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Archived July Entries

Last Entry for July.... Don't worry I'm not dying.  It's just that I will soon have to relocate this site to another site-builder if I'm going to be able to edit it.  So as I write this final entry under this old site builder, I just wanted you to know things are going well.  God is giving us conversions and baptisms, and just last Sunday we had 74 come out.  If you don't see this journal being updated by mid August, go ahead and CLICK HERE.
July 9th.... Missions Program Slowly Reviving!  Our youth pastor returned all his church salary to missions, a lady worked in the hot rice fields all day with blisters on her hands to earn two dollars to give to missions, two others are selling snacks, another is colletcing bottles... we met our goal this past week, but need much more to sustain it this quarter.  Can we do it?  Pray for us.
July 4th... Missions Program Dying!  After losing 15 to overseas employment, schooling in Manila, and to relocating to other provinces due to hardships here, we only have four left in our church with steady jobs, and our missions program is going down fast.  We had a meeting, reduced our support, decoratated our auditorium, put up a goal chart, and will have a Missions Emphasis with guest speakers, missions SS lessons in all departments, and about anything else I can think of to see our missions giving increase.  Our Youth Pastor forfitted his church salary to give it all to missions, a 62 year old lady will sell things, my wife and I will increase our giving, and we are hoping others may unite their hearts with us.  When Christ gave the Great Commission to His church, His disciples were unemployed, poor, persecuted and outcast, and the Macedonia churches, despite suffering deep poverty, still gave far more than Paul ever anticipated, and joyfully too (2 Cor 8:1-2).  The problem is not a closed wallet but a closed heart!  Filipinos are ingenious and can do just about anything through hardships.  Why can't it be the same for missions?

Thursday Morning, June 25th, Things ard happening... Five new students enrolled in our Seminary last Tuesday, and yesterday's prayer meeting almost had 30.  Three young ladies ages 14 though 22 who visted last Sunday also returned, enjoyed it, and will coe back Saturday for Lenore's Bibe study.  Our church also helped a neighboring National Pastor with P2,000.00 toward his wife's needed medicine.  On the other side, we had a lady in the hospital in Olongapo who I neglected to visit so I appologized to her and the church.  I also learned that several who left our church on bad terms (this is several years ago),  are all in another church and apparently growing.  It sort of hurts me though that none said goodbye and I figured if they were realy growing, they'd at least pay me a visit to put a proper closure on things.
Tuesday Morning, June 23rd, Touching Lives..   I had great liberty in preaching last Sunday AM and we had several vistors who invited us to conduct Bible studies in their home.  For Sunday PM we divided into two groups, Lenore with the Ladies and I with the men and it was good sharing with eleven men various things about our church and coming up with plans.  Last Tuesday I was able to teach third year homiletics to nine men in our Seminary  and it is great to have such an influence on these men who will be preaching God's Word.  God also blessed by giving me time to visit some church members who needed encouragement, helping them with various problems.  I also received some encouraging texts, e-mails and visitors.  That's what's good about being a missionary.  Being invloved in people's lives, making a difference.  I should have saved those texts so I could have included them here. 

11 PM, Thursday, June 18th.... Things going well, but Website problems may be in July's forecast... Enjoyed lecturing the PNP Monday , teaching Homiletics to our third year men last Tuesday, and our Wednesday prayer meeting was well attended.  The High School and Philippine Merchant Marine Academy are still working on schedules, so there's not much I can do but wait.  Today I just taught PC in our Seminary's PC lab, and prepared my Tripod Site for the big adventurous transfer.  That because yesterday I learned that Tripod is going to replace their older site builder with a newer one.  This means if we want to continue editing our sites, we must transfer them into their new builder.  And hopefully,  the new site builder will not corrupt my site too much during the conversion process!   But as a backup, I created an UPDATES SITE which I can continue to edit if I can't edit my Tripod Site. 

10:00 PM, Sunday, June 14th....Ups and Downs.. finding a good "fit"... Good attendance on Saturday visitation which resulted in seven visitors Sunday. But several were absent for Sunday School and since Bro. Ed was teaching my class, I decided to sneak out and pay them a visit. One had an argument in the family, another was just late, and another had no money because her drinking husband took it all. They all hopped in the church vehicle and we made it in time before the service was to start. During the preaching only one came forward, and I was feeling a bit depressed. Sunday night many were late and I was even more discouraged so we formed a circle (about 30 of us), and I shared with them how I felt and why. A few others started sharing, two crying, and I think my transparency was good for the church. Lenore also came back from her Costa Rica trip that night and we had a food fellowship which went well. But I had a few members who did not bother to welcome my wife back when she was always there for them. This seemed uncaring to me and to get it off my mind, I'll just stop by and visit one of of those ladies when I return from my PNP lecture. She's really nice and could have had a problem. But the other I decided to just "let go." Sometimes you learn who you can help and who you cannot. But it still frustrates me when I see so much potential being wasted. God's will is always good, acceptable and perfect, His yoke is easy, His burden light, and His commandments are not burdensome. When we try to rebel against God's purpose for our lives, we throw away what was good, acceptable perfect, easy and light. Sadly, some can go their entire life, never fitting in. Why, because the "fit" we are looking for, is found only in God's will.

6 AM,  Friday, June 12th, Snakes, School ... Well I've been busy, visting some pastors and new members, cleaning my bed room for my wife's return, adding some bells and wistles to this website, but mostly with our seminary registering our students and making a brochure to pass out to promote our school - I'd like to get some more first year students.  It's raining today but some teens cut all the grass when it had let up yesterday.  Onother teen just left for Manila, but at the same time, another just returned and visited last night.  Despite the rain and power outage we have over 20 come out to our prayer meeting, walking throughthe mud and rain, so it was nice seeing their  commitment.  One lady reported she was absent Sunday night because a cobra had just entererd their nipa hut and they were killing it as church started - a neighbor killed it with a bolo knife and decided to cook and eat it.  One of my key men for some reason texted some verses to correct me an being "legatistc."  He ws absent both services Sunday due to problems and I texted we were pray for him to use his faith during trials to be a good example to others.  I talked with him Wednesday night, things improved, but I am not confortable.  He is very influential, head-strong and is not on the same page as I and the rest of the men are. Last night I got an e-mail from another missionary in Pampanga asking prayer for his youth group.  Since I am havng a similar problems, you can read his e-mail to the bottom of my obstacles page on my Main Site.  Well, I'm gonna go.  I want to get that brochure done so I can distribute to some pastors today.   

Tuesday Morning, June 9th, Feeling Better... Three of our Young People with Joshua are doing some chipping and repainting after the rains paused (maintenance is always on-going here but the rain just restarted as I type this!), sister Pacita an old lady in our church dropped off a gift of bananas, and yesterday a National Pastor friend from Subic who also has a Bible Institute stopped by for a CD of our curriculum. He's less than a half hour away, and while I don't know why he doesn't support our school (we teach our courses in Tagalog not always in English), like the Apostles Paul, I'll rejoice that Nationals are being trained there too. Yesterday the HS Principal agreed to give me some classes, my qualifications to teach the Philippine Merchant Marine cadets have been meet (I'll follow up), and today I'll visit a few National Pastors to fellowship and finalize some things about our seminary. Have a good day and thanks for praying for me.  Oh, and late last night, Sister Bessie texted from their Baptist Mission in Iba about the mouse on their new PC not working, and after I replied for them to restart the PC, to disconnect and re-attach their USB mouse they texted back: "OK, Thanks Pastor it's already working now..Thanks again. Gud PM. Have a gud nyt rest PO."  It's hard to image that due to technology, a PC can be fixed from a cell phone text sent over an hour away!  Man, missions is changing.

6:50 AM, Monday, June 8th... A little depression sets in..Good Morning! Saturday I visited some hospital patients distributing tracts, one seemed interested and I will follow up. Sunday was a good Father's Day with a three coming forward, last night was the start of my church leadership training series, and our mission in Iba reported of having 40 in attendance. Today I'll lecture the PNP, visit the HS to see if my teaching schedule is ready, will visit the PMMA (Philippine Merchant Marine Academy) to drop of my required "Letter of Intent," visit a few members, and will then catch up on my grass cutting if the rain holds off.  But on a personal note, I feel our church in San Marcelino is not where it should be. While I have a core group I can count on, others who have been here for years still cannot master the basics, and yesterday we had yet another testify that she was leaving for work in Honk Kong. It's hard to see what used to be around 70 go down to 50, and to see our Youth Group of 16 drop to seven. Some went abroad for work, to the provinces to save money, to Manila for college, and some teens have parents who forbid them to come, and others are just backslid. I guess this is just another reality of missions. If you are a church member, please support your pastor and church, and don't think that if you are absent it won't matter. Your pastor DOES notice and he needs your support.

6 AM June 6th, Saturday... My trip Into Olongapo...thinking about church status...thankful for my sons.. Raining, dark....no improvement so put my Love Bird to rest... A cat must have gotten a gold fish from my small pond - had five now four... was able to get a toner cartrage and other supplies in Olongapo...Didn't buy a card reader due to over-pricing (they doubled the price when they saw me as an American), and in another store, after an employee let a relative cut in front of me and I made my purchase, I privately returned to talk about being more fair with her customers (guess the car-reader incident had affected me),.  Joshua's dental appointment was rescheduled for today at 11 AM due to a power outage yesterday... can't cut grass due to rains which makes it really hard to cut taller and thicker grass later with a mechanical push mower.. today is church visitation..tomorow is Father's Day and will have a special message..  When I woke up this morning, for some reason my church status was on my mind.  Our attendance has been OK considering we lost 14 but it is clear I need things to improve.  Our offerings are down, our children to adult ratio is high, our Youth Department is half of what it used to be, the rains and new school year contribute to sickness, muddy traveling, wet clothes (people don't have dryers here), and additional responsibilities which increases absentees, and I don't want to keep re-visiting long standing members to build up the attndance.   My hope will be in working with the teens at the High School so I can get about 30 of them to come to our "Friendship Day" sports fest, and in holding Bible Studies with the Merchant Marine Cadets.  .  Actually, I tend to enjoy our seminary more.  Being a Pastor of a church has it's own unique share of burdens and problem-solving that only other pastors can understand.   On  a good note, now that Lenore is gone and I have to go into Olongapo more often, I've been taking Joshua on these trips, and in the course of our fellowship, I am seeing a godly young man with more character, spiritual maturity, and discernent than I have notice before.  I thank God that He has enabled us to raise two young men who have never caused us problems, love the Lord, and who are tender and interested in the things of the Lord.

5:50 AM, June 5th... Felt Good... We had six visitors show up to our prayer meeting Wednesday night who thanked me for how much they enjoyed our prayer station method where we divide into groups and do a circut to three different stations that focus on different topics.  It was aso nice to show Pastor Jun and Sister Bessie their new PC, which they texted: Gud PM Pastor. Thank U very much 4 teaching us how to operate r new computer and helping us to purchase it and 4 letting us to use the church van.  God Bless!  My Love Bird is still alive, I fed him some mango leaves and now I'll try some fine sand to see if it help clear things from his crop.  (Don't feel too bad, he's only one of about ten I keep in my large aviary-like cage).   This morning I'll take Joshua to the dentist, will visit the high school, and then we'll go into Olongapo to get some neede groceries and supplies.  It's been raining every day and night, but I  managed to cut half our grass yesterday and will try to do the other half when I return from Olongapo.  Well, that's it for now. Thanks for your visit.

June 3rd, Wednesday AM,  Philippine Merchant Marine Academy...Gideons...Woke up with a stuffed-up ear which seems to happen when it rains (must be old-age related), and separated a sick love bird from my aviary to help it recover from what looks like a goiter or crop problem.  Took Joshua with me as I drove to the PMMA and talked with the Presidents Secretary who gave us coffee and informed me how to apply to conduct Bible Studies to their cadets.  I am to submit a formal "Letter of Intent" to their Chief Officer Raul B. Cappleman (yes Raul not Paul), of the Department of Midshipmen Affairs.  Today I'll start encoding student records for this new school year, and we also have our prayer meeting tonight.  Tomorrow Pastor Jun and Sister Bessie will be coming over to learn about their new PC (they are our send out missionaries).  Also, I just got a text from Bro. Ray that Gideons will distribute NTs to four area high schools next Tuesday.  But I responded that the principal of my HS was too busy on the first day, and that I'll visit him this Friday to try to book an assembly for next Tuesday.  To me, Gideons needs to give Bro. Ray time to approach and coordinate things with the HSs before they select the date themselves.  Well, I gotta go.  It's time for lunch.

Tuesday, June 2nd, 11:30 PM... Student Registration


After making all the preparations, texting and reminding, there was nothing I could do but to wait. Things like this can have two people show up, or far more than you expected. Especially when some travel over an hour and a half to get here, and when they also have CDs of some of my curriculum. It would be far easier for them to start their own schools, and not bother with the long trips. But thirty came and registered, including several new students. We also have a good percentage of second and third year Pastoral Theology majors, with eight (and possibly two more) qualified pastors and church leaders, joining our school's volunteer faculty! It was good seeing everyone again, and I appreciate so much the trust of my national pastor friends who came with their students.

June 1st, Monday Night...I'm back..Much has happened....raising the People to the Standard.... Much has happened.. Joshua returned alive (he said he left his cell phone here so he wouldn't lose it!), we now have running water in our house (although one pump still needs to be fixed), it's been raining every day (I think the rainy season is returning), we had a good turn out for Saturday visitation with a few professions, had visitors in our Sunday AM service with four members coming forward during the invitation, and had a well attended PM service where we had a meeting to discuss the status of church and work out improvements.  I also had two new officers from our municipal traffic enforcer department join my PNP lecture, was able to tour some new classes at the HS where I will be teaching, and had constructed our school calendar for our Seminary student registration and orientation which will be tomorow night.    Further, I also was able to cut the grass, unclog some gutters, update my website, record some church and family finances, complete all installations on our missionary's PC, and lift some weights (I try to stay in shape).... On a more personal note, I am saddened by what I am reading of so many fellowship churches that are showcased as examples of success simply because of their properties and large numbers.  Personally,  I see more emphasis is being placed on what the people want instead of what Christ wants, and I'd rather have a smaller group with standards than a larger group without any.  And Im not talking about any rank and file congregation either.  I'm talking about a people separated unto God by a submissive, humble, obedient and holy walk, with a lifestyle, philosophy and countenace that shows there is a difference.  Let me just say, I don't lower the standard for the people, but raise the people to the standard.

May 29th, 5:30 AM... Joshua's in trouble... Water problem returns... Vacation is almost over... Joshua never came back, didn't answer his cell phone, and I was so busy working on the pump, that I didn't ask why he was taking a bag of clothes on his school outing!   Last night I stayed awake till 2 AM, waiting for him and. when he gets back, I'm gonna lecture him about not responding on his cell phone. I only had three hours of sleep and I can tell already, it will affect the rest of my dragging day.The church water system is misbehaving again but I'm getting tired of  the same topic. It's hard to believe that 75% of this planet is water, and I can't get much.  My missions officed e-mail for my nomination on who should be our next field representative and I couldn't think of any pastor in particular.  Since being on the field my own sending church pastor had been replaced, and I haven't had fellowship with any US pastor for three years now.  Oh, I just got a text from a former seminary student (I first thought it was Joshua!) who will visit me Monday morning.  Monday is also when my PNP lectures resume, when I check in at a reopening High School  to see if we can work on my Values Ed teaching schedule, and when a teen moves  in for a week before he goes to school in Manila (his parents will be in Korea).  Then Tuesday, the following day is our Seminary Student regisration and orientation , followed by our prayer meeting Wednesday, a PC orientation with our Missionary couple Thursday (who will come from Iba), a trip to the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy on Friday, church visitation on Saturday, and of courese services on Sunday.  So my summer vacation is almost over, and no longer will have the time to play with my site.  While I felt kind of guilty putting in so much time into this site during my seminary, HS and PNP break, I also realize it is educating over 80 each day on missions, and is a good link between me and my supporters.  Today, I'm gonna first, make some coffee (I prayed already), cut all the grass on my half of the church property, add more programs to our missionary's PC, finalize my seminary schedule for this new school year (pray that I can have enough pastors to assist me in teeaching), visit a member who I know is backsliding, and maybe get involved with my never ending water pump saga. 

May 28th, Thursday PM... Water Problems Solved... so far! After five hours of various inspections, experimentation, cutting PVC, two trips to the hardware store, two large pizzas, a coke, and after I watered our lawns, thanks to three of our church men, our two water pumps and broken hand pump in my back yard, are all back on line!  While one of the systems still has plastic and inner-tube wrapped around a leaky PCV joint to maintain the vacuum needed for the pump to suck in water, I consider it fixed because I CAN TAKE A SHOWER!  Our Missionary's monitor was exchanged, and I loaded up his PC with all my sermons, seminary stuff, lessons, and Bible software. But I have to work with him and his wife to ensure they know how to maintain and use it.   It's now 10:10 PM, my son Joshua is still out on a summer school outing, so I'm gonna sign out and check up on his status.  Oh, I also added a "FURLOUGH" page to my main website, and it's not to early for me to start thinking about a definate departure month.  While I enjoy what God has called me to do, I realize that after four or five years of bing on the field, I can get too set in my ways, and too involved in my own little world here, forgetting that there's a big wide world in the US too.  Thanks to those of you who prayed for my water problems.  It's nice to take a clean shower without pumping water in a bucket and pouring it over your head. 

May 28th, Early Thursday AM.  Problems continue... As I got up at 5 AM to hand pump water from my backyard pump, the coupling to the pipe...cracked!  Now I must draw water from our church hand pump and carry buckets of water a further distance.  Since two of my young people will go into Olongapo to exchange our Missionary's defective PC monitor, I'll have them pick up a coupling too.  It's a good thing my wife Lenore is in Costa Rica and that Joshua will be going to school today (he'll be riding with the other two to Olongapo).  I'll have less water to pump!  See, there's always something good if you look for it.   After lunch, we're gonna try to get one of our water systems repaired - enough to give us running water on our church property and in our house.  Welcome to just another reality of the mission field.  Stay tuned as my battle with our ever growing water problems continues.. I know it's hard to believe, but I do actually have real ministries of a less mechanical nature!

May 27th, Wednesday PM: Problems confirm my call, I must use a hand pump to draw water! I had planned to visit  two ladies who were absent Sunday and was relieved to see them at our well-attended Prayer meeting.  One had to go visit a relative in another province on short notice, and sadly the other had problems with her  husband, who after being arrested for drunkeness and disorderly conduct, broke the toilet while in jail.  I also had two from our youth group who were forbidden to come by their fathers (who also drink), learned that two more  teens who went  to the province for school vacation will not be returning, and that another will be leaving for college in Manila.  And while I was able to pickup, install programs and set up our missionary's PC, the defective monitor will require a two hour trip to be exchanged.  Also, while the water tank that we welded was able to hold the water pressure, during the prayer meeting I noticed the motor wasn't shutting off, I could hear excaping air from some pipe fittings, the motor was overheating, so I had to shut it down, requiring that I manually pump my own water into buckets. How do I react to problems?  Especially when they seem to never end?  Problems are a confirmation of my call.  If there weren't any, I wouldn't be needed here.   They also enable me to be a witness as others watch how I react to them.  And, lastly, they create opportunities for my church members to help me solve them (three men came and tried to help me evaluate the problem with two coming back tomorrow to try to fix it).  When I look at the good that can come from problems, I thank God that He has counted me worthy enough to be entrusted with them. (He must have promoted me because I have been having a lot lately).  Click here to view our property.

May 26th, Tuesday Morning... We had a good Sunday, gaining two more additions to our chuch family, including a restored member who was under church discipine.  Our church attendance was over 60 Sunday morning, but we need to do more evangelism as many were children and our offerings were a bit low.  We had lost around 14 members for employment abroad, vacations or to colleges and it seems the best always leave this country due to lack of opportunities here.  I don't like counting the offering and handling the finances but we have no treasurer right now.  But I thank God for Bro. Edward who is teaching Adults Sunday School, Bro. Alex our teens, and some teens our children,  We really have not yet recouped from losing these 14 members yet.  Yesterday I was able to go Olongapo and get the PC we promised our missionsy in Iba and today we'll partition, format, install and set things up for him.  Our seminary we restart next week and I sort of enjoyed the break.  Church member Bro Rey was voted in and approved as a Gideons Chapter President and has 5,000 NTs stored at his house, so I'll coordinate with our HS's principal an asembly where I'll let Rey preach and his team distribute over 1,000 of them.   I've been improving my website but am at 17.2 of their 20 Meg limit so I'll have to delete some photos when I had more.  My wife is doing fine in Costa Rica and Josh and I have been spending more time togther.  I only had one thank me for the curriculm CDs I had sent out and I guess that's the way it goes, but I know they appreciate them. Mike

May 23rd, Catching Up...These past few days have went by fast, our prayer meeting was well attended, I was able to meet with Pastor Jun and Sister Bessie to make arrangements to get them a needed PC with printer and camera (they are our missionaries) and also helped them update their website (they had a high of fifty for their VBS Awarding Service Sunday PM), I cut and trimmed the grass on my half of the church property (Bro. Edward does the other half), and officiated at a PNP Badge of Honor ceremony. Today we have church visitation, preparations for our church services tomorow (including our May Movie Month), and I'm hoping the plumber will come to fix our water pump (I gave up after I did what I could). But what is on my mind this morning is "the little guy."

May 23rd, Something is bothering me....Yesterday afternoon I received my FREE copy of the Baptist Bible Tribune for which I'm thankful. And when you're far away, it's great getting news about churches and ministry from your own country. And in this edition (which I read last night as I as going the bed), nine full length pages were dedicated to "Pastoral Training Worldwide" (or training Nationals). And concerning the fact that so many different methods and processes are used, they wrote:

"This was confirmed to us in a recent interview we conducted via email with several of our missionaries scattered throughout the world... (We) have included in these pages a sampling of the replies we received [of] some very thoughtful answers given in the midst of very busy ministries."

If you'll look over my main website, you'll see God has blessed me with a school that has Full Seminary, Modular and Technical programs with majors in Pastoral Theology, Christian Education and PC Technology. While not a large school, (we're in a small town but please visit my school's website), God is blessing us.

But as a "little guy" I was never asked to share my input. Yet Christ always made room for the "little" guy.  He did it for YOU He did it for me, and we should do it for each other.  We should never arrive to the place where politics, connections, owed favors, contributions, etc., determine what is worthy.   Had I been asked to share my input, I may have been able to help the many other "little" guys like myself in their desire to effectively train Nationals.    But I was a "little" guy, overlooked by a publication from my Missions Board.

Wednesday Morning, May 20th...Well, last night we replaced the burnt out capsitor, changed the pump, replaced the sand filter sock, and our pump still can't suck in water. I suspect air is getting sucked in through a broken seal in the pipe or pump housing, we connected to our second pump (whose has a small leak which will be our next project), and won't do anything more till Saturday. This morning I received an e-mail from my wife and another pastor, had a member visit requesting prayers, and today (Wednesday) I'll visit a recovering member, reconfigure, install and update data on our recently repaired church PC, do some yard work, make sure things are set for our Prayer Meeting, and start making a plan for our Leadership Training for men, and Soul winning training for our ladies, which we will start on Sunday PMs once my wife returns from Costa Rica. Let me say that life is different here and there is much we do that is not door knocking. Repairs, maintenace, running errands, planning, finances, visiting, ministry, and problem solving, are all esential parts of my average day. But don't get me wrong. I'ts not like I always energetic. I'm human too....

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