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Pastoral 2012

Philippine Mission Report

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Two weeks ago, I made a hurried journey to Cebu, the Philippines, to preach in the combined anniversary service of our mission churches and GBI. About 200 adults and children from our four mission churches (Cebu, Bohol, Bogo and San Antonio) gathered in Cebu with grateful hearts. Four choirs from various churches, including a children’s choir, sang praises to God. There were also baptisms and transfer of membership, bearing a glorious testimony to the power of the Gospel. A video message from Preacher Dominino (who was in Singapore for medical treatment) was played during the service; and many were teary as they listened to his exhortation and prayed for him. In my preaching of the Word from Romans 12:16-21, the worshippers were exhorted to be overcomers of evil with good. They were also reminded that Christian living involves a fight; a good fight against Satan and his evil ploy. Let us pray that our brethren in those mission churches would be brave soldiers of Christ. I am publishing for your information and thanksgiving: (i) our felicitations on their combined anniversary and (ii) excerpt from Rev Reggor Galarpe’s pastoral exhortation in the anniversary bulletin.

 

Felicitations on their Combined Anniversary

1st July 2012
Beloved in Christ,

As you gather together to bow before the throne of God in worship and gratefulness for another year of ceaseless mercy and goodness, the brethren in Singapore also praise Him with joyful hearts for His blessings upon you. We continue in thanksgiving for all the Gethsemane B-P Churches in Cebu, Bohol, Bogo and San Antonio.

The Lord loves His church. Wherever the congregations of His saints shall be, whether in a great city or in a small village, He loves them all equally. He cares for His flock, which He redeemed by His blood He shed on the cross. He guides them with His clear and pure voice of truth. He abides with them, as they go through dark valleys of temptations and trials. He purifies them with His Spirit and truth. He gives them assurance and hope in their difficult ordeals.

O dear churches of Christ, strengthen yourselves in the might of the Lord. Be watchful unto prayer. Be ever ready to preach the Gospel, to deliver those who are sinking in sin. Be ever vigilant to fight a good fight of faith against satanic assaults. Many evil men creep into churches, preaching demonic doctrines and propagating carnal living. So I remind all our preachers and members, “Meditate upon these things (the truths of His Word); give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:15-16).

We are glad to hear of the cheerfulness and diligence of the teachers and students of Gethsemane Bible Institute, Cebu, as you enter the 2nd year of her ministry. I would like to quote our Lord Jesus Christ in my exhortation to the GBI – “Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (Matthew 13:52).

Our heartfelt congratulations to the churches in Cebu (8th anniversary), Bohol (6th anniversary), Bogo (4th anniversary) and San Antonio (3rd anniversary), and GBI (1st anniversary).

Praying that every blessing in Christ be upon you.

In His love,

Rev Dr Prabhudas Koshy
On behalf of Gethsemane B-P Church, Singapore

 

Excerpt from Rev Reggor Galarpe’s pastoral exhortation in the anniversary bulletin

On behalf of Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church, Cebu, greetings and welcome to all our dear brethren from our sister churches in Bohol, Bogo and San Antonio as well as our visitors and friends to our Combined Church Anniversary and Thanksgiving Service. We also gladly welcome our beloved pastor, Rev Dr Prabhudas Koshy, from the mother church, Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church, Singapore…

Reflect Upon God’s Great Work– It’s a great opportunity to look back and recall how the Lord in His own good time established Gethsemane B-P Church, Cebu, in July 2004. Memories are still fresh of the very first worship service that was held in a rented hotel function room with slightly over 50 people in attendance. A few weeks later, it was officially inaugurated with Pastor Koshy and a good number of brethren from Gethsemane B-P Church, Singapore, in attendance to grace the occasion.

Since then, we have been holding regular Sunday services in the hotel room until the Lord led us to a rented apartment building in Capitol Site in 2005, and in 2011, to our current location in Happy Valley (which also housed the Gethsemane Bible Institute whose anniversary we also celebrate today). All these years, we praise God for the harvest of souls through the preaching of the Gospel. Glory be to His name! “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion” (Psalm 111:4).

Two years later in July 2006, we saw the inauguration of the mission church in Baclayon, Bohol (it was then moved to Tagbilaran City in 2007). Then in July 2008 came the mission church in Bogo, in the northern tip of Cebu province and eventually the mission outreach in San Antonio in 2009. With these mission stations, we praise God for the labours of our missionaries – Bro Edsel Locot and Bro Dominino de la Cruz Jr.

Thus, today we celebrate the 8th Anniversary of Gethsemane BPC, Cebu, the 6th for Bohol, the 4th for Bogo, the 3rd for San Antonio and the very 1st for Gethsemane Bible Institute. Coincidence? No, it’s God’s providence!...

In July last year, we rejoiced as the Gethsemane Bible Institute was formally inaugurated. The primary goal is to train and prepare men to become missionaries, preachers and pastors, in response to the great need for labourers in the Lord’s harvest. Also, through the Monday Night Class and part-time courses, our brethren now have the opportunity to receive formal and systematic instruction in the study of God’s Word.

In these two ministries, we thank the Lord for the labours of our Bro Eliezer Ortega, overseeing the daily activities at TGCM and Bro Richard Tiu in the academic affairs of the Bible Institute. And in all these, we rejoice in the Lord for His gracious provisions that sustain the ever-growing ministries through the support we have been receiving from the mother church and our mission partners and in the cheerful giving of the brethren in our midst.

Resolve to Give Our Best to God – Having tasted and feasted on the Lord’s goodness, I see the need for us to make a firm resolve – to give our very best to God! Another year is past and the next is before us. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves: “Have I done my best for Jesus?”

This year 2012, we are burdened to “Enlarge the Place of Our Tent”. We have been earnestly seeking the Lord’s leading and guidance on how we could further enhance our ministries. This we adapted from the words of the Lord to the nation Israel through the prophet Isaiah: “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes” (Isaiah 54:2).

Consider the words here: ENLARGE! STRETCH FORTH! SPARE NOT! LENGTHEN! AND STRENGTHEN! Thus, let us make that resolve to:

1. ENLARGE our vision and scope for the Lord’s work.
2. STRETCH FORTH the reach of our church’s ministries.
3. SPARE NOT our resources – give cheerfully unto the Lord!
4. LENGTHEN our time spent in service to the Lord.
5. STRENGTHEN our conviction and faith.

Pressing on towards another year ahead of us, may the Lord be gracious to bless all our endeavours for His glory sake. For now, let us resolve to praise and worship the Lord: “Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation” (Psalm 111:1).

 

Pastoral Exhortation