I am now back in the United States after spending three very enjoyable months ministering in the Philippines. I know that I have not been very faithful in posting reports of my activities, and for that I apologize. The Lord has been work changing my plans once again, and I was not free to share all the details along the way. If you receive my prayer letter, then you may already have heard all this, but for those of you who only follow me electronically, I wanted to keep you informed as well. Therefore, I am pasting below the text of my most recent prayer letter. Praise the Lord for His perfect plan!
On April 1st, I attended the commencement exercises for Bob Jones Memorial Bible College in the Philippines. As I listened to the testimonies of the graduates, I was struck by the privilege of being involved in this ministry. These students represent an incredible potential to impact the Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia. Ministries that require a missionary to spend years learning the culture and language can be quickly begun and continued under the leadership of well-trained nationals such as these. I listened to their testimonies of how they had grown in their spiritual walk and biblical knowledge, and was amazed that I was even there at all.
As you know, I spent the last two years in Papua New Guinea. Last fall, health problems forced me to leave the country, and visa problems closed the door for a speedy return. Thus, in January of this year, I went to the Philippines intending to stay for three months while I waited for my PNG visa. I have greatly enjoyed being a part of the ministries in the Philippines, as I worked both in New Song Ministries (seeking to make available affordable, God-honoring sacred music) and Bob Jones Memorial Bible College (training nationals for ministry).
My health problems seemed to stay under better control in the new setting, and I found myself able to use my abilities in computers and technology – abilities that had been of little help in the primitive culture of Papua New Guinea. Due to these factors, I was asked to pray about the possibility of remaining in the Philippines, at least for a couple of years. After talking with my father and pastor, we all recognized the Lord’s leading in the change of direction. Both I and Gospel Fellowship Association, my mission agency, sent out letters informing my financial supporters of the change, and I now want to share with you, my praying friends, as well.
I am excited about the opportunities for service in the Philippines. I will be spending most of my time in New Song and the rest working at BJMBC. There are also plans to use my medical skills in mission trips to the rural areas outside Manila. It is a little scary to start all over learning a new culture and language, but I am confident of the Lord’s direction and leading in this decision.
Since I had planned only to stay in the Philippines for three months, I had purchased a round-trip plane ticket and was not prepared to stay for the long term. Thus, by the time you read this, I will be back in the States for a brief stay. I plan to return to the Philippines on June 7th.
Thanks so much for your prayers during this time of transition.