Jeff Bartell

A "bottom line" kind of guy

No matter the cost to me personally

On November 2nd, Scott Luikart and I left for a week in the Philippines.  I had the chance to personally get acquainted with the 2 churches that FBC had the privilege of starting back in the 1990s.  After the long flights, we finally arrived in Manila around 1 am local time and were warmly greeted by 2 van loads of Filipino believers displaying 2 banners with our names on them.  Scott and I each boarded a different van, so that the church members could get to know us better (although I know I wasn’t much of a conversationalist after 24 hours of travelling!).

We stayed in a very nice missionarbig groupy guest house, fully equipped with WI-FI.  Why I didn’t think of that beforehand is beyond me.  I need to realize that most of the world is now tech-savvy.  So I was out of touch for that week, but really enjoyed being disconnected for a change.  Next time I will definitely bring my laptop with me.

Unlike Albania, Manila has all the western businesses that you are familiar with.  We stopped at Starbucks every morning so I could get my “fix.”  (Those that know me know that I am a coffee snob.)  While there, Scott, the two pastors (Sonny & Leo) and I had some great discussions about the Bible and their future growth as a ministry.

Among the topics was a discussion about how to help them achieve financial independence as a ministry.  I helped them see that by constantly relying on foreign income, they are hindered in their spiritual growth and robbing their churches of the opportunity to trust God and know Him more.  This is often the most difficult point of developing a truly indigenous church:  being self-supporting.  The response of the pastors touched my heart.  I couldn’t have been more impressed.  They stated that, “we want whatever God wants – no matter the cost to us personally.”  I sat there and thought, “Lord, if I could have 10 people with that attitude back in our church in the US, we could really make an impact in this world!”

As you read this testimony, would you ask yourself if you are really ready to respond like Sonny & Leo?  Can you say with the Apostle Paul that, “your life is not your own, for you have been bought with a price”?  Please pray that God will allow me to always have that attitude when confronted with circumstances that really “cost me something!”

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Sign me up, 1 down 9 to go. Until your message on Sunday I was prepared to go to prison for 5 years (that is the penalty for NOT paying the fine for not buying government health insurance, that will pay for obortion on demand).


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