The Latest News
|12/28/2003||“We can’t take these Christmas gifts!” 600
pastors were invited by the mayor of Davao City to a Christmas dinner. I
was working, so Elvie took my place. Mayor Duterte, champion against
terrorism, was thanking the pastors from Davao City for their teamwork.
Davao is the world's largest City in land area, including many mountain
villages on the side of volcanic Mount Apo. Rural tribes have no
electricity. Thus when the mayor gave out gifts to some very poor pastors,
they questioned whether to take them. Elvie, eyeing their predicament,
offered to buy from some their gifts so they could bring the cash
back with them to their poor villages. Other pastors did too & bought TVs,
fans, refrigerators, blenders & rice cookers. It was a joyous holiday for
Please pray for our child sponsorship program at Barner Learning Center. Although 150 around the world agreed to sponsor poor children at the school, as Elvie has been mailing out sponsorship packets, she found that over half a dozen of these sponsors have not sent the $20 a month sponsorship after all.
|12/21/2003||“Who built the ark?” From dozens of BLC
staff & their families at our staff Christmas party, an autistic boy (our
librarian’s son) answered, “Moses!” & ran toward the stuffed animal he’d
been eyeing for the past 10 minutes of our Bible trivia game. Standing
between, I corrected him. “I’m sorry, but Noah, not Moses, built the ark.”
We made sure though, that the little white puppy he wanted was hidden
until he got a correct answer. A big smile was on his face when he ran up
to get it! These toys were free but the postage to mail them from the USA:
Salvation Army/friends gave them. Each of the sponsored kids got one, as
well as new clothes, Cebuano Bibles, & Christian coloring/comic books. The
remainder of the 200 teddy bears, etc. we used for the games for our staff
party. Great fun!
Please pray for the construction of our fifth & sixth grade classrooms, beginning this week. We are trying to get as much done during Christmas vacation as possible, so that the final stages of building can be done after graduation in March.
RESPONSE TO OUR URGENT NEED: Praise God! A friend in New York paid part of our school water bill! Also praise God that nearly 1/4th of our child sponsorship packets will be in the mail by Christmas Day!
|12/14/2003||“I’ll bring the bico (sticky rice)!”It is
that time of year again. The congregation is planning for the church
Christmas party. Food is a key part of Filipino culture. “Manga-un-ta”
(Come, let’s eat!) is the common greeting. How appropriate that today’s
sermon was on what the wise men brought to Jesus. After this morning’s
worship service the Sunday School blackboard was brought forward and the
deacon started writing with chalk. Elvie had the whole church laughing and
cheerfully participating as they called out by family what they could
bring. “My family will bring bananas! I’ll bring cassava root! Mine will
be the boiled camote tops! I can catch a few fish for the meal!” Though
families have next to nothing, when they work together as a church, the
result is a feast!
Please pray for the children’s Christmas presentation this week. They’ll perform three times: for BLC, for the church, and for the community.
URGENT NEED: Our school water bill (usually $15-$50) was $230 this month. In our underground pipe there was a leak which we did not know existed until the bill came 2 days ago. We put in new pipes ($85). The pipes are now repaired, but the bill set us back financially.
|12/8/2003||“Proclaim the Name!” On Sunday as I
challenged the congregation in our church plant, a pregnant teacher in the
back row was all ears. “Even as Mary brought the baby Jesus into her
world, how will YOU bring Jesus into YOUR world?” Olive, who teaches 4th
grade at Barner Learning Center, will deliver her child near Christmas
Day. She smiled as I posed our responsibility in the form of a
multiple-choice oral quiz. “How will God work His miracle of
evangelism through you? Will you:
A) Share with friends at work,
B) Lift up fellow believers at church,
C) Go door-to-door with the Good News, or
D) Raise your family in a God-fearing way?” Were it not for her stomach’s holding her back, Olive would have leapt out of her seat as she called out, “E- All of the above!”
Please pray for Elvie to be able to finish mailing out all the 146 child sponsorship packets before Christmas, so that sponsors all over the world can receive them by New Year’s Day.
|11/23/2003||"If you make the Most High your
dwelling...then no harm will befall you."
The verse comforted Lisa, who came to our door after 10 pm. She'd unfolded her story; "My dad is the elder of his rural church. He was weak from fasting for many days. A man offered him some Coke in a glass, but had spiked it with gasoline. Since Papa was already weak, he is very ill and
can't swallow. Please pray for him!" Elvie then read Psalm 91, promising
that God answers our prayers to protect His servants. This morning during
testimony time at church, Lisa beamed with a great big mile. "My father is
now well and helping in his church, praise God!"
Please pray for good prices as we search for land for our new classrooms,
|11/11/2003||"That's Rapunzel!" Sure enough, the pretty,
thin girl with long black hair was Rapunzel, who was so close to death
with dengue fever 6 months ago. You prayed & gave & she lived. This
Sunday, as the church here welcomed our family back from our 9-mos
furlough, the children did a pantomime to "Thank You For Giving To The
Lord." As the music played, "A missionary came to your church, whose
pictures made you cry," Rapunzel stood as if she were us, teaching to
those in China, USA, Philippines, Canada, Germany and Thailand. At the
end, when she knelt down with the other children before the cross, I
thought, "Yes, it was worth it. The long weeks of endless driving. The
countless speaking engagements in city after city & country after country.
The long, sleepless nights of work. 9 months. What a bountiful reward!
Souls and bodies rescued from destruction. It is definitely worth it!
Please pray that we get good prices for the new land and busses for the school, as the funds we raised for these items while on furlough begin to clear in the bank.
|11/4/2003||"Are you going to heaven, Annabelle?" She
avoided the question and continued to direct PJ and I on where to get off
on the train in Frankfurt, Germany the day before yesterday. Our
round-the-world trip back to Davao for the close of our 9-month furlough
took us on a three day series of flights from New York City through
Germany and Thailand. Taking advantage of our 12 hour layover in Germany,
Elvie agreed to stay behind at the airport with Abigai8l while PJ and I
took the train to the city to get shoes for Abigail. She'd traveled 1/4
the way around the world in bare feet. After our final packing, we were
about to head out the door and noticed when getting into the car that Abby
had no shoes on. Ironic, seeing that we'd mailed 280 pair of shoes to
Davao for the poor children there! God sent an "angel" Annabelle to direct
us through the German train system through stately forests to the city.
Our mission concluded, we had to pass through nearly a dozen passport
check stations to get back to Abby and Elvie. But not before picking up a
frankfurt in Frankfurt!
Please pray for our transition, adjusting back to Philippine life. It is hot here! Plus, since we sold nearly all we had to make this furlough possible, we now have to buy beds to sleep on.
|10/29/2003||“2 of the 2 dozen youth who attended the
youth rally accepted Christ into their hearts! Praise God!” While on
furlough, we’ve been praying for the growing number of youth in our
Philippine church plant. In today’s email, we read that we now have 2 new
believers! God is good! We can’t wait to arrive back on the mission field
next week and congratulate the new believers. Our church plant is so
excited to welcome us when we come. They are busy preparing for the Nov. 9
birthday of Abby & me. BLC’s 6th Foundation Day will be held at the same
Praise God that Susan (one of our hosts when we spoke in New Jersey) has promised to find sponsors for the last five poor children on the Barner Learning Center waiting list who are still waiting for a sponsor. Please pray that God direct her to those whom He has already prepared for this delightful commitment!
|10/25/2003||“What does your name, ‘PJ’ mean?” A young
mom met our 6 yr old son PJ while we were taking a breather at a beach in
Florida the day before yesterday. “Praise Jesus,” he replied. “Jesus is
both in my name and in
my heart!” I was eavesdropping, & smiled as PJ quoted from a message I gave while speaking at a church. Now we’re back in NY, unpacking the car from our 2-wk 4,000-mile trip. Next week it's back to the Philippines. We’ve been gone since January. We've visited 27 states, 5 countries, & our car just passed the 100,000-mile mark. 100 homes and churches had us share with them. Many promised to sponsor a child or pray for our work. 2 1/2 busses will be bought for the school! Of the 150 sponsors we needed for poor kids, we only lack 6. God is so good!
Please pray, that as we head back overseas, that we will find good prices for the 3 school busses we need, as well as for the land and construction materials to start building the Susan Christiansen Memorial 6th Grade Classroom.
|10/6/2003||“These are jasper rocks, Bebot. A stone
they have in heaven!” We were in Bebot’s riverside Philippine bamboo shack
a year ago, reading from Revelation what the gates of heaven are made of.
Because of the nearby river’s constant flooding, huge reddish-brown jasper
rocks wash up at his doorstep. This week, Bebot finally decided that he
wanted to see the beautiful rocks in heaven someday. When Ezer, our
interim pastor, stopped by Bebot’s shack to share the Bible with him once
again, Bebot prayed to accept Jesus into his heart and be born again.
Bebot and 19 others who have been led to the Lord recently through our
school and church discipleship ministry will be baptized when we return at
the end of this month.
Please pray for our travels these next three weeks, as we’ll be driving over 3,000 miles to Florida and back and sharing at over a dozen locations. Our car will hit 100,000 miles before November.
Until next time…
Paul, Elvie, PJ and Abigail Barner
|10/1/2003|| This Sunday, once again we saw an
example of how Christians love to be vessels of their Savior’s love:
“Rev. Barner, the missions committee of our church was
touched by what you shared today through your slides & stories. We want to
provide for a specific need in your Philippine school. You mentioned that
you have a new kitchen, but no funds yet for a feeding
“Certainly,” I responded. We'll use whatever you send. If it's a small amount one month, we will buy a small amount of food for the poverty-stricken pupils. If it is a large amount, then the meals will be meatier, tastier, & more often. This is YOUR project & I’ll trust in your ambition to get it going!"
Praise God, for we are getting closer to having all of those 150 destitute children on the Barner Learning Center waiting list to have received sponsors. Please pray for the 21 we are still lacking to receive sponsors before we return to the Philippines on October 31.
|9/19/2003||“Oh no, I argued with a PRIEST! Will I go
to Hell? I’m afraid to even walk in the shadow of a nun, and now I
disagreed with a REVEREND!” Michelle was surprised to hear from the store
manager at McDonalds that I am an ordained reverend. Most of the crew just
see me as one of the managers, who happens to be a believer. Michelle and
Dwana have strong tempers, so when I correct their mistakes, they often
retaliate with angry words. The corporate inspectors were evaluating our
store today, so the crew was on edge. When a local pastor stopped by the
store to pick up his “Sharing Jesus Without Fear” VCR tape from me,
Michelle started sking questions. I assured her that a person will
not go to Hell by arguing with a pastor. She quipped, “In my life, I am in
Hell every day and back.” I assured her, “Michelle, NOBODY comes back from
Please pray for the health of our teachers, back in the Philippines. With deaths of close relatives in 3 different teachers’ families this past week, our staff is down to its minimum. We don’t want those who are left to be sick. It is Philippine style to stay around the clock (vigil) for an entire week with the coffin and body of the deceased in their home. This Saturday our entire teaching staff rented a bus to officiate that afternoon’s vigil.
|9/11/2003 PATRIOT DAY||“You now have a bus/jeepney for BLC!” A
friend and his wife got excited, watching slides of our Philippine work
last Sunday. Each week we visit churches (invited by the pastor) & share
what God is doing in Davao City, Philippines. I mentioned that poor
squatters who live in a swamp near the school have been offered by the
swamp’s owner land of their own 12 miles away if they will move, so that a
golf course can be built. This is a great opportunity for the poor
squatters. However it now makes it impossible for them to get to school.
We needed 3 busses, at $1500 each, to develop
a bus run for these and others who must travel a distance to school. “Reverend Barner, God touched our hearts this morning when you shared about your need. Here is $1500!” Praise God! 1 down, 2 to go!
Please pray also for funds for the construction materials to be supplied for our new Barner Learning Center building to be built in February. Just last week God touched the hearts of a family as they sent a check to buy 2 additional lots. Although I am sending every week’s paycheck from my McDonalds Manager job to this fund, and we are also sending the money from the Sue Barner Christiansen Memorial Fund, it will still be lacking. God directs how much we can build by how much He has provided.
|8/27/2003||“My aides are a captive audience. They
can’t share their faith with me. But I share mine with them!” At our
Sunday Evangelism Accountability Workshop, one of the participants is
wheelchair-bound Jean. She has
cerebral palsy. When she speaks, you have to listen close, since the words sound different. But when she does make the effort, it is always worth hearing, & always comes with a smile. On Sunday night I asked, “Who had opportunity to share their faith this week? Jean said she has aides who help her. They ask her why she is always so happy, even amidst her infirmities.
She gives her aides copies of “Our Daily Bread” & says, “It’s because I have Jesus in my heart. Would you like to have Jesus in your heart too?” When I think I have barriers in my way to share my faith, I’ll change my mind when I think of Jean.
Please pray for our teachers in the Philippines. The typhoon season continues to rage, and the resultant sicknesses from flooding and mosquitoes are making them all very weary.
|8/10/2003||“Frederick, what're these jot marks for?
There's dozens of 'em!” We were invited to a retired woodcarver's cottage.
He gave us a prize masterpiece,
a bow shaped from knotted pine. “But Pastor Paul, come see my real work of art." As this precious, stooped-over gentleman put aside his cane, he peered with his thick glasses into a well-worn scrapbook of missionary prayer letters. “Frederick, I notice there're marks next to each prayer request. Sometimes the little marks go right across the page!” A twinkle brightened the wrinkles around his eyes. “Those are my greatest works of art. Each time I pray for a request, I jot a mark. I travel the world over- on my knobby old knees! When the missionaries rejoice, I leap for joy inside. Together, we reach the earth's end with the Gospel.”
Please pray for the teachers in our school. Due to typhoon rains, many are sick with pinkeye, colds, and fever, finding it difficult to write and grade the monthly exams.
Praise God that Dr. Ayoc, our OIC, though sick, on
Friday led one of the sponsored kids’ parents (DT) to Christ! Also praise
God that my sister Sue’s widower Rich decided to give any memorials for
her to our school for the construction of a 6th grade classroom. Already
over $150 has been given by friends and relatives!
|7/25/2003||“Paul, when were you saved?” Gerald is one
of the McDonalds employees (“crew”) who cooks burgers on the grill each
day. It is against company policy to take advantage of managerial
positions like mine by trying to proselyte the fellow employees. However,
Gerald saw the sticker on my car that says, “Got Jesus?” and put two and
two together that I am a Christian. “Paul, when were you saved?” asked
Gerald. “I was saved back
in 1971, when I was ten years old, Gerald. What about you?” Since employees talk about sports and other things while at work, we were pretty safe thus far. Gerald looked at his feet. “Not yet for me. But my grandma is born again.” Taking advantage of a situation, yet staying within the rules of my job, I said only five words, “Maybe it’s about time, huh?”
Thank you for praying for the pain in my ribs. I am getting used to it. Please pray for Dr. Ayoc, the OIC (officer in charge) of our Philippine school. He has internal bleeding in his stomach. He collapsed last Sunday during his 38th wedding anniversary.
Sponsored Kids tally:
|7/17/2003||HAPPY 23rd ANNIVERSARY, SUE!
“Paul, the missionary speaker for Jr. High week of Bible camp has a sore throat. Can you fill in?” My brother Bud was on the phone. He's the Activities Director for Delta Lake Camp this summer. He called Tuesday & I just “happened” to be in, due to a time gap from back-to-back opening & closing shifts as manager at McDonalds. Of course we said yes & packed into the car for the 2 ½ hour trip back to camp. I challenged 140 campers Wed. morning, to answer God's call on their lives. “He who called you is faithful & will do it,” I said, & showed from our own experience in the Philippines how God reveals his path for us as we faithfully obey His call. I left Elvie, Abby & PJ at the camp’s missionary cottage to speak the rest of the week, & drove back to Albany to close the restaurant.
Please pray for God to call some of these 3-6 grade campers next week into fulltime service as missionaries someday. I was in 5th grade at Delta Lake Camp when I first felt called to be a missionary. Also please pray for my left ribs. There is a strong pain that just started. And please keep praying that Davao City’s new zoning ordinances will not negatively affect the location of our school.
|7/6/2003|| Happy 7th Anniversary to me!
"Don't forget your teddy bear!" A 5 yr old boy answered my question. Using an elephant puppet, I focused on the "trunk" which a missionary brings to the field. Since the children here have brought suitcases to Bible camp for their belongings, they understand the need to pack for a trip. "But what will you put into that suitcase if you are going to be gone for 4 yrs? Your Bible, your clothes, your money, your blanket...and what else?" Then the little boy raised his hand. "Don't forget your teddy bear." Why a teddy bear? "Well, you never know," the boy said, "You might get scared." Hmm...I wonder- will teddy bears be standard equipment for missionaries in the future?
Please pray for the hearts of high schoolers here at Delta Lake Bible Camp this next week, as we challenge them to one day be missionaries.
|6/26/2003||HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, USA!
HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY, PJ!
“It's "PENNIES DAY!" A church’s VBS this week featured Barner Learning Center as their Missions Project. There was a boy/girl competition as they tried to outdo the other so they could throw a pie in their Pastor's face. Day 3 was special: "PENNIES DAY." Kids brought all the pennies they'd saved to give to BLC. Some were rolled & LOTS were loose in jars/containers. They hauled it in & brought in adults to take the offering (it was a lot HEAVIER than usual!) A boy raised his hand, "I forgot it was Pennies Day & have a $10 Bill. Is that OK?" By 11:30 pm, they had the total. Boys' 3-day total: $138.26. Girls:$117.84. WOW! Children HERE are helping children THERE on the other side of the world!
Please pray for strength for my sister Sue. She has been given less than 2 months to live. Also after a week working at McDonalds, I have been able to earn over $300 more toward the $50,000 dorm we need for the school, to protect the kids from the terrorists. Please also pray for Elvie and I as we share about our Philippine ministry these next 2 wks at a Bible camp.
|6/21/2003||June 21, 2003 Diary- (518) 449-2105 (New
Happy First Day of Summer!
“How many pickles on a Big Mac?” 16 years ago I was a manager at McDonalds. Now I am once again. During this 9-month furlough, Elvie & I have been trying to figure out how we could get more money to build our school’s needed dorm in the Philippines. We are speaking in churches every Sunday. Often people in those churches either agree to sponsor a poor student in the school, or promise to pray for God’s work there. Some have given black shoes, used clothes, & funds for our new dorm to be built. Since we speak mostly on weekends there is time DURING the week for a side job to earn money for the school. My McDonald's application was approved Wednesday. Now, when I am not asking “Is God calling YOU to be a missionary?” I am instead probing with, “Would you like fries with your order?”
Please pray for me to be able to learn quickly the changes at McDonalds since I last managed one in 1987. Please also pray for strength for Olive, our newly-hired teacher for our fourth grade BLC class. She is 3 months pregnant, and yet will be teaching for most of the year, until she gives birth around Christmas.
|6/10/2003||“I have a confession to make!” Elvie waited patiently to share with me her
news. We were visiting a family in Ithaca, NY, and Elvie had excused
herself to get a diaper out of the car to change Abigail. When she came
back I was talking, so she waited patiently. Finally she said, “I have a
confession to make…I locked the keys in the car!” We’ve gone 13,000 miles
up and down across the USA, & this was the first time we had a problem
with the keys. We bent a metal coat hanger and used it to open the lock.
After retrieving the keys, the neighbor came out. “I could have helped
you,” Art said, “I have a whole lock opening kit.” After thanking Art, we
asked if he had any prayer requests, and also we shared with him the plan
of salvation through Jesus Christ!
Please continue to pray for Art, that he become a believer, & also for many other opportunities to share our faith while on furlough. The family we were visiting mentioned that they would be willing to invite Art over if they start a Bible study in their home
Our Schedule: Glens Falls:6/14; Schenectady:6/15; Ballston Spa:6/22; Delta Lake Bible Camp:6/27-7/12
|6/4/2003||Thank you for praying! A few days ago we received this exciting
message: Hi Mr. Barner! This is Sara. You probably don't remember
me, but you and your family came to speak to my youth group about a
month ago. I was wearing a blue Superman t-shirt, if that helps you
remember me. I'm writing because I have some extra money I'd like to
donate to the Children's Fund. I'm in the National Honor Society at
my school & we held a fund raiser over Memorial Day weekend. When
the other officers & I discussed what to do with the money, I
suggested donating it to the Children’s Emergency Medical Fund,
which you and your wife have set up in the Philippines. No one had
any objections! I hope to hear from you soon! God bless ya'll! ~Sara
Please pray for my sister Sue- they are working on her esophagus to get her to be able to swallow, so she’ll have more strength to battle her cancer. Also please pray for our new school year, starting in two weeks, that we will have enrollment of 200-250.
Until next time…
Our Schedule: Ithaca:6/7,8; Glens Falls:6/14; Schenectady:6/15; Ballston Spa:6/22; Delta Lake Bible Camp:6/27-7/12
|5/26/2003||HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!
Praise the Lord! Rapunzel is already out of the hospital! Out of the fifteen dengue fever patients, fourteen died. She is the only survivor. The husband, who we've been witnessing to, called up thanking us for our prayers, and for the gift we gave from the BLC Children’s Emergency Medical Fund for her hospitalization and medicine. They were able to come to church yesterday, including Rapunzel. But she is very weak and thin.
Please pray that, with our new fourth grade starting in June, our newly required Science Laboratory Room will be able to be supplied with the following common laboratory tools and materials: Test tube, test tube holder, test tube rod, beaker, Florence flask, graduated cylinder, thermometer, magnifying lens, microscope, globe, weighing scale, stop watch, and magnet. We also need a cabinet in which to place these tools.
|5/21/2003||The Psalm of a Busy Person: Dr. Ayoc is OIC
(Officer in Charge) at our Philippine school while we're on our 9-month
furlough. Ayoc was counseling a parent in the school, & the Holy Spirit
touched the parent’s heart. He prayed to receive the gift of eternal life!
Later, the secretary came into Dr. Ayoc's office. “You have a visitor in
the Kinder 2 classroom,” Grace informed him. “Okay, tell the visitor to
come to my office.” “No, Dr. I'm afraid she insists that you meet her in
the classroom. When Dr. Ayoc entered the classroom, everybody on staff was
there and began singing “Happy Birthday”. For his 64th birthday present,
not only is he happy for God’s sustaining, sufficient grace, but also for
a framed poem the staff gave him, entitled, “The Psalm of a Busy Person.”
Please pray for Rafoncel, the daughter of our assistant secretary. She is in the hospital with dengue fever. Our children’s emergency medical fund is paying for her hospital stay & medicine, but only God can truly heal her.
|5/11/2003||"Gee, I can do that!" After a worship
service we spoke at, Elvie & I put away our things. A grandfather named
Bob spoke with us. "You know what's special about your work? There was
nothing there when you started, & now
you have a church & school with nearly 200 in each! It's so easy to see how we can help. Even a small gift of $20 a month sponsors a poor child's schooling. I look at a world without Jesus & ask, 'What can I do?' But then I hear you & say, 'Gee, I can do that!' When many people do a little, a whole lot gets done!" This was encouraging, for we took our kids to the circus
yesterday. PJ, watching the trapeze artists & acrobats, kept asking, "Wow, Daddy can you do that?" No, but I know what I CAN do: since you are praying & giving, much CAN an IS being done! God is working.
Please pray for our furlough schedule to be fully productive. There are still a few dates open in which we are free on our schedule before we head back to the Philippines in November.
|5/5/03||“Oh no, I should have turned left on Angel
Drive, not right!” Elvie chuckled as she found herself, at 2 am, caught in
the crossfire of our two kids and myself talking to each other in our
sleep. We’ve driven 10,000 miles in the USA these past 2 months, speaking
in countless churches, civic groups and schools about what God is doing in
the Philippines. My sleepy thoughts were thus of being behind the wheel.
Our 5 yr old son PJ has been reading CS Lewis books to me while awake. So
his sleepy words were, “Oh Aslan, come back!” And our 2-yr old Abigail,
always following her older brother, called out, “I’m coming too”. The
Barners- your round the clock missionaries!
Please pray for 58 of the sponsored kids in our school who will not be able to come back after summer classes are over if we can’t find sponsors for them this month. Also pray for my sister Sue, who’s been our host this past week, whose cancer has made her cough in pain quite a bit.
|4/28/03||“We know where we'll plant a church when we
get back--Tibunco!” During this 2003 furlough we're going 30,000 miles to
share our 8-fold ministry in Davao: church, school, mountain missionary
horses/bikes, sponsored kids, post office, emergency medical fund, college
teaching & church planting. A question pops up: “What next?” Early in this
ministry we asked God to be clear when we're to take a new step. Now He's
done it again. Destitute families in our school are moving. They were
living on another person’s property & were told they'd have free land 12
miles away in Tibunco if they would vacate his lots. They agreed, & now
are a distance from church & school. God seems to be saying that on our
return to the Philippines in November, we should plant a church in Tibunco.
Please pray for the preparatory Bible Studies that I am authorizing Ezer and Joven to initiate now in Tibunco, that they will find many contacts willing to have cell groups in their homes.
|4/23/2003||Mt. Pleasant Mills, PA USA (518) 265-9938
"I have a surprise for you, Pastor Paul!" This young pre-teen came up to talk with me after I'd given the challenge Sunday night in her Elizabethtown, PA church.
"Let me guess Rachel...you want to be a missionary when you grow up?"
"Exactly! How did you know?"
"Well, I could tell by the radiance on your face.
Praise God for you and also for Janelle here. You both want to go to other countries to tell lost people about Jesus, & to make their lives better in other ways too. But Janelle & Rachel, you are still in school. Use every opportunity now to prepare yourselves for becoming a missionary when you grow up. Get good grades. Tell your classmates about Jesus. Pray with them to receive eternal life. Practice praying the sinner's prayer with your Christian friends. Go on short-term missions trips. I'll look forward to seeing you someday with us in Davao City, Philippines!"
Praise God that Philippine President Arroyo inaugurated Davao's new bridge this week. It replaces an old one that was destroyed in a flood.
Please pray for the 120 new enrollees at our school, now in summer classes. They are destitute & enrolled in our sponsored child program.
|4/14/2003||Diary-HAPPY EASTER! Elwood City, PA USA
“BLACK SHOES & CLEAN SOULS!” I challenged parents with this opportunity to spread God’s Kingdom, while doing Spring cleaning. Poor BLC sponsored students have almost everything paid for: uniforms, books, tuition, etc. But one thing that is not covered is black shoes, which are part of the uniform. To buy shoes would jack up the price of sponsorship higher than the required $20 a month. Kids have to find their own shoes. Many
people have extra black shoes that their own kids have grown out of. Since we are regularly mailing boxes to the Philippines, we pack used shoes with toys and clothes that we mail. Schools, churches, families & neighbors (Christian & nonChristian) are helping. We’ve still got far to go: 10 pair of shoes have come in, & we’ll likely have 100 needed for 2003-4.
Please pray for a good response, as the teachers of our school are spending this whole week distributing flyers for the summer term of classes, to begin the Monday after Easter.
|4/9/2003||Elwood City, Pennsylvania USA, 518-265-9938
“It just won’t be complete without you there.” Jessica and Ashley are 2 young ladies in the Pennsylvania church we spoke at this Sunday. Their eyes perked up when I showed them a 5 centavo Philippine coin. It is small and copper, shaped like a donut, with a hole in the middle. “Jess and Ashley, please take these two coins. Pray for our Davao ministry whenever you look at them. Just like filling the holes in the middle of these coins, the work in Davao would be more complete with you there.” These two young ladies were not the only ones that were challenged to help in Davao. Last week in West Virginia half a dozen professionals (nurses, dentist, builder, fireman…) made plans to join us for 2 short-term missions trips: a clinic in November, and a construction team in February.
Praise God the BLC graduation ceremonies this week went great. Please pray for the teachers as they prepare for summer school to start the Monday after Easter.
|4/4/2003||Elwood City, Pennsylvania USA
"It's my first time to read the Bible from the church pulpit at church. Praise God that you have accepted me as a brother in Christ!" Reniel's 3 kids are poor sponsored pupils at Barner Learning Center, and his sister helps at the school. He started coming to church after I visited his house to pray with his family and have a short devotional. He made a special fish dish (kinelaw). But since they couldn't afford fish, he made it with vegetable stems (gabi). It was pretty good! This past Sunday, since many of the destitute squatter families were forced into being relocated, they were absent and others took part in the service. Our deacon Romy preached and Reniel read scripture. Rich or poor, we are a family in Christ!
Please pray for God to be glorified as BLC's 2002-3 graduation and baccalaureate ceremonies will be next week. Also pray for the teachers as we work with them (via the internet) to plan for summer school, which begins the following week.
More explosions in Davao today. This time at the wharf and also at some mosques in Mindanao.
|3/26/2003||"Dear Mrs. Barner, Thank you for teaching
us about life in the Philippines. My favorite part was when you sung the
national anthem. You are a good person to take your time to teach us.-
Tori" In her white Filipina dress, Elvie took a few hours this afternoon
to visit a local public elementary school here in Middletown Ohio, and
share what it is like to be a missionary on the other side of the world.
"Dear Mrs. Barner, Thank you for coming to America and sharing the stuff.-
Brandan" The kids asked lots of questions like, "How big are the praying
mantisses there? Do you have tarrantulas?". But this last letter that
Lauren wrote to Elvie was my favorite. Maybe, just maybe, one day Lauren
might hear God's call to become a missionary someday: "Thank you for
coming and talking us about your country the Philippines. It was grate. I
hope you visit us agin. I hope your jorney to your home agin is grate. I
will come there some day. I'll bring my batheing suit. It will be prodadly
90's. Your Friend-Lauren."
Please pray that the Philippine government release our 4th grade permit as well as official approval of our new vice principal Delma by the end of March.
Our schedule: this weekend- West Virginia. Next week, Pennsylvania.
|3/22/2003||"With our troops overseas protecting the
world's safety, you here at home are more important than you realize!"
While visiting a civic club in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri this week, we
were challenged by the speaker, the Christian wife of a general whose
office at the Pentagon was destroyed on 9-11. During the announcement time
I introduced myself as a missionary and former pastor in Missouri.
Explaining that I was on the team of chaplains chosen and trained a decade
ago to counsel families of those who might not live through Desert Storm,
I reminded the members of the club that their prayers and consistency here
in the USA is just as important as the work of our troops overseas. “Work
continues here, while our warriors are on other battlefields. We are truly
a great team!”
Please pray for Joyce, a cheerful woman in her mid-70's with whom I was able to pray with this week to become a believer in Jesus Christ.
|3/14/2003||Winona, Missouri USA (518) 265-9938
"What can we do, Lord?" The pastor of the American Filipino
church I was speaking at had tears in his eyes as he challenged his
congregation. "The Barners are Americans putting their life on the line
every day in our own country to reach our own people for Jesus, and what
are we doing? ENJOYING OURSELVES! What can we do? We can PRAY for them. We
can GIVE to missions so that they can keep telling Filipinos about Jesus.
And we can GO and become missionaries, at least for a few weeks. We HAVE
to do SOMETHING!" The entire congregation, as one, cried out "AMEN!"
Elvie, PJ, Abigail and myself have been overwhelmed by how the Holy Spirit
has prepared the hearts of many to accept us into their homes,
Please pray for the safety of the students in our school in Davao. MILF terrorist rebels have infiltrated the city through the beach and have hijacked a bus and blown up another.
|3/6/2003||"Lifeless bodies were tossed through the air like ragdolls. Blood was everywhere. It was horrible!" Just a few days ago, tragedy struck within a half mile from our school. A terrorist left a bomb in a backpack in the crowded outdoor waiting shed at Davao City Airport. The explosion filled the hospital with over 100 maimed and injured, including 21 corpses. One of those lost is an American missionary. Our 163 BLC students were sent home as the electricity was cut off for 2 hours. The Barner Learning Center school guard is now checking all bags and the staff is on alert. Emergency exits are clearly marked and our OIC, Dr. Ayoc, just came from an emergency meeting with Davao City's mayor Duterte. There is war in nearby Cotabato City, and the four explosions in Davao City hit a gas station, the airport, a health center and the bus terminal. Please pray for peace on our island of Mindanao, especially in Davao City. Pray the terrorists turn to Jesus & get saved.|
|2/27/2003||San Francisco, California USA
"Miss, we insist that your school either hire a new assistant principal or
that you close before the next school year!" We have a problem. We'd chosen Dr. Ayoc as our OIC (Officer in Charge) when we left for furlough a month ago. He was a perfect choice. Only problem is, his degrees do not include elementary education. When the government informed us of this oversight, they started suggesting unbelievers for the newly-required position of assistant principal. Of course this is not an option for us, as it would compromise our philosophy of ministry. So we prayed. In the Philippines they also prayed, and as we received updates on daily email messages from Davao, we also gathered an army of prayer warriors in churches we visited to lift up this request. They prayed for BLC in Hong Kong, Washington, California, & across the USA. Some in Chinese, others in Filipino, Spanish, & English. God is answering. Please pray for Delma, the new applicant for this vice principal position, that she be approved this week by the government officers Monday and begin immediately.
|2/23/2003||"It's a MIRACLE! We have a car!" When our
transportation for furlough became unavailable, we were stuck with eight
months of speaking engagements across the nation and no way to get there.
We arrived in Anacortes, Washington and expressed our dilemma at a Bible
Study there. One at the study mentioned a woman who was selling a very
nice car with low mileage at a ridiculously low price, yet was not getting
any buyers. We found out the reason: Although she was advertising for
$1600, the newspaper listed it as $16,000! She also was willing to knock
an additional $400 off the price, so we got our car for $1200! Praise God!
Now here is our itinerary:
Jul:Delta Lake Bible Camp, NY
Please pray for Rina, an unemployed Filipina Maid in Hong Kong who Elvie prayed with to receive Jesus into her heart last week: that she get a new employer and also grow as a new believer.
|2/10/03||"Pastor Paul, please bring back books from
the USA for me to study from!" "Ezer, people do not just GIVE books away!"
"That's okay. Just pray, and they will!" That was last month. Then, just
this morning..."Dear Lord, please send your angels to protect these 2 new
Bethany Bible commentaries as they are shipped to Davao City." Sure
enough, Thelma, a missionary from Macau who is staying with us at the
center for Filipino maids in Hong Kong, shared with us that God told her
last night to give these large books to my assistant in Davao. Each of us
missionaries were assigned churches to preach at. I spoke at three
different places this week. As we all sat down together and rejoiced about
what God had accomplished that day, Thelma asked, "Does anybody know a
worthy young pastor who could use a new Bible commentary set?" God
Please pray that our friends in Washington can find a reliable yet cheap car
for us to buy for furlough in the USA. We'll land in the USA next Monday,
|1/27/03||"This is the first time I've seen your
newborn baby. NEXT time I see her, she'll already be walking!" On Sunday
we said our goodbyes in preparation for our nine month furlough, starting
1/30. We also dedicated our newly-finished three-story elementary building
to God. Nearly 250 people were in church to celebrate, as I challenged
them on "God's Sovereignty in Missions: A Well-Planned Strategy". Two very
special guests commissioned Elvie, me and the kids for this time across
the globe in ministry. The first was Dr. Ayoc, our new OIC in the school.
The second was Rev. Bouw. Tears trickled down my cheeks as he placed his
hand on my head and prayed. 31 years ago this same man of God had prayed
for me and other young people to
be challenged to go to the Philippines as missionaries, Now he was praying for me again...to challenge new people to go, give, and pray.
Please pray for our transportation along our 3 month journey to NY. We will be buying a used car in California and selling it in New York!
|1/23/03||"Lord, please soften their hearts!" Elvie &
I prayed together last night with PJ & Abby, & also with friends on the
phone, & with teachers/staff. She got up at 4 AM & went to each chair in
the school gym, praying that God would touch the heart of the parent who
would sit in that chair. You see, we'd promised the parents at the
beginning of the school year that we'd do no construction during school
hours. Yet when our furlough was moved to Jan. 30, we had to work the
builders overtime. Parents started complaining from the paint smell,
lumber, nails, & noise. But what to do? In today's PTA meeting, Elvie
poured her heart out to the parents, how this ministry is a sacrifice for
our family, & that we do all we can to provide the best school possible
for their kids. At the end of the meeting, one of the most adamant ladies
turned her frown to a smile & put her arm on Elvie's shoulder. "We love
you, Madam, & will pray for you these 9 months until God brings you back
to us again in November!"
Please pray for understanding on the part of the school employees as we give them final instructions for running the school while we're gone to Hong Kong and the USA on our 9-month furlough.
|1/17/03||"Sweetheart, we should go back." We were on
the jeepney (public jeep), headed out of town to the home of our 3rd
candidate for the new OIC (Officer In Charge) position at BLC school. The
1st 2 candidates (former Bible college president & the admin. dean) had
full schedules so they had to turn down the offer. In the jeepney on our
way to the home of the 3rd candidate, we discussed the great distance this
woman would have to travel every day to our school, as well as her
husband's medical condition which could cause her to have to miss work
often. Stopping at McDonalds to talk, God laid upon the hearts of both of
us the Rev. Dr. Ayoc, retired (yet young) former District Superintendent
of Churches. Stopping by his house, he happily accepted the distinguished
OIC position. With face beaming, his wife said, "Right from the time we
first heard of the vacancy last May, God laid it upon our hearts to pray
daily for your school. Now we get to be part of the answer to our own
Please pray for Dr. Ayoc and for Elvie, as she prepares him to run the school in our absence during our 9-month furlough from Feb-Oct.
|1/11/03||"PJ, I TOLD you not to leave your paint set
out where your sister can reach it!" Elvie and I were selling our vacuum
cleaner, as well as many other nonessential things, cleaning up our house
to get ready for our 9 month furlough starting at the end of this month.
Suddenly, our 2yr old curly-haired angel Abigail came into the room-only
in diapers, but with yellow toenails, blue feet, grey tummy, red fingers,
green cheeks...well I guess you get the idea. We just received our
Christmas gifts from Dad and Mom in the mail, and PJ had a paint-your-own
model airplane. Abby decided to paint herself!
Please pray for my five goals to be accomplished this year:
1. Speak every Sunday in some church during furlough.
2. Read through the Bible twice.
3. On our return in November, get a car.
4. Finish all ongoing construction projects before we leave for furlough (4th grade, office, school kitchen, stockroom, music room, stage enclosure, floodgates, basement waterproofing).
5. Exercise every day: my body and my testimony.
|1/2/3||"Friends, it is New Year's Eve. What are
your 5 goals for 2003?" As I asked the question, I realized how ridiculous
it sounded. I'd opened our lock box earlier, and there it was. A
doubly-sealed envelope, way down underneath all our important papers.
"GOALS FOR DEC. 31, 2002". Everybody in the church had written their 5
goals and sealed them in this envelope. I opened mine & had only
accomplished one of the five. But as I challenged them once again I
thought, "How do you make a one-year goal, when the challenge every single
day for these people is to put rice on the table & avoid another day of
hunger? How does a destitute father make goals for a full year? Yet the
beauty of it all was that these goals offer hope- what they can't fulfill
today or next month, surely they can do within a year. It gives hope for
better times ahead. So I guess goals are not so ridiculous after all.
Please pray for the new OIC (Officer In Charge) Ann, who begins Monday (1/6) here at BLC. That she will learn quickly, and that all details in running the school will be clear before we leave 1/30.
Last edited January 10, 2004