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Stand Your Ground

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We just finished another great week of camp! Our theme this year was ‘Stand Your Ground and there were 288 campers in attendance! Yes, camp is a lot of work and it can be tiring but the blessings far outweigh everything else. This year, all of our team leaders were young adults who made important life decisions at camp back when they were teenagers!  Another blessing was that 4 teens from our youth group received Christ as their Savior! Others made some wonderful decisions that I pray will last a lifetime.  I believe God uses camp to reach youth. I experienced it in my own life and now I’m witnessing it happen over and over again here in the Philippines. Even though there’s a lot of expense that goes into camp, it is so worth it all when you watch these young people surrender their lives to Christ! 

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Sharing Christ

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The Lord brought a family across our path that had never heard Christ’s Gospel!  A Japanese family came to Cebu for a short vacation and to visit a couple from our church. They joined our services on Sunday; it was their very first time in church! Later that week, we had dinner with them and they asked several questions about our faith. They had seen pictures of someone dying on the cross but they had never heard who that person was and why He died. What a privilege to share salvation’s story with people who had never heard about Christ and sincerely wanted to learn. Please pray for them. Pray that they would consider Christ and His work on the cross! 

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Traveling Mercies

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We took a group of our faithful children on a special trip. Filipinos possess a great spirit of adventure; they love going places they’ve never been before! So as a reward, we took these kids to a park on top of Cebu’s newest mall.  Our trip did have some unwanted adventure. On the way to the mall, our jeepney blew a tire! When the tire blew, my heart sank and I wondered if we would be able to get the kids to our destination. Thankfully, we were able to find a safe place to park and swap the tire with a spare. Because we were able to pull over and replace the tire so quickly, we still had plenty of time to take the children to the park. When we finally made it, the smiles were everywhere!  Truly, safety is from the Lord! I’m thankful we were able to take the children on this outing with only a minor detour! 

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Six Years Ago

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6 years? Is it really true? :) I don’t feel that much older. But yes, March 29, marked our sixth year serving in the Philippines. Six years ago, our family moved across the world full of plans, goals, and excitement to see God work. And He certainly did! Just not in all the ways we planned. :)  Why? So He could get the glory, and not Chris Baran. Yes, it is good to be prudent and make plans… but don’t be surprised when the Lord moves those plans aside to accomplish His own will.  Right now, I’m in a place I never envisioned but I know God orchestrated. Six years ago, I would never have thought that North Cebu Baptist Church would be nationalized. Six years ago, I would never have thought I would be assisting nationals plant new churches! But here we are and God gets all the glory!  I’m thankful to serve a wonderful Savior Who knows much better than I. 

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