Dec 212015
 

Dear family and friends,

We hope that each of you is enjoying this Christmas season. Here in our part of the Philippines we have been enjoying cooler weather, and some very pretty, bright sunny days.

Once again there are many things to write to you about. Daryl and I continued to teach our vocational classes through June, July, and August, and then in mid August, Tyler, Candice, Justin, and Callum came to visit! Since Tyler and Candice spent all their growing up years in the Philippines, they were so happy to be home once again. They had several places they wanted to visit, friends to see, and foods to experience yet again. Callum made new friends wherever he went, with his quick smile, blue eyes, and curly blonde hair. We celebrated his first birthday a week early, in the same house that we celebrated Candice’s first birthday.

Justin spent 10 years in the Philippines as he was growing up, and it was fun to take him to the old city, Intromurus, in Manila. He had wanted to see it in the past, but had never made it before.

Tyler took a special step in his walk with the Lord by deciding to get baptized at our church in Manila. Once a quarter, Union Church offers baptism to believers, and the Sunday set for baptisms in the fall was the only Sunday that Candice and Justin were able to be with us in church. There was a baptismal class on Saturday, 8 days before the baptism. We had made plans for that Saturday, as we hadn’t checked the calendar for the date of the class. We had planned a trip to Corregidor Island, for Thursday through Saturday afternoon. We boarded the boat, and were well on our way, when the captain decided to turn around and abort the trip, as a storm had come up, and the waves were very high. We were disappointed in the change to our schedule, till we realized that if we had gone to Corregidor, Tyler wouldn’t have been able to attend the baptismal class, and then be baptized! We think perhaps the Lord caused that storm. He has his reasons to calm and create storms. It was a very special time to watch Tyler be baptized, and to be sitting with Candice and Justin during it. Pastor Steve, who baptized Tyler, was declared a quadriplegic over 5 years ago, but he is now able to walk and use his hands and arms. Having him perform the baptism made it extra special.

In October, the Mustard Seed discipleship and sewing program finished, and the 4 young women who I had taught to sew, graduated. Even though this course was shorter than previous courses, they learned a lot, and they are now finishing up 2 months of on the job training in a local sewing shop.

Also in October, my sister, Carol, and her husband, Vance, flew to Manila from Cebu, and we took a week’s vacation to travel up north to the mountain region of our island, Luzon. Carol and Vance had been wanting to see the picturesque Banawe rice terraces for many years, and it had been 16 years since we had visited the area. Our first stop on our trip was to a memorial of a World War 2 POW camp, outside the town of Cabanatuan. Shortly after that stop, the road starts climbing into the high Cagayan Valley, and then into the mountain region. The mountain roads are in constant repair from washouts and landslides.  Many times we saw big boulders on the side of the road from recent slides. The scenery was worth it, and we also enjoyed eating at the restaurants along the way, and the cool mountain air. The very day that we left the mountains, a severe storm came through, and many of the roads that we had traveled were badly damaged and closed down. We were really blessed to be able to take this trip at just the right time. Also, the first town that we stopped in was severely flooded from the storm.

We also have very exciting news from Hilary and Wayne, that they are going to be parents in the new year! They will be having a baby girl, who is due the end of January, 2016! We are so happy to becoming grandparents once again. We also are excited that our niece, Melody, Annette and Bert’s youngest, is marrying Andrew Derr just before Christmas! With these two big events happening, and Sharon no longer teaching sewing classes, we decided to make a trip home for Christmas!

We are leaving the Philippines December11, and Daryl is staying in the States till January 6. Sharon will be staying till February 19, to help Hilary and Wayne, and to meet their little baby girl! My mom was a big help with each of our little ones when they were new, and I’m so glad that I can pass on that tradition!

Working Hands is doing well, we have 34 guys who will graduate in early March. They are really nice guys! Most are from abusive homes, and their pain has been coming out in counseling sessions with the staff. Just an update about Jesse, the student who was the main breadwinner of his family. His family decided to make the financial sacrifice to allow Jesse to get vocational training. We mentioned this in a newsletter and the Adult Sunday School Class of Family Bible Church sent a substantial donation to be passed on to the family. Our Discipleship instructor personally takes the funds once a month to their shack. Jesse is a good kid. He is doing well in the auto course, not because he is the smartest, but because he is motivated and hard working. He is sweating each test, because he wants to make at least an 85% average by graduation to qualify for the advanced automotive computer course.

Thank you for your interest, prayers, and giving to our ministries and lives.

Merry Christmas! Love, Sharon and Daryl

Dec 142015
 

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Dear praying friends,

“Those who were ready…the door was locked… Lord, Lord! Open the door for us!” But He called back, “ Believe Me, I don’t know you!…” (Matthew 25:10-13)

From my 2014 decision to follow through on a 2015 furlough, it’s planning and the respective implementing, I’m reminded of something far more important. (But before I proceed, a reminder: after my return to the P. on Dec. 13, that same week will see me going to a wood-carving friend’s shop and putting in a request for a hand-carved eagle, carved out of a special hard-wood. (If you don’t know how to receive this, then you’re not reading my letters.)  :)

What is much more important than my furlough or your eagle? No, it’s not being politically correct, nor is it being careful not to offend your brother or sister in word or in deed, nor is it doing your best to attend church or simply helping the less fortunate.

The following, a quote from Tony Dungy’s devotional, Uncommon Life, puts it in a language that even the simplest can understand. Tony uses Matthew 25:10-13 as his verse theme: Whether it’s Y2K or 2012, it seems that people have been predicting the end of the world on a fairly regular basis these days. Kind of like the old joke about economists predicting ten out of the last five recessions. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Scripture being used, five of the bridesmaids were ready and five were not. It’s no laughing matter, those of you who are reading this…being Scripturally ready is a must. Dungy states: None of us are promised tomorrow. Don’t put off asking Christ into your life until then. Don’t be late like the five bridesmaids were.

As I write this, news is breaking of a mass shooting in San Bernadino, CA. No confirmed number of fatalities yet, but I wonder how many were assured of eternal salvation in Christ. News broke centuries ago of what happens when a person dies: “It is appointed unto men, once to die, but after this, the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) What about you? News later in the day: 14 dead, 17 wounded and one or two assailants killed… It’s now Thursday and apparently, two Muslim extremists (Syed Rizwan Farook …whom his co-workers described as devoted…and his wife, Tashfeen Malik), loaded up with guns, ammo and armor, and died later in a shootout with the police.

Back to planning and processing, let me make a clarification. In my last letter, where I stated that we (Lifehouse) needed to separate our boys and girls, I’m reminded of six years ago, when the decision was made to purchase the then 399 sq. meter lot. That was how our Lifehouse Center got started. And now, I sense the Lord’s prompting to house either our boys or our girls up at the Tipo Farm. It would save on time and money and as the DSWD leader remarked in their Oct. meeting with Angie, Gary and Manny, it would be very beneficial if the new home for the boys would provide an opportunity for other activities…such as gardening! But then, the boys make great use of our gym at the Center.

Regarding the girls, DSWD will allow us until the end of the school year (March) before we reunite them with their original families. But, this may not have to happen…if during our Jan. 9 Lifehouse Board meeting, we can resolve this situation. But perhaps it’s the Lord’s will that we go with just boys. There are several avenues that we can take…please pray!

PRAISES:
1. For my current hosts, Terry and Julia Gangon, showing me super hospitality in my final nine days in Seattle.
2. In a letter yesterday, my dear friend from Perth (Peter), wrote of praise to Jesus as the hand of the Lord is being evidenced in his chemotherapy and his jaw reconstruction.

PRAYERS:
1. As shared directly above PRAISES, it is no small matter in what needs to be done in separating our boys from the girls. Pray for the Lord’s wisdom in illumining the steps that need to be taken.
2. Keep praying for Peter and my other friend, Kerry, who has stage 4 cancer…that the Lord’s complete healing would ensue.
3. Am feeling like the persistent woman who kept knocking at the door of the unjust judge seeking justice (Luke 18) in my prayers for $ for Lifehouse. Both for the Center and for Tipo Farm that we can keep going on our Retaining Wall.
All for now,
With agape love,
Ron

Nov 262015
 

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“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

Motivation. Where does that come from? This old hockey puck had it before he trusted Christ. Does that mean that it didn’t come from God? No sir. Everything comes from God. But when a Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit and the mind of Christ is in him, he is motivated. Motivated beyond measure!

Meditating on the Lord’s obedience to His Father, and what He had to do and did do, simiarily, we are constrained to follow His example. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:5)

In my latest prayer letter, I spoke on waking up, using the current refugee crisis as my focal point. I knew that I would face some opposition… “In the world you will face tribulation but be of good cheer….” (John 16:33). The radical, Jesus, also faced great tribulation…and He was victorius. 1 Cor. 1:17 states, Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel….” Where? “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations….” (Matthew 28:19), not wait until they come on our soil. (I think that this will continue to be a debatable situation during our lifetime.)

Not as though I have attained but I press on after my Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil. 3:12) When the puck was dropped on the ice at the Philadelphia Spectrum in 1972 and I was with the Vancouver Canucks, I didn’t wait for Battleship Bob Kelly to give the puck to me. I went after him in his end and gave him a hard slash on the legs.(Ask me sometime to find out what happened afterwards.)

We must be aggressive…and yet humble. “…For when I amd weak, then I am strong.” (1 Cor. 12:10) Coming up from Sacramento to Seattle on a South West jet, we were packed. While waiting at the gate, I talked with Louis and Estella Magpalo, visiting their two daughters in Seattle and Vancouver. They were excited to know that I could converse with them in Tagalog and they went on ahead of me. To my delight, they saved a seat for me near the front. During the flight, I was able to share the Good News with the two Roman Catholics. “I (Paul) planted, Apollos watered but God gave the increase.”(1 Cor. 3:6) Pray for the Lord’s conviction on these two for our conversation implied strongly that they weren’ saved.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!

Nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but Terry declared to me earlier: “You’re the pickle in the middle.” Translating this to mean my needing to know when I’m to declare the amount that we need for finances and when not to.

PRAISES:
1. Able to get some very good days, in Seattle’s near freezing weather, of resting and putting on some much-needed pounds.
2. For all of my prayer warriors and their precious time that they’ve given to intercession.

PRAYERS:
1. With the Dep’t of Social Welfare and Development’s decision not to allow us to keep our boys and girls so close together, the only choice is to send the girls back to their respective homes. Pray for these girls to be warmly received and for us to make the right choices in which boys to receive in 2016. New school years (June to March) is the usual norm but the Jan. semestrial start is always a possibility. Pray that we (Angie, the staff and I) will come to agreement on our new format.
2. Corns, Angie and Joshua went to Manila yesterday for Joshua’s monthly checkup. Pray for a positive result.
3. For miraculous healing of Peter and Kerry…both strickent with cancer.

Thanks for praying and God bless,
Ron

Oct 312015
 

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Dear praying friends,

“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)

One day and one night with Don and Hilda Beddows (two almost 90-yr.-old) in the quiet suburbs of Surrey has meant more to this redeemed sinner than even a World Series pennant for the Blue Jays!

RonOct2015aAll joking aside, what’s more important than sharing God’s love with fellow believers and testifying the same to those not yet redeemed. We are doing so at Lifehouse and most interesting, it is nothing of ourselves that allows us this privilege…but it’s you and the hand of God. As O. Chambers states the key to the missionary’s difficult task is the hand of God, and that key is prayer, not work….

It is the Lord who gave us the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) to rescue the lost ( spiritually dying) and help the less fortunate. We are doing such with fifteen abused children, who by your prayers and His grace “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7), we can and are seeing children being lifted up and restored.

But it’s a tough job. We have an O.I.C. (Angie) who is doing two jobs and desperately needs your prayers. Her latest e-mail indicated such and I covet your prayers to help sustain her through some very tough times. One way to help is through $ giving. A generous $ gift would be very helpful, both
practically and in encouragement. Both of our ministries, the Center and Tipo Farm, are important.

RonOct2015bFor those of you who have seen our Tipo Farm video, this is the start of our first retaining wall. It will be the largest (out of five), hence the most costly. Once we get our Budget 2016-17 okayed, we’ll let you know how much all five will cost. It will be first class (as will everything that Tipo Farm is going to represent). The rainy season (an average of 15 typhoons) is on its way out so production will speed up. (Typhoons have come as late as Dec., viz the current Lando) Basically, we’ll be able to proceed as quickly as funds come in.

We’re aiming at having the First Retaining Wall completed before the end of Jan. But, as you know, here in the Philippines, being written in stone is more like being written in sandstone. (For long-term prognosis, there’s too many unknown factors.)

The Lord is the Originator, the Sustainer and the Provider of all of our needs. At church this morning, while worshiping the Lord through music, I wondered at the lack of reverence as people turned to talk to friends instead of singing. “Tremble, O earth, at the Presence of the Lord, at the Presence of the God of Jacob….” (Psalm 114:7)

PRAISES:

  1. From the Beddows, to Denys and Gail Homenuke, to Grant and Jane Sauer and on Tuesday, over to Pidge and Maureen Homenuke’s in Mt. Lehman, His grace…more than sufficient!

PRAYERS:

  1. Our D.S.W.D. inspection showed us (Lifehouse Center) lacking in several areas. Pray that we’ll be able to rectify this.
  2. For the Lord’s sustaining grace upon Angie (who has some important decisions to make) and unity amongst the Lifehouse Staff.
  3. For our Philippine Director (Mike G.) as he oversees our 2016-17 Ministry Proposal Budget Mtgs.
  4. Still need confirmations to come in for my time to be spent in California…and perhaps Seattle. Will be sharing my testimony three times to three groups of soccer students on Nov. 2 in Coachella, at a church in Los Angeles on the 8th. Visiting will also occur. After over seven months of sharing and traveling, the rest will be welcomed. But for those who want to see a good 11-minute video, hear a former rogue’s testimony, there are open dates. I’ll be sharing in Seattle on Dec. 4 at a Filipino Christian Church on Beacon Ave. S.

For the sake of our Risen Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Ron