Man Plans… God Ordains

I wanted to give a brief update on our family’s travel plans. We initially purchased tickets to fly out from Bacolod to Manila on Tuesday, March 17 with a flight from Manila to New York (via Seoul, Korea) on Wednesday, March 18. However, with the spread of the coronavirus, the president of the Philippines announced that flights to and from Manila would be suspended through the middle of April. So, we are in the process of finalizing the cancellation of our scheduled flights, and are looking into other flight options. Our hope would be to fly out within the next couple of weeks (most likely out of Cebu, rather than Manila).

An additional factor in all of this is that we are dealing with is sickness. Though we do not believe it is related to the novel coronavirus, the children (and I) have been dealing with coughs which would have obviously made it very difficult (if not impossible) to travel this week. On Friday, I was able to take two of our girls to the doctor to be checked out. The doctor was somewhat concerned with the congestion in Emi’s lungs. So, as the Lord brings us to mind, you can pray for her. Other than being congested, she is doing fine (active, happy, and sleeping and eating well).

In the middle of all of this uncertainty, I was reminded of a verse from Proverbs 16:9 that often comes to my mind: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” This verse is a comforting reminder knowing that even though we seem to make countless “plans” in life, it is the Lord Who guides and directs our paths. So, even when our plans vanish before our very eyes, we can find rest in the Sovereign God Who orders our steps. Now, I will be the first to admit that I get frustrated when my plans are thwarted. It annoys me. And on those occasions I need to remind myself of some basic truths. God is in control. God does not need my approval, nor does He seek my counsel for what He does. God is pleased with faith. He is pleased when His children submit to Him and trust Him. So, we are going to do our best to do just that.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can pray about for us:

  1. Peace and grace to accept lots of things we cannot change.
  2. Health for our family, especially Emi at this time.
  3. Wisdom with airline tickets (ability to cancel our original flights, and find reasonable replacement tickets through another hub).

Once more, we are grateful for your prayers and support for our family. By the way, over the next couple of days, I plan to write our March Update. Hard to believe, but we finished our first year of classes at Haven of Grace Seminary. To God be the glory! Stay tuned for the more information.

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To All Nations

Three different nations were represented around our dining room table this afternoon (I guess you could say four if you consider the fact that we were serving Italian food!). Of course, eating with Filipinos is nothing unusual for us since we live in the Philippines. However, it was our joy to share fellowship (and a meal) with a brother from Pakistan who is taking our course on General Epistles (offered by Haven of Grace Seminary) this week and next.

From the very start, our desire at Haven of Grace has been to not only make an impact in the Philippines, but all across Southeast Asia, and really throughout the world. To have a pastor from Pakistan with us, a man who, at some point, would love to start a Bible College in his own country, fulfills a great desire of our ministry. If we can equip and train men to go out and continue the work of equipping and training other men for the Gospel ministry, we will have considered our work here a success. May the songs of praise rise up to God from all peoples, tongues, and nations!

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The Brigade!

A couple of weeks ago I was able to speak at the Boys and Girls Brigade Camp here at Haven of Grace. What a great opportunity to preach the Gospel to close to 400 campers on two separate days. My text was Romans 1:1-17 as we went “Back to the Basics.” From our text we saw how the Gospel is our road map to salvation, and how faith is the vehicle that gets us to our destination. I encouraged the campers to consider how they have responded to this good news!

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The Reason We’re Here

Sunday was a great reminder of the reason we are here in the Philippines. I was invited to speak at the 11th Anniversary Service of Community Bible Church (Haguimit). What made this service extra special was that it would also serve as the installation service for one of our Haven of Grace Seminary Students, Pastor Danilo Faburada.

Danilo has been like family, as he lives on campus during the week and ministers on the weekends at Community Bible Church. We have had the joy of spending a lot of time with him. We eat meals together… Discuss theology together… Serve the Lord together.

I cannot describe how special the service was. It was a meaningful time of thanksgiving to God for what He has done in the past (as Pastor Cloyd–one of our new students at the seminary–tenderly spoke of the founding of this church), and prayerfulness to God for His guidance and blessing in the future.

This was a memorable service seeing Pastor Cloyd (the church’s founding pastor) hand the reigns to a like-minded young man who will now help guide the ministry. It is my privilege to have a part in further equipping these men, and many more like them for the great work that God has called them to. Thank you to all who continue to partner with us to allow us the opportunity to do so!

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Bunches of Love

A couple Sundays back I was privileged to be the guest speaker at San Juan Fellowship Baptist Church. Pastor Frankie shepherds this congregation and is one of our students at Haven of Grace Seminary.

IMG_20191027_090452.jpgI was asked to speak on the text of 1 Corinthians 13. This was a wonderful study seeing the underlying motivation of love (as explained in Chapter 13) that should propel us to serve God and the body of believers we are part of (as explained in Chapter 12).IMG_20191027_093908.jpgIMG_20191027_090449.jpgWe enjoyed warm fellowship, a delicious meal, and we even received a parting gift of a bunch of bananas. As you can see from the picture below, there were A LOT of bananas. Over the past two weeks we have made loaves (and muffins for that matter) of banana bread (both the regular and Gluten Free varieties), banana pancakes, cooked bananas (with brown sugar) and fried banana chips (the last two foods our neighbor kids showed us how to make).IMG_20191027_123804.jpg

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GOD GIVES MORE GRACE – On Sale!

We are restocking our inventory of God Gives Mores Grace, and are offering a great deal!

For a limited time (10/31 – 11/3) God Gives More Grace is available for $14.99 (with free shipping)! If you haven’t had the chance to pick up a copy for yourself, or if you want to buy one as a gift for someone else, this is a great opportunity! To purchase, please visit our website: https://godgivesmoregrace.com

NOTE: The book sells for the regular $18.99 list price on the Regular Baptist Press web store and Amazon, and is on sale for $17.49 on Christianbook.com. So this offer beats the lowest price by $2.50–and it includes free shipping!

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