Being an Answer to Prayer

This past Sunday we had the joy of visiting Tabunan Baptist Church and Pastor Tumulak. I had spoken with Pastor Tumulak earlier in the week, and we talked about the possibility of us coming to visit their church. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be there for this particular Sunday, so a friend helped me get in touch with him on Saturday night to confirm whether we were supposed to come or not. In our conversation Pastor Tumulak warmly invited me to come and speak in the morning service at Tabunan Baptist.

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What made this Sunday special was that Pastor Tumulak was also celebrating his 46th Birthday. In fact, he had been praying that God would provide a special guest speaker for the day so he could sit and listen to a message on his birthday. He said during the service that my call (and our coming) was an answer to his prayer! It is really neat for God to use our lives to answer the prayers of a fellow brother (or sister) in Christ.

IMG_20190609_112442-2.jpgIMG_20190609_112422.jpgFollowing the morning service there was a special birthday celebration with a wonderful meal–and of course cake! During this time of fellowship, many within the congregation gave testimonies about how Pastor Tumulak had impacted them through his ministry.

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It was a wonderful day. We enjoyed the fellowship, the singing, but above all, it was a blessing to be used by God!

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Book Published!

God Gives More Grace: Walking with God through Life’s Trials is published by Regular Baptist Press. Copies of the book are now in stock in their warehouse, available for purchase.

Please take a moment to visit the book’s website to find out more information, and to purchase your own copy (shipping out within the next 10 days): https://godgivesmoregrace.com/

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Sign Up Today!

We are excited for the launch of Haven of Grace Seminary. Students can now sign up for our upcoming block course on Apologetics with Dr. Yoh Shirato, or any of the other four courses offered this semester (Hermeneutics, Expository Preaching, Greek Grammar 1, Creation to Consummation). Classes will be held in the evening. More information (including financial costs) can also be found on our seminary website (havenofgraceph.org).

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Celebration!

This past Sunday our family had been invited as the special guests to celebrate the 38th anniversary services for Berean Bible Baptist Church (Binalbagan, Negros Occidental). We were overwhelmed by the hospitality of Pastor Nemeno, his wife Jethrie, and the church family at Berean. It truly was a joyful celebration. (Make sure to scroll down to the bottom to see the video posted as well).

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It was a privilege to get to know Pastor Nemeno, along with his wife Jethrie, and two children
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I was honored to have the privilege to preach in the morning and evening anniversary services.
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On Monday we joined the church family in an outing. Emi made new friends.
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The girls loved playing with the other young ladies at Berean.
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The young people sang a moving special, and did a wonderful job.
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There was a baptismal service following the Sunday morning service.
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We were fed very, very well the entire weekend.
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The auditorium was transformed in the evening for the anniversary celebration.
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There were many young people who are a part of BBBC.

 

Gratefulness

In less than 3 days we begin our journey to the Philippines. To say things are “flying around here” would be an understatement. Honestly, during the past couple weeks it has been hard to even catch our breath. We have been packing, shipping boxes, notarizing documents, and coordinating what feels like a thousand other details. In the midst of this flurry of activity, I have been trying to take some time to think back upon the last 20 months to see how God has encouraged, protected, and guided us along the way. As I look back on these many months, my only response is gratefulness. One thing I am amazed at is how God gave us different “seasons” within this time span, and how everything perfectly fit together. Now, this is not to say that everything was perfect. We faced our fair share of struggle and hardship, yet even those fit perfectly in God’s plan.

So, I thought it would be fun to give some stats about our travels, and what we did over the past 20 months. Our period of raising support ranged from September 2017 through January 2019 (15 months). Here are a couple of stats from that period:

Miles Traveled: 22,500
Accidents: 0
Tickets: 0 (I’m chalking that one up as a miracle 🙂

We raised support primarily in North Central PA from September – November 2017. When then relocated to my parents house for about a month, spending December with them in 2017 before settling in to the Missions House (the Haven of Rest) of our sending church, Lighthouse Baptist Church. We spent the first half of 2018 raising support within a couple hour radius of our sending church. Our little bundle of joy, Noemi Grace, arrived on my birthday (and Mother’s day), and we took a number of weeks off from traveling. About a month after Emi’s birth, we began presenting our ministry once again before making preparations to head out West. In the middle of August we left for the West, first stopping in Michigan, then Wisconsin, Missouri and then Colorado. After spending a short time with Sarah’s family, we left for the far West, first visiting Utah, Nevada, then Oregon. We made it back to Colorado in the middle of October 2018 where we spent the rest of the year presenting our ministry in churches in the surrounding area. This was a wonderful time with Sarah’s family, and we were grateful for the months we could spend with them. This also provided me the chance to spend time working on course material for our first semester.

Soon after the start of 2019, we made our way back East (first making stops at the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter) before arriving back at the Haven of Rest. From the end of January I continued working on course material, as well as making preparations for our move (i.e. applying for visas, figuring out how to get our 2 cats to the Philippines, purchasing luggage, shipping boxes etc.). Since we reached our support goal by the end of January, we only had a very few meetings scheduled, so this allowed us to get involved in the ministries at our home church.

Looking back, at this adventure, I am extremely grateful for the grace God has given to our family, and for the opportunity we have had to serve Him. We look forward to the adventure continuing as we leave for the Philippines on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning. And of course, a special thank you to all those who have prayed for us, supported up, and encouraged us along the way.

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Commissioned for Service

Sunday was a very special and memorable day for our family. Our sending church (Lighthouse Baptist) hosted a Commissioning Service for us. The service included testimonies from family, friends, former teens from our youth ministry (who are now adults and have families of their own), music, preaching, and of course, prayer. I was thankful for the challenge from the Scriptures from Pastor Tobe Witmer (Acts 13), and Mark Kittrell (Philippians 1). Below are some pictures from the day (credit for the photos goes to Mark Kittrell).

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Row of Boxes

Another sign of our approaching departure: A Row of Boxes! Today we shipped out 9 boxes that will travel via sea cargo to Haven of Grace Seminary in Pulupandan, Philippines. The journey for these boxes (if all goes well) should take 6-8 weeks, so we should receive this shipment a month or so after we arrive.

LBC Express is a Philippine-based shipping company, and we were able to drop off our boxes at this small Filipino grocery store in North Philadelphia (just 10 miles from my parents’ house). While there we met family and learned that the husband was originally from Iloilo (a city on the island just to the west of Negros). They were believers, and the wife said, “Thank you for going to minister to our people.” That was an encouragement to hear. We passed along our prayer card to them, and are grateful for more prayer support gained along the way!img_6703