Report on the FEBC Gospel Rally
by Kelvin Lim
We thank God for enabling the Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC) to conduct a Gospel Rally. Weeks of spiritual exercise was spent in prayers and various outreach efforts such as door to door and street evangelism, and inviting likeminded churches to join in the evangelistic effort. The Rally was held in the FEBC Hall on 1 September 2023 at 7.30 pm.
The event was chaired by brother Maritus with his wife Rachel interpreting for him. The meeting began with them leading the congregation in the opening prayer and singing of hymns to the praise and glory of God. The pianist was sister Yu Jie of Tabernacle BPC who uplifted our souls with heavenly tunes to prepare the hearts and minds of the people spiritually. The students presented a song item—“Softly and Tenderly”—which touched our hearts.
The Scripture reading from the Gospel of John 3:1–18 reinforced the theme of God’s love in Jesus Christ. This passage highlighted the essence of God’s love and His gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. It served as a foundation for the evening’s message.
The message was delivered by Rev Clement Chew who preached a powerful message regarding God’s love entitled “God Loves You.” This was interpreted accurately by Rev Zhu Jian Wei into Mandarin for the Chinese speaking people among the congregants who had gathered and those who joined the meeting online.
The LORD brought two visitors who were unbelievers to hear this gospel message of God’s love. One of them is called Patricia. She has started attending the worship service in True Life BPC. The other lady is the grandmother of our fellow student Yan Yee. As Luke 15:10 reminds us, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” We give thanks to God for their presence with us and pray for their salvation.
This event was also a combined meeting with True Life BPC in conjunction with their prayer meeting. We thank God for strengthening the bonds of fellowship and unity among believers on site with us and for those who joined us online via the live-streaming on YouTube.
The event ended with a time of fellowship over light refreshments. We thank God for those who graciously contributed to the food and drinks, not forgetting fellow students who served in establishing one another’s faith in words and deeds, and evangelising to the lost with the love of God. “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” (1 Cor 3:7–9). To God be the glory!
THANK GOD FOR TYPHOONS
Rev Dr Jose Lagapa
The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. It is located along the so-called Pacific ring of fire that makes our motherland highly susceptible to seismic and volcanic risks. The country is also subject to a world record number of typhoons every year. It is estimated that 60% of our land area and 74% of our population are exposed to numerous hazards like floods, cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides. The World Risk Index, which calculates the disaster risk for 193 countries, shows that the Philippines has the highest disaster risk, with an index score of 46.82.
Is it right to be thankful for disasters like typhoons? Well, in reality, it is hard and difficult to face calamities. It is traumatic to see lives and properties lost and destroyed. It is tragic and sad to experience these disasters, and I believe nobody dares to rejoice and be thankful over these catastrophes.
Although looking at these natural disasters at the outset is horrible, believers who understand that God is the One in control over these happenings will see a different perspective. Putting on the spectacle of faith, we can see a different view which is good and perfect. The process may be gruelling and painful, but the result is a manifestation of God’s glorious plan for His people.
The greatest disaster this world has ever experienced was the global flood in the time of Noah. “And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased,… And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered….and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.” (Gen 7:17–24). There was nothing like it till today. Yet it was God who allowed it to destroy this earth with all its corruption, wickedness and violence. It was disastrous, yet it was a deliverance of the next generations from all the evil that filled the earth in Noah’s day.
A local, very specific storm happened in the time of Jonah. “…the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.” (Jon 1:4). It was, of course, a terrifying experience of the people who were with Jonah, but it came because the prophet fled from the presence of the LORD and did not want to obey the words of God for him. The tempest was Jonah’s rod to redirect him back to the way he should be and that was to preach to the people of the wicked city Nineveh.
There is also in John 6:16–18 a record of a localized typhoon experienced by the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, “And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.” The disciples were very afraid and yet the Lord Jesus Christ came walking on the water to comfort them. Their faith was strengthened to acknowledge the truth that indeed Jesus is the Son of God.
Likewise, the Apostle Paul went through a disastrous journey that many of his companions thought their lives would have ended there. “But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.” However, we know that the storm brought them to the island of Melita where the people came to hear the gospel and experienced the healing of the Lord.
Typhoon Rai, known in the Philippines as Super Typhoon Odette, was the second costliest typhoon in Philippine’s history behind Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Rai was a powerful, rare tropical cyclone that struck the Philippines in December 2021. It was the typhoon that destroyed my ancestral house which was used as a house church in Trinidad, Bohol. It was painful for me to see the place where I grew up totally damaged. Repairing it was just simply impossible. Yet I realized that it was rightly destroyed totally as it could not be a place of worship to the Living and True God. I know well how that house had been used for idolatrous and superstitious events. The Lord had to cleanse the place. Thank God, my younger brother who is the heir to that piece of property gave me a land a little larger than 200 square meters at the back of the destroyed house. This is where the building for the Trinidad BPC is currently constructed.
I remember the testimony of Pr Rodolfo Gayon who is our full-time worker there when he told me that he was about to leave Trinidad because of the hardness of the people’s hearts to the gospel in the province of Bohol. The super typhoon prevented him from doing so as he was “forced” to stay in Bohol because transportation was stopped due to the great damage in the area.
The Lord in His providence gave us resources to purchase a space needed for immediate worship. A container was purchased that is still being used today. It encouraged us to continue the work as we see the hand of God supporting us and providing for us in time of need. God is good!
But the best result of the typhoon is the harvest of souls. Yes, there were lives and properties destroyed. But in 2022, as a result of the difficulties of life, one family came to the saving grace of Christ and were baptized. If not for the typhoon, these brethren testified that they would have continued to live for their farms and small-scale businesses. The typhoon blew away all their physical properties, but God granted them the heart to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Typhoons and related natural disasters destroy, but God has His own purposes. Let us see the Lord’s plan so we can praise and give thanks even for the typhoons that come into our lives. He is in control of everything, and He has always a good reason why He does things so!
Please pray for the LORD’s continued provision for the completion of the building construction of Trinidad Bible-Presbyterian Church.
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