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Vol. XIX No. 44
31 July 2022

FILIPINO BIBLE FELLOWSHIP

Rev Dr Jose Lagapa

The Filipino Bible Fellowship (FilBF) of True Life BPC celebrates her 6th Anniversary Thanksgiving on 31 July 2022. It is good to recall the Lord’s goodness upon us so that we can truly thank God for the many blessings He has showered upon all of us.

First, we have to thank Him for the souls whom the Lord has gathered to come and join us in the fellowship. We started with less than 10 people and then went on to having more than 30 in a meeting. Although the number is always fluctuating, we should give thanks to God for His unfailing grace in bringing Filipinos to our Sunday fellowship meetings. There were 20 who confessed their faith publicly through the sacrament of water baptism.

However, we cannot help but sigh and cry before the Lord to be merciful to many who have gone back into the world and even into Roman Catholicism. The pressures of their relatives and friends were so strong to push them out of the right path into the darkness of Rome. This makes me very sad, but I must thank the Lord that those who left were not deprived of the teachings of God’s Word and the warnings against falling away from the faith. The Lord is so faithful to us and if there is anyone to be blamed for any lack of spiritual feeding and care of the flock, it is I. Please pray for me that I would be faithful in preaching and living out what I have proclaimed. May God’s truth be seen in my life and my family so that I will not be a stumbling block to those who come and desire to know more of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

Second, we have to thank the Lord for the provision of a place for us to meet. We began with afternoon meetings at the Upper Room of the Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC). By God’s faithful arrangements, we moved to Godhill in 2018. The Lord moved True Life BPC to purchase Godhill for the use of God’s people. I believe we benefited much from this place. Although, we were interrupted by the “circuit breakers” in 2020 and 2021, the Lord sustained us through our pre-recorded messages and livestreaming. When we returned last year for physical meetings, we moved our time to the morning. Godhill is really a manifestation of God’s goodness upon us. We have a place where we can fellowship and serve the Lord together.

Christ BPC, Lapu Lapu City, Cebu and Trinidad BPC, Bohol

Third, the Lord revived our evangelism sessions. During our early years, we would always go out for evangelism every afternoon after the morning service. Praise God for the zeal of our brethren for evangelism. Although we now go only twice a month, the Lord has sustained our love and concern for fellow Filipinos here in Singapore who are still outside God’s Kingdom. We are currently visiting Orchard Road and Toa Payoh Park where our kababayans are gathering on Sundays. It is our prayer that through this fervour and zeal to bring souls to Christ, the Lord would lead us to those whose hearts have been prepared to receive the Gospel.

Fourth, we are thankful that God has not only used the FilBF to evangelize the Filipinos here in Singapore but also granted us the privilege to plant mission stations in the Philippines. So far, the Lord has blessed us with three churches, the Christ BPC in Cebu with Pr Jose Mangco, Trinidad BPC in Bohol with Pr Rodolfo Gayon, and Golgotha BPC in Valencia City, Bukidnon with Pr Warly Sinonlay. We have two other mission outreaches—the Christlife BP Missions in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon and the True Word Bible Fellowship in Cebu City.

Fifth, the Lord is gracious to provide a teaching ministry to equip our brethren and lay preachers for the work of the ministry. The Lord opened the way for us to start the Bible Equipping School of Theology (BEST). So far, we have an average of 8 lay preachers in our certificate/diploma in ministry program, and more than 20 brethren are taking the Christian Education program. Although our classes online are still irregular, please pray that we can have people who will manage this and a platform where we can have stable and accessible means for learners to log in and watch the video lectures. We are thankful that an additional teacher in the person of Pr Jose Mangco is now teaching the Epistle to the Colossians to our lay preachers in the Cebuano dialect. Old Testament Survey and Homiletics are also offered in Cebuano. For the Christian Education program, we have Basic Doctrines (Knowing Salvation) and Adults Christian Education. Next semester, we will also have new teachers in the Christian Education program with our new FEBC graduates—sisters Gyzza Dandoy and Thessa Lagapa.

Sixth, we have started the printing and distribution of the Tagalog RPG (Read, Pray, Grow) this year. We have been praying that we can start a work in Luzon. Through these translated devotionals, we pray the Lord will move the hearts of a few to come and study in FEBC to lead a mission station in the northern part of the Philippines. We thank God that through our literature in Tagalog, many of our countrymen from Luzon can avail themselves to knowing and understanding the Word of God in our national language. I believe there are many things that we can thank God for these six years or even in the past year.

CALLING TO FURTHER STUDIES
Thessa Lagapa

During the last semester as the days drew closer to graduation and the thought of where to go after that loomed in my mind, furthering my studies did not really enter as an option though my father always suggested and encouraged it. As a personal desire, I have always wanted to go back to the Philippines and serve the Lord there, but stepping back to see the bigger picture, I know I should always go back to seek God’s will and what He wants for me. I reasoned to myself that I should go out and start serving already because Jesus Christ is coming back soon. There is not much time left already. I do not want to meet Him emptyhanded or that I have not done enough or done my best.

However, as I prayed, read His Word, and looked at the circumstances around me, God did not open the door for me to go anywhere just yet. It was clear that He wanted me to stay and to study more. I learned to once again humble myself and not think that I am already equipped enough to go out by myself to the field. Of course, that can be God’s will for another person, but it was not for me. I still have much to learn and to improve on myself as well. I know that my character still needs polishing to serve God. I find it hard to work with people because I have a tendency to be a men-pleaser, trying to dodge any situation that will probably ruin relationships with people, but I know that if I ever have to choose between Christ and someone or something else, I must not even hesitate for a second but promptly choose my Lord and Saviour above all else. I still need to be strengthened because I know I am very, very weak.

I am honoured and privileged to properly and formally ask for the Principal’s permission to pursue the degree of Master of Religious Education. During the three months of vacation after the graduation, God opened many doors for me to teach children in different ministries and churches. I thank God for these experiences, which gave me greater burden and love for the children. Though they were not easy to take care of, I saw their childlike faith, their readiness to listen, and their grief over sin that not many of us who are older may have, including myself.

The spiritual education and training of children became something that is burdening my heart. As what Christ lovingly said to the children, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 19:14), I see the little ones – small, defenceless, impressionable, and also in total depravity. This verse was a resounding theme during the time I searched for God’s will. As I have done my recent thesis on children growing up to be ungodly though they have been exposed to Christianity, this ugly reality has woken me up to do something in this area as the Lord leads.

In the Philippines, more and more youths are falling into sins of getting pregnant out of wedlock and just straying away from the Lord. Though parents do have the main responsibility, I believe Sunday school teachers and people serving in the church can help in some way too. Therefore, I believe the one year of further studies for Master of Religious Education can help to equip me to serve the Lord in this manner. I pray that I will take this time to really soak in and learn as much as I can as I look forward to being used by the Lord whether in Philippines or anywhere else He leads. To God be the glory!

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