Our primary focus is college students. We are teaching conversational English at local universities and trying to build relationships with our students so that we can witness to them. The primary religion here is Catholicism, but most people are open to hearing what we have to say about having a personal relationship with Jesus.
Our local supervisors, Kennet and Emely, are members at a house church called Connect, which is the church Kim and Jeff planted when they first lived here. Kennet and Emely are training us in evangelism strategy, culture and language. We try to build relationships with students and invite them to Bible studies we have at our house. At the Bible studies we do vision casting, which is essentially teaching them how to share what they have learned. Before they have confessed or been baptized, we teach them the importance of evangelism.
Over the past two weeks I have been challenged to view evangelism and the Christian life very differently than I have in the past. The Christian life as we so often live it--focued on our own personal growth and being satisfied with inviting someone to church once a year as our contribution to evangelism--is no Christian life at all. We are teaching new believers that being a follower of Christ and an evangelist go hand in hand. Our culture and language training has been so helpful in getting through culture shock.We have learned a few Tagalog words (Tagalog, pronounced tah-gah-lo, is the national language and is not to be confused with Tag-along, the popular Girl Scout cookie) and are beginning to learn the cultural do's and don'ts.
Although we face language and cultural barriors and sometimes we feel homesick, it is so amazing to see how God is working here. Being in the Philippines is such a blessing and I can't wait to see what the next five weeks hold. Every day we see God's grace and faithfulness as we live and witness.
Please continue to pray for open doors and boldness to share our faith. I am quickly falling in love with the people of Batangas and I look forward to giving you more details in the weeks to come. Thank you so much for your support and prayers during this exciting adventure!
By Him and for Him,