Archive

January 2020

Last month, Cebu and the whole province celebrated the Sinulog festival. The people were dancing in the streets, carrying their idol, Santo Nino, the baby Jesus. This pagan custom was introduced by the Spanish five-hundred years ago. The belief is that this idol carries the whole world and can perform miracles. Many Filipinos give their petitions to this idol. During the celebration, people travel from all over the Philippines and around the world. Celebrities and politicians bow to this idol. It is challenging for Christians to disagree with these ideas publicly and preach the gospel.  Only the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit can open their eyes to the truth about the real God. Thankfully, there are many ways we can preach the gospel as the Philippines is a democratic country. We are allowed to preach the gospel in the streets, give out gospel tracks, evangelize, and share God’s Word via the radios and television.

My father was sick and needed the support of his children and grandchildren, so my family and I traveled to my hometown, Negros Island. I talked with my brothers and sisters, reminding them to be one in the faith of Jesus Christ so He can give strength and extend the life of my father. As my father was confined to the hospital, we did not miss this opportunity to minister to the people in the same room and general area. I shared the Word of God and prayed with them. My father was released from the hospital, and we celebrated the New Year together with a banquet and my father’s birthday. My father told his children and grandchildren that we need to start this new beginning as one family serving the Lord and have a reunion every year to meet and fellowship together, worshipping God, in prayer and celebration.

Praise the Lord for healing the father of Pastor Tame.

  • Pray for his family to draw near to the Lor and each other through this entire experience.

Mariano is fifty-five and lives on top of the mountain of Barangay Cantao-an. He is in poverty and needy; he had a stroke and was paralyzed. When I first came to his place to have a Bible study, his sister would observe me from a distance. At my second visit, she drew near and listened to what I was sharing. She and Mariano accepted the Lord Jesus. Mariano said, “I believe in God that you preach” and asked Jesus into his heart as the leaders prayed for him. The prayer made Mariano cry as he was thankful for the prayers; this was the first time anyone had prayed for him. He is full of joy, and every time I have Bible study in his place, he is always eager to know about the Word of God.

  • Pray for Mariano’s health to have a fast recovery and for Mariano and his sister’s spiritual growth.

Pastor Steve visited us in Cebu, and we were surprised by his visit to our pioneering work in Cantao-an Naga city. When our members and leaders heard there was an American visit, they were happy and wanted to share their root crops, bananas, and coconuts. When they saw an American for the first time, they were excited that he could drink the coconut water without using a drinking straw. Pastor Steve’s visit was the first time that a white man had visited them in the mountain area. Thank you, Pastor Steve, for your visit.

  • Pray for the pioneering work in Cantao-an to grow as the believers gain more knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.
  • Pray for the believers to be free to share their faith with their friends, neighbors, and family. Pray for more people to come to know the Lord.

December 2019

Our members were excited to celebrate thankfulness, expressing our gratitude for what God has done in our lives. I encourage everyone to share in the preparations and to be generous even with what little they have, including the poor who live on the mountain with only root crops and bananas. The believers brought food, and everyone worked together to prepare it, even the children. I invited members of the Station of Life Glory Church in Talisay City, to give words of encouragement. They shared testimonies of what God has done in their lives before and after they knew the hope of salvation. The people in the mountain area were encouraged to move forward, serving the Lord with joy and learning how God will provide for their needs and help them in times of difficulties.

Many of the pastors around Cebu gathered at the Family for Christ church planting ministry in Mandaue City Cebu last month. Many testimonies were shared, some expressed their hardships and challenges while serving the Lord. The pastors encouraged each other to go forward in serving despite the difficulties and to trust in the Lord’s promises that He will provide for our needs and be our help in times of trial. People are waiting to hear the message of salvation, and we need to preach the gospel because it is God’s mandate. After the testimonies, we listened to words of encouragement from the speaker. The pastors were revived and committed their lives again to be useful and effective in the ministry this year. We had fellowship together and encouraged one another as coworkers in serving Christ.

Romulo is sixty-four and for many years, his relationship with his daughters was broken as he had neglected them. But when he learned from the Bible studies about Jesus, he started to reach out to his daughters. I encouraged him to reconcile with them, asking for their forgiveness. One day, he went to the house of one daughter, and they talked heart-to-heart. Finally, by God’s grace, they forgave each other. It is a Christmas present to Jesus that whatever happened in the past needs to be forgotten and forgiven, just as God had done for us when He forgave us. Now Romulo is serving the Lord joyfully.

Praise the Lord for the reconciliation of Romulo and his daughter.

  • Pray for the continuous commitment of the church workers, including Romulo and Jhane.
  • Pray for the spiritual growth of the Cantao-an Naga.
  • Pray for safety in walking in the mountain area.
  • Pray for the new house Bible study.
  • Pray for new members to desire to show their obedience to God through water baptism.

November 2019

Romulo is a widower in his sixties and the father of Gina, who died of cancer this past spring. He first heard the gospel during the funeral service for his daughter. I have visited him at his house since then as it is along the way to his other daughter’s house. A few months after the funeral, Romulo surrendered his life to God and committed to helping me with visits and Bible studies. Despite his age, he is willing to travel with me to the mountain region. He is familiar with the place and has known many of the residents, so he is an immense help for me. I am mentoring him each week by studying God’s Word.

When God called me to minister in the mountain area, I prayed and prepared myself for the challenge of bringing the message of God to the top of the mountain. I travel by the grassy way so I can reach them to preach the Word of God. I thank God for how He moves mightly in the hearts of the people, for when I arrived this time, they welcomed me warmly. Before this, they had rejected me as I was a stranger, and they were hesitant to allow me to enter their homes. This may be because those who came with me are familiar to them, Romulo and Jhane.

  • Pray for the outreach to the mountain region.
  • Pray for safety while traveling the mountain roads and for a positive reception.
  • Pray for Romulo and Jhane to continue to be used by God for the ministry.
  • Pray for the new Bible study opening in Magdooc, Naga.

Last month, my niece Anafe was married to Dave. They invited me to be one of the godfathers (a traditional Philippines sponsor role for weddings). It was my opportunity to share the Word of God to my family and friends on Negros Island. Many of them are living together outside of the bonds of legal marriage, so I encouraged them to plan for their own marriage ceremonies.

  • Pray for Dave and Anage to have patience and understanding of each other.

Thank you for your prayers. God answered them. Chamy and Manuel are already completed healed from their illnesses. I visited them last week, and they were happy. Chamy is back in school, and Manuel can attend the worship service each week because he can walk upright, and his arthritis is healing.

  • Pray for strength and health for the pastor and his family.
  • Pray for Mary Ann and Boy to grow in their faith.

October 2019

Chamy is Carmen’s granddaughter. She is eighteen and studying in high school. She has a boyfriend. One day, Chamy was vomiting, and her parents were concerned that she was pregnant. They took her to the doctor, and her pregnancy test was negative. They did a physical check-up and ran another test, which also was negative. Her parents visited the witchdoctor, who stated that a spirit was troubling her, but still, Camy was ill. Her grandmother called to say Chamy needed prayers. So I went to their house and prayed for her. After I prayed, Chamy said she felt the heat go out of her body, and she did not vomit again. We believe that God is more powerful than the witchdoctor.

She asked God for forgiveness and promised to serve Him for the rest of her life. Since these events, the family has allowed me to visit every week for a Bible study. Carmen, the grandmother, calls the family members to attend the Bible study. It is easy for her to gather them as the relatives all live close by. Each time we have Bible study and pray, Carmen has been in tears. She has joined our worship service. I continue to visit and pray with this family.

  • Pray for Chamy to grow in her faith and to understand what it means to serve God.
  • Pray for her health to continue to improve and for no future impacts from this illness.

Samuel is the father of Jane, our worship leader. He is a farmer and lives in the highest part of the mountains in barangay Cantao-an. I met Samuel after Jane brought me to his place for a visit as she desired her father to hear the good news about Jesus. I saw Samuel walking down the road, so we started talking, and I shared the good news of the gospel. He was happy and excited. He expressed his amazement that I would be so concerned with his wellbeing that I would travel that far to share the gospel. While we were talking, the rain started pouring hard. As his house was close by, we sprinted in its direction for shelter, despite our soon being soaked. Samuel requested I hold a Bible study each week in his home as he wants his family and friends to know about Jesus.

  • Pray for Samuel and his family to come to faith.
  • Pray for strength and safety as I travel to the mountain for visiting and Bible study.
  • Pray for more opportunities to share the gospel and for more people to open their homes for Bible studies.

September 2019

Manuel has tuberculosis and arthritis; I first visited him last month, and after we prayed with him, he received some relief of his symptoms.  I recently revisited him, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with his family. Manuel believed in the power of God to heal. This miracle was an excellent opportunity to share what God has done in his life with others and to share the gospel. Each week, we do a Bible study in his house, and those who come are eager to know more about the Word of God. When Manuel discovered the hope of Jesus, he desired everyone in his family to know Jesus too.

Conching is married to Manuel, she is seventy-four and fearlessly travels everywhere to sell her merchandise to support her husband. Conching told her that she has many religious groups that come to her house and share their religion with her. She debates these leaders as she is a devoted Roman Catholic. I discovered that these groups were cults. When I came to her house and shared the Word of God, she did not debate me. So, I asked her, “why did you not argue with me?” She answered, “I believe that God in the Bible that you shared about today is true, and I believe in Jesus Christ.” The other cult leaders have not returned, but she is eager for us to return to her home and teach the Word of God.

  • Pray for Manuel and Conching to grow in their faith.
  • Pray for their testimony in the neighborhood and for the Bible study in their home.
  • Pray for health and safety for the entire family.
  • Pray for their son, Gomer, to grow spiritually.

Sharing God’s Word is more important than the location. I approached the small community leader in the barangay (neighborhood), and he allowed me to share the gospel and moral values. The community meeting place is cramped and cannot hold many people. But in front of the building is a mango tree. We gathered the people in the shadow of the mango tree since there were too many to fit inside. Many of them expressed that this is the first time they had heard the Word of God. Their ancestors had told them not to read the Bible, but only the priest could read the Bible. We are thankful to God that He opened the minds and hearts of the people to know the truth. I visit this group weekly for follow-up.

  • Pray for the group under the mango tree to continue to grow in their knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.
  • Pray for the people in this community to become believers.

Dongie is a jeepney driver and willing to go with me on home visits. He is learning to evangelize and is full of passion. He cannot read well, especially when the letters are small, due to an eye problem. So he asked a young boy to read the words on the gospel tracks to people when he shared, and then Dongie explained the message that was read. Thank God for this opportunity for many of these people to hear God’s Word for the first time.

  • Pray for Brother Dongie to be used by God to reach people with the good news.

Praise the Lord for the boy who willingly reads with Dongie.

  • Pray for the pastor’s family to be safe and healthy.
  • Pray for the believers who are active in our weekly worship service, for their faith to grow and for their daily needs to be met.

August 2019

Just this month, another outreach location was opened to hearing the gospel. I approached the community leader, Alice, about teaching the people. She was willing to help gather a group once a week, and we had more than thirty people, including some community officials and youth. I presented topics such as moral values, spiritual values, and the concepts of the livelihood program. After I spoke, the people were happy, and some commented that this was the first time they heard that there is someone who cares about them. I told them that I would visit their homes so that I can pray with them and build relationships with the people in the community.

  • Pray for our new outreach to grow and people to hear the gospel and come to faith in God.
  • Pray for new believers.
  • Pray for Alice to continue to gather the people every week.

I encouraged our church members to visit their neighbors in the mountain area, especially those who are sick or weak. We desire to show the love of God for them. I do not usually go alone while visiting because most of the homes have lots of dogs. Sometimes it is challenging to find people to accompany me, but the reception is excellent, at every house we visit, the inhabitants welcome us happily.

  • Pray for our leaders to continue house visits, pray for our protection as we travel in the mountain area.

Manuel is seventy-five years old and has tuberculosis and arthritis. He is the father of Gomer, who actively attends our worship services. Gomer told me that his father was ill and asked if I could visit his house to pray for him. I visited him with several other members and shared the gospel. Manuel believed in God’s ability to heal him. We prayed together, and after our prayer, Manuel was able to breathe more naturally, and his knees were able to move normally. He was happy for God’s answer to his prayers.

Praise the Lord for answering Manuel’s prayers for healing and pray for his complete recovery. Praise the Lord for his salvation.

Junjun is the husband of Jane, our song leader. Junjun is a machine operator in a Japanese company. Jane invites him frequently to our worship service, but he refused to come. He is ashamed of his inability to communicate with other people. One day, Jane invited me to have lunch at their house. I accepted the invitation with the desire to share the gospel with her husband. After we ate, we talked, and I shared the gospel message. After I spoke, I saw in his eyes how happy he was to hear the gospel. Junjun accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

  • Pray for Junjun to continue in his faith and for his family.

July 2019

The International Commission team came to Cebu intending to help the local churches evangelize in the community. One of the members, Miss Sheng from Baguio City, visited our church plant in Naga. She shared the Word of God with the mothers in the school. I provided the gospel tracks, and she spoke with them, many of the women accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. We recorded their names to do the follow-up with them individually.

  • Pray for the mothers who accept Jesus Christ to grow in their faith and knowledge of God’s love for them.
  • Pray for connections and friendships to be formed with the women in the local church.  
  • Pray for new contacts and leaders.
  • Pray for a teacher for the children.

Ruffa is the wife of my cousin; she recently had a mild stroke. The last time I visited her, she was sitting in her chair outside her small house, she was thrilled to see me as it had been a long time since I had come last. During our conversation, she shared her life experiences, and I shared the Word of God with her. We prayed for her and by the grace of God, after our prayers, she experienced healing, and her right arm again is functioning normally. Ruffa praises the Lord for the healing and is open to having a Bible study with her family.

  • Pray for Ruffa to experience complete healing from the stroke.
  • Pray for her spiritual healing and growth in her relationship with God.

  • Pray for the Bible study with her family to produce fruit.

The volunteer missionaries shared the gospel with the young people in the Baywalk. We distributed gospel tracks and prayed for the people there. A group of senior high school students was sitting together, so we approached them to talk. They were attentive to our words and eager to accept Jesus as their personal Savior. I received the phone number of one of them to follow-up and minister to them in the future.

We not only shared the gospel but also prayed for the people. Many of those we visited were very busy running their shops, so we prayed for their business. We met Christine and her husband, who have an ice cream business in Naga City. We purchased ice cream from them for our refreshment and offered a prayer for their business. They were thankful and happy to have men of God pray for their shop.

Pray for the high school seniors to be serious about their new faith and to become a part of a local church. Pray for the youth to be reached for the Lord through a Bible study. Pray follow-up with the students. Pray for Christine and her husband’s ice cream business to flourish. Pray for the Alipio family to grow in their faith.

High School Senior Students eagerly listened to the Gospel!

June 2019

“Why are we poor?” This question was the opening for me to encourage Mary Anne and her brother to study the Word of God. Mary Anne is the sister of Gina, who passed away a few months ago. (See previous reports for her story). Mary Ann is thirty-nine, married with three children, and her husband is a heavy equipment operator of a big company. Her mother is very religious and charismatic. Mary Ann and her siblings heard the Bible many times but have never read it.  The day I came to their house, and we talked, she asked me this question, so I took the opportunity to explain poverty through the lens of the Bible. This led them to be challenged to open and read the Bible for themselves. Since then, Mary Ann and her brother have been attending the Bible study. Praise the Lord!

  • Pray for Mary Ann and her family, including her brother, to come to understand God’s love and grace for them.
  • Pray for persistence in attending the Bible study and for wisdom for the teachers answering their questions.
  • Pray for them to continue to open their home for Bible study and for salvation.

Jane is active in our worship service, is twenty-nine and has two children; her husband works in a Japanese company. She lives in a place near our church planting area. When I first met her, Jane told me her life story, she is estranged from her family, started living with a man at thirteen, and had one son through this relationship. This man was irresponsible, and due to her own youth, she could not handle problems in life yet, so they separated. Upon hearing God’s Word, she has regained a purpose in her life and hope in the future. One day, I encouraged her to lead a worship song. We started slowly, and I gave her time to practice, now she is our song leader. We are doing a Bible study as well, but I do not go to her house since her husband works during the day and she is alone, at night we cannot study since they did not have electricity in their home. We found the best solution is to do follow-up over the phone. When she has time, I call and teach more about the Word of God. She is sharing the gospel with her neighbors, and I am excited to see her spiritual growth and anticipate her being a church leader one day.

  • Pray for Jane to grow as she studies God’s Word. Pray for her family.

Jurilon and Ethel are a couple living in Talisay. God blessed them with the gift of a baby. Pastor Rene asked me to be the one to dedicate the baby to the Lord in our church in Talisay City. It is my joy to commit this child to the Lord according to the Word of God. This family is active in our Sunday worship in the church in Talisay as they live close by.

Praise God for the family of Jurilon and Ethel as they dedicate their child to the Lord.

  • Pray for the strength to train up this child for God’s glory.
  • Pray for the church as they support this couple.
  • Pray for the family to grow spiritually and continue to support their home church.

Pray for the new believers to grow in their faith and continue to serve the Lord. Pray for God to open the doors of their houses to hold Bible studies in this area. Pray for a church building in Naga, Cebu. Pray for my wife, Mercy, and for God to heal her from anemia.

May 2019

It is summer break here in the Philippines. The Family for Christ Church Planting Ministry Inc. held a summer vacation youth camp in Mandaue City, Cebu with the theme “Undivided.” There were more than one-hundred campers from various locations in Cebu and Bohol Island. I was invited to speak the first night. I preached about salvation, and many surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ and accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. After I finished, several young people expressed their appreciation, “thank you, pastor, for the message of hope, now we know that Jesus loves us and when we get home we will still know that we have everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Savior.”

I was conducting a Bible study in the small village in my mission’s outreach, we met in the evening as the sun was setting. When we turned on the lights, there was an electric disruption, so I instead used the flashlight on my cellphone. I thank the Lord for the small light that enabled me to bring great comfort and hope to the listeners.

  • Pray for the new believers who were saved at the summer youth camp.
  • Pray for their faith to continue and grow when they return to the regular routines of life.
  • Pray for their connection with each other and to their local church.

While I was walking along the mountainside doing home visits, I felt thirsty in the hot weather. I met a man named Tinoy, who was seventy years old. He lived in the mountain area with his wife. The man’s children are grown and married with their own families. Tinoy offered me a coconut to drink, but there was no one to climb the tree. During our conversation, as I shared the Word of God, a young man passed by, and I asked him to climb the tree.  I spoke of Jesus’ love and salvation, at first Tinoy refused, but then later, he prayed to accept Jesus. After I drank the coconut water, we parted ways. Tinoy told me to come back again.  God uses us to share His word in many locations and situations, the most essential part is to grab every opportunity to preach the gospel.

  • Pray for God to continue to work in Tinoy’s life.

  • Pray for our church building and for many people to join our worship service.
  • Pray for every opportunity to preach the gospel.

April 2019

Gomer is thirty-five, single due to his shyness, and lives nearby the church. He is a farmer, and as his parents are elderly, he lives with them and cares for them. When I first met him, his manner was polite but reserved. When I started to share the Word of God, he was full of doubts because he was Catholic and felt there was a time that God allowed terrible things to happen to him. He was sick and vomiting; when he went to the doctor, they were unable to figure out what was wrong. A neighbor told him to go to the Lord in prayer for this illness. His neighbor called me, and we scheduled a time to visit and pray with Gomer.

To God, be the glory!

God healed him, and Gomer accepted Jesus. He actively joins our worship service each Sunday.

Praise God for the salvation of Gomer.

  • Pray for his witness to his family and the community.

Isabelo is a widow who lives adjacent to the church. His children are married, and he works by caring for a flower garden near his house. He does not know how to read or write. One day as he passed by on the small road to his daughter’s house, I met him and shared the Word of God. He accepted Jesus, and I encouraged him to attend the Bible Study the next week. He came simply to listen and now has begun to share the gospel with his family and is active in the church.

  • Pray for Isabelo’s witness to his family. Praise God for his salvation.

I have shared the story of Gina’s family. She was suffering from kidney cancer, and the church was praying for her. Gina passed away, and her family called me to do the service. On the last night, they allowed me to preach the Word of God because there was a large crowd. Of their neighbors, friends, and relatives, many came to Jesus that night. Three weeks later, Gina’s husband Danny, stopped on his way home from work and purchased a roasted chicken at the corner. When he got back, he tried to wake up his two children so they could eat some chicken with him, but as it was quite late at night, they did not wake up. Danny decided to consume the roasted chicken by himself, after a few minutes, he started to feel queasy and vomited. He was brought to the hospital, and they found out the chicken was poisoned. Two days later, Danny passed away. The dog who had some died as well. The family started to question God, “why all this was happening to their family?” I visited them to encourage them that God controls everything and to keep their faith. They understood and were comforted by my words.

  • Pray for the Tomarong family to be comforted by God.
  • Pray for their two children as they adjust to the tragic loss of both their parents.
  • Pray for the church to be able to bless and care for this family.

Hazel, my oldest daughter, just finished seventh grade and received a recognition award as an honor student. God has blessed me with a daughter like her. I am encouraging and training her to be useful in ministry, and she plays the guitar and plays for the young people during their gathering’s and during the worship service. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Praise God for the blessing and encouragement of faithful children who are living testimonies of God’s grace.

  • Pray for Hazel’s ministry and testimony to the youth in the church.
  • Pray for maturity for the new believers with more doors to be opened during our house-to-house visits.
  • Pray for a church building.
  • Pray for the church activities and fellowships to continue faithfully.

March 2019

Christina was a member of the church. She was thirty-nine years old with four kids and an active part of our community worship service. Christina always made the time to join us in visitations, especially to see Gina, who has cancer. On one of our visits to see Gina, Christina and I were talking as we walked, and she told me that she had realized that many people give such priority to themselves, in finding food and fulfilling their physical needs, that they forgot God, who is in the owner of everything. The following week, I was sad to hear that Christina had passed away, I was not aware of her heart problem and was surprised by her death. I am grateful that she already knew the Lord and served Him faithfully, completing her mission in this life. Christina’s mother expressed the change she had observed in her daughter after she joined our worship service. Christina, despite the struggles in her life, would always declare “Praise God!”. Her mother remembers those words and will not forget her daughter saying “Praise God! Christina praised God during her lifetime, and we also thank and praise God for her life.

  • Pray for the family of Christina, for her mother and for her four children.
  • Pray for comfort that comes only from God.
  • Pray for the church as they are dealing with the unexpected loss of a faithful sister in the Lord.

Gina, who I mentioned above, has kidney cancer. Every Sunday after worship, we go together to her house to fulfill her request to hear the Word of God with her family. After a length of time, her husband joined the group. When Danny first listened to the message of salvation from God, he told me that he could not explain the joy that filled his heart when he accepted Jesus. God has reached him through this most distressing situation in his family. Since his salvation, Danny finds time to be with us at each home gathering.

  • Pray for Gina to be wholly healed from kidney cancer.
  • Pray for those who faithfully visit Gina to be comforted through the words they share from the scriptures.

Praise God for working through this illness to bring Danny to salvation.

Sarah is a new believer who just accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior this past month. She has eagerly shared her new faith with her neighbor Michelle. The following Sunday, Sarah brought Michelle to our Sunday Worship service, and they are reading and studying the Bible to learn more about Jesus. Sarah reads the scripture during our worship service. She is so excited that someone cared enough to tell her the good news and her desire to share with others about Jesus.

  • Pray for Sarah to grow in her faith and for her enthusiasm for the salvation of Jesus to be expressed to those around her and draw them to trust in God.
  • Pray for Michelle to grow in her knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.
  • Pray for rain, as it is the dry season, many fruits and vegetable plants are dying.
  • Pray for God to provide our land and church building.
  • Pray for the graduates of this year.
  • Pray for more souls to be saved in Naga, Cebu.

February 2019

Gina is an active participant in the weekly services. She is the vice chairman of her small community and is married with five children. Her husband is a construction worker. A few months ago, she had some health issues and due to finances was using alternative treatments. In December, her health was so concerning that she went to the doctor for a check-up and they discovered that she has stage four kidney cancer. When I learned of her diagnosis, I gathered a few believers to visit her to show our care for her as a fellow believer. When we arrived at her house, she was surprised to see us. She was so blessed by our visit and the love we showed for her during this tough time in her life. Her family was with her, and I shared comfort from the Word of God, and we prayed together. After our prayer, I saw the tears falling from her eyes as she thanked us for the visit and our prayers. We were able to give her a small gift from our offerings to help with the medical costs. The believers who accompanied me were also blessed by the visit as this was their first time visiting a person who is experiencing a heartbreaking situation. They wished to visit again. We will continue to pray for Gina.

  • Pray for Gina to find comfort in God’s Word and for healing if this is God’s desire.
  • Pray for her family to grow closer together and for the believers to be able to bless her.

I met Tony, who lives close to the purok (small neighborhood) where the church is located. He is married to Stella and has three children. They have a small farm with livestock and Tony is a security guard at the bank. Every time I saw Tony, I invited him to join our weekly gathering, but he always refused. One day, an unexpected situation occurred in his life. He had offended a tenant in the building, and a few days later, this person sought to harm Tony out of revenge. As Tony was starting to go home, this man suddenly came up and struck him with a knife in his arm and leg. The other security guard was able to intervene to rescue Tony and apprehend the attacker who is now behind bars. This entire incident caused Tony to be curious about our weekly meeting. He joined the worship and gave a short testimony of what had happened to him. Tony accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of his life and has expressed to me his longing for a church. He is so thrilled to hear and understand God’s salvation and that the local church is so near his home. Currently, his whole family is participating in our worship services every Sunday.

  • Pray for healing for Tony’s injuries and give thanks for his salvation.
  • Pray for Tony and Stella to continue to serve the Lord.

Our members are continuing to meet each Sunday for worship faithfully. I taught about generous giving for the past two months, and we started to have an offering time during the service. Afterward, we shared a meal. Some brought root crops to prepare, and others shared bread. In the afternoon, I conducted the discipleship training. Thanks to God, little by little, the church members are bringing more people to the worship so they can hear the Word of God.

  • Pray for God’s blessing upon the offering and for it to be a blessing to the community of believers.
  • Pray for those who are new to the church and are hearing the Word of God for the first time to come to an understanding of God’s love and to accept His salvation.
  • Pray for more to come.
  • Pray for spiritual growth for those who are attending the discipleship training.

January 2019

My van is an essential tool of my ministry as it carries me to the mountains to preach the gospel, especially on rainy days in areas where motorcycles are the typical method of transportation. One day, I drove from Talisay to Canotao-an Naga and as I approached the mountain highway, the engine suddenly stopped due to overheating. At that moment, I was very grateful that I had not brought my family. After a few hours, the engine cooled enough to start again, and I continued to travel to the location of the Bible study. I was quite late, but the people were still waiting for me as they desired to hear the gospel message of God.

  • Pray for safe travels in the mountain regions.
  • Pray for those who hear the gospel to respond to God’s Word and come to faith in God.
  • Pray for the message preached to believers to strengthen their faith and help them grow in their knowledge and understanding of the Bible.

I do believe that God has a reason for everything and that all things work together for good. As I needed to have my vehicle checked, my friend introduced me to a mechanic named Efren. He is married, in his early fifties, and has two children attending college. His older son sometimes

Efren the Mechanic

helps fix engines at night since he studies during the day. While Efren was repairing the vehicle, we talked together, and he shared with me about his life. He was worried about the future of his kids and the possibility of their house being demolished. I took this opportunity to share the gospel with him. I shared the need for a Savior and Lord, explaining how we surrender our lives to God and God will take care of everything. While I was telling him about God’s love and grace, he suddenly stopped me, and I saw tears in his eyes. He was so grateful and repeatedly thanked me for telling him the good news about God and especially how God is willing and eager to save any person. Praise the Lord for this opportunity to share the gospel.

  • Pray for Efren and his family to thoroughly understand the gospel of salvation and to confess salvation.
  • Pray for Efren to be able to surrender and trust God with his worries and concerns for the future.

December 2018

The community officials decided to have a Christmas party, so they gathered all the people in their area with food and games. I proposed we celebrate with Christ’s message of Christmas. The people were excited, and many brought their whole family. It was their first time to experience a unique celebration of Christmas with the reminder of the true essence of Christmas. Most of the attendees explained that they customarily celebrated by partying and drinking wine and alcohol until they dropped. This year was different, and they listened attentively to the Word of God. It was great to have fun during this season, and the children and adults were refreshed by the fun party. Their poverty did not limit their expression of happiness and joy.

  • Pray for the witness of the church to the community officials, and for the church to continue being positive in furthering God’s Kingdom.

In the open field, we gather the children for Sunday school. We are grateful to God for the excellent teachers who volunteered to run the program while the parents attended the worship service. For many of the children, it was their first exposure to Sunday school. They were taught Bible verses and fun games. Their faces showed how intently they were listening to the message and they participated in the activities with much joy.

  • Pray for the committed youth who instruct the children by telling them that their character will display Christ and that the Holy Spirit will bless their words.
  • Pray for the children who hear the message to come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Jojo, Dodong, and Ronald are in elementary school. They typically leave early in the morning for school without breakfast or money as their classes start at six am. Their father has no stable job, and their mother stays at home to care for their younger siblings. At the Christmas party, the three kids were excited about the food to eat and rejoiced to receive their first gift ever. Their parents are attending the weekly meetings.

  • Pray for Jojo, Dodong, and Ronald and their entire family to grow in the knowledge of God.

Sarah is a young woman who lives at the top of the mountain. When I first met her, she was shy to face me because she lives in a small house with her husband and three kids. The family earns their daily living by making charcoal, and the father does not have a stable job.  Sarah felt ashamed due to their status in life as they live far from water to drink and visit the stores only once a week to buy their food and daily needs. The way to their place is quite a challenge since the path is slippery and steep. During a visit with them, I helped to gather the wood to burn for charcoal. This is how I can share the message of Jesus Christ. As I talked about the hope in Jesus, I saw tears falling from Sarah’s eyes as she expressed, “I thank God for bringing you here, so I can hear there is hope in this life through Jesus Christ.” I prayed with her and her family. She was encouraged as she joined the Sunday worship in the purok (neighborhood) where the people were gathered. During one of our meetings, Sarah read the scripture before I preached. Afterward, she expressed the inexplicable joy in her heart when she accepted Jesus.

  • Pray for her spiritual growth and for her family’s daily needs to be met.
  • Pray for salvation for the entire community.

November 2018

Meet Gomer; he is a thirty-five-year-old single man living with his mother in the mountain region of the city of Naga. I always saw him with a cigarette in his mouth, and he would continuously avoid encountering me. One day, I attempted to talk with him, and during our conversation, I shared the gospel. His response was indifferent, and he stated, we will talk some other time. God gave me another opportunity to speak with him, and this time he listened more intently to what I shared. I invited him to join the Bible study, and he has not missed one since. He assists at the Saturday youth gathering and has stopped smoking. Praise the Lord.

  • Pray for Gomer to come to an understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and make the decision to surrender his life to the Lord.

I approached the leader of the purok (neighborhood) and suggested we gather the youth and children each Saturday. After talking with the parents and guardians, we started meeting in the morning for evangelism, games, and discipleship training. We teach songs, fun games, and Bible stories. We encourage them to care for each other. At the first gathering, we had ten youth, and I encouraged them to invite a friend to the next meeting. The following Saturday, we had twenty youth in attendance.

  • Pray for the new youth group to continue growing and for each to grow in their relationship with God.
  • Pray for the barangay (village) officials.

Brother Osting

Andrew was a disciple who brought his brother to meet Jesus, and he was willing to give up fishing to follow Jesus. Equivalently, Bro. Osting has been a tremendous help in my location of ministry. He knocks on the doors in the neighborhood to invite people to join our gatherings. One of these families was Osting’s son Tony and his wife. The family was willing to attend the worship and Bible studies but found it hard to travel so far each week, as they live a distance from the church. I offered to travel to their place to start a group for fellowship and worship. They were eager to have a fellowship in their home. Praise the Lord for bringing the gospel to the edge of the mountain.

Praise the Lord for the faithfulness of Brother Osting and pray for his continued outreach to the community.

  • Pray for Tony and his wife who are hosting the new Bible study.
  • Pray for spiritual growth for the new believers.
  • Pray for safe travels and for strength to climb into the mountain area for evangelism and follow-up.

October 2018

I visited a group of people in Sitio Pangilatan that live in a small village despite the mountainous terrain. They are very poor and long to eat rice; they can only afford corn due to their small weekly incomes.  In this village, they make charcoal to earn a living. They go into the forest to gather the wood and carry it on their shoulders; they can only bring two small bundles in the morning and afternoon.

As I talked with one of them, Jerome, he said they often skip their lunch because they are so far from home and instead eat the wild fruit in the forest and drink water from the streams. They are only able to produce five sacks of charcoal weekly with the help of their wives. The finished charcoal has to quickly be put into the sack despite its warm temperature and the ashes. One day while helping them, I almost burnt my shoes as I was unaware of the fire beside me. I shared the gospel with them, telling of the hope and love of Jesus for them. I encouraged them to join our weekly gathering in the Purok center every Sunday. I continue to visit their home once a week to build a relationship with them.

The only source of water is a well located along the mountainside. The people are patient as they wait for the water as it slowly fills the well. Despite the long line of people that are present for the whole day, the well does not run dry. Despite the high altitude and the presence of an abundant water source, the place is blessed by this resource of water. I again shared the message of salvation and encouraged them to join us. By the grace of God, the wives are coming to the fellowship.

  • Pray for the people of the village to continue welcoming Tame and the message of salvation.
  • Pray for individuals to understand the gospel and accept the gift of salvation.
  • Pray for the house visits and evangelism ministry to continue to draw more people to salvation and trust in Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for the Purok leaders to attend the fellowship.

As I was driving to Naga, an evangelism site I work heavy rain was falling. Suddenly a big transport bus bumped the back of my vehicle. The driver of the bus accepted responsibility as the accident was his fault due to the slippery roads. I am grateful to God for the limited damage as only the back glass was cracked. I recognized the protection from God and how my life is safe in His hands. I do believe we experience true security and protection when we put our trust in Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord!

Give thanks for the protection of Tame in the recent accident and no repercussions in the future.

  • Pray for the mentorship of new disciples.
  • Pray for provision of a church building.
  • Pastor Tame Buctolan’s Testimony

September 2018

You may have read in the news about the recent landslides in the Philippines at the end of September. Approximately sixty people died due to a landslide that hit Barangay Tinaan, City of Naga. The location is about four barangays (villages or districts) away from our church. The mountain had cracked due to the quarry and mining work; and there was some concern of possible landslides, especially with the typhoon and heavy rains. The landslide hit during the early morning when many people were still asleep. Four barangays were affected. The local government helped in the search and rescue operations, and the entire Naga City was declared in a state of calamity.

  • Pray for the families who lost loved ones and for the evacuees affected by the landslides.
  • Pray for comfort and provision to the survivors of the landslide.
  • Pray for the officials involved in the rescue, stability, and assessment work of other potentially hazardous sites to have wisdom in their decisions.

There are seven barangays in the watch list as danger zones, and one of these is Cantoa-an where our church is located. Because of the recent disasters, the people in Cantao-an felt great fear. I shared a message of hope in Jesus Christ and how when we put our trust in him; we don’t need to worry. I also shared this message during an emergency meeting in the community that the chairman invited me to speak at. To God be the glory, some of those at the emergency meeting professed and accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

  • Pray for the recent believers who were led to Christ at this time of disaster.
  • Pray for the people who are searching for answers due to these landslides, and for them to be led to Christ.
  • Pray for more people to be open to the gospel and to be saved.

The road was slippery and muddy on the way to the river and the houses I visited. It is challenging to walk in the area during rainy days. I use boots to travel safely to these places. I will not let the weather hinder me from visiting the people. The barangay has their community meetings on Sunday, and I noticed many people were not able to attend, so I visited them at their homes.

I met a woman sitting on a hammock, her name is Lina, and her husband is Estong. They do not have a permanent job and are dependent on their small farm. They were hesitant to accept me since they have had many previous visitors who presented programs to alleviate their poverty, and these programs did not help at all.

  • Pray for Lina and Estong to be open to listening to the gospel message.
  • Pray for safe travels and protection for Pastor Tame as he witnesses to people and visits believers.

I continued walking, and on arriving at the top, I saw the big crack in the land which caused this area to be added to the watch list as a danger zone. Many people are living on the top of the mountain. They earn their daily living through charcoal-making, and some are farmers who sell their vegetables at the corner near the highway.

I met a man named Vincente who willingly opened his home for the sharing of God’s Word. He invited his daughters-in-law, and they joined him to listen to the gospel. After we talked, they wanted me to come back to meet their husbands. The week after, I revisited them on a sunny day where we discussed in the shade of a tree. In the middle of my preaching, the rains started to pour, and so we scattered running. To God be the glory that they were willing to listen to the gospel.

  • Pray for Vicente and his family to come to an understanding of the gospel and to become saved.
  • Pray for Vicente to be open to hosting a Bible study in his home.
  • Pray for the families in the danger zone to stay safe and be willing to evacuate as needed. 

Joel was the first person I met in purok four. (Purok is a subdivision of a barangay). He attends every meeting and believes in Jesus. I am training him to be a future leader. I disciple him every week and encourage him to go with me on visits. After our visits, we have lunch together. I challenged him to invite someone to our weekly gatherings because he is a respected person in the area.

  • Pray for Pastor Tame as he disciples Joel as a future leader in the church and for Joel to continue to be discipled.

The local community has a group meeting that occurs on Sundays. They are obligated to clean up the purok and the surrounding area. Participation is required to receive clearance for employment and other purposes. I teach them songs praising the Lord and share the gospel with them. Most of them do not attend a church because it’s too far and very risky, so I told them that is the reason why I travel to them to teach the Word of God.

  • Pray for the people in the community to be open and willing to hear the gospel. Pray for Pastor Tame to have safe travels as he brings the gospel to the people in this community.

August 2018

I encourage people to learn more about the Bible. Every Sunday, we have a group Bible study. For many of the participants, Sunday is the only time available for them to meet. Some of the people travel to work in the city and are only home at night. The women care for their children during the day, and the children are at school during the day. In the afternoon, they care for their livestock. I am trying to find a time I can visit the families when they are all home together to have a Bible Study. But currently, the only time they hear the Word of God is on Sunday. Despite this challenge of time and business with the families, we are gaining ground in the community. To God be the Glory, the purok leader (a type of government official) is allowing me to do the Bible study and moral values, class. We also have a worship time with preaching. We encourage each other to continue to study the Bible, especially to have a personal relationship with God.

  • Pray for the families to continue participating in the Bible study on Sundays and to find time during their week to study the Bible individually.

Give thanks for the willingness of the purok leader to allow a Bible study and pray for the continued acceptance of the community.

God has given me the opportunity to share the gospel message with people in the community. I started making friends with a group eating at the small sari-sari (corner convenience) store as I ate with them and shared about salvation.  The owner of the store, Edang, allowed me to return and share again which makes me very happy. I shared the gospel with people along the street, I even used the short period of time to evangelize while people are waiting for the bus to take them into the city for work. It is my prayer that God has touched their hearts through my words and they will continue to listen and come to salvation in Jesus Christ.

  • Pray for continued acceptance of the messenger and the gospel message by the people in the community, pray for their salvation.
  • Pray for Edang, the owner of the sari-sari store to continue to allow the gospel to be shared and for Edang to come to an understanding of salvation too.

Our natural farming program provides a way to start a conversation with people. One day, I was on our demo farm. While I’m standing there, I met a man named Isebelo, he is the father of the purok leader. He is a widower who was having a hard time living alone so he was visiting his daughter and grandchildren. He is from another site in the same barangay (approximately the equivalent of another neighborhood in the same community). I greeted Isebelo and he asked me what I was doing so I started to demonstrate natural farming. He is also a farmer and was amazed that there was another way of farming without using synthetic fertilizer. He asked me, why does the land not give much fruit? I told him, it is because of sin, and I shared the message of the gospel. He was happy that there is hope in trusting in God. I encouraged him to come to our Bible study. The first time he attended, he was shy and sat in the back. We welcomed him, and he has come again to join us for Bible study and worship.

  • Pray for Isebelo to continue attending the Bible study.
  • Pray for more conversations to be sparked by our natural farming program.
  • Pray for more people to hear the message about Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for the opportunity to do house-to-house evangelism.

July 2018

People who live in Cantoa-an, Naga, started to fix up their community and prepare for unforeseen disasters. They gathered every Sunday. Since I knew this, I used this opportunity to introduce Bible teaching to the community. Osting is one of the attendees in the gathering and he loves to play instruments. He suggested that we should sing songs for the Lord. He plays the guitar every Sunday and looks forward to the next gathering. I provided the group with Bibles in their language and song lyric sheets.

I encourage Talisay church members to take part in the pioneering work in Naga. One couple, Rene and Joan, are church leaders who volunteered to help. Rene is currently working as a security guard. Before he and his wife were saved, he was a drunkard and she played cards and gambled all day. When Rene called his friends for a drinking spree, they would return home with quarreling and chaos. Their eldest son, Jovanie, attended our youth gathering. At one of his birthday parties, I was invited to their home. I met Rene and Joan and shared the gospel with them. They showed interest, so I taught them about God’s Word and encouraged them to study the Bible. Rene was completely changed by the message of salvation. Now he preaches the Word of God in our church and is taking part in the Naga ministry.

  • Pray for Osting, that he will come to faith in Jesus and have spiritual growth.
  • Pray for Rene and Joan, that they will continue to grow in the Lord.
  • Pray for the salvation of Gina, a community leader.
  • Pray for a new meeting place for worship.

The Lord has called us to a new location that is 8 kilometers from the highway near the city of Naga. When you travel to this area you are in for an adventure, a bicycle ride is required, then a short hike, you have to cross the river and then hike through a mountain area to reach our destination. Communication is insufficient in this area; there is only one telecommunication access, but it is limited. There is a long river surrounding the Barangay area, and it is prone to landslides and flash floods. People in this area need the Lord, please pray for open hearts and let us together claim salvation for the town of Pangdan, Naga.

God’s Word To The City Of Naga

When I was a jeep driver in the city, Quinciano was my co-driver. I have known him and his wife for a long time. I recently met them again, Girlie and Quinciano were amazed to hear what God has done in my life. I shared the word of God with his family and told them the purpose of my visit. I shared the vision of planting a church in their area; they were happy to hear the news. They agreed to accommodate me when I travel to the area. I am delighted that God touched their hearts and they are excited to see how God will work in Pangdan, Naga.

The Barangay Council

The Barangay Coucil Meeting

We are working in an area that has a population of 6,000 people and is four kilometers from the highway. Most of the people who live here are farmers and raise livestock. When I arrived in this area, I coordinated meetings with several non-government organizations who specialize in holistic community development and initiatives. I submitted a letter to the Mayor’s office of Naga City and the Barangay Council and recommended a few community development programs. I attended the Barangay Council meeting and proposed livelihood programs such as making soap powder, dishwashing liquid, fabric conditioner, and I also introduced organic farming so that they can improve their yield strategies. I believe that these programs will help people financially, and once their daily needs are meet they will be open to their spiritual needs as well. I thanked the council for allowing me to join the Barangay session as a Moral and Spiritual Values Educator; they seemed pleased with my presentation.

During my daily visitations, I stopped a public motorcycle driver, his name is Wendell and asked if he could bring me to Barangay Cantao-an and he agreed to take me. While on the road I shared with him the purpose of life and hope in God. On top of the mountain, he stopped, and asked, “Can you share more?”

I shared about Jesus Christ, and he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. As we arrived in Barangay Cantao-an, he said, “Sir would you mind visiting my house and meeting my family?” I went with him and met his brother and uncle, Wendell was thrilled to hear words of hope. My prayer is that he will continue to grow in Christ and that his entire household would accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

A few months ago, I met with the Barangay Community Leaders, and we spoke about helping the community holistically. In March, the Barangay Leader’s invited me again to talk to the 34 Purok (smaller community group) leaders about livelihood programs. The area is considered one of the most impoverished communities due to a lack of job opportunities. The land is of poor quality and does not support the growing of crops. Join us in praying as we initiate livelihood programs and for the salvation of the Naga Cebu people.

The community development program started the first week of March through our livelihood training. Our first training focused on soap-making. The people are developing new skills as we invest our time with them. Many of the people are farmers and do not have access to a church in their area. As I interviewed the residents, they admitted that the only time they attend church is when they go to the city. Pray the people in these areas will open their hearts to God’s word and His Salvation.

When I visit the surrounding areas, there is a steel bridge I cross so that I can reach the four Purok members. Bananas, fruits, and coconut trees surround the area. I met Fernando and his family, we spoke about God and His salvation. They were gracious and listened to the message, and I will return and talk with them again. As I left their home, they blessed me with some of their harvested bananas.

There are five small towns in the surrounding area; I make it a goal to visit one each month. I engage the people of the city through practical and spiritual activities. We face one major challenge in the area; sometimes we must travel on dangerous roads, but we continue to move forward despite the circumstance.

My contact with people has been successful, I meet with key people and come back and visit them in each area I visit. In April I met with 34 families in the area of Balisong. This area has a banana plantation however they are faced with a pest problem. Many of the people are downhearted because their bananas were not ready for harvest after ten months of waiting and not one yielded any fruit.

When I was among the people, we discussed different livelihood programs which included natural farming education. I also taught on spiritual values. During each visit before we start a meeting, we have prayer and a short message, many people from the neighboring town travel so that they can be blessed and prayed over.

Fernando was a caretaker on a chicken fighting farm. I met him during one of my meetings with a friend. He never attended church, and it was his first time to hear Gods word preached. He professed faith in Jesus as his savior, after that he asked me if I could schedule a Bible study together with his family.

I went out to share the Gospel by visiting homes in my neighborhood. During this time I met a newlywed couple named Welvic and Cathy. Welvic is a tricycle driver, and Cathy is a housewife. I shared my testimony with them and my experience from when I was first married. This opened the door for them to share their story with me. Both live far from their families and come from different areas. I shared with them the gospel and explained how life is better when God is at the center of their life. I told them about salvation and the blessed hope of Jesus Christ. By the grace of God, they accepted the message and received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I am planning to have a regularly scheduled bible study with the couple in their home. Please pray for them, and their child. Welvic drives a tricycle taxi for a living, pray for his safety and their daily needs.

During my evangelism, I met a young woman named Sarah who is in high school. Her parents work in the city, and she is in charge of taking care of the home since she is on summer vacation. Sarah gave me the opportunity to share the gospel, she understood the message of salvation and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. I encouraged her to continue in school despite life’s difficulties. She has five siblings who are also studying, and I told her to keep trusting God and allow Him to work in her life and her needs. When I left, I thanked God because I felt she was encouraged by our conversation.

Jomar and Joy celebrated their daughters first birthday. They invited me to the celebration and asked if I could pray for their baby and the meal. I took the opportunity after the banquet to share the Gospel with the visitors. They invited their neighbors, family, and friends, some were hesitant about the Gospel, and some gladly listened to what I had to say. I understand that others felt awkward hearing verses from the Bible, yet, I believe that the word of God is powerful, and it will convict them, in God’s time.

Last Sunday the Purok 5 Balisong area was celebrating their community anniversary. The community leader required that all the members join and participate in their anniversary, I was also invited to the celebration. They were preparing a sweet potato meal but before we ate they allowed me to share a short devotional. Seeing the root crop, I told them that we could sow the root crop, but only God can make it grow. I told them to trust God and pray that they would have a good harvest. They were encouraged, and I suggested they do organic farming. I continue to visit every member of this area by sharing the Gospel.