One of our Church planting Consultants said recently, “What I’m most afraid of is that the church will stop growing and start just playing church, without life.” Growth is one of the biggest themes here in Dinangat these days. Growth which is seen in different ways.
The hunger for the truth and salvation is growing more and more in the small group of people in the neighboring village B. They have heard about half of God’s redeeming story by now and have understood and felt their need for a Savior. They are awaiting the promised Deliverer which they will hear about in the coming weeks. Please continue to pray for them that they will truly understand and believe in the work of Salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. Please also pray for the different Bible teachers that are involved in this huge task every week, and also for their families who are without dads for several days a week.
Growth is also seen in the women with which we met the other day for Women’s Bible reading. Their bodies lean forward and their eyes and ears are fully open as they listen to God’s Word. A wonderful sight! There are so many things they have never heard about which they now get to hear and grow in. Please also pray for these women that their hunger for learning will never stop and that they will keep growing in the Truth.
There are many things our Bible Teachers need to learn and grow in as they desire to lead this fragile young church here in Dinangat. In Sunday church services we are currently learning the different qualifications of the elders in the church according to I Timothy. There they hear about being blameless, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, being able to teach, being gentle, not quarrelsome, a father of obedient children… and it is quite overwhelming for them. They all have the desire to shepherd this church but will have to grow in many areas to be able to do that. Please also pray for them!
Another aspect of growth here shows in learning to read better. Many of the believers still read like this: “In… in… tho… those… da…ys. John… John… th… the… Bapt… tist. c… cam… came.” If one reads like this how can they read God’s Word to their family without them falling asleep much less reading it and understanding it at the same time? That is why we presented a new Reading Challenge last week in church. Everyone who takes part in it will practice reading at home and then on Sunday after church we will test how many words they can read in one minute. Those numbers are right now between 33 and 125. Try it yourself and see how fast you can read in a minute. it’s fun J!
Have you ever had to forgive a person who has done you great wrong? It takes a lot of growth and strong belief in our greatest forgiver Jesus Christ, doesn’t it?! One of my friends here was hit by her husband really bad about a year ago. Her arm even broke which still hurts after that much time because it never grew together right. Every day she is reminded of the pain he gave her as she is trying to work her gardens. Two days ago she told me how hard it is for her to forgive him. She is very angry at him and doesn’t want to help him in any ways. Their marriage is greatly suffering. She knows that Jesus forgave her own sins and that she also must forgive her husband or else he, who is not a believer, will never see Jesus in her and trust in Him also.
Growth is important and good but sometimes it is very hard. Many times we only grow in hard times. But we can never stop growing! Please pray for us and the Dinangat church that they will never just play church and stay the same forever, but that they will keep growing and growing and growing.
“… speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head into Christ.” Eph.4:15
Growing together with you, the Schlegels.