Greetings from Mindoro!
I've been having trouble getting e-mail out. Every time I can get online my connection freezes up before I can get an e-mail sent. Hazards of a weak infrastructure here in the Philippines.
Lets' see if I can remember what has happened since I wrote last. The day before Christmas eve we worked until 3 a.m. A couple of times as we had been drilling, water had gushed up out of the drill rod at 80 feet, turning into a temporary artesian well. We had been drilling for a week without being able to get past 100 feet, so I thought maybe God was trying to tell me something. We cleaned out the bore hole as best we could and put the casing into 90 feet. Then we took some desperately needed time to rest over Christmas.
When we came back we put in our pump and tried to test the water. To make a long boring story shorter, the water level seems to hold steady, but we can't get more than a couple of gallons of water out of the hole. I think there is water down there, but it is too little to support steady pumping. We still know that there is abundant water at 120 feet, but those last 20 feet seem to be cursed. We can't get down there no matter what we do.
I'm just about out of strength, patience, and ideas. Delpin and a friend of ours, JR, are going to continue working on the well. I have been putting other project work off too long, though. I have to keep going on other fronts and let the chips fall where they may with the well. Thank you so much for your prayers! Work continues on it, and I will continue to update you as there are developments.
Speaking of work on other fronts, I don't think that I have told you yet that Ida, our missionary in Pusog, has led 4 people to Christ in the month that she has been working there. All 4 have been through a baptismal class, and have been interviewed in preparation for baptism.
In fact, when I got back from Christmas I found that Ida had taken one of the ladies to the nearest pastor and had her baptized! I'm excited to see Ida taking initiative and not waiting for me. It is always our goal as missionaries to transfer our vision and leadership to local believers, just as Paul did. It is immensely encouraging to me to see Ida step up, take charge, and get things done with or without me! May God give the Tawbuid 100 more such leaders!
I just got back from a meeting yesterday with two of the three district pastors that I work under (it can get a little confusing at times). A certain lay man, who has at times gotten involved in the Tawbuid work, showed up in Pusog last Sabbath with grand plans of building a big church, a parsonage, and various other projects in the village. He also tried to convince Ida that I had no right to work in Pusog as I lived in another district. By the time he left Ida's head was spinning. We have had to tread VERY carefully to avoid getting kicked out of the village. The converts that Ida has led to Christ, and the other contacts she is developing have all come in silently and under the radar. I'll presume that this layman's intentions were good, but he was threatening to ruin our ability to work in Pusog, and was trying to get me kicked out.
Oh politics, I despise them. But they are part of human nature and must be dealt with. I asked to meet with the two pastors involved, diplomatically explained the situation. Praise God, up to this point I have always been able to maintain a good working relationship with all levels of church leadership. Both pastors understood, and promised to gently head off the problem before it got too big. We also plan to have a baptism in the nearest mother church later this month for the other converts.
In Layaban the work is moving more slowly, but is still progressing. Originally the captain was one of the strongest oponents of our moving there or evangelizing. Sandy and his wife have made a point of befriending him. Just this Sabbath he told Sandy, "You really ought to set up a church here!" Praise God!
One of our former members lives in Layaban, she was our first contact. She hasn't been able to bring herself to stand up to her father-in-law, though, and come back to church. Sandy and Ilene have been praying for God to send dreams to the people in Layaban, and just this week this former member had a dream that shook her up and sent her to our missionaries asking for help to go back to church. You'll have to wait until the story comes out in the magazine, though, for the full scoop! I can't give everything away here
Thank you so much for your unceasing prayers and support! God is working, and progress is slowly being made!