Nels and Amy Church with a short video greeting from Virac, Catanduanes, Philippines.
We read in James 1:17 that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Christmas certainly is the time that we celebrate the perfect gift that is Jesus and all the gifts that God has given to us all. It is said that in the Philippines, Christmas is only celebrated in the Brrrrr Months-September, October, November, and December! There is a hyper focus on the Christmas Season and all its trimmings. Decorations are up wherever you go, all the stores have Christmas themed music playing and the night markets are in full swing. It’s easy, with all the hustle and bustle that comes with Christmas, to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. It’s wonderful to spend time with family and friends, to enjoy gift giving and parties, but we have to remember to keep our focus on Jesus in the midst of all of it.
Last month we were able to go to Palawan and speak at the anniversary of the church in BusyBees. We participated in the wedding of two of our former students, had a Pastors’ meeting, and another church service. It was quite the adventure getting there! We travelled by plane from our island to Manila and from there took another flight to Puerto Princessa, the main city on Palawan. Our flight was delayed several hours, but we eventually got there. From Puerto, we took a bus five or so hours to TayTay and from there went by tricee (motorcycle with sidecar) and then banca (boat) to the wedding site and back again. We took another bus to Busybees, only two hours, but over verrry rough roads – at one point they unloaded the bus and had the passengers walk across the temporary bridge to lighten the load. The roads have improved significantly since I first came in 1994, however when you go back into the villages, the access is still limited. On our return to Puerto, the bus had engine trouble and our trip ended up taking over six and a half hours. The plane was delayed several hours as well, so it was a very long trip all around. In summary, though travel often was difficult, it was wonderful to sense the Holy Spirit moving in love and unity among the pastors and believers.
Mom and I flew into Catanduanes and drove directly up North to a village called Oco, where I had been invited to give a presentation to the high school students for National Reading and Writing Month. I had been expecting fifty or sixty students, there ended up being somewhere between 400-600! It was a wonderful opportunity for mom and I, as we were able to share some of our testimony as well as the prepared slideshow. Both the students and staff were very receptive and very appreciative of our visit.
As we close out 2017, please consider giving to Reap so that we can continue helping and serving the Filipino people.
May your Christmas be filled with love, peace, and joy!
Amy, for Nels and Lorrie
Praise and Prayer Reports:
- Praise God for our safe travels to Palawan
- Praise God for the Spirit of Love and Unity among the pastors
- Especially Praise God for the gift of Jesus!
- Pray for our pastors and families
- Pray for our students in field training
- Pray for our pastors and families, especially this Christmas season
- Pray for an increase in giving to meet the monthly budget
The Bible is a book of relationships beginning with God and man in Genesis and continuing throughout the New Testament. God could have created us as one single unit, but He chose to divide us into “families”. All through the Bible He uses terms describing relationships to help explain spiritual concepts. The church is referred to as His bride and His body, each part doing his or her part and each joined to others to complete the body. In our natural body, every part must stay connected to the rest of the body in order to function. As in the natural body so in the spiritual body; we need to connect with others to grow and live life abundantly.
The older I get the more I realize that I need to be aware of the people God puts in our path. Each is an opportunity to share and listen, to help and be helped; to encourage and be encouraged. Sometimes we have the opportunity to choose our friends, but often the people that become our friends are the ones God puts in our paths. We share times together and they become our friends, the ones we are connected to in His body.
We were blessed to have Mike and Marcia from Bend, Oregon, come and share at the Pastor’s Conference and at some of our churches. Their sharing blessed the Filipino people and we enjoyed our time with them sharing past and present experiences. There is an old poem that says, “Make new friends, but keep the old. New found friends like new wine age will mellow and refine…make new friends but keep the old, new are silver, old are gold”.
We are able to be in the Philippines and serve the people primarily because of you, our friends. You are not just supporters, but natural and spiritual family to us. We are your hands extended to this part of the world and you provide strength, encouragement, and natural sustenance to us.
Our annual pastor’s conference was a great success! Over 20 of our churches were represented together with many church workers filling our building to overflowing. During the week, Mike and Marcia, Amy and Lorrie and I spoke as well as local Pastors. There was a spirit of unity and rejoicing throughout the week.The last day was a divided session. Nels and Mike spoke with the men and youth while Marcia, Lorrie and Amy shared with the ladies.The conference ended with a youth meeting Friday night where over 100 youth listened intently as Amy spoke.
We thank you for all your prayers and financial support!
Nels, for Lorrie and Amy
• That the Conference was such a success!
• Typhoon diverted away
• Funds have come in to begin construction on the Chapel roof
• Safety while Traveling-We have several marathon trips upcoming and need prayer for protection and safety while traveling
• Upcoming meetings in Palawan
• Continuing Finances
• Christmas Outreaches
This past summer Lorrie and I traveled across the United States and visited with our friends, supporters, and fellow missionaries. As we traveled we were encouraged by many and hopefully encouraged many as well.
In June we attended a “Salt and Light” conference at Bethel Church in Redding, California. The emphasis was for us as Christians to positively affect our culture wherever we may live and work. The worship and teaching were excellent! After the conference, we returned to Alaska and met with friends, family, and churches.
As I write, we are in Ireland visiting our daughter Heather and her husband Noel and their children. Noel pastors a multicultural church in the city of Portlaoise and Heather is involved in children and women’s ministry. Lorrie has ministered at a women’s group and met with women individually. I have spoken at two of the services and look forward to meeting with the men’s group as well as with some of the leaders this week. As a bonus, we are planning a visit with our youngest son Jeremy and his wife Nicole in Finland. They attend nursing college there and plan to do mission work in Africa in the future.
After Ireland and Finland, we are scheduled to return to the Philippines where we will speak at our annual pastor’s conference in October. We are excited to be back with our friends and co-workers there.
While we have been traveling, Amy has ministered in the Philippines. She states:
“The last month has been hectic. Planes, vans, buses, ferries, tricees, pedicabs, motorbikes and good ol’ foot.
Over the river and through the jungle, to Camporag Church we went! Across a log bridge over a flooded river and through the pouring rain.
I was privileged to be the guest speaker at the Camporag Church’s fourth anniversary service. Getting there was an adventure, to say the least! The theme was “Standing Together In Unity” and this really resonated with me, as I have been pondering unity lately. There is so much through the Scriptures about Unity. As so often is true, we see this principle illustrated first in the natural, then in the spiritual. To be a fully functioning body, every part needs to work together in unity and the same is true for our spiritual bodies. Whenever a part is out of sync with the rest, it’s hard to get things done. Not impossible, for ‘With God, nothing is impossible’, but certainly more difficult. We need to build each other up rather than tear down our fellow Christians.”
Thank you for your prayers and support!
Nels, Lorrie, and Amy
Hello, dear friends.
Please pray with us for the family and the many friends of our student Bobet, (Mark Anjelo Junio), who drowned in a fishing accident recently. He was about 20 years old. His parents had wanted him to come home but he chose to go directly to field training on another island.
Pray for his family. Pray that people will not blame the school leadership for sending him. Pray that God will be glorified somehow.
We grieve for him, miss his smiles and fun loving personality. He loved the Lord with all his heart and he died while serving Him in Palawan.
We don’t know why he was taken from us so soon, but are focusing on the promise; “. . .that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” -Romans 8:28
The funeral company is charging approximately $1,500 for preparations and delivering the body back to his home outside of Manila. Since the family is very poor, It would be a blessing if you would like to participate towards this need.
Please put a note on your check or PayPal “funeral”.
Thank you so much for your prayers and generosity!
Nels, Lorrie, and Amy