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PHILIPPINE TRIP REPORT 2008
 

PHILIPPINE TRIP REPORT

JUNE/JULY 2008

Introduction

This trip began as they usually do, (Not like the one this past October, when I had everything concerning the trip well in hand -- all bills taken care of; all packed for both myself and Dorothy. All I needed to do before our flight left at 6:00 P.M. the next day was pay two bills; go to the bank to get cash for the trip; drop some papers by our son’s house on the way to the airport, as well as drop our loaner car off at the dealership where our car was being repaired; after which the dealership was to take us to the airport. All was going like clock work until we left or son’s house in the rain, and ran into some high water that drowned out the car, and left us stranded! The dealership had to send a wrecker for the car; Dorothy was partially wet, and I was drenched from head to foot; and by the time we rode to the dealership with the wrecker driver, and I got my clothes changed, we were late getting to the airport. For once I was glad our flight was delayed!), getting finished packing, and things lined up for while I was gone, just about midnight before my flight was to leave at 8:00 A.M. on June 17.

On the other hand, everything went beautifully in getting to the airport; getting checked in; and getting to the departing gate. Dorothy was to drive herself out to San Antonio -- something she had never done anything like in her life- and even this proceeded very well, as I kept in touch with her by cell phone until time for me to board the plane! Changed planes in Dallas: no problems! Changed planes again in Tokyo: no problem! Reached Manila right on time (9:55 P.M. June 18), and the only thing that would approach being a problem was that my luggage was very nearly the last off the plane -- which would occur every flight I took this trip! Don’t know exactly why.

When I reached Manila, had no problem connecting with Bro. Rey Monceller, making it then to the hotel about 12:30 A.M. on July 19; and got to bed about 30 minutes later, after approximately 18 hours of actual flying time, and approximately 7 hours layover time in Dallas and Tokyo. This left me all of about two hours to rest before time to leave the hotel for our first conference on June 19.

Also as usual, as this trip begins I am wondering if my Lord will bless this time as usual, praying fervently that He will! I am very happy to report that not only did God bless as usual, but at times it seemed that the blessings went beyond the usual -- the usual being beyond my expectations! I am learning more and more what the apostle means when he says that God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”!

Also as usual, with a few exceptions the places we held conferences were places where we had never been before, with most of the participants being also new to the doctrines that we refer to as “doctrines of grace”; but also as usual, our God opened the hearts and minds of the majority of the people to not only receive these truths, but to greatly rejoice in them! Of most of the places where we hold these conferences, these doctrines are the foundational truths we preach for two reasons: first, because these are foundational to all other truth; and second because these people for the most part have never heard them.

I have been questioned by some as to why we preach these doctrines everywhere; and whether we preach any other doctrines. I can only say that the development of our preaching these truths everywhere came about the very same way this ministry came about in the first place; namely, this was not planned in any way, but we have simply followed the direction in which God has led us. As the pastors hear of these truths from others who have attended one of these conferences, they are requesting us to come to preach these truths to them -- and we do not believe we can refuse! As I have said at other times, I was not seeking to do any kind of foreign work; and since beginning neither I, nor the men who work with me, have ever asked to go anywhere, rather they have asked us -- and now, as always, we already have more requests to come than we can accommodate in the three week periods my passport allows me to be in the islands; and even though the native pastors conduct several of these conferences in my absence, yet we cannot keep up with all the requests! During this trip we held 18 Conferences, and three Sunday services, in 21 different cities, on four different islands, in 19 days.

I will also say that preaching these doctrines in this fashion has been a most blessed and profitable experience to me, and my fellow servants, as well as to those to whom we preach! Ever since I was shown these truths, I have rejoiced in them; but since preaching them as we do in the islands, I have grown to see more perfectly the fullness of the glory of God in them, and in the glory of His grace and mercy! I have grown to understand that there is no gospel preached except that which is preached according to the truth that God is sovereign in His salvation; in other words, that “salvation is of the Lord” -- as Jonah confessed after being in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights!

I have realized more perfectly that these doctrines are indeed “the doctrine of Christ”; and that to preach these doctrines is to preach “Christ, and him crucified”! For instance, there is no better scripture any where found than Isaiah 53 to preach Christ, and him crucified; which scripture also erased for all time whatever questions I might have had concerning these truths!!! I have been made to understand that the scriptures are replete with these truths from Genesis 1:1, to Revelation 22:21; and not only this, but that in preaching these truths, you cover nearly all other scriptures and/or doctrines; and not just cover them, but reveal the height, and width, and depth of them! Indeed, may I be so bold as to encourage the pastors that read this to try preaching these doctrines every Sunday for as long as there is found fresh scriptures to teach them, and different truths to be found therein? Both myself, and those to whom I preach, have been amazed at the truths to be found in just a few verses of Genesis chapters two, and three; and what a blessing it has been to hear the testimonies of so many who have been encouraged to study and meditate on the wonder and beauty of The Song of Solomon!!!

Once again I will be forwarding daily reports of this trip, so I will close this introductory letter by saying that it is the sovereignty of God that has been the focus of this ministry from the time I received the first letter from one of the native Filipino pastors in July of 1998, to the conclusion of this fourteenth trip to these islands; and as I receive grace, it will continue so!

Both myself, and Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, are most thankful for the prayers of those who love us, and join with us in rejoicing in what God is doing; and although w do not actively seek it, we are especially thankful for those who join in this ministry by any financial means! May our God richly bless all of you for your love toward us, and to your brethren in this foreign land!

As always, it is only by His amazing grace that we here remain with all saints in faith, hope, and charity;

Paul Jordan

Pastor/Missionary

 



Bulacan - Luzon Philippines
 

PHILIPPINE MISSION REPORT

JUNE 19, 2008 -- BULACAN, LUZON

After arriving at the hotel at 12:30 this morning from Houston, we left the hotel at 3:30 on the way to the first Conference in Bulacan, north of Manila, at Mag-Asawaing Sapa, which means “Husband and Wife River”. After picking up pastors Edgar, Eli, and Willey at the Jolibee Restaurant, we arrive at the Church of Christ, the host church (An independent church, not affiliated in any way with The Church of Christ denomination.) at 7:30, and are immediately introduced to the host pastor, Pastor Jun Del Rosario, as well as many others who are already there.

After picking up the pastors mentioned above, they immediately begin to express their thankfulness for the truths they have learned since the first Conference we held in Bulacan two years ago at Jesus Leef (Jesus Lives) Church. If memory serves me correctly, this was the fifth conference these men have attended, including the one at Jesus Leef; and they are quite enthusiastic in their joy in these truths, saying that they become more and more clear each time. In fact, Bro. Joe Mateo; the pastor of Jesus Leef; and the brethren mentioned above, have designated themselves as “our team” to help spread the truths they so much joy in!

Bro. Rey Monceller and myself were the only ones preaching today. We would normally have had with us Bro. Rolando Mendoza; but for whatever reason, Bro. Rey could not get in touch with him. Only hope and pray that all is well with him, and with the church he pastors! Bro. Rey informs me that he will give the introduction this morning, along with the message on Depravity; and that I will be preaching this morning on Unconditional Election, and Limited Atonement. Then in the afternoon, he will preach on Irresistible Grace, and I will have Preservation of the Saints.

After greetings, and breakfast, the services begin about 8:30. As is usual, the attention is good, but not much enthusiasm as for the most part the participants are new to these truths, and are at first just listening, and weighing what they are hearing. However, also as usual it is not long before they begin to warm up to the messages, and begin to express their appreciation. In almost every case, though, there are a few who do not find any joy in these things; and this meeting is no exception, as there is one pastor, and one woman, who are very adamantly opposed to them. This begins to show in the afternoon messages, as they interrupt a couple of times; but really comes out in the question and answer session with follows the preaching.

Once again, though, our God shows Himself faithful in stopping the mouths of the gainsayers; and although it appeared these two were still opposed to these truths, yet the pastor comes to me after the close of the meeting to shake hands. As for the others, they all come by to express their thankfulness. Pastor Del Rosario warmly encouraged us to return, as did one woman from the church of the opposing pastor!

Leaving this place at 6:30, we arrive back at the hotel at 9:30; and I am in bed right at 10:30. Many blessings from my God and Saviour today; and if this is any indication of things to come, then I am very much looking forward to the rest of the trip! “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

 



Guindulman, Bohol Philippines
 

PHILIPPINE DIARY JUNE/JULY 2008

JUNE 20 -- GUINDULMAN, BOHOL

Left the hotel for the airport by taxi with Bro. Rey Monceller at 3:45 A.M., and arrived at the airport at 4:20 A.M., the traffic being light this time of the morning -- but you never know, so better to be a little early, than late! My flight leaves on time at 5:30 (Bro. Rey usually goes with me on these trips, but this time he cannot schedule the seminary classes he teaches in such a way to allow him to be gone.); and arrive at Tagbilaran City, on the island of Bohol at 6:15. I am met there by Bro. Emilio Boloron, and his wife, Sis. Nenen; Bro. Joshua Gubal; Bro. Epefinio Tacatani; Bro Mario Omila; and Sis. Aurelia Dabatos, her dad, and most of her children. All of these brothers are pastors, Bro. Boloron on Bohol; Bro. Omila on Dauis; Bro. Gubal, and Bro. Tacatani are here from Panabo, on the island of Mindanao for the conference to be held at Ubay, Bohol, and on Monday at Cebu City, on the island of Cebu; and Sis. Dabatos and family are part of a church meeting in their house. I am informed that Bro. Miro, another pastor on Bohol, would like to be with us, but has to work today.

Bro. Boloron has rented a van for us to use today, and tomorrow. Leaving the airport, we go first to get some money changed, where we are met by Bro. Tiansay, who pastors a little church on the island of Panglao, as well as preaching at the house of Sis. Dabatos. We then go to a little independent hotel, owned by some friends of Bro. Tiansay; and who are professed Christians. After checking in, I call Dorothy. I called her from the airport at Manila, but could not understand much for all the noise in the terminal. As I said in the introductory letter, she drove herself from the airport in Houston, to our son’s house in Floresville, near San Antonio. The day after she arrived there, her blood pressure went very high, and pulse rate very low; had dizziness and nausea; but says she is much better today. A great relief to me -- and only the first of many things which my Lord will work to ensure that this trip not only takes place, but is not hindered! (She was also supposed to drive back home the following weekend, but the children would not allow her to do it!)

It is quite rainy today due to the approaching typhoon. We leave the hotel at 8:00 A.M. for the 80 KM drive to Guindulman, and the church of Pastor Tinampay where today’s conference will be held. The church building is a concrete floor of about 25 feet square, with a tin roof. The services begin about 10:00, with about 30 people attending in spite of the rain. I am the only one preaching today, and preach from about 10:30, to noon. A break is then taken for lunch. I resume preaching at 1:00, and preach for another 30 to 40 minutes; and although there are no questions from the group, Bro. Gubal; Bro. Tacatani; and Bro. Omila discuss some general objections, during which time I am called on for some clarifying remarks. There has been a general agreement expressed though out the session, along with some comments from individuals; so being satisfied that our message is received and understood, we depart back to Tagbilaran at 4:00, arriving at the hotel by 6:00.

“When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”



Ubay, Bohol Philippines
 

PHILIPPINE DIARY JUNE/JULY 2008

JUNE 21 -- UBAY, BOHOL

Set my alarm for 5:00 A.M.; but am awakened during the night by howling winds -- like what we call in East Texas a Blue Norther! I lie awake for quite some time. Too dark to see the clock, so decide to get up to turn the light on -- if there is any power! The light does come on; and since I think it is nearly time to get up anyway, I get ready for the day -- after which I look at the clock closer (although there is light, it is very dim), only to find out it is an hour earlier than I first thought! It seems that when I am on one of these trips, even when I can sleep, I can’t sleep! So I read, pray, and meditate until the power does fail. As it turns out, it is a good thing I got ready when I did, as from about 5:00 until we leave for Ubay at about 6:00, there are no lights at all! (I also find out later that the typhoon blew water into the room where Bro. Gubal and Tacatani were.)

The howling wind was the typhoon passing through; and as we drive toward Ubay -- on the opposite end of the island -- the road is strewn with debris, leaves, and limbs. Thankfully most of the limbs are small; and although there are many fallen trees, only one is large enough to be a hindrance; and it was lying in such a way that by running one side of the van over the very top, there was just enough room for us to get by without going into the ditch. Once again God has His way, even in the whirlwind, and we pass safely to our destination! It has rained on us all the way, but by the time we reach Ubay, the clouds are trying to break up.

The conference was originally to have been held on the little island of Pitogo, just off the northern end of Bohol; but due to very high seas (Which caused a ship on it’s way from Manila to Cebu City to capsize, with the loss of over eight hundred lives!), it was moved to Ubay. Also, because of the seas, all boats from Bohol to Cebu have been canceled, so this is now our only concern lest we have to cancel the conference at Cebu City on Monday.

The conference begins shortly after 9:00, with myself, Bro. Gubal, and Bro. Tacatani doing the preaching. God is very good, giving much liberty to preach; and judging by the reception, giving much liberty to those attending to hear! Being confident, therefore, that God has granted success, we depart Uban at 4:00, arriving back at the hotel in Tagbilaran at 7:00.

I am first met there by Sis. Aurelia Dabatos requesting a time to talk to me. This lasts for some 30 minutes, during which time she tells me of her financial needs, especially that she needs P3,600.00 to pay the fees for her eldest daughter, Bethel Luz, to take her college exams. (The schools here will allow students to study without paying their tuition, but they cannot take the tests until they pay; and if they do not take the tests, they cannot get their degree.) Sis. Dabatos is the widow of Bro. Marlon Dabatos, who was killed in a bicycle accident several years ago. We have been helping her financially each month since. Bethel Luz is studying to be a nurse; and since it is my hope that she will then be able to take care of her mother, and siblings, I promise to send for her the needed money.

Afterward I go to the hotel dining room, where I eat some pineapple and watermelon. The owner invites me to eat from the buffet, but I decline, not being very hungry. While I eat, Bro. Gubal and Bro. Tacatani come. The owner now insists that I at least eat some soup, and proceeds to dish me a bowl. I eat it, and find it to be very delicious!

Back at the room, I find out from the news that the typhoon has hit southern Mindanao very hard, causing considerable flooding in some parts, along with landslides. Since we are to be in this area within the next few days, I pray that we will not be hindered. I call Dorothy to make sure she is not worried, if she has seen the news about the typhoon; and since we nearly always use boats and/or ships, to let her know that I was not on the one that capsized. I watch the news for a while; but about 10:20 I find myself falling to sleep, so I go to bed.

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.”

 



Loon, Bohol Philippines
 

PHILIPPINE DIARY JUNE/JULY 2008

JUNE 22 -- LOON, BOHOL

After going to bed last night, I wake up some time during the morning, and lie awake for what seemed like hours, praying and meditating about the message for today. Finally get up to check the time -- clock said 3:30! Go back to bed, where I continue to pray and meditate until about 5:30.. Get up then to look up some verses of scripture; after which I get ready for the day. After getting ready, write notes on yesterday’s activities. Then I pack; read; and settle up the hotel bill until time to leave for Loon at 7:30.

We arrive at Loon about 8:30. The meeting place is a house (way off the road) which the host pastor; Bro. Mission; has rented for P8,000.00 per year; and in which the church meets. Actually, he lives with his family in Tagbilaran during the week, where he holds Bible studies. He then brings his family to Loon on the weekends, where he visits houses in the surrounding area, and then holds church services on Sunday. There are no roads, or streets, to the house, just paths; so we walk from the highway to the house. (As a side note, a few months before, Bro. Mission’s wife had complications in the delivery of their son -- who they named “Zion” -- and had to be taken to the hospital. Because of their financial difficulties, we sent them P10,000.00 to help pay the hospital bill -- for which they thanked me over and over again. Indeed it is a greater blessing to give, than to receive!)

There are just a few people when we arrive; and I actually did not expect many to come to this place, it being so isolated. However, they keep coming; and by the time services begin at 9:30, the house is full; ladies are in the kitchen; the porch is full; and some are standing outside. Could not even begin to be able to count them, but had to be 70 or 80. Reminds me again of Burgos Street Church, where Bro. Boloron pastors -- always an overflow crowd! (We did not have services at Burgos Street this trip, much to my disappointment as this is one of the places I always seems to enjoy much liberty, and where we always have sweet fellowship!)

The services, as well as the fellowship before and after were just tremendously enjoyed! Not only did God give much liberty -- in spite of the fact that I had to preach in somewhat an unnatural tone in order for those outside to hear -- but had the opportunity to talk with, and share with, so many on an individual basis. The faces of the people told of their attention; and their voices told of their edification!!! Thanks be to God!!!

Leaving Loon, we go straight to the boat dock, where myself, Bro. Gubal, and Bro. Tacatani will take a boat to Cebu City. There we reluctantly say goodbye to the Bolorons (after promising that I would spend more time on Bohol next trip, God willing), The Dabatos family, and others. We go into the terminal, and purchase our tickets. (The boats have resumed operation only this very afternoon, so that we do not have to cancel the conference at Cebu City! One more evidence to us that our Lord is directing our way!) Shortly, Bro. Omila and Bro. Tiansay come. I have an interesting visit with them for about an hour, during which time they talk about their trials, their fears; their hopes, and their struggles. The love and faithfulness of these people in the face of so much hardship first amazes me; and then it shames me! That is why it is so difficult for me to deny any of their requests for aid, even if I scarcely have the means to accommodate them!!!

Our boat leaves at 4:00 P.M.; and the seas are very rough, causing the boat to roll from side to side some 30 degrees or so. It does calm down some during the middle of the trip, but resumes about thirty minutes before we reach Cebu City with both heavy seas, and driving rain. We reach Cebu City, though, safely about 5:45. Bro. Ronie Tacatani; Pastor at Buena Vista, Bohol, and host pastor of the conference at Ubay, and the one to be held at Cebu City; was to meet us at the terminal at Cebu City; and had made hotel reservations for us. (Bro. Ronie had come over from Bohol on Sunday morning, leaving from a port on Bohol farther north from Tagbilaran. Nevertheless, when he tried to get a boat, he was told that none was sailing that day. He insisted that God intended for him to be at the church in Cebu City on Sunday to preach, and the authorities released a boat! He arrived at the door of the church in Cebu City just as the man leading the services had decided that he was not going to make it, and was about to call on someone else to preach!) However, Bro. Ronie thought we were taking the SuperCat boat, and instead we were on Weesam. Consequently we could not make connections.

Meanwhile it is raining; and thankfully Bro. Adelmo Obien, who lives in Cebu City, and is to join us here and on Mindanao, did meet us with a van; and since we could not make connections with Bro. Ronie, we made the decision to go to the Mercedes Hotel, where I always stay when at Cebu City.

After checking into the hotel, we go across the street for a bite to eat. We then go back to the hotel; and just as I walk into the lobby the desk clerk says I have a phone call. It is Bro. Ronie; and he gives me a number where Bro. Epefinio can reach him. When Bro. Epefinio comes, I give him the number; he calls Bro. Ronie; and after hanging up, he tells me Bro. Ronie wants to come to the hotel to talk to me.

After this, we go to our rooms, where I wait until 10:40, but Bro. Ronie never shows up. I call the room where the others are, and Bro. Epefinio tells me he has not heard any more from Bro. Ronie. So after I hang up, I get ready, and go to bed -- very tired, but also very blessed!!! I find out the next day that due to the weather, Bro. Ronie could not get transportation to the hotel. Such is life in the Philippines!

“And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.”



Cebu City Cebu Philippines
 

PHILIPPINE DIARY JUNE/JULY 2008

JUNE 23 -- CEBU CITY, CEBU

Wake up this morning at 4:20, and get up to get ready for the day at 4:45. After getting ready, write up some notes for the diary; and after this try to estimate the expenses for the rest of the trip to see if I have enough money with me. At 6:30 I go with the others across the street to the little restaurant, where they eat breakfast while we talk about different things pertaining to the trip. After breakfast I go back to my room, where Bro. Ronie Tacatani comes for a visit before services begin this morning. I considered it a good, and profitable, visit as he gives what is really a personal testimony concerning his faith and dependence on God for his needs, and that of the churches he ministers to. In yesterday’s diary I already told of his experience with the boat coming from Bohol; and about how he was just able to make it to the church service here in Cebu just as the leader gives up on his coming.

Time to go to the meeting place of the church where today’s conference will be held ends our visit. Arriving at the church meeting place, the services begin at 9:30. Bro. Gubal gives a 20 minute introduction, and then calls on me to preach. I preach until 12:10, and then break for lunch. Cannot get a good read on the congregation at this point except that they give very intensive attention. Very unusual, but today there is an American man in the congregation. He is originally from Washington D.C.; and in August he and his Filipino wife are going back there. I am especially interested to see how he receives the messages.

Lunch break lasts until 1:00, after which I am called on to preach again. Preach this time until 3:00, after which I answer questions for an hour or so. After this a few songs are sung, and prayer offered as the services come to a close. By this time I am beginning to realize that my Lord has once again bestowed grace upon the hearers; but it is only after the close of services that I realize the full extent. As soon as services are dismissed, people -- including the American (George Miller) -- begin to stream to the front to express their joy and thankfulness. One woman comes; and comes again; and comes again with tears of joy and thanks in her eyes, and telling me that I especially sent from God!

The church members include a middle aged medical doctor, and a retired chief of police. These two are especially sober during the messages; and afterward have several questions; but by the end, they both are very vocal in expressing their approval of the messages; and the retired chief of police shows a definite change in demeanor from what I would describe as melancholy, and even somewhat bitter (At one point, in trying to illustrate God’s love for His son Jesus, I asked him if he did not love his son enough that he would give his life for him; to which he quickly and decisively answered “No!” It was very obvious that something was drastically wrong, but I never found out what.) to joy and peace! I cannot say for absolute sure, but I have good reason to believe that the woman above was the policeman’s wife. Also, Eric, another young man who was introduced to me as a leader in the church came to me with questions about sin, sanctification, and salvation; and by the grace of God he testified that the counsel I gave very much comforted him.

Leaving for the boat dock -- along with several of the people -- we arrive there about 5:00. Our boat does not sail until 8:00, so we must wait in a very hot and stuffy -- crowded with people -- terminal where not a breath of air can be felt. It is a very long wait; but when we finally get on the ship, I am blessed and thankful to find that the men have elected to spend about another P150.00 each to get us on a deck that is air conditioned.

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.”



Cagayan De Oro City Mindanao Philippines
 

PHILIPPINE DIARY JUNE/JULY 2008

JUNE 24 -- CAGAYAN de ORO, MINDANAO

As stated in yesterday’s report, we boarded the boat to a very welcome air conditioned deck; but however inviting the air conditioning was, the “mattress” on the bunk was quite uncomfortable. Consequently, I did not rest well at all! Woke up at 12:30 aching, and only dozed off and on until getting up at 5:00. We arrived at the port at 6:00; and were off the boat by 6:30. Bro. Tacatani has a cab already lined up, but we have to wait for it to arrive until about 7:00. The actual meeting place today is Malitbog, a mountain village about 10 to 12 miles out of Cagayan.

Leaving the dock, we first stop to eat breakfast (Five people eat a full breakfast for the equivalent of about $12.00.), and then proceed to Malitbog; and the meeting begins shortly after we arrive. The service begins with songs and prayer, after which Bro. Tacatani gives a brief introduction. They then call on me to preach; and I preach for an hour and a half, until it is time to break for lunch. It is truly amazing; and wonderfully gratifying; to see the expressions on the faces, and to hear the exclamations of joy, as the truth dawns!!!

During the lunch break, Bro. Dexter Malud (One of my most trusted, and gifted, fellow servants!), and Bro. Arnie Gamilong (A young man who I am confident will be greatly used of God in this ministry. This is the first time he has accompanied us on one of these journeys, although I first met him during my third trip to the islands in August of 1999. This will be the beginning of his training in this particular area of ministry. He currently pastors the church in General Santos City, along with being the main pastor in a Bible Training School there.) arrive from Digos, and General Santos City, along with the van we have rented for the rest of this trip on Mindanao. It is a great joy to see them both; and a joy to anticipate their help!

After lunch, Bro. Dexter also preaches for an hour and a half to this amazed group! Then Bro. Tacatani calls on me to preach again, but states that we are supposed to leave by 3:00. Since this would only leave me about 20 minutes, my first thing is to warn them that that schedule will not be kept. (His reason is that we have quite a ways to go after the services in order to reach the place where we will spend the night.) So I preach for about 50 minutes until I am satisfied that the message we came to deliver is complete. The people are happy about this; and after a few questions, the meeting adjourns. Once again, people come to express their joy and thanks; and here again there is one woman, and one pastor, who come to say they think we are especially sent by God!

Leaving Malitbog, we first have to go back into Cagayan so Bro. Gubal can find an ATM machine; and I take advantage of this to exchange some money. After this, we are on our way to Valencia City, where we will spend the night. Immediately upon leaving Cagayan, we start into the mountains; and immediately get behind some big trucks. These trucks are always one of the hinderances, as well as the hazards, of driving these roads; for first they can barely creep up these mountain roads; and second, the only way to get around them is to pass them on a curve -- which our driver does at the first opportunity! Nevertheless, it is a very tedious drive to Valencia City, finally making it there about 9:00.

Upon reaching Valencia City, we eat supper at a little open air eatery that is familiar to us; then proceed to a little hotel which is also familiar to us. By the time we get to our rooms, it is 10:45. I take a very welcome shower; write up the day’s notes; and finally to bed.

“Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.”



San Fernando, Mindanao
 

PHILIPPINE DIARY JUNE/JULY 2008

JUNE 25 -- SAN FERNANDO, MINDANAO

To bed this morning shortly after midnight; awake at 4:00; up at 5:15; leave the hotel at 5:45; reaching San Fernando at 7:00. San Fernando is another mountain village, some 20 miles out of Valencia City. Although the road is very rough, thankfully only about the last five or six miles is actually through the mountains.

Arriving at San Fernando, breakfast is served, and we visit until the services begin at 9:00. Bro. Gubal again gives a brief introduction, before I am called on to preach. I preach on the sovereign, almighty power of God, as well as Depravity. Once again great liberty is enjoyed both for me to preach, and for the people to hear. Bro. Dexter then follows with a message on Election, again enjoying much liberty, along with the hearers! We are already blessed beyond what we expected!

We then break for lunch, after which one couple, along with their three children (ranging in age about four, six, and twelve), and the woman’s brother, perform tribal dance, dressed in their tribal dress. Although these people have given up their superstitions and idol worship, yet they maintain some of their customs, in order to maintain their identity with their tribes. Very interesting.

Bro. Gamilong then preaches on Limited Atonement. I am very pleased with the message -- both from the standpoint of content and delivery. As I stated in the report of June 24, this is the first time Bro. Gamilong has been traveling with us in this ministry; but this is the third time I have heard him preach. The two times before, he has been very timid, and lacked content; but this time he seems to be very confident, and his message well defined. I consider this another gift, and blessing, from God!

After Bro. Gamilong, I close out with Preservation of the Saints, among other thoughts. As I have stated before, I almost always use different scriptures, even when preaching the same truths; and this is no exception. I had been casting about in my mind for a fresh scripture; and was looking for a certain scripture; but God gave me Isa. 54. Needless to say, with the scripture He also gave liberty to preach so that His blood bought sheep were edified!

Leaving San Fernando, we now have to retrace our way back to Cagayan, and then turn east to Butuan. So after leaving San Fernando about 3:15, we arrive at Butuan about 10:30, after driving through rain most of the way. It has been another long, and tiring day, but the rewards are also great!!! We once again left a happy and thankful people, asking for our return!

“He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.”



BUTUAN, MINDANAO
 

PHILIPPINE DIARY JUNE/JULY 2008

JUNE 26 -- BUTUAN, MINDANAO

Relatively good night’s sleep: to bed by 11:00, and up at 5:15. Men want to eat at 8:00, so I study from 6:30 to 7:45, again amazed at how God directs to just the right scriptures. Today He directs me to Psalms 52 -- perfect for showing depravity!

After breakfast, we check out, and proceed to the meeting place -- which is down a dirt “road”, little more than a path. The meeting place is a plain building, but neat and clean, made of concrete block; which is a major building component here. It is off the road about 100 yards, through tall grass all around.

Upon first arriving, I thought this was going to be a disaster, as our party outnumbered the locals by three. The host pastor begins the services anyway at 9:30 with singing. I am seated on the front row with my back to the door; so I am surprised when I turn around later, and see about 30 people present, and more come later.

Bro. Adel gives an introduction, and then calls on Bro. Dexter to preach. Bro. Dexter preaches with authority for about one hour and forty five minutes. I am very much blessed! I then preach for about another hour. Although there was agreement expressed from time to time throughout the messages, yet there doesn’t appear to be any great enthusiasm as in most cases. (As I look back, if there was any time of disappointment during this trip, this would have to be it.) Did they really agree? Or was it just that they could not find any way to disagree?

We break for lunch at 1:00; and by 1:45 we are preparing to leave. Now there are many who do come to express their thanks, with some asking us to return. There was one elderly man who came by with whom I was particularly impressed that he had been truly blessed. There was a very blessed and quite sincerity in his voice, and a firmness in his handshake!

Although the meeting place was not at his church, Bro. Burgones was considered the host pastor; and before we left Butuan, he wanted us to come by his place to see his church building. Turns out that he has a new, and very large, building; and very ornate by Filipino standards, being supported by a religious group in America. As I look on his bulletin board, I find that he expects to “Win Butuan For Jesus” -- just the opposite to the general theme that he has just heard us preaching! The question is, did he understand what he just heard? And if so, will he give this up for the sake of the truth? Many of these people do give up a great deal for the truth’s sake, but I am not so confident concerning him!

We leave Butuan, and reach the house of the host pastor for the conference in Surigo; Bro. Anthony Dacena; about 4:30. Bro. Tony is not home, so we visit with Mrs. Dacena for about 25 minutes until he returns. He then accompanies us to the place where we will spend the night; and the place where we will also hold tomorrow’s conference. This has been a relatively easy day, and I actually have some time to rest, and watch some television, as I do not accompany the others to supper. Rather, tonight I eat some Vienna Sausage I have brought along, with some crackers I buy at this place.

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.”



SURIGAO CITY, MINDANAO
 

PHILIPPINE DIARY JUNE/JULY 2008

JUNE 27 -- SURIGAO CITY, MINDANAO

Called Dorothy last night, and she said I sounded tired: tonight I really feel tired -- mostly from the five hour plus trip from Surigao to Tandag over what can only be described as a road in the sense that there were no obstacles large enough to keep us from finally passing over!

Had a very short meeting at Surigao in terms of time, but am thankful that it was at least enough to whet their appetites! My Lord was very merciful and gracious to again put together thoughts; bring those thoughts out supported with scripture; and bless the hearts of the people. After about a 45 minute introduction by Bro. Dexter Malud, I preached for about an hour. After I sat down, I could hear the people talking, but could not make out what they were saying. Bro. Dexter informed me that they were saying that they hoped we could come back, and stay for two or three days! What a blessing this is to think about!

After I preach, Bro. Arnie Gamilong follows. I can see a great deal of maturity in him; and more and more I am convinced that it was the right decision, and right time, to bring him along on these journeys. After Bro. Arnie, Bro. Dexter preaches again. We then break for lunch; and after lunch, the meeting is adjourned. I could hardly finish eating for men coming by wanting to talk. I did not finish until several minutes after everyone else was through; but their joy is my blessing, and my “meat”!

Special note: The providence of God -- again! Before the service began this morning, there was a knock at my door. I opened to find our driver standing there with the wheel bearings out of both front wheels of our van in his hands. Both wheel bearings are coming apart, and must be replaced before we can continue on. But why here, and now? Why not yesterday when we were in the middle of nowhere? Or the night before in the rain? And even now where will we find a mechanic? Why, in the very same building where we have slept, and where we have our meeting! And what does it cost? P1180.00, or not quite $27.00. So, long before our meeting is over, the van is repaired!

Note: Since I have returned home, we have been able to send Bro. Dexter back to Tandag, at their request. He has also visited Trento, and Surigao. By God’s grace, I will be blessed to return!

“But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.”