It has been nine years since my first short term mission trip to Negros Island and the beginning of our partnership with Pastor and Mrs. Doming Valdez. Over many years of ministry, the Valdez' have planted seven churches in the Philippines. The New Life Christian Church (SBC) was only six weeks old, when I first hooked up with Doming and Villa. Looking back, I marvel at how God brought all of the pieces together, to forge a lasting friendship and fruitful partnership between two pastors, separated by 12 time zones. Furthermore, we have come to know and love many other precious people, other evangelical pastors, and helped them in their efforts to reach their island for Christ.
Over the past nine years we have helped purchase land, erect and furnish church buildings, distribute thousands of Bibles and countless Gospel tracts. We have none house to house evangelism, and have preached, sang, and taught in house churches, public schools, places of business, remote villages, and large outdoor crusades. We have assisted the local pastors in many baptisms and have even taken part in a funeral service and three weddings! God has opened many doors of opportunity for us in the Philippines and hundreds of souls have been added into the Kingdom of God. We have helped to provide hundreds of pounds of rice for the local church's feeding ministry. We have been blessed to see three additional local churches birthed as part of our mission activities with Pastors Valdez, Joseph Zerna, and Jonathan Ugdoc. These men and their godly wives are the heroes. We have simply been blessed by God to be able to assist and serve as resource people for them through personal and financial assistance.
One of the highlights of all of our visits there came in May, 2008 when we were able to include a two day Pastor and Church Leader Seminar as part of our mission trip. This seminar was held at the Bethel Guest House in Downtown Dumaguete City, and saw more than 70 pastors, wives, and church leaders come from as far as 60 miles away for the two day event. Thanks to gifts from friends here in the states and from the Missions Department of the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists, we were able to distribute many Bible reference materials to the conference attendees. Only God knows the full extent of our ministries.
My first few visits there were part of teams of local pastors who worked with several churches in a local Baptist Association in Oriental Negros. These trips led to individual partnerships with individual churches and seven other mission trips under the banner of Beacon Ministries, Inc. Twenty-two people from eight different churches in four states have traveled with us as members of our various Beacon Ministries mission teams over the past six years. God has used us in a small way as He accomplishes great things half a world away.
We must say that none of these things could have been accomplished without the prayers and financial support of our dear friends of this ministry, here at home. You have helped us go. You have helped provide funds for all the above listed projects, and more. Your gifts have made an eternal impact on the lives of hundreds, and even thousands, of people. Thank you for giving to this particular work of the Lord. Thank you for all of you who have gone with us. Thank you most of all for your prayers.
Today at 1:45 PM, Thamer Calhoun, Rick Gunnell, Joseph Spurgeon and I are scheduled to leave Tri-State Airport on a 31 hour trip to Dumaguete. Please continue to lift us up in prayer. We invite you to check back in on this blog site over the next 17 days as we will attempt to update you as often as possible on our activities. Thanks so much to those of you who are part of this ministry in any way.
Until the nets are full,