Here is another “Come walk with me…” report, focusing on some highlights from ministry here in Tarlac City, this week. This is not designed to be a flashy newsletter, but more of a “life-as-it-really-is-around-here” type report. It’s written in such a way that hopefully some of you can kind of feel like you’ve “been here”, come along, and done it too, vicariously…
I will refer to a former neighbor woman in this testimonial as __“SW” (Samaritan Woman) – to avoid identity disclosure. There are some aspects of her life that remind me a lot of Jesus contact with the Samaritan woman (John 4)…
October 19 (TUESDAY)
Met with staff/ workers with BTTI (Bridge to the Islands and Nations) this afternoon. Had “family circle” testimony/sharing time with LFH (Love, Faith, Hope) students this evening, at our house. They shared some of the good things the Lord is doing in their lives.
Our special discussion emphasis was “faithfulness” based on I Cor. 4:1,2 “accountability responsibilities of ministers; ministers that represent Christ; requirements of ministers; faithful stewardship…”
Super typhoon in our area, signal #1, but we’re doing ok… Had to make a few ministry adjustments. A few water leaks inside the house, and it’s kinda hard to dry clothes on the clotheslines – but no big deal :)!
October 20 (Wednesday)
Had a chance to pray with a former neighbor __“SW” for salvation who dropped by this evening. Hallelujah! I love it when they ask questions like “How do you receive Jesus”?… GLORY!!!
October 22 (Friday)
(__“SW” has needed much attention, txt messages, etc… she came over again today.. We’re trying to help her… She seems to sincerely want to make a break with sin, and move on.. Here are a few excerpts from txt messages from her last night… (Newborns need a lot of attention! It’s one thing to be a fisher of men, and another to clean them…)
Her txt messages:
•…”Pastor do you know a place where me and my children can stay here in Tarlac? R stay here w my friend is temporary only. If I have a choice I wouldn’t stay here, but if none, I would find another option” …
•Another one before read like this, ” Hi, pastor! …Didn’t have d chance to read the Bible today since __( baby) got sick. He was just cryin and wants to be on my chest, n so I 4got to read. As of d moment m feeding __(other son) than bathe him. __(baby) is awake again. I will find time to read ltr… and will read tom as well. M embarrased. Thank u 4 ur guidance …
My txt and replies:
•Hi, __(“SW”) how r u doing 2day? Did u have a chance to read d first 3 chapters of John yet?.Esp d 3rd chapter u will find very helpful n interesting considering our discussion yesterday… Blsngs and prayers! P Daniel…
•When she responded to this as above, I wrote back, “I certainly understand… May the Lord bring healing n recovery 2 __(baby) in Jesus name! Children take a lot of time n attention – we have 6 and 4 grandchildren – they are such a blessing! I’m so thankful to the Lord 4 all His wonderful blsngs n abundant life! You r going 2 really enjoy John chapters 3 and 4… Take care 🙂 P Daniel…
•Then when she asked about a place to stay, I responded with this… “Possibly… Lets talk about it 2moro… Who r u with right now? What is ur living situation? Is it really urgent, emergency type need, or just sometime, or… R u willing 2 discontinue any/all vices and destructive behavior, n pursue a new way of life?”
We are prayerfully wondering if we need to make room available to her at our church bldg. temporarily until we can help get her to a place of refuge, while she is in the mood to try to do what is right… It might not be able to wait… We might need to get right on it, before she gets discouraged and falls back into messy patterns of the past… She seems really eager and serious to live a better life, and wanting to cooperate. She seems sincerely interested and ready for change!
Here is another text from __(”SW”)
•“Sincerely I wish and want an all-good way of life. I am more than willing Pastor 2 discontinue all-evil acts. I just want 2 experience d gift of life from God…”
Here is my txt response…
•”If that is your sincere, genuine, heartfelt and wholehearted desire and determination – with a lifestyle follow through that backs it up, I am confident we will be able to help u somehow… let’s talk 2moro”
Another txt from __(“SW”)…
•”I will come 2moro. If there’s one thing I’m afraid of that will be hard 4 me 2 stop, it wl b smoking cgarette. Wl jst c u tom. Gdnyt
Here’s my txt response…
•”Thanks 4 ur txts… We’ve seen d Lord help deliver peopl frm addictions, including smoking a number of times already… God answers prayer! Nothing is too difficult 4 God! Lk 4ward to talking more 2moro… Blsngs! P Daniel”
We (our assistant minister and I) were with __(“SW”) probably 1 1/2 hours or so this afternoon. It went gr8, and she really seems genuinely committed at a heart level, not just a help level… It’s so amazing!!!
No To Old Life Habits
I made no definite commitments to her, but did tell her that we were really interested and hopeful of trying to help her, being as she seems genuinely interested in a new life in a lifetime perspective, and not just an experimental way, or just for help. When the pressure is off and she is helped and no longer has need, then what? We are not interested in her going back into her old life and habits!
She seems sooo appreciative! Makes me wanna load her up with food, and help her however… I scratched around here and did find a little rice uncooked rice, an unopened box of dry cereal in the cupboard, and some fruit to send along with her in her hand as she left… the other day I gave her a box of milk that she seemed so gr8ful for, and a loaf of bread, and of course some cookies 🙂
It must really be something for her to be in her condition, homeless, with her hands full of babies, without a job and finances, and planning to push ahead with new life in Jesus… Wow! I couldn’t help but gain respect for her today, as I saw the sincere way she was communicating, so openly, and with such a good, non-pressurey type attitude in the midst of it all!
I’ll recap some of my txt communication with her from this afternoon..
•Thanks for coming 2day.. We njoyd visiting w u.. I was wondering if u mite like 2 b baptized..? We have baptismal service on Sunday.. Jesus said (Mark 16) those dat bliev n r baptize shall b savd. Repent n b baptizd every1 of u (Acts 2).. D Bible teaches dat it should obediently follow true repentance.. I wud b happy 2 explain it more n why it is so important, if u r interestd :).. I’m in d process of chkng sm temp accomodation options 4 u as discussd.. Bles u! P Dan
Her txt response..
•Thank u & sure. I know d importance f baptism. Sori 4 d late reply. __(baby) hs bn irritable & restless since we reached home so i ws jst cuddling hm all this tym. Stl didnt hv d chance 2 read yet. M xcited & lukng 4ward 2 a new & promising life ahead of us w ur help and assistance. M amazed abt rcvng major help from other people
My txt and reply..
•gr8! thanks for txt! I wud lov to share w you more about the significance and importance f baptism, 2moro.. I’ll try to give u a call, n we can talk about it..Bible-based, Bible-taught baptism, not other customs people call baptism. If u r interestd this Sun., we can assist u in preps and plans! It is a wonderful, joyful experience dat is part of a true Christians spiritual foundation. You will b amazed at the difference in your life, as you obediently take this important step..A few years ago, the brgy captain in Balanti was baptized, and his life has been transformed… he stopped smoking and drinking, and is so appreciative. Let’s talk more 2moro
We are wondering if we should let her use the office room there at our church house… Temporarily we could prepare if for her to use… she is living in the vicinity where drugs could be a temptation, but she is holding out, and keeping to her commitment, it sounds like. She speaks very openly about her cigarette problem, and realizes that it would be expected that she does not continue with that vice, if she were to receive help…
I spoke to her very definitely about the need to continue the new life in a lifetime way, and not just temporarily – and how dreadful it is to get clean, and then go back into the mess later – how much worse it could be for her (based on Jesus story of the one delivered from demonic influence, and then the demons coming back to the clean house 7 times worse than before..)
It seems so urgent, because if she doesn’t get into an immediate place of change, she could slip back into old patterns pretty easy! Things are definitely delicate! Actually, I would like to see her there by this weekend…
Got another txt frm __(“SW”) this eve. as follows:
•“Just woke up. M rili luking 4ward 2 a new life ahead f us. M upset at d moment. I know i really hv 2 be out f ds place. Nt really a gud environment 4 people hu sincerely wants a gud way f living. Dnt wory, I am nt being influenced or what. Nothn cn break my dtrmination. I just know, n my mind & heart we hv 2 be n a gud environment 2 start with. Wl w8 ur col tom. Gdnyt and God bless.
Hmmm.. This expresses d urgency I have sensed regarding this situation. One of the first things in the morning I plan to get the office ready for this emergency. We might need to have her moved in this weekend… Poor thing, her things r scattered from hither to thither n back again, (some here and some there and who knows where… it’s a total miracle that she is as much together as she seems to be…)
October 23 (Saturday)
I talked with __(“SW”) today on the phone about the importance of water baptism and encouraged her to consider getting baptized tomorrow. She expressed willingness to do it but still seems a bit hesitant not to make a mistake (not just because of her Catholic background, but because she is unsure of her ability to withstand sinful temptations…).
One of our assistant ministers and I made an emergency visit to Dagupan (appx. 2 hours away/4 hrs round trip) to visit a man in the hospital whose only hope is Jesus. He is confined at the ICU ward at the Medical Center there, gasping for breath, and needing oxygen to survive – due to his major heart problems with a greatly enlarged heart. He seems to need some expensive surgical help, apart from a Sovereign miracle! We were able to pray with him, and encourage his faith in the Lord. He is in a room where apparently 6 people died that day, (his wife said that someone died just minutes before we arrived…) He and his wife seemed so grateful and appreciative of our visit! We got home very late (a little before midnight)…
October 24 (Sunday)
(I will go into more detail today, so you can get a feel for what Sunday’s are like around here, at times…)
Up early this morning with ministry preps.
Prayer service appx. 45 preliminary to the Sun. morning worship service, which starts at 9 a.m.
Ministry of the Word today included “Be still and know that I am God” (by assistant minister), and /“God’s Commandments”/and the “Important Significance and Command of Water Baptism” (by myself)…
We had a special prayer for the brother who is in the hospital, and physical needs.
One of the LFH students gave a powerful testimony with tears in her eyes of a special answer, breakthrough, and deliverance in her life! Testimonies were given before the congregation from those wanting to be baptized. After the service, we proceed to a nearby pool for the baptism service… 9 people were water baptized today! Glory to God!
__(“SW”) came to the service today, and gave testimony before the congregation and gave a praise report, and verbal expression of Jesus being her Lord and Savior, and… was baptized! She is also moving today to our BTTI office (temporarily)…
Here’s part of a txt message she sent this afternoon:
•“M vry happy n feel d tru meaning f JOY n my heart now being a part f d ministry.”
This evening __(“SW”) joined with 6 others of us for a fellowship time at our house, rejoicing, and giving testimonies of praise. The Lord is doing miraculous things in her life! She was trying to put into words the new experience of “JOY” that she senses in her life now.
Apparently, her understanding of God was more on a mental level before, now it is at a “heart” level! Glory!
Several of the girls baptized today were ones that our daughter Teresa had Bible study with, and led to the Lord a number of months ago. Even though Teresa is presently attending University in the States, the girls continue to serve the Lord, and one of them gave testimony with tears in her eyes, with great intensity and sincerity…
Jesus Is My Life
I was especially impressed with the testimony of one of the young women that got baptized. She said, “Jesus is my life”! She couldn’t have said anything more profound, or meaningful than that! I wish you could have seen and heard her joyful chuckles and laughter while she was still in the pool, after getting baptized 🙂
Overflowing With Love For God
One of the men baptized today is extremely poor. He collects discard plastics, cardboard, or whatever along the streets, out of garbage cans or wherever, just to survive. He began attending our meetings some time ago.
This morning he was waiting for me as I came out of the gate here at our house. He caught a ride with me to the service, and seemed so happy, thankful, and overflowing with love for God! I asked him before he got baptized if he had anything further he wanted to say. Along with words of thanksgiving and praise, he expressed thanks for the Lord healing him…
I asked him what the Lord had healed him of. He said, epilepsy! It was a reminder to me that it seems he had given testimony about that before to church… God is amazing!
Hold in there… we’re only about half through the day…:)
We had 2 services this afternoon. This afternoon I went with a team to the service in Balanti, because the Brgy (community/zone) Captain had requested me to come and lead in special prayer regarding the coming elections.
Another team went to another church plant outreach fellowship service in Moriones. There were 10 of us in the team that went to Balanti. It is located across the river. There is no bridge to get there. You need to park the van, get in a little dugout-type boat that rides very close to the water with outriggers (bamboo floats on either side of the boat), with our umbrellas in the rain, ride across the river, and then walk for several kilometers or so to the community hall where we hold regular Sunday services. It was an encouraging turn-out there today.
The Brgy Captain was there with 2 of his sons, and some newcomers. Several of the men who came for the first time wanted to pray to receive the Lord at the end of the service! Hallelujah!
After the service they had a special merienda (party food/pansit) prepared for us. While eating, the handle for the fork that our assistant minister was using fell off, so he just kept eating his noodles holding on to it without the missing handle… no big deal!
However, one of our LFH students got the giggles so hard she almost had to leave the table… in fact, she did leave before I was able to put the handle and fork on her plate to make it look like she had done it! 🙂
Well, now it’s time to go back home, and cross over the river again. The Captain’s son drove us to the river in the van so we didn’t have to walk back in the dark. PTL! My shirt got plenty wet when some of the students sitting in the boat behind me got a little carried away, wanting to “bless” me a little too much by sprinkling/pouring dirty river on me (not that I didn’t deserve that kind of treatment, or anything..:(
What an exciting Day
I barely got home in time for the next fellowship time to start at our house. We made popcorn, and had a wonderful time of fellowship for several hours or so… Then, after that time together, was followed by another hour or two of personal time with several of our key leaders. After 11 p.m. I finally left to go to McDonald’s to get some food, getting home before midnight… Whew! What an exciting day!
Came Back To The Lord
One of the exciting testimonies shared tonight was from a young man who had been in a backslidden condition. Through a friend, he was invited to come to our BTTI gatherings and came back to the Lord. Now he is zealously serving the Lord!
When he was baptized last May, it is the first time I ever remember baptizing mother and son together (his mother was baptized at the same time!) He shared how that as he has been reading the Bible, he was convicted about his lifestyle, and has been willing to make some major changes. His wife left him a number of years ago, and went abroad. He developed a relationship with another woman and lost feelings for his wife. However, as the Lord convicted him, he obediently severed the other relationship, his feelings for his wife have returned, and now he and his wife are in the process of getting back together! PTL! God’s Word is powerful!
October 25 (Monday)
When exercising this morning, I saw and talked to __(“SW), who was out strolling her baby in the street. She was all excited! She said that when she was washing her clothes by hand this morning, she was surprised at what a difference there was in her attitude. Unlike before, it seemed like such a light thing now, and she didn’t even seem to mind it…
Here’s another txt message from her today:
•Hi, Pastor! Hd a real great day. Realized how blessed I am now and WAS b4. Only I ddnt use right and appreciate my blessings b4. Bt thru God’s love and grace I ws given another chance 2 make use f ol d blessings righteously. God! My service 4 him nw dt m part fd Christian world as taught n d Bible s not even enuf 2 repay ol d blessings He hs gven me. He even gave Hs life 4 us. My heart s rejoicing knowing that I hav Jesus n me nt jst n mind bt n heart. I wl be sharing ol f these w my friends, my friends’ friends, 2 everyone. Ty 4 ol
My txt message in response:
•I rejoice w u! U hav a gr8 testimony of God’s grace n mercy… Thnks 4 sharing! Friends… yes ur friends need 2 hear d gud news, but don’t ever let der responses affect u negatively.. just remember wat it was like 2 b in spiritual darkness, n d diff btween d destructive way of sin, n d joy of new life, n keep rejoicing 4ever n ever!
Her txt responses back:
•Btw, I hv started 2 read d bible. May b little bt it wl b a part f my everyday routine frm this day on…
•… of course! Ngativity 4 me s an evil force. Wont allow 2 pull me down. I realized too with the fun that I experienced ysterday. Y hv fun doing with sin wen u cn hv fun without sinning. M rili happy & rejiocing w how we r now & hvng the Triune God in r hearts.
•Pastor b4 I 4get, pls lend me a pen & wl ask a little notebook 4 me 2 write down d gifts I hv bn experiencing. Hv no money 2 buy at the moment…
The weather is rather unpredictable these days… I lost track of how many times I may have put the same clothes out on the clothesline to get dry, only to have them get rained on again and again – could it be half- a dozen times or so? 🙁 🙂
Well, good news… my wife returns from the States tomorrow – Hallelujah!
For some reason, I feel very excited about the thought of a little more assistance around here, not just with the food, clothes, housework, and dishes – she’s such an excellent teammate in the ministry in so many other wonderful ways as well! We are looking forward to an exciting joint celebration service with our congregations getting together next Sunday. Colleen will be our featured speaker, and a… hmmm,… maybe it’s time for me to go on vacation :)! What do you think?
October 26 (Tuesday)
Picked up Colleen and Charity at the Manila airport a little after midnight!. PTL! Having them back safe n sound seems better than Christmas! Glad they made it back before Christmas, that’s for sure…… :)!
This report was designed specifically for interested friends, teammates, and partners who may wish to “come walk with me…” as we obediently respond the Lord’s call to be ambassadors of the gospel here. More testimonials and news can continue to be received here at “Dan’s Journal”, www.btti.org in case you are interested. As you can see, some of these reports/testimonials, of course, can only be “to be continued” stories, since they haven’t been fully lived out yet…
For those of you interested enough to take time to read this, it gives you a real-to-life feel for what’s going on around here, and what approx. a week or so here in Tarlac City with me is like. It included times of witnessing, leading people to receive the Lord, follow-up, baptizing, mentoring, preaching/teaching, hospital visitation, testimonies and praise reports, ministry to the homeless and humanitarian assistance, administrative coordination and office details, dealing with financial issues, counseling times, healings, deliverances, prayer/Word and devotional pursuits, community service, witnessing major attitude changes and seeing people experience super-natural joy and happiness, as well as special times for the family, etc…
What a thrill! The weather challenges, long hours of travel, and other inconveniences are nothing in comparison to the wonderful joy of ministry! Thanks for your interest, support, prayers, and networking with us to help reach the harvest!
Blessings! With loving appreciation and thankfulness for teamwork!