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10 Years of God’s Blessing and Grace
One Sunday in February 2002, the Lord led us to visit Wheaton Bible Church, then on Main Street in Wheaton. We were looking for a new church and a new youth group for our son, Michael. We were planning to visit other churches, but the Lord had a different plan.
We soon transitioned from visitors to reluctant greeters as the Lord paved the way for us to meet other Filipinos who were “church hopping.” The first Filipinos we met were sisters Cristina Pajo Skonning and April Yambot. A few weeks later, they brought another sister, Tess Tolosa.
As we were greeting people at the Atrium one Sunday, a Tagalog-speaking Caucasian named David Salstrom approached us. Dave and his wife, Vera, had been missionaries to the Philippines for thirty-seven years—living there for longer than most of the Filipinos we knew!
It seemed as if every week the Lord brought more Filipinos—both individuals and families—to Wheaton Bible Church.
It had not been our plan to start a Filipino group, since we were already part of the Connections Adult Community and Anna was leading a women’s neighborhood Bible study in Winfield. However, the Lord led us to start a Bible study group at our home, with Dave Salstrom as our teacher. Our first meeting, on October 3, 2003, had about ten of us in attendance as Dave Salstrom taught about sin and God’s grace.
Through the years, the Lord answered prayers for the salvation of loved ones and friends. We’ve seen some in the group commit their lives to the Lord; a number have been baptized, and we have witnessed God at work in other ways, as many have experienced spiritual growth.
When the group grew to an average attendance of twenty-five to thirty people and outgrew our living room, the Lord provided a new place to meet. In February 2010, Wheaton Bible Church opened its door for our group to meet on the church campus in Lower 55. That move encouraged more Filipinos in our group to attend worship services regularly at WBC.
Since both Filipinos and non-Filipino friends and family attend, our study is conducted in English. Today, fifty-two people are part of our group. Dave Salstrom still teaches a Bible study one Friday night each month. We also meet once a month at someone’s home for prayer and fellowship, and we also have an annual picnic and a men’s fishing trip.
Looking back over ten years of God’s grace and blessing, we are looking forward to what the Lord will accomplish in the next ten years. To God be the glory!