Greetings to all our brothers and sisters in the Lord, who continue to support the work in the Philippines by prayer and in a financial manner. God is faithful all the time!
It was a pleasure to meet with Pastor Roy Rocha and his eldest son, Jojo, at the airport in Manila, as I waited for my domestic flight to Cagayan de Oro very early the next morning. I have scheduled time with Roy again as I leave Manila on May 24th. Pastor Roy writes “Praise God! His love endures forever! We praise God for truly He is Jehovah Jireh. We were able to held DVBS because He answered our prayers for DVBS materials for free. It was a blessed DVBS program that we are now hosting tutorial class for another week. It is always a great joy seeing children enjoying their lessons, activities, and games.
We want to thank you all for your prayers!
Please continue helping us in praying for:
- Ministry partners for our children ministry.
- God’s wisdom as we are raying in opening a “Child Care” ministry. This ministry will be focusing on child’s academic and spiritual development.
- For our ongoing tutorial that the teachers will be more passionate.
- For our church rally “keep the flame burning” that every believer will minister.”
On arriving in CDO I was met by Mm Nely Gamayon, her husband Sir Nathan and Pastor Reniel Comajeg. It was great to see them again and also great that I did not have to get a taxi to the city to OBC. While in CDO I stayed with Pastor Reniel and Felany. Within an hour or so of arriving in CDO I attended the OBC Commissioning service for the up-coming interns and the Graduating students. There will be five interns for the coming first semester, three men and two women. In the afternoon the Graduation Ceremony took place. This broke from the usual pattern as the Kindergarten Graduation took place the previous day instead of being held in conjunction with the college ceremony.
Six young people, three men and three women had the degree of ABTh conferred upon them. It was a time of blessing to be able to be present for both the Commissioning and the Graduation and to spend time with those whom I had come to know and love while living here.
Prayer Items for OBC.
- Pray for the continued outreach ministry over the Summer break that this would be maintained even though students are not there to assist.
- Pray that the faculty and staff would be renewed in health and strength during the break.
- Pray for interns going out on assignment at the beginning of June that they will be encouraged in this phase of their training.
- Pray for the recent graduates as they seek to know God’s leading for the future.
On the Sunday morning I was in CDO I spoke once again at Macanhan where I have spoken each time I have returned to CDO. It was most encouraging to see the building was packed full with standing room only (and this was not because they had a guest speaker). The congregation has grown considerably over the last three years or so under the ministry of Pastor Benjie Ragas. Concerning the recent ministry Pastor Benjie writes “This is the last report during our children’s camp, since this is our first camp for the kids in our church we had only 10 participant and other are not because they are in their vacation. Here are some of our prayer requests; the upcoming youth camp this coming May 23-25 that every preparation will be ok by God’s intervention, secondly, we keep on praying that the renovation of the second floor will be started. We already have some materials for the renovation but we don’t have payment for the carpenter and labor. Please do pray for financial support”. From the face-book photos I received it is evident that the children had a great time together at camp. Pray that the seeds sown during the camp will mature into a fruitful harvest in the months to come. The camp which Pastor mentions in his prayer items is a denominational area youth camp being held about an hour out of the city.
Having spent a few days in CDO I came to Cebu and have, since arriving, stayed with another of my “Filipino sons”, Pastor Jonathan Navacilla. I am amazed at all this young man does. He virtually never stops. I came here with ideas of how I could help him but I soon came to realize that what we as westerners often think is best is not necessarily so and therefore it is wrong to try and impose our ideas on those of another culture.
While here I have helped Pastor Jonathan to paint his room and vestibule so that it is more welcoming for his new bride, Flor, when she comes to live here. I have also preached here in Banilad four times over three Sundays. I always count it a privilege to be able to share the word of God and am fortunate that nearly all of the congregation understand all that I say.
This congregation has grown tremendously since Pastor Jonathan came nearly four years ago from fifty people to about seventy to eighty each Sunday and once again there is standing room only until the children go out for their programmes. Not only am I greatly encouraged to see this growth but also to see that this congregation ministers to about two hundred non- church people per week through the various activities which are held. It is no wonder Pastor Jonathan appears to never rest. I thank God that some of the church members a beginning to take up the load and assist in leadership roles in these ministries. As well as the usual activities the church, in co-operation with OM (Operation Mobilization), ministered this last Saturday (May 5) to fifty medical, thirty dental and twenty optical patients. It was the church’s responsibility to organize and co-ordinate the patients. This mission was held in Umapad, the area in which the church has out-reach programmes for women (about 24), children (100+) and teens (25+). This is in addition to the Brother’s Keeper Basketball Fellowship (about 60 new comers) and the young ladies’ “Soul Seekers” bowling ministry (20+). These ministries require attendance at a Bible study if people wish to play.
Pastor Jonathan and his fiancée, Flor, will be married on May 17th in Iligan City. It will be a real joy for me to be there to witness the joining of these two young, dedicated servants of the Lord in marriage.
There is a problem concerning the church site. The lot which was purchased was untitled and the former owners have filed a case against all those in the area. This has been before the courts now for some years. If it goes ahead and is successful, hundreds will be made homeless and the church will have to relocate. In addition to this there are plans to widen the road which will mean the front of the church will have to be demolished, making it too small for the present congregation, and many homes and small businesses will be demolished or reduced in size also. As these are all untitled lots this will cause problems for resale or compensation.
Prayer Items for the Banilad congregation
- Pray for Jonathan and Flor as they celebrate their marriage on May 17th at 3.00pm (7.00pm NZ time). Pray that they would be even more effective servants of Christ as a couple, than they have as individuals).
- Pray for the continued effective ministry at Umapad. Pray that at least another leader for the teens would be found very soon and that a more suitable place to meet would become available.
- Pray for the work amongst the men’s Basketball league and the young ladies’ bowling group, that those who are being ministered to will come to know the Lord.
- Pray that the difficulties over the land may be solved according to God’s will.
During the semester break Pastor Reniel Comajeg was able to complete a block course in Hebrew at CGST, here in Cebu. This is credited to his MDiv course. It is pleasing to report that for his final exam he passed with 100% and for the whole course his grade average was 1.0 (for those of us lay people this means that he averaged over 95% for the course – assignments, tests and exams). Congratulations Pastor, and praise the Lord. Pastor Reniel hopes to be able to continue another subject by correspondence in the new semester. This will also be towards his MDiv degree, but as of this time he has to await word from CGST. Please pray that he may be able to do this.
Once again, thank you for your continued support for those who labour so faithfully here in the Philippines for the Lord. May our God bless and keep you all in His love and service.
Yours in Christ’s Name