August 20, 2014th Year of Our Lord
Dear family, brethren, and friends,
The schedule for Monday, August 18, brought us to a congregaton in Lanton, General Santos City for an all-day gospel meeting with Jerry Julom. About 40 attended as I presented lessons on “God Created All Things,” “The Purpose of Our Lives,” “The Gospel Makes Us Right With God,” and “Marriage: God’s Gift to Man & Woman.” After Paul Nario was baptized yesterday, he immediately started teaching his children who are in the ir late teens and early 20′s. Two of them joined our meeting today and they responded to the gospel call! Heaven rejoices again!
After we dismissed, Jerry’s son Joy approached me requesting me to write a short message inviting Manny Pacquiao to attend the two days meeting planed for Thursday and Friday in a function room of the hotel where I am staying. Manny is the famous world champion boxer in the Philippines and is a Congressman from this area. He left the Catholic Church a few years ago to join a denomination and he is very interested in Bible studies. He turned away from such vices as gambling and drinking. Several of the Julom’s know him and work with his brother and him to facilitate some government services in their community. Joy will hand deliver my invitation to Manny and will encourage his brother also to attend. We must not underestimate the power of the gospel to reach any soul who is searching for the truth. If Manny were to be converted, Satan would suffer a KO in that case!
Lake Sebu is a tribal region in the mountains two and a half hours from General Santos City. I have preached in that area several times in past years but not in recent years. Rosalito Nardo and Carlito Abella contacted some native preachers and arranged a two day meeting which started today, August 19. We arrived about 9:30 A.M. and another brother was preaching in their dialect. I immediately prepared to start. Rosalito expected about 50 to attend but 123 showed up, about half of which were our brethren and the others visitors including a number of denominational “pastors.”
I began with a verse by verse study of Ezekiel 18 entitled “Man Answers to God: The Soul that Sins Shall Die.” Carlito summarized the study in the native dialect. The next lesson was “New Beginnings In Christ” – a new covenant, a new kingdom, and a new birth. After lunch Jack Jaco preached in the dialect on the conditions of pardon. I followed with “When Peter Confessed Christ,” a verse by verse study of Matthew 16:13-19. After a short open forum, the Lord’s invitation was extended. Eight precious souls answered the gospel call and were immediately baptized into Christ. There were requests for us to stay and present more lessons, but we needed to leave before dark. God willing, we will continue the meeting tomorrow.
On Wednesday after another two and a half hours’ drive, we reached Lake Sebu in time to start preaching again by 9:30 A.M. I taught “The Purpose of Our Lives” and Jack translated line by line, which makes a slow tedious process but helps the people who do not understand English well. After the lesson finished at 11:30, we conducted an open forum, stopping at 12:10 for lunch.
Jack also translated the afternoon topic, “The Gospel Makes Us Right with God,” followed by another open forum. Five people submitted to the gospel and were baptized in a nearby lake. Jack and I were on our feet teaching from 1:30 P.M. until after the baptisms about 5:00, and then we had the long trip back to town. This makes for an exhausting day, but our spirits soar with joy to see how hungry the people are to learn!
Thank you to everyone who helps make these trips possible!
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