Another year has gone, another has come…but the mission of Christians remains the same – Go into all the world and preach the gospel…MAKE DISCIPLES.
Last year was a good year in the ministry.
Baseco, as always has a lot of stuff going on, new salvations, new leaders, new bible studies and plenty of great miracles throughout the year. A number of small business ideas have been started by various leaders and members of our church there in Baseco, just efforts to break free of the restraints of poverty. We will have our first student graduate from College this year, that will be a mile stone event.
Don Bosco is now very much up and running with mens, women and youth ministries all starting last year. This year there is a plan to start childrens ministry and of course we are looking at getting into the rest of the 33 buildings. As of December last year, I think we were effectively working in 14 buildings. So a great effort by Ps Manny and the team.
Our church in Fairview grew in numbers last year and is very much self sufficient in all ways. There are some great young leaders rising here.
We were also able to open up a brand new ministry in a slum called Parola, which will be very much my personal focus for the next 12 months. I am very focused on keeping “programs and money” out of this new slum. Lets just take the gospel and the power of Jesus here, nothing else. Get people connected to you and to Jesus, well before anything else happens.
Money, of itself, is not evil, but peoples perceptions of it really do complicate ministry amongst the poor. If we do a feeding program everyone gets “saved”, if the Catholics do something tommorow, everyone becomes Catholic…most poor people will pledge allegiance to the flag that is flying the “best give aways” today…this is often (but of course not always true), at least up until the point where you have established genuine relationships. Once the relationships are made, then the real needs can be seen and the areas where you might be able to assist with some form of resource becomes obvious. It’s then the relationship that allows you to speak, either gently or directly, into some practical area of life, that will genuinley affect another persons life.
Myself and Christine are still in Australia, I will be out of Manila for 6 weeks in total, but Christine has been in Australia for a number of months. We will head back to Manila together later this January.
It has been a challenging year for us with both of our mothers aging (mid 80’s) and being quite sick, especially challenging for Christine.
The year ahead is already full of teams and visitors early in the year, which is great. Our time in Australia has opened up a significant new church connection, which is always welcome.
The year ahead does look like it might be a financial challenge, as the AUD has dropped heavily against the USD, which significantly cuts into our budget. We jokingly say to each other, that we just need a millionaire to get on board with us for a year or so, but at the same time we know that God has been faithful and that God will remain faithful, and that we are connected into an economy that truly has no end or limits. We have never measured what we can do by what is in the bank and hopefully, we never will. We are now 13 years into this journey, and there has never been a need un-met. Faith finds it’s own way, and Faith funds itself.
We are very grateful for the prayers of the saints and for the people who support us in so many ways. TOGETHER, we are all doing an amazing work.
As I said earlier, my main focus this year will be getting Parola up and established, but I would also like the opportunity to start in another slum as well. In my heart it’s time to really amp up the raw evangelism and getting the miraculous into the realm of “normal, everyday Christianity”. I have felt personally a bit frustrated and very challenged in 2014. I have spent a number of years “pastoring”, which is just not my main gifting, I can do it when it needs to be done, but to be honest, it just drains the life out of me. It does not excite me or stir me up, I don’t look forward to it, I am the Evangelist. I need the challenge of new things, have to be on the edge, doing the things people say can’t be done, in places where others say “you should not be”…that’s me. The great thing is that because we have focused on making disciples, we now have people who are “Pastors”, it is their gifting and they do it so much better than me, so I can let them do it.
So this year is me getting back to the grass roots, doing what I am supposed to be doing, day after day preaching the gospel, healing the sick, making new disciples in new places and starting new ministries amongst the lost. I am excited about the year ahead.
There are uncertainties, either one of our mothers could easily pass away this year (that would not be good), the finances are a challenge…but the year is full of great possibilities and clear vision…so let’s just step into it and see what Jesus does.
Bless you all – Mark and Christine Pedder.