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Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2011

Pangasinan Mission Trip Report (1-5 June 2011)

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And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).

The Lord Jesus Christ has established His Church to serve Him on earth. The Great Commission is one of the tasks that the Lord wants us to engage in. The world needs Christ. Men and women are living in darkness without any idea of the great danger they face without Christ. Once their time on earth is up, they shall be swept away into hell to suffer God’s condemnation forever and ever. So we are called to leave our comfort zones and go to a world that is dying; to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to every creature!

This is a big and solemn task. No one is able to fulfil it on his own. While this is true, we should not shy away from this work, for in the midst of the challenges that we shall face in the course of our service to the Lord, He will prove Himself faithful and powerful! It is in this spirit that I would like to make this report.

By the grace of God, on 1st of June, a group of brethren from our midst joined me in my fourth mission trip to San Fabian, Pangasinan. Together with my family, two brothers (Bros Eric Delina and Henry Maranan) and two sisters (Sis Emelinda Villardar and Vicky Amor) accompanied me. These brethren were a great help and blessing to me, for the Lord has sent 59 adults and 52 children from different age groups to attend the Bible studies. Bro Eric took the older children and Sis Vicky taught the younger group. Bro Henry was assigned to manage the logistics and accounts. He was also the photographer. Sis Emelinda was an absolute blessing too. She took care of the refreshments for the meetings. At times, it was very challenging for her because of the unexpected size of the crowd, and also because of the difficulty in controlling the children during the recess time. Thank God that my family was around too. It was a great joy seeing them serving the Lord in their little corners. My children had the opportunity to interact with the children who came for the meetings, and the people were very happy to have fellowship with my wife and kids.

The Lord blessed us with six sessions of Bible studies. I preached on the theme “Ang Sampung Utos” meaning “The Ten Commandments”. We also had a time for Q and A. This idea was from the Lord. It came to my mind that the brethren whom we had led to believe in the Lord during our previous visits might have some questions in their mind. True enough, the brethren raised relevant questions. What moved me was their desire to be baptized. They wanted to be baptized in order to testify that they love the Lord Jesus and that they have left the Roman Catholic Church.

As I thought about it, truly God has called us to preach the whole counsel and also to baptize His people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The Lord Jesus Christ made this clear in Matthew 28:18-20. Indeed, our set-up in Pangasinan is still in its beginning stage and it needs much strengthening. Through our preaching over the last four years, people have come to believe on the Lord and hence there is an urgent need to have a shepherd to lead the flock. We must earnestly pray for God’s provision of a faithful preacher.

I would like to request your prayers for some brethren in Pangasinan. Firstly, pray for Bro Nestor. He is the driver that we have engaged to ferry the brethren that they may be able to attend church twice a month. This church is pastored by Rev Luis Hitosis. He was an unbeliever then. Though he was not compelled to listen to God’s Word, on his own accord, he attended the worship services and Bible studies; and the Lord so convicted him of his sins that he turned to Him in repentance. Today, he is like the Samaritan woman who ran to the city to call other Samaritans to see Christ. Thank God for him that the Lord is using him to invite both the old and the children to come to church. In this trip, we had the opportunity to conduct a Bible study in his home where the Lord saved his wife, Emilda; daughter, Vivian; and a certain niece who lived next door.

Secondly, pray for Sis Margie. She is the sister of Sis Cecille Batrina from the Filipino Service. She is one of the most vibrant believers in Pangasinan. She helped us with the transportation arrangements.

Thirdly, pray for Bro Mario Naranjo and his wife, Rowena, and children. They have been a great help for this work in Pangasinan. Bro Mario has been serving as our cook. Sis Rowena has been helping in the marketing. They are blessed with two children. The eldest is named Judy Anne. She is hoping to study for a degree course. Pray for God’s guidance in her life and provisions.

Lastly, pray for Rev Luis Hitosis and his wife, Rose. Thank God for their hospitality. They have opened their church to our brethren and received them well. Sometimes, he comes to visit our brethren in their homes to conduct Bible studies.

Before I end my report, I would also like to thank the Lord for the opportunity to visit Leyte, my hometown. My last visit was in 2000, together with Pastor Koshy and Bro Kenneth Wong. That was Pastor’s first visit to the Philippines that opened the door for our church to do something for Him in the land of the Philippines. I have been to the Philippines many times since then but due to my hectic schedule, I did not have the opportunity to visit my hometown. Thank God for giving me the privilege to visit my hometown and to preach the Gospel to our relatives, friends and neighbours, who are staunch Roman Catholics. We also had the opportunity to visit two home-bound elderly ladies. Praise God that He was merciful to save them from their sins as we preached the Gospel to them. It was a great joy watching them trusting the Lord. I received a report that one of the elderly ladies was taken home to be with the Lord last week. I am so relieved to think that she did not end up in hell, for Christ has saved her to the uttermost.

After Leyte, we went up to Manila. I thank God for the opportunity to meet up with a cousin who attends a Reformed church. He brought his pastor, Rev Edwin L. Puzon. We had a blessed fellowship. It was a great encouragement to meet up with a reformed pastor because the majority of the fundamentalist conservative churches in the Philippines are Baptists.

As I come to the close of this mission report, I praise God for His Word. Everyday, we meditated on Matthew 28:18- 20 with the mission team. Truly, the Lord is faithful to His promises and He blesses those who go for missions with His presence too. Let us go out into the highways and byways of life. Christ is coming soon. There is no more time to procrastinate! There is no more time to waste!

Pastoral Exhortation