I cannot help but smile while I type this newsletter. It has been long road to get to here, but the wait has been worth it. We are so glad to be able share with you our first few weeks of Phase one teaching.
We have been teaching in 7 different locations 7 times a week. Each teaching lasts 2 hours or more. Phil teaches the adults in Agutaynen and I teach the kids in Tagalog. We are teaching chronologically through the Bible with the hope of building firm foundations for future believers.
Initially we hoped to attract 200 people per week. We expected, as is common, that the number would lessen as time went on. Our expectations were exceeded and more that 260 people arrived in week 1. The next two weeks dropped slightly but we still average around 250 weekly. Thank you Lord!
Each group we teach at is so different. We have people ranging from 4 years old to well in their 70’s. We have taught in darkness by torchlight, used sheets to block the sun, had to protect the equipment from the rain using umbrella’s and strapped things down with rope during gust winds. It has been exhausting but exhilarating!
Already they are learning precious truth’s about God’s character. It has been so wonderful to see their faces light up when they hear things for the first time. We cannot wait to teach them about the precious gift of Salvation! But, this is still many weeks away. For now we are enjoying teaching them through the Old Testament and the stories that point to Christ.
Please pray for us and the precious people of Agutaya. Pray that they will continue to attend the lessons. Pray that they will be open to His truth. Pray that a work would already begin in their hearts.
With the great blessing of being the Lord’s hands and feet on Agutaya comes some challenges.
Living on the island itself has it’s challenges, but lately life has become a little harder. The island has 2 boats that serve as the link to the other islands where food is purchased and people travel to when they leave the island. In the beginning of 2018 one of the boats was “retired” leaving the island with one working boat. Just two months ago, the second boat has been retired too. That means that only small fishing boats are available, so getting our food supplies has become tricky. There is no plan to get the bigger boats up and running so it seems that small boats will be the norm.
Adding to that is also the fact that our supply buyer (who buys our food/medical supplies in Puerto Princesa, and ships it to us) has gone on a well deserved year long furlough. There is no one to fill in for him and that means we have no one to buy our supplies until he returns end of 2019.
The teaching has brought added expenses that are quite substantial. We need to pay for water and snacks for 250 people weekly. This is not something we can avoid as it is expected in the culture and must be done. There is also our transport expenses as we need to pay to have our speaker, screen, lights, water, snacks, computers, tables etc brought to every teaching and then returned after. Transport is expensive here as fuel is expensive on the island. Added to that is the childrens program (photocopies of coloring in pictures, crayons etc). Of course we need to pay for the electricity we use at the homes that allow us to teach as there is no way that they can pay for the extra we use.
Our visas still have not been approved because of the change in our missions name which means that we are still on tourist visas and needing to pay for the extensions which is costly.
Unfortunately we have also had a drop in our monthly financial support.
Please pray with us for these challenges.
These challenges can feel overwhelming at times, but they are never more than our blessings.
We continue to abubundanly blessed in our service to Him. It has been so encouraging to see how He is taking care of Valerie-Anne daily. He has provided godly friendships, a home for her over the Christmas break and warm clothes. She begins her second semester on January 17th. Please keep her in your prayers as the Lord brings her to mind.
Thank you to each one of you that has partnered with is in the work on Agutaya. It is our hearts desire that many on the island will come to know our precious Lord and Savior.
Wishing you all a very blessed 2019!
The le Rouxs