Barner Christian Academy

The Archived News, 2002

12/28/02 HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2003!!

"Look, ANGELS!" The half-dozen little boys at a tiny sister church were running rampant during their Christmas drama, since there was no childcare available. The kids peeked under the hanging green sheet which served as a curtain for the presentation, & were shocked to see people in white robes. It's Christmas week, & many churches invited us to their annual dramas. Often the times do not conflict, so we've gone to many; the record, of course, being this past Sunday. Unlike our BLC church, in which the kids' presentation was the main part of the celebration, this one was geared for adults. But like it or not, the kids were the main part of the drama, for, as they peeked under the curtain, one exclaimed, "Look! Angels!" to which another spooked all his friends to run away as fast as their tiny feet could carry them by proclaiming, "No- they're GHOSTS!"

Please pray for us to complete all of our present construction projects before furlough at the end of January. We are 2/3rds finished building a school kitchen, offices, 4th grade classroom, stockroom, floodgates and clinic.
12/21/02 MERRY CHRISTMAS TO THE WORLD! (Lk 2:10)

"I wonder if Santa feels this way?"

Dark rings lined our eyes after staying up until 3am putting the final touches on 80 presents for the sponsored kids in our school. Hundreds of last-minute corrections in clothing sizes, name spellings, etc. made it a veerrry long night. As my head sunk into the pillow I murmured, "I sure hope they appreciate this!" Just a few hours later, between our yawns, our hearts were warmed by the great big smiles and exclamations of surprise as 80 poor boys and girls put on their brand new watches, and opened their toothbrushes, toothpaste, clothes, stickers, bookmarks and more. Yeah, I guess it was worth it after all. I never thought I'd be "daddy" to 80 precious little munchkins!

Please pray for God to supply the $160 we need for 20 fourth grade desks and chairs within the next few weeks, as the classroom is almost finished, and we need the desks and chairs built before we leave on furlough in January.

12/14/02 "I'm getting married!"
"Uh, Rex, you already ARE married!"
"I want to get married again!"
"To who?"
"To my wife, of course!"
Sunday morning was NOT our typical worship service. We had our sermon during a wedding ceremony. Jojo & Rose have been living together for 7 yrs, & have 3 kids. We helped them plan their wedding, & in a wonderful object lesson of family unity, held the wedding instead of our morning worship. Little Sunday school girls were delicately-dressed flower girls. Little boys were ring bearer & Bible bearer. Deacons were groomsmen. One of the godparents (Rex) enjoyed it so much that he decided to renew his vows in church also, on his fifth anniversary in 2004. He excitedly proclaimed to everyone present, with a big smile of pride on his face, "Come to my wedding too- in 2004!"

Please pray for the dean of women in a local Bible college to accept the half-day OIC (Officer In Charge) position that Elvie has offered her. She has been briefed to run the school during our nine months on furlough, Feb-Oct '03.
12/5/02 "These whole towns are captive audiences!" This was Elvie's response when I asked about her trip to deliver horses to 2 of the 3 mountain church planting pastors. The first trip was over 100 miles by motorcycle. Then a few hours mountain climbing and hiking until they got to the horsetrader. Then an hour-long horseback ride. It was a good thing I did not go with them on the first 2 trips, for Communist (New People's Army) terrorist rebels were spying on them the entire last leg of the journey. "He is their eyes" the guide would say. A little later down the path, "She is their ears". Once they arrived at the mountain church hut, the whole village had gathered to celebrate. El had brought canned fish and sugar, and they feasted with cassava roots, fried bananas and rice. With no electricity, no phones, and no roads, these people are a captive audience for the gospel, just waiting for their roots to grow. With shacks miles apart from each other, the pastors' new horses are a godsend.

Please pray for the three pastors who received horses this week, that they will lead many souls into the Kingdom.

11/27/02 "First Word...One syllable...Sounds like 'son'...John The Baptist!" 10 pm, and we were playing charades. 18 teachers and staff and families of the Barner Learning Center, in the spacious 2nd grade upstairs classroom. Because of Sunday night's flooding, our apartments were drying out. A few dozen from church had helped scrub the mud away on Monday, and classes were cancelled on both Monday and Tuesday. Our flood solutions had held well, yet the water rose higher than usual and overflowed our cement barriers. When the evening rains began again Monday, and the water began to rise rapidly once more, God answered our prayers and stopped the rain. Yet we were having so much fun playing games, praying and singing, that we left the mattresses on the floor of the 2nd grade classroom for one more night together. All 18 of us, adults, teens, kids...together.

Please pray that the rains hold off long enough for us to install my new invention- temporary flood "gates" of cement and steel, installed on all exterior doors of the school campus.

11/21/02 "Praise God for my new horse!" Today is a retreat of prayer & fasting for hundreds of Davao pastors, & as each pastor stood to share his requests, a lady church planter, with sandals on her feet, shared her praises. "The Barners raised money for my husband & I to get a horse. Where we are in the mountains, there are no roads, and very steep paths. Sometimes we were lucky enough to visit 3 families in one day before the daily rains came." The woman glowed as she spoke. "But now we have...a HORSE!" Suddenly the woman stopped talking. I looked up to see what was wrong, and watched as the woman sobbed. "I-I am s-so amazed at God's p-providence. H-he KNEW our needs. He KNEW our struggles. He KNEW our vision & calling to reach the unreached mountain Ata tribespeople for Jesus. B-but it was sooo hard! Month after month we'd labor, hiking hours and hours, yet with so little to show for our endless work. Now we can, on our new horse, visit close to a dozen families a day! Praise God!"

Please pray, as Elvie and I will give three more horses to church planters on December 2,4,6, and also host a mass wedding for a few pair of unwed parents in our church on Dec. 8 in place of our morning worship service.
11/15/02 "Pastor, my aunt says I should become a prostitute like my cousins!" Peaches (not her real name) came into prayer meeting Wednesday in tears. A few years ago she (an orphan) had a child by a divorced man, and subsequently married him. That daughter is in our Barner Learning Center, under the "sponsored child" program. With cousins who are "Japayokee" prostitutes in Japan on marriage visas, the aunt chided, "your adultery is worse than their prostitution, because adultery brings no money into the family!" I consoled Peaches, "Your sins are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. Your cousins' sins are not. You have repented and turned your back on your sins. Your cousins are rejecting Jesus's salvation and living in their sins. God will forgive repentant sinners like Moses, Peter, and David, but not unrepentant sinners like Judas and Pharaoh."

Please pray for Elvie's decision in finding and training an excellent principal to take her place while we are on furlough from Feb-Oct of 2003. Also for the $650 we need for labor in building a fourth grade classroom in December. The short-term missions team that was planning on doing the labor got sick and can't come.
11/09/2002 Our BLC 5th Foundation Day speaker (Sandy) from Family Circus gave the challenge:
  • "Kids, what is the first rule for your life?" GOD LOVES ME! shouted 153 BLC pupils.
  • "And the second rule?" I HAVE SINNED! as the kids were joined by 150 parents and BLC staff
  • "The third?" JESUS DIED FOR ME! surrounded by colorful balloons and banners
  • "#4?" I MUST DECIDE TO LIVE FOR JESUS! "Let's pray now to receive Jesus into our hearts!"

Clearly and with lots of fun illustrations, the gospel was presented Friday, accompanied by singing, games, prizes, trophies and a half-mile musical parade by the kids.

Praise God, Elvie's re-entry permit has arrived. Please pray for many opportunities to share what God is doing through our ministry during furlough next year, from Feb-Oct. If your church would like us to visit, please contact budbarner@juno.com.

10/25/2002 "A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful..." I recited the Boy Scout oath as 153 boys and girls joined the Filipino scouting program at BLC. Elvie, PJ, Abigail and I had just returned from Hong Kong Wednesday night, and Thursday we hosted the Scout Ceremony. As the Bible speaker for the event, I challenged the kids, "The Phlippines is listed as the 11th most corrupt nation in the world. Yet if you show yourselves to be trustworthy, YOU can transform this republic to be instead the 11th most trustworthy nation in the world! There is one we know who is the most trustworthy of all, and that is Jesus. Romans 9:30 says, "The one who trusts in HIM will NEVER be put to shame. Accept Jesus into your heart TODAY. Put your confidence in HIM!"

Please pray Elvie's re-entry permit arrives so we can make plans for furlough in Feb. Also pray for 14 we will baptize Sun., that the Holy Spirit challenges them to obedience in serving God.

10/19/2002 "Dear Lord, please give us the opportunity to share the gospel with at least one person today as we visit China!" While in Hong Kong straightening out our visas this week, we had two great opportunities: 1- to visit Mainland China, and 2- to speak in two of the Filipino International churches here. While in line at the border between Hong Kong and China, as PJ and Abigail were grasping the attention of everyone around, our guide asked, "Your wife tells me you are a missionary?" There, with about fifty Chinese listening, I explained the plan of salvation on the Chinese border! Praise God for answering prayer...abundantly!

Please pray for the BLC scouting ceremony this Thursday, and the free dental clinic we're hosting for our pupils this Friday. We will return from Hong Kong on Wednesday (10/23).
10/8/2002 "How did he know?" Tears streamed down Cora's face as she sat next to Elvie in the front row of church Sunday. She is not a member of our church, yet is the mom of three kids in our school. The message I preached was on unity in the home and in the church. I told a story of a soldier whose disabilities from war caused his parents to reject him, and as a result he committed suicide. Cora had just received a phone call that her older son had also taken his life. Elvie had an hour of counseling and prayer with her after the service, in her office. All the parents in the school come to us for advice and prayer, even though many belong to other churches.

Please pray for Cora, as she grieves. Also pray for a speedy processing of our visas.
10/5/2002 "Don't be caught dead without Jesus!" The husband ("Jung") of our 1st grade BLC teacher is a truck driver. When we visited his home tonight for our annual pastoral prayer with the family, he shared what he'd read on a bumper sticker this afternoon: "DON'T BE CAUGHT DEAD WITHOUT JESUS!" We asked, "What if you DID die? Would you be caught without Jesus?" He answered, with his head down, "Yes, I am not a Christian." Then we prayed with him and he confessed his sins as we claimed 1 John 1:9, that Jesus is faithful and just to forgive his sins, and cleanse him from all unrighteousness. With a smile, he waved to PJ as we left out the door, "See you in church tomorrow!" Praise God: a new believer!

Praise God! We sold our van and paid the teacher's salaries Friday! Please pray for my visa downgrade to be completed early next week so that we can return to the Philippines from Hong Kong before our Dental Day at the school 10/24.
9/27/2002  "Teenagers can change the world!" The YWAM director was challenging me and dozens of other spiritual leaders from Davao, for the "Jesus Revolution" this November. "In 2000, 90% of the crowd that ousted the Philippine president through the nonviolent Edsa 2 Revolution were teens too young to vote. They voted anyway...by their actions. I say it again- teens will change the world! But this new revolution will be one for Jesus.

"On November 23, thousands of teens will gather in Davao PTA Park for a day of prayer, fasting, and worship. Join us! Tell Davao! It will be a day of POWER!"

Please pray: this Sunday after church our Barner Learning Center is hosting 150 homeowners from our area in a town meeting. At the meeting we will also announce the Nov. "Jesus Revolution". Please pray for the sale of our van, and for the replacement of my passport's expired Philippine visa.

9/21/02 "I'm gonna kill you!" 3 yr old RJ's wavy hair and big brown eyes reflected pretty light sparkles as her nursery school teacher taught, "Jesus loves children." In response RJ, with angelic face, turned to her classmate and warned him, "After school...you die." Each schoolday after classes, I interview one of BLC's staff and pray for every one of their pupils, charting their spiritual progress. RJ comes from a troubled home. Her twin sister was raped and murdered last year by her mom's boyfriend. But gradually, with your and my prayers, RJ's store of hatred and pain is being replaced by Christ's love and joy.

Please pray for the Philippine government to renew my visa soon so that I do not have to leave the country in October.
9/13/2002 "The demons are here now!" Scorning his wife and children as they came home from church, Rosa's husband degraded her and the kids as he waited in their little hut of scrap wood and tin. Each week Ann, our 1-on-1 Discipleship Coordinator at Barner Learning Center, meets with parents of the 84 sponsored kids at our school. And they tell her true stories of their spouses' hatred of religion. In Ann's report to me this week, she relayed how Rosa is having trouble reading her Bible. She and her husband share a pair of glasses, and when He saw her reading the Bible with them, he tore them away from her, shouting, "THESE ARE NOT CHRISTIAN GLASSES, SO YOU CANNOT USE THEM ANYMORE!" Please pray that God will soften and melt the icy hearts of unbelieving families of kids here at BLC.
9/8/2002 "Daygon Ikaw, Daygon Ikaw..." (Praise to You {God}) The sweet sound of Christian voices echoed down the halls of the school to my office signifying that Prayer meeting was beginning. Each Wednesday we have four prayer meetings at the school, to meet the time availability of each parisioner. Thus, the 7pm one is attended by a dozen or so. This week we met in our living room, at the bottom floor of the new school wing. We'd planned on moving in here next month. But last Saturday the weekly "cottage prayer" meeting was cancelled since the host family was out of town. So those who'd come for the meeting said, "We planned to be out of the house for an hour, so let's help the pastor move!" An hour later the job was done. God's people are truly a family, helping each other. Please pray for our church. We are now 5 yrs old, & planning to start a daughter church 4 miles away.
8/30/2002 "My dad was killed by 3 thieves, and I sought revenge. As a teen, I took the lives of 2 of the 3 murderers. As a result, I ended up in prison. It was in prison that I met Jesus and gave my heart to Him. When I was finally released, years later, the third thief was frightened that I'd kill him too. But I tracked him down and told him about Jesus instead." Chito's testimony kept our 250 BLC kids and parents spellbound during their Language Festival today. The message was in the Pilipino (Tagaolog) language. The kids also presented native dances and songs in their tribal garb. Please pray for Chito as he will also be returning to speak in our school chapel this Sunday. Pray that unbelieving souls, imprisoned by sin, will be set free.
8/24/2002 "Pastor, I can't make it! I'm slipping! I'm falling into the canal!" Olive was with the five of us, trying to find our way through the dark and steep maze-like alleys of mud. For awhile I had her put her feet against mine, as temporary steps, but then she took off her shoes and squished her way. Finally we made it to the steep wooden ladder to climb up the ten foot high narrow wall. On top, we carefully placed our muddy feet in front of each other until the ground met the wall and we escaped to the car through a hole in the fence. The mud developed during a rain storm that started when we were at a church family's shack (squatters) for our weekly "cottage prayer meeting". The rain was actually a blessing, for it wasn't until the rain died down that we left, and in that bonus time deep questions about our spiritual lives were brought up.

Please pray for Elvie as she challenges 120 ladies this Saturday (8/31) as the main speaker at a Women's conference.

8/17/2002 "She's hot as a frying pan!" Church was over and there were many things to do. Governing board meeting was scheduled right after the service so the board members could get home to lunch. Before that, school uniforms had to be distributed to BLC sponsored kids. It was to be a busy afternoon. Yet as I shook hands with parishioners leaving the sanctuary, I noticed one father with his daughter on his lap, and a sad face. I reached over to shake the little girl's hand & it felt like a fire burned in her. I touched her bare foot & face, and could tell she had a fever. "Could we pray for your Janilyn?" A light of distant hope sparked in the dad's solemn face as he looked up and nodded his head yes. The uniforms could wait. The board meeting could wait. Here was an emergency that we were to bring before the Master.

Praise God, Elvie is home! Yet please keep praying for her recuperation, as her body still needs a month more to heal.

8/10/2002 "Quick, have all the parents spruce up the school so it looks nice for our final inspection tomorrow!" Sunday after church, dozens of adults and kids worked side-by-side, scrubbing, shining, and straightening up. The big day came. In early morning we got a phone call, "No inspection today. We know the godly reputation of BLC. We know it is beautiful, shiny and all is in order. For the fifth year in a row, you passed!"

Prayer- half the kids & faculty of BLC (and all Davao) are absent due to an influenza epidemic. Kids are lined up on cots end to end in hospital hallways, due to overcrowding. Pray for healing. Funeral homes have caskets lined up outside in tents.

Praise- my brother Phil's 42nd birthday present (8/8)- he's just become the new pastor in Ellwood, PA, USA.

7/31/2002 President: "What should you put in your mouth?"
Students: "GOOD FOOD!"

President: "What should you put in your arms?"
Students: "Good friends!"

President: "What should you put in your heart"
Students: "JESUS!"

Today is the Nutrition Festival & Installation of PTA Officers at Barner Learning Center. I began the ceremonies with a Bible message from the Garden of Eden, when God told Adam what was bad to eat and what was good. After the kids did stage dramas and songs by class, the parents cooked good, nutritious food in the BLC indoor playground, picnic-style, for their kids. Mangoes, bananas, vegetables, meat, juice...Good food, good fun! Please pray that Elvie gets well by 8/24 to join me on a speaking trip to Zamboanga. Also pray for my sister Sue's new, experimental laser cancer treatments this week.

7/27/2002 "Like a ride, Sis?" We had an extra seat in the van, after dropping off Elvie & Abigail at her parents' farm, 3 hrs away on a deeply rutted dirt road. The lady to take her place in the van was a nun, who was riding a wheelless waterbuffalo cart. I could tell it was slow going, since the nun had 2 big 100-lb banana bushels & luggage. She had a pleasant conversation with some of our teachers. I'd told El's mom, "Don't let her come home until she's well!" The cool mountain air of the farm, surrounded by coconut and fruit trees, plus chickens and piglets, will be a restful change from the stress of being principal at BLC. The Dr. told El to take two months off, since she wasn't recuperating from her surgeries. Please pray that she gets better by her birthday (9/11), and that we can find a good principal to replace her. Also pray for BLC's Nutrition Festival this Thursday.
7/19/2002 "The oil poured on Aaron's head, running down his beard & robes. Brothers living together in unity are like that oil!" Our Christian lawyer was paraphrasing a Psalm as we sat with the ex-foreman of our school's construction site (Kuya). Last week we'd asked you to pray. Kuya, a good man, had derided the school for changing from hourly to contractual labor. The lawyer saw the concern was loss of social security at retirement next year. Solving the problem, the lawyer suggested that Kuya publicly ask forgiveness in church this Sunday. I'll preach on the forgiveness that God gave us at the cross. After our meeting we went out to eat halo-halo (flavored ice), and I joined Kuya's board of incorporators for a small new orphanage he's started. Like oil, the healing of forgiveness is already pouring! Please pray for this position, that it give insight for when we start out own larger orphanage when funding arrives. We are halfway to our goal.
7/4/2002 4th of July, 2002 Diary- HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, USA! HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY, PJ! HAPPY 6TH ANNNIVERSARY, ELVIE!

"Hey! QUICK! Wake up! There is a flood!" Using the school's megaphone at midnight, I warned the neighbors to rescue their kids and escape to higher ground. Otherwise they would drown in their sleep. Some kids threw rocks on the metal roof to try and wake them. One of the church deacons trudged, slow motion, through the torrent, and lifted up a drowsy Kindergartener, propping her on the bags of sand, which we'd set aside earlier for construction. The rain was extra heavy, and the brown water moved up under the doors of our houses, until waist-deep. Elvie'd noticed the rising tide and saved most of our things from the muddy sludge. On Sunday, many of the families whose kids are in the sponsorship program at the school helped us scrub away the mess. Please pray for discretion, as Elvie is on the governing board of the homeowners association, and is elevating our home as a prototype for flood-proofing.

6/22/2002 "THRILLING!" That's Elvie's word for this church & school ministry. The latest cliff-hanger episode began when the owner of our school's property demanded the full remaining balance of $19,000 paid by June's end. You prayed & gave, sacrificially. One woman sold some heiffers, sending us some of the proceeds. Another sold her house. Churches took special offerings. We watched amazed, as the remaining balance needed decreased more and more. Finally, we were down to the last $800. A pastor sent a check for $700. $100 left lacking. Then a friend from NY called Christian Aid Mission, informing them of their gift of exactly $100! Praise God, the amount is raised! But keep praying! We're 13,000 miles away, & need the funds to clear our bank before Friday.

PS-Also pray during this rainy season. We're having flooding again

6/7/2002 "Is that a Bible you're reading?" The jeepney driver was addressing me. Since our van was in the shop, I took a jeepney, which is an open-air, minibus-type jeep. The burly driver looked like a Filipino Ernest Borgnine, with a sailor-type booming voice. "No, it's a novel". All 8 passengers were listening. "Is the Trinity in the Bible?" I responded, "The word isn't. But my name isn't either, yet I know it's talking about me. What is important is whether you've been saved through the blood of Jesus Christ." The passengers applauded, an old lady said "Amen!", and whattaya know, I was at my stop!

Please pray during this next last week of enrollment for the Barner Learning Center, that we reach 200. We are at 161 now. Until next time...

6/1/2002 "If you love Jesus, STOMP YOUR FEET!" Like thunder, the sound of 100 pair of feet stomped in the dirt floor of our church/gym. (Lacking those that couldn't reach the floor) "If you love Jesus, clap your hands! Who do you love?"

"Jesus!"

"I can't hear you!"

"JESUS!!!"

Today's one-day Vacation Bible School at Barner Learning Center, with puppets, games, food, puppets, crafts, Bible stories, and missions stories, challenged the hearts of these cute little munchkins. A fitting close to a wonderful summer vacation for them.

Please pray for enrollment at BLC these next 2 weeks before school starts to top 200.

5/22/2002 "Your face flashed thru my mind." A young mom whose kids are sponsored in our BLC school explained her family's 3-wk absence. "My youngest was cuddling a cat in heat and was bitten in the face. He needed rabies tests. Then my oldest had an asthma attack. Then I had 2 cancer signs in breast & groin. I cried out to God, asking why all this happenned. Your face came to mind. I realized I must apologize for the jealousy and meanness I showed toward you. Will you forgive me?" Elvie & the mother cried, praying to God for healing & forgiveness.

Please pray for Elvie's discernment this week as she interviews families of 100+ impoverished applicants for BLC's sponsorship program. We only have 89 sponsors, so we have to deny a few dozen of the less-needy applicants.
5/15/2002 My Mother's Day miracle. Sat. night my foot infection's pain was so intense I had difficulty thinking. After sending out the email diary asking for prayer, I went home to soak my foot in warm salt water. In church Sunday, I limped up to the stage like an ogre. After church, PJ asked me to carry him into the store as we took Elvie out to lunch. The thought of the pain from the extra weight put a scowl on my face. But you were praying. There at the store I met a friend who'd overcome the same ailment. His pharmacist just "happened" to be at the store too, and he immediately prescribed $30 worth of antibiotics and antifungal cream to heal and soothe the pain. Within an hour, like a new man, I had PJ on my shoulders as our family laughed and sang together. Thanks so VERY MUCH for your prayers! Please pray that our enrollment, going on now, brings over 200 pupils this new school year.
5/12/2002 (This week's diary was hand-written Wednesday night, on a rural Philippine farm) Good morning! It's 3am & I'm lying with PJ, Elvie & Abby on a bamboo floor under a mosquito net. We're taking a day off from our ministry, at our in-laws' farmhouse. The pain from my swollen, oozing infected foot is keeping me awake as I write this. Here, under the swaying banana and coconut trees, there are no cars, telephones, beggars, bill collectors, construction crews or school enrollment inquiries. Only dogs barking and roosters crowing (all night long) and lots of mosquitoes and flies. Please pray as we resume ministry Saturday. Praise God for your gifts which made our 1st of 3 final payments on the school property a reality.
4/27/2002 "I love you Daddy. I MISS and love Mommy. I love my sister, babysitter, myself...and you too!"- PJ Barner

God is working on both sides of the ocean: Elvie is challenging USA churches to pray for our ministry, and God is answering those prayers here in the Philippines. Today 24 men from all over Davao came to BLC to tell our neighbors about Jesus. 34 unbelievers repented of their sins and prayed to receive the gift of salvation. 300 tracts were distributed. After being invited to sing karaoke with 3 young encyclopedia salesmen, I prayed with all three to receive Jesus.

Please pray that Elvie's papers will be approved so that she can come home next week. Also, we still need $3,000 to pay our bills this week.

4/20/2002 "I DEMAND that you move up the final payment of a million pesos ($20,000) half a year, to be paid in Apr, May and June!" The Colonel's face was nearing a shade of purple, and his eyes glared as he made his ultimatum. We had budgeted to have the property paid in full by the end of the year. But because of the vague wording on our contract for the school's lot, we are now stuck. The Colonel is Davao City's chief of police. Please pray for Elvie, who is in the USA until May 1, as she speaks at churches, that the newly needed funds will arrive, and foreclosure will not be necessary.
4/13/2002 "Excuse me bus driver, I am going to terminal 9,  will  you please bring me there?" "Oh man...you missed it  too...good that the 3 of you missed your number! All  from different countries!" It was Elvie's first  international flight alone, and aside from some near  misses, she is now safely in New York. Thanks for  your  prayers! My brother Bud set up a great schedule of  over half a dozen different churches for her to  share  at during her 3 1/2 week visit to the USA. There are  so many friends she'd like to thank for their  prayers  and support for our ministry. She is also updating  all  she meets on the construction progress on our new  2nd  and 3rd grade, three story building. Next Wednesday  they'll be pouring the last steel-reinforced  concrete  slab, pillars and beams for the second floor roof.  Then will be the final walls and interior. This  Sunday  Elvie will be sharing four times in two different  churches, as well as scattered times throughout the  week in Bible studies and prayer meetings. Thanks  for  your prayers!

 Please also pray for Monday, April 22. An  evangelistic  team of 40 pastors will be coming to our school for  a  full day to share the gospel with our neighbors.  They  will be passing out tracts and telling people about  Jesus. Please pray that our neighbors would be  responsive, and that they will accept Jesus into  their  hearts and begin attending services. Also please  pray  for Elvie, that the Holy Spirit will give her  strength  and guidance as she portrays our ministry to many  believers.

 By the way, my laptop computer is not functioning,  and  it has my address list in it. I am using an old  list.  So if you had requested to be deleted from this  email,  I am sorry. Please request again...and pray that my  laptop would be repaired soon without deleting my  new  list of addresses and deletions! Thanks! 

4/6/2002 "Open the door-go ahead, open it. Turn the handle. Go inside." 2000 graduates & guests listened in the Panabo Astrodome as I challenged them Tuesday. "Life is a hallway full of doors. As you walk down the hall, you have many choices before you. Every door is a choice. Each one you open leads you into another hallway full of more doors, more choices. Graduation is a door. Open it. You'll like what you see inside! Who you are today is a result of the doors you opened yesterday. Who you'll be tomorrow will be the result of the doors opened today. I challenge you during this baccalaureate service of the Panabo Christian School: Jesus stands at a door; The door to your heart. He's knocking at that door. Once it is opened, your life's choices will be transformed. Today we've seen half a thousand native dancers in colorful outfits. But they can't compare with the glory you have waiting on the other side of the door, once your heart is open to Jesus. Let's pray."

Please pray for Elvie, as she'll be separated from the family for a month, traveling alone to New York to stay with my parents and renewing her international papers. Please also pray for the construction site here at the school, as I will be overseeing the work, since our foreman, Kuya Pascua, leaves this week to Canada for a few months. The workers will be laying the final slab of cement for the floor of the third story this next week. Finally, please pray for the Summer school at BLC, going on now. Our secretary Grace is out, having given birth Thursday. So, I am acting secretary, foreman, principal, president, pastor and daddy/mommy for April. In short, OIC (Officer In Charge).

3/23/2002 "Run to Jesus. Run with the excitement and ambition of a little child.
Throw your cares aside!" This was my challenge at the funeral of 11 yr old Mary Chris, daughter of Mario, a mason on our construction site. Mario works hard to shelter, feed, & clothe his 11 kids. Each day as I examine the progress on the new elementary wing, I see Mario up on his ladder, with a rag around his head to keep dry from sweat, smoothing the cement on the walls. It's an tiring project. Yet there's always a big smile on his face, as he greets me with, "Ma-ayung buntag, Pastor!" Now his smile is gone. His little girl was washing cars to help her daddy put food on the table. With a bucket of soapy water in her hand and a rag in the other, she ran across the road to be the first to start washing. She ended up tangled in the axle of a passing jeep. Each day these big, strong men come to work- they have families, & needs. Praise God that He has brought them into our lives.

Praise God as well that PJ's and Abigail's new papers and passports arrived from the embassy this week. God is so very good!

Please pray for Elvie. She'll be spending 3 weeks in New York to renew her US re-entry permit, traveling by herself in mid-April. Also please pray for our graduation exercises, this Tuesday (3/26). Please pray that God will speak through the messages and performances to the lost souls of many unbelievers present, that they be saved. Also please pray for us to reach 100 enrollment for Summer school, which starts April 1.
3/15/2002 "We want to work...even without pay!" We'd announced to our construction crew on the new 2nd and 3rd grade wing for our school that we'd run out of funds and had to stop work for 3 weeks. But they explained that they had no other work and would be stuck at home without food. So we agreed to buy groceries on credit at the store, and give rice and food for the workers' families, with the balance of their pay to come April 1. Like with Nehemiah and Noah, God's building will progress, regardless of the circumstances! 

Praise God for answered prayer regarding PJ's passport. Although it has not been found, American Embassy personnel made an unexpected site visit to Davao last week and processed the papers for a replacement passport for PJ, and also for Abigail's papers. Also when we visited the Immigration department in Davao, a parent of one of our best former pupils in the school processed my papers. God solves all dilemmas!

Now please pray for Elvie's re-entry permit for the USA. While searching through the rest of the family's documents, we happened to notice that El's permit was not for four years, but for two. Thus, it expires April 11. We may only be able to renew it in the USA or an American protectorate, like Guam. Elvie's green card is no good if she can't get into the country. So she might have to do some expensive international travel alone in the next few weeks.

3/08/2002 "There'll be no sermon this morning. God has placed a burden on my heart to lead our congregation in powerful, united prayer asking Him heal the baby of our intern pastor, whose life has been teetering on the brink of life and death for a week now. The sermon I prepared will be given next Sunday.

Please, let's pray." It was a difficult decision to make, but when God places such an overpowering burden on a pastor's heart, there is not choice but to obey. So we prayed. Fervent prayers. Prayers with tears. Deep, longing appeals before the throne of God. And God answered prayer. At 10:30 am, when the prayers began in the church, on the other side of town, the doctor's eyes opened wide and her jaw dropped open.

The baby stabilized.

His lungs, which had been gagged by phlegm and infection for the past week, breathed deeply. 2 days later, our intern pastor carried his newborn, wiggly baby home in his arms, healthy and strong. GOD ANSWERS PRAYER!

Please pray for the students in my college class on Proverbs. They will be taking their final exam Tuesday. Also please pray for the sustenance of our 32 construction workers over the next three weeks. We have "laid them off" until after Easter when we expect more funds to arrive to complete the construction of our new 2nd and 3rd grade building. By the way, if you are in a cold country right now and wish you lived in the tropics, be glad you don't. Tropical diseases abound. Now the "plague of boils" has hit the Barner family. Mine is near my foot, Abby has three on the back of her leg, and PJ's is near his elbow.

3/2/2002 "Forgive like Jesus did, Eva. Forgive." Eva, a mother of two boys in our school, had a red face from the tears she'd been crying. As usual, she'd brought her boys to school, and stayed at the school to talk with some of the other young mothers until their children would finish with class. Yet after she brought her boys home at the end of class, she was met with a shock...her house had been robbed! Neighbors mentioned they'd seen an umbrellaed woman lurking near the house, and police said she was likely the robber. Eva came to our house and asked for prayer. In our prayer we asked that God would place a guilty conscience on the thief, so she'd return the "goods". But even greater, we used the situation as an opportunity to witness. "You know Eva, we are all like thieves. We have done wrong against God. But Jesus, on the cross, has forgiven us. Eva, you need to forgive like Jesus did. And the only way to be able to do so is to accept Jesus into your heart."

Please pray that Eva's belongings will be returned, and also pray for Eva's spiritual searching. Please also continue to pray for the newborn infant, Earl-Daniel. His mother Lalaine has been released from the hospital, yet although Earl-Daniel's tubes have been removed, he still is in ICU.

2/22/2002 "Hi there!" The mother and daughter smiled great big smiles at us, as Elvie and I frantically searched our brains to figure out who this kind woman was. She certainly knew us, but who was she? "Uh, oh, hi there! How are you?" "Fine! We saw you on TV last week, on MISSIS.COM!" Ah-hah! So THAT'S where she knew us from. El and I shot a grin at each other. Another family touched by the gospel message we portrayed during our short tv interview. This scene has been replayed nearly a dozen times in the past week. This time, we'd just returned from bringing 200 parents and pupils on the school field trip. We had to leave early to visit our college intern pastor's wife in the hospital. Please pray for her. She gave birth yesterday, but both the baby and she have infections. Little Earl-Daniel is in ICU now and is critical. We'll likely be helping with some of the funds from the Children's Emergency Medical Fund which we started for life-and-death situations like this.

Please also pray about the war here in the Philippines. A few days ago the terrorists sent a video to the media, which was subsequently aired on 2 prime-time news channels. It directly showed Abu Sayyaf terrorists making two bound Filipino soldiers kneel down, then, with a long bolo (machete) slicing off the heads of both of them. This morning, an American army helicopter crashed in the area of the Burnhams' kidnapping. We are not going to stop our work because of terrorists. But we do ask you to pray for our safety.

2/16/2002 "What would you say brought you two together as an international couple?" The television talk show host probed Elvie and I with this question yesterday, during her nationally televised ABS-CBN show, "MISSIS". Through a friend, we'd received this opportunity to be televised live on TV.  PJ, Abigail, Elvie and I joined a French, a Japanese, an Irish, and a Kiwi (New Zealand) couple for this Valentine's Day special. Our prayers had been that we'd be given the opportunity to share the gospel. This was it. "What do you say, Paul?" "Well, as it said on our wedding invitation 6 yrs ago, "JESUS BRINGS US TOGETHER". I first met Elvie at her church here in the Philippines, and two years later during our wedding, the minister explained that we two are like spokes on a wheel. Jesus is like the hub. As we draw closer to Jesus, we draw closer to each other. It is our faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior that brings us together."

Please pray for continued opportunities (in sharing the gospel) to arise like this exciting one we had on television Friday. Also please pray for safety as we bring our 160 Barner Learning Center pupils on their annual field trip this week.

2/5/2002 "Lord, touch the hearts of these kids to be missionaries!" 30 years ago, this was prayed by missionaries Jacob and Lois Bouw. I was 10 yrs old. God used their prayers, their slide pictures, and their challenges of the great need to share the gospel in the Philippines to call me as a missionary. In Bible college, two Bouw kids were my classmates. While in seminary, Lois Bouw was my classmate, taking "refresher" courses. When I met Elvie in the Philippines, the Bouws gave guidance to Elvie regarding me: "Are you sure you love him? He's very poor, yet has a great heart!" I finally became a missionary to the Philippines, and Elvie and I were married in 1996. We chose Jacob and Lois as 2 of our godparents. They visited and spoke at the small church plant and school that we began. A few times they took us out to eat for pizza or BBQ. And now, Lois Bouw departed to heaven yesterday, following a short bout of Lou Gerhig's disease. Our loss, heaven's gain.

Please pray for the Bouw family at this time. Also please pray for our church plant's fifth anniversary, this Sunday, that visitors would hear the gospel and be saved.

2/3/2002 "Elvie, let's pray about this. We always pray before signing a contract." Toto, a non-Christian, was selling us his small lot, and El and I were at the lawyer's office signing the contract to assume Toto's mortgage. "Jesus, we pray that if this be against your will, that you make it impossible to sign this contract. But if it be your will that we provide housing space for our teachers, and temporary lodging for our family at half what we now pay in rent, that you bless this transaction." God has shown his favor on us, and today (Saturday) the church congregation is cleaning up the house of three small rooms that Elvie, me, Abigail and PJ will be moving into tomorrow after church. Construction will begin Monday so that the teachers will also have space next to the school, avoiding long commutes every day. God is providing for the needs of His servants here!

Please pray that the field trip planned for our 150 pupils here at BLC will glorify God. Parents will be discussing where to go during their PTA meeting this Friday. Also please pray that we become quickly acclimated tomorrow to our tiny new house, after having occupied a larger one for the past five years. Finally, El and I have been invited to be interviewed on the national television news channel, ABS-CBN, on Feb. 15, focusing on love, for Valentine's Day. Pray that our testimony before millions of Filipinos would lead many to saving faith in Jesus Christ. This date is a postponement of the originally scheduled program for Feb. 1.

1/26/2002 "Please come back Sunday and pray the evil spirits leave our house!" Neighbors of our college intern pastor (Ezer) had a death in the family. The single 38-yr old son Bobong had a heart attack and died in his sleep. With the coffin in their living room, candles flickering & idols in corners, Ezer spoke Thursday night. Friday they asked me to preach, as president of the Christian school and senior pastor of our church plant. Although this family doesn't know us, Ezer had befriended the family before the tragedy, and came to mind for help to alleviate their fear of the supernatural. Bobong's brother died the same way last May, and the family fears for the other 4 sons. Ezer lent them a Christian Praise tape, which they play 24 hrs/day, plus Bible verses on cardboard on the walls of Bobong's room. Sunday I'll pray for the family's safety and security, and Ezer is planning a Bible study right in their house. God opens doors for evangelism in interesting ways!

Please pray that Bobong's family receives Jesus. Also please pray for each of our 12 cell group/home Bible studies, that the new believers would grow fast so that they can soon lead their groups on their own.

1/19/2002 "I'll be the little boy, and you be the mom!" The ladies from our church
were choosing parts for the drama competition at this month's Women's Zone Rally. Once again we were awarded as the church with the greatest number of delegates attending. This was due to the hard work of Elvie, who contacted every woman in the church, getting them excited about attending. Elvie actually missed the drama competition, since she had to attend the funeral of her great uncle. After the burial, she climbed down the mountain, across a stream, and down paths to reach a jeepney stop to get a ride to town so she could attend the tail end of the rally. The women's drama showed the hindrances common to women who can't attend church. One played a drunkard husband, who beat his four children and forbid them to attend church. So the wife and kids knelt down to pray for the husband. He started reading his Bible, became a believer, and attended church with his family. 

Please pray, for the United States has sent over a hundred troops to our island of Mindanao to train Filipino soldiers to fight the Abu Sayyaf militant group, tied in with the Al Quieda terrorist organization . Pray that the armies will successfully free NTM missionaries Gracia and Martin Burnham, who have been held hostage since last May. Since Filipino President Arroyo did not ask permission of the Senate to allow the American troops onto Philippine soil, rumors are surfacing in the news of a coup attempt to oust the president, claiming she is using dictatorial practices.

1/11/2002 "Clang! Bang! Shhh--false alarm!" The neighbors were waiting in groups in front of their houses, with dozens of barrels and jugs, waiting for the fire truck to come by. Every time a large vehicle could be heard in the evening, the noise would start up again, in hopes to draw attention of the driver of the Volunteer Chinese firemen to empty some of their truck's water tank into their jugs. This has gone on right up past midnight for the past week. Five days without water so far. The heavy rains of the past two weeks have caused landslides and flooding in many parts of Davao. Some bridges are out, and some have died. Hundreds are homeless at lower elevations. Since one of the city's water mains is under a bridge, that broke when the bridge fell in, cutting off our water supply. We have allowed many to come get unpurified water from the school's well for washing. It is quite an outreach, but also quite a chore to pump, then lug the big barrels of water down the street.

Please pray that the water main is repaired soon, and also that dengue and other diseases are not spread through the lack of available clean water.

Praise God that, after the flood of '99, the drainage canals that pass by Barner Learning Center were repaired, so that this present flooding did not damage the BLC campus. You prayed. God answered. Now we can help others not so fortunate.

1/6/2002 "Name 5 things you want to do in 2002." It was a challenge to the congregation on New Year's Eve. An hour earlier, I'd opened our lockbox and, buried beneath important papers was an envelope, untouched for 365 days. Later, in front of the church, I opened the envelope's seal and called on each person whose name was on one of the papers inside. One year ago, each had written 5 goals for the year 2001. Now, a new envelope was made for 2002. Before reviewing and revising their goals however, a clay pot was placed on the ground, with a fire inside. Slips of paper were distributed, and one besetting sin was written on the paper by each person. No one saw the words written except the writer and God. After praying for forgiveness and strength from God to overcome this sin, the papers were burned in the fire. Through this annual tradition of confession, forgiveness, and seeking God for new challenges to conquer, the new believers here in Davao are growing in Christ.

Please pray for our teachers, faculty and staff here at Barner Learning Center, as 158 pupils will resume classes at the end of the holidays, Monday. Elvie and I took a 2-day planning/refreshing retreat alone together, Thursday and Friday. Please pray that the goals and calendar we made for the church and school be acclimated by staff, parents, and parishioners.


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Last edited January 05, 2003
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