I have procratinated writing this newsletter for far too long. Somehow I couldn’t get myself to pen yet another newsletter that felt the same as all the others… language translation ongoing, home-schooling ongoing, Val’s college plans in the waiting… But today I can finally say that big things are on the horizon!
After months of tirelessly working through the lessons we have finally reached lesson 40 (our goal to start teaching)! We reached this goal a few weeks ago, but decided to wait for the schools to begin their new year after summer break (as many leave the island for long periods of time). School will start soon and we are making plans to begin teaching.
We need your help! Although you cannot be here with us, we covet your prayers over this time. The enemy wants to ensure that none are reached for God, and will try to deter us as far as possible. Please pray for our family. Please pray for Phil especially. Pray for many people to attend the teachings faithfully and for their hearts to be receptive to the truth. Pray for wisdom in presenting the lessons to the people clearly. Pray for many to come to know Him as Lord and Saviour.
Leaving the nest
Thank you so much to everyone who have been praying about this. It really is bittersweet for us. We hate to see Val go, and yet we are excited for all that lies ahead for her. Since Val was 9 years old she dreamed of being able to go to Bible school, and this year that dream will come true! The past few weeks have been a tense but exciting time seeing the Lord at work. This is a long story so just scroll down if you would rather not know the details 😊.
For Val to apply for a student visa she needed a SEVIS form sent to her by the college. It took two months to arrive. When we left for Manila we knew it was our one and only chance to apply as we couldn’t afford to fly out again. The SEVIS form still had not arrived and the visa appointment dates were filling up fast. To cut a long story short, the form arrived just in time and we were able to book the last slot available in the week we could go! On the day of the visa appointment Val lost her visa photo somewhere and thankfully a kind gentlemen in the visa offices allowed her to go out and get photos taken (usually you have to book another apointment!). The photo we took was on the side of a busy, dingy, smelly road in Manila. It was the most ridiculous photo of her. They photoshopped the photo to the extent that it doesnt look like Val. They cut off a piece of her ear, straightened her hair and put other clothes on her (don’t as me why). It would have been funny had I not been so stressed. But despite all this, they accepted the photo at the visa offices and even allowed her to skip the queue inside.
All this to find out after her appointment interview that we were supposed to pay a SEVIS fee of $200 before the visa would be granted. When Val came out of the building sad and dejected my heart sank. I thought her visa was declined, but instead they only required the SEVIS payment. I was momentarily sad knowing that we wouod have to return another day all the while knowing that our days were running out. I quickly decided to be brave and try do the payment on the side of the road on my phone. I know that for most people that would have been easy, but for me it was awfully stressful. Phil does all the banking, finances and online things. Added to that was the fact that it was $200 we did not plan on and I was afraid that it would not go through on the credit card. Also, the street is full of beggars and chaos and they were tugging on me asking for money while I was trying to do the transaction. Thankfully by the grace of God it went through. Then I needed to print the proof of payment. Off we went into the rough, dirty streets to find a photocopy place. It took us at least 15 minutes to walk there and after they printed it for me they insisted I pay P400 for 1 photocopy (That is R133 or $7.48)! Needless to say I was livid. What daylight robbery! After telling them they should be ashamed and that they were stealing the Lord’s money (I know… I was stressed 😩) I reluctantly paid and we made our way back to the visa offices.
The Lord really went ahead of us because the security guard at the gate who we had struck up a conversation with earlier and was delighted that we could speak Tagalog, noticed us and rushed Val through the crowd. All Glory to God that she was granted a two year student visa without them even looking at our financial records. God is good! Later that day Phil returned from doing a dedication for one of his friends. He received a gift from them and when we opened it we saw it was…. $200! He knew our need long before we did ❤
This is a real leap of faith for our family. We are trusting the Lord for the finances for her flight, her fees and food while she is there. Already the Lord has provided a jacket for her and someone generously gave some money towards a flight for me to accompany her. We also just found out a good friend of ours gave financially towards her studies (thank you L) Many of you know how long I have been praying about that and what an amazing answer to prayer that it! We are trusting the Lord for the rest. Will you join us in praying for provision, for our family as we say hard goodbyes and mostly in praying for Val? Thank you!
What a wonderful time we had distributing the many clothing donations we received from our friends in Manila! We were able to give to 141 families (a total 1500 people!). Seeing the joy in their faces is priceless. Pray with us that they will see the love of Christ through such acts as these.
The school room is done and ready to be used in the news school year! We are so thankful for each one who helped with this project. We cannot wait to see it being used for many generations to come, and also as a place where we can bring them the Good News!
Manila Bible Study Group
The above photo was taken at an event called “Freedom”, put together by Domini (one of the men in Phil’s Manila BS group). It was a wonderful afternoon of preaching and singing in honor of the Lord. We are so proud of these men and how they are growing in the Lord! This picture is with only a few who we were seated near, but there are many others who have blessed our hearts with their love for the Lord.
We are planning on having a baptism in October before our family needs to leave the Philippines for a few days (visa requirement).
Please keep these brothers and sisters in Christ in your prayers!
Our NTM Missions Conference took place this past month. Our kids had so much fun! While we spent many hours in meetings, they were entertained by a team from Alaska who came to do the children’s programme. Val attended most meetings with us and helped look after the little ones too.
I had the privilege of helping to prepare the table decor for the ladies lunch, and also being part of a panel of ladies that shared our experiences on the mission field with fellow missionary ladies.
Over the past few years many missionaries have left the field, leaving lots of works without people. Our Palawan field especially has taken a knock. In the past two years we have lost 3 missionary families, all of them church planters.
This photo above is what is left of our Palawan field. Two couples (including us) are in the tribe doing church planting. The couple in front are doing language study and are with another mission not ours. One other single lady is working in the tribe alongside Filipino church planters. Others are in support ministries. The couple in the middle, Lynn (with the red top) and Rich (with the stripped top) are our supply buyers and valuable partners to us. There are still so many lost in our region. Please join us in ferverently praying for the Lord to send labourers.
I cannot express enough how thankful we are for all of you. Your prayers and support and love are daily gifts from the Lord.
We pray for you all too, and would love to hear from you. Hearing your news makes us feel less isolated, and helps us pray for you better.
We love and miss you!
Vina for all of us