Wedding in Samar

I was both officiator and sponsor (one of 46!) at the wedding of Enevald and Juliet last May 18, 2018 at far-flung Dolores, Eastern Samar. Enevald was one of our recent Bible school graduates. After seminary he left for his hometown of Mahaplag, Leyte and is currently one of the steering committee members of Allos Harvest Time Bible Church in nearby Baybay City, Leyte.

His wife Juliet meanwhile is an elementary school teacher in Dolores, Eastern Samar, a remote municipality situated at the western fringe of the Pacific Ocean. Their love story began when they met in a youth ministry in Borongan City, on the southern part of Eastern Samar.

Our group of 7 MCBC members took a flight to formerly super-typhoon-Yolanda-ravaged Tacloban City early morning Thursday and then rented a van to take us to Dolores, more than 4 hours away, passing through San Juanico bridge which connects the provinces of Leyte and Samar, then traversing through the mountainous hinterlands of Western and Eastern Samar down to the seaside town of Dolores.

The public high school gym was transformed into a wedding venue and the 250 guests who came rejoiced with Enevald and Juliet as they exchanged their vows of love to each other until death do them part.

Seven pigs and one carabao met their dreaded fate that day to become lechons and tasty dishes all to make the guests happy. The Tagalogs, Warays and Bisayas all had a good time.

Without finishing the reception we had to rent another van to return to Tacloban as we did not want to travel by nightfall in the mountains. Traffic in those regions is close to nil even during the day, you had the highway all to yourself. The roads were generally good.

Early Saturday, we traveled for more than 2 hours from Tacloban City to Baybay City, Western Leyte as I was scheduled to preach twice at a couples fellowship hosted by the Allos Harvest Time Bible Church in Baybay. We arrived an hour late. There were leaders and representatives from the different reforming churches in Leyte province: Baybay, Inopacan, Ormoc, Abuyog, Kananga and Merida. I never realized that the doctrines of grace had taken a strong foothold in this province and reformation was well under way.

My wife and I stayed overnight in Baybay as I was scheduled to preach there the following Sunday. The other Manila pastors were distributed by brother Enevald among the other Leyte churches-Pas Alex in Inopacan, Pas Pio in Ormoc, and Pas Marlon in Abuyog. I perceive that Enevald is quite influential in this area.

All in all it was a fruitful trip albeit tiring because of the looong road trips and almost daily preaching. But I experienced great help from God and I was encouraged at what was happening in the province. I enjoyed the fellowship as well as the food. Thanks be to God for answering prayer!

Entering San Juanico Bridge-the longest in the Philippines. San Juanico connects the island provinces of Leyte and Samar.

Picture Stop at the Crossroads in Buray, Western Samar. We go right.

At last, after a one-hour plane ride and a four-hour van ride, Dolores.

Late lunch after arriving from Tacloban. Wedding practice after..

Good harvest of pineapples and watermelons.

Boulevard Street, Dolores. Water is surprisingly calm in spite of being at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

Our deacon loves these shells. This was part of dinner, the night before the wedding.

High tech water system–continuous supply of clean water and good exercise machine.

De-stressing: Sponsors watch with the Groom a semi-finals NBA game live, 30 minutes before the wedding.

An ad of President Duterte during the break..

Last minute advice: Take care of Juliet.

The Four Musketeers

With Primary Sponsors Pas Alex and Bang

“Hello! Is there anyone from Congress coming?”

Celebrated our 40th year as sweethearts that same day

Three of the beautiful sponsors who came all the way from Manila

With primary sponsor, Pas Rene of Sovereign Grace Church, Makati

Pas Marlon and Sally of RBBC, Sta Rosa

With Pastor Joey of Trinity Reformed Baptist Church, Makati

32 of 46 primary sponsors were present

The happily married couple

Couples Fellowship in Baybay, Leyte

Bro Lando, one of the leaders of the church

Pastors and leaders from Abuyog, Merida, Kananga and Ormoc

Clent (in stripes) from Tagum City, Davao Norte leads Ormoc Fellowship, Bro Jandell of Kananga to my left

Pastors and Leaders from Inopacan and Baybay pose with us

Bro Zach, one of the leaders of the Baybay church

Members and Friends of Allos Harvest Time Bible Church in Baybay, Leyte pose after morning worship.

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April 20-25, 2018

Youth Fellowship led by Pastor Mike on Prov 23:23 (Friday 4/20)

France leads the games.

Early Morning Trafalgar Bldg Bible Study (4/21/18 Sat)

We are studying Genesis 1-3.

The Men in Blue: in charge of securing the building.

Crowded Place at Cooper St Bible Study (4/21/18-Sat)

Cooper Bible Study-These ladies were in another room. Prayed for them as well.

At MCBC: Three Birthday Celebrants (4/22/18-Sun)

Youngest MCBC Attender (4/22/18-Sun)

MCBC Toddlers Conference (4/22/18-Sun)

Nice dress, fit for a wedding entourage (4/22/18-Sun)

Pastors Wives’ Chat (4/22/18-Sun)

Combined Swigert/Bricktown/Goodness Attenders BS led by Pastor Mike at MCBC (4/22/18-Sun)

First Ever Bible Study at Swigert St OFW House (4/23/18-Mon)

Bible Study at Goodness St OFW House Multinational Village (4/24/18-Tues)

Bible Study at DOLE led by Pastor Clyde (4/25/18-Wed)

Bible Study at Siena Park for Allegro Employees (4/25/18-Wed)

We are taking up the Gospel of John.

Davao 2018

We almost missed our flight not hearing the announcement that it was already boarding time. Thankfully, after my companion looked at his watch and saw that it was past boarding time we checked and realized that our flight had already boarded. We were the last ones in.

Pastor Clyde and I were headed to Davao, particularly to Tagum City, Davao del Norte, to preach at the annual pastors conference organized by our church planting missionary there, brother Jonard. This was the fourth such conference with this year’s theme entitled, “The Sovereignty of God.” There were 8 sessions in the two-day conference involving me with four messages, Pastor Clyde with two, and Pastor Boy, our man in Davao with two messages, preached in Visayan.

There were more than 50 who attended the event which was held at the new meeting place of the Tagum Community Bible Fellowship. Though the majority came from Tagum and its vicinity, Panabo and Davao cities, there were those who came from as far as Surigao, Agusan Norte, Agusan Sur and Bukidnon provinces. Practically all were appreciative of the messages. The spirit that prevailed was peaceful. The questions asked during the open forum were not those that engendered debate and argument.

After the conference, I hitched a ride to Davao City to speak at the Saturday breakfast fellowship of the Davao City Reformed Baptist Church (which held its first anniversary just two weeks ago). Pas Clyde remained in Tagum to preach at their Sunday services. After Davao, I proceeded to Digos, Davao del Sur to preach at their Sunday services stopping for a while at Passig Islet, a resort island off the coast of Bato, Sta Cruz where our man in Digos City, brother Jepson, resides.

It was a fruitful four days of ministry especially with the encouraging news that two of our church planting works in the area may constitute into local churches this year. Praise be unto God!

[NOTE: Thanks to Clyde S, Jepson P and Bing C for these photos.]

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5th Tagum City Annual Pastors Conference

RBIPT Reunion

Noel and Cheryl from San Francisco, Agusan Sur. I officiated their wedding five years ago.

Female Kitchen Crew

Dinner in Davao City at one of Digong’s favorite restaurants.

After Breakfast Fellowship of the Davao City Church

At Passig Islet in Sta Cruz, Davao del Sur

Had to Ride a Banca to Get There

Sand and Sea with Mt Apo in the Background

Brother Eval spends his last month of being single with us in Mindanao. He will be married next month in Samar.

Boy tries out some sea urchins for snacks.

Sutukil Lunch in Digos City

Dinner with Jepson’s Family

After AM Service in Digos

Jepson’s Family

After AM Service in Tagum

 

 

 

 

 

Salitran Men’s Retreat

I was privileged to speak at the first ever men’s retreat of the Salitran Covenant Bible Church (SCBC), April 9, 2018. I preached two messages on the theme of “Recovering Biblical Manhood.” Thanks be to God for the help that He gave to me and to the listeners. I also had a blessed time of fellowship with the men as well as the female kitchen crew who prepared the lunch.

Pastor Jeremiah, originally from Iligan City, is pastor of the Salitran church

 

 

 

Paula

I bid farewell to Paula, one of our budding singles, who will go on study leave for two years abroad. Her flight departed Manila at 2:00 am today Saturday bound for Tokyo, Japan. Ever since she was in high school she was fascinated with the Japanese language and yearned for the day when she could actually learn and study Nihongo, to know how to speak and to write the language.

The reason was not because she wanted to migrate to Japan and settle there. But being a graduate of secondary education at a well-known school, Philippine Normal University, and having just resigned as a high school teacher at Manila Tytana, she wanted to pass on her learning of the language to others who wanted to learn Nihongo as well. When she returns, she told me, she wanted to teach the Japanese language in an international school here in Metro Manila. But why not just study the language here? Better to learn it from the masters and be forced to speak it and hear it where everyone speaks the language.

Paula will turn 21 on April 24. She was saved young at 18, the first among Pastor Alex’s brood of three daughters. She has been an MCBC member since 2015. She will study at Oarai International Exchange Academy (a language school) in Ibaraki Prefecture, about 185 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, Japan. While studying, she will be working part-time probably as a packer of vegetables in the farm that the school manages. There is a Bible outreach in the school whose worship service she can attend every Sunday. There is also a Reformed Baptist Church in Tokyo proper but it would cost her about P2000 to travel by train to the city.

Please pray for Paula that she would be preserved from the materialism and the worldly principles that would surround her in that pagan land. Pray too that just as she has been a blessing to the brethren at MCBC, she would be able to testify about her faith to new friends who are still lost in sin and have no knowledge of Christ and His grace.

Bye Pau!

We held an advanced birthday celebration and despedida for Paula.

Children Perform for Paula

Parting Counsel from Pas Mike

From Pas Clyde

From Sister Ana

From Tita Melba

From Sister May

From Lola Belen

From little sister Kayla

From Ate Martha

From Papa Alex

Farewell Message

Lola Nely

We welcome Lola Nely as the newest member of MCBC! She was baptized by Pas. Alex after the morning worship service last Sunday, April 1, 2018. She is the third of the Lopez clan (of more than a dozen who attend MCBC) to become a member of MCBC. We had a Bible study in their home for about two years and then she had a one-on-one Bible study with Pas. Alex for almost a year. The Lord used all of these (not to mention her regular whole day attendance every Sunday) to show to her that it is not religiosity and good works that save but Christ and Christ alone. That was her public confession of faith in her baptism last Sunday.

Pas. Alex preaches on John 9 that morning.

Lola Nely Lopez

Pas. Alex asks questions before the baptism.

Lola Nely’s siblings were there to witness the baptism

OFWs from Bricktown. We begin a BS with them on Sunday.

Members greet Nely after reception to membership in the evening.

Deacons’ Day

I and my three co-elders are grateful to God for our hard-working deacons, most of whom have served untiringly for many long years. This morning, Saturday, March 24, the board of elders met with the board of deacons in a marathon three-hour meeting to touch base with them with respect to the different areas of their duties and to assess whether we still have the same vision and heartbeat for the kingdom of God.

Thank God for His grace that we continue to have one mindset. There are no cracks in the relationship of the deacons and there is unity of mind and heart and sweet fellowship with respect to the relationship of elder and deacon.

Thank God for the blessing of peace given to the leadership of MCBC. May it stay this way always!

We prayed for Bro Erwin who was leaving for Qatar late in the afternoon.

Tokens of appreciation for years of untiring service were given to each of the deacons.

The elders’ lunch treat for the deacons consisted of spicy crabs…

…lechon kawali…

…shrimps…

…kare-kare…

…pumpkin soup…

…ice cream…

…and cheesecake.