(If you would like to download Wade’s letter, please click here.)
Greetings in the name of Jesus.
I pray that this report finds you resting in the grace, mercy and peace of our Lord. Here is my report for the first three months of 2017.
I was privileged to deliver Sunday lessons at Chariton, Martinstown, Unionville (three times), Memphis, Fayette, White Oak, Meadville, Murray Road, and Ozark. In addition, I led the KC teen study on March 18.
Northern Missouri Work
- Chariton, IA: With the appointment of Bryan Schreck to the office of elder in October, my role with the church at Chariton will be changing. I plan to spend time with the congregation once a quarter in 2017. I will also be available for consultations whenever the eldership needs my assistance.
- Martinstown, MO: Much of my work at Martinstown occurs on Wednesday evenings. In January, I wrapped up a two month session on Christian qualities. In March, I began a study of church government. Over the course of nine Wednesday evenings, we will be studying the biblical pattern for leadership in the Lord’s church including a close consideration of the offices of deacon and elder. This is a preparatory study. If God is willing, I will lead the congregation through the officer selection process in the spring of 2018. Currently, the congregation has one elder and one deacon. It is my hope that more men can be appointed to both positions.
- Memphis, MO: I was able to be with Memphis only once this quarter. The congregation continues a steady pace. We were very glad to welcome a new member of the congregation when Munden Welte was baptized for the remission of sins. The congregation is also missing two of our regular visitors from last year, Keith and Marilyn Dunn. The Dunns are former members of the church in Bible Grove which closed its doors last year. The Dunns winter in Florida and we hope for their return very soon!
- Unionville, MO: Some good developments have taken place the past few months at Unionville. As you may recall, the congregation put in place a new monthly rotation in November of last year. From what I can tell, this rotation has helped stabilize the consistency of Sunday morning services. I am also pleased to report that those men and young men who have taken on new responsibilities are showing real growth. This is very encouraging to all of us.
- White Oak: For 2017, I will be visiting the church at White Oak every other month. Dan Huff works closely with this congregation, so my relationship with them is for encouragement only. White Oak made the brave choice to begin meeting on Sunday evenings at 5:00. This allowed several of their members including two brothers to attend services regularly. This is the second year with this new schedule and, as far as I can tell, the decision has been a real success.
- Milan, MO: The church in Milan closed several years ago. Sadly, it had grown quite small and could no longer continue. Keith and Kay Walker, members of the church in Brookfield, expressed interest in seeing the church return. On March 18, the Walkers, myself, and several members from area churches began an outreach effort in Milan. We have scheduled a weekly Bible study for Saturdays at 10 a.m. Thanks to the brethren at Kirksville, our Bible study was featured in a local ad in the paper. Keith has also handed out flyers and encouraged people of his acquaintance to attend. I started a Facebook page and have conducted targeted ads. In addition, we have started canvassing the town following the group Bible study. Thanks to the local Smithfield (formerly Farmland) plant, there is a large influx of American and migrant workers. We are hopeful that with new members of the community that there will be souls searching for the Lord.
On January 23, John Morris and I set out on an eighteen day trip to the Philippines. This was Brother John’s first trip to the Philippines, my second. There are many notable and exciting developments taking place among the Filipino Churches of Christ. Before I share with you some of those developments, please allow me to sketch out a brief history.
The first Filipino converts were made, so I have been told, during the horrific Bataan Death March. The Empire of Japan, having successfully driven General MacArthur off of the islands, set about moving their prisoners of war to a central location. The Japanese intended this march of the P.O.W.’s to be their last. During this grueling affair, American soldiers first shared the gospel with their fellow Filipino captives.
Following the war, American Churches of Christ sent missionaries to the Philippines to continue the work of spreading the gospel. The kingdom grew by leaps and bounds for decades to the point that the Churches of Christ are the largest religious group in the Philippines in terms of the number of congregations. While the Catholic church continues to boast the most individual members (nearly 80% of the population is Catholic), one can find Churches of Christ in virtually every little town and village. The island of Mindanao, notorious for its enclaves of Muslim and communist militias, has close to one thousand congregations of the American Churches of Christ have done an admirable job in preaching the gospel and starting congregations. The hundreds of churches across the Philippines testify to their zeal. However, many of the groups who were sending missionaries failed to emphasize the need for biblical church government. Though the Church of Christ is on the cusp of entering its fourth generation in the Philippines, only a handful of congregations have elders and deacons. Even fewer have evangelists sent out by elders.
In the mid 1990’s, American evangelists made contact with a remarkable congregation in a place called Resurreccion. This congregation was unusual insofar that it was either the only, or one of the only, Filipino congregations with elders. The preacher of this congregation, Hilario Wanassen, had discerned from the scriptures that elders were needed. So, elders were appointed. As the relationship between Resurreccion and American evangelists grew, it was decided that Resurreccion would send out Roger Wanassen, son of Hilario, as an evangelist.
In the years since these events, American evangelists have endeavored to carry out Paul’s directive in Titus 1:5: to “set in order the things that are lacking.” We have provided teaching on church government as well as encouraging the development of all qualified and gifted male members into teachers within the public assembly.
On this most recent trip, Brother John and I held eight lectureships on five islands. Brother Roger invited preachers from the neighboring regions to join us for a day of study. Our day began with laying a foundation of love and unity. From there, we taught on the biblical pattern for elders and evangelists. Our teaching was warmly received in every location. The brothers that we met with understand the need for elders in the church and are, quite frankly, frustrated by the absence of elders in most Filipino churches. The concept of elders sending out evangelists was new to all of them. But, I am glad to say, many responded favorably and
admirably to what we taught. We are very hopeful that with more study and teaching, these brothers will embrace the biblical pattern. Please pray for them and for the ongoing work of the three evangelists working in the Philippines: Brothers Roger Wanassen, Jinny Cris Sarceda, and Sonny Jun Tobia. All three men have been appointed by elders and are doing the work of evangelists.
Brother Roger believes that this is a time for harvest. I understand why he believes this to be the case. As I type this report, Roger and Jinny Cris have spent 3 days following up with two of the congregations where we held lectureships. Brother Roger has many more follow up appointments in the upcoming weeks. Brother Jun is scheduled to follow up in at least four different locations in the next two months. The demand for teaching on elders, evangelists, and the complementary practice of developing men for service in the public assembly is high.
|1: NEMO Teen Study||Wednesdays at Smart Road||36: Martinsville, IN VBS|
|2: Chariton||7: Meadville||17: Excelsior Springs|
|Wednesdays @ Martinstown||13: Fetters-McClung Wedding||18: Memphis|
|9: Martinstown||14: Memphis||25: Unionville/White Oak|
|16: Carrollton||28: Unionville||27: Martinstown VBS|
|23: Unionville and White Oak|
|2830: Jefferson Avenue|
Thank you for your continued interest in and support of my work. Our family is grateful for the commitment and encouragement of so many gracious brethren. I pray that our Lord may keep us all steadfast until He is revealed from heaven.
18078 State Highway 149
Unionville, MO 63565
Cell (call or text): 816.916.6731