Rev Dr Jose Lagapa
“And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.” (Acts 15:36). The Apostle Paul set this pattern in missions to go and visit the brethren in churches which he and other co-labourers had planted. A mission trip did not just encourage the brethren who were visited, but Paul himself was also greatly encouraged by these visits.
The Triune God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – deserves all the glory for His abounding grace and enduring mercies. The Lord is worthy of praise and honour for the great plan of salvation for the lost in the Philippines. It is His amazing grace that opened the eyes of many who were blinded by the darkness of the Catholic Church’s superstition and idolatry.
I left on August 22, 2022 at 2:50 pm for Cebu via Manila. Due to typhoon Florita, the flight was delayed. When I reached Cebu, Pr Jose Mangco with a member, Bro Charlie Cang, met me at the airport to show me the few lots which we are praying for the proposed church building of Christ Bible-Presbyterian Church (BPC). After visiting a few places, we proceeded to Bro Jude Gabales’ residence to visit the family. We gave a short exhortation from God’s Word to his wife Agnes and daughter Arianna. A wonderful fellowship over lunch followed before they brought me to the pier to take the boat to Bohol.
The fast craft took me to Bohol island in one and a half hours. Pr Gayon was already waiting for me as he and the brethren in Trinidad BPC had been expecting a lunch fellowship, which turned into an early dinner fellowship. Bro Jonas Ba-a was also there at Trinidad to accompany me in surveying and planning the area for a possible church building for Trinidad BPC. The house church used in the past has only its posts standing as it was destroyed by typhoon Odette (Rai). I thank God for my younger brother who spared me half of our ancestral lot for the church building. We had a short exhortation of God’s Word before dinner. Immediately after, we left for Jagna, Bohol and travelled more than two hours to take a ship to Mindanao.
The next morning on Wednesday, I was in Gingoog City and met Pr and Mrs Li Yahui over a lunch at their place. Praise the Lord for the fellowship of kindred minds. After visiting relatives, I preached in the evening at a vigil service of a member of Gingoog Fundamental Baptist Church. She was very active in all the past ministries we conducted in Gingoog such as Vacation Bible School (VBS), Teens Day Camp, etc.
The next day, with Bro Jonas Ba-a, we went on a six-hour journey to Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, to visit Pr Loreto Yubat, a missionary of Calvary Tengah BPC. Since it was already in the afternoon, we immediately went for an hour’s drive to Bantuanon, Lantapan, Bukidnon. This outreach has three families attending a Bible study. This was started by Pr Warly Sinonlay whose mother lived in this area before. We met the two families and introduced in the shortest possible way the Bible-Presbyterian movement from the Scriptures. We expressed our desire to provide for them a preacher who will teach them God’s Word on Sunday afternoons. Pr Ronel Libertad, once a Bible Equipping Seminar and Training (BEST) student, is assigned to take care of this small flock.
We stayed overnight in Malaybalay. Early in the morning, we began roaming around Malaybalay City for Bible study venues at different homes as well as the children’s center of Pr Yubat. We even booked a covered basketball court in the village as a proposed venue of the VBS this coming December 2022 by Calvary Tengah BPC.
In the afternoon, we went to visit the missions work of Rev Renato Cortez in the mountains near the boundary of Bukidnon and Davao del Sur provinces, a two-hour journey. There are fewer preachers now than before. One had gone home to glory and another one stepped down for personal reasons. The six mission churches are visited by only three preachers including Rev Cortez. There is one worship service on Saturday and another one on Sunday. Truly, the labourers are few in spite of a plentiful harvest.
I stayed overnight in Central Mindanao University lodge. The next day on Saturday, I visited Golgotha BPC for the first time. I gave a short exhortation and explained to them the sacrament of baptism in the BPC and the transfer of membership. That evening, I joined a cottage prayer meeting hosted by Dr Einstine Opiso. I spoke to my good old Baptist brethren. Thank God for the privilege of sharing the Word of God with them.
The Lord’s Day, August 28 was the 1st Anniversary Thanksgiving of Golgotha BPC. Thank God for a good number in attendance, even friends and Baptist brethren. We started the worship service at 10 am and finished at 12 noon. There were three believers who were baptized and six who transferred their membership. I praise the Lord for the testimonies given after the worship service which encouraged my heart, and I believe the hearts of the others who were there.
After lunch, I left for Davao which took three hours of travel to catch my night flight to Manila. In Davao, I had the opportunity to visit my younger brother and his family. I reached Manila that night and waited for the early morning flight back to Singapore, hoping to be in time for my morning FEBC class at 10:30 am. I reached just on time, but thank God for a Reformation film which was shown to the students to give me enough time to prepare.
This trip made me realize how I have slowed down compared to how I used to travel in the past decades where I seemed to be tirelessly moving around with my research works. Nevertheless, this brought great joy and thanksgivings in my heart to see the Lord’s hand doing the work of salvation though these churches are small. “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36–37).
God willing, another missions trip is planned for November 2022. All praise and honour be to the Lord our God!
REPORT FROM GAPPI GETSEMANI, BATAM
We thank the Lord for His goodness to us. There are good things happening to GAPPI Getsemani. At the same time the devil is working through evil people too.
We thank God for blessing us because we can still worship Him every Sunday, morning and evening. The evening service is used by the Lord to bring some people who had not come to church for years. There is a young person whosemother is a church member but she has not been coming for years. She started coming and continued to come for our evening services for two months already. She comes with her brothers and sisters too. We pray it will bring about true confession of faith. We also thank God for the Bible Study classes and fellowship meetings that we have every week.
We thank God for the children’s ministry which has brought many children to church. We teach them Bible in English. Besides the regular weekly meetings, last month we had a special evangelistic meeting. We held it on Saturday, August 13. We thank God there were 30 children and some parents who came. I spoke to them from John 1:1, emphasising that Jesus is God and their Creator, and evangelising them to believe and follow Christ for the rest of their lives. Besides the worship service, we conducted some games for them too. Thank God for this ministry.
We plan to conduct another new ministry for these children. We want to start a Joyful Saturday Ministry. It will be on Saturday afternoon. Some of the children in Getsemani Children’s Ministry already said that they want to join. Please pray we can start this and many children will come.
We thank God for True Life’s support to us. We have received your love gifts even for our building funds. We thank God also for your support for Mdm Supartik. May the Lord continue to bless True Life.
We had planned to build a toilet, kitchen, and a classroom beside the church, which is on the land that was used for the church’s playground. But something happened that caused us to stop this plan for the time being. This land is beside the church, fenced off by the church since 2016. Please pray this problem can be solved as soon as possible so that we can resume our plan to build. Thank God we can see His hands working. (Sep 14, 2022)
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