Category Archives: Biñan

A plentiful harvest…what now?

The midpoint of 2017’s third quarter is upon us with summer winding down. In many parts, it means harvest time is near. What does the harvest mean for us? In yesterday’s reading in John 4:34-38, what ought to grab our attention is Jesus Christ’s statement in verse 35, He commanded the disciples, He commands us, “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.

Someone has already been used to spread the seed of the Gospel, it is God who makes it grow. Our part is to participate in His harvest, whatever the season. We ourselves are answers by someone else’s prayer to the Lord of the harvest, cool huh?

In just over a month, the seventh semester at My Father’s House begins. It would have been the eighth but we took leave in the Fall 2016 as part of my recovery from the heart operation the Lord deemed necessary. So here we are, preparing for the new season as we lift up our eyes that we may see what Jesus saw that afternoon in Sychar, “…the fields are white for harvest.”

You have been a part in this work God has wrought us through. In four years, we have not been in lack for any good thing. The Lord shows Himself a just Employer through His body, the church. What we may view as hindrances, bumps or bruises, these are interruptions that Jesus Christ be glorified in our lives. It has once been said, “All we get to do is be a spectator and sit back, relax and behold God work.” Exodus 14:13

Unless we make the time to listen and lift our eyes to see Him, we will miss out, not only the opportunity to be used by God, but to witness God work through us.

There is much to be done, keep praying the Lord for the people of the Philippines, for the city of Tagaytay and beyond. The fallow ground has been sown with seed meant to bear not the fruit of the Spirit, but of the flesh. Pray that we may be quick and willing to lift up Jesus Christ by the teaching of His commands. (Matthew 28:20)

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.” Revelation 3:7

Speaking of fruit, here is what the Lord continues to do:

Shades of Paul, a prisoner for Jesus Christ.

1) The Rock of Refuge Christian fellowship came alongside us last year while I was recovering from my operation. They joyfully took on the mantle in ministering to the inmates of BJMP (Bureau of Jail and Penology) in Biñan. This includes fortnight teaching of the Word of God.

Four years ago the Lord opened the door at BJMP. What was at that time a mere 20′ x 20′ enclosure (with a population of 100 or something with no ventilation)has been transformed as of this writing. The size of the jail facility has multiplied 5 times the previous size in order to accommodate the more than 600 men and some women(and still growing). Three tiered bunks have been constructed and still some sleep on the floor.

The other piece of good news is that the facility now has an exhaust system that brings in fresh cool air and pushes out the old, stale air. Praise the Lord indeed. “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them…” Hebrews 13:3

The Joyful Ruthies fetting Lani (in pink) with a shower.

2) Joyful Ruthies is a women’s bible study fellowship meeting twice a month. Nenita is used by the Lord to facilitate the study. The women’s fellowship includes Grace, Lani, Lei, Marg, Fae, Espie and Garet.

The ladies are now in the 4th chapter of Ephesians. The fellowship gave Lani a baby shower, her first child. “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” Titus 2:1

The family in Bagac, Mariveles, Bataan.

3) We look forward to receiving more students this coming Fall as He directs us. Opportunities abound in the areas of ministry outreach and church partnerships.
Consider that an outreach to a small town in Bagac, Mariveles in Bataan which is part of Central Luzon be had. Mariveles happens to be the starting point of the Bataan Death March. We had the opportunity to share the Gospel to a family and many more awaiting our return.

Aeta siblings.
Image by Originalpeople.org

In that same town, an Aeta community exists. These Aeta is one of many indigenous groups in the Philippines considered still a minority. Pray for an outreach to this town in Bagac, that we get to minister the word of God.

As it relates to church partnerships, there is opportunity up in Baguio, Benguet in Northern Luzon. This would be to come alongside the pastor in teaching on Saturday’s.

We have a desire to go and help, yet there is pause because of the logistics. The distance is far from Tagaytay. Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines, is almost 200 miles away with a travel time ranging anywhere from 6-9 hours away from Tagaytay.

Baguio brethren.

What we get to do for now is pray the Lord for these places, in Mariveles for the family and the Aeta’s; and for the church in Baguio, both places in need of workers.

It was true then, it still is true today, laborers are few…thank you for your love in prayer and joy in giving to the Lord for His work through us.

Session Road in Baguio

“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Matthew 9:37-38

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Considering

The Spring Semester is in full swing with three students, Cathy, Marge, and Ryan. It is always an exciting time each season to behold the beauty of God’s work here in Tagaytay…considering…
consider
“kon-sid´ẽr: In the New Testament the force of the word is brought out most vividly in Mat_6:26 (καταμανθάνω, katamanthánō), where it means to “examine closely,” as though the observer had to bend down for this purpose, and in Luk_12:27; Heb_10:24 (katanoéō, to “observe well”), while in Heb_13:7 the anatheōréō, “look up toward” or “look again at” is consistent with the reverential regard commended in the context. Used in the Old Testament for a variety of Hebrew terms, signifying inspecting (Proverbs 31:16), examining (Leviticus 13:13), giving serious thoughts to (Isaiah 1:3), it often means little more than “see” or “behold” (Psalm 8:3).” (ISBE)

There are many things to consider if we took the time to the reality of the days we are living in. Classes offered this semester include Inductive Bible Study (IBS), Theology, the books of Jeremiah / Lamentations and 1 & 2 Peter / Jude. It would seem like a random selection, but it is not. IBS is learning how to study the Bible on your own, unearthing the treasures found in the word of God; Theology has been defined to which I agree by Ryrie as “…the discovery, systematizing, and presentation of the truths about God.” These two subjects tackle the source of God’s revelation of Himself, in His Word, the Bible.

In the gospels, Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” Having said that…consider this…The west has veered way much to the left than the right over the last century, but has only manifested itself the last 40 years and gotten “worser and worser,” it has crept in slowly into the fabric of society. Especially since the media continue to coddle the likes of Soros, Obama, Reid who continue to spew their venomous seeds of hate, not only affecting the United States, but even to other parts of the world, including the Philippines own(DV, 3Lanes).

The book of Jeremiah and 1Peter were issued in times similar to the one we find ourselves in today, they each serve both as a warning and an encouragement. It is as Jesus said it would be, “…many false prophets will arise and lead many astray…and because lawlessness (anarachy) will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

Jeremiah was chosen by God to point the people back to the Word of God, to return “Return, O faithless sons; I will heal your faithlessness…Why then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit; they refuse to return.” Jeremiah 3:22a & 8:5; and then Peter reminds his readers, which includes us, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1Peter 1:13-16.

Therefore Consider…

This is a reality we face daily in that the Bible is being criminalized. During the time of Jeremiah, people didn’t want to hear God’s word, they wanted things that tingled their ears, make them feel good about themselves and put their lives in peril by not heeding God; then, during the days of Peter, persecution was the norm, people were faced with life or death if they confessed Jesus Christ as Lord. We Christians have been given the blessed opportunity to imitate these servants of God as they imitate the Lord Jesus Christ walking in obedience, which is where it all begins, doesn’t it?

This year will be no different, we get to press on and consider the work of God in our lives and in those around us, pressing on to His upward call. Come, join us in praise and prayer!

The Inductive Bible Study class in session includes Marge, Cathy, and Ryan. Marge and Cathy are holdovers from the “Joyful Ruthies” Women’s Bible study group Nenita started last year after my operation. One of the ladies we were expecting to join us, Lani, is not able at this time, she is pregnant with her first child. Rejoicing and praise all around indeed, keep lifting up those holy hands. Ryan is from Guilhulngan in Central Visayas, he is ea scholar via an anonymous husband and wife team from SoCal, praise the Lord.
bs-3-txt
Also, you know that we have been at our location for four years and finally last Sunday we had a Bible Fellowship with our neighbors going through Psalm 1. Be in prayer for those who joined us: Dianne and her two children, Daniela and Jinella, Lito, Imong and Ryan, God’s scholar from Negros.

At the writing of this letter, welcome the arrival of our ninth grand-child in Grande Prairie in Alberta, Canada, Jeremiah, all 7.10 pounds, 21 inches of him. God bless you Roda, great going! With the two men in her life, her newborn child and her Raymund, our son.gp3-a
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…”
Jeremiah 1:5a

“There was a man…”

From Jackson Sia

The sky was dark and gloomy as we drove to Biñan for the prison Bible Study. We were praying that the weather would cooperate. By God’s grace, the downpour did not occur until we reached our destination. Praise the Lord! God is in control. I was really blessed by His providence.

Heavy skies over the ‘Sky Way.’


Prior to the study, we handed out gospel tracts to the visitors already there. We had a short chat with a jail guard, we inquired what the inmate’s needs might be. He answered,“toiletries…tsaka pagkain (and food).” In addition, we inquired what their needs were, he and the members of their detachment. The guard seemed surprised by the question, but at the same time pleased.  He answered, “toiletries din (as well), tsaka (and) office supplies para sa (for the)office”.

The study we have the privelege of leading these men and women through is the book of John. On this day, we were wrapping up chapter 3, a narrative on Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus and being born again. 

Most of the inmates seemed to be listening and were saying “amen” to what kuya (older brother) Doy was teaching. One may not be entirely sure if that “amen” was a real  amen or a mockery. All we know is what Scripture has promised about the Word of God… “It shall not return to Me void,  But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11. We were just as blessed seeing them intently listening to the gospel. Kuya Doy told me he saw an inmate become teary eyed. Why? Only God knows. Pray he would truly repent and his hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and many like him, that they would truly “repent.” 

Read up, John 3:3-21

“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Before leaving, we asked for their their prayer requests. Many listed down prayers for their families; and silently perhaps for themselves (as most of them feel lonely and neglected. ) As I read through their requests, it is hard not to have mixed emotions. It is a joy to read that they are putting their hope in God, but at the same time…they had to go to prison before realizing their need for God. Not religion and empty worship, but true fellowship with the Living God. “For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.” Luke 20:38

Pray for the inmates and their families, the jail guards, and for us. May people be regenerated. May God be glorified in this ministry.

P.S. Here are some samples of the inmates’ livelihood products.  The wallets, however, costs as low as 60 and as high as 150. The rags are not yet available. Any income generated from these is used to buy the needs of the inmates and the facility. 

Livelihood products made by the inmates: floor mats (top shelf) and purses.


October 8, 2016

…we just finished the Bible study at Biñan city jail, began by reading John 4:1-21. It was a wonderful scene seeing the men and women again closely listening to the Word of God. The study centered on the living water and worshiping in truth and in spirit. Both men and women gave their prayer requests and we were truly the one being blessed after the sharing. 

Like the rest of the country wherein prison facilities are impacted by the influx of surrenderees, the count at the BJMP in Biñan is at 576 inmates  occupying cramped quarters. Pray for these and those like them, God bless you all!

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God...” 2Timothy 1:8

Press On To Know the Lord

As September comes to a close with limited fanfare it is with joy we get to report God’s work continuing in the lives of the saints here in Tagaytay and the Calabarzon region. The “ber” months have begun which is a signal for preparation for the arrival of Christmas here in this part of the world. All will soon be festive and “trafficky”.

After the blessed interruption the Lord allowed in late May, which is my heart surgery, it seemed like all would come to a halt when it came to ministry “activity.” It did not…

President Duterte of the Philippines

The Philippines at this point is the focus of attention from the rest of the world with President Duterte’s fight against illegal drugs. He may not have the sophistication of a high profile politician familiar with “p.c. speak,” however, he is a man of great conviction. He is after all, I believe, God’s appointed leader for the Philippines for such a time as this. Borrowing a statement from Pastor Chuck Smith, “All we get to do is sit back, pray, and watch God work.” That is what we have been doing.

Segue to the work the Lord began at BJMP in Biñan more than a year ago. When my condition dictated my limited activity for the remainder of the year, including that at the prison ministry, unbeknownst to me, the Lord had prepared men who would take up the mantle for the rest of the season beginning in July. Praise the Lord, as I was informed that the men and women at the prison were in prayer for me. As of this writing, they number nearly 500 in their small holding cell.

As the Lord revealed to Gideon (Judges 7:1-8), the men to be involved with the Bible study at the prison went through a similar screening process. What seemed like the ideal team at the start in my mind in July, was soon righted by the Holy Spirit by August.

Team in July: Nell, Julius, far right, Doy.

Good thing it’s HIS team. They are currently going through the book of John, with the inmates participating in the reading of His Word.

Team as of September: Jackson and Doy with BJMP officer

Praise the Lord! Jesus Christ is watching over His flock in the jail cells of Biñan. “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6, He never ceases. Tracts, Christian based reading, and Bibles have been distributed not just in the jail but in the town proper as well.

Bibles in Tagalog. More needed!

Doy distributing tracts in front of the old city hall.

The next narrative involves the on-going  work of the Lord to the women through Nenita. Before my confinement, the women began their study on the book of Ruth. Meeting at the center once a month, it seemed to proceed at a snails pace because of my surgery. As of late, they have been meeting twice a month and are due to wrap up by October.

“Ruthies,” l-r: Leilani, Grace, Cathy, Marj, and Lany.

I am blessed to have a godly wife who is faithful to her calling, to me and the people of God…“the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”‭‭ Titus‬ ‭2:3-5‬ ‭NKJV‬

Not only at the center, dear ones! During an out of town visit to a church family in Quezon City, Nenita was treated to a pedicure and a massage. The spitfire that she is, that in no time did the women working there find themselves drawn to this woman of God. Nenita was teaching the Word. They all were listening…“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:17‬ Amen!

All ears.

Pray for these whom you’ve just met, some you know from the past, others just now. Keep praying for the work of God here in the Philippines. As Isaiah had written, “On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.”

Let us keep in and partake of the ministry of intercession by the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our intercession.

Less than a month away before we all get to be with family and friends in the West Coast. See you then!

Grounded…What now heartache?

On July 20,  the 2012 Ford Fiesta a.k.a. our vehicle had to be towed to the repair shop. Two days before the tow, the car would not “start.” Like a “smarty pantsy” fool, I positted all possibilities why it would not start. These included hypothesizing the following: it was too hot, affected the computer, lets wait for it to cool down; it won’t start when its sunny, lets wait for early afternoon; and there were other thoughts that crossed my mind as to why the car would not start. Like I said, foolish.

Fiesta


Roy, the service advisor, did the intake at which point I tried to sound “technologically adept,” he listened intently to my narrative on the history of the “non-starting episodes” of the car. Looking back, I think he might have thought me a silly rather than smart, maybe a “smart-fool?” Over the next two weeks, none of my theories ever panned out. It was like waiting for a diagnosis in which the doctor is unable to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong without going through a battery of tests. For two weeks we were without a “reliable” car, but thanks be to God for my brother in law Ricky, he lent us his car.

Interestingly, 108 days have passed since “my service advisors” were equally confounded with my condition. My wife later pointed out the parallel between my experience and that of the car.
The Fiesta had been installed with an after market GPS system which turns out is not compatible with the original specs of the manufacturer. In other words, the GPS was not properly wired because it was an “add-on” that Fords computer system rejected. What’s the parallel? 

In Ecclesiastes 12:13, I am reminded of my whole purpose, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.” Ecclesiastes‬ ‭12:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬‬‬; in the ESV translation, we are given of the same verse, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” How do I connect this verse to the car? Bear with me…The Bible tells me, tells you, that I am made in the image of God…you are made in His image and as we read in the preceding verse…I am to “Fear God and keep His commandmentsthis is the whole duty of man (what I get to do).‬‬ That is my purpose. Consder these words, When “… God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good...” As far as God’s creation is concerned, it was all good. ‬‬ 


But sin entered the picture, like that misplaced GPS, it was never part of the original‬‬ equipment and ever since, there has been an incompatibility problem, a shorting of the car. Some days it will start, some days it won’t. Kinda like the flesh and the Spirit, Romans 7:15-20 and 8:6. As for me, I want to do what I want, did so before the operation, still do. Friends, the “heart of the matter, is the matter of the heart.” Instead of that infernal GPS, I should have been running on the “eternal GPS” (God’s Positioning Spirit) as evidenced in John 14:26 & 16:13.

I had to go through a quadruple by-pass because my internal wiring was in disarray that it shorted out from all my “past feastings”, and boy did I love to eat; the Fiesta? its wiring shorted because of a “foreign” gadget, it too, had to be re-wired and put in order. My part in caring for the car is to properly “maintain” it, as I must with myself.

Does this mean my heart can be continually abused again and again, by me? As in, I can eat what I want when I want to? God forbid!!! Of course I must needs to be mindful that my body is no longer my own, it never has been, it belongs to God (1Corinthians 6:19-20). 

Rehab team beginning with my wife, and doctor


My corrective, next step, began in an emergency room (I had to be towed to it) in May, only to end up on an operating table several days later n May 28; since then, I have begun to go through cardiac rehab, which serves as a reminder to know my limits. Rather than exercising my “rights”, these days, I get to learn to exercise my “limitations” and let God be God in my life, and this leads to a “healthy life” in Jesus Christ, for Him, by Him, through Him!