Rev Dr Jose Lagapa
“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever. I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” (Psalms 118:1–9)
Filipina Bible Study (2004–2009)
We MUST give thanks to the LORD for His mercy upon the Filipino ministry in True Life BPC. The Lord opened the door for this ministry on July 2004 in the heart of our founding Pastor, the late Rev Dr Timothy Tow and also the hearts of many Filipino preachers and FEBC students. The burden of Rev Tow was seen in how he immediately opened a Bible study when Pr Eduardo Morante came over to the then FEBC Lord’s Day Service. It was named the Filipina Bible Study. This was the beginning! It was continued every Lord’s Day at Level 6 during worship message time. When Pr Morante moved abroad, Mrs Ivy Tow, Pastor Tow’s wife, encouraged Sister Manuela Fernandez Heng (Ate Wella) to continue the Filipina Bible Study which she faithfully did until December 2009.
Filipino Bible Study (2010–2016)
On January 2010, Pastor, The Rev Dr Jeffrey Khoo, approved the ministry to be renamed Filipino Bible Study with the desire to bring in men to the Bible study. It was conducted every Lord’s Day 9:15–10:15 in concurrence with the Sunday School classes of True Life BPC. After 6 years of praying and waiting upon the Lord, God brought in two gentlemen into the ministry in 2016.
Filipino Bible Fellowship (2016–2022)
The Lord again moved the heart of Pastor Khoo to pave the way for the ministry to become the Filipino Bible Fellowship (FilBF) in July 2016. From its beginnings, the FilBF met in the Upper Room of the Far Eastern Bible College on Sunday afternoons. When the Lord provided True Life BPC a place in Godhill, the FilBF became the most blessed fellowship to avail the venue every week.
Although, the COVID-19 disrupted the meetings, online recorded messages continued to provide the spiritual feeding of the Filipino believers. As the Singapore government opened up, the FilBF moved to the morning meetings.
Filipino Worship Service
There was a time when FilBF leaders requested the True Life BPC session to change FilBF into a worship service because of the frequent disruptions of physical gatherings for fellowship meetings during the COVID Pandemic. However, it was not the Lord’s timing. God has a better plan, this time it is the session that moved to change the FilBF into the Filipino Worship Service.
How the Lord works in marvelous and mysterious ways! “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts” (Proverbs 21:1–2).
The Lord was good to the FilBF for more than 6 years. As the ministry moves on to the 7th year, He places us on a higher ground as True Life BPC Filipino Worship Service. Let us continue to labour for the Lord as He leads us. Let us attempt, with the gifts that God has granted us, to fulfil His Great Commission. Should the Lord tarry, we must anticipate for a far higher ground that He will bless us if we be diligent and faithful to Him. What’s next 7 years after?
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:14–17).
[Ed: It was decided by the Session on January 10, 2023 that the Filipino Bible Fellowship operates as a worship service like the English and Chinese worship services of the church. The weekly collections (tithes and offerings) of the Filipino Worship Service will go into the general church fund. Support of the missions and missionaries in the Philippines will come from the general church fund with oversight from the Session.]
A young lad named John Williams, an ironmonger’s apprentice, had agreed with a friend to spend a Sabbath Day evening playing some games and having fun together.
As he was hurrying along the street to meet his friend, he turned into another street and met his boss’s wife. “Where are you going, John?” she asked. John told her what he intended to do. She said to him, “That would be the wrong way to spend the Sabbath. Come to the chapel with me.”
John agreed and went with her to the Chapel. That night the preacher spoke on the text, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). The Lord spoke to John’s heart and by God’s grace, he responded to the gospel and trusted in Christ as his Saviour.
John became a sincere Christian and a student of the Bible and trained for two years to be a missionary. In 1817 he sailed for the South Pacific Islands. He became known as “the Apostle to Polynesia”. He discovered Rarotonga Island and established a mission station there. He translated portions of the Bible and other books into the local language, and established a training school to teach men trades and to carry the gospel message to other islands. Williams visited many islands, covering an area of 2,000 miles in his missionary endeavours.
From 1834–38 he visited England, then he returned to the New Hebrides, but there he was met by a group of savage men who killed and ate him. These savages had been cruelly treated by some British sailors, and they wrongly thought that John Williams was one of these sailors. Thousands of Polynesian Christians mourned his death, but his death did not stop the spreading of the gospel. Others were stirred to support the work John Williams had begun. Several ships were later built, each named “John Williams”, which were used to carry the gospel of Christ to the many islands of Polynesia.
[Source: R Cameron-Smith, Terrified by Crows and 57 Other Stories (Tasmania: Southern Presbyterian Church, 2008).]
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