The Bicol Bulletin
Volume 1, Issue 8 - December 2003
As we come to the close of 2003, like many of you, we take time to pause to look at our past, our present and our future. This past year has been an eventful one for us. We started off last January moving to the city of Legazpi, in the Bicol Region of the Philippines. The Lord provided us a beautiful and safe home here that we are thankful for every day. Throughout the year, we have made many friendships in and around Legazpi. Many of those relationships are growing deeper every day. We are thankful for the friends that the Lord has placed in our lives.
In April, Wade was in a serious accident. There were so many issues related to
that, that at times, we felt good just to make it through another day. As we
look back now, we can really see the hand of God in every aspect of the
accident. Although there are still some unanswered questions and some unresolved
issues, we are thankful for the Lord’s protection, His guidance, and His
sustaining grace during the months following.
In September, Joanna got an opportunity to travel with a group to Hong Kong and
into mainland China. It was an exciting time to see how God is at work in those
areas and to see the potential and need for future ministry there. This year has
also been a year for language, language, language! Wade is getting to the point
of thinking, and even dreaming, in Tagalog, so maybe some of it is sinking in!
There are days that it can be very frustrating, but it has become so apparent
how vital it is that we know the language. Please pray that we will be diligent
students! In a culture where
we can survive on English, sometimes it is
difficult to find the motivation to learn Tagalog. But being able to share the
Gospel with people in their heart language will make it all worthwhile!
Christmas is also a time to stop and look at the present. We are so thankful to
be able to be “settled” in our house, with our familiar decorations and
traditions—although the kids have forgotten most everything! We are so looking
forward to the arrival of Joanna’s family in one week! Carly and Caleb are
really excited about seeing their Minnie and Papaw and Uncle Sam. We realize
what a rare opportunity it is for us to be spending Christmas with family. Thank
you Lord for time with loved ones!
But our reflections would not be complete if we didn’t take time to look into
the future. As we enter into 2004, we soon will be entering into another phase
of ministry. We will soon be transitioning from full-time language study into
full-time church planting ministry. We are having a Christmas party for the kids
in our neighborhood on December 23. We have become friends with all of these
kids, but this will be our first evangelistic outreach with them. Beginning in
January, we hope to begin having evangelistic Bible studies in several different
areas throughout the Legazpi City area. Some of these studies will be in English
and others will be in Tagalog. Please pray for us as we seek God’s direction in where we should begin these studies!
Another major part of our present and future ministry is the translation of the
Church Planting Model into the Tagalog language. We have begun this process by
translating some of the Evangelistic Bible studies and Discipleship training
materials. My partner in this endeavor is Bro. Roger “Bong” Duran, my language
tutor. Bong is a member of our church in Bulan, Sorsogon and a graduate of our
Bible college in Negros. He has almost completed his Master’s Degree in
Education as well! My office assistant is Rucel Duran, Bong’s sister. She is
contributing to this project by typing and editing the material. Once we finish
a section, we distribute the materials to some of our Bicol church planters for
revision and implementation. We hope eventually to be able to send these
materials throughout the Tagalog speaking areas. Please pray for us as we
continue this tedious process of translation!
We are thrilled to be a part of the church planting effort by Missionary Doyle
Moore in the Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions. We are excited to be working
together with our national church planters in coordinating our efforts to reach
the southern Luzon peninsula. The Bicol Banka Project is a special project to
raise funds to purchase a boat for our church planters in the inter-island
ministry of the Bicol region. For more information, see the October edition of
this newsletter. Please pray for this project!
As you can see, we feel so many emotions as we look back over the year of 2003.
However, we would have to say that the predominant one is that of thankfulness.
We are so overwhelmed to think that the Lord would choose to send us to this
amazing country at such an opportune time. The Filipino people are such a
gracious people. The Lord is using them to teach us some invaluable lessons! We
are also so thankful for the BMA of America and all the churches and prayer
partners that continue to encourage and support us day by day. It is an honor to
be your missionary here. You are such a blessing to us. Our prayer is that we
can continue to serve Him together until He comes!
Please pray for:
Thank God for:
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