News from the Field

Sept. 15, 2007

WORSHIP AND STUDIES
Our Bible classes and worship services in Bacayan and in Babag went on as usual without a glitch. Brethren enjoyed the feast of the word, and one could see that joy in their eyes.

To promote a closer fellowship, we have a plan to serve some snacks, of bread and coffee for brethren to share with one another after worship. Brother Boy Noval would often insist that I eat lunch with them, and for two times I declined, but the next time he invites me, I will not.

I imagine that this must be how the early Christians held their love feasts, with the financially able among them shelling out money to pay the cost of the feasts.

Today is Saturday and I will be out visiting, although I am seeing thicker clouds above, which means it probably will rain.

My hands are full. Tomorrow morning, Sunday, I will be doing some visiting and teaching in my friends’ homes until 11:00 a.m., at which time worship and studies in Bacayan begin. We will have an hour to spend in singing, praying and studying of the word.

At 1:00 p.m. I must be off to Babag Uno, where worship and studies begin at 2:00 p.m. and end at 4:00 p.m. After the worship and studies in Babag I go immediately to Maraag. Our studies in Maraag begin at 6:00 p.m. and end at 8:00 p.m.

After the services I would spend an hour making conversation with brethren, leave Maraag at 9:00 p.m. and arrive at 10:30 or 11:00 p.m., so tired I would hit the sack about half an hour later, wake up at 3:30 a.m. and have my dinner. So far so good.

A YOUNG MOTHER NEEDING HELP
Her name is Hazel Suico, mother of two. She came to our meeting place weeks ago, seeking our advice about certain domestic problems.

Hazel’s big problem was her philandering husband. While it is not our policy as a church to meddle in domestic problems between husbands and wives, we had advised Hazel to seek the way of peace, not retaliating, but enduring all insults with humility and meekness, and praying that God would touch the hearts of those who hurt her. We told her to let go.

The husband left her. Hazel followed our advice, and she said she was seeing some good results: She now could bear the pain, she felt she now could control her urge to fight back, and she said she now could forgive.

The gospel she heard awakened her interest on things spiritual. From the day she started listening to the gospel, Hazel kept coming to church every Sunday afternoon.

Hazel used to work abroad as an OFW, in Taiwan and in the Middle East. Now she is jobless. We prayed for her, and advised her to apply to a certain company which we recommended; we gave her the address and the phone number of that company. She was accepted.

HOME VISITATION: PATIENCE AND A CARING ATTITUDE GIVE GOOD RESULTS
We have shown this to be true in our visits to the home of Diosdada, who used to attend the worship of the Lord’s church in Babag Uno months ago. It is not just I, but other members of the Lord’s church also, who did the visiting; it is not just once or twice, but quadruple of times that we visited her. Seven people from the church who came showed Diosdada that the church of the Lord in Babag Uno cares for her soul.

Last Sunday, Sept. 9, Diosdada was back to worship with us.

A NUMBER OF NON-MEMBERS ATTENDING CHURCH
We are happy that Faustina, a daughter-in-law of sister Nene Jaime, was back last Sunday in Babag church after having been away for a year.

We too had Mr. Alipio, a member of Evangelical Free Church in Lahug visiting with us in Babag, two Sundays ago. He had missed a few Sunday’s visit because his relative in Leyte died and he had to pay respects to the dead.

We had Liddy, sister Mery’s daughter-in-law. We also had Arnel, sister Mery’s son and Liddy’s husband.

Mery, one of the first fruits of our labors in Babag Uno, has really been trying her best to reach out to those of her family. Mery was one of our first gospel contacts in Babag; she it was who gathered her neighbors as well as her husband to listen to me preach. As may be true in some case histories of conversion, it was wives who preceded their husbands in the kingdom of God. We have two of these in Babag Uno: Sister Mery and sister Panfila Campos. Brother Antonio (Mery’s husband) and brother Federico (Panfila’s spouse) could not have become Christians had not their spouses persuaded them to try the Lord. God bless these two women.

We also had another man, sister Mery’s brother-in-law, whose name is lost in my memory. But I will have the opportunity to know him if he comes next Sunday.

Miralyn, sister Nene’s daughter who is not a member of the church, has been attending regularly with us for six Sundays now. Because our Sunday lessons touch on man’s problems- sufferings, pains, conflicts with neighbors, loss of jobs, peer pressure, domestic fights, etc.– as well as how to solve these problems and understand why they happen, God’s word of advice from His Bible helps these people in ways they could never imagine.

During the Bible sharing session, we also touch on the subject of becoming a Christian, albeit in passing, mentioning a passage or two to explain why one needs to follow Jesus. If the non-member becomes curious about knowing the difference between “them” and “us,” I set up a class in their homes.

CLOTHES DISTRIBUTION CAMPAIGN
We have now gathered a bundle of clothings and clothes to be given away to the needy in Babag Uno. Hopefully, these will be distributed after worship this coming Sunday, September 16.

IT’S BEEN RAINING HARD THIS WEEK
It’s been raining hard this week, three days in a row, and already 17 villages and districts in the city of Cebu had been flooded. Flooding waters rushing from the mountains destroyed the road going to Sinsin, the only road that connects it to the cities of Talisay and Cebu, rendering it impassable for vehicles including motorcycles. Sinsin is a mountain baranggay adjacent to the place where I am doing mission work, in Maraag, Sudlon 2.

One of casualties of the floods whose fate really touched our hearts is this old woman, 71 years old, so says the TV News, from a mountain village below Babag Uno. Her house was beside the creek, and she was blind. When the floodwaters came rushing toward their house (that was Wednesday) the old woman’s son said he tried to save her, but the waters were too strong for both of them. Her body was found off the coast of a seashore village in Lapulapu City the next day, Thursday.

Our Bible classes had been postponed for three days because of the heavy rains and been moved to other days.

SETTING ASIDE AN HOUR FOR PRAYER TIME
We have been praying for Julie, who left for her home in Antique, Panay Island, and had not been back to us for four months now. While she was in Babag Uno, Julie never missed worship.

We have been praying for the studies we are having in Bacayan, near our home. We have been praying too for the mission work we are doing in Maraag, Sudlon 2, and in Babag Uno.

We have been praying for wives and their spouses, whose marriage is experiencing trouble.

I have been praying for my wife. She does not like to be sick. She thinks she can do her ministry of teaching our grandsons the way of the Lord if she is not having high blood pressure and pains in the joints. I agree.

We have been praying too for our kids: For Karla our daughter, who is sick and has called us for help and advice; we told her to go to the nearest hospital, East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City. And for Abby, who is out early today for a job interview.

We have been praying for the kids whose parents are members of the Lord’s church in Babag Uno, in Bacayan, and in Maraag, that they may see the grace of God exhibited in their parents’ lives, and learn from their parents’ examples. We have been praying that the Lord will touch their hearts, and make them learn the truth of the gospel before it is too late.

We have been praying that the Lord will keep using us to proclaim His will.We have been praying that we may always be able to bear the trials and sufferings this life brings; that we may become strong inspite of them, because of the Lord who keeps us through and by His grace.

We have been praying for the preachers of the Lord’s church in many parts of this country. They have told me me through text messages and by emails that they have been inspired by what we are doing through our blog, publishing sermons that could help them in edifying the church where they are ministering.

We have been praying for the preachers who are preaching in prison and out of prison; for brother Abner Sabute and his wife Leah, and for their family. Brother Abner, from what I heard, is trying to reach out those who are in prison in Digos, Davao del Sur. For brother Danny Mamugay and his family — naturally they’re not in prison — who have transferred to Bohol and established a congregation there. For brother Maymay Lagria, who is in Albay doing missions; for sister Bernie Cal, Maymay’s sister in the flesh, who is doing a great job for Jesus in the ministry she has chosen. And for Minnie Lagria. What happened to Minnie? We have no news about her. The last news we heard she’s in Africa doing missions.

We will be adding more to our prayer list. God in his abundant mercy and love puts no limits to what man can petition and pray for if the prayer is done according to His will.

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