Hot and HUMID are the two words that would best describe the weather here in the Philippines this week. Temperatures are surely in the 90’s with equally high relative humidity. We have been blessed to have escaped any major rain storms to this point. This is great, since most of our activities thus far have been outdoors.
This morning we are splitting into three teams, each of which will be ministering in different churches. Robby Pearson will be preaching at Pastor Valdez’ New Life Church in Upper Batinguel. He will be joined there by Billy Cox, Daniel Savage, and Janna Johnston. Brother Joseph Zerna’s Easy Ride will be departing the hotel at 8:00 AM to take the two other teams north to their Sunday assignments.
Jay Adkins, Bobby Wood, and Joseph Spurgeon will be dropped off at Bais City to minister this morning at the church there with Pastor Jonathan Ugdoc and his wife Joan.
(our teams had previously spent two days in Bais – assisting in starting two new preaching points in that area). After the two hour drive to Bais, we will leave that group there, and Amanda Lindsey and I will accompany Pastor Joseph Zerna and Juvy on the one hour trip into the mountains of Mabinay. I will preach at the Mayaposi Southern Baptist Church, and Amanda will provide special vocal music.
Let me say a few words about our team members.
This is the youngest, most diversely gifted group that I have accompanied in my eight trips here since 2000.
Joey Spurgeon has a great gift of love for these people and is tremendously valuable in ministry to children and youth. He has taught them songs, told Bible stories, and generally made friends with every child and teenager with whom he has come in contact. The video camera has been his constant companion and already I am anticipating viewing the finished product. Joey is well loved and accepted by the people here. Folks from Westmoreland Baptist can be very proud of how Joey is representing our church and our state.
Jay is putting together the nuts and bolts of the Pastor/Church Leader Seminar, which will be here at the Bethel Guest House on Monday and Tuesday this week. While I have taken care of the logistics, Jay has set the schedule and planned the content of the two day event. We have 50 pastors and church leaders registered, but we have already heard from more than a dozen other pastors requesting the opportunity to attend. We will do our best to accommodate all who come.
The rest of our teammates are all members at Jay’s First Baptist Church of Westwego in metropolitan New Orleans. While a couple of them have previously made other mission trips, all of them are first timers here to the Philippines. Although I was already this past week, and deeply appreciate their efforts in this mission.
Bobby Wood is the tall guy in the photo above. I cannot say enough about Bobby. He is a great young man with wisdom beyond his years. He serves as Education Pastor at FBC Westwego. Married just since early April, this trip has been a little tough for him and his new bride, Lindsay, who stayed behind! Bobby has been a big hit here , and a valued member of this team.
Billy Cox is the senior member of the group. Like all of us, he is exhausted from the grueling travel the last three days in the “Easy Ride”. He and Bobby Wood worked several hours yesterday morning on setting posts in concrete, making preparations for the construction work they will be doing at New Life Church Monday and Tuesday while the seminar is going on here at the hotel. Billy has a sweet spirit and is taking up the “Thamer Calhoun” roll on this team!
Robby Pearson is an excellent preacher and as fun to be around as anyone I have ever known. He has a quick wit and contagious laugh. Most of all, he loves Jesus, and has a burning desire to tell others about Him. I know that the expense of this trip has been a financial burden on him and his family, but I am so glad he came along.
Our three musical team members, Daniel Savage, Janna Johnston, and Amanda Lindsey can be described in one word. Wow! What talent. These are great young people who love the Lord with all their hearts. All are students at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and actively involved in various ministries on campus and at FBC Westwego.
Daniel will be going to Korea just a few weeks after returning home from this trip. He will be serving as a worship leader for a LifeWay camp there in Korea.
Janna, a pastor’s daughter, will probably serve in full time missions upon her graduation from NOBTS. She is a tireless worker, and deeply spiritual. The beautiful voice that God has given her is a bonus. Amanda has the heart of a true servant. She gladly does any assignment given her, and does it with a smile. She is a trained counselor and has the potential to impact many lives with her God given gifts. And can she sing? Wow!
What a set of pipes!
Well, time to go for now. I just wanted to share these thoughts with you as we head out for church this morning.