Friday, May 6, 2016

Recent Ministry and Encouragement

The past few weeks we have been travelling through Samar and Leyte visiting and ministering with Filipino Nehemiah teams as well visiting and encouraging believers in different villages. We just wanted to share some quick stories of what God has allowed us to see and what He is teaching us.

Not a Religion to Join
We also visited a team in a village off of the Jipapad river in Northern Samar. The team was doing a great job sharing and engaging the community using what they had learned in their training. The team allowed us to join and lead one of their Bible Studies. One woman said many people of different religions come to their village trying to convince them to join, but that we were different. We told her that we weren’t trying to bring a religion, but that someone had once shared the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with us and now we have new life and eternal life through a relationship with Him. We explained that since someone had once shared this with us we now wanted now wanted to share it with them. She replied “Thank you, we have never heard anything like this before.”

God Uses our Obedience
God has been teaching us that He uses our obedience in ways we can’t always see. We had been in a village visiting and encouraging believers, but God lead us to leave one day early to go to the next village. We arrived at the house we would be staying at and the believers there were overjoyed to see us. We found out that the next day was Nanay’s 62nd birthday. We had a small, simple celebration with 3 small fudge cakes with candles and singing. She shared with us that she had been feeling lonely with all 7 of her children now out of the house, but that God was so good for sending her “children from the Lord.”  God also used this beautiful family to encourage and refresh us through their love and hospitality.
Also God allowed us to see how greatly He can use the prolonged obedience of just 1 person. Luigi Almine has been working doing follow up in Eastern Samar for the past 5 years. Every village we visited, people were asking “Where is Kuya Luigi? Is he coming back soon?” Even in Northern Samar, the prayer request of the believers there was for Luigi to come visit them soon and to continue teaching them how to share with their friends and family. God showed us again and again the eternal impact Kuya Luigi has made in these places that will last until long after he is gone. Please join us in praising God for how He has worked through Luigi and for Luigi’s next steps as he gets married and moves to a new country.

The Power of God to Save
We visited a team out on beautiful Hilabaan Island. We found the team there hard at work each day out sharing the good news of the Gospel. There is no church on Hilabaan and many have never heard the good news of Jesus Christ before. We joined the team in sharing, gaining experience in sharing in Tagalog (with a little help from our Filipino teammates).
At times it is hard to tell if the people are understanding our message, but God reminded us that the power is in the gospel, and not in our sharing abilities. Romans 1:16 says “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

Later on in our journey, we visited a village on the Oras river and got to stay with a family that my team in 2012 shared the gospel with. When we shared the gospel with them for the first time, the family seemed confused and even disinterested. God reminded us that only He sees the hearts of men, as this family was baptized in 2012 and are still following Him today and sharing with others in their village.

Written by Joe