February 26

Philippine Preaching February 22-25, 2017

Dear family, brethren, and friends,

I tell newcomers to the Philippines to memorize the words “patience” and “flexibility.”  I myself have been remembering them lately.  I have not been able to get a sufficient internet signal to be able to send reports or check email–I have lost a lot of time trying even late at night when I should have been sleeping.  Oh, well, patience and…what was that other word?

More importantly, our efforts to encourage and edify the saints affected by super-typhoon Lawin in October continue by God’s grace.  From Tuguegarao, Cagayan Province we traveled two hours on winding roads through the mountains of the Kalinga Province Wednesday morning to reach the Gobgob church of Christ in a rural area of Tabuk City where Ben Vistro labors in the gospel.  There were 123 people waiting for us, some in the meeting house and some under a heavy plastic shelter at the entrance.  Knowing they had been hit hard by the typhoon, I did my best to encourage them to endure life’s trials by faith in God.  So, I taught again “Take Job as an Example.”  It was not necessary to translate the sermon, but Rody Gumpad was asked to summarize it in Ilocano to underscore some important points.
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February 21

Philippine Preaching February 20-21, 2017

Dear family, brethren, and friends,

Greetings to everyone in the name of Christ our Savior from the Philippine Islands!

On Monday, February 20, we met with 123 souls at the rented meeting place of the Gundaway church of Christ in Cabarruguis, Quirino Province where Willie Pastor labors as an evangelist.  Their normal attendance is about 70, but several preachers from near and far and visitors from the community helped to fill the meeting place completely.  My first lesson was “Take Job as an Example” (Ja. 5:10-11).  This book refutes the age-old theory that God immediately blesses the righteous with material blessings and immediately punishes the wicked with physical suffering.  This theory caused Job and his friends to misunderstand Job’s ordeal as punishment for sin.

Most of the audience could understand English well enough, but for the sake of the few who could not well understand Willie translated in Tagolog as I preached.  Afterward Rody gave a short summary of the key points in the Ilocano dialect spoken by some of our audience.  Rody then gave a simple Bible lesson on first principle of the gospel.
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February 21

Philippine Preaching February 16-19, 2017 – Itinerary

Dear family, brethren, and friends,

After leaving my house about 5:00 AM on Thursday, February 16, I flew through Atlanta, Detroit, and Tokyo to reach Manila.  Bad weather in Japan caused delays.  By the time I got to bed in my Manila hotel room, it was 3:00 AM Saturday, about 33 hours after leaving Louisville.  Though it was a little tiring, it is better to be thankful for the safe trip and the privilege to serve Filipino saints than to complain about travel problems.  “ Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Ps. 107:8).

Saturday morning Sammy Paet met me at the hotel to help repack six boxes of Bibles, songbooks, and study materials I brought on the plane.  He took them to a bus station to ship them ahead so that I can distribute them along the way as I travel and teach.  I then took care of some housekeeping duties like visiting a moneychanger and picking up a few necessary supplies.  There was also time to review some lessons and quickly check email.  I squeezed in some time for exercise in order to boost my stamina, which I will very much need to finish this trip.
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January 24

Philippine Preaching February 16-March 7, 2017

Ron & Donna Halbrook
3505 Horse Run Ct.
Shepherdsville, KY 40165-6954

PLEASE SHARE THIS LETTER ON GOSPEL PREACHING IN THE PHILIPPINES!

January 18, 2017th Year of Our Lord
                                                            
Dear brethren,

God opened a door for me to join Jim McDonald preaching in the Philippines in 1995 and a door is now open for my 65th trip February 16-March 7.  This trip is shorter than usual because I will visit only Manila and northern Luzon.  The main goal is to edify and encourage saints who suffered from the terrible typhoon in October.  Benevolence funds have been sent as much as possible, but the recovery is slow.  They need not only financial help but also strengthening of their faith.  Satan demanded Jesus to turn stones to bread, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).

After arriving in Manila, I will make some preparations such as visiting a moneychanger and sorting boxes of books to be shipped ahead.  On Sunday I will preach in Manila and then start the long journey which will carry me across a large swath of northern Luzon.
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January 21

Halbrook Report: 64th Philippine Trip November 29, 2016-January 10, 2017

January 10, 2017th Year of Our Lord
Dear brethren,
                              
A merciful God permitted me to join Jim McDonald to preach in the Philippines in 1995.  By God’s providence 64 Philippine trips, 7 New Zealand trips, and 6 Australian trips are now complete.  All the world must know our Savior has come!  “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matt. 28:18-20, ESV). None of us can do it all, but all of us must do what we can.  Thank you for joining hands with me in this work.

The flights November 29-30 from Louisville to Manila were safe by the grace of God.

December 2-3 was scheduled at the Kapitbahayan church of Christ in Navotas, Metro Manila.  About 40 souls attended Monday as we studied topics related to unity in Christ, gender roles, and whether God or man will bring about the end.  A radio announcer who used to hear Ben Cruz attended and was convinced we are preaching the true gospel.  He was baptized when I returned to Manila in January.  It has been a joy to watch this church progress through the years.  The elders are diligent.  The evangelists effectively use radio programs to spread the gospel.
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January 14

Halbrook Preaching Trip January 5-10, 2017

Dear family, brethren, and friends,

Thursday, January 5, brought mixed emotions because I always look forward to working with Manila brethren, but I hated to leave Donna, Jamie, Deborah, Timothy, Seth, and Arabelle (with her arrival still pending) in Brisbane.  The plane flew from Brisbane to Darwin, Australia, and on to Manila, a trip of 8-9 hours.  There was much turbulence between Darwin and Manila, but I managed to do a little work and I was tired enough to sleep through much of it.  After checking in at the hotel about 8:30 P.M., I ate a snack and went to the exercise room for about 40 minutes even though I felt like dropping in the bed.  I knew it would help me adjust to the trip and the change of the time zone again.

Checking email Friday morning, I learned that my good friend Mark Mayberry slipped on the ice and snow while visiting his son Nathan, Sarah, and the grandchildren in the Louisville, KY area.  Unlike my wrist injury which escaped broken bones, Mark broke seven ribs and punctured a lung.  He had just begun serving as editor of Truth Magazine this month, so he certainly did not need this setback at this time, but we are praying he can recover without any serious complications.
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January 6

Halbrook Preaching Trip January 1-4, 2017

Dear family, brethren, and friends,

The New Year began here in Australia 15 hours before it began in New York City.  How appropriate that the first day of the New Year began on the Lord’s Day when the saints gather to thank God for our Savior and for all the blessings of our lives!

It was a beautiful Lord’s Day here in Brisbane and we began the day with a Bible lesson I wanted to teach Timothy and Seth from Joshua 22.  After Joshua secured the land of Canaan for Israel, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh were given the land of Gilead east of the Jordan River as they had requested.  Soon word reached the remaining tribes on the west bank that a huge new altar was being built at the ford of the Jordan River on the east bank.  Everyone assumed this was an act of apostasy in rejecting the worship at the tabernacle in Shiloh and the ten tribes quickly prepared to declare war on their brethren.
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January 2

Halbrook Preaching Trip December 28-31, 2016

Dear family, brethren, and friends,

It is a blessing to be with Jamie, Deborah, Timothy, and Seth Williams for several days in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  They live in Gladstone but have been staying in Brisbane awaiting the birth of Arabelle where there are better medical facilities after Deborah had some complications.

On Wednesday, December 28, we attended evening Bible study with the saints of the Rochedale church of Christ.  Peter Cardinal taught Proverbs 16 and had another good lesson.

Thursday we took the boys to a baseball game after supper at a good Mexican restaurant.  Deborah had an appointment with her doctor who assured her she will have a baby, but there are no signs she will immediately appear.  We continue to pray all will go well when the time comes.  Meanwhile, Donna and I are enjoying our time visiting with the family.  Timothy is 7 and Seth is 5, and both of them enjoy having us read to them – and they are reaching the point where they can do some reading too.
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December 28

Halbrook Preaching Trip December 21-27, 2016

Dear family, brethren, and friends,

After finishing the last lesson at Auckland on Tuesday, December 20, I went to the Holiday Inn near the airport where I slept for 3 ½ hours before catching an early flight to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  As far as I know it was a good flight because I fell asleep before we took off.  After about four hours we landed in Brisbane Wednesday morning.

It was good to spend the day with Jamie, Deborah, Timothy, and Seth Williams at a hotel near the hospital where Deborah expects to deliver a daughter by about January 1. They came here early as a precaution after Deborah had some complications though she seems to be doing well at the moment.  Donna got here a few days ahead of me – it was definitely good to see her again!

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December 22

Halbrook Preaching Trip December 16-20, 2016

Dear family, brethren, and friends,

God continues to open doors here in New Zealand for the proclamation of the gospel.  Our five-hour journey on Friday, December 16, began with prayer and thanksgiving because this is the third time we have been invited to work with the new congregation in Ohope, Whakatane District, Bay of Plenty Region.  Abner and Lani Salinguit started this work in 2011.  They were formerly with the International Churches of Christ (the old Crossroads Movement which began in Gainsville, FL in 1967), but they have moved beyond those errors.  Ronnie Salunga and I visited these brethren first in December of 2011, again in December of 2014, so this latest trip is our third visit.

We stopped in route to see beautiful scenery by riding a gondola to the top of Mount Ngongotaha overlooking the city of Rotorua and the huge lake which is the city’s namesake.  After lunch Ronnie presented me with a five-dip ice cream cone that looked like a skyscraper – I had ordered one dip but somehow managed to set a new record by eating the whole thing!  It were good and I were full.
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