|Corruption in the Philippines|
December 6, 2000
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Well, it has been almost a month since we left the Philippines. My family and I appreciate all the prayers, notes, cards, and financial help that got us speedily out of the Philippines and back to the US. Knowing of your love and concern for us has helped us quickly recover from those last traumatic days there in the Philippines.
Many have asked for details about our departure, so I will just give a summary here. As I have often said there is an overwhelming problem in the work in the Philippines -- the love of money. For several years various "preachers" there have threatened my life and the lives of my family because they thought I would influence brethren away from continuing their support. Of course, the very fact that they would resort to threats certainly verifies that they were not worthy of support. Some took it farther and tried to have me deported, an effort which failed. A few months ago I told you of their attempts to ruin my name and reputation in the community.
The events of last month were a result of such an attempt to ruin my name and reputation by spreading lies in the community. Some preachers and others who had not been involved in the earlier attempts to force us out of the Philippines saw the rumors as a means to try to force me to recommend them for support, warning that if I didn't then something bad would happen to me (either physical violence or an attempt to spread the rumors to the US). We took those threats no more seriously than the others and let them know we were not interested in being blackmailed. Two days later, in the middle of the afternoon, two men entered my office. When I turned and saw them, one - standing just two steps away - had a knife (later he said it was scissors) raised in both fists above his head ready to plunge it into my back. They were startled by my turning and the one without the knife grabbed his companion and they ran outside.
I almost immediately started considering options for the welfare of my family. The blackmailers contacted us later that day and let us know further violence might happen and that we should meet to talk about it. Rather than give in or risk harm to my family, I decided to flee the country. We did meet one last time with the attempted blackmailers one last time the morning we left in order to prove to them that the rumors upon which they had based their blackmail hopes were nothing but lies. At that time they admitted they were wrong and asked us to stay, but only minutes after we left, they were on their cellphones trying to spread the rumors to other parts of the Philippines. Within a week or two of our departure, many of those who tried to harm us had stolen whatever of our goods they could get their hands on. All we brought with us to the US after 7 1/2 years in Asia were four suitcases.
Since our return to the US, we have decided that we will not be returning to the Philippines in the near future. We had to accept that like the apostle Paul sometimes you had to leave an area or a country behind and move forward in service to our King. Even though some very good and sincere preachers begged us not to leave or to come back soon, we will not be returning there in the near future.
For now, we have been staying with my parents. I am actively seeking a congregation in need of a preacher. If you know of any, feel free to pass my name to them or their name to me. Of course, I do not yet know if whatever congregation we end up working with will be able to support us fully or not. If you would like for us to keep you informed on our future plans here in the US, please just send us an e-mail or note.
On behalf of my wife and children, I would like to thank all of you at least this one more time for all that you have done for us. Some of you have supported us from the very beginning of our efforts to serve the Lord and some have only held up our hands through prayers, but we love every one of you, and we pray that God's grace and blessings might always be upon you.
Yours in the Service of our Lord,