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December 11, 2019

Dear Praying Friend,

At the beginning of a new week I find myself looking back on the many blessings we enjoyed on Sunday.
  • 6:30 AM—eyes open and I realize that the time I spend in the next 30 minutes will be my chance for quiet time today. Reading through the book of Micah refreshes my heart and gets me excited for the day.
  • 7:30 AM—the family is in a taxi and off to church. We arrive at 8 to a warm welcome of our friends and fellow church members at the front door.
  • 8:00-10:00 AM—Our pastor preaches a rich sermon explaining the meaning and significance of baptism. Conclusion—“The day you were baptized you made a commitment to follow Jesus with your whole life. Are you really following Him now? With your entire life?”
  • 10:30 AM—Our oldest son, Jeremy shares his testimony in Tagalog and English. And then he follows the Lord in baptism. Praise the Lord!
  • 11:00 AM—The service is over and the church throws a party celebrating Pastor Abet’s 10th Anniversary.
  • 12:00 PM—We leave to make our way home, riding a taxi, a train, a jeepney and a good bit of walking, all to a good bit of enthusiasm from the kids.
  • 1:00 PM—We celebrate Jeremy’s baptism as a family by eating out for a special meal. Lots of interest from the younger siblings to understand why baptism is so important.
  • 4:00-6:00 PM—A group of Burmese and Chinese students comes to our home for an evening service. Together we sing Christmas hymns and then read through OT passages pointing ahead to Jesus’ coming and the NT fulfillment. Rich fellowship and rejoicing in God’s rich word.
  • 6:30-8:00 PM—Supper, Family Bible reading, a few games and everyone is off to bed!
This is a snapshot of the richness of Sundays. But all through the week we are grateful to do what we love most. This semester, besides Bible Doctrines 2 and Ministerial Class, it has been delightful to create a new class on preparing and preaching God’s Word. Some of our core concepts have included.
  • We preach with passion because God’s words demand our excitement.
  • We use gestures and expression because communication is not only words—you preach with your entire person.
  • Preaching begins in your personal life and relationship to the people—living out the sermon.
The delight has been seeing students truly develop even from week to week in their ability to effectively communicate. These men and women are not merely theorizing about how to do it. They are teaching and preaching already in their various ministries every weekend, immediately putting to work the things we are discussing.

Another delight is preaching myself. I get to preach at least monthly at our home church, several times each month at other ministries, and recently in the college chapel with a series on the core basics of the Christian life. Recently we gave our BJMBC students a Bible reading challenge to read through the Bible in three weeks this Christmas break (3 hours per day). If you’ve never read through the Bible in a compact time like this, it’s a little crazy… and incredibly rich, like flying over the landscape of Scripture in a helicopter.  Why don’t you consider joining us? (More information here...)
Another delight was speaking for a church anniversary in Bagac, Bataan. The ministry is strategic because no one else—not even the Catholics—have a church or a full time leader. Pastor Chris has remained faithful here in spite of real challenges, and God has blessed his work. We were grateful to spend a day, getting to see a small part of this ministry and these sweet people.
The Lord has deeply blessed Sarah’s hard work with our children and her own ministries. Jeremy (8) finished reading through the Bible for the first time last month and now Zachary is excited to begin soon himself. Caroline is learning to read and Joy is learning daily lessons about obedience. The fruit of Sarah’s diligent investment is obvious in their Scripture memory, their schoolwork and their daily obedience.

We are also excited about our upcoming schedule. Will you pray that these ministry investments will bear much fruit?
  • January 7—BJMBC classes resume
  • January 13-17—New Testament Theology Block class in Mindanao
  • January 25-29—Multi-church Bible conference in Hong Kong
  • Feb 15—Marriage Seminar at BJMBC
Thank you so much for your prayers!
Joel and Sarah,
Jeremy, Zachary,
Caroline and Joy Arnold

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