There were 14 Church leaders on a survey to a new outreach area.  All 14 were willing and excited to leave their homes and friends and to take their families to go and live in a new area. They wanted to go and teach God’s word, potentially reaching thousands of needy people living in darkness.  The problem is that only two of the Church leaders will be chosen for this outreach.

Paul, Deb and Jubab, the 14 church leaders and 4 others set out on this journey to do a survey to find a location where the two chosen to do the outreach would shift to.  On their journey they stopped at Dungguan.  As Deb explains it was  no easy trek to reach this village where Bible teaching had reached a vital stage.  “The roads were very rough and there were no amenities along the way. Parts of the road were quite muddy and it started to rain just before we arrived so the guys on the motorbikes stopped to get their rain gear on. We had 4 large retired laying hens in the back of the car who were intended to be dinner that night when we arrived.   Upon arrival, all 21 of us were received in a little house that belonged to the couple who host the bible study each week.  The cooking fires filled the house with smoke, water for washing was carried in plastic containers from a little spring about 20 minutes walk down hill.  The bathroom was any private bush you could find.

The people were gentle and quiet and very, very needy with lots of sick children and no medical help available apart from the little town which we had come through hours before.  Everyone got fed and the dishes washed in the semi-darkness.  We all lay down on our grass mats in our designated areas. Paul, Jubab and I had a little room all to ourselves about 5 feet wide and just long enough for Paul’s feet to stretch out.  During the night we were woken several times with bugs on us (I got a harmless but sore spider bite). The floor boards were digging into our rib cage and it was totally uncomfortable.  These small discomforts were utterly meaningless compared to our purpose for  being there to help lead the souls of men and women and children from darkness and hopelessness into the light and hope of a relationship with the Saviour!”

Just after sunrise the next morning, 22 adults gathered under a make-shift shelter to hear the Scriptural story of Jesus’ resurrection.  Deb made these observations of the scene before her. “While Paul taught there was a pig that wondered through along with some dogs and chickens, children were wandering in and out. But in spite of these distractions they listened hungrily and we could see that many of them had just put their faith in the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.

They listened intently and with joy as they heard about the finished work of Christ on their behalf.  In particular, I watched the little lady with the white hair and the young Mum beside her holding her new-born baby, they hardly blinked as they just drank in the Word of God.  A young man was struggling within himself as Paul was teaching and my heart was praying for him that whatever spiritual struggle he was in the midst of, he would just surrender it to Jesus.”

The survey team visited several other villages including Man-ay where they were thinking of locating the new missionary team.  Now with all 14 excited about taking God’s word to this area, they need to wait on the Lord and see who the Church decide to send out.

There are two who it appears that God may have chosen for this enormous task. Deb notes that she had thought the wife of one of the men would be quite negative toward going and not willing to give up her comfortable life here with her close proximity to her family.  But when asked what her thoughts would be if the church leaders sent them, she said that she had already been talking about this with her husband and that if they should be sent then she was willing to and ready if God sends them.

May all of our hearts be tender to His leading as we pray for these dear folk as they joyfully surrender their wills to His.  What a joy it would be to see all of our Churches with this problem of choosing who to send from the many wanting to go.

Paul & Deb Howells  (Philippines)