Good morning from the great sunny island of negros in the Philippines. We have been very busy and I have not had much time to post. It is now Tuesday morning and the second day of our pastor/church leader seminar. Yesterday we had a good crowd for the seminar. Jay, CJ, and Robby are the speakers and they are teaching about how to prepare sermons, be effective leaders,and reach the lost people here. This seminar is very important because it is helping to keep the work going when we leave here. We have done quite a lot since arriving. We have done door to door evangelism, block parties, construction work, and of course the seminar. I have met so many good and loving people. I have also heard many stories that have encouraged and uplifted me. I want to take this time to share about Dave Valdez.
He is the son of pastor Dominggo Valdez. He is 35 but you could not tell that by looking at him. In a lot of ways he and I are very much alike. He has grown up his whole life in a family known for ministry. He was raised in a very good christian home. He also knows the expectations placed on a pastor's son. And like me, he has been some what of a rebel. He loves american music and dresses like many american 20 yr olds. He has known the pain that rebelling against God's love and the happiness that only embracing that love can bring. Dave is a bit of wild child. He is the one who had me try coconut wine which ferments in less than an hour. He loves to cruise on his bike and feel the wind on his face. But there is something even more going on his mind. Dave is married and has a 5 year old child. The problem is that Dave's wife and child live in America and have been there for 3 years. Dave has been trying to get a visa to be with them but because his wife is not a US citizen it is very difficult. Dave worries that his son will grow up and not know his father. Dave shows true love though in wanting the best for his family. He knows that his family can live more comfotable and in better conditions in America. So Dave sacrifices his time with his family. Dave told me that there are many times when he feels all alone here. His family visits once a year and I am sure it is a very happy time but also a sad time because He knows they will leave again and he will be alone. Dave said it may take him 2-3 more years before He will go to America. He told me that He sometimes wonders why God would test him like this. Even though Dave may question the circumstances, he knows that God is in charge and control. Dave's love for God and his family is a great example of selfless sacrifice. So even though Dave is rough around the edges, his testimony is a story of faithfulness. Please pray for Dave that he will be reunited with his family. Please pray that his son will not grow up angry at his father but that he will understand. Please pray that Dave will trust and rely on God's love even more.
There are many many more stories like this, that I have picked up here. God is using these people to create in me a humble heart. We only have a short while more here and then we will be coming home. For me, I am dreading that trip. It is my most sincere prayer that God will let me come back and stay in a more long term trip.