MFHBC Reboot Fall 2020

Classes Start August 2020

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good…in honor giving preference to one another…serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer…” Romans 12:9-13

Yesterday is gone, you have today, set your sights on tomorrow…

Don’t be swayed

15 more days…then what?

We know that whoever is born of God does not sin…We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one…we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true…in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
1John 5:18-21

We all are counting the days when we can all go back to “normal.” I shudder at the thought that I should go back to doing the normal things before the Wuhan/CCP virus invaded. What has this event taught us about ourselves? About the world around us? The people from other countries? How different are we from each other? No difference.

It is amazing really how God has allowed technology to be used for His glory. Much like Joseph told his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him because he was their father Jacob’s favorite, so they threw him into a pit, then sold him off for cash. But God allowed it and watched over Joseph all those years he was in Egypt till He brought Joseph to prominence. Because of that, with confidence in God, Joseph reminded his brothers with those words in Genesis. Consider the words spoken thousands of years ago and apply it to the world’s state, to yourself, this time in human history.

The perpetrators of this weaponized corona virus (my opinion) meant it for selfish reasons, whatever it is they intended, God allowed it for good. Families have re-acquainted themselves with each other (husband with wife, fathers with children, children with mothers, brothers with sisters); homes are cleaned (spring cleaning); books on the shelves are being read; church has been brought back to its roots, the home; the air is cleaner; skies are bluer; and most importantly, the Word of God, the Gospel is reaching places the pre-virus world had not seen.

Dear ones, do not be swayed by what the world is saying, instead, look around you and see that the Lord is good. Beware of those who try to give you a narrative filled with untruths and deception. I encourage you to ask the hard questions no one dare ask regarding anything, even regarding this virus. Don’t be content with what this or that person says, learn for yourself.

Use this extra time to exercise prayer, logic and reason. Isaiah 1:18 invites us to, “Come now let us reason together...” and again in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” In Hosea, a reminder is given, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge…” and in the book of James, the invitation is given, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives to all liberally…” therefore, ask!

Since the quarantine/lockdown, our five classes for the semester have been placed on a Long Distance learning mode. Our four students, were given their assigned readings and “home works”. Sadly, all four have not been able to send in their work/s online amid varying challenges (technical and financial). It is with confidence in the Lord we pray they continue to receive wisdom and understanding from Him as we all enter our 45th day of ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) in our area.

Our student #1 is a mother of two small girls, she has her hands full, her husband works overseas; student#2 serves her family since the start of the “ecq” days (she’s got two girls as well, older); and students 3 & 4 are in the dark. Pray for these four.

Where we are today, started before the week of March 10, 2020. Do you remember what you were doing when all of this began? That week, Nenita had just celebrated her birthday and had just finished teaching classes, Isaiah and the Gospel of John, that Friday afternoon, we had an impromptu “potbless”.

Before that, beginning the last week of February, we were invited to join the 2020 Fortify conference in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, southwest of Manila. We joined the brethren who flew in from SoCal, Reliance Church, Temecula, and Calvary Chapel Vista, CA. It was a fruitful week in the Lord. 3) While in Puerto Pricessa, we’d heard rumblings about a virus from Wuhan.

Celebration of my wife’s birthday should have continued that week, or so we thought. As that weekend began, suddenly these acronyms, words and phrases dominated internet and local news: CDC, DOH, WHO, ECQ, PPE, quarantine, quarantine pass, lockdown, corona virus, social distancing, N95 face mask, face mask, covid, covid 19, CCP virus, wuhan virus, China, novel corona virus, shutdown, amelioration, stimulus checks, unemployment, etc…

For those of you who know me(my wife specially), questions abound in my mind regarding this added event of 2020. They include the: what, where, how, when, who, why. The year 2020 is proving to be filled with stories worthy of praise for God…

1) In early January on a Sunday afternoon while spending time with the grandchildren at a local mall, Taal volcano near Tagaytay erupted after 43 years of silence, reminding us in the CaLaBaRzon area that it is no longer idle as many believed. Ash was blown into cities northeast of the volcano, that included Santa Rosa, it wasn’t a dry kind of ash, it was wet with a briny smell. The volcano is after all surrounded by what once was salt water, but is now a freshwater volcanic lake.

2) After that, we (Nenita and I) found ourselves in a “bumper to bumper bender” with a passenger jeepney. We were hit from behind. With the incident, the Lord allowed us to experience Philippine law at its finest in the city of Santa Rosa, Laguna, which surprised us, from the traffic enforcer to the police investigator to the fiscal’s office to the fiscal himself, all of whom exemplified courtesy and respect. This episode with the bumper rolled through March, with the offending party (not us) making arrangements to settle the damage incurred by our vehicle through the Fiscal’s office.

It is April 30, has anyone really figured out what’s going on? The only way I’ve approached the predicament we find ourselves in, is holding fast to Whom I believe. The narrative we’ve been given is one of dire and dread, leading those who are faint of heart to lose it. Yet, the Lord Jesus Christ reminds and calls to you, to me, “Do not fear any of those things you are about to suffer…” This tale being weaved regarding the man-caused virus, has been allowed as a 1) reminder to believers; and 2) a call to an unbelieving world.

Jesus Christ spoke the words above in a letter He wrote through John the apostle for the church in Smyrna. Much like us today, despite the unknowns, the church was called to remain faithful till the end, you and I must do the same, hold fast knowing in Whom you have believed. In the words of my wife, it’s not who we are anymore but Whose we are.

Take this opportunity to spend more time in His Word, being in prayer for our leaders and the world at large, and consider these: What has God shown you of Himself during these quarantine days? How has He revealed His love to you? In all this, Who is Jesus Christ to you today? Press on!

All in God’s Family

Visiting family and the brethren as expressed in the family of the church of God over the Thanksgiving and Christmas Season of 2016 has been filled with His goodness.
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Can it be realized any other way, the enormity and connectivity of the family of God? The journey of discovery began on October 27, 2016.

After a quadruple heart bypass on May 28, I was ever so thankful to God for His prayer for the people He surrounds me with, beginning with my wife, our children, doctors, and nurses, all by His appointment. In the days that followed prior to my discharge from the hospital, I had this longing to go on a long vacation and travel back to California.collagefin

To be rested…refreshed. To see family…friends. Maybe all of the above. This is that journey, one filled with relief, joy, and thankfulness with the people the Lord has used the last seven months…much like the lesson in faith I have been blessed to experience because of God’s faithfulness.

Not only that, He included stops to visit family in Folsom up in Northern California…

A stint at Lone Mountain in Las Vegas, Nevada…

Enjoying more snow with Nenita, Kim, and Dave, while dropping in on “The Second Chance Ranch” fellowship in Cascade, Montana…

To top it all off He brought us to parts of the “Great White North“(a.k.a.Canada), which included the flat plains of Grande Prairie where we got to to do a Couple’s Bible Study with our son and his wife…

Drove cross-country to behold God’s work through the views of Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise (included driving in snow), and of course Salmon Arm in Vancouver.banffYes, the people, the experiences and destinations my wife and I got to visit, are proof that God’s family is ever growing and full of beauty. Imagine the opportunity I would have missed had we not taken the first step.

Ready for 2017? Let’s go!!! “Pray without ceasing.”
2017

Thankful for…

Do you ever take the time to thank God for all that He gives you? The Bible is filled with reasons and occassions to thank the Lord…

Thanksgiving 2016 is here, not many months back, only the Lord knew if this day would come for me. I do thank You Lord Jesus for working in my life beginning with my wife, our children from the oldest to the youngest, our grandchildren, family and church family whom You have used to express the beauty of Your holiness and faithfulness.

Yes, another year passed, You O Lord for these whom you have used in my life! Thank You God for…

my lovely wife, whom You used to nurture me back from thick and thin…

Psalm 52:9 I will thank You forever, because You have done it. I will wait for Your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.

using Doc Rommel to operate on my heart…

Psalm 118:21 I thank You that You have answered me and have become my salvation.

using Errol & Cynthia and the grandkids to love on me.

John 11:41b “…And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.”

the family of God that is an expression of His faithfulness # 1
the family of God that is an expression of His faithfulness # 1

Philippians 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you

Tagaytay Ministerial Fellowship (TMF) #2

1Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God constantly for this…which is at work in you believers.

the VCC family at Yucca Valley...#3
the VCC family at Yucca Valley…#3

1Timothy 1:12 I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to his service

Cross Culture fellowship
Cross Culture fellowship’s Leilani with P Rod

There are many others yet to grace the pages of this blog, press on dear saints. Let us give thanks to God from Whom all blessings flow!!!

Unwavering Higher Ground Calvary Chapel...
Unwavering Higher Ground Calvary Chapel…

2Timothy 1:3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors…as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.

surprised Warriors of CC Lone Mountain, Go, Grow, and Glow in the Lord
surprised Warriors of CC Lone Mountain, Go, Grow, and Glow in the Lord

…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1Thessalonians 5:18

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Nenita at Bend, Oregon

Heart Beats by God

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Nenita and I preparing for the angio-gram. Which translates into an ambulance ride to the Philippine Heart Center through the streets of EDSA.IMG_1262

Joining us for the angio, Errol and Jun at the Heart Center.
2-Errol-and-Jun-at-PHC5-all-in-the-familyGetting a visit from family, Errol, me, Cynthia, Lorenza, May, and Nenita

3-Internet-accessHaving to go to the Cafe to make use of the internet available there, thank you!

9-visited-by-old-friendsOld friends visit, Gene, Freddie, and Robin. Thanks guys!
then New friends introduced by my lovely wife…10-visited-by-new-friends

7-Nurse-stationThe ones given charge to look after me and other patients, gather at their station, the Nurses Station.

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My surgeon, Dr. Rommel Cariño joins Nenita after the operation. Thank you.

8-first-steps-post-opMy first steps off the bed since the operation. Praise the Lord!

6-reflectionsNenita takes me for a drive around the periphery of the 4th floor. Reflections of reality.

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Post operative stance at the ICU.

14-trail
My legs, where the vein was taken from for the quadruple bypass. Thank you Lord for the hands of Doc Carino.

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Nurses going off duty give us a ride down the elevator, good job!

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New found friends from Nueva Vizcaya visit post op.

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Lab work at Silang Specialists Medical Center for my Pro Time, the balancing act.

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Father’s Day out to Calaca, Lemery, back to Tagaytay!

MFHBC at the 2015 Calvary Chapel Missions Conference

“…His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'”
Matthew 25:20-21
Booklet
October, 26 months since August 1, 2012, the day Nenita arrived in CALABARZON. We had discussed the possibility of her visiting California…

The journey continues…”so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.”
Romans 15:32
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One morning while looking for a book in the store-room

Rizty: Here’s the suitcase for when you travel in December
Nenita: Really? You think I’ll be able to go?

November – 27 months…
Nenita: Whatever God wants…but I’d really like to make the Missions conference…
Rizty: Amen…He knows…

November 28… Thanksgiving celebrated with students & friends…silence
December 11, 2014…email from Sosimo Avila…”We are planning to get together during the conference but need a head-count. We will be meeting on Tuesday January 6…”
Nenita: What will we tell Sosi?
Rizty: (quiet)
Conf-center-a
December 16, MFHBC Christmas gathering with students Cathy & Julius.

email received from Jed from Folsom that evening…”Nenita, I left you a message on fb, but in case you did not get it, please check your…account. An anonymous person depositedThey hope it will help you come to California. They realize you might have to use it elsewhere, but they felt led by God for you to have it! Praise the Lord! I will write you soon to tell you how we are doing and to check in. Love you guys! J & P

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”
Hebrews 11:6

December 23…the Lord finds for us plane fare for the exact amount He provided through that “anonymous” person…
December 30…Nenita flies to California for a much deserved time of refreshing and fellowship with the brethren…
Nenita-vs-Kobe txt
Nenita’s first 10 days at the 2015 Calvary Chapel Missions Conference in pictures with friends who are family.

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:9

Going home to die…

A person who has Christ as his Master is the master of his circumstances.

Is your situation pressing in on you?

Do not push it away, for they are from the Potter’s hands. You will learn to master them not by stopping its progress, but by enduring through its discipline. Your circumstances are not only shaping you into a vessel of beauty and honor, but also providing you with great resources of value. *
Peter

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power might be of God, and NOT OF US. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in this body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” **

For us missionaries, Paul’s confession becomes real life experience day by day, by His grace. Once they were “just facts” of the Bible, and received as God’s truth. But now, we are learning to reckon them as “His truth,” yet ours, for we get to experience them on a daily basis. NHS 3By His grace we can make this our own confession. Paul’s truth has been made personal to us through the difficulties that serve as His faith tests.

Reading through the end of chapter 4 and continuing on Chapter 5:1- 9, the truth that a Christian’s life is a “walk by faith and not by sight,” becomes a reality we share with one another in the mission field. It is a daily walk with our Lord Jesus, relying only on Him to provide everything that is needed to build “His house.”

Loving Him, so we may continue loving others.
ATC-harvest
In this we labor, going and telling the world that is lost in its faith translation, explaining to every man and teaching every man the Jesus who is both the Son of God and the Son of Man, the God-man who so loved the world…that He gave…”for the love of Christ constrains us.”

* L.B. Cowman in “Streams in the Desert”
**2 Corinthians 4: 8-10, 2 Cor 5:7, 14a

Press On

The 2014 spring classes are drawing to a close and reality has set in. As the Holy Spirit would have it, each class, He has interwoven with the next.Acts-class

The books the students got to study this semester include: The book of Acts, Gospel by Matthew, Isaiah, and Romans; other subjects offered are: Inductive Bible Study, Apologetics, OT Survey 1, English, and Lectures.

Yes! Quite a mouthful, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

“Holy Week” in this part of the world concluded without much incident. Depending on your perspective, that may be good, or not. Tradition plays an integral part of life in the Philippines, whether you’re from the north or the south, the status quo is something people are content in doing.
Pagan idols

Earlier, I mentioned that reality had set in; actually, reality is already, for those who minister to the Lord through the study and teaching of His Word.

There is no doubt that God has called us to not just proclaim His good news, and now, entering the second year as “Word-smiths” in the Philippines, the truth that it is He who opens and closes doors. Like His servants of centuries past, we find ourselves in unfriendly waters, or should I say “indifferent”.Penitents w text

The Apostle Paul, in Acts 20, in saying his farewell to the Ephesian elders this side of life, he exhorted, encouraged, and warned them. Reminding them of the calling he received and by extension you and me, given by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Throughout the book of Acts, we see the work of the Holy Spirit evident in His work. Paul went through seasons appointed by God, just as my wife and I are going through. In North America, Europe, parts of Asia and South America, and maybe even Australia, for the most part experience four seasons, spring, summer, fall, and winter.presidente-at-pari w text

The Middle East, Africa, Asia and Southeast Asia, do not have those four seasons. A running comment about the weather here in the Philippines is that it has three seasons, hot, very hot, and very, very hot.

Summer is upon the Philippines. If you’re not acclimated to the weather of a different country, it could take awhile before you get adjusted to it. The sweltering heat could drain your energy, mentally, physically, and yes, if we do not depend on His river of Living Water, spiritually.

Throughout his missionary assignments, Paul faced “summer” wherever he turned. The gospel of Jesus Christ and His teachings were met in a variety of ways, unbelief, violence, and as mentioned earlier, indifference. Paul faced these things head on; he had received his commission directly from the Lord Jesus.

His life had been threatened, he was beaten and jailed. When he set foot in Athens, he witnessed idolatry at its finest; arriving in Corinth, the practice of sexual immorality. Some commentator’s say that this point while in Corinth, what he had gone through and had seen weighed heavily on his heart. He kept “pressing on” preaching and teaching.
Women-of-Taal
And the Lord, who knows the heart, “… said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” Acts 18:9-10

The Lord has been gracious towards us that He has spared us the direct bodily injury the saints of old had endured for His Name sake. It is what we have heard and seen around us, with family, friends, government, the cities and towns, the culture of the flesh, these are the heavy weights pressed on our hearts.

To be witness to the indifference, the callous hearts, the truth of what the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah is evident here in Tagaytay:

And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, while their hearts are far from Me, and their fear of Me is a commandment taught by men,”29:13

As if the onslaught of what He is revealing to us about the people we are called to minister to was not enough, He strengthens our faith and dependence on Him. The tent-making, the financial source He has used this one year and a half has been diminished drastically.
Encouraged-2
Only a few in California have received and shared the vision of teaching the Word of God here in the Philippines, we continue to hope and receive support from the churches. That they may, we may, all partake and lay up treasures in heaven and be part of HIS work.

God knows every fiber of our being, as husband and wife, and individually, He is faithful to bring us back to His word, which is life. The Lord God Almighty spoke and reminds in His Word, I always need reminding:

“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the One who enlisted him.” 2Timothy 2:3-4

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” 2Corinthians 4:8-10

Jesus Christ is the Hope of Glory. Despite all that we have seen and heard, the seeming indifference towards the Word of God, He promises in Isaiah 29:14 the continuation of the earlier verse:
“Therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”Bike-gang
He will finish what He started, we get to be a part of that work.

What we get to do daily is to present ourselves to the Lord, as “a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship,” to entrust the day, all 86,400 seconds…our hearts, soul and minds to Him. Not to be tossed to and fro by the stormy waves of the sea, but to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.”
2Thessalonians 3:1-2
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More on the fortnight.