Hawkes Bay & South Auckland, New Zealand
This year Pacific Islands Bible College classes were taught in Auckland by my dad, Richard Harp. I made my way down to Napier, New Zealand, in beautiful Hawkes Bay, and taught classes to the small group of Christians who worship at the Hawkes Bay church of Christ. There were five people in my nine day class on three New Testament books of Philemon, James and Jude. The classes went well with good attendance. I was able to teach classes and preach to the congregation there on one of the Sundays where seven were present.
After the close of the classes, I was able to make my way to Tauranga to spend a few days with our family who lives there. I had not seen some of them for a couple of years, so it was a good reunion. We also had our daughter, Rebecca and granddaughter Emma to fly in and meet us in NZ. Brooke and William were also in the country for the time, so it was a nice family reunion of sorts. We spent about five days together, and during that time we were able to go and spend Sunday with the Papamoa church of Christ nearby. William taught the Bible Class that morning. I led the singing and did the preaching. Nine members worship there regularly. The Harp presence nearly doubled the attendance. In the afternoon Jenny and I were able to spend valuable time with old friends and co-workers, John and Dee Redmayne. John is the local preacher for the group.
The church in New Zealand struggles like many small and outlying churches. However, they are some of the most wonderful people in the world. The people there are genuinely starved for the gospel, and for the encouragement that trips like this are able to provide. Thanks so much to our leadership here who has a vision for world missions.
Our trip to New Zealand accomplished a lot. Scott encouraged several struggling congregations. His dad taught successful classes in Auckland. William Mc Curry taught a Bible class that encouraged and uplifted a small congregation in Papamoa.
And my family who are not Christians received my book, so even though they have resisted studying with Scott or I they have access to the gospel.
There is an incredible feeling when you look out at an audience and see faces from your past; my cousin, my children, the lady who's husband baptized me, my childhood friend of forty years and people we had worshiped with over twenty years ago. This was a special reunion and Ladies Day.
There I stood with a blackened sprained foot and an arm in a sling but you know I hardly felt those things. I felt a sense of gratefulness and peace.
We imagined ourselves to be on the mount Tabgha overlooking Galilee and I encouraged the ladies to be poor in spirit, to mourn their sins and to be meek. We had a break and then we learned more from Jesus' sermon on the mount, in two more lessons.
It was such a God filled day. It was an honor to launch Sister's at Sea, the book I wrote about great ships of the Bible. These ships are Partnership, Membership, Hardship, to name a few. And they didn't even have to pay shipping because that was provided. I felt peace because the beautiful Christians there now have a tool to help them evangelize. It is sobering to think that in my home country there are only about as many Christians as Buford has!
Thank you to the elders at Buford who have made the Pacific Island Bible College accessible to New Zealand. They need it so much.
Kia Ora - again!
Waking up at 10 to 6 in the morning provides wonderful options in a beautiful country. Until yesterday, I have been waking up to beautifully clear skies and temperatures in the upper 40s. Getting out for a nice walk has been a good option. The marine parade that is about a mile in length provides a great way to get a glimpse at the rising sun. And just that was the outcome of my walk day before yesterday.
Fast forward to Saturday! Jenny is convalescing from her earlier in the week. She made the extra effort to get to Auckland for the Ladies Day sessions she taught. Over seventy ladies from area congregations were in attendance for the day’s festivities. A text during the sessions from Rebecca, our daughter, seemed to sound as if she was doing her things marvelously. She will have to send an update on the day when she gets some time. But I’m very proud of her for mushing forward through pain to do what needed to be done.
Sunday was a wonderful day here. I taught their class in the morning and preached the lesson at the worship period. My sermon was twice as long as usual because it was translated into Samoans present. The Hawkes Bay Church of Christ is small, and a struggling work. Seven members attend regularly. They desire greatly to get some help in the way of workers to come and guide them in a good way. They are meeting in a community hall in Napier, but are wanting to branch out to nearby Hastings. They desire that we bring a campaign back next year. So, we will have to discuss the possibilities.
PIBC classes are going well. We finished the book of James yesterday in an extended session. We will finish Jude on Tuesday evening, and have a final exam on Wednesday.
More to come!
Kia Ora! (Maori for Hello!)
New Zealand lies about 17 time zones to our west. We crossed the international date line to get here, so we lost a day in transit. We left on Sunday and arrived Tuesday having only been in transit for about a day. No worries! We will make it up on our return, Lord willing!
On a disconcerting note, Jenny had an accident yesterday afternoon. Her sister’s family lives in a deep bush setting near the city of Tauranga. Their driveway goes through an area where, just to the side of it there is a drop off into some thick brush. It so happened as they were out for a walk that she lost footing, twisted her ankle and fell headlong down into the bush. With her sister’s assistance, she was able to make her way back to the driveway. Debbie drove her to the doctor’s office. After a lengthy wait (it seems to be a universal experience) the doctor told her it looked as if she had sprained her ankle and dislocated her shoulder. She was sent to the hospital emergency for assistance. At the hospital, X-rays confirmed their fears, and the shoulder was put back in place while Jenny was being sustained by laughing gas. (Those that know Jenny can only imagine what that must have done to her! LoL!) Anyway, she was release with a sling, and told to not lift or reach for anything for a week.
Now, this has happened just as she is to make her way to Auckland where she is to speak three times at a Ladies Day function. They expect above seventy women at the event on Saturday morning (Friday afternoon, home time!) So, be praying for her. She is in a lot of pain, but she is committed to getting the job done.
Meanwhile, a couple hundred miles south, I continued my class last evening. We began our study on the book of James. There were six of us in the class, but the study was successful and encouraging to all. While there I noticed a book that belonged to one of the brothers there. It was a sermon outline book by Robert Martin, our missionary to the Pacific Islands. Seeing the frayed outer cover reminded me of how important the work he has done over the years has been to the good folks in so many places in this region. It is an honor to build upon the foundations he and others have laid.
More to come!
Team Members Blog about the trip:
Kim Gibson . . .
Every trip to China has been so different. We never know what to expect with the people, the small vans, new friends, the translators, the shopping, the food and the fellowship.
The fellowship never fails. The children and the caregivers are ready for us with smiles and hugs. We sing together, play together and sometimes pray together (while realizing that our teaching these children the Word of God is illegal). We try to share an unspoken love of God hoping to let them know there is so much more in this life and after for them.
To describe the food I only say "rice". We have rice with potatoes, spicy beans, unknown bony meats, slimy okra and stewed tomatoes. We went through many bottles of soy sauce our 7 days. John and Ben did find a open market that would make stir fried noodles for a $1. We became regulars visitors mornings and night at the end of our week.
Our translators this year were answer to prayers. We had Rebecca from a private school volunteer her time and knowledge as she will be a great help with visas if we are able to begin the exchange student program. Our friend Lana joined us from Beijing and stayed with Abby and I in our room. She is a Christian converted while she lived in the states in 2005 and has a sad story. Leo (a Chinese accounting teacher) volunteered from a college many miles away. He led singing in our services which was so amazing that I believe we few singers totally competed with the Angels. It was so beautiful. Max also came for the third year to be with our group. I don't really know what Max does.
Last year we met a group from Texas and they joined us again this year. This is their 5th year in the care center. We all work so well together and truly bonded. We had classes on the fruits of the Spirit. We shared the left over VBS t-shirts and kids wore them all week. We played many games including spoons, basketball, games with beach balls and badminton. We had a class with just girls while the men took the boys and we talked about caring for our bodies as God wants us to. We had crafts, books, how to draw books with supplies for art. We made bracelets with beads to represent Christ, blood, learning and eternity along with purity.
We ended most nights (and our rainy afternoons) to project movies on the wall speaking in English and subtitled in Chinese. We considered this another English lesson each day. The kids were mesmerized with frozen, mulan, big hero 6 and bolt.
We love China and want to share our Lord with the people. Stan is hoping to have a retreat with the caregivers from the centers in the near future. It will be a great help for them to know how to teach their people and spread the Gospel more effectively within their very different culture.
And there was NO shopping
Abby Gibson . . .
The thought of going to China was awesome but also gave me butterflies in my stomach thinking about how bad it might be there. When we arrived, I realized it isn't bad at all but very different. I loved going being there and playing with the children and experiencing the food. Where we were stayed was not smoggy so we were lucky to not have problems with the air. We could see how heavy it was as we flew out of Beijing The weather is normally in the 90's but we didn't get anything over 80 degrees and it was amazing. Now the language barrier.... That was a huge difficulty but we worked through it with our translators and LOTS of hand signals. It wasn't easy for us to teach the word of God but we found ways by teaching them English words like kindness, gentleness, friendship, ....The Fruits of the Spirit. We had a few devotionals with those that had been baptized in private and any of those that wanted to join to sing and listen to God's word. The singing was beautiful when we sang our own language and put them together. I can't wait to return on 2016!
Taylor Jansen . . .
The trip to China was one full of different kinds of emotions: happiness because these kids were filled with so much joy and kindness, sadness when it was time to leave them, admiration in the kids because they had so little but they were so happy with what they had, and so much love for the kids. The kids had such big wonderful hearts and were so willing and happy to be spending time with us. They loved the games and crafts we brought for them and they showed us some of their games, as we taught them English they would teach us Chinese. We were very lucky to be able to have a worship service with some of the kids, we sang in unison in English and Chinese- to me this was probably the most inspiring thing from the trip. Hearing the songs we sing (Jesus Loves Me, Thank You Lord, When We All Get To Heaven ) and being able to hear them sing while sitting next to some of these kids who live across the world from us was showing that we are never alone and it was a bigger inspiration to keep striving to get to Heaven. Leaving the care center on the last night was a bittersweet moment because we were leaving these wonderful kids who had all made a special place in our hearts but we were so blessed to be able to meet the beautiful people over there and come back with a greater appreciation for all that we have. –
John Iverson . . .
The experience in China was once again an amazing Journey. I am reminded of a quote by Mark Twain who wrote,
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime”.
When I see the struggle and the sorrows of the millions of Chinese who have NO knowledge of a Loving God, the All Mighty Father in Heaven and His son, Our Savior, my life is forever transformed and my mind renewed (Rom. 12:2). I realize that the knowledge of Christ gives me power to rise above my circumstances and provides me with an opportunity to live the life as a child of the Almighty King who has given me the opportunity to invite others into the realms of HIS kingdom. Thus it becomes incumbent on me to share the GOOD NEWS (Mark 16:15) that Jesus Lives. I am humbled by children (and Adults) in China who are searching for the meaning of life. Through this experience, I have learned that God is the answer to all of life’s struggles (2 Peter 1:3). With God, all things become possible (Matt. 19:26). Now what I have to do is learn how to convince others.
Ben Burnette . . .
This year's trip to China was very different the year before! Compared to the gallons of sweat we lost last year, the weather was perfect the entire time at a cool 70 degrees and we only saw the sun once! The kids bonded with us a lot quicker than last year and we were able to play games and call them by name from the first full day there! My favorite experience was a hike we went on one afternoon. The kids led us first to a cave, where all of the men of Luxi play mahjong, and then up a mountain to the local Buddhist temple. Seeing an ancient culture so close and personal is an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. Worshiping with the brothers and sisters in both English and Chinese was also a very wonderful thing to be a part of!
Julie Jansen . . .
Our trip to China was unforgettable and an adventure the whole time. The food on the Air China flight was interesting, most of it a bit of a mystery but could always recognize the rice lots of rice. On the way to the Care Center we Survived a VERY crowded van ride that couldn't possibly have held another thing, calling out names for wellness checks to some who couldn't be seen because of luggage or having to find a sitting spot by squeezing your body to make it work. At one point wishing we were in a boat as the driver passed a car stuck in some rushing water (needless to say we got out feeling much closer) :) At the Care Center I was glad to see the sweet faces of the kids, remembering many from last year. Loved our translators Max (helped 3 years in a row) & Lana (2nd year) we were blessed with meeting more Christian translators there that made communicating nice & easy. School was out, so there was a smaller number of kids this year but realized that I would be able to give the kids more individual attention. Everything done gave the kids something new & fun to do everyday (loved watching everyone getting involved (even the teachers & translators) making bracelets, drawing, coloring, word search (words only in English-if it were Chinese words, I would still be sitting there) and an attempt was made to teach us how to knit & crochet.
Kim brought a projector to watch movies on the big screen (which was the lunchroom wall & a sheet in the hall). I have never seen so many kids (teachers & workers) so mesmerized by watching a movie speaking a foreign language (CC-in Chinese). She was also asked to teach the girls about hygiene.
Our BYG were So involved with everything involving the kids, playing badminton, basketball, dodgeball, ping pong, making chalk art, singing church & fun songs, playing charades and making crafts. Addie & Taylor were busy playing many games (Addie's favorite was badminton) Abby kept the boys in shape keeping them running. Ben was the sport guru & Katie was a class teacher, bracelet maker & crocheted everyone a headband for that asked her.
Connie taught a bible lesson using colored beads to remember the life of Christ, & always had a snack when anyone wanted. John, Stan & Ben did an awesome job with our church services. I was proud to be a part of a group of Christians singing praises to God & worshipping God together but could only do in a private place. Every year I come home with a New appreciation of being able to worship God without FEAR of the law.
We ate most meals at the care center :) every meal we covered our food in soy sauce. John & Ben found a street vender that cooked Wonderful food with rice noodles, egg & spices which became a breakfast meeting place. I came with a smile :).
We met 3 Christian ladies from Texas last year that were back (4th yr for 2 of them), all were great at helping the kids better understand English & had so much love for the kids. The last night at the Care Center was both happy & sad. I enjoyed playing games & coloring with the kids ending with a fun firework show lit by John & Ben, a gift for all was made by Taylor for hot days (water bombs made from sponges) Kids & teachers saying Xie Xie or thank you! Candy, snacks & glow bracelets were shared-photos together were taken it was time to go so the hugs & tears started. Leaving is Always SO Sad. I become so attached to those awesome kids (translators, teachers & workers).
I came home as always knowing God is So Good, giving God the glory for everything that was done! Wondering how I was So Lucky to have been raised by Christian parents in a loving home, also Thankful & lucky enough to have been born in America. I Love & Have a stronger appreciation for everyone that went on this trip & thanking God for our loving family, homes & life.
I want to say a HUGE Thank You to the Elders for allowing my girls & I the opportunity to go to China to share & show God's Love. Hopefully helping them to see what a difference he can make in life.
Appreciating Our Life Much More!
Addie Burnette . . .
My favorite part of China was playing with the kids. I liked playing ball with them, chasing them with Abby, doing bracelets with them, and eating with them. I will always remember having fun with them.
Mission Trip Overview
We had a successful trip in Luxi, China visiting the Refuge of Grace Care Center. This is a work of the Chinese Agape Foundation under the leadership of Ron Brown. The Buford church supports this work and some members of the group have been blessed to have made their third summer trip to visit and work with children in the care centers.
The group included Julie, Taylor and Katie Jansen, Kim and Abby Gibson, Ben Burnette, John Iverson and Stan, Connie and Addie Burnette.
We left Atlanta on June 30. The fun began when the John Iverson family all showed up to send John off to China. His father, sister, daughter and niece were all at the building to say goodbye. Unfortunately, John didn’t come to the building and went straight to the airport. But it was nice of the Iverson’s to show up for the rest of us! Connie was quickly detained at the airport for carrying size “D” batteries in her carry-on bag. Fortunately, she was released when she failed to break under intense interrogation.
We arrived in Luxi a little after lunch on July 2. The trip wasn’t that long but you lose a day traveling 12,000 miles around the world from the East to West. We joined with three Christians from Dallas, Texas in Changsha. The final two hours were in a small fifteen person van that did not include space for luggage for fifteen or thirteen. We had suitcases of clothes and supplies stacked to the ceiling and people stacked on top of each other for the ride from Changsha to Luxi. In China, this is considered perfectly safe and probably the optimal way to travel.
Before we left, we were told that the Chinese Communist government had been cracking down on non-profit religious groups in China. They also have demolished over 300 Christian church buildings in China. The pressure was on to stop Christian efforts in China. The Chinese government realizes that freedom in Christ undermines the Communist agenda to exclude God from all walks of life. So we were asked to cut back on biblical teaching with children for the safety of the care center directors and children.
This year we had about 24 kids stay after school let out for summer break. Plus there were about five more kids that were the children of the Chinese workers at the center. The number was down from last year but that meant more time for each child. Of the 16 that were baptized in 2015, only about four stayed this year. That was a disappointment. Last year we worked with more girls than boys but this year the group consisted of mostly of boys. Our days consisted of games, sports, crafts, English lessons, studies on the fruits of the spirit, hygiene lessons and just spending time showing love to the children who don’t get much attention. Kim, Julie and Connie did a great job planning and supplying the team with materials for projects every day. Kim had the idea to take a projector and show movies to the kids at night. The movies spoke in English but had Chinese subtitles so we considered this English lessons as they enjoyed animated movies.
We were fortunate to have several Chinese Christian volunteers contribute their free time to help us as translators. We appreciate Leo, Max, Rebekah, Hannah, and Sophie’s efforts to help us fit in.
In China, all middle school students take a test for advancement to high school. It is a huge event. Those who are successful advance to high school and continue their studies. Those who fail are mandatory drop outs and some have been known to commit suicide as a result. If the kids who pass have money, they can go to technical school. If they don’t, they probably are destined to taking a job at 14 or 15 years old with no future and their chance for advancing out of the lowest social class is virtually non-existent. They have to leave the care center when their school options end. Chinese Agape has a work program and a Bible training program available to the kids who fail the test but they usually decline. They are ready to leave the center and are too embarrassed to stay around as workers. They really don’t understand their bleak future.
This year, several who we worked with last year failed the test and had already left the care center. A couple of them stayed around to spend time with us. This was a very difficult thing because we know this was probably the last time we will ever see those kids.
One who did very well on the test and had one of the highest scores ever from a care center was Jiang Xi or Josie. Due to her high scores, she is on the fast track for early entry in to a University if she can pass the University entrance exam. This is another big day for the kids in high school. We are looking into the possibility of her coming to the United States as a foreign exchange student. More on that later.
One day John and Stan went on a tour of the local High School. While we were there, we saw some of the kids who had passed the test. If they advance to High School, they are moved to dormitories and become resident students at the High School. The local school is about 80 years old and very run down. There isn’t any air conditioning. There are no sports teams. It is all study six days a week and goes from morning to night with a few breaks in the day. They take their study seriously!
Another day, we were invited to visit the home of one of the girls that was about two hours away by bus, taxi and a one mile walk over a mountain. That was a real taste of China in the countryside. On the way, John and Stan caused a traffic jam in downtown area. They are both very different from what they normally see in China!
Listen to the Mission Team Sing - Click Here
On Sunday, we enjoyed a beautiful multi-language worship service. John preached and was translated by our old friend Max. Leo led us in singing in English, Chinese and combined simultaneous singing in our own languages. When we finished singing “When We All Get to Heaven,” the Americans were in tears. What a blessing It was for us to worship with them in a home church situation. And I think the Chinese Christians really enjoyed it as well.
We had other combined devotional Bible Study periods on Wednesday and Thursday. Next year, we will probably try and start every day with a combined devotional. It really was the highlight of our trip. Especially since the translators were Christians and they asked us to spend some extra time in study and song.
It was great to see members of our Buford Youth Group so involved. Taylor, Abby, Ben, Katie and Addie were very active and right in the middle of everything. The kids really connected. For the most part, they ate their rice right along beside the care center kids. Until the end of the week when they discovered fried noodles at a little place by the hotel for under $1 a meal.
The Lord blessed us with unbelievable weather. The high temperatures were in the low 70’s and it rained every day. In past years, we have suffered through mid-90 temperatures and no air conditioning. The only place we found relief was in the administrator’s office and back at the hotel. This year, the low temperatures and rain made it much easier on us physically. The water in China isn’t drinkable for outsiders so our bottled water requirements were much more reasonable. This week we are receiving notes from the kids telling us about the hot weather that followed our departure.
After a teary goodbye on Thursday, Friday morning we checked out of the hotel and were on a bus back to Changsha and the airport. We were able to upgrade to a 19 person van and it was perfect for our size group. The return trip was without any surprises and we arrived back in Atlanta around 10:30 on Friday July10. Our families were there to welcome us. Well, except for John Iverson’s family who ended up at the Valdosta airport looking for him. Just kidding!
The China team has arrived back home. Your prayers have been appreciated and more blog posts from members fo the team will be updated soon so check back!!
Another busy day here in China, it feels like time is flying here. We got up to go eat breakfast at 8 and walked to the care center by 9. This morning we played and did crafts with the children and relaxed as we have had a very busy past few days. We ate lunch and relaxed just a bit longer and then decided to climb the mountain. For those of you who remember, this is the same mountain that we walked up last year. We started our walk with about 20 of the children from the care center (a few stayed behind to watch a movie) and most of the American adults. (Connie, Addie, Kim and Julie all stayed at the care center). We followed the children through the back roads and into the farmlands where rice fields and corn surrounded us. All the children go to the mountain pretty often, so they all know their way around. It took almost one mile to get to the foot of the mountain. We stopped at what looks like a welcome center (we could be totally wrong about this, but it had bathrooms) and used the restroom and looked at a cave! After that we grouped up and started our one mile hike up the mountain. The hills were extremely steep and my calves were already sore from the uphill one mile hike we took to get to the foot of the mountain. (i know, i'm a wimp). As we continued to the middle section of the mountain, I kept a steady pace and kept up with several of the kids. But as the middle of the mountain hit and the hills got steeper, I needed a break. Ashley, Taylor, Janaye and I took up the back of the group as several of the kids literally raced up the mountain. A few kids stayed behind with us using encouraging sayings like, "walk quickly". David, a cute 13 year old kid grabbed phones and took pictures of everything and everyone as the Americans huffed up the hill. Although I felt like I was dying, all in all I only took 2, 1 minute breaks on the way up to the mountain.
We arrived at the top (or a few feet below the top since the very top isn't easy to get to. There was the pagan temple and karate place we visited one before. The temple is huge and it looks like there are apartments around it? We walked inside the temple and it is still just as huge inside. The walls are at least 20 feet high with high vaulted ceilings and statues of idols sitting in the center of the room. I tried to take pictures of everything this time, but when I took a picture of a mini shrine the kids suddenly all jumped towards me screaming no! They took my phone out of my hands and deleted the picture almost instantly. I was a little shocked and found Max, a translator, to tell me what was going on. Apparently in the picture there was a picture of a woman who was real and had died and the shrine was devoted to her, the kids thought i was being disrespectful by taking a picture of the dead woman's picture. Shawn, one of my favorite kids seemed very upset about this and I went and apologized to all the children saying that I didn't see the photo of the dead woman, and meant no disrespect. Max seemed to find this whole event pretty humorous, as did I but I didnt want to have any of the children upset so i made sure to apologize.
After we explored the temple we started our two mile hike down to the care center. A little mist had started (thank goodness for the cool weather this time) and we were all trying not to slip down the hills towards the foot of the mountain. I did much better going down the mountain than even trying to go up it. Once we got to the foot of the mountain the kids saw this place (we called it the happy fun place) and they all sprinted up the hill to find it. So off we went to go climb some more hills to figure out what this happy fun place was. I never found the happy fun place, in fact no one told me but I think they are in the process of building it. We climbed up a small hill which looked like the entrance to the happy fun place , but turned out to be a bulldozed hill with an amazing background view. We all stopped and took pictures here.
On our way back to the care center (officially) David led the way with Me, Taylor, Ashley, Ben, and Jenaye taking the lead of the group. David lead us fast to the care center as we tried not to slip and slide on some of the steps. Once we got back we rested for a long while. Connie and Addie step up Big hero six for the kids and all of the Americans went to abrahams office and layed down to cool off and relax. The rest of the day we just relaxed and played games with the kids. I played volleyball with a few and taught crocheting to a few as well. Around 8:35 we left the care center that night to head back to our hotels and rest for the night. I am so thankful for days like these where we get to do fun things with the kids, and relax afterwards. I cant wait for the next few days to continue to have an impact on these kids lives and to love, teach and play with them. These kids are so precious and we have been so lucky to work with such a great group of kids!
Thanks again for all of your thoughts and supports!
Today was a VERY long day- so be prepared for a long email. I don't think Day 3 sent, so I will just skip over that. We woke up early so that we could go down and eat at the little street corner shop, mom and I split spicy noodles and they were amazing. When we got to the care center I blew up 20+ water balloons, today was a ' Field day' for the kids so we had different activities for them. I helped keep score and take pictures rather then play games- I'll try to send my best pictures. The kids had an absolute blast with the games, everyone was laughing and having such a great time. We had a sac race, a water ballon toss, sitting on the balloon to pop it, jumping rope, and many other games. A lot of the kids smacked on the ground pretty hard but no one cried and no one sat out, during a three legged race Shawn fell on his knee really hard but he just walked it out- the kids here are very tough. After that we ate lunch and played some card games, mainly spoons, then we went to Abrahams house to Meet, it was very nice to see that some of the kids from the care center came too. We sang some songs and John gave a lesson, it was very inspiring and eye-opening to be singing with them, during some songs we sang both English and Chinese at the same time and that was very moving to see two completely different cultures come together to Study. After we Met walked back to the care center and watched as some of the people took apart a tree that had fallen yesterday ( it was a very very big tree and thankfully no one got hurt and nothing in or around the care center was broken ). The tree was a Camphor (?) tree and the wood smelled so good, almost like pine, when David- one of the younger boys - realized that it smelled good he ran inside and got some of our plastic bags and filled the bags with tree shaving so that the Americans could take some it home. We then decided to go into town and try to do some shopping, after walking a long way we found a place called Happy Cooky, though it did not sell cookies and the type of ' candy ' they sold did not make me very happy - they did have the best ice cream in town ( that's what Max told us ). We then made our way through the shopping and food markets, in the food market I saw a fish getting scaled and then gutted ( the man wasn't wearing gloves ), we also saw a dove get its throat slit. We thought it they were going to cut its head off so we all waited in suspense and the Chinese people were laughing at us when they slit the dives throat because we were all slightly disappointed in the suspense building up for nothing. It was very funny because we were walking and some girls ran up to Ben and go "Hello Handsome boy, are you from America? Can we take a picture with you? " After some more shopping we ate at a place called Happy Chicken, and unlike Happy Cooky this place actually makes people happy, it's like a spicier version of Wendy's . After we ate at Happy Chicken we went to a mega grocery store thing and started looking around but we had thought Sophie and Leo ( our translators ) had gone back to the care center before we ate happy chicken and when they found us in the grocery store we asked Leo how he found us and he said ' I asked the people walking around where the Americans were, everyone knows where the Americans are.' On the walk back to the Care Center ( it was a VERY long walk ) we passed these exercise equipments one of them was like four ladders connected by a circle at the very top and so we climbed on and had Leo ( A translator ) take our picture and so many people, even people in the roads stopped to watch the ' Crazy Americans'. It's nice here, you feel like a celebrity almost, while we eat people try to discretely take our photos or when we're walking they'll try to talk to us and people love running up and asking to get their picture taken with us.
In May/June, 6 members from Buford travelled to South Korea to teach the Bible and assist with Evangelism. They visited the Kyungjoo, Kyungsan, Jeumsan, Chungjoo, Incheo and Seoul church of Christ.
Jaewhan Seo, our Korean Minister, held a seminar on “Do Not Deteriorate The Church.” There continues to be a great need to teach the Christians and congregations there about the New Testament church, as given to us in the Bible. The Bible translated in Korean has had many mistranslations because of the four languages it goes through to reach its final translations. Continue to pray for the understanding and teaching in that area.
July 14, 2014
The campaign transitioned today from setup and working out the kinks to high performance. A hundred Bible studies, numerous contacts, nearly 500 patients and 1500+ prescriptions, 30-40 kids through the day at the children's classes and 2 baptisms have been realized thus far. Despite the tough conditions (heat, sleeping on the floor or in tents, primitive bathrooms and showers), the health and disposition of the whole team remains very strong! - Stan Quinn
July 12, 2014
Our first devotional under a beautiful tree here in Nicaragua. Like the friends in the story of the paralytic we will show our future friends the love of God.
Special thanks to Hal Hogan, Julie Bowers, and John Burnette for helping get the team and our gear to the airport. The flight left a little late but we arrived safely and we were able to visit with many of the team from Buford that worked so hard in Leon this week. Excited about starting our work tomorrow after traveling to El Jicaral. - Stan Quinn
July 11, 2014
A second team of 11 Buford Members head to El Jicaral in Nicaragua today. Twenty members from other congregations across the US will also participate in this campaign. In addition to evangelistic work and a VBS, this team will also be offering a free medical clinic. This experience will be helpful in our evaluation of the possibility of adding a free medical clinic to a future campaign in Leon. The team will return on 7/19.
Updates from the field will be limited. The team will be living in tents with limited electronic use to send information.
Team Members from Buford: Casey Batte, Sherry Bolling, David Lovell, April Peden, Connie Quinn, Elise Quinn, Ian Quinn, Stan Quinn, Amber Sitton, Kim Sitton and Hallie Whitesides.
Please keep this group in your prayers and for souls to be touch in El Jicaral.
July 15, 2014
Today was our last day, and for me it was filled with hard goodbyes and horrible procrastination for packing. Tonight has to be a short email, but I I will hopefully find wifi in Beijing to share with you this wonderful last day! We said goodbyes to our wonderful kids, and also went to a cave today. Apparently this cave is the number one cave in the world? I'm not sure but I'll find out when we get home! I miss google!!!! - Katie Jansen
July 14, 2014
Today was another beautifully amazing day in China. We just received news of 4 more brothers today! (I think.. I know it makes a total of 16 siblings). One of them was happy (finally :)).
When we got to the center it was around 8:30am and we played around with the kids some. The weather today (as told by all of the Americans except me and mrs. Kim) had said NO rain...none. None at all (keep this in mind). Well the second we got to the center all the kids started talking about the mountain! So john asked if today before lunch we could climb the mountain. All the kids were semi excited and had lots off energy. The second we left 9 boys shot off ahead and basically ran all the way to the mountain. Myself and the other 3 Texas girls (Jenae, Jenessa and Ashley) stayed together to pace ourselves. I asked Josie how long of a climb it was and she said 45 minutes. So of course I expected a tiny hill, however this was not the case..... In the photo above we did see the mountain and it looked HUGE. (Yes I will admit, climbing mountains Is not my forte so maybe I am just a sissy... But it was pretty big for me). We walked to the foot of the mountain and started to take winding roads to the top, after about 10 minutes of small gradual inclines the kids took off running to a small corner in the woods which held these stairs COVERED in grass and plants. Jenessa is allergic to poison Ivy and grass usually bothers me, but we climbed up these stairs with no problem except the fact that there wasn't much room to walk. The kids enjoyed the challenge of having to walk around all the grass and bushes... I was just doing good to breathe and not fall over. After we got about 1/2 up the mountain the stairs ended and a small open area came up leading us further up the mountain. What was disappointing is we looked down a path to see a road that lead all the way down the mountain and the stairs weren't necessary... The kids just liked them.
We started the inclines up the mountain and man they were tough. I was doing good for about 10 minutes of just walking up, but soon after that I was having a hard time breathing and needed to rest. After the first rest, myself and the three other girls needed many more just to make it up as far as we could. Eventually we all ended up at the back of the group slowly walking up the inclines. We could see the view of all the mountains through some of the trees, but that was all we could see. The picture above was 3 minutes from where we reached our highest.
Once we reached the "top"(it wasn't the top, but it was as high as we could go. Nothing else was safe enough to go on) the clouds burst open with rain. There had been slight rain drops before but NOTHING like this. Rain poured all over us and once we reached the too we took shelter at the Buddhist temple. I'm so glad it rained because if it had been any hotter I don't think I physically could've made it to the top.
The temple was amazing .... It was beautiful and surrounded by statues and red carpets. Across this building was am open one where kids seemed to be practicing Kung fu!!!!! This little spot on the mountain was so cool!!! We stared to climb further but the rain made the roads dangerous so we turned around to get the kids back before lunch. The rain blasted down onto us, it didn't stop until after we got back. We slowly trudged through the pouring rain, down the mountain, down the slick roads and onto the mile walk back to the care center. We were all drenched in water at this point and were kind miserable. But this was truly an amazing experience. By the time we got back to the care center we were all dripping wet and completely soaked as if we had all went swimming.
Today all the kids were exhausted so After we climbed the mountain we asked Abraham to take us back to the hotel to get dry clothes (yes at this point it was still pouring). I got back and took almost a two hour nap from being so exhausted (and I did have a nice shower).
We came back to the care center later that day and hosted a class. I read the story aloud and Lana translated. Afterwards we let the kids do some crafts and word searches.
4 people studied today and we kept
Out of the office. We tried to play but many kids were still tired and some skipped every evening plan. After only playing with a few kids myself Connie and mom walked back to the center to rest for a bit until the others came back so we could get some slightly American food. I got french fries and a sundae!!!!! I miss food at home :( were having a hard time smiling and swallowing the rice.
Only one more day left :( we go to a cave tomorrow to see some sights. I pretty excited to see what all it has to offer but we have a lot to fir into the schedule tomorrow.
I am exhausted from the events today and need to rest for the busy schedule tomorrow!!!
- Katie Jansen
July 13, 2014
Five more young ladies went swimming today!!! What a great day! - Stan Burnette
Today, although I can't say much, was truly amazing! We welcome 5 new sisters!!! (Total so far is 12!!!). Even university students want to study, which is HUGE!
We woke up and had class with the kids, sang songs and read! It was truly amazing. Then had the bigger class which was very beneficial as well.
After lunch all the Americans left for the day to go shopping (me and mom are saving money for Beijing so we didn't go today). The kids have a nap time and relax time all during today so it wasn't bad that we didn't stay. Me and mom rested and read until around 6 when we walked back to the care center.
Let me just mention that today's weather was AMAZING. In the morning there was a breeze. We almost didn't even get sweaty at all! (Except for the end..... It just really hits you going up the hill at the end.) when we napped it actually lightly rained which kept the air feeling nice and light and cool!!!! So even when walking back to the center we stayed cool!!
Once we got to the center we accidentally missed dinner, but instead we stayed in the cool office and talked about the children's future. The directors of Luxi care center and Tiandeng care center are all leaving. They are wanting and NEEDing care center directors horribly, and we were trying to help.
On Sundays the new sister need help for class. We are trying to figure out ways to allow them to have class after we leave. We have a plan, possibly having someone prepare lessons for New sisters and sending videos over. But we are trying to find people willing (and possible able to have a translator too). We think we have an idea but are waiting for a response from the people we have in mind. These sisters need guidance to continue to help them grow :) we love them! Keep them in your thoughts.
After awhile of chatting, I left the office and played a game of volleyball with girls on one side and boys on the other.. The girls were obviously better! (I promise I'm not being overly confident) and we won! Grace and Josie (also new sisters) called our team the Chinese...(?? There were two Americans on the team haha) And the other team "Lazy pigs". We had so much fun playing with the kids! The weather (although slightly rainy) was BEYOND perfect! I do not think I have ever felt better!!!!!
Today was truly such a great day!!!!
I'm sure it has been a little confusing me mentioning names so I'll type some names and descriptions so it'll be easier to understand.
Hope- cute little woman (31) and has helped us navigate through china. She has been with this center for years (left last September) and knows several of them. Hope truly planted strong seeds with these kids and we believe they have been so great because of how hope treated them! She is single and we are secretly Hoping her and Max will go out!
Max- last year was a director at the Tiandeng care center. He still is, but unfortunately is going to be changing jobs soon. We love Max to death. He is the perfect combo of silly, crazy, wonderful and serious and loving all at the same time!!!!! Max studied English in college and is also single. He truly has one of the greatest hearts I know of and I wish he could continue to work with the centers. All the kids at the center call him big brother!!!
Scott - speaker at Beijing Coc. He mostly studies in his room and has done a good job studying with the new sisters. He's from America but came here when he saw there was a need.
Abraham and Esther - Abraham is the director and Esther is his wife. They have four children (Issac, Grace, Gloria and Samuel). They are amazing people. Abraham knows little English but Esther is AMAZING! I asked her once why she wasn't a teacher and she thought her English was bad!!!!! But she is so sweet and precious and has truly opened her heart to us! (As well as Abraham)
Suzanne and the girls- (Jenae- her daughter and Ashely and Jenessa both family friends). They are all from Texas!! Jenae is a senior in high school, Jenessa is going into her senior year in college and Ashley is 25 and a band teacher! They are all super awesome and super cool. Jenae and her mom Suzanne have been here THREE times in Luxi. They have seen these kids grow and have been an Amazing help through this trip!
Grace, Josie, Mary, Alice, Lilly, Susan, joy, Elise (now renamed to faith), Lisa, Mandy, and teacher Ye! And one more that I can't remember :(
I can't believe we only have 2 more full days here. Wednesday morning (at 4am!!!!) we are leaving to go back to Beijing! - yes! Another bullet train ride! To tour the forbidden city and see the Great Wall!!!!
I love these kids and can't wait to make a lasting impression on these last few days!
- Katie Jansen
July 14, 2014
Our trip is winding down, and we are making some last minute efforts to build relationships among churches as we get closer to our departure. So much to do here. I need a year here, and year there, and a year in several other places. I can see how the Lord was looking forward to being in the Spirit so he could be in all places at all times. Wednesday is our travel day and we arrive early Thursday morning. Just about get back the same day! Your continued prayers are appreciated. - Scott Harp
July 9, 2014
With my dear friends Robert Martin & Seone Toa in Hamilton, NZ
July 7, 2014
Greetings from New Zealand. The Pacific Islands Bible Courses are wrapping up this week with exams beginning tonight and concluding tomorrow evening. We have had great attendance each evening. Robert Martin, our missionary in the south Pacific, is doing a great job teaching on the Mission of the Local Church. I have been teaching verse by verse studies on the three New Testament books of Philemon, Jude and James. The classes will conclude on Wednesday evening. Early Thursday morning we will be departing for a 700 mile trip down New Zealand’s North Island where we will be meeting with brethren to talk about and promote PIBC. We should be meeting with brethren from several churches. Continue to pray for our work’s success. - Scott Harp
About the Trip:
The Pacific Islands Bible College has long been a work supported by the Buford Church of Christ. PIBC is in its third decade of operation, with efforts being made annually in twelve different countries. New Zealand is the latest country to be entered for the purpose of establishing PIBC. Last year the Harps went to New Zealand, which is also Jenny’s home country, where Scott taught the first Bible course. This year, the Harps will return, departing the 30th of June and returning on the 17th of July. They will be joined by Robert Martin in this mission effort. We have supported both Robert Martin and Stacey Ferguson in this work for many years. This will be brother Martin’s first visit to New Zealand. He will teach a class on the Mission of the Church. Scott will teach a textual course on James, Philemon and Jude. After the course is taught, they will be making their way down the North Island of the country to visit with the brethren in other congregations for the purpose of introducing PIBC to each church. Please pray for the success of this mission effort.
Leon Nicaragua Mission Trip
July 11, 2014
The team will return today. Please pray for safe travels.
Day 6 in Leon, Nicaragua. After V.B.S. we said our goodbyes with broken hearts. We then headed to eat chicken for lunch at the Tip - Top in downtown Leon. - Juan Garcia
July 10, 2014
June 23, 2014
From Chi . . .Khan Academy
Dear Wonderful Family,
Lots of Love from all of us! Today is day 1 of Khan Academy. It’s better seen than imagined and who would have thought! Professor Howard of University of North Georgia and our own Civil Engineer— Stanley Adiele launched the Khan Academy (free on line educational curriculum for the world) today. How true it is that with the Lord, all things are possible!
Professor Howard comes to us from the Buford Church of Christ, in Buford, Georgia. He is the brain behind this rare gift to ones such as us. Professor Howard, his sons James and Jonathan, came to Susana Homes for the first time in the summer of 2012. Having spent 6 full weeks with us, I guess it dawned on him how much the students of Right Steps Christian Schools at Susana Homes needed some kind of broader and more practical education.
So in addition to continuing his Entrepreneurship God’s Way, he founded the Khan Academy program and has brought it to us. If you have spent any time at all in Nigeria, you will realize just how important it is that business and any other kind of work for that matter are done God’s way! For Entrepreneurship God’s Way, this year the 8th, 10th, and 11th graders of Right Steps Christian School @ Susana Homes are making interlocking pavers and concrete flowerpots. While Professor Howard and some of the teachers of RSCS are in Khan Academy, James—a Harding University-‐bound freshman (come August), oversees the welding of the interlocking pavers mold. Both our boys and girls participate in this and the girls can’t believe they are allowed to handle saws and rebar etc. But they are and are getting better at it. Jonathan Howard, (Mr. President himself) supervises the making of the pavers although little Davie keeps getting in the way! Jonathan has, in spite of Davie’s interruptions, still made up to 500 of these with his students.
What better lessons could our children receive? They are learning in their classrooms as well as getting to work with their hands. But more than anything else, they are getting leadership, character, and citizenship education, all in one
package! James and Jonathan’s love for the Lord, which has brought them to Nigeria for the second time, are so apparent that our young ones just hang on them all day long. Their humility, obedience to their father’s words, and their dedication to their goals for this trip are life-‐long lessons that we hope our children will never forget.
24 May, 2014
The team of 23 headed to the airport at 2pm for a 7pm departure to Manchester England. Their flight was delayed 2 hrs due to repairs to the parking brake but the teens made the best of it by playing cards and games. They departed 2 hrs late but had a smooth 8 hr flight.
25 May, 2014
Sunday morning they landed at 9:30am and bus picked them up and headed to Sheffield through the rolling hills called Snake Pass. Sheep and cattle roamed freely along the stacked stone walls. Of course it was an adjustment to see the cars on the opposite side of the street! The Sheffield church of Christ, whom they are working with til Friday, delayed their worship until they could be all together. It was great to meet the brethren at Sheffield! We worshipped as those of the first century, in unison as instructed in the New Testament! The ladies treated the group with hot tea, coffee and cookies. About 9 youth of elementary age served the group! The team and Sheffield members walked 2-3 miles to a Chinese resaurant for lunch, where the team will eat each day and hold an hour Bible study. A time of fellowship was enjoyed. The group walked back to head to the building and be transported to locations for the nights place of rest. The congregation at Sheffield is a young congregation and they are already encouraged by the team and hearing about the number of Christians meeting in Buford. There is a 5 hour time difference and the team stayed awake all day after 4 hrs sleep on the plane. It is now 8:30pm and all are turning in early. Monday begins outreach in the city centre! Continue to pray for the efforts here. God continues to pour out His blessings! #toHisglory
26 May, 2014
Today has been my favorite day so far! I got 12 hours of sleep last night, so I was charged and ready to go. In the morning I ate an amazing breakfast, and I was ready to see the real England. We went to a beautiful festival with many people, I saw many women with ruby red lips. I got the opportunity to talk to some people, some were my age, and some were older. I spoke to a really friendly guy who was in college and he said that he didn’t believe there was a God, and he didn’t believe that there was… mostly he wanted scientific proof of the Lord. I listened, and he asked me some things about America, and some things about my beliefs. He assumed I was from California, and we had some good laughs. I think that’s my favorite thing, making people who I don’t know, laugh. I would like to think of myself as blessed that I have such a great ability to make people smile, and I feel like I have used that to its full potential today. I hope to use all the gifts that God has given me over the next two weeks, and I’m thankful for such an AMAZING day, today. To God be all the Growth and Glory!!
Today has been quite an experience! I’ve gone so far out of my comfort zone and talked to so many people in the city center of Sheffield today. Alexa and I surveyed many people about their religious background and got a bunch of responses from people who really are searching for something/someone to guide them. We even surveyed a guy who was interested in a personal Bible study… and the whole time we talked to him he was rolling joints and we’re pretty sure he was under the influence while we were talking to him. We’ve had people reject us but each rejection makes us that much more excited to talk to the next person. We ended the night by fellowshipping with the Sheffield Church of Christ in a devotional, and some of us girls had an amazing time playing with the kids of their congregation. They loved Little Sally Walker and we loved watching them having so much fun with us strange Americans. As I’m sitting here blogging I’m sitting at a table with Mr. Todd, Michael, and all of us girls reflecting on our day and it makes me so thankful that this opportunity has been presented to me to spread God’s word! Thank you Lord!!
Today has been an amazing day to be a Christian! I went to sleep at 7:30 last night and woke up at 7:00 this morning to a supper full day of going to town to eat Chinese food and spread the word to the city of Sheffield. Emily and I met many colorful people. The people that allowed us to survey them had a story. Most of them did believe in God but only believed in some of the bible. All but one of the 15 we talked to attended church. The most interesting person I talked to was a spiritist; of course I didn’t not know what that was so I asked, to find that she speaks to sprits when there is no body. (talked to the dead!!!). Some other people we talked to breed chickens for a living; I also got to hold a chicken! (pictures will be on Facebook) There was a market today so there were many lost souls that we were allowed to aid. We went into a store on the street and iced cookies while talking to our lady about how she had come to America to work with special needs kids! Also we got a picture with the only “human vegetable entertainer” in the UK!! (pictures also on Facebook) Sadly no one came to the Bible study tonight but there are four more days! I am very encouraged that we will have a successful trip with very passionate hearts for God that are part of the group. I will talk to y’all later! I have almost mastered my accent so beware when I come home!!!
Today was such an amazing day. We started out the day with a really great breakfast. It was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. At first I was really intimidated to go out and talk to people. The evangelizing didn’t really go well for our group during our first round out. We kept getting shot down by almost everyone we approached and some people didn’t even look at us when we tried to talk about them. But after lunch when we went back out we took a new approach and it became easier to talk to people. We got a lot more to have conversations with us and discuss what they believe with us. Amanda and I got to talk to this man named Paul. He was a Buddhist-hippie type guy. He called his religion NOW because he only wanted to live in the now. He also believed that all your lives summed up to where you end up in the end. He talked to us for about twenty minutes. It was disappointing that no one came to our bible study, but hopefully people come tomorrow. I am so excited to get to out tomorrow. I am so thankful for being here!!
As I began to approach the people in Sheffield, I realized it was very common for people to tell me that religion wasn’t their thing. While walking around with Mikayla, we approached one man with his child. We asked him if he wanted to take part in a religious survey he said sure. We began with the first question that asked, “Do you believe in God?” Without hesitation he answered no. What confused me was that he seemed like a pretty nice person who enjoyed his life. This got me thinking about how much better his life would be if he knew God. This drove my determination to communicate the word to more people. I longed for more people to be as happy as I am and I felt selfish to keep the God’s word to myself. Throughout the rest of the day, I pushed myself to walk up to people and encourage them.
What an awesome day! After a morning devo at the church we headed out into the community and started to evangelize. I was nervous at first but by the end of the day, Katelyn and I were having so much fun exploring and getting to know people while still talking to them about God. Some people rejected us but others were very receptive. I knew we were doing something right when we passed missionaries from other churches who were just standing with pamphlets waiting for the people passing by to approach them. Katelyn and I talked to one lady while decorating cookies at her display table in the market. People are much more receptive when you show interest in their lives instead of just forcing the Bible on them. We ended the day by playing with the younger children from the church. It was such a joy to see those precious smiles on each of their faces!
What a day! Evangelizing in a city like Sheffield sure has its unique and memorable moments. I walked around with Isaac and Rachel when we were surveying people on their religious beliefs. Approaching people is intimidating enough, and the many rejections bring a lot of discouragement. Despite this, though, Isaac seemed to be a beacon to the English---he was so much more successful than Rachel and me! At one point this morning, I looked over and saw a disheveled-looking man approach him. When I looked again, Isaac was walking away with the man! He looked back and gestured to us that everything was okay, but I became concerned because I know that we Americans are targets over here. Isaac and the man were getting farther and farther away and began rounding a corner, so I sprung into action. I got Rachel and we began to hurry after them. As soon as I started walking, a huge ice cream truck came right at me, nearly running me over even when I tried to dodge it. Europeans are crazy drivers! Nevertheless, I pushed onward in my mission to save Isaac from getting mugged. I saw him enter a convenience store, and finally caught up to him. He was buying a coke. He explained that the man was homeless and that he wanted to do something for him. In that moment, I realized the many lessons that we can teach while we are here. We can teach kindness, generosity, and love. I don’t know whether the homeless man was interested in God at all, but I know that he saw Him through the actions of Isaac today. I should probably wrap this up, but let me just say that I have a new perspective after this day. I’ve begun to view everyone as a soul, not just a person. I’ve begun to feel a twinge of guilt when I let someone walk by without saying anything to him/her. This is a city of people who I can help give the greatest message that has ever been, and for that I am encouraged to spring to action. God bless Sheffield!
June 9, 2014
Noah and the rest of the Philippine mission team will be leaving for home at about 9am Georgia time Monday (9pm Manila time). Again, would appreciate your prayers for a safe journey.
June 7, 2014
Today was a very long day and I'm very tired. We spent a lot of time with PTC Students at PTC and it was a fantastic day filled with happiness and fellowship. The CHC child haven kids joined us and I played with them a while. Final report coming tomorrow. Goodnight!! God is so good!!!
"Na ito ang inyong totoong ikinagagalak, bagama't ngayo'y sa sangdaling panahon, kung kailangan, ay pinalumbay kayo sa muli't muling pagsubok. Upang ang pagsubok sa inyong pananampalataya na lalong mahalaga kay sa ginto na nasisira bagama't ito'y sinusubok sa pamamagitan ng apoy, ay masumpungan sa ikapupuri at ikaluluwalhati at ikararangal sa pagpapakahayag ni Jesucristo."
- 1 Peter 1:6,7
So today was another great day. I personally had 2 baptisms and our whole mission team had 17!!! This brings our breathtaking total to 80 baptisms and 329 students. That means 1 in every 4 students have accepted Christ and been added to his church!!! This makes me so happy, knowing we can give this people hope that no matter what happens in their life they're promised eternal life and no worries in heaven when their physical body dies. No pain, no struggles, no temptations. Only God and perfection. One day these people who remain in their faith will live forever with him. That gives me so much joy and happiness that I feel I need to scream it to the world. We had a gospel meeting today at the new church in Sual, Philippines. Lots of singing and fellowship and teaching. I had to leave half way through to go film a baptism from Chad, 3 to be exact. They had traveled many kilometers, or miles, and showed up at the gospel meeting for this bible study. They were seeking God and some kind of truth, and they found it!!!! Today was our last day of evangelism and we do a Sing-spiration tomorrow at PTC followed by church services on Sunday. I only have 3 days left in this amazing place filled with amazing people seeking one great truth and savior. I can't wait to return and I hope I do it soon. Despite the 15-18 hour days, I love it. So much. I'd continue doing this every day if I could. I live for the moment of realization these men and women have when they find God and Jesus Christ. I can't wait until next year. Please continue praying for a safe trip and safe travels home, we leave Monday. Thank you to those praying already.
God is so good all the time!!!