Back to Basics

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The last few weeks have been busy and tough at times, but so rewarding. We are finally “home” on the island! After our furlough there were many things on the house that needed fixing. I’m so thankful for a hubby who can take a broken pump, no power (our batteries needed replacing), generator servicing, and a myriad of other things all in his stride. Being here has definately been an education in many areas :-).

Now, several weeks later, we are comfortably back to life as we know it on Agutaya. Back to basics! I am so thankful to be able to shower with a light in the bathroom and not a candle anymore, and we are all thankful for the waterpump that gets us water to our taps in the house. Its nearing the end of rainy season and soon we will be back to hauling water from the well 800m from the house. I am so thankful for every drop of water the Lord supplies. We would not be able to be here without Him.

Home-schooling

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School has started at the le Rouxs! The kids have been doing school for 5 weeks and things are going well. We have had many challenges getting Valerie’s grade 12 books ordered after the Philippines legislation changed saying all children need to attend formal school for grades 11 and 12. To avoid a long lengthy explaination (yes, it really is such a complicated, lengthy story), Ill just say that it looks like we FINALLY have things sorted! As of yesterday the books are finally ordered and, Lord willing, we should have them with us in this month. I am really thankful to the many people who prayed for this, those that helped get things done, and for a friend who kindly offered to pay for the books. The Lord never ceases to amaze me! It’s been 5 months of wondering what to do, and now we see His perfect plan coming into play. Please continue to pray with us for the home-schooling. Although we have the books, they come without accreditation because of the legislation. We also may have challenges for Boeta and Angie in the future when they reach grade 11.

Partners:

Our previous partner, Claudia,  has left the work to get married. We have been praying for some time that the Lord will send us partners if its His will. Recently there have been some developments that we believe would greatly benefit the work on Agutaya and us. While we were building our house here we lived on Cuyo for 18 months. During that time we became good friends with both the pastors of the Baptist church we attended there. We really value their friendship, commitment to truth and servant hearts. One of the pastors visited us recently and we discussed possibly partnering on Agutaya. This will be beneficial as being a Filipino national he is already comfortable with the grammar (so he can learn the language quicker), they will need to do less cultural studies than us, and they are able to join us before we start teaching. Please pray with us as we prepare for this partnership. We feel, after much prayer, that this is the Lords will for us. Please pray for Ps. Ryan and his wife Maritel as they prepare to join us. Above all, please pray for God to be glorified in all this.

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Landing strip:

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What an amazing feeling to stand on the landing strip and see a kilometer of cleared land! The strip is looking great and although its not done, its close to getting finished. We have many challenges with red-tape and change in municipal management so please continue to pray for us.

Language and culture:

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Phil is back to full time language study. It has been exciting to see how much he is able to understand in conversations. He is able to communicate almost soley in Agutaynen now! In September Phil will have a language evaluation with our NTM language consultants. Please pray him as he prepares for that, and that it will be a help for him as he proceeds in the language.

Thank you for praying for us! We are often encouraged when we think of all of you holding the ropes for us. We are blessed through you!

Love in Him,

The le Rouxs

Change is as good as a holiday

Growing up I heard that expression a lot. “Change is as good as a holiday”. But somehow that’s never been my experience (at least not initially). Change stresses me. And my life always seems to be full of change. We are back in the Philippines after a wonderful 10 months in South Africa. Everything feels so different here. Weather, food, sounds, smells, people. The first few days were hard. (My aversion to change doing its thing no doubt). I suppose it’s partly because I kept looking back at what I left behind instead of looking at what lies ahead. 

I’m pleased to say that almost a month on things are going much better. I am reminded of the things I love here. I have been blessed with wonderful friends here, and already we are making precious memories. Through all the change I am greatly comforted by the knowledge that God never changes. No matter the circumstances, He remains faithful. His promises are never changing, His Grace is always there, He is ever present. Knowing this gives me the courage to tackle the many changes that await us. (Albeit hesitantly at first 😝).

Elections:

On Monday the Philippines had their Election Day. A new president Rody Duterte has been elected. He is well known as Military type, no nonsense action man. He was voted in by a huge majority and is seen by many as the man who will enforce law and order. He has said many controversial things, some against foreigners and even said he would institute martial law if necessary. Please join us in praying for the Philippines. We are thankful that God is in control and that ultimately His will will be done.

With the new elections changes have happened on Agutaya too. We have a new Mayor. We are quite saddened by this as we have already built good relationships with the past Mayor, and she is a friend. But, we look forward to getting to know the new Mayor and hopefully forging new relationships there too. Please pray for the Lords favor on the island.

Home-schooling:

As many of you know I have been using the Accelerated Christian Education Program to home-school the kids for the past 9 years. I purchase all the books locally which greatly reduces the cost and makes it easier to get to our location. It has been going so well until now. I was informed a week ago that they will no longer be supplying grades 11 and 12 to home-schoolers and that those kids need to be enrolled in a school. Valerie-Anne is in grade 12. This means I can no longer get her books she needs here. Obviously enrolling her in a school is not an option for us. Please join us in praying for Wisdom. I am trying to sort it out without much success at this stage. We have some other options, none of which are ideal at this stage. 

Another change:

Initially when we returned to the Philippines we hoped to be in Manila while Phil taught through Revelations at the weekly Bible Study and while we get supplies, school books etc. Our hope was to be back on Agutaya by mid May. After meetings with NTM leadership we have been told we must attend the yearly conference in mid June, and various meetings about the work. This means we will now be here for an extra month. On the bright side it gives me more time to get our home-schooling sorted and Phil gets longer with the Bible study group (BTW, the group has grown again!). Unfortunately it means longer away from Agutaya and all we need to accomplish there. We are trusting the Lord for His perfect timing.

Thank you for praying for us, and caring for us!

We are encouraged knowing you are all behind us holding the ropes.

P.S. Apologies for the post without photos, but WordPress would not cooperate!

Much love,

The le Rouxs

Excedingly, abundantly above all our expectations!

Its just less than two weeks when we will be saying goodbye to our beloved South Africa, our family, many brothers and sisters in Christ and leave a part of our hearts behind. Part of me wants to hide at the thought of the goodbyes, the packing and the journey back to the Philippines. The other part wants to jump in excitement to see our dear friends in the Philippines and to be back in our own home. And above all to begin the teaching! I find myself stuck between two worlds. Between delight and despair. And you know what? Its a great place to be!

I’m so thankful to have a reason to cry when I leave, because it means I have people I love enough to cry about. I’m so thankful to have a part of me left behind when I go, because it means I have a place where I belong. I’m so thankful to have much to look forward to in the Philippines, because it means we have been blessed abundantly there too! So I will not complain. I will rejoice knowing that we are blessed indeed!

A furlough like no other:

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You don't see this everyday!

When we were planning our furlough we asked the Lord to keep us busy with many opportunities to talk about His goodness. And He has not dissapointed! We have been busier than we ever imagined we could be. In the last 10 months we have been in 3 countries, 5 provinces, stayed in over 30 different homes (some of them more than once). Shared our ministry every Sunday except for 4 Sundays. Been part of countless Bible Studies, growth groups, womens meetings, mens breakfasts, schools, prisons and squatter camps. Val got baptised and we have seen 29 people give their lives to the Lord! We have had our car stoned, Phil was hit by a car, Boeta fell off a horse, I was bitten by a dog (lol!!) and we live to talk about how good God is! What an amazing furlough!

The Lord has also blessed us with many wonderful experiences! Walking with lions and elephants and petting a cheetah. Boeta got to go to a basketball game in the US, a rugby game in the staduim in SA and watch live MMA. There were visits to the Nascar museum, zoo, uShaka, Tree Top Adventures, Scibono, movies, paintball, climbing mountains, riding (and falling off) a horse. Val and Angie even recorded a song in a music studio. We visited many tourist attractions like Gods Window, potholes, Kruger National Park, Biltmore house, Chimney Rock, The Lion and Rhino park and many more. But my favorite has been the many  times we spent in fellowship with people in their homes. What glorious times we have had!

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Our only regret is time. We just ran out of it! There were so many people we wanted to spend more time with, but just couldn’t get it scheduled. Some we had to cancel after Phils accident. You guys are first on our schedule next furlough!

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Baptism! Val, her cousin Willem and his girlfriend Lana

Please pray for us:

As we seek to serve the Lord in the Philippines, we know that its not a work we do alone. We are so thankful for your prayers and support in many different ways. Please keep praying for us!

Thank you to every single one of you that has made this furlough so wonderful! We keep you close to our hearts and in our prayers.

Goodbye South Africa! We love you.

The le Rouxs

Our Faithful God

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In my last newsletter I mentioned how excited I was to see what God is going to do in 2016. Shortly after writing that, Philip was involved in a collision whilst riding his bicycle. A car hit into him while he was travelling at 64km/h (who knows how fast the car was going).

What followed was a whirlwind of action. From seizures to brainscans to an operation to insert a plate on his broken collarbone. We dealt with public hospitals and all the red tape and inefficiency, private hospitals and all the expense. And not much sleep.

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Throughout it all, I felt this quiet reassurance that everything was going to be okay, no matter the turn out. I kept being reminded of Gods promises and of His presence in every situation. He is indeed sufficient for my every need. And was He ever sufficient! God raised up brothers and sisters in Christ who treated Phil medically, helped me at the hospital, provided funds to cover bills and many who prayed and sent encouraging messages. Then He worked it out for us to get the R16000 surgical plate donated for free!!

A week before the accident Phil preached at church and was saying how we as Christians are so busy controlling our own lives that we leave little room for God to do miracles. That week Phil got to see God perform miracles. The biggest one being the healing that took place in Phils body. Despite his face taking the maximum impact and him being unconcious for 15 minutes, there was no brain damage, paralysis or eye damage.

His broken collar bone, jaw and nose have all healed just a few weeks after the accident. He still has the occasional pain and has headaches, but he is getting stronger everyday. All the Glory to God!

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The beautiful USA:

We had the privilege of attending a missions conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. What a wonderful, uplifting time! We met so many precious people who encouraged us so much (not to mention spoiled us too!). And we got see some of the beautiful South. Only God could have made this trip possible and we are humbled constantly with how He continues to bless us.

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Birthdays:

This past month we celebrated 3 birthdays. Boeta turned 12 and celebrated playing paintball with a few of his friends.

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Angelique had her 13th birthday at Tree Top Adventures and glided through the trees for her party 🙂

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Then lastly, I celebrated my 40th birthday in the USA, and in South Africa! Never have I been so spoilt! 4 birthday cakes, 3 celebrations and loads of precious friends to celebrate with!

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When I said I couldn’t wait to see what God would do this year, I certainly meant it. And I still do! No matter what happens (be it good ir bad) I know it will be for my good and His glory. Now how can we not be excited about that?

Return to the Philippines:

In a months time we will leave our “home” in SA for our “home” in the Philippines. Please pray for us as we say our goodbyes and prepare to leave. Pray for our paperwork to be ready and sorted before we leave (Valerie’s passport is still outstanding).

Thank you for praying for us and caring for us. Not a day goes by the we don’t thank the Lord for you.

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A wonderful start to 2016

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This year has had such a wonderful beginning, and I am so excited to see what else God will do in 2016! Already we have begun our preparations for our return to the Philippines in April. Although Im not allowing myself to think about the goodbyes yet, I am looking forward to all the hellos on that side. Its a strange thing feeling like you belong in two places! But what a blessing to have so much to love, even if it means saying goodbye for a while.

A wonderful New Year:

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Our New Year was spent with Philips wonderful family and a dear friend visiting us from Switzerland. We got to enjoy a real “African experience” at the Krugersdorp Lion Park to end off our 2015 and then the beautiful Rhino and Lion Park for the first day of 2016. For this animal lover, there is no better start to a year! I am so very thankful for these precious times that will be treasured memories for a very long time.

Ironman 70.3

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Last weekend Philip took part in the 70.3 ironman East London. He did so well and we had such a wonderful time together for the weekend. Phils sis took care of the kids in Joburg so it was precious alone time for us. (Although I did miss the kids too!). We are so thankful for new acqaintences we made and opportunities to share of Gods goodness and grace in our lives.

Agutaya airstrip:

Unfortunately not much to report about the airstrip. Our last news was that not much has been done on the airstrip since October last year. The new estimated completion date is April 2016. Although this has taken a lot longer than was planned, we are still excited to see it completed. And the way things are going it seems we just might be back in time to see the first plane land :-).

2016 Plans:

In a few short weeks we head to the USA for a two week missions conference. Its our first trip to the States so its mixed feelings of excitement and trepidation. After our return to South Africa in mid March we have a month until its time to say goodbye. Our first few weeks in the Philippines will most likely be spent in Manila getting supplies (everything from food, to medical, to building supplies to do repairs and home-schooling materials). Also, Phil has already got a scheduled Bible Study opportunity with his friends there. Then we head of to the island. Phil will most probably go to Agutaya while we wait on Cuyo to assess the house and if the water pump works, send out our drinking water containers and order anything needed for repairs.

We really need your prayers! Please pray for our time in the States, what’s left of our time in SA as we get all our documentation ready and saying goodbye :-(, and for all that needs to be done in the Philippines before we settle in again. Thank you for holding the ropes in prayer for us!

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Much love in Him,
The le Rouxs

November News

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Hazyview:

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Sometimes there are precious moments that just cannot be accurately described with words. Thats how I feel about our time in Hazyview. As many of you know, we spent the last 5 weeks in Hazyview with our dear friends there. We spent our last week in Hazyview at the Kruger Park Lodge because someone gifted us their timeshare there. It was a lovely time of rest and relaxation! It was such a wonderful time with the Tuckers that when it came time to say goodbye it was like leaving home again. We are so thankful for the many people we were able to share precious times with, for every opportunity to share Gods goodness in our lives with others, for the Hazyview church that spoilt us rotten, for every precious relationship He has blessed us with. Thank you John and Janine Tucker for making us feel so loved!!

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During our time in Hazyview we had many opportunities to share Gods work in the Philippines as well as for Philip to preach and lead Bible studies. Janine also hosted a ladies tea where I got to share what was on my heart. The kids enjoyed playing tennis, meeting up with new friends and Friday night youth nights!

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Thankful!

Whenever my heart is overwhelmed with goodbyes and longing for loved ones, I am reminded how very precious fellowship with believers is. Its the one thing our hearts long for the most on the mission field. Although my heart struggles knowing that we will leave this all behind in a few months, I also know that each of these moments, each of these friendships were not a coincidence. They were a special blessing from God. He knows our hearts, He sees our need and He loves us enough to give us what we don’t deserve. Humbling..

As the year comes to an end, we would like to thank everyone of you that has walked this journey with us this year. Thank you for your prayers, thank you for your friendships, thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for caring, for crying with us, loving us and listening to us. Truly, you are an answer to prayer!

With love,
The le Rouxs

October news

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What a blessing!

In the last month we have lived in 3 provinces! In the first week of October we left the beautiful farm we were staying on to travel up to the Garden Route and visit precious friends and family there. It was a wonderful time of encouragement and enjoyment. We then travelled back up to Joburg in time for the Sandton Bible Church Conference. What a blessed time! It is one of our favourite events whenever we are home, and we always come away encouraged and refreshed. We treasure the times with many fellow missionaries and pastors and connecting with those that partner with us. After that we travelled up to the beautiful Eastern Transvaal where we are currently staying. I cannot even describe how very blessed we feel being here. Good friends are indeed a gift from the Lord! My heart is so thankful to the Lord for this time. We have also had many opportunities to share the Lords work in the Philippines. It remains our prayer that the Lord will be Glorified at every opportunity.

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Sad news:

This past week we received the terrible news that a sweet dog, Pluto, passed away. We are still greatly saddened by this. It is always hard to leave our island home and especially our animals behind. More so knowing that they could die in our absence. Our neighbour who is looking after the animals has let us know that our dog, three adult cats and 2 goats have all died recently. It seems there is a sickness going around. Please pray with us that the Lord will protect our other dog, cats and goats from whatever is making them sick. Please also pray for Kuya Jhun who is looking after them as he is quite dispondent about the deaths. Thank you!

Landing strip:

The landing strip is progressing well! Over 450m has been cleared. There are so many boulders that have been removed that they considering buying land just to house the boulders! It seems at the rate the airstrip is being built, we may be back in time for the opening of the landing strip :-).

Phils Mom:

Philips mom was recently hospitalised for a stroke. She has since been discharged and is doing better. Thank you to all who prayed!

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Welcome sign at the Tuckers house 🙂

Thank you!

I can hardly believe the year is almost at an end! Just 10 weeks until Christmas. Soon we will head back to Joburg and be there for the next few months. Thank you to all of you who are faithfully praying for us, and for all of you who have made our time in South Africa so wonderful! We praise God for all He is doing through your lives. Please pray that the Lord will continue to use us in every way He sees fit, and that He will always find us willing and determined to obey.

God Bless you!
The le Rouxs

August News

What a crazy month it has been! We praise the Lord for many opportunities to share about His work in the Philippines, for lots of fun times we spent with special friends, and for a scary experience that allowed us to see His Grace and to testify of His goodness. It’s been a busy month!

Ministry opportunities:

The Lord has blessed us with many opportunities to share what He has been doing in the Philippines. One of our favorite things is catching up with many fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who partner with us, and hearing what is happening in their lives too. We praise God for women’s Bible studies, youth groups, schools and of course churches that have invited us to share. We will treasure these times for a long time to come. We continue to pray that the Lord will use us as His instruments in South Africa, and that we will challenge, encourage and bless all those He brings across our path.

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Mountains:

This past month we had the privilege of climbing up 2 of Cape Towns beautiful mountains. We climbed up Table Mountain with friends, and then last week we climbed Helderberg Mountain with friends too. What a beautiful way to see the Cape! One cannot but help to praise the Lord when you see His beautiful creation. It’s also a good reminder of how insignificant we are, and yet God is concerned with us and our lives. We a blessed beyond measure!

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A scary experience:

Less than a week ago on our way back from a youth group that Philip led, our car was pelted with rocks and a gun shot broke the back window. We were just unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But, we know God never makes mistakes. What man may mean for evil, God will turn for good. We were miraculously not harmed and were shaken, but unhurt. The damage on the vehicle amounts to R40000. Thankfully the van is insured by our good friends who borrowed it us.
The Lord really has blessed us through this. Philip was able to share the gospel with someone because he was taking the van to Durbanville after the damage was done. Also, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ gave us the funds to cover the insurance excess, and we have been able to borrow another vehicle from other dear friends until the van is repaired. The outpouring of love and concern has been really touching, and we cannot but praise God for those He has raised up as a support for us. We are so blessed!

Incidently, the police have arrested 12 people for stoning cars, one directly for damage to the van. We continue to pray for the people of Klipheuwel who threw the rocks. May their need of Christ be a reminder to us of the urgency of the work set before us.

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Agutaya:

The landing strip progress is slow but steady. We were encouraged to see some photos that show the landing strip start to look like a landing strip :-). Thank you to all who prayed for our friend Kuya Jes. We hear he is back on the island and although he is struggling with high BP, he is much better.

Unfortunately we received news that someone tried to break into our house on the island on Monday night. Thankfully they were unsuccessful. What comfort to know that God is here with us, but He is also there with them. We rest in the knowledge that He is in control.

Thank you for praying for us and caring for us. We are so blessed to share this work with you, our trusted partners.

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The le Rouxs

Landing strip update

Its rainy season in the Philippines and already two typhoons have crossed over our beautiful island. Friends tell me our garden is quite a jungle already and as I picture our house surrounded by all the green lush, I long to be there. I guess there will always be part of us longing for our home in Africa or our home in Asia. We are truly blessed to have two places we call home!

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Although we are on furlough things have been set up for the landing strip project to continue in our absence. Due to the location and weather conditions, progress is slow. But still the project is continuing :-). Just a few weeks ago 80 drums of fuel arrived on Agutaya to fuel the big land moving equipment. And daily they are moving heavy boulders and clearing the land.

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You can see the size of the boulders that are being removed in the video above. Its an enormous task and we are in awe of what the Lord has already done!

Please continue to pray for the people involved in this project. Above all, please pray that the Lord will be glorified greatly through all of this.

We will keep you updated with news on the landing strip as soon as we have it. Thank you for your faithful prayers!

“Home” again!

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Its almost been a month since we arrived in South Africa on furlough. And what a precious month it has been! We have had so many wonderful times with people we love, and been to so many beautiful places. My heart is so full with all the wonderful experiences, and I cannot but praise the Lord for giving us this much needed time “home”.

The above photo was taken while we were on a drive through a game farm in Eastern Transvaal. I was able to get up pretty close to this majestic creature to get some photos. (Don’t worry, there are no lions etc. in the game park). Such moments are beyond compare for this animal lover.

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But even more precious than that has been the times of fellowship we have had with brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s what we miss most on the island, and so we are savoring every minute! Already we have had opportunities to share about the Lords work in the Philippines, and we continue to be blessed through it. There is nothing more humbling than the realisation of how very privileged we are to be a part of His work.

In the past 4 weeks we have been in Johannesburg, Crystal Springs, Hazyview, Pinetown and we head to Balito tomorrow. After that we will be back in Eastern Transvaal and then head to the Cape. Its been a lot of travelling, but an amazing opportunity to see our beautiful country and be with many loved ones. We are so thankful for these times!

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Although we are loving it in SA, our hearts and minds are never far from our beautiful island and its people. Will you please join us in continuing to pray for the Agutaynen people? We pray for the Lord to prepare their hearts for truth and for protection over this time of typhoons. Please pray also for the Lord to give us many opportunities to share about His work on Agutaya and for many to be challenged to live Christ out in their lives.

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Of course, none of these times would be possible if it were not for the help of those the Lord is using to bless us. Thank you to everyone that has supplied our car, given us vacation places, let us stay in their homes, given us warm clothes and prayed for us. We praise God for you! If you would like to see us, or have us share the Lords work, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to see you!

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With love in Him,
The le Rouxs