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Archive for the ‘Missions’ Category

I sat in an office earlier this week and a lady asked me that question: “How are you doing that?” The question came because she knew I was a pastor and she knew about our church. She was lamenting the fact that her church wasn’t growing and they were trying really hard. My heart went out to her. Honestly, I’m praying she and her husband don’t burn out trying to do everything in their church. Yet, I pondered the question: “How are you doing that?” The “that” is “success,” or at least that’s the way I took it.  Honestly, I get that question quite a bit these days and I guess I still don’t have a very good answer.

Is MPBC perfect? No. No church is, but every church has fallible and sinful people (of which I’m chief). Interestingly, I just saw on Facebook where a lady told one of our members that she was no longer attending our church. And that’s okay. That’s why we have different churches, preaching styles, music styles, etc. Honestly, I’m okay with that. I used to take it personally when someone left the church, but I don’t any longer. I know the Lord has a plan for all of us and for where He wants us to be. We’ve not had many leave the church through the years, but it does happen from time to time. Nonetheless, it is true that the church has grown exponentially in the last 10 years and it is truly hard to explain. However, I heard years ago where a man said, “If you can explain it, then it’s probably not God.” I like that. Because I honestly couldn’t answer the lady with the “how” to her question.

For you see, a church can change the music style, put up screens in the sanctuary, the preacher can lose the tie and the pulpit can become a stool and an I-Pad, but that still might not change your church or make it grow. It might. But, it might not. Yet, as I’ve pondered the question for several days now, I’ve come to these four conclusions: #1 If you’re faithful to teaching the Word of God (I exegete and teach Scripture verse by verse through books of the Bible) and lifting Jesus up, that’s essential. #2 If you’re faithful to sing about Jesus, (you pick the style), and the words to the songs are Biblical and sound, that’s essential. Remember, Ephesians 5 teaches us to sing: Psalms, Hymns and spiritual songs. Do it all. #3 If you’re reaching beyond the walls of your church and being the hands and feet of Jesus (we call that missions), that’s essential. #4 If your congregation shows love for all people and are excited about coming to church, they’ll tell others (Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20), and that’s essential.

You might ask, “What about children’s church, youth group, nurseries, and other age-segregated programs?” My answer: they’re not essential. We don’t have them and it’s not slowed us down a bit. In fact, you can click on the “Adult-Centered Youth Ministry” tab if you want to see more about my Biblical understanding of the things just mentioned. But, the bottom line is something I’ve not even mentioned yet. What’s the glue to all of this? Drum roll please… THE FAVOR OF GOD. That’s right, the hand of God and His mercy and grace bestowed on a group of people for His glory. It’s about an often mis-used word: anointing. Yes, “anointing.” And no, I’m not going to go all Benny Hinn on you. The anointing of God is truly His unconditional blessing and favor that can’t be earned or “worked up.” It’s just His goodness on display. I’m so humbled to say that I’ve sensed that anointing in our church and all I can do is say, “Glory be to God!”

So, I looked at the lady in that office and I said, “I’ll be praying for you.” I asked her where she went to church and the pastor’s name. She told me both and I’ve been praying for the last few days for them. God can do anything! But, I did tell her this: God doesn’t necessarily desire for every church to “get big.” Yes, MPBC is averaging 600+ people for our three services, but that doesn’t mean the Lord desires every church to get that size. Honestly, there are times that people make disparaging remarks about the church because of our size. But, I can’t control the growth of our church anymore than I can control the direction of the Yadkin River. I can tell you this: I’m certainly not going to put a message on our church sign that says: “We’re full, don’t come!” And I’m not going to apologize that the Lord has chosen to bless us. Why is it that growth is good in every other area of life (watching our children grown, businesses grow, gardens grow, our favorite teams win), but it’s not spiritual somehow for a church to grow. Well, tell that to the first church after Peter preached on Day 1 and they added 3,000. Not 30, not 300… They added 3,000!

I hope I encouraged my sister in Christ by telling her to “keep on keeping on” and realize that she can’t do it all. And the goal is not to get BIG, but to be faithful…nothing more, nothing less and the rest is in God’s hands. There was just one Peter. There was just one Paul. But, the Lord used Epaphroditus and Aquila and Priscilla. He used a group of women (Luke 8) to fund the ministry of Jesus. On and on I could go. So, my advice: just be you. Be faithful to the Lord and seek Him first and just be you.

Well, let me tell you about next week. Honestly, I’m still recovering from the week’s work. The work in Mexico was H-O-T! And I mean HOT! It was 103-106 during the biggest chunk of the week. That made it in the 110-15 degree range for “real feel temps.” Yet, we got the work accomplished in Mexico (for the roof on the church) and in helping the “Church of No Walls” and Jason and Katie Church in Weslaco, Texas.

We couldn’t have completed the work on the roof or continued the work in Weslaco, without the work of the April Team:

And now for a collage of pictures… Enjoy!

  

I believe this picture says it all…

I mentioned earlier about how to grow a church. Those pictures above will do it.

I wrote a blog post 7 years ago in 2010 about why a mission trip can change your life. Check it out below. That post explains the very beginning of the work we were doing in Mexico and Texas.

https://dkevinbrown.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/why-a-mission-trip-can-change-your-life/

Several folks have asked me through the years why we don’t just stay in Wilkes County and do missions right here. Why go to China (which we just had a team return last week, as well…read all about it at Kandace’s blog: http://kandacebrown.blogspot.com/2017/06/china-part-2-orphanage_26.html)

We’ll be heading back to the Philippines in November. So, here’s my blog post to answer that question:

https://dkevinbrown.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/why-we-go/

Take a mission trip! Do it! It will change your life and change your church. If you would like to learn more about doing mission work in TX and MX, you can contact our missionary pastor, Jason Church at: forhisglorychurch.jc@gmail.com or on Facebook. The church Facebook Page is: Church of No Walls. https://www.facebook.com/churchofnowalls/ Jason can schedule house groups in the Mission House of up to about 30-32 people. He’ll plan and coordinate the work for you and train you on to bring a team to Texas. We only charge $125 per person for an entire week at our mission house. The biggest expense is the plane ticket (usually around $500-$600 per person). But, it’s amazing to consider that you can do missions in another country and our country this inexpensively.

Indeed, it was a great question I was asked earlier this week: How are you doing that?

Yes, thanks be to the Lord Jesus Christ for the privilege to serve Him and watch Him bless, even though we are undeserving!

Kevin

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Another summer is upon us and it’s in full swing in my world. This week is VBS and next week is off to Texas and Mexico. In the midst of that Kandace and 8 other ladies in our church are in China and there is the process of putting together the budget for next year, getting people in places to serve (Nominating Committee) and planning for the future. There’s never a dull moment.

Pray for us tomorrow night. We’ll have a ton of parents here and they’ll be watching their children and see what they’ve learned this week. I’ll be sharing the Gospel by way of the Three Circles.

It’s a fantastic way to share the Gospel and how the Lord delivers from brokenness all those who will repent and believe in His Son. If they will do so, they can be restored to God’s design for them. A perfect life? No. But, a life where His presence and peace covers us and provides for us strength and security for each day. Knowing God is the most unbelievable part of life. To actually call the God of the universe: “Father” is mind-boggling to me! But, that’s the offer to all those who will receive Jesus by faith, and choose to repent of their sins and follow Christ. It’s such a simple exchange. But, it’s so hard for so many. Satan has such a stronghold on their lives and their minds. Truly, salvation is a spiritual transaction and we must approach people by means of prayer as the greatest tool in our sharing the Gospel… Yes, a good approach (like the Three Circles above) is necessary…but, the essential thing is prayer.

So, I’m praying already about who will be here tomorrow night. I’m praying the Holy Spirit will speak to hearts as they watch the Three Circles. I love this presentation of it from a student at Appalachian State University.

How cool is that! So, pray for us tomorrow night around 7:30 pm, as I share the Gospel.

I checked the weather forecast for Weslaco, TX. When we land on Saturday it’s supposed to be 101 degrees. Yikes! We’ll be seeking to pour the roof of the church next week. That will finish the project. It’s hard to believe we started working on this project five years ago. Praise the Lord that it will be complete (Lord willing and there are no issues).

This is how it looks as of today…

We want to get that roof on next week! But, we also want to minister to the people of Weslaco, TX. We have been going to Mexico since 2008 and it’s been a wonderful journey to watch children who were very little, who are now grown and continuing to follow the Lord. It reminds me of the Apostle Paul has he went back to the same towns on his missionary journeys to care for the people and to encourage them. That’s what we seek to do as well. Pray for our team of 26 as we head down on Saturday. Thank you!

My goal is to upload pictures on Facebook throughout the week as much as I can. I’ll look forward to reuniting with Kandace as she will arrive back on the 23rd and we’ll arrive back on Saturday the 24th. It’ll be about 1 am or so before I hit the sack…but, I’ll look forward to hugging my girl the next morning before heading off to church to preach. Reuniting when you haven’t seen your family for a couple of weeks is bit like heaven if you ask me. What a grand reunion we will have there one day. How in the world does our Heavenly Father hold back from sending Jesus to come get us… I’ll never know. His love and desire for more to come to know Him before it’s too late must be the overriding desire of His heart. Otherwise, it would be: LET THE REUNION BEGIN.

Here’s this week’s Two Minute Tuesday. Senator Bernie Sanders really put his foot in his mouth last week. See here, why he doesn’t understand the claims and teachings of Jesus at all. Also see  why the Senator doesn’t even understand our Constitution. How does a man like this ever get elected? It’s beyond me. And on top of that…he was almost the Democrats choice! YIKES! It’s gotten almost 4,000 views as of this afternoon.

https://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/kfbewhc

Here’s last week’s TMT on “Judging.”

https://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/lnz5z6z

Kevin

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The Unnamed Person

Have you ever heard about Naaman’s leprosy? You know the commander of the army of Syria back in 2 Kings, chapter 5?

2 Kings 5:1

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.

Yep, he had leprosy and it was because of an unnamed girl from Israel that he was healed. This is fascinating.

2 Kings 5:2-3

Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

Sure enough, this mighty commander of one of the greatest nations on the face of the earth, Syria, was healed when he went to the Prophet Elisha of Israel. How cool is that? If it weren’t for the servant girl, that mighty man wouldn’t have been healed. But, we don’t even know the servant girl’s name.

Hey, that could be you! You could be an unnamed person that changes someone’s life. So could I. How? By sharing with them how they can find healing. Of leprosy? No. The leprosy of sin.

Last night Pam and I want to Boone to our old stomping grounds at Appalachian State University. I landed there exactly 30 years ago. I’m getting old! A lot has changed for sure. But, some things haven’t. We were on campus at the Solarium in the Student Union because of Baptist Campus Ministry of the High Country. I’ve been asked to serve on the Board of Directors and I’ve accepted. It’s the first board that I’ll be serving on in over 5 years.

You see, the church has gotten so large and so much to do, that I resigned everything else I was doing. And let me tell you, I was involved in some really great organizations. So, why jump back into this kind of thing? Because #1 the Lord gave me the nudge. #2 My wife gave me her nudge. #3 My love for young people #4 I’ve got help at the church and I can actually breathe again. #5 they only meet quarterly and that can be done via Skype or FaceTime if need be (that was a big one for me, to be honest).

Here’s the venue.

Looking through the trees is the old Belk Library. It was there that I did a lot of soul-searching my sophomore year and nailed down my salvation.

It was neat being with Pam (since we met at ASU) looking at the Mall where we once walked together.

I love the vision of BCM of the High Country…

It’s so true. Mike Puckett, shown above, is the Executive Director of BCM of the High Country. Man is he on fire for the Lord! And he’s right! He said last night, “This university is a laboratory and a sending agent for ideology of all kinds into the marketplace of the world.” Think about that statement. It’s so true. The ideology that’s being taught to the majority of the 18,000 students at ASU is certainly not Christian or biblical. It’s a worldview that’s anything but those things. It kind of reminds me about this cartoon I saw in World Magazine.  Therefore, anything I can do to help my alma mater in reaching kids for Jesus, well…sign me up!

See the difference in ideology? Same judge, but his worldview makes all the difference in the world. And the same is true of college professors.

This past year the Gospel was shared over 1,000 times by the workers and the students of BCM. I have three videos on my phone of three baptisms in the cold creeks of Boone of three students of the 14 who have made genuine professions of faith. You say, “Only 14?” Yep. That’s it. Can you imagine how hard the work is? Can you imagine what they’re up against? Will you pray? And will you think about what our kids are being taught. Yes, the are learning to be teachers and businessmen and businesswomen. Yes, they are learning music, etc., etc., but it’s the worldview of the professors that goes with that “education.” So, that’s why I’m involved and that’s why I want to make a difference.

How much difference can I make? Maybe as much difference as the unnamed servant girl that brought a great commander relief from leprosy and into contact with the great prophet Elisha. Just maybe!

Oh how I want to make a difference in the lives of our young adults. In fact, we’re going to have another “College Connect” at our house on Saturday, June 3rd from 5:30-9:30 and Mike Puckett will be coming down the mountain to speak. I’m already pumped. If you have them a college student, tell them to contact me on Facebook or email me at kevin@mpbc.ws and we’ll get them signed up.

Do you struggle believing the Bible is truly the Word of God? Take a look at this week’s TMT.

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/ffapdfu

Kevin

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It’s up to $1.5 BILLION!!

400x400

Got your lottery ticket yet?

Not me.

I won’t be buying any. In fact, I don’t want any. (Someone gave me a lottery ticket one time, and after I got home I tore it up and threw it away.) Why? Because I do not want to be lured into anything that could be detrimental to others. Truly, the lottery is killing a lot of poor families. There are folks who buy lottery tickets (because they are addicted to gambling) versus food for their family. That’s so sad.

Somebody asked me the other day, “Pastor, what if someone won the lottery and wanted to pay off the building debt with their tithe?” I said, “I would politely say, ‘No thanks.'” Why? Because in my heart and mind, that’s money that was won by gambling. The person then asked, “Preacher, don’t you think people put ‘dirty money’ in the offering plate every week?” I said, “Yes…but I don’t know that it’s ‘dirty money.’ With the scenario you just described, I’d know about it.” Now, that’s a personal preference and I can’t be dogmatic about it.

In fact, as I said in my “Two-Minute Tuesday” today, I don’t believe buying a lottery ticket is a sin, but I do believe it “feeds the greed” within us and places our trust on man and not God.

According to The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, here are three (3) interesting facts about state lotteries.

  1. In 2014 lotteries took in $70.1 billion in sales. That’s more than Americans in every state spent on books, recorded music, video games, and tickets to sporting events and movies.
  2. In five states, people spend more than $600 dollars per person per year on lottery tickets: Rhode Island, South Dakota, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Delaware.
  3. The poorest 1/3 of households purchase 1/2 of all lottery tickets.

The Bible is clear:

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Proverbs 10:4

A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

1 Timothy 6:17

…nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

As for me…I’m going to store up treasures in heaven where moths and rust won’t destroy and thieves won’t break in and steal. Jesus said, “You can’t serve God and money.” The Bible says: “Godliness with contentment is GREAT gain.” And “If a man doesn’t work…let him not eat.” So, that’s my take on the lottery.

Here’s the video. (You’ll note when I cut the video, which I actually taped on Monday, the jackpot was only $1.3 billion):

When are we going to have a scene like this:

up-4R33KP76PR6BBP8S

Well, most of the weather prognosticators thought we would have had some by now. The El Nino was so strong that it overwhelmed December and it’s been slow for the pattern to change. But, it finally flipped last week. We are now firmly in a “Negative” pattern, which is code for COLD. The problem is (as always) getting the moisture synced up with the cold. That’s the hard part. We had plenty of moisture, but no cold air. And now we’ve got the cold air, but the moisture is limited. Will the two come together? Well, that will mean that the northern jet stream  will need to buckle south and provide the cold air at the same time the southern jet stream sends moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Again…it’s all timing.

What I’m seeing is the two weeks we’re going to be close, but probably no cigar (as the old saying goes). We’ll be a bit too warm (even though this weekend might be a closer call than some are now saying). But, I do believe as we move toward the end of the month and into February that we’re finally going to see wintry precipitation. But, here’s the truth. The pattern for the remainder of the winter, (once it sets up), normally persists throughout the rest of the winter. So, whatever happens in the next 3 weeks will tell the tale. Personally, I still believe we’ll see some snow, but the biggest chance looks to be February. Remember it snowed three times last February in the winter I called “Delayed but not Denied” and we could be in for a repeat performance. We’ll see.

Please be in prayer for these lovely ladies…

12494685_1113628831989271_4261898653360187423_n copy

That’s (Left to Right), Kristie Cothren, Michele and Julianna Cordray, Lakyn and Melanie Parrish, Jennifer Spencer, Tabitha Garza and Kandace and Pam Brown. 9 strong! And they’re in China right now helping minister to some really, really needy orphans and workers. Please lift the up to the Father, will you? They are living in pretty tough conditions. It got down to almost 40 degrees in their rooms the other night because there was no power. I Facetimed (is that a word?) with Pam and Kan this morning (which was about 9 pm their time…since they are 13 hours ahead) and they were doing well. They were tired and getting ready for bed. The food is kind of rough and the beds are hard as bricks. But, that’s mission work, folks and they’re used to that. But, nonetheless, thanks for the prayers.

How am I doing? Peachy! I’ve got wonderful help. Katy is a fabulous cook and my mom and dad are nearby and I’ve had tons of offers from others (probably many of you reading this). So, thank you, thank you, thank you! And get this! I’ve not even had to fix country ham and scrambled eggs yet (my specialty). 🙂

And I have a wonderful ministry assistant…

11872147_1042098749188164_1849393250907858017_o

My love to you all!

Kevin

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This is Kandace’s blog and it’s excellent (sorry I’m biased) and I wanted you to see her perspective from our mission journey. Enjoy!

Walk By Faith, Not By Sight

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Philippines Trip 2015

What a week this has been. I’m sitting here typing this in the Detroit airport because we have a four hour layover until our flight to Charlotte. I thought I’d go ahead and get working on this blog while it is all fresh on my mind. My ankles are swollen, I’ve had the same pair of Chacos on for almost a whole day, the powder that I hurriedly put on my face yesterday morning has melted off of my face, the circles under my eyes are probably scaring the people around me, and I’m running on about 3 hours of sleep, but I am happy.

There is no feeling that can compare to the feeling that you have after you’ve been on a mission trip. Yes, you are exhausted, sick of airplanes, airplane food, and sitting, but you feel a certain joy that’s impossible to describe to someone who has never been on a mission trip before. You know that you have done something worthwhile and important. You have made a small dent on another part of the world.

This trip was different than any other trip that I’ve been on. I did things on this trip that I have never done before. It was a lot of new territory for me and at times it was intimidating, but it stretched me and now I feel even more prepared for the other trips that I will go on in the years to come. I didn’t really know what to expect. Everything was pretty hazy before we left. I did try my best to prepare some different things. I can’t stand not having a laid out/thought out game plan. I guess that’s the “Brown” coming out of me. 🙂

Let me start from the beginning of the trip. We left on Wednesday night after church and drove straight to a hotel near the airport in Charlotte, NC. I was blown away by all of the people from the church that came to tell me bye and that they were praying for us. What an amazing church family I have. We were up bright and early the next morning to head to the airport. We flew to Detroit first and then flew the 13 and a half hour flight to Tokyo, Japan. I haven’t flown on a plane for that long since I was 8 when we adopted Clara. I only slept for about an hour and a half of the entire flight. By the time we reached Tokyo at 3 in the morning I was worn out. I experienced deja vu over and over again as we walked through the airport. It was the same airport we had had a stop over at when we went to get Clara. Pretty crazy to have walked through the same place again 10 years later! From there we flew to Manila, Philippines. As soon as we stepped off the plane a wave of sticky heat hit me right in the face. There were Ebola warning signs posted everywhere. That unnerved me a bit. We were also handed a paper in the immigration line that listed potential sicknesses you could get while you were there. I tried not to dwell on the thought of getting some incurable Philippine sickness and being banned from the U.S. I guess when you have only slept for about 4 out of the last 48 hours your brain automatically thinks up the most ridiculous scenarios that it can comprehend.

We finally got our bags and met Pastor Dave outside of the airport by about 10:30 Friday night. We hopped in a little Filipino size car and made it to our condo at about 12:45. The condo was only about 15 miles from the airport. The traffic was so bad that it took us over 2 hours to get there. It was quite a sight! We got to know Pastor Dave and one of the deacons in the church named Romano on the way there. They kept us entertained the whole way! Exhausted was an understatement by the time we made it to our beds though.

We got some rest and were up the next morning (Saturday) to do a crusade at Exodus Elementary School. There were about 550 people there! The principal was so kind to let us use their outside gym area. It’s awesome to see people in the school system who still allow people to come in and share about Jesus. It was a wonderful service. Many prayed to accept Jesus!

12027109_977735408936535_2037930773761725981_oAt Exodus Elementary on Saturday morning.

The next day (Sunday) we had a wonderful service at Shekinah Glory Baptist Church. They are such wonderful people. They immediately accepted us into their church family. Dad preached and many said that they prayed to accept him. I spoke to a group of the girls at the church after the service. Dad spoke to the adults and Pastor Dale spoke to the young men. I loved talking to those young women and sisters in Christ. They listened to me with their whole hearts and we had a question and answer time afterwards. They asked me some challenging questions and we all chipped in to answer them. It was so encouraging to see that people like me who live across the world deal with the exact same struggles and temptations that I deal with. We are different in some ways, but are so alike in others. We are alike in Christ. It was a wonderful time that I will never forget.

12182438_977967165580026_1977110929367950333_oSharing with girls/women at Shekinah Glory.

On Sunday night Shekinah Glory had their 25th Anniversary Homecoming Service. It was a huge celebration! It was such a blessing to watch the church members sing and speak about that last 25 years in their church. The members of Shekinah Glory are so devoted to their church and reaching the people of the Philippines. It was very encouraging to see how this has been lived out so faithfully by these people. It was a wonderful time of worship for us all.

12182418_977944518915624_3698578133049007073_oA picture of the whole church after the Homecoming service.

On Monday morning Dad spoke at the Flag Ceremony in Pasig City. The Mayor and most  of the city officials were there. It was an unbelievable opportunity! Monday was also supposed to be our first day sharing at the schools, but with the typhoon (more on that later) school had been canceled. We instead went to a couple of different prisons in Pasig City. The conditions in those prisons we appalling. Those are truly the desolate and desperate people of the earth. My heart broke for the women/girls I saw behind those bars. They just needed something to believe in. They needed someone to love them and show them their self worth. I sang Amazing Grace to them before Dad spoke. It amazed me at how many of the people knew the words and sang along with me. Dad’s sermon of salvation and freedom in Christ touched many. It was powerful. God was there in a tiny prison in the Philippines. He was there speaking into the hearts of murderers and thieves. People who only knew hopelessness, pain, and sorrow. You are never too far gone. I saw that first hand in those prisons.

121815Dad speaking at the Flag Ceremony in Pasig City.

DSC_0315Speaking in the prison.

DSC_0337Standing outside of one of the prisons with the group from Shekinah.

That night we experienced something that was pretty crazy. We had already been dealing with the torrential rains and high winds that typhoon Lando was bringing in, but we never expected an earthquake! I was sitting on my bed typing out an update for the day when the dogs upstairs in our condominium building started barking VERY loudly. They had barked before quite often, but this time it sounded different. It was more like frantic barking. I found that kind of curious… I glanced at my clock and it said 9:49. I went back to my typing, but not a minute later my bed started shaking. The table and lamp began to rattle and then my door began to sway quickly back and forth. I knew immediately that it was an earthquake. Dad wasn’t so sure. I usually jump to unrealistic conclusions. At first he said it was the wind that was making the building sway. Either way, it was concerning considering that we were staying in a five story building and our room was on the second floor. It went on for about another 30 seconds and then stopped. Not long after that I saw on twitter that there had indeed been an earthquake only about 60 miles away from Manila, Philippines. Needless to say, I slept a little uneasily after that!

On Tuesday we spoke at one of the largest high schools in the area. We shared the gospel with hundreds of students all day long. We went from class to class and spoke over and over again. It was exhausting, but awesome work! I shared my testimony with them. I think many of them were able to relate to it in some way. I had struggled with knowing if I was truly saved or not for years. It was a hard, hard time for me. I didn’t know how to have a relationship with Christ and for the longest time I didn’t even want to have one with him at all. I had to get to the bottom of my emptiness to be able to see what I was missing in my life. As I shared this, I saw many of them cry and nod their heads at what I was saying. The Lord was all over that work.

Untitled 2 copy 2Dad speaking at one of the schools.

DSC_0428Me speaking with a class.

There was one girl who had cried the whole time we were in her class. I felt the Lord prompting me to talk to her. After we had finished our sharing time I asked her if she would be willing to talk to me outside of the class for a minute. She agreed although I could tell that she was a little afraid. I asked her if she was alright and if she wanted to tell me something and she said that her Uncle had been murdered by Muslims. There was so much fear in her eyes. She didn’t go into a lot of detail and I didn’t push her, but I asked her if I could pray over her. I prayed and she cried and then we shared a long hug. Her name is Wendy. I will always remember her. God put her into my path for a reason. I’m sure of that. Please pray for her and her family.

12132616_931900306885113_9213543123360586474_oSpeaking with Wendy.

On Wednesday we went to another school and shared with almost a thousand students at one time. Afterwards, they asked us for pictures with them and for our autographs. They treat us like we are celebrities there. They are so amazed that Americans would come there to see them and invest in their lives. We finished it off by going to another school and sharing for the rest of the afternoon. By the end of the night our voices were gone, our feet were numb from standing all day, and we were beyond exhausted, but I have never felt so satisfied. Knowing that we had shared with so many people in those two days was an amazing thought.

1545064_933479666727177_2986322752695151417_n copyDad speaking to the big group of students at Star of Hope High School.

DSC_0474Me speaking at Star of Hope.

During our days at the schools some of the young people from the church had come along to help translate and hand out tracts. I got to know all of them so much better during that time. There was always laughter and a lively conversation going on. They taught me things about the Philippines and I taught them things about the America (although they already knew almost everything there is to know about America) and we talked about our common interests. We made enough inside jokes to last a lifetime. 😉 I made some true friends for life and I’m so thankful for Facebook so that I can keep up with them! Gotta love technology! I will miss those Jeepnee rides and conversations so much, but there will many more in the years to come. I can’t wait to go back and see my Filipino friends again.

12185569_978003075576435_1971313304603308705_oMe with the Shekinah Glory young people. I love them all so much!

Thursday morning we started a long two days of travel home. I slept the majority of the plane rides home. Exhaustion had finally taken over. That Chick-Fil-A sandwich in Detroit was so good! I love my American cuisine. 😉

This trip changed my life. I know that’s a pretty cliche thing to say, but it’s true. I will never forget my first trip to the Philippines. It’s in my blood now and I’m already planning my next trip. God did so many amazing things. This blog barely scratches the surface of it all. He did a tremendous work in my life through those people. I am so excited for the things to come with this new mission opportunity. I can hardly wait to go back!

Paalam!

Kandace

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Insights on a Nation

What a week! Last week in the Philippines was an amazing time for Pastor Dale Jennings, Kandace and me. Here we are on the plane headed out from Charlotte to Detroit, then to Tokyo, Japan and then Manila, Philippines.

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What an experience! The time difference is 12 hours, so it takes several days to get your body clock adjusted. I kept waking up between 3-4 am ready to go! Once I finally got regulated, it was time to come home. I’m still waking up at the same time here (back home). It’s giving me time to pray (during the 4th watch of the night…as David used to pray). 🙂

There is no way I can possibly share all the occurrences during our 8-day trip. So, I’ll give you the highlights and share some insights about what I learned.

Of course initially, everyone was concerned about Typhoon Lando. Here is a local Filipino station sharing about the coming landfall. 12049474_933479826727161_5658451602922851129_n copy

Thankfully, it was north of us and we just saw about 3-5 inches of rain and about 35-40 mph winds. It devastated the northern part of the island in the are of Luzon. We were south of Manila (the capital).

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Amazingly on Monday night of last week there was a 5.4 magnitude earthquake on the island just south of Manila in a town called Occidental Mindoro. It happened at 9:50 am and I was lying in bed on my side (I had just gone to bed) and the next thing I know… I’m lying on my stomach. I had rolled over without desiring to roll over! Kandace burst into the room and said, “Daddy, the building is shaking!” Needless to say, it was a bit harrowing. But, thankfully there were no aftershocks. I slept on the couch that night just in case we needed to make a quick exit. I had our passports, my wallet, phone and tennis shoes beside the sofa!

Here’s the pastor and his wife of the church in Cainta, Rizal.

1531633_754529604585084_4951127547106669814_oThat is Pastor David Dela Paz and his wife, Ethel. What a wonderful couple. This is inside their church. 12029691_933459560062521_1642195109131130381_o copy

The church has about 75-80 people. They are trying to reach a city of nearly 3 million people. They are the only Bible-believing and teaching church in the city. The Philippines are made up of about 7000 islands and the people are close to 90% Catholic. Yet, most are “Cultural Catholics.” It reminds me a lot of Mexico. The country has very few people who actually go to church. The people are by and large good and honorable people, but they are being heavily influenced by the west.

They have all the garbage of America on their TVs: HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, MTV, etc. It’s just a matter of time before the entertainment of the west infiltrates them to the point that they become pagan. It saddened me greatly to see this happening. I saw the same thing happening in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The clothes the people wear start looking American and the way they act does too. It seems that what “entertains” a people and culture will drive that culture. Just think about America over the last 50 years. I rest my case.

It’s like Hugh Hefner of Playboy Magazine. He said (last week) the magazine would no longer show nude women. Why? Because you can get porn at the click of a button. That’s why I have “Covenant Eyes” on all my devices. He said, “My job is done.” What was his job? He said, “revolutionizing American thinking about nudity.” Yep, Mr. Hefner, I’d say you did a real good job of allowing Satan to use you to corrupt many of our men to the point that only Viagra and Cialis is effective in helping them to be intimate with their wives. Yep, I’d say you really did help to revolutionize this country, indeed.

We will have to take this country back one family at a time and it’s my job to see that I get the job done in my home with my family and then as a leader in the church to guide and equip the flock to do the same. We must return to God’s word and teach it and live it, or we will go the way of the trash pile of the other major civilizations and cultures of the past.

One of the coolest things was to watch my daughter at work.

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She taught and she sang…

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The students thought she was some sort of famous person. They wanted her autograph.

12003872_933480340060443_7430117168797336166_n copySee the guy with the umbrella over her head. Amazing! She handled it in stride and gave the Lord the glory. Needless to say, I was very proud of her and how she handled a lot of stuff that could have easily gone to her head. The truth is…Americans are automatically seen as some sort of “rock star” there. I was a freak of nature (being so tall). Most of the Filipinos are very short. So, I was gawked at everywhere we went. “Wow! Look at the giant!”

The teaching in the schools was amazing! Here I am (with my translator, Pastor Dave, to the right) in front of close to 1,000 students.

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Can you imagine that!?! We were actually allowed to go into the public schools and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Unreal! That would NEVER happen here in the U.S. Yet, it used to… 50 years ago… Even up to the time I was in the fifth grade, we read the Bible in class and prayed every morning before school started. But, we’ve got so “smart and civilized” today. Yes, today we’re so intelligent that we’ve pushed God right out of the classroom and replaced Him with evolution and secular humanism. And look at where that’s getting us as a nation. Are we better off today than we were when you are a kid? We’re a disaster waiting to happen unless we return to the Lord. Well, enough of that…I’m a broken record on that. Sorry! 🙂

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The students seemed to enjoy what we shared.

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We had between 30 and 50 minutes in each class. The older the students, the more time we had. Here’s Pastor Dale helping me by imitating Jesus on the cross. Our translator, Xervoz (pronounced Serve-OS) is to the right.

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We were able to pray with the students after sharing the plan of salvation. We supplied them with tracts that contained the Gospel of John and the “Seven Steps to Knowing God.” Again, I was a just blown away that we were allowed to do this in public schools. Obviously the Filipino government has learned about the erroneous “Separation of Church and State” that we have in America. But, one day, I’m confident they will. Therefore, we must strike while the iron is hot and that’s why I’ll be going back taking more people in the future. You talk about ROI (Return On Investment)! We were able to share with well over 5,000 students (and that’s a conservative number) while we were there. And not only that, we got to go into the prisons.

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Do you see above in the left side of the picture? Those are women. The men were in front of me and the women to the left in this prison in Pasig City. They were packed in there like sardines and the heat and the odor was almost unbearable. Many of the men had to sit on the floor with the legs spread out and other men between their legs to get everyone in the holding cell to listen to us speak. It was humbling to say the least. Here’s the crazy thing. If you asked them if they are a Christian, the prisoners will all shout, “YES!” But, the truth is I’m afraid, once again…most are just “cultural Catholics” and have no relationship with Jesus. It was heartbreaking, but I poured my heart out about how to know Jesus personally and to have a real relationship with Him. Many prayed to receive Christ. And like with the students in the schools, only God knows.

Here’s something that was really cool. 121815

That’s me sharing in front of over 1000 government workers, city officials and the mayor of Pasig City. I was allowed to share the Gospel with them. I did! And I didn’t hold back. I shared in about 3 minutes and they were very receptive. Again, I’m absolutely astounded to have had these opportunities. I shook the mayors hand, a very nice lady, who thanked me for coming. That’s her (below in the white shirt preparing to come to the podium.)

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Perhaps one of the neatest things for me was the opportunity to meet the Chief of Police in a city called Tay Tay. His name is Colonel Jong. He loves (of all things) basketball. And get this…well…just take a look at what we did…

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Can you tell we worked up a sweat?

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I would guess Colonel Jong is about 5’4″ tall. Needless to say, I towered over him. He asked me to bend over for the picture. 🙂

But, here’s the thing… He allowed me to speak to his police force and the Assistant Mayor came as well. What an opportunity to share the Gospel…again!

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Overall, it was a fantastic journey! And the thing that I enjoyed the most (beyond sharing the Gospel) was being with this wonderful, beautiful, godly young lady…

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I’m a blessed man indeed!

I’m so grateful for a loving and mission minded church that’s willing to send missionaries to share the Gospel throughout the world. We’ve got another team heading out in January to China. Pam and Kandace will be on that one too! Woohoo! What a joy to “seek and save that which is lost and to share the love of Jesus.”

I took this picture this morning at the DMV…

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I had to get my license renewed (another 8 years…I’ll be 55 when I renew again…Lord willing.) 🙂

God’s beauty! And to Him be the glory!

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Off to the Philippines

See this map…

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See the city beside of Manila that Cainta? That’s where I’m headed for the next week and a half. To be specific that is Cainta Rizal, Philippines. Here’s a bigger map of the Philippines. You’ll see it’s beside of Malaysia.

phil-MMAP-md copyAnd finally, here’s a map that will show you how small the Philippine islands are compared to the rest of the world. See the orange arrow (bottom-right).

eb9eb4511cea47ab33a33bc3e606ea68You’ll see how close the Philippines are to the Equator.

It’s hot there. It will be around 90 degrees with oppressive humidity and a good chance of rain most days while we’re there.

I’m not the only one going. Kandace is going as well as my dear friend and fellow pastor Dale Jennings. Pastor Dale has been many times and is leading the trip. This is my and Kandace’s first trip. I’m going to be looking and praying to see if the Lord might want us at MPBC to ramp up the work there. There is so much to be done. There are less than 2% Christians there. Yet, 90% of the people will tell you they are Christians because they are Catholic. Yet, most are cultural Catholics (don’t attend mass) and have no relationship with Christ anyway. But, they’ll tell you they are Christians. (Sounds like America doesn’t it?)

Here’s the crazy thing. We are going to get to go into the schools and even talk to government officials about Jesus. Isn’t that amazing! The thoughts of doing something like that here in America is…well…you’ve got a better chance of flapping your arms and getting to Mars than you do talking about Jesus in a public school in an “Assembly” setting or going to the local mayor’s meeting and sharing John 14:6. We’ve sunk so far as a nation. Yet, for now…we have open doors to the Philippines and thousands of teenagers. On Monday of next week we will be speaking at Star of Hope High School, Repsci High School and Nageayong High School. On Tuesday, the 20th we’ll be sharing with 4,000+ students at M.I. Santos High School.

I’m going to tell you who will likely make the greatest impact…

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…that young lady in the purple. Kandace will tremendously impact those young adults with her testimony and story of how you can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She’s also going to be singing. They’ll love her! (Sorry, I couldn’t help but get a picture of Charlotte thrown in there to boot :)).

On Wednesday we’ll be going to three different prisons in Cainta, Pasig and Taytay sharing with the inmates, army and prison authorities.

If I may back up a second. On Saturday we’ll be speaking at an Evangelistic Crusade at 8 am at an Elementary School. And then that afternoon we’ll be at the church (Shekinah Glory Baptist Church) sharing with about 8 churches, their pastors and members. It will be a time of encouragement for these churches. On Sunday 9 am, we’ll be having a crusade at the church where I will be preaching and Kandace singing. Later in the morning, I have the privilege of sharing with the adults, while Dale and Kandace share with the young adults and students. That night I’ll be preaching at their 25th Silver Anniversary Celebration of the existence of Shekinah Glory Baptist Church.

We’ll head back on Thursday, October 22nd, arriving back in Charlotte around 10 pm that night. It will be in the wee hours of Friday the 23rd when we arrive back home to Purlear.

Can I ask you to pray for us? There are around 100 million people in the area where we will be ministering. Again, 90% are Catholic, 5% Muslim and Cults and less than 2% Evangelical Christian. Pray for stamina and strength. On Monday and Tuesday particularly we will be speaking over and over again as the students are brought in at about 30-45 minutes until we run through all students of the schools. We go to bed late and get up early. We are 12 hours ahead. So, when it’s 8 am here, it’s 8 pm there. Pray I can handle the flight. The older I get, the less I like being on a plane. I’m not made for a plane at 6’6″ tall. Thankfully, Pastor Dale got us a bulkhead seat (an exit row) for the 13 hour 10 minute jaunt from Detroit to Tokyo (the longest leg of the journey). Thank you Dale! And yes, when he told me, I kissed him on top of the head!!! (He’s getting used to that and smiles and tolerates my silliness!)

Pray for our families back home as we will miss them. Pray most of all that we might say something that would be used by the Holy Spirit to save lives. Pray for boldness. Strong stomachs (eating strange food), good health, decent rest and no “Satanic wrenches” thrown into things.

Thank you for doing so and I’ll update you when I get back. If we have some kind of internet connection, I might try to put out a quick update if I can via the net. So, check back here next week. I love you all!

Kevin, Kandace and Pastor Dale

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