We are home! After more than 24 hours of travel, we are safely back in Northwest Iowa. The last few days of our trip were a flurry of activity. On Sunday, we had the privilege of worshiping with the saints in Maranatha PRC where Rev. Kleyn ordinarily preaches every other Sunday. Rev. Kleyn led the first service and preached from Lord's Day 8 on "What We Believe Concerning God." I led the second service and preached from Psalm 91:1-2 on "A Safe Abode." It was a joy to worship God with His people there and to fellowship with them before and after the services.
Early Monday morning we flew from Manila to the beautiful island of Negros. Rev. Kleyn held a Bible study in the evening with a group in Bacolod. On Tuesday we drove to the southern part of the island to the city Sipalay, situated on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. Once a month Rev. Kleyn teaches a class here to a group of pastors interested in the Reformed faith. Rev. Kleyn led the first session, and I spoke to the men during the second session from 1 Thess. 2:1-12 on "The 'How' of Bringing the Gospel." After a quick dip in the Pacific, we headed back up to Bacolod. We flew out of Bacolod early Wednesday morning, dropped the Kleyns off in Manila, and then continued on home via Tokyo and Minneapolis.
Here are a few final reflections on our visit.
First, we can be immensely thankful to God for the missionary and missionary's wife that we have presently on the field. One of the great joys of the trip was simply spending time with the Kleyns. Their warm hospitality made it possible for us to see what their life and labor is like in the Philippines. And what we saw is that they are well equipped by God for this work. Their gifts, their zeal, their commitment, although not unknown to us before our visit, were on display time and again while we were there. Here's just one example. During our time there, Rev. Kleyn was asked to address a family that was grieving the death of a mother and grandmother. When we arrived at the funeral home, one little girl came bounding over, smiling from ear to ear. "Rev. Kleyn!" she shrieked, and gave him a hug. But the smile faded a bit as she confided in Rev. Kleyn that she was sad about her grandma's death. But Rev. Kleyn fed this little lamb with the comfort of the gospel of the resurrection, and her smile returned. That's just one of countless examples that could be cited.
Second, the field cries out for more laborers. Without going back on anything I just said about the abilities of the Kleyns, more men are needed because of the many opportunities and open doors God has given to us in the Philippines. In addition to the benefit of having more men to help oversee the work and give advice on different matters, these men are also needed to continue to grow the work and follow up on different contacts that we have. Rev. Kleyn has a full workload maintaining contact with the various groups with whom we are already involved, but he is unable to devote any more time and energy to fulfilling the many other requests for help that keep rolling in. In our short time there I heard of a number of different groups and individuals who were calling out for a Protestant Reformed missionary to come over and help them. Continue to pray regularly and earnestly that God would soon provide laborers to join the Kleyns on this field!
Our visit was a wonderful experience, and we are thankful that we could serve the churches in this way. But it is good to be back home and back to the work God has given here. I look forward to coming to the house of God and partaking of the Lord's Supper with you this Sunday.
In the love of Christ,