love of God and how to have a personal and growing relationship with God. Sometimes we were rejected, but some embraced and accepted us.
When Jesus sent out the seventy-two, he instructed them to look for a person of peace in the community. So as we started a ministry in Calero, Liloan, we searched for this person of peace that God had prepared to be helpful for His workers. We did not have a clue who it would be but kept asking God to lead us to this individual. God prepared the way, and we met Nanay (Grandma) Masing. She is a devote Roman Catholic and a nomad in this place. Masing has twelve children, her husband Tinoy is a fisherman, and she is a fish vendor. We shared with her our desire to teach and lead the children and adults to have a personal and growing relationship with God. She gladly accepted us and offered her house and the vacant space nearby for our use. We praise the Lord for answering our prayers.
After our month of prayers, we started the Children’s Outreach using the AWANA program. Thirty children are meeting in the open space under the mango tree. Our hearts are rejoicing to see the new mission work starting. My heart is even more joyful as I see the Lord transforming the lives of the volunteers. A year ago, these young people were on the receiving end of the AWANA Children’s Outreach program in Tayud, Consalacion. God has worked in their lives, and now they are God’s instruments in bringing the gospel to the lost. Last month they started the Children’s Outreach in Tayud elementary school, and this month they are ministering in Calero, Liloan. Praise to God for changing people from the inside out.
- Pray for salvation for Nanay Masing and her entire family.
- Pray for our new location of Calero, Liloan to come to hear God’s love and message of salvation.
- Pray for God to sustain the passion in the hearts of the youth for his glory.
- Pray for the salvation of the children and their parents.
- Pray for the Children’s Outreach at the Tayud Elementary school to grow.
Parenting is never simple, but it is a great privilege. As parents, it is our utmost joy to see our children walking in the Lord and serving Him with all their hearts. Many pastors may neglect the spiritual instruction of their children through their busyness in focusing on people in the church. My wife and I are not exempt from this challenge, but God is gracious to help us in our weakness and limitations. My eldest son, Kerith, is nine years old. Three years ago, my wife had the joy of sharing with him the gospel of salvation and hearing his decision to surrender his life to Jesus Christ and accept Him as His personal Lord and Savior. At that point, Kerith became active in joining the AWANA volunteers’ team and has grown in his knowledge and love from God. When Kerith heard I was teaching the baptismal class in the church this month, he expressed a desire to join, and God convicted his heart to follow Christ in baptism. This brought joy to our hearts, and I praise the Lord that I have baptized my son.
- Pray for Kerith to continue to love and serve the Lord for the rest of his life.
- Pray for him to grow deeper in his knowledge and relationship with the Lord.
Praise the Lord for the partnership of the Korean brethren from Cebu Korean Church who faithfully come to minister and teach the children. We have the AWANA program, feeding program, children’s outreach, daily tutorials, and the children sponsorship program. As a newly started church, it is a challenge to maintain our many ministries, but the Lord is the source of our strength, knowledge, joy, and our financial provider.
- Pray the financial provision for these children’s programs to continue and reach the children with the message of the gospel.
- Pray for the volunteers to be sustained in God’s strength.
- Pray for the livelihood program that is growing in size and participants to continue to supplement the incomes of the people and draw more people to faith in God.
True freedom is not only being outside of the prison cell but also being freed from the dominion of Satan. Meet Celso, he is the husband of Emilda, she donated the church lot and is an active member in the church. Before we came to minister in this community, Celso had been in prison for three years for illegal drugs. When Emilda came to know the Lord, she had two prayers requests. First, for her husband to be saved, and second for his acquittal. The church earnestly prayed for Celso’s spiritual and physical freedom, and God heard our cries. This month was the answer to our prayers, Celso was released from prison. The church and his family celebrated, and our joy was complete as he decided to join us in the church. When Celso returned home, he was happy to have the church beside his house and to see how God has changed his wife. We praise the Lord that Celso has found the true freedom only possible through Jesus Christ.
- Pray for brother Celso to continue to rely upon the Lord and to not turn back to his old way of life.
- Pray for the salvation of his entire family.
- Pray for more volunteers in the church, our work is growing in size and requires more workers.
- Pray for the growth of the church.
- Pray for my wife to find employment.
- Pray for Alfred, Alrene’s son, who has been in the hospital for more than three weeks waiting for an operation. He is still a child, and due to a disease in his leg, he is unable to stand, walk, or move.
- Pray for this surgery to be possible soon, for complete recovery and healing.
Doing a campus ministry was a desire we had as a church but because of the lack of experience, knowledge, and or manpower to do so, we were struggling to get the project started. Last month, in my report, I shared this prayer request, and God was faithful to answer it. He blessed us with seventeen active youth in the church who are attending the same school. I started to disciple them and empower them to be faithful ministers of the gospel in the campus arena. This month, we officially launched a church-based campus ministry. Fifteen junior and senior high schoolers and their four mentors have committed their lives to saturate Tayud National High School with the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are actively sharing the gospel on campus to their classmates, schoolmates, and even their teachers.
The start of this ministry is enormous for us, especially as our church itself is only five-months-old. We sent the youth and their mentors to a campus missionary training to intentionally teach them how to engage in the community and establish discipleship groups. God used Chai, a fulltime EFCP campus missionary, and her team, to share their expertise. They did a whole-day training focused on campus ministry and another day with practical application. This event helped to boost the confidence of the youth and enhance their skills. Their excitement was stirred, and they were encouraged to be dependent on God to sustain them despite the challenges they will face. When I remembered the lives of these youth a year ago, many were vulnerable and broken-hearted with no direction in life. They were hesitant at first, but God is loving and patient, and by His grace, we slowly drew them to Christ, and now they are active in the church.
Teenage life is a crucial stage of development, especially as teenagers are prone and vulnerable to all the distractions of life and bombarded with all the lies and schemes of Satan. The enemy desires to destroy the lives of our young people as he knows this will destroy the church and its future generations. The church must intentionally train and disciple its youth, if they fail to do this, the voices of the world will prevail, and the young generation will become haters of God. Christine, Melchora, Desiree, and Greg are committed to mentor and disciple these youth intentionally. They meet every week to grow in knowledge and faith together.
Pray for God to continue to empower these young campus missionaries to joyfully and actively share the gospel on and off the campus. Pray for the ability to establish discipleship groups on the campus. Pray for strength and wisdom for these youth as they live their lives, bringing glory to God, and sharing the hope they have within. Pray for the mentors, Christine, Melchora, Desiree, and Greg, as they guide the youth in sharing their faith. Pray for life’s transformations to continue to happen in the discipleship groups.
My heart is full of joy and thankfulness to the Lord for molding and transforming these youth. Those who were first the students are now becoming the teachers. The classes started by the youth and led by Blezette are now taking the initiative of gathering the elementary students on campus and teaching them the Word of God with the AWANA outreach program.
- Pray for growth in their relationship with the Lord and continual service with joy.
- Pray for the ministry to not be hindered by the school administration.
- Pray for the parents, who hear the youth teach the gospel, to also come to know the Lord.
We seek to be mission-minded and participate in global evangelism. We are supporting Marivic with our prayers and finances as a missionary to Indonesia.
- Pray for her provision and daily protection.
- Pray for her effectiveness in ministry.
A year ago, I shared the tragic death of John Carlo, the two-year-old boy who was lost and drowned in the sea. It was a devastating event for the family and shocking to the entire community. Despite the pain and confusion, God turns unfavorable situations into opportunities to bring people to hear the gospel and turn to Him. This month is the first anniversary, and the family requested us to hold a service in their home. We have seen God’s healing in their lives as they offer praise to God by the grace and light in Christ, despite the darkness and tragedies of this world.
Remembering John Carlo
- Pray for healing and spiritual growth for the family.
The growth and fruit of the ministry are the work of God; our responsibility is to tell people about God’s love. It is impossible for people to have a relationship with God apart from the grace of God. Eight months ago, I started a one-on-one discipleship time with Greg. It was not consistent at first, but I persisted, now God’s Word is growing in his heart and bearing fruit. More neighbors are coming to his house, and the gathering has grown to be a group Bible study and discipleship time.
My goal is to produce leaders and pastors from the local church, to be ready when God calls me to start a new church plant. I know being a pastor is a special calling and requires a long time of training, but God will raise up men to fulfill this role. Alvin, John, Greg, and Anthony have enrolled in the Bible School as they desire to learn and be used more effectively by God. They have some challenges as they leave work once a week to attend the classes. Their families rely on their income. They also have not been students for a while, and so they face the overwhelming tasks of readings, assignments, exams, and studying. They have taken a big step of faith and trust God with them despite their fear, doubts, and worries. I see their joy and excitement.
- Pray for provision, spiritual growth, and effectiveness in ministry.
- Pray for wisdom, courage, and persistence in education.
We held a celebration for our livelihood program that has been in existence for a year. We introduced the program intending to bring the whole community to Christ. Despite the challenges, rejection, fear, doubts, at the beginning with engaging the community, God’s love and sustaining grace has transformed the lives of the people in many ways. We heard testimonies and enjoyed fellowship. We are grateful that the municipal mayor was supportive of the program form the beginning.
- Pray for God to sustain the program and reach more people with the gospel message.
When I first saw the condition of the children, I was moved with compassion by their many needs. I prayed and kept thinking of how to release them from physical and spiritual poverty. I thought it was impossible, but God is full of surprises. We connected with a child sponsorship program to assist the children in learning to read, feed them nourishing meals, and give them the chance to discover new life in Jesus Christ. Some of the parents are now active participants in the church. “Jesus loves the little children…” this is how the song goes, we are blessed by God with many children from the community. We share the love of God with the children in tangible ways such as giving groceries to the families and AWANA fun days.
- Pray for the volunteers to be faithful and for the children to be authentic followers of Jesus Christ.
- Pray for the moral of the sponsorship group as they face a leadership change.
Learning the art of dependence on God in every aspect of life and ministry is essential for every believer, but it takes discipline and determination. At first, we struggled as no one from the congregation knew how to lead a worship service. After our music workshop a few months ago, we have many committed people on the worship team. They are all new believers and still struggle with their old way of life. This month we taught them about how to do personal devotions and group devotions before the practice and worship service starts. We challenged them to make personal devotions a habit in their lives. We praise God that they are becoming more dependent on God and have confidence in God.
- Pray for the worship team to grow in their personal relationship with God and to be committed and effective in the ministry.
- Pray for musical instruments.
My adopted daughter, Ester, was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis four years ago. But God is faithful and had an excellent and big plan for her life. She is continuing her studies to gain a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education at the Evangelical Theological College of the Philippine in Banawa Cebu City. God made the impossible into a possibility in her life, and Ester is a great example to her family, youth in the church, and her co-students at the Bible college. She desires to be a teacher someday.
- Pray for her health, primarily as she handles stressful assignments and reports.
- Pray for Ester’s immune system to be reliable while living in the girls’ dormitory and for protection in traveling to and from her weekend ministry at a church in Cordova, Cebu. She teaches and disciples the children and youth.
Being in full-time pastoral ministry is a great privilege and a massive amount of work that requires diligence and continual learning. I praise the Lord for granting my prayer to continue my education, and I will be pursuing a masters’ degree at the Cebu Graduate School of Theology.
- Pray for the balance of ministry, study, and family.
- Pray for the Lord to be my source of strength, wisdom, and effectiveness.
- Pray for my wife to find a new job as she has been out of work for a few months.
- Pray for God’s guidance and wisdom as we are planning to open a new outreach in Liloan this summer.
- Pray for more volunteers as the work is growing.
Youth ministry is fun but also challenging. These young people are the future leaders in the church, and we need to carefully and intentionally disciple them into Christ-likeness. If we miss this opportunity, we will lose the next generation.
Since these youth are also young in their faith, we desired to organize a youth camp designed for their level and spiritual need. This task seemed impossible because of the many barriers. Our time to plan and prepare was too short, the reasonable expenses too big, and many of the parents were concerned about allowing their children to join us due to costs, and especially since this was our first time organizing this type of youth camp. We are still trying to establish good relationships and trust with the parents as well. The night before the camp, one of the fathers was so angry that he tore up the parent’s consent paper. He did not want his daughter to attend the camp. Early the next morning, I talked with him and tried to explain the purpose and benefits, he was hesitant but finally allowed his daughter to join us with the promise of us caring for her. Despite these obstacles, God is gracious and kind. Our “Youth for Jesus” (Y4J) camp was triumphant and victorious. Two months were spent on planning, preparing, and funding. I asked three pastors, who are close friends, to help. We set the goal of forty campers with ten counselors and staff, and surprisingly, God gave us sixty-five campers with twenty-one counselors and staff. Twenty-three campers and seven counselors were from our church. Glory to God.
This was a first-time experience for many of the meaningful and transforming love and grace of God. After the camp, we heard many inspiring and victorious testimonies from the youth and parents declaring the mighty works of God in their lives. The young people are now more active and eager in serving the Lord in the church.
- Pray for the continual transformation in the lives of these young people.
- Pray for their spiritual growth as they gain knowledge of God’s Word.
- Pray for God to use them to reach their unbelieving parents.
In previous reports, I shared about Gea, who was a timid and shy individual for many years. She would just come to attend the worship service, and that was the extent of her involvement. But when we encouraged her to become a part of the praise and worship team, she started to excel in serving in ministry. This month, we allowed her to lead the team for our first “Daily Vacation Bible School” in the community. We have seen her commitment, skills, and exemplary devotion to God by leading this team with humility and clear direction despite a hectic schedule.
- Pray for Gea’s influence in ministry.
- Pray for her spiritual growth and continued desire and availability to serve God at the church.
Discipleship is a significant command from Jesus in his great commission. As our church is now four months old, despite its newness, it is crucial for me to train and disciple leaders in the church to stand firm as pillars. My goal and focus this year is to educate and establish leaders beyond just the classroom setting. I am intentionally teaching through the scripture and using an apprenticeship model to send them out. We have a discipleship session, and then I send the groups of three to do door-to-door evangelism and follow-up. We praise God that despite their young faith, these believers are sharing the gospel and leading Bible studies. We now have four groups who regularly evangelize and handle the Bible studies each week.
- Pray for more people to be willing to be equipped and used for God’s Kingdom, for the women to be ready and available to continue to grow in the Lord.
- Pray for these women to be able to reach their husbands and children with the gospel.
Mothers have a crucial and distinctive role in the family, community, and church. I could not imagine the world, neighborhood, church, or family without the contribution and impact of women. We are blessed to have many Godly women in the church, and we celebrated our first Mothers’ Day together. It was emotional for many, as this was their first experience of this occasion. During the celebration, we asked the children to give honor to their mothers publicly. Many of the mothers were surprised by their children’s open requests for forgiveness and expressions of love. Relationships were reconciled, and many grew deeper. The simple act of devotion changed these individuals for a lifetime.
Women’s Day Celebration!
- Pray for these women to continue to grow in the Lord and be agents of transformation in their families and communities.
- Pray for more women to stand up and shine in the church and their families.
The Kids for the King children’s ministry continues each week. We praise God that he has entrusted us with so many children to disciple into Christlikeness. Our Korean Christian friends from Cebu Korean Church come once a month to teach the children from the Bible and show the love of God through tangible, simple gifts. Most of the children are from one community where we do outreach, and some of the parents have started to attend the church each Sunday.
- Pray for these young children to continue to grow in the Lord.
- Pray for our Korean brethren, for God to bless them so they may be a blessing to others.
The school year is fast approaching. One of the struggles many parents face is to provide school supplies in addition to the tuition fees and uniforms. These supplies are getting more expensive each year, and most of the community are living below the poverty level. As a tangible way to show the love of Christ to the parents and children in our area, we gave bundles of school supplies to one-hundred and twenty-five kids as gifts. I praise God for this ability to give generously from the church despite our own financial situation as many of the church members are jobless. I praise God that we have learned to trust God more in our church finances, and through this gift, we touched many lives for Christ Jesus. The parents and children are thankful for what they received, but most of all, they are grateful for the love of Christ.
- Pray for our unemployed church members to find jobs so they can support their families.
- Pray for the opening of school to be smooth.
- Pray for God to continue to provide provision for the church. My wife has been unemployed for a month, pray for a new job opportunity, and our daily needs as well.
- Pray for our campus ministry starting this month. We are training and using seventeen active youth to start several small group Bible studies on campus. This is a big step for our ministry, pray for its success.
- Pray for the establishment of influential leaders in the church.
- Pray for our daily church tutorial that starts soon to have God’s provision and clear direction. We desire to plan another church in the next year, pray for God’s vision and guidance.
It’s been a year that we continue to reach out to the community in Tayud. We had tried our best to disciple them to become like Christ. Still many are hesitant to accept our message and others are starting to persecute the new believers but we praise God that there still more who are interested in the gospel and God has preserved his elect.
This month we continue to do our community values formation by teaching the community with the word of God and ministering them holistically. There are few members who got discouraged because of the persecutions and bullying that they have heard from the neighbors but we did our best to encourage and minister to them by helping them understand that persecution is part of our cost of following Jesus. Despite the challenges, still many are interested and have come to the meeting. I also praise God for the life of Elvie Revira who continually helps me in this endeavor.
- Please pray for our brethren to stand in their faith as they face trials and persecutions.
- Please pray for the salvation and transformation of the entire community.
Many of the people we minister to are unable to afford regular check-ups by the doctor and so suffer from illnesses that could have been prevented or cured. For a year, we have been desiring, planning, and praying on how to improve the physical health of the community. It seemed impossible, but God is full of surprises. God answered our prayers, and Dr. Talili is a Christian medical doctor who has offered to conduct regular medical check-ups twice a year at the church for an affordable price. We were also able to provide a free medical check-up to one-hundred children in the church. Our hearts rejoice to see the faces filled with the joy of the children and their parents.
Our smile communicates a lot, but how can you give a beautiful smile if your teeth are not in good condition? Most of the children have not taken care of their teeth, and a dentist visit is expensive, so they suffer from toothache and decay. Sherwen and Irish are a couple who are both Christian dentists with a big heart for ministry. They did an entire day of dental check-ups for the church and served one-hundred children in the community. They committed to come twice a year to care for the children’s teeth. Now we see so many beautiful smiles.
- Pray for the blessings of physical health to influence the spiritual health of the people.
- Pray for Dr. Talili as he ministers to the needy people and for God’s blessings upon him.
- Pray for Sherwen and Irish as they serve the children and their families.
- Pray for the gospel to penetrate these families through this gift.
- Pray for the children to grow up in faith in God.
Scripture is the foundation of every believer’s spiritual growth. Intentional discipleship is the backbone of the church’s growth. Our mission is to make disciples who will faithfully make disciples of Jesus Christ. Gerald and Anne are a new couple who first visited two months ago. They live quite away and take three rides to reach the church, but since their first Sunday, they never miss a worship service and are attending the discipleship class every week.
- Pray for the spiritual growth and transformation of the people who are actively studying God’s Work and serving God.
- Pray for Gerald and Anne to grow in their faith.
Evangelism is a command from God, and I do my best to encourage the members to get out of their comfort zone to share the gospel. I struggle sometimes and have to remember that some are only a month-old in their faith. God reminds me that this is His work and not done in my own strength. We had a great revival and transformation in the church and community. Campus Crusade for Christ sent student missionaries to train and empower our church members to do intentional evangelism and follow-up discipleship. We expected about thirty-people but were surprised by sixty participants. The week-long training included classes in the morning and door-to-door evangelism in the afternoon in three different areas. Forty-five men and women completed the instruction, and courageously shared their faith. For many, this was their first time sharing the gospel. Of the two-hundred and fifty-three we talked with, one-hundred and fifty-one accepted Jesus Christ. Sixty-one of those wanted to do more Bible study, and thirteen have continued to attend the Bible study. The church is enthusiastically reaching the lost. The entire community is puzzled by their neighbors who formerly had messy lives like their own but are not fearlessly declaring God’s love and grace.
In this computer age, people are obsessed with gadgets and social media. Our evangelism trainers desired to share a public film about Jesus each evening, and I thought this would be the wrong strategy and only useful in the eighties. But God again reminded me to trust Him. We announced a free film showing for three nights, but only the children responded with great excitement. Surprisingly, one-hundred and seventy-six adults accepted Jesus as their Savior during the presentation of the gospel.
- Pray for those who accepted the Lord Jesus will continue to seek and obey Him.
- Pray for these new believers to grow in their faith.
- Pray for the church members to boldly proclaim the gospel.
Romelyn is a young mother with two small children. I met her a few months ago in one of the gambling dens in the community. She would gamble every day and get drunk on the weekends. I invited her to join the livelihood program as she was in deep financial trouble. She refused with the excuse that she was too busy. I never gave up in being her friend, and at one point, she listened to my preaching. God worked in her heart, and she continued to attend the Bible study each week. I noticed that she was no longer going to the gambling area and that I had not seen her drunk for a while, I asked her what had happened, and she responded that the Lord convicted her heart through His Word. Now she is active in the church, sharing her faith with her family, and leading a group. Praise God for changing her life.
Arlene is a housewife who cares for her children and grandchildren. She joined the livelihood program last year but always had lots of excuses as to why she could not attend the values formation study. One day, Arlene had no option but to come and hear the Bible at the home of Alvin and Mechora. Since then, she kept asking questions about God, the Bible, and religion. When we started the Worship Service three months ago, Arlene did not attend the main service but still went to the Bible study. Then she got curious when she heard about the evangelism training as the word ‘evangelism’ was one never heard by her before and so she came to the event. God worked in her heart through the instruction, and Arlene shared the gospel with her entire family. At our celebration night, she shared her testimony of how God worked miraculously in her life.
Arlene has joined the worship service and is actively involved in the church activities.
- Pray for Romelyn’s continual joy and growth in serving the Lord.
- Pray for Arlene to continue being on fire to share the gospel and follow-up with the new believers.
- Pray for the salvation of Romelyn’s and Arlene’s families.
Women play an essential role in the family, community, and the church. We are blessed by many women in the church but struggled to involved them in the larger body of Christ as they are busy and hard to gather aside from Sunday worship service. This month the women from our mother church took time to minister and have fellowship with the women in our church. This was their first experience of spending time sharing and in prayer with other women. They were amazed that they are not alone and discovered that there were many of them with similar stories, challenges, and joys, and were encouraged to serve God.
- Pray for the women to influence the other women in the community for Christ.
- Pray for them to be salt and light in their families and neighborhoods.
Ministry is not meant to be done alone, and none of us have every spiritual gift. We value volunteers, especially as I cannot do everything by myself. When we started in this location, God gave us volunteers from our mother church to lighten our load and give us a great start. We realized these fantastic people would not stay with us forever and so started training our local young people to be equipped and trained to minister as well as fed and refreshed. This month was our second ‘volunteer refreshment’ to encourage our nine local youth volunteers. They are new believers, but God is using them to advance his kingdom. They serve joyfully in the church and minister to the children every week.
- Pray for the spiritual growth and continual transformation of these young people.
- Pray for God to use them powerfully and effectively in the ministry.
- Pray for the salvation of their families; many are being persecuted by their own families.
We are thankful that it has already been three months since we started our regular worship service. During this time, it has been challenging to have music because only one person knows how to play the guitar, and only one other person can lead the songs. This struggle is also a blessing because it means we can train others. We held a two-day music workshop to train members to be a part of the worship team. We only have two instruments, a guitar, and beatbox, so we offered training in guitar, beatbox, and song leading. We had many people attend with the desire to use their God-given gifts and talents.
- Pray for musical instruments to be used for God’s glory.
- Pray for the development of the church member’s musical skills and their characters to be molded into Christlikeness.
I have mentioned Mae, one of the youth, in previous reports. She is the eight of twelve siblings in her family, her parents and other siblings are not believers. Mae was living with her older sister and brother-in-law, Ailyn and Greg while studying at grade eleven in school, and Greg was paying her school fees as her parents were unable to afford them. Just a few months ago, Greg was fired from his work and has been without a job for two months now. He has six children who are in school and Ailyn in three-months pregnant. Greg and Ailyn are in financial trouble that affects Mae’s possibility of finishing school. Recently, Greg, Ailyn, and Mae approached my family to ask if she could stay with us and for us to help send her to school. My wife and I have decided to adopt Mae and committed to send her to school until college is completed. She has been with us for a month already, and my children are happy to accept her as a new member of our family.
- Pray for God’s provision for the new school year starting in June.
- Pray for Mae to be able to finish college and be a channel of God’s blessings.
- Pray for daily provision for Greg and Ailyn, especially as Greg is struggling to find a new job.
Politics and elections in the Philippines get ugly, and it is a challenge to educate people to be ethical and responsible citizens. The politicians roam around and fight each other, and vote-buying is a widespread practice. We held a vote-right seminar to educate the people about how to be responsible.
- Pray for strength and wisdom as I manage and lead the church.
- Pray for provision, protection, durability, good weather, and transformation of the young people at our first youth camp.
- Pray for our week-long VBS coming soon as well.
- Pray for my wife to find a new job as her work contract just ended.
Our mission is to lead people to have a personal and growing relationship with God. Our ultimate goal, by the grace of God, is the transformation of an unbeliever into a disciple that makes other disciples.
The first time we met Jessa, she was timid and hesitant to join the youth Bible study or other youth activities despite our gentle, encouraging invitations. A couple of months ago, when we first started the church, I noticed that Jessa was a close friend with Sherry Jean (I shared about her in my previous report). I asked Sherry Jean to reach out to Jessa and invite her. Praise God because through Sherry Jean, Jessa has started attending the Bible study and other youth activities. She is progressing in her love and relationship with Jesus Christ and slowly gaining self-confidence as she learns about her identity to Christ
Jessa has volunteered to join the praise and worship team and is willing to use her talent for God. She is growing in the Lord and is very active in the church ministries, helping in as many ways as she can.
- Pray that Jessa will continue to grow in the Lord and will joyfully continue to serve Him.
- Pray that Jessa will become the salt and light in her family and that her entire family will come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Adding more men to the church is incredibly challenging in the Philippines. When we first started the mission work in Taud, Consolacion a year ago, only women responded to the gospel. We earnestly asked God to change the attitudes of the men in the community from hesitant to responsive and to bring them to faith in Jesus Christ.
I have told parts of the story of Greg in past reports. The first time I met him, Greg was drunk, but he listened to the preaching of the gospel. The following week when I visited Greg’s house, I asked him to join us for the Bible study, but he was hesitant. I was consistent in my visits, and one day Greg responded positively and joined us. From then on, he regularly attends our weekly Bible study and decided to be a part of the church. I saw his potential for the future by his passion for God and compassion for the lost. I intentionally trained him to participate in God’s Work. Greg joined our core ministry team and is leading the men’s small group at the church. He is active in bringing men to the church and leading them to have a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ. We praise God for transforming the life of Greg and using him to bring more people to faith in Christ.
Antonio is married with two children. He has been unable to work for three months due to sickness. His wife just gave birth to their youngest, and they are struggling financially. Jenny has been attending our Bible study for a month and started to join us at church. Antonio was very hesitant to listen to the gospel. One night during a Bible study, Antonio came to get his wife and leave, but instead, he sat down and listened while I shared the gospel. God worked in his heart, and he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. That night, we prayed for healing for Antonio. God is all-powerful. The following day Antonio was able to return to work. He is regularly attending our weekly Bible study and has joined the Sunday worship service.
- Pray for Greg to continue to grow in his knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.
- Pray for his spiritual growth and for his passion for God’s service to flourish.
- Pray for Antonio to be completely healed and able to work.
- Pray for Antonio and Jenny to continue to hunger for the Word of God.
- Pray for the family’s finances to be resolved.
Ministry is a team effort. God did not design us to be alone working in his vineyard. When we started the worship service, I struggled to find volunteers for the weekday activities as our volunteers were only available on the weekends. As the church grew, the ministries grew as well, and we faced the challenge of finding people to help. God is faithful and kind. He provided what we needed when we trust in Him while doing His work. This month God answered our prayers. Elvie and Christine have volunteered to teach the children to have a personal growing relationship with Jesus Christ. These two women travel far to minister to the children, but they are always filled with joy. Now many of the children are at the church learning about God instead of hanging out in the internet café when they have no class.
The AWANA program is reaching the children with the gospel. They are excited and eagerly bring their friends. Each week the children receive points for being present, having their Bibles, memorizing scripture, bringing a friend, and participating in activities. They have been collecting their points for three months and will use them to purchase items during the AWANA fair. This month is our first AWANA fair, and the children have been so motivated by their excitement for this event.
The Awana fair!
- Pray for the spiritual growth and transformation of the children.
- Pray for Elvie and Christine to be blessed with extra strength and joy as they minister.
- Pray for our desire to construct a room for the children and for provision to complete this project.
- Pray for the AWANA program and for its continual motivation to the children to be active in learning God’s Word and bringing their friends.
- Pray for the opportunity to reach the parents with the gospel through the children.
Religion is a big issue in the Philippines. When we started the Sunday worship service, we faced challenges from the community. False stories were spread, and many people stopped attending the Bible study from their fear of persecution and the gossip they had heard. God is faithful to His people. This past month, most of the people who had stopped attending due to the works of the enemy, have started to join us again and enjoyed hearing from the Word of God.
- Pray that the women will be consistent in their attendance and to stand firm despite the persecutions of the community.
- Pray that the gospel will flourish in their hearts and transform their lives.
- Pray for their husbands to know Jesus Christ.
Death brings grief to our hearts. Larry and Catherine are a young couple who have been together for a few years. Neither are employed. The Lord blessed them with a beautiful daughter who was born this past month. But three days later their child was sick and admitted to the hospital. The parents did everything they could to save their daughter, but after a week in the hospital, she passed away. The couple was shocked and unable to deal with this crisis. They were emotionally overwhelmed and concerned as neither has a job. Their neighbor informed me of their tragic loss, and I visited Larry and Catherine. At first, they refused to talk, being unable to accept and handle their loss. But God is faithful and true, he is the God of comfort. As I prayed, the couple opened up and shared their emotions. The entire church is helping and supporting this family. Larry and Catherine asked if we could conduct the funeral service and we praise the Lord that we were able to share the gospel with them and the neighborhood. The couple is slowly recovering, and we continue to comfort and minister to them.
- Pray for the couple to heal and recover from their loss.
- Pray for Larry and Catherine to come to faith in Jesus Christ despite their pain.
- Pray for Larry to find a job soon.
The livelihood program is growing fast and reaching the community with the gospel. There are now four community groups, and we are in the second cycle of their existence. I see the blessings on the physical and financial needs of the people as well as the way it has changed their characters, values, and lifestyles. Many have stopped gambling and drinking.
- Pray for the growth of the program.
- Pray for the logistics to be simplified as I am using the motorcycle to transport the raw materials.
I hold a weekly discipleship class with the new believers in the church. This month I trained them in evangelism, encouraging them to share their faith with others. After the first session, Jonalyn shared the gospel with her husband Ryan, and he accepted Jesus Christ. We rejoiced to hear her news. Tessie and Mary Ann are also sharing the gospel with their husbands. We are teaching the church members to cultivate a relationship with God through prayer. They are eager to learn how to pray and are ministering to each other through the group prayer time. Previously some would drink alcohol and gossip about others. It is a joy to see them becoming friends.
Praise God for the salvation of Ryan
- Pray for Ryan to grow in his faith and pray for Jonalyn as she continues to share the Bible with Ryan.
- Pray for the husbands of Tessie and Mary Ann to come to trust in God.
- Pray for the new believers to continue to grow in their relationship with God.
- Pray for their friendships with each other to become more profound as they bond through prayer.
I have shared before about our adopted daughter Ester. Four years ago, when she was close to graduating from Bible college, she was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis grade 1-2 and underwent thymectomy surgery. She is taking medications and a few months after surgery, she received plasmapheresis treatment. [Editor’s note: myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disease that affects the ocular (eye) muscles and may cause weakness in other muscles depending on the severity.] Because of Ester’s illness, she was forced to drop out of school. The sickness was so debilitating that Ester lost hope of being healed and found no reason to live, especially feeling the financial burden of her condition. God is gracious and kind! We have not lacked in the ability to provide her daily medicine.
A few months ago, Ester regained the courage to serve God again despite her disability. I am happy to see her joyfully serving God, and she is gaining new strength every day. She is leading the young people in the church. Ester is a living testimony of God’s grace, love, mercy, and hope. She is a shining example that disability and sickness are not a hindrance to serving God.
- Pray for Ester’s complete physical healing and for daily provision for her medications.
- Pray for strength and effectiveness as she leads the youth ministry. Ester desires to return to school this next year, pray for God’s leading and guidance upon her life.
- Pray for our outreach door-to-door this month as we share the gospel in the community.
- Pray for many souls to be saved and lives to be transformed.
- Pray for more open doors for the gospel.
- Pray for our upcoming music workshop. We seek to train the musicians in the church so they can serve God will all their talents to their maximum capacity.
- Pray for the youth camp this next month.
- Pray for the young people who will be attending and for their transformation by the grace of God.
- Pray for financial provision for this event.
- Pray for the leadership in the church. I am training new leaders.
- Pray for the Lord to raise up more men to come to faith and to serve in the church.
- February 2019
Sherry Jean was very hesitant to interact with me the first time I met her. She is a fifteen-year-old high school student, and I invited her to attend the youth Bible study. Every week, I visited her home to conduct a Bible study with her parents and some of her siblings. Sherry Jean would stay in her room or disappear somewhere else while we had the Bible study. On the day of our church dedication, we held our first worship service in the church, and I was surprised to see her there, she even offered to help decorate the church building. Since that time, she has joined the youth activities and Bible study. One day, when the young people in the church were traveling to a youth fellowship, my wife noticed that Sherry Jean had a good singing voice. We decided to invite her to become part of the worship team, and she was extremely excited. We are training her to lead worship; we see her eagerly learning the songs. We see her joy overflowing as she serves the Lord. She is an active volunteer at the church and a back-up song leader. She is also leading one of the small groups for our children’s AWANA program.
Blezzeth leading a small group during AWANA.
Blezzeth is seventeen; she is the eldest sister of Sherry Jean. When I first encountered her seven months ago, she had a lot of questions about religions and beliefs. I could sense that she was confused and searching for the truth. I invited her to join the Bible study; she was hesitant at first but later started to attend. Every Saturday, I had a Bible study with Blezzeth and her parents, and God opened her heart and mind to understand the truth of the gospel. She gave her life to the Lord and is an active volunteer in the church, a member of our worship team, one of the teachers in the children’s AWANA program, and handles the small youth group. She is growing in her relationship with the Lord and leading others to salvation in God and to grow in their faith.
Mae is eighteen, in high school, and lives with her sister rather than her parents. When I first met her eighteen months ago, she was so shy that she would not talk with me and would hide in her room when I visited her sister and brother. I considered this, and thought, there are a thousand and one ways to catch a fish. I started to notice that she had some relationship baggage that caused her to have low self-esteem. Later I realized that Mae was very close with Blezzeth so I encouraged Blezzeth to influence Mae to follow Jesus. Now they serve together with much joy and commitment as they learn from God’s Word. Mae is talented and creative; she beautifies the church each week and organizes for events.
- Pray for Sherry Jean to continue growing in the Lord.
- Pray for more people who are willing to serve, especially in our music ministry.
- Pray for Blezzeth’s zeal for serving God to continue to grow.
- Pray for God to continue to use Blezzeth to bring others to Christ.
- Pray for Mae to grow in faith and to be a positive influence in the lives of others who have baggage.
Small groups are very vital to the life of the church. It is the setting where most life transformation happens. Even Jesus taught a small group of people during his ministry on earth. From his thousands of followers, He sent out seventy-two disciples, had twelve apostles and even within that group, he had a core group of closest friends, Peter, James, and John. Following this example, we are intentionally designing the church model to have healthy small groups with committed leaders. This has been hard since we just started the church and our people are new Christians. It is challenging to find and train small group leaders who are mature enough in their new faith to teach and lead others to have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
We praise God for His faithfulness to our ministry. During our first worship service, we had two small groups. A month has passed, and this has grown to five small groups. After the preaching, the church people go to their designated small group and discuss the sermon for that Sunday, what they have learned, and how they are going to apply it to their lives. In these groups, they minister to one another, encouraging and praying for each other. The small group leader is responsible to minister to their members on Sunday and throughout the week. They monitor the spiritual growth of their members and are intentional in encouraging them to grow in their relationship with God. I praise God for the positive feedback we have received.
People are building trust in their small groups, and they pour out their burdens to each other. Relationships are being formed. The leaders are growing in their faith as they minister to the believers.
In most churches today, men are hard to reach with the gospel, and few men attend the church. In our church, we also struggle with this same challenge. We do our best to reach the men in the community and continue to draw them into the church. I earnestly asked God to give us a few men to join the church and eventually become leaders in the church. God is faithful and answered the cries of his people. Just this month, God gave us a few men who are eager to learn the Word of God and have joined the men’s small group. The first week I conducted the small group for these men, and now Alvin is leading this group. We invited these men to join us for the Sunday worship, and they responded positively. We thank the Lord for the faithfulness of these men and pray for God to bring more into the church.
- Pray for the real-life transformations that occur as the believers meet in their small groups and have the space to be real and transparent with each other as they interact with God’s Word.
- Pray for more small group leaders who are committed and faithful to serve as our size continues to grow as we add more believers to the church.
- Pray for the men to continue to learn and grow in their knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.
- Pray for the Lord to bring more men into the church and to raise men as leaders.
- Pray for the church to influence more men in the community.
Faith Class Attendees
We launched the “My Faith” class this past month that meets every Sunday afternoon. We study topics such as “what we believe” and “why we believe.” I praise the Lord that many of the people who came for the worship service in the morning also return for the class in the afternoon. Sometimes, those who were not able to come in the morning still make it to the afternoon class. Our attendance has grown each week. I see this as a good sign in addition to the increasing interest of the participants to learn more from the Word of God. They enjoy the discussion, and their relationships are strengthened. Tessie, a friend of Mary Ann who was the “unseen audience” in my previous reports, just recently recommitted her life to Christ. She is attending the worship service, “My Faith” class and energetically volunteering in the feeding program. She has brought other women to the church.
- Pray for the believers to grow in their knowledge of the scriptures and to become more like Christ.
- Pray for more people to be willing to know and grow in the truth.
- Pray for Tessie to grow in her faith and to continue to serve the Lord.
Just like every other month, my wife and I puzzled about the money for our monthly feeding, but God is always faithful. To my complete surprise, the Lord convicted the church people to give in such abundance that we were able to feed over a hundred and thirty children a delicious, nutritious meal and cover our church operation expenses for the entire month. I was so surprised by this generosity as the believers were learning about church giving and were entirely new to this concept.
Praise the Lord for His blessing.
Our community contains some of the poorest of the poor and seldom do they receive a gift. God used some of our brethren to sponsor fifty children with monthly needs and spiritual lessons for a length of two years. While the children have their activities, we gather the parents for a Bible study. I see the joy on the faces of children and parents, especially when they receive the gift of eternal life.
- Pray for the children to grow in their faith and to be a bridge to draw their parents to the Lord.
- Praise the Lord for the monthly feeding for the children, and the livelihood program, making soap, that draws people to Christ.
- Pray for the fifty children who are being sponsored to grow in their faith and for their entire families.
We held a community health education class this month. We had over fifty women who learned ways to adjust their lifestyle to promote health and have less sickness in the community. As a result of this class, the community had a clean-up drive the next day.
We held an open-air evangelism crusade. We went door-to-door to invite the neighbors and had over a hundred people who gather to hear the gospel message. My friend preached, and many responded by committing their lives to Jesus Christ.
- Pray for healthier habits to become consistent in the community.
- Pray for the new believers to grow in their faith and become a part of the church.
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Ailyn’s story has been shared in many past reports as I first met her eight years ago. God has transformed her from a person addicted to wine and gambling into an effective witness for Christ to the community. She is on our ministry core team and an assistant treasurer in the church. Ailyn has brought her entire family, including her husband to the Lord and has influenced her siblings and their families too. She is now three months pregnant, and we are praying for good health for her and her child.
- Pray for Ailyn and her family as they prepare to welcome another family member.
- Pray for safety for Pastor Lito and his family as they experienced harassment from a neighbor and are planning to move to a safer location. Pray for wisdom and guidance for their decision.
- Pray for upcoming summer events – music workshop, VBS program, and the first youth camp.
- Pray for provision, protection, and success.
- Pray for the need for more space to accommodate the church congregation that is outgrowing the current sanctuary.
- Pray for the ongoing needs of the church including musical instruments and children’s materials.
Children are precious in the sight of the Lord. We praise God for the rapid growth of our children’s ministry. Just seven months ago, when we first started, we struggled to gather even a few children because of the rivalry between the communities. We prayed, planned, and developed strategies to improve our outreach and prepared for implementing the AWANA program. We intentionally trained the local young people with our existing volunteers to teach this program. This month we started with the first lesson. We were surprised by the intense excitement of the children, they arrived early, and many brought their friends. It was such a blessing to see their joy, especially as this month is all about the Bible. We divided the children and volunteers into four clubs for the games and counsel time. The games were a huge incentive for the children to arrive early. The program has three parts, the large-group time to sing praises together and listen to the Bible story, game time for playing and friendship building, and counsel time with the smaller groups so the volunteers can minister to the children more individually and the children can express their feelings and ask questions. It is so heartwarming to see the children come to Jesus, bringing their Bibles every Sunday with smiling and laughing faces.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of the children as they journey with us in learning God’s Word.
- Pray for the courage and joy of our volunteers as they serve the Lord by ministering to the children.
- Pray for the local young people who run the AWANA and feeding program by themselves on the last Sunday of every month, when we give our volunteers a rest day. Pray for wisdom and provision.
At first, Nikkie only attended church for worship and then went home. But when she committed to being a volunteer, she grew to love ministering and become more active in many areas including the youth ministry, praise and worship, and church outreach. We praise God as we see her growing in the Lord and witness deepening love for God and His work. Her passion for God and compassion for the children bring them closer to her. Nikkie is such a fantastic teacher that the children gather close to hear speak about God, even perching on the top of the wall to listen and participate. Nikkie volunteers every week in the outreach program and the children are so excited to greet her.
- Pray for Nikkie’s heart as she grows deeper in her relationship with God.
- Pray for the children in her group to grow in the Lord as they become more connected with each other and her.
Small groups are the best avenue for individuals to grow both in knowledge and relationships. Rhea Mae is one of our small group volunteers. She was hesitant the first time we invited her to join us, but eventually, her curiosity overcame her fear, and she is now volunteering every Sunday. The children are growing close to her and eager to learn about God and to grow in their relationship with God. It is so encouraging to see them interact during the discussion and pour out to their struggles as they look to Rhea Mae for guidance.
- Pray for Rhea Mae to continue growing and showing compassion for the lost.
- Pray for the children to continue to grow in their relationship with the Lord despite their young age and to hold fast to his truths as they grow.
This year, one of our goals was to invite our new brothers and sisters in the Lord from the outreach location to a corporate worship service with other believers. We struggled to accomplish this due to the distance between the mother church and the outreach location. Just this month we held a praise night at the mother church and invited the young people from the outreach location. We also faced challenges since many of the parents were uncertain about allowing their children to join the event. We prayed and asked God to bless our invitation; finally, a majority of parents let their children come. To my amazement, thirteen youth came and experienced the sweetness of God’s presence through corporate worship with other believers. God answered our prayers to give this experience to the young people. We asked for their feedback after the event, and they were so thankful for what they learned and the blessings they received. I asked the parents too, and their response was positive. We praise God that we have gained their trust.
- Pray for the continual courage and joy of these young people as they serve God.
- Pray that we can reach the parents of these youth as well.
On the return trip after the praise event, while we were in the car hearing testimonies and experiences, something unexpected went wrong. The car we had borrowed stopped in the middle of the road and would not budge. John, the driver, got out to check what had happened and found that the rear wheel had detached from the car. We unloaded the passengers and found shelter on the side of the road. The challenging part was none of us knew how to fix the car, there were no available tools in the car and the repair shops were all closed. I called the owner of the vehicle for help, but because of the distance and severe traffic, it would take him several hours to arrive. We grew worried as the parents of the youth started calling asking what was happening and why their children were not home yet. After an hour of waiting, Blezeth called her father Greg (we have been doing a Bible study with him). He rode his motorcycle over and helped us fix the car about the time the owner also arrived. We were grateful that no one was hurt, and everyone got home safe and sound.
- Pray for a better method of transportation.
- Pray for safety when we travel.
It has been almost a year since we started the weekly group Bible study under the shade of a tree since there was no room available inside. The place has not been conducive for learning or comfortable for everyone because of the many disturbances by people passing by, noisily playing basketball and getting wet on rainy days. Despite all the challenges, the people are eager to learn the Word of God and the numbers grow every week. They have been requesting to have a proper Sunday worship.
In previous reports, I mentioned our prayers for a more convenient place for worship and mentioned Emilda, our new sister in the Lord, who offered her piece of land. God answered our prayers through the help of our Korean brethren from Cebu Korean Church. We started construction in December and finished recently. Everyone is enjoying the comfort and safety inside the church building.
God has created everything, and so it is proper to acknowledge his ownership and glorify His name. When we finished the church building, we planned a simple celebration with the church members and neighbors. Many visitors wanted to come including the Mayor and his subordinates, and we started feeling pressured to expect a massive celebration, we were concerned about finances but trusted that God would provide what we needed. God is our good provided. We dedicated the building to the Lord, last month, and many came to witness the goodness of God and celebrate with us. The Korean Brethren from Cebu Korean church, the municipal engineer and other representatives from the Mayor’s office, the members of our mother church, the neighbors, friends and church members made quite a merry gathering. We lacked in nothing, and God provided an abundance, more than we needed.
- Pray that this building will be a channel of blessing and transformation of the lives in the community.
- Pray for the church to be a witness to the surrounding community.
Pray for the final needs to be met, the construction is finished, but we are still gathering the small supplies such as musical instruments, tables, chairs, and kitchen supplies. Give thanks for the quick construction and blessing of having a location indoors to praise God and learn from his Word.
Two years ago, God impressed upon my heart the vision of planning a community church. It seemed impossible to me; I did not have any idea or experience of how to do this. It was a big step of faith and entirely outside of my comfort zone. I shared this desire with my co-pastors, friends, and family; many of them advised me not to resign from my position and not to pursue this desire. But God’s conviction was so firm in my heart to plant a community church in remote places where most pastors do not want to go. In January of 2018, I obeyed God’s calling and trusted his assurance that He is with me. Through prayers and community surveys, God led me to the two communities of Sitio Bankerohan and Sitio Libo. We started reaching these communities in June after months of groundwork, and by God’s mercy and grace through the help of many volunteers, my vision has been realized. We had our first corporate Sunday worship service with the people in the community. They are so thankful to know and serve the Lord.
- Pray for the transformation of the entire community.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of the new believers in Christ.
- Pray for God to add more people to His church every day.
- Pray that we can be more effective in ministering to these communities.
After our morning worship service, the people asked me if we still have a Bible study in the afternoon. To my complete surprise, I said yes. They returned in the afternoon for a more in-depth look at God’s Word at the same time as we met before. Now, instead of meeting in the shade of the tree, we have an indoor space to gather that is more conducive to learning. The bible study is more focused and more people are participating in our discussions. There are even new men and women who are attending.
- Pray for the people to go deeper in their knowledge of God and for their faith to be rooted in God’s Word.
- Pray for them to be empowered to apply everything they have learned from God’s Word.
At our first worship service, I met Mary Ann. She did not look familiar to me as it was my first time meeting her. I greeted her and asked for her name and background. I was surprised to learn that she is a neighbor of Ailyn and Greg, the couple that I disciple every Friday and Saturday. Then I asked who invited her to church, she said no one and began to tell me her story. She said, “every time you had a Bible study with Greg and Ailyn, I pretended to do laundry and secretly listened from the other side of the wall. Nobody noticed me, not even my husband, and I did this for many months. When I learned there was a worship service, I was excited and very happy, so I came.” As we talked, she asked if there was a Bible study in the afternoon, so I told her yes. That afternoon, she was back with her best friend, Tessie. Now Mary Ann has joined the livelihood program and is active in the church activities. Praise the Lord!
- Pray for Mary Ann’s constant joy and courage in serving the Lord.
- Pray for Tessie to grow in the Lord along with Mary Ann.
Seven months ago, when I first introduced the livelihood program to the community, it was rough to get it going. Many of the people did not trust the program due to previous bad experiences by other livelihood programs. But we were able to gather a small group of curious individuals and God blessed the project, and it grew. After the first profit-sharing last December, many more people were interested in joining and investing. We have expanded to three big groups with many new members. This is an exciting time as they are a captured audience to hear the gospel because they are required the attend the values formation every week which is taught from God’s Word. Despite the extra work of collecting the necessary supply of raw materials, I am thrilled to have so many people who can hear the gospel. Most of the current group are women. I am thinking of reaching their husbands, many of whom are fishermen, by helping them improve their fishing equipment and strategies. God is using the livelihood program to penetrate the community and saturate them with the Word of God.
- Pray for an increase in capital to enable the program to grow and expand so they can earn more money to help with their daily expenses.
- Pray for my desire to help the fisherman come to pass and for the opportunity to share the gospel with the men.
Antonio and Jenny are a young couple; Jenny is the sister of Ailyn. We had invited them many times to attend the weekly study, but they were unwilling. They had many excuses and would walk away when I arrived. This past month was a blessing in disguise; God used their circumstances to draw them to Him. Antonio was sick, and it had already been a month without any improvement; eventually, they came to the Bible study to ask for prayer. Before I prayed with them, I shared the gospel, and they both accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Jenny is attending the worship service, but Antonio is not yet able to come due to his illness. They are continuing to learn the Bible. Glory to God.
- Pray for Antonio and Jenny to continue to hunger and thirst for God’s Word.
- Pray for Antonio to be physically healed; he has been sick for two months and unable to work.
- Pray for their daily provision, especially as they have a one-month-old baby.
- Pray for good health for the church members; many are sick due to the unstable weather conditions.
- Pray for good health and strength for my family; we have also been ill with physical weakness.
- Pray for provision, wisdom, guidance, and strength as we prepare for upcoming activities — DVBS, music workshop and our first youth camp.
Women play a vital role in the family and the community. We praise God for the sixty women in the livelihood programs who joined from three different communities. They have been faithfully attending the skills training, character formation training and learning valuable lessons through the Bible studies for the past year. This month they enjoyed the fruit of their labor with their first profit sharing. We celebrated together and rewarded their certificates at our recognition day and Christmas party. The income they earned through this program was a huge blessing since December is the most expensive month of the year. The communities grew closer together, and the women learned about God through the Bible studies. Our goal is for these women to have healthy and growing relationships with each other and with God. We are grateful to the leaders who blessed these women.
Building healthy relationships is essential for healthy organizations, families, and communities. But to do so requires great leaders. During our recognition day and Christmas party, we gathered the three communities together into one group. Most of them did not know each other at all, or just barely knew each other. To encourage the formation of friendships, we did team building activities. Everyone enjoyed the games and especially how it helped them get to know each other and it established a new level of relationships and trust.
- Pray for these women to continue to grow in the Lord and remain in friendships with each other.
- Pray for the blessings on their families from the livelihood program and for its positive influence upon the entire community.
Volunteers are a tremendous help in our ministry, and we value them. When I first starting church planting work, I asked God for two young couples and two teachers as my core ministry team. God is faithful and good, He knows how to provide what is needed for His work. Over time, the ministry has grown, and the Lord added more individuals to the number of workers. Just this month, we celebrated our volunteers by saying thank you for their commitment, love for God and His ministry. We gave them a simple token of appreciation that they can use in their work. I am amazed that God has given us thirty committed volunteers who actively engaged, and present in the field every week for the past six months. The celebration was a blessing to our volunteers because they felt the pastoral care for them when hardships and inconveniences happened as they serve each week. We increased their confidence and courage to continue taking part in the ministry.
- Pray for an abundant harvest through the servants of the Lord.
Jesus desires unity among his people. Unity is important in the life of believers. This month God answered our prayers. We had experienced some difficulty in connecting two communities, Bankerohan and Libo. There were some “invisible walls” between the children and parents. We had attempted on several occasions to join the groups, but all had failed. We prayed and continued to teach the Word of God, and we had faith that the Lord would work in their lives. As we celebrated our first community Christmas party, I intentionally asked the parents to take charge of the food. They connected as they worked together to prepare for the event and they seemed to enjoy working with each other. When God works, nothing is impossible. Now we see the adults appreciate each other’s company and joyfully volunteering to help us. It was a big victory.
In the Philippines, one way of showing brotherhood and unity is to have what we call a “Boodle Fight,” a soldier’s way of eating together as one group. When the two communities are united as brothers and sisters in the Lord, they can work together to serve the one true God. We celebrated by having a “Boodle Fight” with the volunteers. The foods were put together on banana leaves and eaten without utensils. This symbol of our unity was heart-touching for us, and everyone was happy and excited to serve the Lord. Our God is the God of reconciliation and unity. The work becomes easier and more productive when all are working together in harmony.
- Pray for the communities to grow together and form lasting friendships.
- Pray for the relationships to grow deeper with God and with each other.
Our first community Christmas celebration was a new experience for many of our neighbors and people. They were used to celebrating in an empty yet festive way, but we did it differently. We had community worship, and Pastor Cris Pano preached the gospel, explaining to the people the reason for celebrating Christmas, Emmanuel has come to earth, and Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior! Many people heard the gospel and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Glory to God.
- Pray that the seed of the gospel that has been planted in their hearts will grow and bear much fruit.
We praise the Lord for his faithfulness in providing for our needs. We were able to feed more than two-hundred people this month, including children, youth and adults. We gave them bundles of joy filled with food to celebrate with on Christmas Eve. Everyone was thrilled to bring home the goodies, especially as they remembered the greatest gift that they have ever received, salvation from God.
- Pray for God’s provision for our monthly feeding.
- Pray for the complete transformation in the community.
Our goal for the new year is to establish the first community church in Tayud Consolacion. To accomplish this goal, we are focusing more on training and raising up new leaders. This month we started our first teachers’ training for the children’s ministry. We had fifteen young people who attended the training. Many of them are new believers, some even accepted the Lord Jesus Christ during the event. They are eager and excited to mentor the children. We are starting to train them now so that they will be able to assist our current teachers and then be prepared to step into the teacher role when our current volunteers are no longer available.
- Pray that the Lord will use these youth and young people to fulfill His work in Tayud Consolacion.
- Pray for the new believers as they grow in their faith, especially for their courage to stand firm when persecution and hardships come their way.
In previous reports, I asked your prayers for Desiree’s pregnancy. She has given birth to a healthy baby. We celebrate the precious gift of life God has given to their family and to his church.
- Pray for Desiree and John as they raise their first child.
- Pray for financial provision as there was a complication during the birth and they have a debt to pay to the hospital.
In previous reports, I also requested your prayers for a place for worship, project Haggai. God answered this prayer and gave us a piece of property. We started constructing the building a couple of weeks ago and are expecting to finish it near the end of January. We would like to have our first corporate worship on the first Sunday in February.
- Pray for the completion of the building and for any other needs to be met so we can open the doors at the beginning of February.
- Pray for wisdom as we desire to start a child development program and for volunteers.
- Pray for my wife Christine, who resigned as a teacher in order to work full time in the ministry, pray for this to be a blessing upon our work.
- Pray for our desire to start a preschool in the new church building to minister to the children with their academics.
- Pray for God’s wisdom as we plan to launch a new church planting this year.
What a beautiful thing it is to work in the ministry with a dedicated team; the load is lighter, and many things are accomplished quickly and efficiently with many brains and hands working together in unity. Just this month, we had our first evaluation to review our accomplishments from January to October of this past year. We started our planning and goal setting for the next year.
We have seen the hands of God working powerfully in and through us to result in such a fruitful ministry outcome. In the past ten months, we reached out to three communities, baptized seven new believers and led many people and children to Christ. We empowered twenty volunteers for ministry, disciple seven new believers and conducted various community development projects that impacted the community as a testimony for Christ.
Praise the Lord for the accomplishments of the past year and the furtherance of His kingdom.
We decided to focus on two primary goals for the next year and the future. Our first goal is to establish the First Community Church in Tayud, Consolacion, Cebu. Our resources, energy, time, and programs will be focusing on training the future church leaders and the new believers to become the congregation of the local church. The people are requesting to have corporate worship, and we are eager to start constructing the church building as soon as possible to make this request possible and have our first corporate worship service before this year ends or early in the next year.
- Pray for the establishment of the first community church in Tayud Consolacion.
- Pray for the provision to start the construction of the new church building.
Our second goal is to plant one community church every two to three years. This is a long-term goal based on our vision of “Multiplying healthy churches in our communities and beyond.” We will never cease to plant churches as long as we live. We have two ways to reach this goal. The first is to send a team to start the new church planting work. The second is to adopt a potential church planter. We are thinking of sending Alvin and Melchora to start a new church planting location in Liloan next year or adopting and supporting Pastor Renante as a church planter to start the work in Mindanao.
What a joy and privilege to bless our co-workers in the ministry. Desiree is our treasurer and is seven-months pregnant. She is faithful and active to fulfill her role. During our meeting, we celebrated her birthday and ministered to her entire family. Pastor Renante prayed the blessing. It was a celebration of God’s goodness and faithfulness.
- Pray for the safe birth of Desiree’s child and good health for the mother and child.
In one of my previous reports, I mentioned Pastor Jonjon Delig; he is a church planter we are supporting in Mindanao. His wife was born blind, and they have two children. Pastor Jonjon has planted three churches and is pastoring them. I started mentoring and supporting him last February. We were able to meet this month for further study of God’s Word through the school of theology. It is a joy and privilege to support a young, dynamic pastor. He is growing in his faith, and the ministry is doing well despite the common challenges and struggles of church development.
- Pray for strength, wisdom, and provision for Pastor Jonjon and his family.
When we started the ministry in Tayud, it was our dream to help the children in the impoverished community through a sponsorship program. God answered this prayer and is working beyond what we imagined. We are sponsoring one-hundred children through a program designed to meet their physical, spiritual, mental and emotional needs. This is a fantastic opportunity to minister to the children and their entire family. These families are the poorest of the poor, and we will sponsor their education from three to twenty-two years old. The blessing for this community comes with great responsibility for us. Our greatest challenge will be to follow-up for intentional discipleship.
- Pray for the facilities for a weekly program for these children
- Pray for the number of volunteers required to minister to the children and families.
- Pray for the sustainability of the program and for many opportunities to reach people for Christ.
Our goal is not just to reach people with the gospel but to disciple them to become ministers and evangelists. I disciple seven people every week. Jonalyn and Ailyn are growing in their Christian life in both knowledge and character. They are doing their daily devotionals through journaling and sharing what they’ve learned with other people. As part of their spiritual discipline and growth, we have scheduled a time to go out and share their faith. I am preparing these women to be small group leaders and are part of our team when we start our worship service. I am teaching Greg, the husband of Ailyn every Saturday and still inviting Ryan, the husband of Jonalyn to join us for our discipleship meetings.
- Pray for spiritual growth and maturity for the people. Pray for wisdom as I guide them.
- Pray for their strength and perseverance as the neighbors are starting to persecute them for their faith.
Our weekly Bible study is still meeting faithfully despite the many disturbance and distractions of our place of meeting. We gather in an open space under the shade of a tree along a busy route of travel so people are always passing by and the men play basketball nearby. Despite these challenges, the people continue to come to hear the word of God. Raymond is playing the guitar for us. Initially, he only attended the Sunday morning church but is starting to become more involved in the ministry.
- Pray for these people to be able to understand and apply the Word of God despite the hindrances.
- Pray for their spiritual growth and maturity.
The Children’s Group includes one-hundred and thirty children and youth. After our large group singing and Bible story time, we divide the kids into smaller groups according to their capacity for intensive and in-depth discussion. As we do not have a building, the kids scatter into bunches in the open space on the ground and are joyful in doing so. We face some struggles such as the heat of the sun, rain and the need for more volunteers. God is sovereign and powerful, it’s been six months of ministering to these children and youth in this setting, and I can see the transformation of their lives and the lives of the volunteers. They are all growing in the Lord.
- Pray for the continued eagerness of these young people to know and grow in the Lord.
- Pray for more suitable facilities.
Our ministry focuses on not only the spiritual aspects of life but on improving the livelihood of individuals and the entire community. Elvie does the Community Health Education program and educates people on the importance of physical health. She focuses on the importance of health, prevention, and treatment of minor illness. This is a massive benefit to the community because hospitalization in the Philippines is very hard. The excellent part about this health education is the way we can connect the concept of spiritual health, and we end up presenting the gospel.
- Pray for the transformation of the community starting from the few women who are learning about community health.
- Pray for the wisdom and strength of Elvie as she ministers to the community.
In my previous report, I mentioned the future sanctuary as our place of worship. Emedia, one of the new converts is interested in selling her rights to a piece of property at a low price. We are not yet able to start construction due to the lack of finances but are praying for God’s blessing on our desire for a church building. The location is an ideal site within the community.
- Pray for the construction of a church building.
- Pray for our AWANA teacher training in December on the 27th.
- Pray for our Christmas parties in Sitio Bankerohan, Sitio Libo, and Sitio Baha-Baha on December 23rd.
Light is significant in our lives because it is hard to live in the darkness, especially for the children. In my previous reports, I shared about the lack of electricity in the community, the seemingly impossible obstacles to installing power, and this makes it harder for the children to study and do their homework. God is sovereign in answering our prayers. The electrical company installed six electrical posts and connected to every house. The children will have light to study, and everyone is sleeping better, with less disturbance by mosquitoes and heat. My next project is for street lights. Give thanks for the blessings of electricity.
Our hope and transformation are by Christ alone because He is the God of love and second chances. This picture was one of our volunteer skits performed during the community feeding. The skit shares the image of a person who has been in bondage to the world’s wickedness but is set free and transformed when he found Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
The skit was indeed a picture of the life of the actor who played the part of Jesus. His name is Peter, and he has been a volunteer since we started this ministry. He is married and has a seven-year-old son. A few years ago, he became addicted and dependent on illegal drugs. This destroyed his family as his wife was unable to deal with his addiction and decided to separate from him. He was left without a family, home, direction or hope. When we saw the situation, my wife, myself and other concerned family and friends worked together to help the couple. We mentored Peter and his wife. By God’s grace, just last year, their marriage was restored, and Peter is getting back to a normal life. They are both active in the church and participate in our church planting ministry. Peter is attending Bible school. Our hope is indeed in Christ alone!
- Pray for Peter to no longer be tempted by these vices, no matter how strong the temptation.
- Pray for the provision of their family, as due to Peter’s studies, his wife is the only one working to provide for their daily needs.
We praised God for his faithfulness in providing for the needs of His work. Every month it is a mystery and puzzle of how the funds for the monthly feedings of the children will be met. The Lord always provides. I see much growth in the children from this ministry. They are healthier, building friendships with each other, becoming more respectful and obedient as their characters are molded, and are showing so much excitement in being together. I rejoice most about the deep hunger and interest of the children in the Word of God. This month, we had the children bring their plates, forks or spoons, and taught them how to wash their dishes after they ate. The parents were happy to see their children learning simple chores, and the children enjoyed the process as well. The children learned about obedience, cleanliness, orderliness, helpfulness, and diligence. Our goal is to teach Biblical values and practical living skills in the application of Biblical principles.
Praise God for the provision for the monthly feeding for over a hundred children and the witness this ministry brings to the community that opens doors for the gospel.
Our outreach ministry to Sitio Libo is growing and now includes seventy children and ten adults who regularly attend. Our relationships with the community are getting deeper; parents are offering their help to prepare and serve food. One of the residents, Nene, was allowing us to use her house as the location to gather the children every Sunday. Unfortunately, we will be unable to continue using this space in the future because it is being rented. We are searching for a vacant lot or house that is big enough to hold the entire group.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of the children as they will be the future leaders of the church.
- Pray for God to provide a large enough location for us to meet in the future in Sitio Libo.
The livelihood program in Sitio Bankerohan and Sitio Baha-Baha are growing and expanding their projects to include the production of a dishwashing liquid in addition to the detergent. The program provides additional income for the participants and is offering a healthy and productive alternative to the gambling and laziness that was characteristic of the community. The people are busy and enjoying what they are doing.
- Continue praying for the livelihood program in Sitio Bankerohan and Sitio Baha-Baha.
- Continue to pray for this program to open doors for the gospel.
- Praise the Lord for this program’s role in enabling participants to apply Biblical principles by offering an opportunity for gaining a work ethic and earn an honest living.
The Friday discipleship class has been eager to have a corporate worship service, but we had not yet found a location. Praise the Lord for answered prayers, Emidia, offered to sell us the rights to use a vacant lot at a low price and we desire to construct a building before the end of the year.
- Pray for the process to go smoothly and for the ability to start construction soon.
- Pray for the safe delivery of the baby of Desiree; she is seven-months pregnant.
I am excited to share that we have started the new outreach in Sitio Libo. Thank for you for prayers. We praise God for answering this prayer abundantly. It was amazing to see God working in the hearts of people; He raised more volunteers so that we could reach out to the youth and parents in addition to our original plan of reaching the children. We spent three months in prayer, with visits to the location to establish healthy relationships with the people and lots of investment before we launched this new outreach. Pray with us to for unity between our volunteers and the community of Sitio Libo. We desire to bring the community as a whole to Christ.
- Pray for the new outreach to Sitio Libo to start smoothly and continue to grow in numbers.
- Pray for an active group of believers in Sitio Libo to become leaders and witnesses to their community.
The children were so excited when I announced the weekly Bible class. They listened attentively at their first lesson. Eunice is their teacher and a new volunteer. She is a college student, and her parents are working abroad. We are excited that she has devoted herself to serve God by helping in our outreach ministry rather than roaming the city with friends. She leads singing and teaches Bible stories so the children will gain knowledge of God and an understanding of salvation.
- Pray for the children to continue to grow and seek the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior.
- Pray for Eunice to grow in the Lord and be a witness to those around her.
- Pray for her to find comfort and strength in the Lord despite being far from her parents.
Philip is one of our young people and just returned from his internship as a seaman student. We invited him to observe in one of our outreaches, and later he texted me to ask to be a regular volunteer with the youth. We rejoiced for his commitment. Our greatest need was with the young children, so he graciously offered to minister to them. He and the children are excited to meet every Sunday afternoon. We also are grateful for Nene, she is not yet a Christian but offered her house for our class with the children.
- Pray for Philip, for his love for God and the ministry to grow deeper.
- Pray for the salvation of Nene, we have invited her to join the Bible study, but she is hesitant at this time.
What a joy and privilege it is to lead young people to Christ. The youth was shy when we first invited them to join the Bible class because we were strangers. When we praised God together, we were surprised that they responded so enthusiastically to the Word of God on the very first day of our outreach. We gave them Bibles because they are so eager to learn about God. As I listened to their stories, there was a common thread of gratitude and thankfulness that we had come to their place. They are now excited to meet us every Sunday.
Jahzel was a former youth at our church but for many reasons, she became discouraged and stopped doing ministry work. She is now a full-time teacher at the same school as my wife, Christine, and we have been trying to coax her into ministry again. We praise God that she is still committed to volunteering with us and is more passionate now about ministering to others. She is our team leader in the Sitio Libo outreach and has recruited two teachers to minister too.
- Pray for the youth to continue to seek and grow in the Lord despite peer pressure.
- Pray for Jahzel and her fellow teachers, for their passion for God and ministry will continue until the Lord returns.
God is our generous provider. This month we fed the children in Sitio Libo a meal at our first meeting. God provided for all our needs, not only the money to purchase food but also the number of volunteers needed, strength, and pleasant weather for the event. We were able to feed the children and their parents too! They enjoyed the delicious food, fun and games, prizes, and the Word of God.
We praise God for the women who responded to the Word of God. About ten women attended the first Bible study in Sitio Libo. While the children were having their Bible class, we asked these women if we could do a separate Bible study with them and they said yes. We gave them each a copy of the Bible in their language, and they were so excited to have a personal copy of the scripture. Alvin and John are leading the Bible study while I focus on disciplining the new believers in Sitio Bankerohan and prepare them to be future leaders in the church.
Praise God for the provision for the monthly feeding event and the blessing upon the community of Sitio Libo.
- Pray for Alvin and John, and their families, that they will grow deeper in their relationship with God.
- Pray for Desiree, John’s wife. She is pregnant, and we are praying for the safe and healthy delivery of the baby.
- Pray for the women in Sitio Libo as they started to seek the truth, that the Holy Spirit will continue to convict their hearts, and that they will continue to seek the Lord earnestly.
Our Bible study in Sitio Bankerohan is continuing and almost every Sunday there are new faces at the meeting. Our lessons are going deeper as we move from “knowing Christ” to “following Christ.” We praise God that many are regularly attending and have expressed the desire for a more official worship service in their area. Our style is to start with a Bible study, like a house church, as we teach and prepare the people to organize into a local church. Peter plays the guitar. He had a very dark story in his former life and is finding comfort and joy in growing in the Lord.
- Pray for the regular attendees in Sitio Bankerohan to continue growing in the Lord.
- Pray for Peter and his family. Peter is studying full-time at the Bible college in Cebu, and his wife is working to support the family. Pray for provision for their daily needs.
The youth in Sitio Bankerohan are growing in the Lord. Three months ago they used to roam around and play computer games all the time, but now they are excitedly waiting for us every Sunday in preparation for Bible class. The youth who use to hang out with friends are helping our volunteers to do the monthly feeding events. They are growing in their knowledge of God, and as a result, their character is changing too. I recently visited some of the houses and the parents expressed their amazement and gratitude for the transformation of their children who are now praying at home and living as believers.
At our most recent meal for the group, we celebrated with the theme “Everybody’s Birthday.” We had noticed that very few of the children had experienced a birthday celebration, resources are scarce and some of the parents even forget their child’s birthday. So we celebrated with special food and a cupcake for each child. The children listened attentively to the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Christine, my wife, shared how powerful our God is and that He can use anybody, including little children, for his glory and the expansion of his kingdom. Even the parents were encouraged and challenged by the message.
- Pray that the Word of God is planted in the youth and children’s hearts will grow and bear much fruit.
- Praise the Lord that Greg, the husband of Ailyn, has been saved. The entire family is rejoicing together.
- Pray for enough cars to be available each week for all three outreach sites. We have over twenty volunteers, and the places are not accessible by public transportation.
Our livelihood program is expanding, and I see the impact it is having on the community. I do not see any more gambling in the community and yet there is extra income from the livelihood program. Pray for me to be able to meet the increased demand for the raw materials for the program.
Elvie is doing a lecture in the community on how to prevent sickness, promote a healthy lifestyle and treat minor illness at home. It is a new concept for many people since many of them did not know that a healthy life starts in the home.
Praise God for the change in the community through salvation that affects all aspects of life.
I received a call from my wife that there was a fire in the Barangay Hipodromo where my in-laws live. When I heard the news, I rushed to their house to help them but when I arrived, I saw them crying and holding nothing because the house was burned. The fire started at a neighbor’s house, and due to the narrow road and light building materials of many of the houses, the fire volunteers struggled to contain the fire, and almost two-hundred homes were burned. My in-laws were unable to save any valuables because they were at work. They are temporarily staying at the local center while the area is cleared before they can start constructing a new house.
- Pray for a fast recovery by my in-laws and siblings from the trauma and for them to be able to construct a new house as soon as possible.
- Pray for the people affected by the fire to recover and heal as well.
August 2018I am intentionally discipling four new believers in Sitio Bankerohan so they will grow in the Lord and become future leaders and bring more people to Jesus Christ. I was amazed and grateful to see how the Lord is adding more people to our discipleship every Friday afternoon. These people asked to join us when they saw how I was teaching Jonaly and Ailyn. Since Ailyn’s house was too small for the group, we gathered outside. I am happy to see how eagerly these women learn the Bible and seek to apply it in their lives.
- Pray for the continued spiritual growth of these new believers in Christ.
- Pray for the new attendees to grow in their understanding of the gospel.
Building healthy relationships and growing spiritually in the Lord are vital components of our ministry. Last month, we invited our youth volunteers to a time of team building and refreshment. Most were able to join. We had Bible studies, singing, prayer, personal reflection time and of course had a lot of fun. Everyone was encouraged and refreshed by the word of God and by fellowship with each other.
Give thanks to our team of volunteers and their service to our ministry.
Give thanks for their commitment to our ministry and for their desire to serve God at their highest capacity.
- Pray for our youth volunteers to continue growing in the Lord.
I recently attended the third phase of training in church planting with a group of pastors. We meet every three months for training, mentoring and coaching. I am blessed to be a part of this network of church planters. This training has equipped me to minister more effectively in the field and has provided encouragement and guidance.
- Pray for wisdom and guidance as I apply the principles I have learned from the training to further the work of God’s kingdom.
When John and Alvin became a part of my ministry team, I saw great potential in them. I started training them for pastoral work. At first, John was not confident in managing the Bible study, so I had Alvin stay by his side. John was assigned to lead, and Alvin was there to be his support. Every time John encountered difficulty during the discussion, Alvin would help continue the conversation. As I watch them lead together, I am glad to see their confidence grow. John is now excited to conduct the Bible study. I have John leading for the next several weeks while I take care of communicating with new contacts.
- Pray for the continued growth and confidence of John and Alvin and their effectiveness in ministry.
Give thanks for Alvin’s desire to do fulltime church planting work and pray for wisdom as he pursues this desire.
Language Month, Buwan ng Wika, is a month-long celebration in the schools and an excellent opportunity to share the love of God to the children and their parents. During our outreach, we celebrated uniquely by focusing on the word of God, and how God is the creator of language. The children enjoyed the games, trivia, food, and prizes. We had thirty children and their parents attend from Sitio Libo. As a result, the people of Sitio Libo are open and ready for a children’s outreach program. Glory to God for such a great opportunity to preach the gospel.
The night before the Buwan ng Wika celebration, I visited the house of Ailyn for ministering. To my surprise, I found the youth busy preparing decorations for the event and practicing their presentation. Mary Mae is a young believer who took the initiative in gathering the youth in her neighborhood to help prepare for the event. I was blessed to see the youth volunteers happily serving the Lord and their spiritual transformation.
- Pray for these young volunteers to continue growing and serving the Lord and be future strong leaders in the church.
- Pray for the parents of the youth, that they will also be reached with the gospel.
- Pray for the seeds planted in the hearts of the children and their parents, to sprout, grow and bear much fruit.
- Pray for wisdom as we continue to minister in Sitio Libo and launch a children’s outreach program.
I praise God for answered prayers and his provision. We were able to feed the children in Sitio Bankerohan a full nutritious meal this month. I saw joy in their eyes as they enjoyed the food and company of each other. We also fed about thirty children in Sitio Baha-Baha. Though it was raining there, and we were in an open space, we were able to manage the situation, and the people remained excited and blessed by the meal and the spiritual food from the Word of God.
Give thanks for the provision for this past month and the witness provided through this service.
- Pray for provisions to continue these monthly feedings of the children.
Luz has six children, three of them are still in school. Her husband, Renie, is working in Midoro as a welder but seldom sends money to support his family. The family lives below the poverty level. Their house is floating on the sea, and when it is high tide, they are unable to cross over until the next low tide. As a result, the children’s learning is suffering. When Luz started attending our Bible study, I noticed her children were learning slowly because they were not able to eat three meals a day. When I visited their house, I saw how difficult their situation was. We provided them with rice so they would have more food. I desire to build a bridge from bamboo so they can cross over during high tide and attend school. Luz and her children regularly attend our Bible study and outreach on Sunday.
- Pray for materials to build a bridge from bamboo for the family.
- Pray for the spiritual growth and daily needs of the family despite their hard financial situation.
Obedience Based Bible Study
Our, “Obedience Based Bible Study” (OBBS), in Sitio Bankerohan, is growing in attendance in its second month. We started with eight people and now have more than twenty people attending. We have outgrown the indoor room, so we decided to meet under a tree outside.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of these new believers and for good weather.
The first time I met Nick (the man in the white shirt), he did not want to talk to me. He would sit under the tree almost every day because he is suffering from physical illness, but every time he saw me, he would walk away. Just this month, I intentionally approached him and prayed for him. The following week, he sat down and listened to our Bible study. Now he attends Bible study every Sunday with his wife Dayan.
- Pray for physical healing of Nick.
- Pray that Nick understands the gospel and comes to faith in Jesus.
In the previous update, I reported the tragic loss of Jessyman’s two-year-old son, John Carlo, and the grief of the entire family. I have continued to visit the family for counseling. Despite the shocking tragedy, Jessyman has continued to attend the Bible study every Sunday and now her husband and mother are attending with her. She is growing in her relationship with the Lord and healing from the tragedy.
- Pray for the continued emotional healing of her family and their spiritual growth.
Youth and Children’s Ministries
Naomi and Ellen are volunteers from the church discipling the youth in Sitio Bankerohan to follow Christ. We started to reach out to the young people in June and were able to gather about twenty of them in a Bible study, but only ten of them are actively attending. Most of these young people come from broken families and they hunger for love and care. They are grateful to God because in this group they feel accepted, cared for and loved. Just this month, we gave them Bibles to help them grow in their personal walk with God.
In my last update, I talked about the children’s ministry in Sitio Bakerohan. I have seen the hand of God working powerfully in the life of the children as well as the volunteers. The children are excited to share what they have learned with their parents, especially the gospel stories, and are memorizing Bible verses. Just this month, our volunteers have noticed these children, between first and fifth grade, can still hardly read and write, so they started teaching them academics in addition to the Bible lessons.
- Pray for the leaders as they teach both academics and Bible lessons.
- Pray for the spiritual growth of the children.
Our greatest joy in this ministry is to see a person transformed from being an unbeliever to become a disciple maker. I’ve started doing intentional discipleship with four women, Jonalyn, Virginia, Ailyn, and Amelyn to be future Bible study leaders in their community and to become future leaders in the church.
At our recent event to feed the children, I was surprised to see Ailyn’s husband, Greg, helping prepare food. At the time, he was also drunk. Later in the day, while I was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, Greg was listening attentively to the message. The next Sunday, Greg was sober. He used to drink every Sunday, but this time something was different and unexpectedly, Greg attended the Bible study. Pray for him to continue attending the Bible study and for his reception to the gospel message.
- Pray for these women to be a strong witness to their husbands, family, and community
- Pray for the women to continue growing in the Lord and for the salvation of their husbands.
New Community Outreach
In my previous report, I asked for prayer for the community of Sitio Libo. I met Judith (the woman in the white sleeveless shirt). The second time we met, she brought twenty other women from her neighborhood and I shared the gospel with them. We are now doing a Bible study every week and planning to start a children’s outreach next month.
- Pray for the gospel with continue to spread and these first twenty-one women will become witnesses to their community.
Goodbye to Jaime
Our heart is sad because of the loss of our brother Jaime. Recently, his wife Conchita and sister Ely started attending the Bible study. After the first time, they had more questions and invited me to their house. When I arrived, I met Jaime suffering from illness. I shared the gospel and prayed for him. Just a week after his acceptance of Jesus as his Lord and Savior, God took him to his eternal home. I praise God that Conchita and Ely are still attending the Bible study. Pray for them to be comforted.
In my last update, I celebrated the baptism of the seven believers and explained the persecution they are facing in their community. We were blessed to give new Bibles to the believers to replace the ones that had been burned. The group is also struggling with internal family conflicts since many of the families in the Bible study are related, and work conflict as well as community persecution. Only a few are remaining faithful to attend the Bible study. Pray for the reconciliation of the families and the faithfulness of the believers despite the persecution.
(1) Lucina was the first person I met in the community. She accommodated me in her house during my first visit in the area. Lucina was separated from her husband for 25 years. Her husband left her with seven young children two of whom died from sickness after a few years. The rest of her children married except her youngest son who stayed with her but is a drug addict and is continually giving her a hard time. Lucina makes her living from collecting seashells. She rises very early in the morning and goes out to the seashore to find shells to sell in the marketplace.
I praised the Lord for providing me teachable, passionate, yet humble disciples. I had my first discipleship meeting with my core leaders to prepare them before we engaged the community. We must prepare our hearts first then our skills. These young couples enjoy learning the word of God and are excited to go out and proclaim the kingdom of God in the community. I schedule weekly discipleship with them to enhance both their knowledge and skills in the ministry and to deepen their love of God and their experience in God.
(2) My wife Christine is a Godly woman. She graduated from Evangelical Theological College of the Philippines with an emphasis on AB-Christian Education. She loves children and works tirelessly in the church. Currently, she is teaching in a private school at Abby Park Academy. Our eldest son Kerith Ravine is eight years old; he is in second grade studying at Living Stone Christian Academy. He loves to play drums and enjoys attending junior church.
Our youngest son Kanah Ravine is three years old. He is a miracle baby because God performed a miracle in his life when he was still an infant. Three weeks before Christine gave birth, Kanah Ravine was diagnosed to have a diaphragmatic hernia during the ultrasound. The doctor said that there was a hole in his diaphragm which had caused all his intestines to go up into his left lung, so his lungs would be undeveloped. At that time, we were in denial, so we went to get a second opinion which caused us to become more stressed because our son’s condition became evident in the second ultrasound. We went back to our original doctor. The doctor said to us that the case of our child is very rare, and he had no chance to live because he did not have a left lung. The only thing that they would be able to do after he was born was insert an oxygen tube while they did surgery to put his intestines back in place and close the diaphragm hole. The chances of survival were small, even if he survived the surgery they told us there was a chance he would only live more than a few months because of his oxygen needs. Our hearts were grieved when we discovered this information.
I prayed continually during this time, I said, “Lord if you let this child live, please let him enjoy his life here on earth and let us enjoy the time we have with him. If you let this child die I will still praise you, I will still worship you, I will still love you, and I will still serve you.” The day before and during the delivery the whole church prayed, and I said to the doctor, “Doc, I prayed for this child, so when he comes out do not perform the surgery if God will let him live he will be whole. And if not he will die peacefully.” The doctor did not agree at first, but later he consented.
God was so gracious to us, after hours of a confusion and extreme tension the doctor called me saying, “Sir, please come to the nursery your child is doing well, and everything is normal.” I ran crying and praising God! I asked the doctor, “Doc what happen to his diaphragmatic hernia?” He replied, “I don’t know your child is just healthy.” After our conversation, I went back to the room thinking that everything was fine.
After four hours, the doctor called again and said, “Sir we have another problem with your child, he has “severe anemia,” and in your case, you can only have one child, and the rest will all die because your blood type is not compatible with your wife. So, I asked, what is the best thing that we can do? He replied, we will try to do a blood transfusion, and we’ll try to double the amount of blood needed if it works the child will be saved, but if not, he will continue to need blood transfusions for the rest of his life because he is in danger of getting “leukemia.” So, we did, but the problem was that after many blood screenings coming from many donors nothing was compatible with my child. The doctor said, “We have no choice our last chance is the mother’s blood.” My wife was recovering from her cesarean section gave her blood to our child. At that time, I was comforted by God’s word in Philippians 1:6 “Being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
We believe in the power of prayer. Part of my weekly discipleship with my core team is to teach them the importance of reliance on God in worship both in their ministry and daily lives. After a recent discipleship class we went out for practical application, we roamed around the whole Tayud for prayer and groundwork. We went to the streets, establishments, remote places, and residences to pray for the salvation of the people. We prayed for people who were enslaved to sin and the restoration of their homes. We prayed for open doors for the gospel and transformation of the residents. John and Desiree are newlywed and new in the ministry particularly to this field; they were very excited to go out and practice what they’ve learned from our discipleship class. Alvin and Melchora are a young couple who are also committed to this ministry. Alvin is a Bible school student right now and at the same time working as a sales agent to provide for his family. Alvin has a big heart and desire to work as a full-time pastor but is still in the process of figuring out how he will provide for the needs of his family. We praised God for opening both our hearts and eyes to see the situation and needs of our target community as we do the prayer caravan.
It is a privilege and honor to mentor a fellow worker in the Lord. Pastor JonJon Delig is an Evangelical Free Church pastor from Panaytayon Agusan a very remote place in Mindanao. He has two children, and a wife Eunice (who was born blind). Pastor JonJon is indeed a church planter by heart and calling. He has already planted three churches and is the one pastoring them as well. He shared with me that he struggles in the ministry because his wife is disabled and he is only receiving a very small amount of financial support from the church which is only three thousand Pesos monthly and is not consistent. Out of three thousand, he will give one thousand pesos to Andrew his brother in law who is also blind because he helps him fulltime in music ministry at the church. His wife sometimes is discouraged because of their situation and urges him to look for a secular Job, but he is committed to the ministry and his calling.
So, he came to me and asked me if I could mentor him in his ministry because he badly needed it. Upon hearing his situation, I agreed to disciple him beginning this month, God also convicted my heart to help not only in mentoring but also in their financial needs. My wife and I decided to give them one thousand pesos each month, I know it’s a small amount, but it will help them in their personal needs. After we talked, I saw the joy and new courage in his heart to continue in the ministry. God has blessed us in many ways so that we can also be a blessing to others.
Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
(3) During my outreach evangelism day in Sitio Baha-Baha Tayud, I made connections with the residents. As I walked the streets, the Lord led me to a group of people who were gambling. At that moment I said to myself, “The gospel must be preached in this place.” I approached one of the women wearing black and offered a prayer for them, they immediately stopped playing and allowed me to pray. After I prayed, I told them I would come back to start a Bible study with them, and they said they would like to be part of it.
Delsa, The Crying Lady
I met a widow named Delsa, she’s been a widow for 13 years and has six young children. I started a conversation with her outside her home, and as I talked to her, she started crying. She told me that her son had just committed suicide, he was 29 years old. She then said her mother had died a few days ago before her son died. I talked to her and prayed with her; I shared the gospel and the peace that God offers us. Delsa felt relieved and found new hope in Christ. I invited her to have a Bible study after her son’s funeral.
During our home visits, Celing was one of the first people who accepted us in her home. During our visit, I explained the gospel, and she agreed with what I shared. Pray for this family, Celing has eight children, and they live in a very unhealthy home. They are squatters, and the homeowner has asked them to move by next month. Help us pray that they can find a place to live.
First Community Outreach and Bible Study
My entire family and I went on our first community outreach to the people we encountered last month. We went back to Sitio Baha-Baha Tayud, Consolacion. This place is very remote, and nobody has reached them to share the gospel. Most of the people who live in this area are scavengers who live together in one place, and they make their living by collecting garbage. I was overwhelmed to see their hunger for God’s word, I shared the gospel and praised the Lord for the twelve people who heard and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Each one of them was happy to receive a Bible.
The road to the people needing God
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
What a fulfilling joy to see my son Kerith Ravine joyfully serving the Lord to the best of his capacity. Before we reached the place, he was so excited to see the children and share with them about Jesus. My wife allowed him to sing, play with the kids, assists, and serve the snacks. I praised the Lord that he was able to establish a friendship with the kids. Not only my son but also the children of my team were enjoying serving the Lord to the best of their capacity. We intentionally trained and exposed our children to engage in actual ministry in the field as part of fulfilling our mission, vision, and core values in obedience to the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 13:2-3 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.”
What a real blessing to have a family in Christ. The Mabolo Evangelical Free Church in Cebu Philippines, (this is the church that I am formerly serving at as the Senior Pastor) has commissioned us as church planters in the northern part of Cebu. What a great joy and assurance in doing ministry knowing that the whole church is praying for us faithfully.
After raising up a new pastor to lead the congregation, I resigned from this church as the Senior Pastor effective March 2018 to do full-time church planting work. My decision to leave was painful to my wife and I, we both had tears in our eyes, but the church released us with blessings and commissioned us with great joy knowing that my direction in the ministry is in obedience to God’s calling for the greater work of God’s kingdom. Rev. Presco Allocod, the president of the Evangelical Free Church of the Philippines, was the one who officiated the commissioning. What a grateful and humbled indeed that the church loved us so much and supported us tangibly in the ministry.
After a full day walk of evangelism, my shoes gave up. But it was indeed a fruitful, productive and fulfilling day. We were able to minister, share the gospel, and make new bible study contacts in the community. All the glory and honor of God alone.
(4) I attended the monthly Barangay council session as a courtesy to the local government authorities. I praised God for the positive response of the Barangay Officials. They allowed me to engage the community by presenting different topics. Some of the items I introduced are moral recovery, hygienic training, teaching the word of God, and other related programs that benefit the community. I’m seeing God work powerfully in these government men, they have allowed me to have contact with the Roman Catholic church leaders and even given me a specific place in the Barangay area to work. I praise God for using the Holistic Community Development Initiative as a bridge to connect with people.
I was asked by the Barangay Captain to speak with their women’s organization to promote the different topics that I proposed to the officials. The women were interested and excited to start the community program. I met Jonalyn, a person of peace who God sent to us. I asked her to gather the women in the community, and she did. We started the hygienic training, and the door was opened to share the Gospel.
As a result of the meeting with the women’s organization, God opened a door in Sitio Bankerohan. I praised God because we had about fifteen women attend our first community development meeting. I connected with the people and shared the gospel. The group of women will meet every week for Bible study and livelihood training. These meetings will help them become free from spiritual poverty and financial poverty as well. During our meeting, the parents requested if I could teach their children about God, I was blessed by the parent’s request. I have prayed for another children’s outreach, and our team is now planning a feeding next month to connect with the children and share the gospel.
I praise God for the privilege to attend a three-day intensive church planting training with the Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines (CAMACOP) Pastors. The training is a four-phase church planter training, and I recently attended the second phase. The training will help me enhance my skills and widen my connections for the advancement of God’s kingdom. This training is contextualized to the Filipino culture. I thank the Lord because He is Jehovah Jireh and provides help in areas I am weak in my ministry.
Last month we prayed for the opportunity to feed a community through our food ministry. The women’s group from our church (Mabolo EFC) sponsored our first feeding at the Sitio Baha-Baha outreach. Both children and parents were blessed with the Spiritual food (Bible) and Physical food (rice, chicken, and spaghetti). We gave them a heavy meal because these children and parents are mostly from the poorest of the poor and rarely eat delicious and nutritious food. I am so blessed because we did not minister only to the community but also to members of our church. Some of the women who went with us had never participated before. Many of the women who went testified about their experience. The women shared how they were blessed and encouraged to have served the community, and how their passion for the ministry has grown into a deeper understanding of what it means to serve.
I praise God for giving us another opportunity to start a new Bible study inside a warehouse in Pagsabongan, Mandaue. These people are workers from different companies, and I gathered them in one of the shops inside the warehouse to teach a Bible lesson. They are hungry for the word of God, during our first bible study 16 people heard the gospel including two young couples who were very eager to learn the Bible. They wanted to have a bible study every Tuesday night.
The great commission is not making converts but making “disciples” of all nations. Every Thursday we have intentional discipleship training with my core group of people. I am training them and preparing them to become future pastors in our church planting works. It is a great joy and fulfillment to see Alvin and John who used only to play guitar and now lead the bible study on our outreach days. I was able to open a new bible study with two young couples in our neighborhood and delegated our bible study outreach in Baha-Baha to John and Alvin. It encouraged me so much that these guys have potentials in the ministry. Now every Sunday they take charge of our bible study in Baha-Baha, and I lead the Bible study in our neighborhood.
Ministry is all about healthy relationships. What excites me are the relationships I build when I go out into the community to preach the gospel. Elrod is a child that was very shy when I first met him. We invited him and his friends to our bible stories> At first, they did not join, but as the weeks went by Elrod and his friends felt more comfortable. Every week the children are excited about the bible stories and activities. Because of our relationships with the children, the parents have also started developing a relationship with us and have heard the gospel as well.
Summer is one of the most awaited seasons for every student. Every summer my son Kerith Ravine is excited about the camps and travels. He recently attended a 3-day Kids Camp in South Cebu, Philippines. My son had never been away for three days and was nervous and excited to feel the independence. It is our joy to see our son growing not just in the physical aspect but spiritual as well. His experience in the camp was meaningful and transforming. He was able to manage himself, sleep without looking for us at midnight, and establish himself and connect with new friends. He learned a lot from the God’s Word. He enjoyed the activities, co-campers, and counselors. When he came home, he expressed his gratitude and thanked us for sending him to the camp. My son has developed a passion for helping children, especially those living on the streets. He is excited to help his mom in our children’s outreach every Sunday afternoon.
(5) I praise God for the privilege of ministering to the police officers in our town (Consolacion, Cebu). Shortly before our Barangay Election, the chief of police of our city called us and asked us to share the Gospel and pray for all the Police and Commissioners on the election personnel team before their deployment to there respective areas. It was around 2 AM when I went to the Police Station and Municipal Hall to share the Word of God and pray a blessing and protection for these men. It was indeed a great blessing that we were able to connect and establish a good relationship with them. God has opened doors for us in our government offices to share the gospel.
My ministry team has committed themselves to depend on the power and leading of God in their personal lives and ministry. We determined to have a weekly dawn prayer meeting every Saturday. We meet on an open hill which is overlooking the town of Consolacion. We prayed for the salvation of the entire city and our intimacy with God during this time. The dawn prayer meeting is one of the things that my team looks forward to most each week. It refreshes, revives, and prepares our soul for our day and ministry to the community.
Family camp is one of God’s instruments to equip and encourage the whole family to serve God together. Just this may; I had the privilege to be the main speaker of our EFCP family camp. This family camp composed of 10 local EFC churches from different districts was indeed a very fulfilling and encouraging ministry for the whole family. Because of busyness, most families do not spend enough quality time with each other. At this event, these families were able to bond with each other and be ministered to by the word of God. It was also an encouragement for our family to have quality time and be refreshed through this camp. I was ministered to as well and reminded that one of my primary ministries is our Family.
Stephanie (white shirt) and Narsel (black shirt) are best friends. They are our newest visitors to the Bible study and hungry for the word of God. During our first meeting, I shared with them the gospel through the life of Zacchaeus. After sharing, I ask them, to whom you will share this with? And it just so happened that Stephanie’s cousin dropped by, so she called him and invited him to sit down and listen. Right away I ask Stephanie if she could share the Gospel with Bem-Bem (her cousin). Without any hesitation, she shared what we just studied, this happened again with her step-brother. Stephanie and Narsel continued to study the scripture every week.
One of our strategies in evangelism is “Pray, Care, and Share.” I went to the community in Sitio Bankerohan to do house to house pray, care, and share visits. Concordia, a Grandmother, is one of the people that I prayed for and shared the gospel with, she is 90 years old and is still strong enough to collect seashells every morning. Jonalyn is a granddaughter of Lola Concordia. During our conversation, I found out that her nephew was in the hospital for dehydration and she was not on good terms with her husband. So, I took the opportunity to show the love of Christ through tangibly caring for her and helping her financially with the hospital and counseling so that she can reconcile with her husband.
Lighthouse Community Church is a five-year-old independent church. The man who started this church is a very close friend of mine, Pastor Philip Lim. He started this church with a few people from my Bible study. Three years ago, God called Pastor Philip Lim to do tribal missions in Palawan. That is when he departed the church and unfortunately left no one to take care of it.
Our desire for the community is not only to reach them for Christ but also to help them improve their quality of living. So we try to be “holistic” in our approach by helping the person develop in the physical, spiritual, social and emotional aspect of life.
Since most of the people that we reach are extremely poor, we introduce them to a livelihood program in the area. We praised God that we were able to conduct livelihood training in Sitio Baha-Baha and Sitio Bankerohan. We taught them how to make soap detergent powder, and the women are enjoying making their first products.
(6) June 3rd, 2018, was opening day for the 2018-2019 school year. The children were so excited for their first day of school, but many of them were sad because they didn’t have school supplies. So the church decided to give them a gift by hosting an event called “Back to School Fun Day.” We bought school supplies and packed them according to grade levels.
We praised God that 137 school kids in Sitio Bankerohan and Sitio Baha-Baha received their bundles of supplies. The children live in the coastal squatter area, and most of their parents have no permanent jobs. I also found that the whole community has no electricity and these children struggle when they are trying to study and do their homework. They even walk 2-3 Km back and forth every day to reach the public school. Despite all these hardships, the children are eager, diligent, and attend school every day even if many of them do not have much. We also praised God for providing volunteers from our church to help assist us with the event.
During the gift-giving, I was surprised by how many people came. The entire community gathered in the open space both adults and children, and in the middle of our program, God impressed on my heart to share the gospel of Jesus Christ because I might not see them again after the event. So, I took the microphone and started preaching Jesus as the Savior and Lord. I praised God because more than a hundred of them were able to hear the gospel and were responsive to the word of God. The harvest is plentiful all we need to be is ready to preach the gospel in season and out of season.
God can use anybody including children to make a significant impact for his Kingdom. Our little boy (Reed) is three years old. Before we gave away the school supplies to the students, he was thrilled to go to the community and meet other children. He joyfully helped us prepare the materials and during the event was busy helping us give snacks to the children while other volunteers distributed the gifts. As a father, it is a great joy to see my children enjoy serving God and helping us in the ministry in their capacity. Reed is very excited to go with us every Sunday to Bankerohan and Baha-Baha to help out during our outreach as well us to play with his new found friends.
These children in Bankerohan were attentively listening when I shared the gospel with them through an object lesson. While I was presenting the gospel, they were very engaged and interactive. When I asked them to surrender their lives to Jesus, to my surprise not only the children but many of the adults together decided to surrender and commit their lives to Jesus Christ. We will continue to follow up with these people to be sure they understand the Gospel and are committed to following Jesus. We cannot underestimate the role of children in evangelism, they believe it sincerely and truthfully. The encounter with the people was our first, but it seemed as if we already knew each other because they are so close to us and even urged us to come back because they wanted to continue hearing the word of God.
The word of God will never return empty and not accomplish its purpose. A few days after our mass evangelism I returned and found that the people were hungry for the word of God. We started our first Bible study with ten people in the house of Ailyn in Bankerohan. Ailyn has eight children, and they are eager to learn the Bible. Ben was a drunk during the time he visited our bible study and after the Bible study asked us for a copy of the Bible, and he asked me to pray for the salvation of his wife. Days later I heard the news that Ben is no longer drinking alcohol and his wife attended our next Bible study with him. More people came to the Bible Study the following week, so we decided to do it in the open space since there was not enough space for us in the house.
We praise God for the new Children’s outreach that God has opened for us in Bankerohan. After our school supply outreach, we returned and had about 70 children from preschool to high school see us again. These children were very attentive and hungry for the word of God. We thank God for providing us with volunteers from our church to help us teach the children how to have a personal and growing relationship with God. They are the active young people in the church and have a heart for the lost. These young people traveled nine kilometers from the church to the outreach site. Those who joined us include: (from the left) Elaisa, our Sunday school teacher, Janiña a new member in the church, Toto a young drummer and sound guy, Trifone the youth president, Khiara the keyboardist, Malaicha a new believer, Kathlene a Sunday school teacher, Gea one of our newly hired full time staff, and Eunice a church youth leader. I praised God that they are a blessing to this community.
An unfortunate and shocking tragedy happened two weeks after our bible study site was established at Bankerohan. A two-year-old died after he wandered off and drowned in the sea. His mother and grandmother had just started attending our bible study. I was told that on June 14 around 11:00 am, high tide was happening, and the sea was at a very high level. While his mother was doing laundry, she lost sight of her two-year-old son John, and a few minutes later her neighbor found John Carlo in the sea. They did everything to revive the child, but when they brought him to the hospital, he was declared dead on arrival. The entire family and community are grieving. I was there when the accident happened and afterward was the one who carried John Carlo from the hospital to the funeral home. That Sunday we decided not to have an outreach but instead stayed with the family to minister and comfort them. We helped the family with the funeral and burial of John Carlo, but most of all prayed for their recovery. By the Grace of God a week after the burial, the whole family including the grandfather, uncles, and aunties started attending our weekly Bible study.
In my previous report, I mentioned that the lighthouse community church (LHCC) expressed frustration in their ministry and their desperate need for help. They asked if I would join them and become their pastor. We informed them that if they wanted to join us, we would be an Evangelical Free church. This month they processed their affiliation to the Evangelical Free Church of the Philippines (EFCP), and on June 18, 2018, the President, members of the National Board of Directors, and other leaders of EFCP interviewed with the LHCC leaders in response to their application for affiliation. This coming September 10, 2018, the EFCP National Board of Directors will have a meeting to make a final decision about this matter.
We started our Bible Study in Sitio Baha-Baha in March 2018. We praise God that after three months of Bible study seven people have decided to profess their faith in Jesus Christ through water baptism publicly. During the baptism, I exhorted them from the word of God as well as reminded them that there may be persecution in the future as they seek to follow Jesus.
When we went home from the baptism, the rials and persecutions came. There was great trouble in the community. Three community leaders that are related to some of the women who were baptized were enraged at us for baptizing them.
Their fury was so great that they came and took our bibles we were carrying and burned them then threatened our brothers and sisters in Christ. A few days later I confronted some of the people that were causing problems, I showed them the love of Jesus and prayed for them. I praise God that most of them had become remorseful and asked to have a Bible study with me. One of the guys who burned the Bibles is still enraged and refuses to talk to me. He continues almost every day to threaten our brethren. But we praise God for our brethren who have stood firm in the faith, and pray for two of our brethren who no longer attend our bible study because of fear.
Our daughter Esther was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis three years ago. Last year she underwent Thymoma Surgery, and we thought that everything was ok. But just this March 2018 her condition became worse, and she underwent a plasmapheresis procedure, but her situation has not improved. I praised God for Pastor Steve from White Fields who took the time to visit Esther in our house and pray for her on his last visit. My daughter was greatly comforted and encouraged. As of now, she is still weak and taking her medication, we are prayerfully hoping for God’s miracle of healing.