If you were to ask me the reason our family is following God’s leading to the Philippines, you will find the answer in the pictures within this post. Over the days we have been here, God continues to confirm His direction for our lives by firmly impressing His call upon us to come and help equip and train national pastors here in the Philippines. Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking to a great group of pastors.
This is one of many pastors’ fellowships that regularly meets throughout the city of Bacolod. These men are faithful servants of the Lord who are being used in different places of His vineyard. My hope is to come alongside of these men and have a part in better equipping them for the work God has called them to do by offering accessible seminary-level training. I also long to help train young men who are rising up within their congregations who will soon assume the important and weighty role of shepherding God’s flock. In fact, the weighty responsibility of pastoring a church was the focus of yesterday’s message from Revelation 2.
The picture below reminds us that each of these men have wonderful families and represent great churches. This is a picture of our family with Pastor Kiram and his family. Pastor Kiram and his dear wife have welcomed us so graciously, and it is our prayer that we might also minister to them and be a blessing in return. On Sunday, I had the joy of preaching at Pastor Kiram’s church, Sword Baptist, and meeting his family, along with the congregation he serves.
We are rejoicing in the opportunities God has afforded us in this trip to encourage those who are faithfully serving Him!
We are thrilled to announce that Lighthouse Baptist Church (Newark, DE) officially voted last night to become our sending church. We are so glad to partner with a ministry that has been such an important part of our lives.
For those unfamiliar with what this means, Lighthouse Baptist Church takes on the following vital roles:
- Commissioning us for ministry in the Philippines under their authority as a local body of believers (see Acts 13:1-3 to find the pattern for this in Scripture)
- Providing accountability to our family
- Offering guidance during the period of raising support and once we reach the field
- Supporting us in every possible way (spiritually through prayer / physically through financial giving / emotionally through much needed contact and encouragement)
We could not be more excited to partner with Lighthouse for this next chapter in our lives. A special thanks to Pastor Tobe Witmer for his guidance and support during this time. And thank you to the dear folks at LBC who have been like family to us from the moment we arrived 14+ years ago.
Please take a moment to check out the back of our prayer card we are now able to officially release. And be sure to check out our website for updates.
First off, let me say thank you for your prayers for our family as we traveled to the Philippines. It has been a great trip, and in this post, I hope to share a bit of what we have witnessed through the eyes of our children. Before I do, though, let me first say how thankful I am for the four children God has blessed us with. Naturally, as Sarah and I looked ahead to 24+ hours of travel with children ranging in age from 10 down to 3, we were naturally concerned with how everyone would handle it. Twenty-four hours is a long time to travel for an adult, much less a 9 year old, or a 3 year old. Thankfully, the trip went as smooth as possible, and our children were amazingly well-behaved. As I commented to Sarah, we have had trips to Walmart (a 15 minute drive) that had more whining, fighting and frustration than the 24+ hour trip to the Philippines. With that as our backdrop, here are some of the highlights (through our children’s eyes) from the trip thus far.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Pastor Jun and Mrs. Juvi. These wonderful folks have become very dear to the children in such a short period of time. They even went out of their way to make sure the kids got something to eat after arriving at our hotel at 11:00 at night. We stayed in our hotel for the first night to get some rest before heading to Haven of Grace. In the morning, we got our rental car and visited Maranatha Baptist School and got to see the children there enjoying the festivities of a national holiday. It was there our children were swarmed (in a good way) by dozens of other kids their age. Kiersten and Lydia were immediately welcomed into a group of other young ladies, and within minutes they were braiding Kiersten’s hair. Micah was surrounded by boys who were interested to learn more about him.
After visiting the school we went to what Kiersten described as “The biggest mall she had ever seen.” This was our first trip to get some of the supplies we would need for the weeks we will be here. By the end of our shopping trip, everyone was starting to feel the effects of traveling the day before. We arrived at our home at the Seminary, made a simple dinner of Macaroni and Cheese and Fresh Mangos that Mrs. Juvi gave us, and we were off to bed.
This morning we have had a day filled with playing and exploration. Each of the children have enjoyed fresh coconut milk cut down from the property and playing with neighborhood children. They have enjoyed looking for frogs, and geckos. Adventures abound.
This has been quite an adventure thus far, and we are only a couple of days in. Please continue to pray for the rest of our time here that we will stay healthy, hydrated (Micah wanted me to add that), and that we will be able to minister to the folks here.
The saying goes, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step," or as in our case, "A journey of 9,000 miles begins at JFK (New York)." We are thankful for the safety in arriving at this starting point of our journey. We will be posting updates during our trip and hope you will be able to keep up with our adventures. Thank you in advance for your prayers on our behalf.
As our family prepares to head out to the Philippines next Wednesday for a three-week survey trip, I hope you will take time to visit a new page (“Support“) we’ve added to our website. We are stepping out in faith, a bit apprehensive, but very excited to see how the Lord will provide for all of our needs. I do not have all of the answers to the dozens of “how’s” that pop into my mind about how this will all work out financially, but I am confident that God will take care of our family. If you would like to have a part in giving to support the work we have been called to, please check out our new page titled, “Support” (Click Here) to find out how you can partner with us!
We are excited to release our “Prayer Card.” First we extend our many thanks to Katie Kollmeyer for her graphic design work to create a finished product better than we could have ever imagined. You can check out her photography page online at: http://katiekollmeyerphotography.blogspot.com/ or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/katiekollmeyerphotography/
While Sarah and I worked with Katie to create this prayer card I often asked myself, what is the purpose of a prayer card? Of course, the first word that naturally comes to mind is “prayer.” I hope our prayer cards will remind people to pray for us and the ministry God has called us to. I hope you will look at the sweet faces of our children and remember to pray that they will thrive in the Philippines. I hope you will see the faces of a couple that need your prayer as they experience the greatest changes their lives have ever known, and that during the change they will remember to love and serve one another.
But in thinking about this prayer card, I came to realize that my hopes for it go well beyond prayer. This is not to minimalism the importance of prayer, but I think we all recognize that prayer is often not an end to itself. Prayer is also a powerful motivator to action. We pray about things important to us (and things important to God). As we pray, our burdens often grow deeper and in turn our desire to effect change in that particular matter grows deeper as well. So, as you use this prayer card I hope it will ultimately turn into an “Action Card.” I hope it will be a reminder for you to touch base with us, support us, or encourage us. We are very thankful for the many family and friends who have reached out to us already as we begin our journey, and we look forward to the encouragement we will receive in the coming months and years as we continue along the path God has laid out for us. And I have a hunch that this “Prayer & Action Card” will have a big part to play in God’s encouragement to us along the way.
The month of August marks the “launch” of countless new endeavors for the Valiantes. We are officially beginning the process of raising support to enable us to help with the launch of Haven of Grace Seminary on the island of Negros in the Philippines.
With the start of deputation, we are also “launching” our new website. I hope this website will be a helpful resource to keep you up to date on what is happening in our lives. We are excited to see all that the Lord has in store for us, and trust that He will continue to guide us in the future, even as He has faithfully guided us in the past.
Please take a moment to browse through our site. In the coming weeks we hope to add more pages with additional information about our ministry in the Philippines.