Commissioning Service

It is hard to believe that in less than two months we will be in the Philippines (Lord willing)! Our sending church, Lighthouse Baptist, is having a Commissioning Service for us on Sunday, April 28. If you are not familiar with what a “Commissioning Service” is, here are some details, and why it is important:

  1. Lighthouse, as our home and sending church, is the biblical authority under which we go to the Philippines to start Haven of Grace Seminary. In our ministry, we are responsible and accountable to God through Lighthouse first and foremost.
  2. Lighthouse, based on its biblical authority as a local church, “commissions” us for service (even as Barnabas and Saul [Paul] were commissioned for missionary service by their home church in Antioch – Acts 13:1-3).
  3. The Commissioning Service itself provides to us and to our church family an opportunity to acknowledge our mutual responsibilities, to rejoice together in God’s provisions, to pray for a safe and fruitful ministry, and to say goodbye (for a short time) to our family and friends.

Of course, in many ways, our Commissioning Service will be very different from that of Missionaries from years gone by. One hundred years ago, most Missionaries left for a foreign field with little expectation of ever returning home. They boarded a boat traveling many months by sea to reach a distant land likely to never see their friends and family again. We are grateful for the advances in technology and transportation which will allow us to connect with our families on the other side of the globe in an instant, and even the ability to fly home in less than 24 hours. (Our plan is to return to the States every April and May in  order to visit our supporting churches, and to see our families.)

However, in spite of these differences, much remains the same in our mission. We are being sent out by our local church with the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel and seeing people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, and for churches to be established and strengthened. We would ask that you might pray for us in this endeavor.

Of course, anyone who wishes to attend the Commissioning Service on Sunday, April 28 is welcome to join us. Sunday School begins at 9:15 am with the main service starting at 10:30 am. Lighthouse is located at 1842 Otts Chapel Road, Newark, DE 19702, and further information about the church can be found on their website (www.lbcde.org).

Lighthouse - Church Building PIc

 

Flights Booked!

This past week we booked our flights to the Philippines! We fly out from New York City (JFK) in the early morning hours of May 15. We have a non-stop flight on Philippine Airlines that will get to us Manila on May 16. Our plan is to spend a couple of days with friends in Manila, before flying to Bacolod on Saturday, May 18. Exciting times!IMG_9801.JPG(This picture was taken on our first flight to the Philippines back in August 2017. Jonas was so excited that they gave him a parachute!)

100%

100% is a sweet sound to our ears. It means reaching the monthly support goal we set back in September 2017 to get to the Philippines to launch Haven of Grace Seminary. With a number of churches having taken us on for monthly support over the past couple of weeks, we are excited to announce that we are now at 100%.

We are grateful to First Baptist (Las Animas, CO), Valley Community (Rocky Ford, CO), Westside Baptist (Eugene, OR), and Faith Baptist (Fowler, CO) for welcoming us into their Mission Families.

This has been an amazing journey, and we are truly thankful for the pastors and church families who have partnered with us sharing the same vision to train national pastors for Gospel ministry in the Philippines and all throughout Southeast Asia.

Over the coming weeks, we plan to arrange many of the details for our upcoming travels (we plan to fly out in the middle of May in order to launch the seminary at the very end of June). This includes purchasing airline tickets, applying for Visas, arranging for the purchase of a vehicle once we arrive, coordinating the seminary schedule, registering students, and a host of other details. We are seeking to raise $20,000 for our “Initial Travel and Relocation Expenses” to help cover many of these costs. The exciting news is that we have already raised close to $12,000 of this amount! If you feel led to contribute to this fund, please click on the “DONATE” tab on our website. You will be directed to the Pacific Rim Missions giving webpage. Just be sure to select “Missionary Support Fund-Valiantes” when making your donation.

Thank you for your prayers for us as we make these final preparations.

IMG_5604

Living By the Word

As a father, my ultimate desire is for my children to know, love, and serve God. If I can live out Deuteronomy 6 (personally instructing them in every circumstance of life), and in turn allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate in their hearts a deep love for His Word, then I will consider my life’s work as a father a success. Near the start of 2018, our older two children made it their goal to read through the entire Bible. In the mornings (more often than not), I would find them sitting in a quiet place with the pages of their Bibles opened. Today, after many months of consistently studying Scripture they both achieved their goal. They finished reading the Bible from cover to cover. Needless to say, I am one super-proud daddy.

In Deuteronomy 8 (just two chapters following God’s command in Deuteronomy 6:6 for His Word to be in our hearts), God speaks to Moses and reminds him to observe to do all of the commandments He commanded Him (8:1). And to help illustrate man’s desperate need for the Word, God uses something Moses was all too familiar with–a shortage of food. One of the common troubles Israel faced while wandering in the wilderness was a lack of food. Of course, this makes perfect sense when you understand that the wilderness Israel wandered through was a desert. We have seen a lot of “desert” in our travels out West. Without moisture, there is no prospect of food. Without rain, the ground is dry and barren and incapable of supporting life. This makes what God did in providing for His people for 40 years all the more amazing. And when you consider the fact that God supported 2-3 million people for those years, it is mind blowing.

In verse 3 God reminds Moses of how He humbled him, and caused him to suffer hunger during those wilderness wanderings. This was something Moses would have been painfully aware of. But what is interesting is that in the latter part of verse 3, God gives Moses the reason He allowed His people to face these afflictions. God says He permitted them to suffer hunger physically so that they would understand a spiritual truth. (It is amazing how often God touches our physical lives to communicate a spiritual need we have). But in this particular instance, the spiritual truth God communicated was that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. What a powerful reminder. Though we live in a bountiful land where most do not go to bed hungry, this statement still rings true. God’s Word is the nourishment that feeds us spiritually. Bread may keep our bodies alive, yet it is the Word of God that feeds our souls. And so, we are met with the questions: Am I taking time to nourish my soul on the Word of God? Am I daily taking sustenance from God’s Word? If not, now is a great time to begin making the Bible the priority God intends for it to be in your life.

Devotional Thought from Sarah (Ephesians 1:13)

I just wanted to share this short devotional thought from Sarah on this Monday morning:

“We were discussing this verse last night as a family and I was struck with it’s beauty! All that is needed for eternal life is hearing and belief. God seals us with His Spirit when there is true belief. He calls us His own. True belief will evidence itself in our lives because of the Spirit living within. There is no work involved to become His child. No religious activity confirms our stand with God. It is simply hearing and believing His truth, and we are sealed!”

Image may contain: text