Philippines Ministry - February 2004
               The Horn missionary family                                     and Trinity Baptist Church
Welcome back to the country made up of thousands of islands, lots of color and friendly people!  Thanks for praying during this ministry trip.
This afternoon we are at a park for a youth outing of Trinity Baptist Church.  The youth are discipled by my good friends, Tony and Marifi Horn.  They have brought the kids here today for lunch, a devotional and games. 
God's Timing Is Always Perfect!
I met Tony on my first Sunday in the Philippines, back in 2002. I was visiting a Filipino church.  That is not so unusual, but this is:  It was his second week in the Philippines as a missionary!  We had even both been living in Kentucky for the past few years, but God had a plan for our first meeting in this Asian country.
Since then, God has allowed us both to be used to encourage each other in the ministry.
Tony and Marifi met in the Philippines many years ago while Tony was stationed here in the military.  They married,  moved  to Tony's home state of Kentucky and started a family.  It was during this time that they both became Christians.
After several years of growth and discipleship Tony began pastoring a church near the Lexington, Ky area. It was while shepherding this church,  that God began to speak to them about shepherding another church much farther away.  After taking a short-term missions trip, and four years of pastoring in the States, God confirmed in their hearts that they were to make the move.
        A Fear Overcome

Tony and Marfifi recall that one of their greatest fears about coming back to the Philippines was facing some of the people that knew them before they had become Christians.   There would be some apologies for past actions, and certainly there were some "unknowns." How would their old friends react with the news of their changed lifestyle? But this willingness to be transparent, along with their hunger to be in God's perfect will, has allowed God's blessing to be on the ministry here.
I had the pleasure of speaking at this church in it's beginning stages a year and a half ago, when attendance was 16.  Today, attendance runs 60-70.
After a few hours at the park, we piled into this colorful ride and went to the church, where we would have an afternoon of five more very competive vollyball games.  I was worn out at the end of this day, but it was great fun!
The main avenue for church growth has been through the youth.  Many of the teenagers in the Philippines are not ministered to.  One of the primary reasons that pastors will not spend time with them is because the kids do not have money to tithe with.
    Hard work that paid off !

While Tony and Marifi pastored in the States, Tony also worked another job.  This allowed them to save enough money to build a future home for their family, and the church building for Trinity Baptist.  Once the decision had been made to move to the Philippines, only a month and a half was needed to raise financial support.  Today, they and the church are debt free!

After a phone call home to my wife, Shelly,(my closest ministry partner!) and then a few tunes on the "travel size" guitar that I brought ... is off to church in one of the family vehicles.  This is the most fun you'll have going to church on 3 wheels! The church building (pictured at the end of this road) is only about two minutes from the Horn home.
After a time of praise and worship music, I sang a couple of songs with my guitar.  Notice in some of these pictures the beautiful banners in the back ground.  These were relatively inexpensive to have made and are a great reminder to everyone of how awesome our God is, and how deserving He is of our worship.
I preached a discipleship message from 1 Timothy.  Tony had mentioned that all of the people who regularly attended had already been saved and baptized!  What a great reflection on the ministry efforts during the past year and a half. Today, my mission was to encourage them in their Christian walk, so that as a result, they might be used of God in future ministry.
Here are some of the teenagers helping me with an illustration of how God can use our parents (and other authorities) to build His character qualities in us.
This lady is the first convert of this local church.  Think of how many years she lived without Christ.  What if the Horn family had not come?   It is a reminder to us all that we must live a life of "Responding to God's promptiings," if we are to impact others for Him.
While much of the ministry is to the youth, they are seeing great results  with the adults as well.  In fact, it is through the testimony of the teens, that their parents are learning about real Christianity.
           Fixing a "Warped" Christmas Tradition

During the Christmas holidays, many churches practice an old tradition that takes  Christmas caroling one step further the wrong direction.  Church groups go through the neighborhoods from house to house.  They will stop at a house and sing.  After the singing they wait until the owner of the house gives them money.  Then they go to the next house and do the same. It can be an embarrassment to the family if they cannot pay.
This tradition has been part of the Filipino culture for years.

So, this past year Trinity Baptist Church did something different.  First, the congregation raised enough many to purchase baskets of food.  Then, they took the food with them caroling.  After they sang, they would present the food to the family, rather than take money. 

A lady of one home actually hid from the singers, at first, thinking they would require money.  Then upon seeing them give out the food at a home
the street, she came forward and with tears in her eyes, recieved the food.  This is one example of how Tony and Marifi are teaching their congregation how to allow Christ to impact their culture and traditions.
You might be interested to know that the Horn family is planning to come to the States very soon for a visit! If your church would like to have them come and share about their ministry, you can contact them at this email address:
         Something To Pray About

Here is a great way for a church or Sunday School class to expand it's outreach in Asia: by financially supporting the Horn family.  Tony has not asked me to mention this, and they are not searching for more support.  However, I am compelled to ask for them as I have seen how careful they are using God's money, and how God is blessing the ministry here.  Their current monthly support is less than most missionaries,  yet their "godliness with contentment" is very evident.  If you are not in a position to give, I know that they would sure appreciate your prayers as they continue.
Tony, Marifi, Stacy, Joseph and Joshua
Donations for the Horn family can be sent to:

Central Missionary Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 12964
Houston, Texas 77217-2964

Or call 1-800-CMC-PRAY

Please make the check to Central Missionary Clearinghouse and include their names (Tony and Marifi Horn) in the memo area.  The Funds will then be sent to their location in the Philippines. 
Thank you for praying this past weekend!