Bill Walker - Letter - June 2012

My Dear Family, Fellow workers, and Friends,

The time is passing so quickly so I must communicate as I have appreciated those of you who have taken the time to do so. First of all I want to express my gratitude to you who remembered my ‘natal day.’ May 15 started another decade for me. I don’t feel much different at 60 than at 59, but I am certainly grateful for the kindness of God that has kept me until now. I appreciate the expression ‘borrowed time’ since my heart attack and surgery in 2009. Our human life is so fragile and how precious the moments of each day if we live them in the light of eternity. Something I am trying to learn is to trim my expectations and to do less. The inner man may feel like accommodating all the demands of each day but the outer man lets you know he doesn’t mind resting more often than before!

We are pleased that our Simeon Sarmiento has arrived in the Philippines and is now on Home Visit. Being home area for him is Mandaluyong, Metro-Manila it is natural for him to be in that field while Jim Girton is away to conventions in Europe. Our young brother, Mac, is really enjoying his privileges of being with Simeon. John Mastin has Randy with him as well as Erwin being that Rogelio is away to UK and Ireland for conventions. That means they cover 3 fields. However, Rogelio returns in July. Eugenio and Johna attend the annual meetings in Vietnam in July, Marlene Benjamin the conventions in New Guinea and Solomon Islands, and Nadine Throgmorton the Special Meetings in Guam and Saipan in August.

You will notice our Philippine Special Meeting 2012 list on the left side of the page here. It is good to have our brother Hou Chinsung come again from Taiwan and Yutaka Mio from Japan. Actually Chinsung is helping out temporarily in Japan so they will come together from there. Also, we appreciate Larry Taylor and Bill Brown coming. They will not have many weeks in the Guam/Saipan field before their Special Meetings in August. It will be a new experience for Bill Brown!

We are pleased the Perlmutter twins, Averil and Jacqueline from South Africa, will come to help us at Special Meeting time. Other sister visitors are Young-ae Koo, Korean but laboring in Vietnam, Jenny Lawry and Lynette Tan from Malaysia, and Soonja Kim – Korea. Of these, Soonja has visited us before. We often marvel how God uses our Visitors to pour out a message that meets the need when they do not know the struggles of the flock here in the Philippines or the struggles of the under-shepherds. September is still several weeks away but we know the time will pass quickly.

Jerry and I have a plan to visit some of neighboring fields. We leave on June 25 and travel by bus all day to Panabo City, Davao del Norte. Eight sisters from the four fields on eastern Mindanao will gather with us at the Panabo Bach. We plan to talk over Special Meeting Arrangements. My particular interest is making sure our Travel Arrangements will meet the needs of each one in arriving and joining their Special Meeting group. We plan to stay around Panabo area until Saturday June 30. We have a flight scheduled from Davao to Cebu leaving at 10:05am and arriving at 11:10am. At Cebu, we hope to meet with the four brothers and four sisters who are assigned to the Visayan Islands and talk over Special Meeting arrangements with them. While there I am hoping to have time to have my 3 to 4 month check-up with my Cardiologist. He was pleased last April with my continued maintenance with minimal medication. Hopefully by Thursday or Friday we can get a ferry boat going to Ozamis on July 5 or 6. There is a baptism planned in the Tambulig field on July 8. We need to be there on hand and spend the night Saturday night July 7. Perhaps 5 or 6 will be baptized? Then, July 9 is the schedule we aim to gather with our fellow workers who labor in fields on the Western side of Mindanao here at Labo convention grounds where Jerry and I Bach.

Our missions continue to give us joy. In fact, the Saturday 2PM mission we plan to close on the 23rd. Melodia has told us she wants to renew her choice. We will give her an opportunity to do so in that meeting. At our Sunday 3pm mission at Gango village Ging Caberte’s teenaged and almost teenage children listen well along with our few friends who come. After the meeting is over at 4pm, we hurry away to arrive at Karangan village where we have a houseful at the Soner home. Some of Litang Soner’s married children were stirred by their father’s passing the end of April. Two of the married daughters already take part since the father died and others listen well in our meeting that is from 5pm to 6pm. We mentioned when we return from visiting the neighboring fields to talk over Special Meeting plans that we would change the schedule. The meeting at Gango will be at 3pm on Saturday and the meeting at Karangan on 3pm Sunday. This will make it easier for us and also for them. This schedule we have now reminds me of my first year in the Work in 1972 with Ralph MacDonald. We had 2 gospel meetings on Sunday for the whole year. It meant studying on Saturday night late trying to find something to share for the fellowship meeting and both Gospel Meetings as sometimes our faithful friends would attend both places!

Jerry and I just completed reading the 4 epistles that Paul wrote, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, while he was in Rome. The last chapter of Acts tells us that he was in his own hired house for 2 years declaring the Gospel while waiting for his trial. The cyclopedic concordance mentions he was heard and released during AD 63. It was after this that he wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews. I find it hard to fathom what he suffered and yet his letters are full of positive council to the early Christians.  In his letter to Philemon that we read this morning, I noticed his commendation to Philemon. He commended Philemon for showing such love and faith to all the saints that gathered in his home. Then, he humbly asked him to receive Onesimus back into his home. Onesimus was a bond servant to Philemon. Bond servants were people who couldn’t pay their debt. They would sell themselves to someone who would pay the debt and then become their servant. If the Law of Moses was followed, they would serve for 6 years before they could be set free. Apparently Onesimus had left before he was to be free. But, in meeting Paul in Rome, he listened and his heart was won. Now returning to Philemon he would have a different spirit. Paul wanted him to be accepted as a brother in Christ as well as a servant. Forgiveness is still an essential part of salvation, whether to the servant forgiving an unkind Master, or a Master an unfaithful servant. How thankful I am to have a little part amongst the servants of the Gospel. I would never be able to pay the debt I owe to Him and to His loving people who kindly look after the servants needs and accept us into their homes. Daily I want to bow to take the yoke, serve with joy and thankfulness as I have a Master who is greater than all, and has shown such kindness to me through all my years.

Now, the page is nearly full so I must stop. Again thank you to each of you who have been so kind to communicate and for our fellowship in this manner through the years!
Yours in His Glad Service,
--Bill Walker--