My brother Tim in Florida has inoperable brain cancer, so Gina and I used our stimulus checks to fly to the USA for 28 days. Tim is hanging in there. Please pray for him.
We also visited my son Isaac in AZ. He’s a huge source of joy for me.
While in AZ, we were busy testifying before people on many occasions about what God is doing through DCO. Everyone was so welcoming and kind.
THIS GIRL sat by my side for 25 hours (including layovers) from Davao City to Phoenix. Then we were pretty inseparable for a month in AZ and in FL. Then once again side-by-side on the flights crossing the Pacific. Now we’re stuck in a Manila hotel room for a week, quarantined, waiting to get back home to Davao City.
But we never get tired of each other. We never run out of things to talk about. We never stop being best friends. I’m blessed to have you, Gina. ❤
While Gina and I are away, the work in Davao City goes on.
For those who don’t know, 22 people (four families) whom we have gotten to know shared a house which was burned down. The fire also left 1000 other families homeless in an area called Agdao. The fire was tragic, but tragedies can bring out the best in God’s people. Our church is certainly not wealthy, but from their homes they donated several huge sacks full of items to be distributed around the area. (Reminds me of 2 Corinthians 8:1-5!) And later we received a large donation from saints in the USA to rebuild our friends’ house. Daghang salamat sa tanan (many thanks, everyone)!
Sadly, one of the 22 was an elderly lady who was recovering from a stroke when the fire struck. She has since passed away. You’ll see a tarpaulin in the video that was made to commemorate her (a very common practice in the Philippines).
My assistant pastor Oning made a video of our new friends saying ‘Thank you’ to those who gave:
Yogi Berra is mostly known for funny, nonsensical sayings, but I found one that is quite profound.
On the night before we left to go to the USA, some friends threw an impromptu farewell party for Gina and me. Bee forced 😛 everyone to tell a nice memory they had of us. I was really struck by a teen girl who spoke of long ago, when she had not gone to church for some weeks. Through tears she told how she was touched by us messaging her, asking if she was OK, if we could do anything for her. It was such a little thing, but she was moved to tears describing it.
I resolved to do that kind of “little thing” more often.
Why am I so happy? Because I get to do what I love often. Preaching and teaching, that is. So in February—28 days—I scheduled myself preaching or teaching 18 times, and in March 17 times. For those who are curious as to how I am able to teach so often, one thing that helps is that we use STS (Simply The Story), which is a powerful Bible teaching method that engages the students much better than lectures. An STS takes me less than two hours to prepare.
STS works best in groups of 15 or less. It’s being used all over the world, especially in oral cultures (where illiteracy is rampant). But it works anywhere.
First, choose a passage that tells a story. From 8 to 12 verses is a good length. Have someone read it. Then challenge everyone to retell the story, bit by bit, with Bibles closed. Then ask a series of 10 to 12 leading questions that require the disciples to dig deep. (Jesus often used questions to teach.) I like to come up with my own questions first, then look at commentaries on the passage to inspire other questions.
I hope some of you teachers will prayerfully consider trying this method! Let me know if you’d like to know more about STS. Here’s a class that’s teaching the STS method:
One of Gina’s ministries is to oversee parents as they lead their kids in daily devotions at home. Jhong’s and Prescy’s sons Anzehl and Paul are two of the many kids who are learning to love Jesus. The boys call me “Lolo (Grandpa) John.” ❤ I like being a grandpa. 🙂 (Prescy has called me “Dad” for seven years.)
“Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.” (Malachi 3:16)
While the world is out doing karaoke or parties or shopping, Oning and others spend Friday nights doing online Bible study.
I recently taught from Luke 7:1-10, where Jesus healed a man from a distance. I noticed that two of these ladies were missing from church. Mom Lilebeth said daughter Krissa had to stay home to care for her little sister Marian, who had a fever. So we prayed for Marian from a distance… and she was immediately healed! Hallelujah!
A prayer meeting in New Valencia, where our newest congregation is.
WHY MOST FILIPINAS NEVER WEAR HIGH HEELS
I just thought it would be interesting for my non-Filipino friends to see how much effort it takes for many millions of Filipinos to simply get from home to the main street, where they can access public transportation. This is a very typical neighborhood. Imagine carrying a baby and groceries through these labyrinthine paths during a rainstorm. Yet I never hear anyone complain about their homes or how hard it is to get around.
(Video is less than 2 minutes.)
Gina and I would love to talk with your fellowship group, Bible study, or church via Skype or Facebook chat. We could talk about whatever you’d like: the Philippines, our mission, our personal testimonies, or to urge folks to prayerfully consider serving the Lord in another culture. I think it would be encouraging for your group–it would certainly encourage us!–and it might inspire more prayer supporters and financial supporters for Davao City Outreach. And it would be a chance for us to “see” the US again for a while. The time factor should be easy enough to work out–in the US, your evening is our morning.
To those who give, thank you so much!
Here are the ways you can donate:
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.
Please do not write to me here. Your message would get buried in the 1000s of spam messages. Please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!