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August 1, 2019

Dear Praying Friend,
I just returned from teaching an undergraduate level class introducing students to the themes and big ideas of the every New Testament book. The students were energetic, ready to study, and enthusiastically interested in learning about 1-2 Thessalonians. It was one of those days when you are simply delighted to be alive and come away feeling like you were made to do exactly what you are doing. 
Nor was this an atypical class or group of students. I wish you could hear some of my students’ testimonies. The most typical story I hear is of a student who is the only believer in his family; of unbelieving parents that oppose the decision to go into the ministry. I have heard of students kicked out of their parents home for becoming believers. Many receive no financial or practical support from their families for their studies. Many commute well more than an hour every week.  
And yet they labor on. They work hard and make real sacrifices every week to come to class. They are hungry to be prepared for ministry and grow in their knowledge of Scripture. And as semesters or years pass, I get to watch lives gradually change. I see people who came weak and struggling gradually transformed as their biblical thinking deepens and their lives begin to show the marks of truth and deep convictions. Some of the greatest joy I have known is sitting before former students as they open the word of God and richly, skillfully minister the powerful truths of God’s word back to me. God has His people in the Philippines. They are precious to Him and to us as well.
But we also see the needs. Deep needs. Recently I invited our neighbors to an evangelistic reception that our school hosted. As we chatted, one neighbor mentioned attending the local Catholic Church and understanding nothing from the priest’s homilies. Upon further discussion, she offered her understanding of the Catholic trinity—“God the Father, the Son, and God the Mother.” This is the fruit of lifelong faithfulness to Catholic teaching. This is why we are here—to teach the truth to people like that and enable faithful Filipino believers to be more effective as they also witness.
A Catholic Service Honoring Mary's Parents
Another blessing this month has been hosting Daniel Smitley, a Senior missions major from BJU as he fulfills his internship. It has been truly delightful to talk with him, discuss missions philosophy together and watch him learn about our setting here. It’s deeply heartening to see a future generation of missionaries get prepared!  
We have also enjoyed constant opportunities to share the gospel, study the Bible with believers, preach, minister to children, and hold advanced classes.   
  • Now—October 16: Ongoing, weekly teaching at BJMBC 
  • July 5-15: Preaching and church ministry in Singapore  
  • July 19-29: Hosting an American mission team
  • August 5-9: One week block class in Mindanao (Southern Philippines)  
Will you pray for us that we can be clear and be good stewards of these opportunities for the gospel? We desperately want to run our race well and use every opportunity fully to the honor and glory of God. Thank you for your prayers!
Joel and Sarah,
Jeremy, Zachary,
Caroline and Joy Arnold

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