PEPPER: CELEBRATING 15 YEARS OF MINISTRY!
1988-2003: LOOK AT WHAT GOD HAS DONE!
My brother Phil & I, attending seminary in Nyack, NY decided to send a
newsletter to those praying for our ministry. PPPL (Phil and Paul’s Prayer
Letter) was born! After finishing seminary, we entered our first pastorate
together in Princeton, NJ as intern/associate pastors.
1988-1990- PRINCETON PASTORATE
People groups we ministered to & had Bible Studies with in Princeton were
children, youth, college age and the elderly. Real-life puppets, a
functioning miniature “Bible Bus” that visited the 66 different books of
the Bible, and a Slime War were exciting ideas that relayed the gospel of
1990- My life’s goal, to visit the Philippines,
became a reality, as I counseled new believers in Luzon, Philippines for
two weeks with a Christian group. Our 2-yr internship at Princeton
complete, Phil became pastor in a church in the beautiful Adirondack
mountains. I then spent three months in ministry in Colorado and
Washington, as children’s pastor and church planting consultant. In
November I became senior pastor in the Ozark mountains of Missouri.
1990-1995- MISSOURI PASTORATE
As senior pastor in Missouri, I blended the three ministries of adult
discipleship, children’s evangelistic outreach, and community service. On
television and radio, we reached our area with the Gospel, and many were
saved. The children themselves did radio commercials. Through my position
as president of Toastmasters (Ozark Orators), founder of Manna Ministries
Food/clothes pantry, and chairman of the Rolla Benevolent Fund, the church
became known. As Board member of Echo Valley Bible Camp and Spiritual Aims
Chairman of the Rolla Kiwanis Club, destitute children received
scholarships for Summer Camp. I achieved my trucker’s license and drove
for Allied Van Lines, loading and unloading furniture and possessions. To
further our influence, I substitute taught in public schools and assisted
in the police department as a chaplain ride-along and supervising
community service of prisoners.
1994-On invitation of Rotary International, I
took a 6-wk sabbatical from the church for a cultural study exchange of
the Philippines. While visiting one of the
Philippines churches in Davao City, I met Elvie, who was the
evangelism/youth coordinator for her church, and a graduate of seminary,
with a dream to become a missionary.
Realizing I would be returning to the Philippines, I resigned from the
Missouri church and became children’s pastor in Littleton, Colorado. Radio
and puppet ministry began with a stage designed by a retired NASA space
shuttle engineer, Fred. I worked also for Allied Van Lines in the daytime,
and as a bellman for Holiday Inn through the night.
1996-PHILIPPINE BIBLE COLLEGE TEACHER
After resigning from my position in Colorado, I left for the Philippines
where Elvie and I were married. I’d made a promise to God, “I’ll stay in
the Philippines until my wife Elvie has her travel visa,” and started
teaching at the local Bible College.
Although informed Elvie’s visa would take 4 months, it took instead 4
years. Keeping my promise to God, we planted a church in an alley between
2 houses, using a small plastic washing machine as a pulpit. We also hung
up green sheets on wires as curtains to keep out the bright tropical
110-degree sun. God increased our tiny congregation when our son Timothy
(“PJ” for Praise Jesus) was born.
1998-BARNER LEARNING CENTER
On the 10-year anniversary of this prayer letter, we prayed that God would
give us a specific outreach to our community. So we started the “Bible
School House” on Friday nights in our little alley church. Puppet
Ministries brought hundreds of children into the Sunday School and
outreach ministries, so we completed the government requirements and
opened the Barner Learning Center preschool. Our 37 pupils studied in a
rented house nearby. Noticing that poor children could not afford the
school, we started the International Student Sponsorship Program. 2
Americans began sending (through Christian Aid Mission) $20 a month to pay
the school expenses of two destitute children.
Approaching 100 pupils, we ran out of space and moved BLC to a larger
facility. Elvie’s visa was finally approved, so we took our first furlough
to the USA, getting sponsors for more poor children. While away, one of
our teachers died and also a massive 9-foot deep flash flood devastated
our school property. The whole community helped with cleanup, and
international friends helped with the expenses of replacing what was lost,
including our school piano.
The church was now averaging over 100, and we moved it to the school gym.
Our family also grew to 4 with our daughter Abigail. With the BLC student
body over 100, we started building an elementary building so we could open
a first grade. God is faithful (as always) and continued to touch the
hearts of more people around the world to give regularly to this ministry.
2001-DAVAO STRATEGIC OUTREACH (DSO)
Over a dozen Bible Studies began in people’s homes within a radius of the
school, & we also began outreaches to unreached people groups in remote
jungle areas within a day’s journey of the school. These people had not
even once ever heard the name of Jesus. Because of the dangers of
kidnappers, I as an American could not go to these areas. So Elvie took my
place to deliver horses for Christian workers starting there through DSO,
our new daughter organization.
2002-EMERGENCY MEDICAL FUND
Before our elementary building could be finished, the owner of our school
property changed our open-ended contract and demanded immediate full
payment. After prayer, Elvie left for the USA alone to renew her American
re-entry permit. For 3 weeks she spoke in over a dozen churches and
groups. Praise God, He supplied the needed funds through the sacrificial
gifts of believers. We noticed children dying for lack of money for
hospital bills/medicine, so we started a medical fund which uses interest,
not principle, to pay these life-and-death bills.
The beautiful 3-story BLC Elementary wing and teachers’ apartments were
finished just before we left for a 9-month furlough, speaking in nearly
100 homes, churches, schools, camps and civic groups in Manila, Hong Kong
and across the USA/Canada. As always, God has been very faithful. To date,
120 children are sponsored in the school (not including the 65 paying
pupils). We average 140-180 in the church, and upon our return to the
Philippines this month, will purchase land for a new building closer to
the main road outside the residential area. We’ll be getting 2 busses for
the school, and a Christian school and Church Sunday School in New York
and Pennsylvania are raising funds for 2 more. God continues to work in
amazing ways! Through these fifteen years, PEPPER has been your
information hotline to God’s work in the Philippine Islands.