Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Margosatubig & Pagadian

An internet signal was not readily valuable while in Pagadian, but there is another reason I have delayed reporting on Monday and Tuesday’s activities until I got back to Manila. My hope is that a fuller explanation will minimize concerns which I believe are needless. Leslie has been fully aware of the situation as it unfolded.

When the schedule for this trip was made, it was deemed essential to go to Margosatubig in Zambuanga del Sur. For many years, Ernesto Canon has been a leading proponent of the “One Covenant Doctrine” among Filipino brethren and has been based out of Margosatubig. Ernesto is a follower of two American brethren, Jim Puterbaugh and Wallace Little, who have taught the “One Covenant” doctrine here in the Philippines for years. Bot Hayuhay has also been a helper to those teaching this doctrine. He came about the time I was in the area to hold a meeting in support of Ernesto and those adhering to the “One Covenant” doctrine. As I understand it, about half of the people formerly in the congregation with Ernesto have now left.

The “One Covenant” doctrine denies the “old covenant” of Moses and the “new covenant” of Christ (the Gospel) are two different covenants. I claims they are actually the same “one covenant” that God has always had with all men of all times. The application of the doctrine leads one into numerous inherently sinful practices just as it has in the denominational world that largely denies the distinction between the covenants. Shortly before I started this trip, I was contacted by Neil Canon, a son of Ernesto, as well as other brethren in the area. They all reported that Neil had repudiated the “One Covenant” doctrine of his father and wanted to be restored to a right relationship with the Lord and faithful brethren.

The degree of the division and conflict brought about by the “One Covenant” doctrine and its proponents in this area would be hard to overestimate. Faithful brethren from the Philippines and the U.S. who have preached in this area before have all taught repeated lessons exposing the error and have challenged its proponents for public discussions. The leading ones advancing this error have consistently refused open discussion, instead using deceptive and carnal tactics in their efforts. Let me pause to note that I have never known Neil to be involved in such actions. In fact, he has continued to show openness towards several faithful brethren who have always believed Neil could be reached. That confidence was validated when Neil made it known that he wanted to make clear his change. The character of opposition to truth has also been clearly exposed in very recent days as Neil has been threatened with harm for his stand in repudiating the “One Covenant” doctrine. Brethren in this area thought that it would be helpful for me to come and preach on topics related to “Fellowship,” including how it is extended and restored when broken. That provides part of the backdrop to the situation.

After arriving in Pagadian, however, we had a change in the situation that caused some concerns. Several men in Jonathan’s extended family are present or former police officials. One is presently with the Philippine National Police and was assigned to give an escort to American “missionaries” and an American Catholic priest going to Margosatubig over the past week. They had intelligence from the Muslim rebel quarters suggesting an increased activity in that area as well as a desire to kidnap an American to raise funds by ransom. The police chief for the area asked that we take an escort as well in order to be safe. In an abundance, or OVER-abundance, of caution, we took Jonathan’s nephew who is a PNP officer as an armed escort. We left earlier than expected and I only stayed a little over three hours, giving the two lessons requested. About 120 were in attendance. I then went back to Pagadian by the same escort while Jonathan remained to summarize my sermons into the dialect and to do further teaching. At no time was there even a hint of danger or threat. Jonathan reports that the rest of the day went very well.

On Tuesday, we had all-day lectures at the building where Ramon Carino and other members of Jonathan’s family labor. I started out with a lesson on “When God Answers ‘No’” and Jonathan followed with a sermon on “When the Cock Crew.” After lunch, I preached a lesson on “The Social Gospel and Institutionalism” at the request of the brethren. After that I followed with the two-part lesson on “The Blood of Christ and Salvation of the Sinner.” At about 5pm, I thought we were wrapping up, but we then started a question/answer session that went on for a long time with a variety of subjects. I never got a count on how many were present, but I think the crowd was larger that the 120 of the previous day. It was a good day and I was happy to see many I have known in years past when I went to the area more frequently.

After numerous travel delays, I arrived Manila this afternoon and will have a day of rest tomorrow before returning home on Friday, the Lord willing. This was not a trip with a large number of baptisms, but I think it was very productive. Having the first opportunity to teach in the main city on Masbate Island was a major step forward in sowing the seed in that new field. Though there were no baptisms in Margosatubig, the open doors there for truth are among the most exciting to me. There was also much needed encouragement given to the brethren on Leyte as we returned to focus on preaching the gospel rather than the benevolent needs of the past year. To each one helping by encouragement, prayers and support, please accept my heart-felt gratitude. Jonathan Carino has also asked that I convey his deep thanks as well. Each of you are every bit as essential in this work as any of us that preach. Without you, these efforts would not be possible. God bless and please keep my travels in your prayers.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lord's Day in Pagadian

Saturday was a long travel day with no preaching schedule. We flew from Tacloban to Cebu and Cebu to Pagadian all on small prop planes. The rides were fairly smooth with the exception of the landing in Pagadian.

My last Lord’s Day in the Philippines this year was spent in Pagadian City. We worshipped with the congregation where much of Jonathan’s family are members. It was great to see brother Ramon Carino and his wonderful wife, Leah, again and have the opportunity to visit with them through the day. Jonathan is one of 13 children born to brother Ramon and sister Leah! All of the children show a great love and respect for their parents and are very attentive to them. In an age where a lack of care for parents is seen as being no problem, it is refreshing to see such care and concern for parents by Christians who take seriously their responsibility. In fact, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren show the same love, respect and care. They are a great family whom I love dearly!

The brethren have built a new building in a different place than when I was here before. They said they began meeting there in July, though it still needs some windows and doors. It was very comfortable for worship. I preached in the first period of worship on “Defeating the Devil” from 1 Peter 5:8-9. Jonathan brought the study in the next part, teaching a part of his lesson on “Why Are People Lost?” The brethren of the congregation showed excellent attention to the lessons and were obviously enthusiastic in their participation in worship offered to the Lord.

After lunch, we came back for an afternoon session wherein I had been requested to preach of the work of elders and related matters. There are five elders serving in the congregation. The lessons were not suggested due to a problem present, but merely for further study and instruction. I preached in the first lesson on “The Work of Elders” showing the terms used, what they suggested about the work and other passages identifying the work of elders. Some time was spent on the Shepherd Psalms as well as other Bible passages talking about the qualities of physical shepherds and drawing parallels to the work of spiritual shepherds in the local church. The second study was on “The Responsibilities of the Local Church to the Elders.” By the time we headed home, it was already getting dark, so it was a full day.

It is difficult bordering on impossible to get a connection good enough to post a report from here in Pagadian. I will probably post reports for the remaining two days here from Manila on Wednesday, the Lord willing.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday in Tacloban

Friday was our last day on Leyte with preaching scheduled for the day at the meeting place of the brethren where Nilo Zabala preaches. The meeting place is far off of the road down a dirt path that has footbridges spanning two sharp drop-offs. Since it was raining today, the path was muddy and very slippery. Several individuals gave funds for the congregation to erect a small building after the place where they met was wiped out by Yolanda. They have built a small structure from simple concrete block, but it has no lights or electrical power at this time. Some extension cords brought power from next door so we could have the projector and a fan.

After several songs being sung while we set up, I gave the first lesson on “Repentance and Its Works.” This lesson was requested by the brethren as they wanted to day’s teaching geared specifically towards the brethren and their needs in edification. It dealt with the need to live lives of holiness and eliminate the use of intoxicants, immodest dress, sexual immorality, gambling and other sinful conduct. Those attending were all Christians from several congregations in the area. I would guess attendance to be about 60 or so, but I am not at all sure that is an accurate count. After that lesson, Jonathan Carino summarized into the dialect because most could not speak English.

While getting towards the end of the first lesson, I started to feel worse. I was sick through much of the night, but was able to get going this morning, though not feeling normal. I decided I would preach another lesson before lunch because I was afraid I might not be able to make it through the afternoon. So, I preached a lesson on “Assembling to Worship and Edifying One Another.” I vaguely remember getting to the end of the lesson, but I evidently passed out across a chair and table as I went to sit down. The next thing I knew, a nurse that was a member of the congregation was rubbing something on my forehead and neck while having something under my nose to bring me to. (The nurse is the lady in the black and white stripped shirt to the left in this picture.) I think it was a combination of the sickness I have been fighting together with heat and exhaustion, but I feel better this evening. I am still not up to eating solid food yet, but I have taken in a great deal of fluids and some soup.

The Lord willing, we will fly from Tacloban to Cebu tomorrow morning and on to Pagadian tomorrow afternoon. We have no preaching scheduled due to the travel, so I will have some time to recover more. God bless!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Two Baptized in Sogod

We had a drive of over two and a half hours in a rented van to reach our destination today. Several days ago, we changed our original plan to drive from Ormoc to Sogod this morning due to problems in securing a rented van. In recent years before Typhoon Yolanda, we could easily rent a van for 3000 pesos a day (about $68) — often far less. When I came back in January, we could not get one for less than 6000 pesos a day. When the brethren tried to get one for this trip taking us by Ormoc, the prices ranged from 12,000 to 15,000 pesos per day! Brother Nilo, who preaches in Tacloban, found one for 5500 per day and we booked it. With all of the torn up roads after the storm, I can understand why they want more money, but it requires greater effort for us to make sure we stretch our dollars as far as we can.

Upon arriving Sogod, we went on to a very narrow and rough, dare I say “narrow and straightened” :-), road which we followed for several miles. We came to a place where some tarps were spread below coconut palms and saw about 50 gathered there. They were the members of the church in that community. The number grew to 80, but I will have further comments on the number later. Rather than using the time to preach mostly to outsiders, they asked us to preach lessons that would help them become stronger in the faith and grow in the understanding about what was expected of them as Christians. So, I preached a lesson on “Repentance and Godly Living.” Jonathan spent the rest of the morning session “summarizing” and further expanding on the lesson in the dialect to deal with specific needs of those in this culture. There were probably only 3 or 4 that fully understood the lesson in English when I gave it, so the greater need was for Jonathan to take the time necessary in preaching the principles and applications in the dialect.

After lunch, we followed the same plan. I preached a lesson on “Attitudes towards Assembling” from Hebrews 10:19-25. Jonathan then gave the summary and further explanations needed to get the study across in the dialect to the crowd.
When he finished the summary of my lesson, Jonathan preached one in the dialect in order to make the best use of our remaining time. He preached on “Why Are People Lost or Saved?” After Jonathan’s lesson, an invitation was extended and two responded to obey the gospel. They were taken to a nearby place to baptize them.

The day was mostly overcast during the morning hours, but the sun came out strong in the afternoon while the air was dripping with humidity. There was rarely a breeze of any kind, so it became intensely hot by the time we finished. Even the Filipinos were fanning themselves, wiping their faces with rags and sweating. I was drenched! When I talked with my wife and parents back home, they said it was very cold there. If only we could split the difference between us!

Though I wish it was not necessary, I must report the events faced whether good or bad. Our expectation was for a larger number to be present since a number of the baptized members were not in attendance. Upon further investigation, we received reliable testimony from a plurality of the members that a preacher from Baybay, Cirilo Sumabal, had urged the brethren not to come to the lectures. I will be talking directly to the brother about his motives for such action, but the testimony was clear enough to remove any doubt about the fact of what happened. When we distributed the benevolent help in January of this year, there was an attempt by the same brother to misrepresent the facts about the losses suffered and the number needing benevolence. How sad it is that a newly established congregation has to immediately see such divisiveness on the part of supposed brethren! It was very discouraging to them and so totally needless.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Work in Masbate and on to Leyte (11/10-11/12)

Since I have not had an internet connection since Sunday night, my reports have been delayed. Please excuse this longer report as I catch up with the last three days’ events.


We had a 3am wake-up call this morning to start our trip to Masbate. By 4am, we were at the airport checking in for our flight to Legazpi which is in the Bicol region at the southern end of Luzon. The cancellation of our flight to Masbate necessitated this alternate route. When we landed in Legazpi a little after 6am, I was amazed by the sight awaiting us as we deplaned. I had heard about the beauty of the Mayon volcano there, but had never seen it. I did not expect to be so close to it, nor for it to be even more beautiful than I had heard. It is truly a spectacular sight which cannot be accurately conveyed by a picture. It has also been under warning for eruption for the past 6 weeks.

While I knew we had to go two hours on a fast-craft to get to Masbate, I did not know we had to drive an hour and a half by taxi at break-neck speed, dodging traffic all of the way, in order to get to the port which is in an area far away from the airport. When we got to the boat just before it left at 8am, we found out it was sold out with no tickets available. The next boat was to depart at noon. Taking it would have meant we lost one whole day of teaching, so I suggested we offer double the fare for two wanting to sell their tickets and take the next boat. We finally got tickets and were ready to go.

When we started to get on the boat, I was expecting it to be like the large, dual-hulled fast-crafts that I have taken many times before. Wrong again! It was about the size of a small yacht, but one built in the 40’s and not in very good shape. Onto that boat, about 150 or more people were squeezed in! I sat on a row that would have seated three small people, but it was for four. A bar went down my back about half way between my left side and backbone, while I held on to my two bags stacked in the isle to my right. It was a long two hours and I arrived in pain!

Upon arrival in Masbate City, the luxury tour continued :-). There are no taxis in the city, so I got in the sidecar of the “tricycle,” while Jonathan sat behind the driver on the motorcycle seat with our luggage tied all over it. This was to be our only mode of transportation for the two days there. As you may see on the picture in the blog, I am not exactly the ideal size for the Philippine tricycles. Nevertheless, after a longer ride than I would have liked, we made it to the hotel. Unfortunately, however, it was not the hotel we had asked for, but one substituted by the mistake of a local contact. I am sure I have seen a less clean room somewhere, but I cannot remember when. I assure you that you do not want to see what was on my sheets! One look at the shower confirmed that a fungus was among us. There was so much hair on the floor that one could have made a Dolly Parton wig — except it was black. On the positive side, the lights were so dim it was difficult to see any further details. We had no choice but to stay there one night and switch to another hotel the next day.

Since the brethren knew we would be late due to the alternate travel plans, they arranged for us to start after lunch. The venue was at a Jollibee, the Philippines version of McDonald’s, in the downtown area of Masbate City at an upstairs event room. I preached first on “Salvation and the Seed of God’s Word” from 1 Peter 1:22-25 followed immediately by “God’s Use of Prophets,” a lesson on the inspiration of Scripture. Jonathan then preached his lesson on “Why Are People Lost?” I then gave a final lesson on “Salvation and Saul” that deals with the conversion of Saul, showing he was saved at the point of water baptism (not at the point of faith only, repentance & prayer, a personal appearance of Jesus, or receiving a miracle). There seemed to be very good interest shown by several non-Christians who were visiting. We pray that they will be be back tomorrow as the lectures continue.


The lectures this morning started at 9am. I preached an extended lesson on “The New Testament Church” discussing its nature and how we identify local groups of saints that show the characteristics of those approved by God in the New Testament. Jonathan followed with a lesson on “Grace, Faith and Obedience.” 

After the lunch break, Jonathan continued with the second part of his lesson dealing with “Where Are the Obedient Found?” I then preached on “Cornelius and Salvation” and followed it immediately with a lesson on “The Blood of Christ and the Salvation of the Sinner.” Jonathan followed those lessons with some words of encouragement about the need to obey the gospel as well as the need to count the cost before doing so. He then extended the invitation and three responded to be baptized into Christ for remission of sins.

After the lectures, we went to the new hotel and the hope of a good night’s sleep. My first indication that the plan might not materialize as hoped came when there was a literal swarm of mosquitoes over my bed and in the bathroom. I was offered a different room, which I took, and it had far fewer mosquitoes. When I tried to go to sleep, however, there was a very loud “music” that kept going until almost one o’clock in the morning. Since I had to get up at 4am to get ready for the early flight, I got very little sleep for the second night in a row.


We left for the airport at 5am for our flight back to Manila. The plane was a small Bombardier prop job. It took off on a runway that ran at a noticeable downhill angle ending at the bay. Fortunately, we were off of the runway shortly before meeting the sea. Upon arrival in Manila, we claimed our bags, went upstairs, and checked in for the flight to Cebu on a different airline. On our way to the gate, we ran into Rody and Tessie Gumpad who were flying back to Tuguegarao. After briefly talking with them, we were off on the flight to Cebu. Upon arrival at Cebu, we claimed our bags and hurried upstairs to meet Jonathan’s wife and youngest daughter who had brought our bags left behind. Since the flight to Tacloban was also on a very small plane, we pulled out the dirty clothes, exchanged them for clean ones and hurried to meet our next flight. We made it with a little time to spare and were off on our last leg for the day to Tacloban on Leyte.

When we arrived at Tacloban airport, the pilot made the quickest stop I have ever experienced because half of the runway is still under construction from Super-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). The airport buildings looked far better than last November, immediately after the storm, or even in January when I came for the benevolent distribution. However, I was saddened by the horrible destruction still apparent all over the city. On the drive in from the airport, I counted only four new buildings. Hundreds still showed much damage. Some businesses are starting to open (several said they had reopened in October), but far more were still closed. We passed one very large arena where about 2000 children were brought because they believed it to be a safe shelter. All perished. We are staying in the hotel where we have stayed for years when coming to this area. It is the one shown on American television with what appeared to be a river coming down the spiral staircase. Though it has reopened, numerous scars remain obvious. It is clear that the economy of this area will remain bad for some time to come. Please continue to keep these brethren in your prayers.

The Lord willing, we will leave at 7am tomorrow for the drive south to Sogod, a new work. The preacher who is laboring there has come out of denominationalism and has been on fire in spreading the gospel. In the past 90 days, he has baptized 103 people! Jonathan is amazed at his ability to find souls that are searching and bring them to the truth. He is studying diligently as well as he seeks to answer the questions he faces from those with whom he has contact. I look forward to a fruitful day with him and those he is able to gather! God bless!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lord's Day in Cebu

Our Lord’s Day started in Cebu City with services at the Cebu City congregation. Jonathan Carino has labored with the church since it began in 1993. Since I have been coming to visit with them since 2002, I have come to know and love many of them. I preached for the morning worship on “She Has Done What She Could” from Mark 14. We had to leave immediately after the worship and before the classes in order to make our flight back to Manila so we can travel to Masbate tomorrow, the Lord willing.

Our travel plans to Masbate have been abruptly changed. The flight from Manila to Masbate was canceled causing Jonathan to make a rushed change of plans at the last minute so that we could arrive on Monday morning when our pre-paid time at the venue begins. As it presently stands, we will first fly to Legazpi early tomorrow and try to catch the first fast-craft from there to Masbate. If it works, we should be there just a little after the lectures are scheduled to begin at 9am.

We also received word from Roy Matta that one of the men present for the lectures at his place on Friday returned this morning and asked to be baptized into Christ. We are thankful to God for the power of His word to convict and persuade honest hearts! God bless!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday in Bogo City

Our Saturday began as a group of seven brethren from Cebu City (mostly preachers) met me at the hotel with a van and driver hired to take us to Bogo City at the northern end of Cebu Island. The city was devastated by Typhoon Yolanda one year ago today, but shows signs of much recovery at this point. I have been told it is in much better condition than Tacloban or other cities on Leyte, but I have not seen those places since January. The Lord willing, we will be working on Leyte at the end of next week.

The church in Bogo City started with the baptism of just a handful of souls earlier last year after some lectures were held there. (The work on Masbate Island began as a result of two brothers who heard the gospel at that time as well.) A year ago when we came bringing benevolent help provided by Christians in the U.S., there were 13 members of the church meeting in the center of Bogo City. Before the lectures today, brother Rupert informed us that there are now 93 baptized believers that make up the church in Bogo City! It is obvious that they have been working and are seeking to grow in their understanding of the word.

When we arrived at the venue this morning, a crowd that packed and overflowed the room was already assembled. They were all Christians, mostly members of the congregation in Bogo City, with one or two brethren from nearby areas. I preached a two-part lesson on The Blood of Christ and the Salvation of the Sinner. With a short break between for me to rest my legs while Roy Matta led us in some songs. Jonathan Carino then started a lesson on “Why Are People Lost?” He broke it in the middle so that we could take our lunch.

After lunch, Jonathan finished his lesson and then I presented a short one on “Striving for Faith” from Philippians 1:27-30. We ended the lectures at about 3:30pm so we could try to make it back to Cebu City before it became dark and so all could prepare for tomorrow’s worship. However, we ended up getting back to my hotel well after dark due to the very heavy traffic. After posting this report, I will go for supper and get back to prepare for the lessons tomorrow and repack bags to fit our limitations for travel to Masbate and on to Leyte. The flights to both place are on very small planes with strict limitations on baggage allowance. God bless!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Getting Started

Please excuse the absence of reports for the past few days. I have been fighting a bug that I was battling at home before leaving and it has zapped my energy level. Hopefully, I am over the worst as I have started an antibiotic that I always carry for such situations.

Monday and Tuesday were travel days, as I left OKC at 6:00am and arrived Tuesday night in Manila. The flights were fairly rough most of the way making rest more difficult. Due to winds, our flight path was much farther west than normal which left us in Russian airspace for a long period of time. Given their recent actions, that was not the most comforting route to take.

Wednesday was spent entirely in my hotel room battling the bug and watching election results. Fortunately, the hotel had Fox News channel, so I was able to follow the returns coming in on your Tuesday night while it was Wednesday morning for me. Those who know me know the results had a very positive effect on my spirits!

Thursday, I preached in lectures at the building of the congregation in Pasay where Rody Gumpad labors. It is on the fourth floor of a building with no elevator. The studies were designed for preachers in the Manila area. I spoke about “The Sermon on the Mount” for about 3 hours total in the morning. The lessons were designed to show that Jesus was announcing the principles of His new kingdom and law in that sermon, not merely explaining Old Testament law. In the afternoon, I presented a shorter lesson on “Why We Do Not Burn Incense in Worship Today.” Of course, the lesson was really aimed at showing the problem with instrumental music in worship today with the burning of incense being used only to present parallel arguments that all could readily see as false. We ended the session with an extensive Question/Answer period. Immediately after the lectures, I left for the airport and flew to Cebu, arriving late. After a very late supper, I hit the bed exhausted.

Friday (today) was spent in Mandaue, a part of the greater Cebu City area. Brother Roy Matta preaches there and it is always good to be with him and his family. During the morning, I presented two sermons on “Salvation and the Blood of Christ,” an extensive examination of how, when and why we are saved by the blood of Christ. In the afternoon, I preached on “Foundations of Faith” with Hebrews 11:1-3 serving as the starting point for the study. The day ended with a lesson on “She Has Done What She Could” from Mark 14 showing why the actions of this woman were exemplary. There were a few non-Christians present for the studies, but none responded at the invitation.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Final Report for This Trip

After reporting on the last day of lectures in northern Luzon, I had a day of travel on Friday, flying from Tuguegarao to Manila. With a good night’s sleep, it was another day of travel from Manila to Angeles City. However, Saturday’s travel was by bus — always an interesting journey here in the Philippines. The traffic in Manila was unusually heavy, especially for a Saturday. So, the trip took about an hour and a half more than normal. Upon arriving Angeles City, Lordy Salunga picked me up. We went for a quick supper and he took me to the hotel where I prepared for preaching the next day.

On the Lord’s day, I preached a two-part sermon on “The Blood of Christ and the Salvation of the Sinner” which I preached at home a few weeks ago. Here, I did the first part during the Bible class and the second during the assembly. There was a denominational lady present that they have been teaching. There were no visible responses. Immediately after the services, Lordy took me back to catch a bus as their schedule was very busy. The trip took far less time to get back to Manila — the shortest trip between Angeles and Manila I have ever had.

Today (Monday), I was taken by Ely Ebeunga to the maximum security prison in Muntinlupa to meet Kathy and get a document needed for Willie’s release, then go to another government office in Manila for another document needed. After some delay, it appears the needed documents have now been satisfied. Please keep this matter in your prayers that he may soon be released.

Tomorrow morning, I fly out on my way back home, the Lord willing. If I counted correctly in reviewing my reports, there have been 12 souls baptized into Christ during this two-week effort. I have talked with Jonathan Carino today with preliminary plans for another trip to the Visayas starting in early November. With my illness over the past several months, I am far behind in meeting invitations to preach. This trip answered commitments that were 2 years old. The Lord willing, the next trip will answer requests from denominational preachers and denominational churches that have asked us to come for several months to over a year. The field is indeed white to harvest! I am thankful to God for His blessings to allow me to take part in the work again. I am also thankful to each of you for helping to support and encourage this work. Without you, it would not be possible and I cannot adequately express my thanks for your help. God bless!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Two Baptized in Piat, Cagayan

Our last day of preaching in northern Luzon was with the Aquib church in Piat, Cagayan. (The path to the building requires a bit of a climb.) Brother Dennis Yuson preaches with the congregation. Dennis is a very faithful man who has served the Lord with great zeal and sacrifice all of the time that I have known him. He has recently lost all of his support because it was all coming from a congregation that has helped for many years, but is unable to continue. He is now in great need, but continues an exemplary work.

After a period of singing, I gave the first lesson on “Salvation and the Seed - God’s Word.” It was a fundamental lesson showing that the gospel of Christ is where we must go for all authority in religious practice today. Since Piat is one of the biggest strongholds for Catholicism in the Philippines, I thought that was the best place to start our studies for the day. Jerome Forelo summarized the lesson into Tagalog, which is the national language. Rody followed with a lesson on “Heed God’s Warnings.” At the end of the lesson, he extended an invitation and two young ladies responded to confess their faith and be baptized into Christ.

Following the lunch break, I preached on “If I Obey the Gospel, I Will…” It was a very fundamental, first principles lesson on the plan of salvation. Edgar Licodini summarized the lesson into the Ilocono dialect which is spoken by many in this area. Rody ended the studies for the day with a lesson from James 4 on “This Is Your Life.” After that lesson, he again extended the invitation, but there were no more visible responses.

It was so extremely hot today and we felt totally washed out by about 4pm when the meeting ended. Both Rody and I are also having a great deal of problems with our voices and a bothersome cough. I will be happy to sleep in a little tomorrow as my flight to Manila does not depart until about 1pm. Rody and Tessie say they will also enjoy the rest. How Rody does this week after week in an almost continuous motion of preaching in so many places is beyond me. He and Tessie have my admiration for all they do in the kingdom!

We ended the day with a final meal at the Gumpad’s home. To their children and grandchildren, I am “Papa Bear” and I enjoy the time with them so very much. One of Mark and Joy’s children is a girl named for my Leslie! It was a good way to end our work together.