Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Globe and Conference Hoping

Summary of this update:
  • I traveled to the U.S. for about three weeks to attend 3 conferences and meet with 3 Churches.
  • I met up with three brothers who are raising support to join our training ministry in the Philippines.
  • We have 5 potential modules coming up in June and July.
  • We anticipate the first graduating class from The Expositor's Academy this May/June.
  • My family and I will be attending the Grace Ministries International mission conference soon.

I recently returned to the Philippines after spending a weekend in Arizona to meet with friends from The Church at South Mountain and about two and a half weeks in California where I attended three conferences.  My time in Los Angeles started with a missions conference at Calvary Bible Church, where I had the privilege of preaching during their Sunday morning worship services.  That was followed by The The Master's Academy International's Symposium and culminated with The Shepherd’s Conference.

As good as the trip was, it was not without challenges.  The first was talking my 5 year old daughter Isabella and my 1 and a half year old son Josiah with me to the U.S.  For some reason, when I mentioned to others that they joined me for the 16 hour plane ride (each way), a few people repeated, “ALONE, you brought them out by YOURSELF?”  Yes I did, and the Lord heard the many prayers of those who interceded for us.  The kids did great flying there and back, sleeping through most of it.

Isabella and Josiah on the flight back to the Philippines
The next challenge was when Grandpa and Grandma Mereau came to visit the kids from North Carolina.  While spending a few days with the kids at lego land, Grandpa felt sick and ended up going to the hospital and having surgery to clear some blocking in his intestines.  He is still recovering and experiencing pain, but Lord willing, he should be back to normal soon.  We are grateful that the kids still were able to spend about 5 or 6 days with them and I had some special time talking with Grandpa during our drive to the valley. 

Meeting with the Team

One of the highlights for me during my stay in California was spending time with the three men who are raising support to join our team in the Philippines.  These brothers are all graduates of The Master’s Seminary and competent teachers.  I look forward to serving with them, their families and growing in our relationships with the Lord and each other in the coming years.  I’m praying that at least one of them can move here this year.  I know that times are challenging and that raising support in todays financial climate is harder than when Jess and I first went to the Philippines almost 8 years ago, but I also know that God is not limited by the economy.  I am content to wait for His perfect timing. 
Allan Luciano, Chad Dexter, Vincent Greene and Sean Ransom

Upcoming Modules
We usually provide modular training outside of Manila each January, May/June and September each year.  We are currently looking at teaching up to 5 potential modules this June and July.  The locations are:
  • Boracay
  • Davao
  • Cagayan De Oro
  • Batangas
  • Mindoro
The group in Boracay has already taken four modules and are scheduled to start New Testament Survey 1.  In Davao, the pastors studied Hermeneutics (principles for interpreting the Bible) with us and are ready to move on to Preaching 1.  A few groups in Cagayan De Oro have been asking us to provide training there for some time and we are ready to begin with Hermeneutics.  Batangas and Mindoro are also possibilities as we look into starting them with Hermeneutics as well.  Our next modules after these are tentatively planned for September with the same groups and would progress to their next course in our curriculum.  

Philippines Map
Our First Graduating Class
This May we anticipate our first graduating class from The Expositor's Academy.  Our senior batch from Greenhills Christian Fellowship has been studying with us for about 4 years now and are on track to finish their course which focuses on biblical exposition and ministry in the local Church.  Pray that all the students will be able to complete their work, that they will apply what they have learned in their ministries and that it will forever change them and the churches that they minister in.

Grace Ministries International Missions Conference
Also coming up very soon, my family and I will be flying to Greece to attend the GMI Missions Conference.    We are excited to see biblical cities such as Athens, Philippi, Thessalonica, and Rome (that one will be on our own).  In addition to all that, we look forward to enjoying some great teaching from Grace Church, some sweet fellowship with other GMI missionaries and some great family time.  The trip will be a little more that two weeks and then we head back to the Philippines to get back to work in our training ministry.