February 26, 2023

The Lord’s Wondrous Things Experienced in Mission Pangasinan 2023

Written by:
Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy

Elder Mah Chin Kwang

“Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.” Thus saith the LORD in Psalm 72:18-19. May we all humbly acknowledge that it is the LORD God Almighty alone that doeth wondrous things in our lives. And so may we all always bless His glorious name for ever! I am certain that this is the happy, recurring affirmation, the joyous perspective and reaction of the entire mission team, as we reflect on what the Lord has done in our midst during the short-term mission to Pangasinan. 

There were several significant uncertainties encountered in the planning of the mission trip. In certain situations, we were able to plan for contingencies, but for several others, we would not know till the very moment of execution. The need to actualise the very theme of this mission, “Give Me Understanding”, amidst these uncertainties, was in the hearts and minds of many who were actively praying and waiting on the Lord for answers to our prayers. 

The Lord did not disappoint. Indeed, what He did for us will surely be the repeated refrain of brethren who will be sharing their testimonies in the coming days. Do read the testimonies from team members’ perspectives when they are available. For now, my reflections of the Lord’s goodness expressed in the paragraph below would suffice as a lead-in of the entire blessed story to be told by other team members, together with the photos accompanying their reflections.  

The Lord’s providence, undertakings and leading are certainly evident when we consider the spontaneous show of support by our BOE, other leaders and brethren who readily rendered love-gifts (financially and in kind), words of encouragement and prayers. That’s not all. God’s mercy was further manifested as follows: this mission trip’s timing of a choice window of opportunity during a special, atypical one-week school break; the safety and well-being of every team member, together with local brethren (some of whom having to travel several hours from their homes to the Mission Church); safe and incident-free clearance by the Immigration and Customs authorities; an 11th-hour approval by the authorities of the local elementary school of its covered basketball court and assembly hall as the venue that amazingly accommodated 349 adults and children who came for the special event on Saturday, 11 February. “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 107:1). And so we say in response – “Praise the Lord! Purihin ang Panginoon!” – as our Filipino brethren would echo.

Mission Pangasinan 2023 gave us all the blessed opportunity to be mutually encouraged and strengthened in God’s Word, and in serving joyfully as His people. Furthermore, the mission trip gave us the joy of renewing our ties with brethren we have known before and of being acquainted with other brethren we have just met in the mission church. In particular, we thank God for the joy of standing and seeing for ourselves the very place that we all hope (in the Lord and by His providence) will stand the Mission Church’s building, for the extension of God’s work. 

May the Word of God in Zep 3:17 – “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” – be our joyful assurance and hope, as we all continue to walk and serve Him; as well as be that of Rev. Donald, his family and brethren in the Pangasinan Mission Church.

Dns Diana Chan

When I learned that Mission Pangasinan 2023 would be held from 8th to 12th February 2023, I prayed that God would enable me to join the trip. Praise God for His grace in clearing the way for me to join the Mission Team. I thank God for the help rendered by Elder Mah, Sis. Luan Kheng and Bro. Matthew Mah in sharing the children’s Bible lesson outlines and other material (such as bookmarks), as well as pointers on how to plan the Children’s Vacation Bible School in Pangasinan.

Throughout the 4-day mission trip, God is ever faithful. Morning by morning, new mercies we saw. On the first day (Thursday, 9 February), we did 4 home visitations. When we visited the homes of Bro. Kyt, Sis. Charlene Mae and their daughter Hannah, and later, Bro. Jumar and Sis. Olive, I praise God for them – for their serving, hand-in-hand, with Rev. Donald in the Lord’s vineyard. I thank God that we could visit Sis. Charlene Mae Abrena’s family. I was so impressed by and thankful for how the family could use a half-complete house for the home worship of the Lord and for the communion of saints. I felt so blessed that the Mission Team, together with the brethren of each family, could listen to the preaching of God’s Word (by Elder Mah, Pr Samson and Pr Jeremiah) and also sing hymns and spiritual songs to praise God.

 Home visitations on Fri (10 Feb), were a different experience from those of the previous day, whereby we had to travel long distances from one home to another. That day, we did more walking (which was over rather rugged terrain). Thank God for His protection as some of us are quite senior in age. Along the way, we could enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, the lush greenery of corn fields, golden yellow rice fields, dried river beds, fruit trees, colourful flowers, goats and cattle. It was a joy to visit Sis. Cecile’s family. Praise the Lord for her siblings, nephews and nieces – for their service to the Lord. I was encouraged by the brethren for their warm Christian hospitality. We were delighted when served with fresh home-grown organic groundnuts, which is something so rare in Singapore.

I praise God for the street evangelism conducted with the local brethren, youths and adults alike. We paired up with the local brethren. I thank God for partnering with Sis. Marianette, who is the sister of Bro. Jomart Tindaan. By God’s appointment, we shared the Gospel with a villager. Sis. Marianette interpreted the sharing of the Gospel from English to Tagalog, the local dialect. I was pleasantly surprised to see the young man’s wife, son, mother-in-law and two other family members attending the Saturday’s children programme throughout the whole day. Praise the Lord! May God be merciful to save the family unto salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

How wonderful it was that, at the end of that day’s activities of home visitation and street evangelism, we could go into the quietness of the Lord’s sanctuary in the Mission Church for the Friday Prayer Meeting. Thank God for a blessed hour of prayer, listening to God’s Word, delivered by Pr Jeremiah. We brought before the Lord our praises and thanksgiving, as well as our petitions and prayers, especially for the Adults’ Teaching Programme and the Children’s Vacation Bible School (to be held the next day on Saturday).

Come Saturday (11 February), we were excited. Everyone in the Mission Team had a role in serving the Lord, either in the Adults’ Teaching Programme or in the Children’s Vacation Bible School. When we stepped into the Inlambo Elementary School, we tried to familiarise ourselves with the place. As we were discussing the layout and logistics, testing the equipment, we could see children, adults (some of whom with toddlers in their arms), all streaming into the school. They. We were caught by surprise by the great numbers! Yet we were joyful! Thank God for giving us “understanding”. Our local brethren quickly changed their way of registration. Rev. Donald quickly relooked at the ordering of meals for lunch and tea breaks. The Mission Team quickly reviewed the schedule of the programme and made changes to the singspiration, art and craft session, with little or no compromise on time allocated for the Bible lessons.

Thank God that the brethren from the Mission Church and the Mission Team were united in serving the Lord joyfully. I thank God for the youths, who were so ready and prepared to serve the Lord. They stepped in quickly to “fill the gap” on their own accord, such as in interpreting Bible lessons to small groups of younger children, singing with them, helping them in art and craft, and serving lunch. As I looked at the multitude of children and adults, the harvest truly is great. I pray that, by the Lord’s grace, many of the children and adults will be saved through faith, according to God’s will and time. 

On the morning of the Lord’s Day, we could see little children, youths, adults and senior brethren all getting ready to worship the Lord. It was heartening to hear that some brethren, who have to travel long distances to the Mission Church, would come to the church on Saturday and camp overnight in the open field of the church, so that they could be on time to worship the Lord on the Sabbath day! How grateful our hearts are to the Lord! Thank God that all of us could “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4).

I thank God for Rev. Donald, Sis. Sejin and their son Jesher, together with the local brethren, for their labour and toil in the Lord’s vineyard. I praise God for Pastor Koshy, our elders and the church for the support of the Lord’s work in our Pangasinan Mission Church.

Praise the Lord for Elder Mah for his leadership in Mission Pangasinan 2023. Thank God for Dn Gan for his support of the Lord’s work in the trip. Praise God for all the brethren, for the care and concern for one another as we served the Lord together. Most of all, I thank our most High God for His grace, mercy and protection of the Team. I am awed by the miraculous power of God and how He could use each of us in the mission trip for His purpose. To God be the glory, great things He had done!

Dn Gan Chin Hwi

I thank the Lord for the encouragement of my daughter, Chien Huey, to participate in Mission Pangasinan way back in April 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this mission trip was postponed to February this year – a lapse of almost 3 years.  By the grace of God, we were once again able to travel to serve the Lord in the mission field of Pangasinan. Indeed, the Lord decides the timing.

This is my very first mission trip. I did not have much idea of what to expect.  Elder Mah had asked me to support the mission as the assistant mission lead; I simply yielded myself, knowing that the Lord had placed me there for a specific purpose and that I would be able to learn from Elder Mah and other team members.

I praise the Lord for enabling the Mission Team to work together as one body in Christ, everyone functioning as a member of the same body, receiving the grace that is given unto us by God to work on the different needs of the mission (cf. Rom 12:5-6). In the process, I have experienced the love, joy and commitment of each of the team members, serving harmoniously together, with much humility, and with one heart.

I have also seen God’s intervention in facilitating the Mission Team to cross the checkpoint at Clark International Airport smoothly. We were granted a swift clearance by the customs officer when we presented the supporting letter from Rev Donald to him. I knew we cannot take this for granted, it was truly the intervention of God!

The visitation to 8 homes by the Mission Team was most encouraging and enriching. Our hearts were knitted together with the brethren in Pangasinan as we fellowshipped and rejoiced in the same Lord, sharing the same faith in Christ Jesus. Whilst the purpose of the Mission Team is to encourage our brethren in Pangasinan, I was even more encouraged by the testimony shown and the hospitality showered by our brethren in Pangasinan. They live a simple life, as compared to us; yet they showed no lack of praising and thanking God for what they have (cf. 1 Tim 6:6). At times, I felt that the Lord had given them a more rewarding and enriching life than us living in affluent Singapore. Our daily quests for the material world have, on many occasions, blinded our hearts to turn away from the simple truth of leaning on our Lord and enjoying Him forever!

Saturday (11 February), was one day that I will not forget. The sovereign Lord had brought many to hear the Word of God – way in excess of our initial estimates. When I looked at the faces of those children, I saw many eager souls wanting and determined to learn, and to know more. This is especially the case for those Grade 5 & 6 students, as I observe their focused participation during the art & craft session. I cannot help but pray within my heart that the Lord of the harvest will be merciful unto many of them, and that some will soon come to the knowledge of the saving grace of our Lord. Though none of these children turned up at the worship service the following day, I am comforted that the Lord had used us on that day to sow the seeds. The rest, I know my Lord will lead the way. 

I praise and thank the Lord for this unique experience of serving Him in the mission field of Pangasinan. The Lord has been very gracious and merciful in leading us all the way; it was not as tough as I expected it to be. My heart is enlarged, and encouraged to serve Him in future mission trips. Indeed, the Lord has preconditioned and planted the deep desire in me to serve Him in future mission trips. There may be different challenges and even greater obstacles to come, but whatever it may be, there is joy going through the process of submission to the Lord, trusting in His protection and provisions, and seeing the mighty hand of God leading us to serve Him in the mission fields. As Psalm 32:8 reminds us, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” All glory be to His name!

Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
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