by Douglas & Remy Barton
As we stand at the crossroad of years, leaving behind 2016 and looking forward to 2017, we are reminded of the words of Joshua to the Israelites as they prepared to cross the Jordan and possess the land of Promise. He instructed them not to get in front of the Ark of the Covenant, which represented the presence of YHWH in their midst, but to follow behind so that “you may know the way by which you shall go, for you have not passed this way before” (Joshua 3:4). We look forward to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, both individually and as a family, that we might accomplish His purposes for the New Year.
Let me take this opportunity to say “thank you” to all who have prayed for us and supported us during this past year. Some of you have journeyed with us for more than 30 years, others started on the journey later, but all of you have made it possible for the Barton family to bless and minister to so many through the years. Thanks also to so many of my students who are now following the leadership of the Holy Spirit as He leads them into ministry. And the journey continues…
2017 will be our “furlough” year. We plan to return to the States in May after Ethan completes Grade 8. We look forward to visiting with as many of you as possible and at the same time we hope to complete our furlough quickly so we can return to the ministry here in the Philippines. We are excited about what has been accomplished during 2016.
With the support and leadership of Bishop Pepito Gadallo, the National Superintendent of the Philippine Pentecostal Holiness Church, we have been able to open two Schools of Ministry (SOM). One of the schools is in Rosario, La Union at Bishop Pepito’s church. We have about 15-20 students there and about 33 students at our other SOM in Baguio City, where two churches have come together for the training. Bishop Pepito and I are doing the teaching this first year and plan to enlist some of our students to teach during the second and third years. I have taught two courses: Teaching to Change Lives, by Dr. Howard Hendricks, and Understanding and Applying the Bible, by Dr. Robert McQuilkin. We have begun studies in Old Time Power, by Dr. Vinson Synan, in January. I teach twice a month at each school, for about four hours each session.
Alongside my teaching schedule, I also preach two Sundays a month – the second Sunday at the Urquico PH Church with Remy doing the interpreting. She often preaches the sermon better than I do! On the last Sunday of each month, I fill the pulpit at CCC Tarlac for Bishop Arnold Aragon, pastor and Central Luzon Conference Bishop.
In addition to being a great wife and mother, Remy continues to have opportunities for ministry. Besides counselling with individuals, she spoke at the CLC Women on Fire conference on November 22nd. We are also thankful that this has been a great year health-wise for Remy. Her oncologist is pleased with her progress.
Ethan continues to do well at Tarlac Living Faith Academy. Though he is in Grade 8, his math course is on a college level, and he is doing well with it. He has also represented his school at journalism conferences. His specialty is in news-writing. On the district level, he finished in 1st place; on the division level, he finished in 3rd place; and in November, he finished in 4th place on the regional level, where he competed against 59 other students.
In December, TLFA presented a year-end program with each grade-level competing. On the high school level (Grades 7-10), Ethan’s class, placed 2nd overall, and 1st in both costume design and props. Ethan is also on the Worship Team at the Urquico Church; he leads worship one Sunday each month.
I have mentioned before how slow the court system here is. It has been three years now since we submitted Natanya’s corrected birth certificate for approval… we are still waiting. The adoption process cannot continue until the corrected birth certificate is approved. We want Natanya to be with us when we come to the States in May. We desperately need a miracle! Please join with us in prayer that God will grant us favor in this matter.