FEBC held its annual retreat at Resort Lautan Biru (RLB) in Mersing from May 9 to 11 (Mon–Wed), 2022. It was good to enjoy such a time in a “home away from home” after two years of lockdowns and closed borders due to the pandemic when hardly any overseas travel was allowed. By going to Mersing, we have taken a first step towards having our Bible camps and retreats again overseas.
The RLB, the brainchild of the Rev Dr Timothy Tow, was specifically and specially built as a “B-P Youth Camp”. Our late founding pastor related his visit to Mersing with his Session members on 1 August 1996, “The BPs have 15 churches and stations in Malaysia. This project is open to BPs on either side of the Causeway. We propose to call it ‘B-P Youth Camp,’ for it will be for our young people, particularly…. The benefits of acquiring this BP Youth Campsite are limitless! Apart from saving the heavy subsidies usually needed for our Annual Bible Conference, more retreats can be held on our own B-P property, any time, all the time.”
Rev Tow would often visit the resort when its construction was underway. Each time, he would make a pit stop at Jemaluang for its famous wonton mee. I had mine over 20 years ago when I went up with him once. It was so good I had two helpings. This time, with Rev Lee Kim Shong, we visited Jemaluang for wonton mee if we could find it and to see an old church there started by Miss Adelene Char (an American missionary from Hawaii) in 1953. The Jemaluang church is now under the care of a Chin Lien graduate who is in her evening years. It is sad to see the church compound overgrown with weeds and lalang. There are no services. Rev Lee is burdened to start a Bible study in Mersing so that Christians around the area can have some spiritual feeding. Let’s pray for him. In fact, this was the burden of Rev Tow for RLB that it would serve as a gospel station midway between Singapore and Kuantan.
How about the famous Jemaluang wonton mee? Alas, it is still there in a corner coffee shop (Heng Fatt Kedai Kopi). The wonton mee is cooked in kampong style and tastes quite different from our local fare. The wonton coupled with Kluang coffee hit the spot—a simple, cheap meal which to me was more satisfying than a Michelin star set lunch.
A total of 45 from FEBC camped at RLB this time. We thank God for the elderly—for Rev Koa Keng Woo, Mrs Ivy Tow, and Mrs Irene Lim (our English tutor), who could come. We also had the very young—Theophilus (just 5 months) and Trophimus (9 months), sons of Cornelius & Abigail Koshy and Jonathan & Damaris Langat respectively. The babies were the star campers—everyone enjoyed their company.
Thank God our journey there was swift and safe. While the young travelled by coach (double decker), the old went by minivan for comfort and convenience without needing to go in and out or climb up and down to clear immigration and customs. We set off in the morning at 8am from FEBC. The minivan using the Woodlands Causeway reached RLB at 11am, and the coach using the Tuas link (required of tourist buses) arrived an hour later just on time for lunch.
At the retreat, the day began and ended with devotions taken by Rev Jeffrey Khoo, Rev Koa Keng Woo, Rev Lee Kim Shong, Rev Clement Chew, Rev Jonathan Langat, and Rev Jose Lagapa. The recent graduates also got to present their respective theses with Q&A. Videos on John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” and “The People’s Preacher” a docudrama on Charles Haddon Spurgeon were screened at night. The second night saw us celebrating Rev Koa’s 93rd birthday. We prayed for his good health and strength so that he might continue to teach at FEBC.
The college family had a most blessed time at RLB Mersing. “The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.” (Ps 16:5–6). JK
1ST CHURCH CAMP OF CHRIST BPC
Rev Dr Jose Lagapa
We rejoice with our brethren in Christ Bible-Presbyterian Church in Cebu for their first church camp. Members of Trinidad BPC from the nearby island of Bohol joined the camp. The Lord is good because the camp was supposed to be held last December but due to Typhoon Odette the Lord provided the people with a perfect time and place to conduct the camp this year. Praise the Lord for His provisions from True Life BPC which helped them in realizing the planned camp.
Preacher Jose Mangco was the camp speaker with Pr Rodolfo Gayon of Trinidad BPC and Bro Johnny Rey Ebin of True Word Bible Fellowship as morning devotion speakers. Praise God for Bro Jude Gabales, the camp master, for God’s wisdom and strength upon him in arranging and managing all the necessary things for the camp.
Here is a report by Pr Jose Mangco: “Praise and thank the Lord our God for granting us a blessed church camp that was held last April 11–13, 2022. It was the Christ Bible-Presbyterian Church’s (CBPC) first ever church camp. All of us were excited, especially since most of the attendees were first timers. I thank the Lord for True Life BPC-Filipino Bible Fellowship for their prayers and financial support which played a big part in making Christ BPC’s camp possible. I also thank the Lord for brother Jude Gabales, our camp master, who labored much in all the necessary preparations.
“The camp was held at Casa Rugina Resort in Cordova Cebu, a nearby town from the church location in Pusok, Lapulapu City. We thank God that a total of 41 attendees joined the camp (including children and 1 infant). Thank God also for the 6 brethren from Trinidad BPC, Bohol, who joined our camp led by Pr Rodolfo Gayon.
“The theme was ‘Concentrate on Spiritual Things’ taken from Colossians 3:1–17. It was a meditative study on this passage with a series of 4 messages being delivered. Our morning devotion speakers were Pr Rodolfo Gayon and Bro Johnny Rey Ebin. Missions reports were presented by Pr Gayon of Trinidad BPC and Bro Jude Gabales of True Word Bible Fellowship on Monday evening.
“The preaching of God’s Word encouraged spiritual growth, allowing us to focus on our relationship with God and fellow Christians. Praise God for the brethren who attended and were attentive to hear the Word. Please pray for them that they will be able to apply the lessons they have heard into their lives. Every activity of the camp had significance and value in helping us to know more of our identity in Christ. As Christians, we are dead in and risen with Christ. Therefore, we must live with the newness of life. We must live a sanctified and holy life.
“Group memory verses, message relay and skit presentations taught us honesty, camaraderie and unity. Bible stories, arts and crafts taught life lessons for the kids found in the Scriptures. Thank God for Sis Marites Mangco and Bro Johnny Rey Ebin who willingly and patiently taught the children.
“On Wednesday morning, our camp closed with thanksgiving and testimonies. Many came to the front to give thanks and testify of the goodness of the Lord throughout the camp. It was indeed a foretaste of what heaven is like, glorifying and enjoying God’s goodness through worship and fellowship.
“All in all, the church camp has physically and spiritually refreshed many of us. We could set aside our worries, cares of this world and work, and just focus on learning God’s Word. Indeed, all of us were greatly blessed and have benefitted from the sharing of God’s Word. All glory be to God!”
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