Following Frank in the Philippines - II
A few notes and photos from recent Facebook posts:
Today I had the privilege of presenting a paper for the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches Roundtable on the topic of Continuing Education Models for Pastors. Sharing a paper on the same topic from the Philippine Baptist Churches was Rev. Dr. Armando Kole, who serves as the Director of Convention Baptist Bible College in Bacolod City.
We concluded the Roundtable Meeting this evening with a closing worship service of commitment. The days of meeting and conversation were rich for all of us, and underscored the deep legacy of relationship that stretches back over 100 years since the first Baptist missionaries came to the Philippines.
Yesterday we had the privilege of visiting a number of the sites that were aided by One Great Hour of Sharing support by American Baptists following the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda in the fall of 2013. The Ajuy Christian Education Development Center was our first stop. It was great to hear the laughter of the children.
We visited with the church family at the Sublangon Baptist Church this morning on our way to preach in another congregation.
This church also received One Great Hour of Sharing gifts to rebuild the parsonage that was destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda. Pastor Ida was filled with joy as she took us through her new home. Pastor Elmo told me that during the storm, Pastor Ida received many people from the community to allow them to find shelter from the storm in the church, for more than three days. The congregation gave them a place to stay and food to eat...as they were the hands and feet of Christ to these lost and weary people, God touched their hearts and many have become Christians and are now a part of the church family. What a beautiful story of hope out of tragedy!
We literally went to the 'end of the road' for one of our One Great Hour of Sharing visits. On the far northeastern edge of the island we visited a church that was devastated by Typhoon Yolanda. One Great Hour of Sharing helped provide funds to repair the church building, but also helped more than 20 people rebuild their livelihood by helping them rebuild their fishing business, which takes place in the brackish waters surrounding the village.
To thank us ( the ABC Family) they prepared a feast of crab, shrimp, oysters, clams and fish that had just been caught that morning ...washed down with fresh coconut milk. What a blessing to share a meal with brothers and sisters in the LORD.
I had the honor of preaching at Pontevedra Baptist Church this morning. Pastor Bhart and the church leadership shared the progress on another school that was helped by gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.
The church school has over 450 students from grades K-10, and Typhoon Yolanda destroyed one of the buildings, while also stripping the roof off the parsonage.
Please be praying for the congregation--due to new guidelines passed by the Philippine government, all children will need to complete two more years of high school (grades 11-12) , so the school needs to add teachers and classes to meet the need.
Another moving moment during our trip was the chance to be at the Capiz Emmanuel Memorial Hospital founded by 6 of the 11 American Baptist missionaries that were martyred for their in Capiz during WWII by the Japanese Imperial Army. A memorial for their service and sacrifice was erected in the grounds.
We had a farewell dinner with the leaders of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches last night , and are traveling north back to Manila to meet with the Luzon Kasapulanan ( the Philippine version of a region) and the leadership of Samaritana Transformation Ministries, who are involved in urban ministries in Manila. It's been an exciting time to share with these leaders , but we are all excited to see what the next days will hold.
We've arrived safely in Manila...our driver told us that traffic was light this afternoon. It only took us a little over two hours to reach Samaritana Transformation Ministries, located just to the north of Manila. ( I said as we drove...well, coasted along, " I'll never complain about Pittsburgh and Philadelphia traffic again!"). It was a crazy trip!
What a beautiful oasis Samaritana Transformation Ministries is! After a long and smog-filled ride from the Manila Airport, we were met by Debbie Mulniex, BIM missionary and STM Director Jonathan Nambu. The ministry centers on outreach to those caught up in human trafficking.
It is believed that there are anywhere from 450,000 - 800,000 women trafficked and prostituted within the Philippines. In addition, as many as 100,000 street children are involved in and victimized by prostitution, some of them as young as 11-years-old. In fact, 1 out of every 10 children trafficked around the world is Filipino....we are all excited to learn about this ministry that seeks to address this pressing need in greater Manila.