Good Delay

I’m sitting here inside a cramped A330 bound for Manila. People at check-in told me a while ago that there are 450 booked for this 436-seater flight. Boarding has taken all of 45 minutes. Now the captain announces that we have to wait inside the plane for another hour due to air traffic in Manila! In spite of the long wait, the fasten seatbelt sign is on because the aircraft is loading with extra fuel due to the delay.

The ADHD in me is making me impatient. But the frustration of waiting is nothing compared to the sense of accomplishment that I carry as I and my wife return to Manila after a 10-day trip for ministry here in Southern Mindanao. I believe God answered prayer!

We had three objectives before we left. The first was to proclaim God’s word to the children of parent-beneficiaries of the 4P Poverty Alleviation Program of the government in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. The Lord gave us 150 children in a three-day journey on the Ten Commandments. The children were well-behaved and most eager to learn. Majority of them I believe have never heard the word of God taught this way.

We were careful not to make them good boys and girls in teaching them God’s law, but rather to show them that they are sinners who need Christ and His righteousness to make them acceptable to God. I was told that there would have been more children had the DVBS not been held during Holy Week.

Secondly, we were able to share some of our knowledge and experience to about 50 pastors who attended the day-long pastors conference that our sponsors organized in Tagum City. I am amazed at how many are open to reform. Although there were a few pentecostals in the group who had issues with cessationism, the atmosphere was one of respect and understanding.

The theme was the Doctrine of the Word. I gave three messages on the Necessity, Inspiration and Inscripturation, and Sufficiency of the Scriptures while my partner Pas. Mike gave a message on its Authority. I believe the Lord helped us to preach and to answer questions in the open forum after every message.

Thirdly, I had sought to strengthen our three frontliners in pioneering mission work in Tagum, Davao and Digos cities. I believe they were encouraged by my preaching in their places and at a day-long retreat that the Davao and Digos groups organized in a beach resort in Toril, on the outskirts of Davao City. I also conducted pastoral oversight meetings with them and their wives.

I am also happy that my comrades were used of God to preach in various situations. Brother Mario preached last Sunday in Digos and took a Bible Study in Tagum. Brother Clyde was invited to preach at the 4:00 am Dawn Watch of a Bible church in Tagum. Pastor Mike preached at a funeral service in Tagum, then went on to General Santos City to preach at Bro. Dexter’s pioneering work and then go to Tampakan, South Cotabato for a Bible Study among the B’laan natives in the area.

I can say more but this is enough for now. It’s 3:10 pm and the captain has just announced that air traffic control in Manila has given clearance for us to depart. I have to stow this meal tray where I’m writing on.

Thank God for time enough to meditate on His goodness instead of being flustered at the long delay for the flight back home.

Glory be to Him for mission accomplished!

Brod Boy Leads the First Session of the  Retreat of the Digos and Davao Fellowships

Brod Boy Leads the First Session of the Retreat of the Digos and Davao Fellowships

Brod Jep Leads the Second Session

Brod Jep Leads the Second Session

Gels, Baby and Jep's Sister Pose by the Sea

Gels, Baby and Jep’s Sister Pose by the Sea

Jep's Boys

Jep’s Boys

Former DVBS Children, Teens Now

Former DVBS Children, Teens Now

Durian Attack!

Durian Attack!

Pas Mike Preaches in Visayan at DVBS Graduation

Pas Mike Preaches in Visayan at DVBS Graduation

2014 DVBS Graduating Class Picture

2014 DVBS Graduating Class Picture

Team Tagum 2014

Team Tagum 2014

Tagum Pastors Conference

Tagum Pastors Conference

Pastors' Lunch Break

Pastors’ Lunch Break

Had my Lunch with Geoff and Pablo

Had my Lunch with Geoff and Pablo

Pas Mike Preaches at the Third Session

Pas Mike Preaches at the Third Session

My Turn to Preach to the Pastors

My Turn to Preach to the Pastors

Bro Jonard Leads the Sunday Service

Bro Jonard Leads the Sunday Service

Posing with the TCBF regular attenders

Posing with the TCBF regular attenders

TCBF Meeting Place-Strategically Located at the City Center

TCBF Meeting Place-Strategically Located at the City Center

With Jonard and Geoff

With Jonard and Geoff

 

 

DVBS Day 1

DVBS in Tagum City has begun. We had 98 children this morning, probably more tomorrow. They come from family-beneficiaries of the government’s poverty alleviation program, called 4Ps, implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Thus, there were two opening remarks today, one by the DSWD representative and one by me.

I told the children in my opening remarks that although social welfare and development were essential, spiritual welfare and development were much more important. I quoted from Matthew 16:18, “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and yet loses His soul?”

As our MCBC team divided the participants into five group levels, I noticed that the parents of some of the children were just idly waiting in one portion of the gym where the DVBS was taking place. So we gathered them together for a parents’ Bible study. I taught the same topic that their children were being taught, the Ten Commandments.

I was encouraged to hear them admitting that all were failures in obedience. That gave me an opportunity to point them to Christ as the only One who could give them both the righteousness and the forgiveness that they need in order to be accepted by God.

God helped our teachers and assistants as well even if a few of them do not know how to speak the vernacular. Thanks be to God for a good first day.

The day before, we visited Sharon’s family in New Corella, Davao del Norte. This far-flung municipality is about 40 minutes north of Tagum City, far from the beaten path. The family home is situated in a remote barangay, about 20 minutes by tricycle along rough roads. You could see the towering mountains of Nabunturan, Compostela Valley across the horizon.

DVBS Announcement

DVBS Announcement

Team Huddle-Preparing IDs for the Children

Team Huddle-Preparing IDs for the Children

Assembly Before Entering Venue

I Give the Opening Remarks

I Give the Opening Remarks

Did a Bible Study with the Parents

Did a Bible Study with the Parents

Pas Mike and Gels Take Level 3

Pas Mike and Gels Take Level 3

Pia and Con Take Level 1

Pia and Con Take Level 1

Elaine Takes Level 2a

Elaine Takes Level 2a

Sudi and Sharon Take Level 2b

Sudi and Sharon Take Level 2b

3 Point Shot: Jonard Takes Level 2C

3 Point Shot: Jonard Takes Level 2C

Had Hot and Spicy Crocodile Meat and Wild Boar for Lunch

Had Hot and Spicy Crocodile Meat and Wild Boar for Lunch

I Think Pas Mike Misses Dan

I Think Pas Mike Misses Dan

Enjoying Halo-Halo After Day 1

Enjoying Halo-Halo After Day 1

Mario and Pas Mike's Bedroom for Day 1

Mario and Pas Mike’s Bedroom for Day 1

Sharon's Family's New House in New Corella

Sharon’s Family’s New House in New Corella

Team Tagum Enjoys Pacquiao Replay After Monday Lunch

Team Tagum Enjoys Pacquiao Replay After Monday Lunch

With Sharon's Parents

With Sharon’s Parents

Open Doors

It’s 5:00 am in downtown Davao. Our stomachs are growling; they’re aching for breakfast. Did eating too much lanzones yesterday turn our tummies into an acid lab? I don’t know.

Nevertheless, one thing I like about Davao is the abundance of fruit. There’s plenty of marang and durian being sold on the sidewalks—the latter at an astonishing P30/kg! Too bad, durian is a forbidden fruit inside the hotel.

I’m not used to eating durian on the sidewalks as people here do–so, it’s durian famine for three days now. But small consolation—we had genuine sinuglaw yesterday at our fellowship lunch. Lami!

Not many were able to attend worship. Yet the four families who have been together through the years remain the solid core group. May God sustain their faith in a day of small things.

We are off to Tagum today. A DVBS consisting of 200 children will be held there for the first time beginning Wednesday. An 11-man team from MCBC is helping out our pioneering work in that city. Thursday I go back to Davao to preach two messages at a joint fellowship of the Digos City and Davao City missions to be held in a beach resort in Toril. Then it’s back to Tagum on Friday for the DVBS graduation followed by 3 messages the following day at a pastors’ conference organized by our sponsors. The week would be capped by three messages on the Lord’s day at Tagum City Bible Fellowship (TCBF).

I solicit your prayers.

But I would also like you to pray for two newly-opened Bible studies which I left behind in Manila.

First is the Cooper Street Bible Study. Maryrose was a walk-in a few Sundays ago. She’s part of a big group of ladies from the provinces seeking greener pastures abroad. She requested the bosses of her agency to have a Bible study in their office-cum- dormitory. We have had three sessions thus far with attendance hovering from 30 to 40. When I asked them what their prayer request was, they asked for good employers abroad.

I am aware of the hazards of working abroad. Our former house-help applied for a job overseas and was subject to domestic abuse by her employer. She had to be rescued by a sister church and was flown back to Manila by the government aboard an Air Force C130, free of charge.

I also know how difficult it is to leave family and growing children. There are mothers in the group. So I pray for God’s mercy on them. In spite of the hazards, poverty still drives them to take the risk. I pray for their salvation and safety.

Second is the Lopez Bible Study in Multinational. Louie has been out of a job for a while and has re-signed with his agency. He is a cruise ship photographer. MCBCers know that he has a large family that occupies three rows every Sunday. I was encouraged at the good turnout of family and neighbors in our first session. We were about a dozen or more. I heard they were 17 last Friday during the second session.

Please pray for the salvation of these ones who attend and that the Lord would continue to open doors of opportunity not only at MCBC but also in our church planting works here in Mintal, Digos, Tagum and Valencia.

Please include the B’laan ministry in Tampakan, South Cotabato. I didn’t realize that in the Bible Study that I conduct in our house back in Manila every Wednesday, one of the attenders is a B’laan native.

Small world; big gospel!

Sinuglaw sa Davao

Terence’s Version of Sinuglaw

Heavy Rains in the Afternoon

Heavy Rains Every Afternoon in Davao and Here in Tagum

Cooper -1st BS Session (1 of 3)

Cooper -1st BS Session (1 of 3)

Cooper BS-1st Session (2 of 3)

Cooper-1st BS Session (2 of 3)

Cooper Bs-1st Session (3 of 3)

Cooper-1st BS Session (3 of 3)

Cooper BS-2nd Session, the Following Week

Cooper-2nd BS Session, the Following Week

BS at Louie's-1st Session (1 of 3)

BS at Louie’s-1st Session (1 of 3)

Louie's BS-1st Session (2 of 3)

BS at Louie’s-1st Session (2 of 3)

Louie's BS-1st Session (3 of 3)

BS at Louie’s-1st Session (3 of 3)

 

Viljohn and Renzy

It wasn’t done with finesse; I lost my footing while lifting up Viljohn from the water. The kid is heftier than I thought. The people were amused as both of us struggled to regain our poise. But the recovery was quick and I was able to complete the rubric.

It was the baptism of Viljohn and Renzy–two teenagers who have tagged along with their parents to MCBC since they were small. Renzy’s parents are pioneering members while Viljohn’s father is a product of a home bible study.

Both conversion experiences, honestly speaking, took me by surprise.

A few years ago, Viljohn had asked me for an interview. I granted his request, eager to hear what he wanted to say. I was totally disappointed; many of his answers to my questions did not come close to the truth of the gospel or to salvation. He wanted to be saved and yet he did not know from what.

I had the same experience with Renzy. Her answers to my questions dwelt more on the horizontal plane rather than on the vertical. These two needed more time to mature in knowledge and I needed more time to wait upon the Lord for them.

When the time came for them, on their own initiative, to be re-interviewed, things had changed. Their testimonies were much clearer.

Renzy’s testimony was revealing. I knew that Renzy for a long while had become the object of teasing wherever she went but I wasn’t aware that dejection had turned to despair. The kid had become so disillusioned that she looked for radical solutions from the world. Thank God, the Lord opened her eyes and showed her that she was chasing after wind and who she needed was Christ.

You see these kids in church every Sunday but you never know what’s really going on inside of them unless you get up close and personal. That’s the advantage of interviews. 

As to Viljohn, until his father had become seriously sick, he really had no time for his son. He was always busy at work, sometimes for seven days a week. But now that he has been limited by disability to the confines of home when not in church, he and Viljohn have had more time to discuss and reflect upon the lessons learned in church every Sunday. I believe the Lord used this father and son exchange for Viljohn’s salvation. What an unanticipated blessing!

I thank God for these young people. They are an answer to the prayer of their parents and of the whole church. I pray that God would preserve them to the end.

To God be the glory for their salvation!

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20140406_182435

 

 

 

Apostolic Ministry

It’s graduation time and one of the graduates that I forgot to mention is my beloved wife. She is graduating from seventeen years of school work to focus more on what many have coined an “apo”stolic ministry–that is, taking care of the apo, or grandchild.

The last seven years of her education career was particularly stressful-that of being principal. It’s time to take a breather before returning to a much scaled-down responsibility as home-schooling administrator. This duty does not require her to report daily to school.

Thus, she is presently in a semi-retirement state. Good for her and good for small baby and big baby. When people ask her why she has relinquished the office, she always answers, “It’s to have more time for the baby.” “But how about the hubby?” they ask. She replies, “Oh yes, it’s for him too.”

We prayed for the Lord’s will regarding this change in our family life and the Lord made it easy for us to decide. The school curriculum was changing from ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) to conventional (Bob Jones) style and the school needed someone with experience in the new curriculum. That was a good time to stand down and let someone else head the new program.

I thank the Lord for sustaining my wife for seventeen years teaching, caring for children and being responsible for a whole school. She began as a monitor, then became a supervisor and was ultimately appointed principal by the school board, a position which she accepted with great reluctance.

I thank the Lord for His grace in her life, enabling her to weather challenges, the likes of which she had never even faced in our home–obstinate students, difficult parents, sometimes uncooperative staff. Although there were times when the going got rough and she carried her school burdens home (and we talked and prayed), most of the time, she would go home as if the school day was problem-free. Thanks be to God that unlike me, my wife is not easily unsettled.

Her semi-retirement would work well for me in the ministry. Although I enjoy my own “apo”stolic ministry, it is not easy juggling time between baby-sitting and sermon preparation. I am one who easily loses train of thought and multi-tasking has resulted to extended times in message preparation. Now I can focus better.

But moreso, we would have more time for each other. That means, of course, I need to have a break.

Time to look for cheap fares.

Christian Harvest Academy Graduation Held at Alphaland, Makati

Christian Harvest Academy Graduation Held at Alphaland, Makati

Recognition Given to the Outgoing Principal

Recognition Given to My Wife as the Outgoing Principal

Thanks be to God for His Sustaining Grace!

Thanks be to God for His Sustaining Grace!

Full Support from Family

Full Support from Family

Desserts at MOA

Desserts at MOA

Was I the Reason?

Was it because of me?

No. Both of Us.

No, it was for both of us.

Caricatured! Farewells from Staff..

Caricatured! Farewells from Staff..

 

 

School’s Out

Temperatures are shooting up–summer’s here and school’s out. Many high school graduates are in for a looong vacation. I heard that classes in many universities won’t begin till July or August. That’s a hefty summer break.

But not all are happy. Some students I talked to didn’t want a long break. They wanted classes to begin as usual in June. I guess you could spot the diligent from those whose favorite subject is recess by how long they want their summer break to be.

Nevertheless, I’m happy for those who graduated this year. We have a number of them, a few finishing with flying colors. May God guide them where to enroll for high school and for college. And for those who graduated college, may the Lord grant good employment (read: no Sundays), which these days is hard to find.

The parents too are having a respite–at least their pockets are. They have a few months to replenish before the call for enrollment fees, fares and allowances sounds again. May they have a good break and enjoy the closer family bonding that summer affords.

One blessing of having the kids on vacation is that we have good attendance in our youth meetings. We had 42 young people last Friday–and not everyone was present. May the Lord use these gatherings to make our youth “feel at home” in MCBC. I don’t want them to think that MCBC is merely a “parents’ church.” It would grieve me to see our youth leaving for churches that revolve around youth ministries whose agenda is feel-good entertainment rather than the word of God and Biblical worship. May God preserve them from such shallow influence!

I am encouraged that the Lord is doing a mighty work among them. After baptizing three young people last year, I look forward to baptizing two more on Sunday and another one in May, Lord willing. Hearing and reading the testimonies of these young ones make you marvel indeed at the sovereign grace of God!

May the Lord give us strength not to grow weary in praying for and reaching out to our growing children. To Him be the glory for what He is doing among the young people in MCBC!

xxx

Youth Meeting-Mar 28, 2014

Five Young Graduates: Kat, Jas, Benj, Daboy, Kobe

Five Young Graduates: Kat, Jas, Benj, Daboy, Kobe

Congrats to New Graduate Elaine!

Congrats to New Graduate Elaine!

Congrats to G3: Will Take up Agriculture in College

Congrats to G3: Will Take up Agriculture in College

Congrats to Eunice!

Congrats to Eunice!

Congrats! Martin Finishes Elementary with Good Grades

Congrats! Martin Finishes Elementary with Good Grades

Congrats to Martha!

Congrats to Martha!

Nathan Graduates from Elementary Too..

Nathan Graduates from Elementary Too..

Congrats too to Amiel (2nd from Left)!

Congrats too to Amiel (2nd from Left)!

Not to forget our new RBIPT Graduates

Not to forget our new RBIPT Graduates

Congrats to new GMA Graduates Pas Romy Endaya...

Congrats to new GMA Graduates Pas Romy Endaya (Right)…

...and Pas Sam of Baguio (Right)

…and Pas Sam of Baguio (Right)

 

RBIPT Week

Class Picture-Modular Course

Class Picture-Modular Course

From Gen San

From Gen San

From Agusan

From Agusan

From Leyte

From Leyte

Surigao, Ozamis, Davao

Surigao, Ozamis, Davao

Grad Speech-Pas Mike

Grad Speech-Pas Mike

Grad Speech-Pas Cris

Grad Speech-Pas Cris

With the Graduates and Their Wives

With the Graduates and Their Wives

Mike and His Family

Mike and His Family

With Friends from Valleyview

With Friends from Valleyview