Saturday, June 2, 2018

Too Much to Miss

They’re too poor to afford a foam mattress.  So tonight all 25 young people are sleeping on the floor of a church building.  The church doesn’t have pews, only cheap plastic chairs.  There’s only one restroom and no kitchen.  Just an open sanctuary where flies and mosquitoes are free to enter.

But the young people, mostly grade 11 and 12, didn’t come for the comfort, but to hear something about God.  Most are not yet Christians.  A friend invited them.  For 5 hours today and another 2 tomorrow, they will hear about God’s love, about Biblical principles of relationships, and about learning to love Christ instead of the world.

Earlier this morning I participated in a prayer breakfast with about 2 dozen church leaders.  In the churches where I often speak I heard testimonies of the Lord’s work, including several baptisms.  A Baptist Men’s group has started; I speak there next week.  I shared about the 11 students we have in our BOOST program and the work of our Community Developer in reaching 5 villages for Christ.

Last week I was blessed to speak to about 65 young people during our annual youth camp.  The leaders were college students from previous camps who have grown mightily in the Lord.  These young people stayed for 5 days at a beach ‘resort’, sleeping on bamboo floors and eating very simple and inexpensive food.  They, too, heard messages of God’s love.

Two weeks ago, me and my ministry partner conducted 3 discipleship training groups, each with about a dozen people.  Most are adult leaders from our churches.  For nearly a year these groups have met monthly to learn more about Biblical principles and to deepen their relationship with God.  They are making plans on how they can start similar training groups in their churches.

Recently I made the decision to return to the Philippines next year after my Stateside Assignment.  I will be 62 and eligible for early retirement.  But I know there is no way I can have the degree of influence in the States that I can have here.  I have spent the last 30 plus years of my life learning the language and culture of this people group that I’ve grown to love.  I don’t hear the Lord telling me to stop.

So, in early September I will return to the States for a year-long furlough.  Then, if my health is good and the Lord is willing, I will return to this place where God is working in big ways.  I don’t want to miss it!

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