On 8/8/2013, Gina & I left LAX for the adventure of our lives. No regrets! I hope we keep serving here for 33 more years. 🙂
Gina tells me that in the three years since we moved to the Philippines, I have only spoken out loud twice while sleeping/dreaming. She said both times I spoke only in Visayan. Siyempre! Pinoy ang akong kasing-kasing. (Of course! I have a Filipino heart.) #ThePlaceOfMyDreams
Our dear friend Sandra (pictured with daughter Liezel) & her husband Joel ride their bike/carts around looking for recyclables to collect & then sell. It’s their only source of income. They have always been careful to lock the bikes at night…except one time recently, one bike was left unlocked, & it was stolen. So Davao City Outreach bought a cart & paid for it to be welded to another bike Sandra owned.
We have a lot of Muslim neighbors, so we wanted to wait a few months before we did a big outreach to our own neighborhood. We wanted to establish a reputation of being generous & loving to the community before we directly presented the Gospel in a widespread manner. We believe we have such a reputation now. We have outreached around here twice since our last report, & we have people who are coming regularly who were reached during the first one.
It’s common for Filipinos to use umbrellas in the hot sun.
We simply went house-to-house & gave everyone greetings, fliers, & bags of candy. If we had opportunity to witness, we took it.
During the first outreach, we met this mom her son. He was extremely sick with a fever, & she asked us to pray for him. The next day, they came to church. He was good as new, running around & playing with the other boys.
A couple of days ago, we felt the second earthquake of over 5 on the Richter scale within 2016 (this one was 5.5). I was freaking out when I felt my first quake in 2013, but now I’m kinda used to it. 🙂
We recently had a two-part sermon series on a topic I had never preached on before: “Sex: What’s good, & what’s bad?” It was challenging to cover this subject sufficiently, because traditionally such things aren’t talked about in polite settings in this country. Therefore, most Filipinos are seriously under-informed or else badly misinformed by corrupting elements such as the entertainment industry. So we have symptoms such as high rates of child molestation, homosexuality, & unmarried pregnancy. Thankfully the messages were well-received–though I did have one complaint–with more than the usual number of people asking for printed copies of the sermon notes.
We’re back in school! Justine, Cathy, & Gina are ministering to four 6th grade public school classrooms every week in the Values Education program. They are allowed to quote the Bible freely, share the Gospel, & even invite the kids to church! In fact, six kids have recently visited our meetings because of this opportunity…two of them Muslims, who came last Friday & again on Sunday!
–A church member’s 20 year old sister went to live in another part of Davao City two months ago. The family has completely lost contact with her for the last month or so. They don’t know if she is safe or even if she is still in our city. Human trafficking is big business here, so of course we are worried.
–A 10 year old told us during our time of small-group prayer in recent a service that her 18 year old sister is being physically abused by her boyfriend.
Please pray for the families involved, & pray for us to know how we can best serve them.
We had one more emergency, but the situation turned completely around by the grace of God. An older teen who began coming to church a few months ago was physically abused by her older sister about a month ago, so we helped her move in with relatives in another part of the city. Later, the two sisters reconciled. Now the older sister has been coming to church, too!
Gina is often in the kitchen on Sundays before 4am. She is quite gifted at cooking, whether it’s a meal for 2 or for 72. Our feeding ministry goal has been to make it as nutritious & delicious as possible, since some of our friends do not eat well throughout the week. But we have to change that goal; we’re phasing it toward making the meals as cheap as possible. Giving toward Davao City Outreach in July was lower than it has been since April of last year, & we were struggling before July. (We’re not panicking. 🙂 We believe we’re here to stay. But we want to keep you informed.) We have been putting off buying things we’d really like to have, such as a screen for kids’ ministry (now, when we want to show a video, we have up to 30 kids squinting at a laptop).
And we have been delaying renewing my visa (costing an extra P1000 [$21] per month for one-month renewal fees) because we don’t have the money for the long-term visa.
We are so thankful for those who have been giving so generously to DCO, as well as those who continue to lift us up in prayer. We hope some more will be able to give & to pray for this mission. All of the wonderful things that have been happening here lately give us confidence that our God is blessing, & he will provide.
For those who would like to help Davao City Outreach financially:
We could never repay you for your generosity to Davao City Outreach, but certainly “you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:14)
Please forward this website to others who might be interested!
Please pray that God will send more laborers into his harvest field.
UPDATE: A friend set up a GoFundMe account for those who prefer to give that way: