Just a few weeks ago, at four in the morning, Donovan and Charla Epp and family were literally shaken out of bed.
An earthquake hit only 20 km away from where they live in the Philippines, reading 5.4 on the Richter scale. They all jumped out of bed and listened to the house crack and cans falling off the shelves. They had not heard a tsunami warning since their internet was down. Thankfully, the connection has now been restored.
This rainy season, their co-workers, the Majors, taught the Word of God to the Ilocano people in their area. Three days a week the people would gather under the Majors house where Jared would teach. Just like Dupaninan Agta, the Ilocanos got the foundations of the message of the Bible. Many people latched onto the story and, like a drama series, wanted to see what would happen next as the story unfolded chronologically. The team were so excited to see some of their neighbours attending the teaching and start understanding the TRUTH of God’s story.
At the end of the four months of teaching, some people started a relationship with the Saviour! Some of these new believers are now listening to the weekly Agta teaching. These new Ilocano believers say that they are able to understand the teaching in Dupaninan Agta, but are not able to speak it. The Agta New Testament Bible translation printed by SIL, has an Ilocano/Agta parallel so it is relatively easy for the Ilocano believers to follow along. Please keep praying for the Ilocano in the area.
Agta believers have been quite excited to have the Ilocano believers join the Agta church gathering. It has given them the opportunity to explain what is being taught and clarify cultural illustrations etc., which are not yet understood by the Ilocano. The team are thrilled to see the Word of God at work in the hearts of the people of our area.
One Dupaninan Agta believer has also gained boldness. He has been sharing with the Ilocano what he knows of the Bible, inviting them to the Agta church gatherings. He also has a heart for other Agta living further up and down the coast. Before going on a trip to another village this man told Donovan, “I am going to survey the Agta in that area to see if they have heard the Gospel. I am like Joshua and Caleb, when they first went to see the land the Lord had given them.” He had prepared his wordless Bible and told Donovan what he would say to them. Please pray that this man would be encouraged, and he would feel the Lord’s nearness and direction. Others have also shown a clear testimony to those around them. Donovan and Charla are so excited to see truth and boldness in these new believers.
This week the team start teaching through the book of Acts. They are excited for the Agta to learn from the example of the early church. They look forward to seeing the Agta church live out the faith as a body of believers in things like baptism and communion.
Last month Thea had her 16th birthday and they were able to have a surfing holiday at one of their favourite spots on the Island. They also spent ten days with a visiting family from their church in Winkler, Canada. It was such a joy to share life with friends and have some jungle adventures. It was special for their guests to meet the Agta they have been praying for over many, many years now.
Despite still needing to continue with school, they have been enjoying the summer season with their Agta friends. This involves lots of swimming fishing, hiking and this year gardening as they have prepared their own field in the same way as the Agta people and with their help.
Donovan and Charla’s solar panels are not doing too well due to age and after being battered in two typhoons. Recently the whole system crashed and they are still trying to get to the bottom of things. They cannot delay updating the whole system any longer.
The Epps are thankful to be partners together with you through prayer as the Lord builds His Church.