Nearly two weeks ago a plane carried me across the Pacific and into the welcoming hands of my Filipino and American friends here in Iloilo City. It’s great to be back where the Lord has called me to be, to explore unreached places, to seek out new believers and new churches, to boldly go where… okey Star Trek fans, I guess I’m getting carried away.
Anyway, the best part about being back is hearing the reports of how God has been at work during the past year, of my team members’ faithfulness, and the perseverance of those they work with. Yet our progress is but a redeemed drop in an ocean of lostness. The work yet to be done is overwhelming. Your prayers are needed more than ever.
I am eager to get back to work, to find men who are willing to be trained and discipled. But first I have to get settled. My first few days were spent resurrecting my truck that had been in storage for a year, and looking for a place to live. After 3 days of searching, I chose a small house in a good secure neighborhood with plenty of space to store all our family stuff that I will ship back to the U.S. when I ‘retire’ in about 5 years.
Rental property here is usually not kept up very well, so I will have lots to do in the next few weeks (cleaning, washing, repairing, painting, and such). But I’m blessed that Southern Baptists through the I.M.B. provides me a suitable place to live and base my ministry from.
Still, the house here is an empty nest. No kids to share it with. No homeschooling and all the buzz that created. No helper to fix the meals and do the cleaning. I’ve caught myself talking to myself a few times just to break the quietness. I miss my kids. I already miss being a father. Skype and emails will help, but it will not be the same.
Before leaving the U.S., folks asked me about being an empty-nester. My response was, “I don’t know if I’ll cry all day or shout for joy.” So far, it’s been much the former, but I did buy some chocolate today and placed it right in the middle of the refrigerator, no need to hide it anymore!
So, if you have read this far, you can see plenty to pray for. I need it. Coupled with being away from my family, is realizing that the culture of Filipinos, like that in America, is drifting further away from God. Finding and training new believers in Christ is likely to be even more difficult. But the Lord questioned doubting Jeremiah (18:14), “Is the cool flowing water from a foreign land ever snatched away?”
Heavenly Father, pour your grace into the spirit and hearts of those Filipinos who desire to know You. We pray against the powers of this world and of this culture, and ask your Spirit to lift the blinders of those who truly desire to see. By faith we claim that the cool flowing waters of salvation in this foreign land will never dry up. Raise up Filipino men and women who will be mighty in Spirit, champions and heroes of your Kingdom.