April 5, 2010 — Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
Once again, greetings to you all, supporters and friends who so faithfully support the work here in the Philippines and also other parts of the “Advent Christian world”. We thank you that you have been so faithful for so many years. The end of April 2010 marks 20th years since the first work team arrived at Oro Bible College. Since then you have been such an encouragement to those nationals and others, students, staff and faculty who have worked here and who still minister here. May the Lord God continue to bless you all.
I write this as I am in the Philippines for a brief visit, (5 ½ weeks), a time of renewal of friendships and of being able to preach the Word. So far I have preached eight times; OBC Graduation, Boys’ dormitory final devotions and six church services. Fortunately I came prepared.
Pastor Roy Rocha – Novaliches
My first few days were spent with Pastor Roy and his family in Manila. I was interested to see how his church had been repaired since the terrific flooding of last September. It was incredible to see where the waters had reached. You will remember the photos of the piano in the mango tree. The piano did not survive being recovered. The church was completely submerged and I am surprised that it did not suffer more damage than it did. The repairs have been basically completed with some minor lining to be replaced and then the interior will be painted. The congregation made special request that I convey their sincere appreciation for the help that was given to them and prayers for them at the time of that crisis. I am also surprised at the speed at which the homes in the area have been repaired or rebuilt. Pastor Roy hopes to complete his studies in Manila next March and graduate with his Masters degree at that time.
Pastor Jonathan Navacilla – Banilad
From Manila I flew to Cebu where I stayed with Pastor Jonathan for several days, enjoying fellowship and getting to know him more. Pastor Jonathan had lived with me for a short time when I lived in Cagayan de Oro. It is great to see the work that he is doing and the influence that he is having in his congregation, particularly, but not only, with the youth This past Sunday, April 4th, over thirty young people gathered for their Sunday afternoon fellowship. The morning that I preached there (March 21st), there were over seventy present, which is the average congregation attendance. I was most thankful for the air-conditioning units which were recently installed. The auditorium was overcrowded but with no available land as the building covers the entire lot not a great deal can be done. I was asked to draw up sketch plans of how I thought the building may be altered to accommodate more people but even so the additional seating will be about twenty to twenty-four at the most. By the time I arrive home I may have assisted Pastor Jonathan with altering some of the upstairs accommodation in preparation for the downstairs alterations to take place.
We give thanks that Coach Caleb Gawangon has recovered from his motor bike accident (he was the passenger)and has now been able to return to his job and has also returned to coaching the young people in the basketball clinic while Pastor Jonathan conducts the Bible study part of this outreach. Unfortunately I was not able to attend one of these clinics while there. I return to Cebu tonight (April 5th) and will accompany Pastor Jonathan and two or three others to the island of Leyte to inspect a site for the area’s upcoming Youth Camp.
Pastor Jonathan, having been a part time student at CGST, (Cebu Graduate School of Theology) will become a full time student there this year to complete his MTh Degree. This will be in addition to his full time pastoring of the Banilad church, Cebu City.
Oro Bible College – Cagayan de Oro
I arrived in CDO on March 24th and addressed the OBC Graduation service on 26th March. It was a joy and privilege to be invited to be the speaker. Eight kinder children graduated ready to go to elementary school and eight college students graduated with ABTh degree. We pray that these young people will know the Lord’s leading as they step out in service for Him. On Sunday 28th March I preached at Macanhan Church. The population in this area is very mobile and as such it is difficult to maintain a stable congregation.
Pstor Benjie Ragas – Macanhan
Pastor Benjie was appointed as senior Pastor there in December and has already seen an encouraging growth in the number and commitment of the young people. One Moslem woman has asked Pastor Benjie to look after her six children while she is away working and they are attending the church and the eldest is joining in the worship team, playing guitar. We pray that their experience there will lead them to experiencing Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
The Macanhan youth along with youth from our Opol church held a very successful camp time (April 1-3). As well as fun, fellowship and instruction in the Word they distributed tracts and witnessed to people in the El Salvador area where the camp was held.
I had the opportunity of preaching at Sta. Ana on Sunday April 4th and presented a message entitle “I shall Return” This service was a time of blessing for me and hopefully for those present as we look forward to the time of Christ’s return and our Resurrection to be with Him in Eternity.
Pastor Reniel Comajeg
While in CDO I stayed with Pastor Reniel and his wife, Felany. They send their greetings to you all. This was also a time of blessing for me as I was able to renew fellowship with one of my “Filipino sons”. Pastor Reniel has now gone toCebu to CGST to commence his Master of Divinity study. He will return to his wife in three weeks and then go back to Cebu for the new school year, starting in June. He is undertaking a “pressure cooker course” for this degree so that he will graduate next April 11, 2011. You will recall that we prayed that Felany would be appointed to work at the Nestle factory. We give thanks that she was one of seven successful applicants out of well over one thousand who applied. Felany commenced work in mid March. When Pastor Reniel left for Cebu I stayed with his brother, Pastor Billy and his wife Joanne for two nights.
Pastor Billy Comahig
Again it was a joy to renew fellowship with them. Both Pastors Reniel and Billyare full time faculty at OBC. Pastor Reniel will be on leave for one year.
Also while in CDO I had two new crowns on my teeth. For the price to have the work done in NZ I have been able to fly to The Philippines and return to NZ, pay for internal travel here and have the dental work done. The real bonus is that I have been able to encourage some of the people here by renewing friendships and by preaching.
Mm Nely Gamayon
Mm Nely graduated from Xavier University, CDO on March 27, as PhD, after several years of hard study. She wishes to convey to ACMissioNZ and individuals who have supported her during these years both financially and in prayer her sincere thanks and gratitude. Mn Nely is the first one in the BPACCI organisation to gain her PhD. Some may think that there was another but hers was an honary degree. We congratulate Mm Nely on her achievement.
I usually visit the farm at this time of the year but have not done so this year. I was told this morning that last November there was a ground clearing carried out around all the trees and that there will be a youth Camp in the area in late April during which another ground clearing will take place. We can only hope and pray that this will encourage tree growth and development of cropping potential so that the original purpose of the farm may be fulfilled.
- Pray for Pastor Reniel Comajeg as he is in Cebu for his MDiv course and for Felany as she will be on her own for the year.
- Pray for Pastors Jonathan Navacilla and Roy Rocha as they complete their MTh courses in Cebu and Manila respectively.
- Pray for Mm Nely Gamayon and the other OBC Faculty and staff as they prepare for the new school year particularly during the week of May 24 -28th.
- Pray that the OBC budget, which is in deficit, will be met before the new school year begins.
- Pray for the Macajalar Bay District Women’s Fellowship Meeting at Sta. Ana May 1st that it would be a time of blessing to all who attend.
- Pray for the national Philippine Elect ions (May 10th). There are already fears of corruption and rigged elections and all the associated out-come if these occur.
- Give thanks for Mm Ney Gamayon’s passing of her PhD.
- Give thanks for the recovery of Caleb Gawangan and his ability to recommence coaching basketball to the young people attending the clinic run by Caleb and Pastor Jonathan.
May I again thank you all for your continued interest and support in prayer and financially and ask that you will remain faithful in these aspects of service for Christ our Lord.
Yours in the Master’s service