March 4, 2015

Greetings from the Philippines! If you have been a part of Faith Bible Church for any length of time, you have read this words from me before. I was overwhelmed at the impact of this ministry during my first visit to the Philippines in 2005. I am just as encouraged on my tenth visit to the Philippines in 2015.

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Our church has sent numerous teen and adult mission work teams here. The impact of these projects struck me as I was walking the campus at 5 AM on Monday (jet lag wakes you up at strange hours). My path started in the cabin where Kim and I are staying. A 2005 FBC work team helped build the septic field that services the four speaker’s cabins and the bathrooms for the swimming pool. These cabins house the guest speakers who teach at the Bible Institute. I walked down the hill toward the dining hall along a road where electric and phone lines were installed by FBC electricians and technicians. Then, I walked by Negros, one of eight cabins that house over 15,000 campers every year. Every camper hears the gospel during their visit to this Bible camp nestled on a river in the middle of coconut plantations. FBC contributed $40,000 to build Negros cabin in 2005. Right next to Negros is Upper Hall, a mid-sized meeting hall built by an FBC work crew in 2006.

Follow the tree line another 30 yards from Upper Hall and you will see the most prominent structure on campus, the Bible Institute building. An FBC work team assembled the steel trusses for this building in 2008. Every year a new class of Bible Institute students are trained in evangelism, discipleship and church leadership by Bible college and seminary teachers like Dave James and Kerby Anderson, and pastors like myself who come for one or two weeks at a time.

The impact of all of this is far greater than seeing lovely and functional buildings. It is even greater than seeing the hundreds of happy campers who delight at the chance to leave urban Manila to spend a few days with their friends swimming, climbing, playing sports and speeding down the zip-line. The significance of Faith Bible Church’s involvement is that we are able to contribute to the advancement of the gospel in the Philippines and south-east Asia.

Every time I return to the Philippines I hear about former students who are now pastors, missionaries and ministry leaders somewhere in the Philippines or neighboring countries. Some of those students are missionaries with Word of Life and are now the leaders of Bible clubs and campus ministries. Some serve as missionaries at the various campuses of the University of the Philippines.

I taught Jerry Fe in 2006 and 2008. I travelled with his class to “Eternity Week” to Bicol in 2010. I was greatly impressed with this young man and his passion for the gospel. Jerry Fe is now the program director for WOL Seaside camp in Mindanao. He is responsible for sharing the gospel with hundreds of campers. He is also pastoring a church in the nearby.

Michael Bucho was a student I taught in 2009 and 2012. Michael is now the director of evangelism for Word of Life sharing the gospel with many people every week and training new Bible Institute students in evangelism.

Pol Suyo and Jerry Fe both graduated 2012. Pol is now a pastor in the province of Pampanga.

Jerry Ordonia also graduated in 2012. Jerry is pastoring a church in Nueva north of Manila. Jerry leads a pastor’s fellowship and helped coordinate Eternity week this past January. The results of this year’s Eternity Week were astounding. Rachel Fogle was one of the leaders of this ministry. The gospel was shared with over ten thousand people. Several thousand people responded to the gospel and Jerry and Pol are leading the effort to disciple these new believers, many of them using the Foundation for the Faith Discipleship curriculum that was created at Faith Bible Church.

I just learned a powerful story from our missionary Jonel Arcedera. Jonel is the director of Local Church Ministries at Word of Life. He and the five men he leads help establish Bible Clubs in local churches. This ministry is far more than running youth group games and special events. The ministry conducts two training strategies in the churches. Blueprint for Evangelism trains church members (teens and adults) how to share their faith. Blueprint for Discipleship teaches them how to follow-up new believers and help them grow in their faith. They utilize the Foundation for the Faith Discipleship curriculum. Currently close to 100 churches are using this discipleship curriculum. One of my tasks during this visit is to help transfer the discipleship curriculum to an internet based course so that it can be expanded for greater use.

In March 2013 Jonel conducted a one day discipleship seminar in Community of Biblical Faith Church in San Pablo City, about 30 minutes from camp. The outreach pastor, Gabby, is a graduate of the Bible Institute. The church got excited about what they were learning and the Bible study became the beginning of a new church that has been meeting every Sunday for the past 6 months. Even though Jonel is not primarily a church planter, his emphasis on evangelism and discipleship is helping to establish new churches!

The impact of these ministries is astounding. God is using many dedicated believers in the Philippines to lead these ministries. They in turn count on the support, partnership, teaching and labor of churches like Faith Bible Church to support this mission work. Our contribution is only a part, but it is a part that is making a great difference.

I will continue teaching this week. Next week we will leave here to spend 2 days visiting Yoshito Kato and Kazu and Amy Kato in Tokyo. I want you to know the impact of our partnership in this work and to solicit your prayers for the days ahead. I’m looking forward to sharing more of these stories when we return.

In His Service,

Pastor Paul