When Rocky found Edwin E. Vicente on the WEI student board, he found a jewel. God used Rocky to polish the jewel until it glistened.
Shortly after Steven Prine baptized Edwin into Christ, the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the Philippines. Schools closed, and Edwin lost his job. His meager life savings soon vanished, and he traded virtually all of his possessions for food and lodging. Instead of complaining about his adversity, Edwin used his free time to gather thirty children, young people, and adults under a grove of shade trees and taught them what he had learned from WEI. The story of his walk with God is recorded in the past four issues of the WEI newsletter.
The latest episode in Ewin’s spiritual journey is exciting. Thanks to a generous gift from a Christian couple in Texas, Edwin was able to rent an inexpensive house that gives him a place to live and a venue for teaching his WEI students. The donors’ gift also covered the cost of a sign for the learning center, eighteen student chairs, a canopy covering the outdoor teaching area, and Edwin’s living expenses for three months.
On April 6, after much praying, planning, preparing, and advertising, Edwin launched the new WEI Learning Center. Almost 70 people attended the Grand Opening Ceremony.
Edwin wrote, “It was a very successful and memorable launching. Brother Erben L. Gonzales, the preacher in Calasiao Church of Christ where I was baptized, was our main speaker.”
Following the Opening Ceremony, many of the parents expressed an interest in studying the Bible with Edwin. He estimated that thirty parents would be in his adult classes three days a week, but a violent storm tore through the city and destroyed the sun canopy. Edwin must now repair or replace the canopy before he can use the outdoor teaching area again.
Edwin’s walk with God is approaching a grand crescendo. He has taught his daughter and his three volunteer coordinators the way of the Lord more perfectly. All three coordinators are convicted and are ready for baptism. His daughter is almost ready.
The three coordinators were scheduled to be baptized on April 9th, but the COVID-19 pandemic flared up in the Philippines, and the government ordered another shutdown. The beaches are off-limit, and the baptisms must be postponed until the lockdown is lifted. When that happens, Erben Gonzales, the preacher in Calasiao where Edwin began his spiritual journey, will return to San Fernando and baptize the three coordinators into Christ. Edwin is praying that his daughter will be ready by then.
Edwin’s ministry is off to a good start, and God continues to provide the resources he needs to move forward with this good work in the Philippines.
Surviving in Papua New Guinea
Thanks to the generosity of an American family, Arthur Tatara, the dynamic young preacher in Papua New Guinea, is surviving the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, Arthur is able to continue preaching the gospel.
Arthur says, “I love preaching and teaching the word to lost souls in Papua New Guinea. I made another trip to Waria from February 4th to 20th. I was asked to conduct a class for ladies and to meet with youths at the Waria Valley church of Christ.
“During the class, one soul was added to the Lord’s Church. The lady’s name was Junita Erick. The teaching was new to her, and it really helped her decide to become a member of the Lord’s church.
Arthur concludes, “This year, December 2021, I will host the Morobe provisional youth camp in Waria Valley. The estimated number of participants will be 1,000 plus. I am also sending a letter to denominational churches inviting them to the camp.”