Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Greetings from Mindoro!

Thank you so much for your prayers during the meetings that we held in
Layaban! I apologize for not writing sooner.

The village of Layaban was very nervous about our meetings, but they did not
outright forbid us from teaching. The first night, many people came, but
there was a lot of skepticism. As you may have already read about in the
Adventist Frontiers, the wife of the leader of the local Satanist cult sat
in the back and laughed about the Bible being God's word. The lady sitting
next to her, who had had contact with Adventists as a girl, told her, "Don't
you fear God? I heard about that book when I was a girl. It is indeed
God's word and you had best not be mocking God."

Within an hour of the end of the meeting, the lady was vomiting up blood,
and many people in the village recognized this as a sign to her that God is
real and the Bible is His word.

The people were especially interested in hearing about the origins of evil,
and final events. I presented the Great Controversy from Pre-Creation to
the New Earth, and showed portions of the Jesus film on my ipad each
evening. Almost every night I received lots of good questions, and light
bulbs turning on for some people.

Toward the end, an old shaman came by in the early morning. He spent most
of the morning talking about life in general, and then about noon he shifted
to asking me about spiritual issues. Especially important to him was the
origin of the spirits, the resurrection, and hell. Since I had spent
significant amounts of time learning about the system of spirits that he
knew as a shaman, I was able to explain the whole system to him in his terms
but from the perspective of the Great Controversy. I showed him how Satan
was actually behind the spirits, and his angels were impersonating different
kinds of spirits and dead people, and giving the shaman a little bit of
power, but really the power was only bait. When he took the bait, Satan
took control of him and he became a slave to Satan.

I couldn't say that a light bulb turned on in his head. No, it was a lot
more like fireworks. He was fascinated, blown away. He said that for the
first time in his life he understood who the spirits were, and what was
really going on behind the curtain of the spirit world. He carefully
repeated back to me all that he learned to make sure that he got it right,
and especially how a person could be saved from the power of the spirits and
from being burned up in hell. I softly asked him if he believed in Jesus,
and he replied that he did, but he wasn't sure yet if he was ready to change
allegiance. He wanted to go home and think this all out. I hope and pray
that God will continue to draw him to Himself!

Because of the hostility of the village, I could not ask for open decisions
for Christ. Anyone who would have been courageous enough to stand up would
have immediately been kicked out of the village. I was able to ask for
private commitments, however, and 13 people asked to continue studying.

We took those 13 commitments and requests to continue studying to the
village and asked for permission to move a family into the village to study
with our interests. We were met with a firm, "NO!" We would not be allowed
to move into the village. They tried to stop us from even coming back and
teaching, which shows that we made enough of an impact for them to feel
threatened. One old man, though, stood up in the council where they were
discussing what to do with us. In a move that is incredibly bold for a
Tawbuid, he told the entire hostile council that he was one of the people
who asked for continued studies, and that they must not forbid us from at
least visiting. Praise God for small victories!

One of our church members by the name of Sandy has a daughter who has been
suffering with a long-standing chronic illness, and after the village elders
told us their decision he took me aside and said, "I have an idea, I might
just be able to get into the village. Would it be ok to try something

"Sure!" I said. "Be creative!"

A week later he came up onto my porch with a huge grin on his face. "We're
in!" he cried. "You see my wife has relatives in Layaban, and so we went
and asked permission to move our daughter there to give her a change of
scenery and allow my wife's step-mother to try some herbal remedies. They
gave us permission!"

Sandy's family has to be careful. They are not allowed to openly evangelize
or share their faith in the village. But simply by living a Christian life
in the open, ministering to people where they can, having daily devotions,
and worshiping in their house every Sabbath, they can begin to break down
the walls of hostility and demonstrate Christian living.
Others in Balangabong intend to formally continue studying with the
interests, as well, on a weekly basis. They will have to walk the hour
there and back in the evening, but several people committed to making this

And that brings me to now. The day after Sandy obtained permission to move
to Layaban I left the village to travel to Thailand for continued training
and strategizing with AFM. We are just finishing up, and at the end of next
week I will be traveling back to the Philippines. I will be there for one
month, at which point I will have to return to the States for furlough.

I have questioned God as to why He would take me away just as so much is
happening, but He responded as He usually does. He wants to give the people
opportunity to take on this work themselves, and not become dependent on me.
This is the goal that God has put in my heart for the Tawbuid as well, not
that I would reach them, but that God would use me to facilitate their
reaching their own people. This means that at times I must step back and
let them practice on their own just like Jesus did when He sent out his
disciples 2 by 2.

Please join me in praying that God will guide and inspire them to
faithfulness and mission while I am required to be away. In all things may
God be glorified and souls saved!