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Book of Acts Study

9/28/2017

Happy Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year 5778) 9/20-22, Happy Yom Kippur (begins 9/29: Day of Atonement- the holiest of all days for Jewish people). Happy Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) 10/5 – 11.

2017 Christmas Goal: $9,000 for “BFF- Backpacks For Filipinos” at $15 each x 600 students (both those 433 who have sponsors & those 167 on the waiting list). $1,200 given so far (80 backpacks) and $7,800 left to go before Christmas!

Please pray for Rick, a short-term missionary who will be bringing a team of six from Arizona (USA) to assist at our school & orphanage this next week (10/1-10). Their projects will be to assist Trish in building a chicken coop, pouring a cement basketball court & planting a peanut garden, as well as tabulating much of BCA’s library, building an enclosed recreational area on BCA’s roof for a ping pong table, planting peanuts & also representing the USA in BCA’s annual United Nations Day. The team may also go from class to class to tell students a few things about American life in the respective occupations of the team members. A typical day’s itinerary includes: 8am-10am- group Bible devotions & breakfast, 10-Noon- work, Noon-1pm- lunch/siesta, 1pm-5pm- work, 5pm-8pm dinner and evening rehashing of the day & plans for the next day’s work, & Bible Study.

Please also pray as our church leadership team presents to the congregation the option of switching the times of our weekly worship services with the time of morning Sunday School classes. We are also challenging all families to bring food on Sundays so that their kids do not get hungry from 8am through noon when we typically end Sunday worship. Filipinos, while remaining somewhat underweight, often eat six small meals a day.

Prayer also would be appreciated for Yurica, a BCA preschooler whose heart palpitations during class time often deoxygenate her bloodstream & turn her lips & skin a scaly, gray color.

Praise God that our Oceanview church plant’s annual Thanksgiving celebration this past Sunday was well-attended, & families of five children dedicated themselves to raise the kids to love Jesus.

Praise God as well that Elvie arrived safely from her three-hundred-mile drive to be the main speaker at a ladies’ convocation in Southern Mindanao with nearly 600 ladies present. The main theme of her messages was, “Fix Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” Her travel was on Thursday, the day that President Duterte had designated as “National Day of Protest” when all schools & government offices were closed so that any who were dissatisfied with the way the country is run, could protest without hurting anyone.

Praise God that, of the five terrorist Islamic State-linked militant siege leaders in Marawi, three have been eliminated. However, 2 (including one of Asia's most wanted terror suspects) are still leading the fighting. A Catholic priest, Fr. Teresito Soganub, was rescued along with a teacher by troops late Saturday after a mosque used as snipers' post & bomb-making area by the militants fell following a five-hour battle. 45 hostages remain in the custody of a few dozen remaining gunmen & efforts to rescue them are underway. 869 people, including 673 militants & 149 troops/police, have been killed since the siege began May 23.
“Today is our National Day of Protest” declared the Philippine President, Rody Duterte.

All schools were cancelled on Thursday, so that anybody who had gripes against the president‘s administration could vent their frustration out in the streets. Meanwhile, the President has said that he will execute his own son, who is the vice-mayor of Davao City, if drug trafficking allegations against the younger politician are true, & that the police who carry out the hit will be protected from prosecution. Allegations have been made that he (Paolo, aged 42), was a member of a Chinese triad who helped smuggle in a huge shipment of crystal methamphetamine from China.

Most of the normally-bumper-to-bumper streets on this “Day of Protest” were still busy, as well as shops. Even more so, as the kids who were not in school were at the stores. The economy actually likely improved over the day of demonstrations! We still held our evening “Pizza & Bible Study” though, since it is neighbors who attend. Meanwhile Elvie was driving a five-hour trip to Southern Mindanao where she was scheduled to be the main speaker at a Christian conference of over 600 ladies. He message was entitled, “Fix Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”
As demonstrations took place in a few dozen officially-approved settings (mostly college campuses & parks) throughout the country, Elvie meanwhile was focusing the conference ladies on a different type of protest: fighting against sin.
While the Philippine Defense Secretary estimated that it would take more than a billion dollars to rebuild bullet-riddled Marawi (a scenic lakeside city of about 200,000 people before the siege), Elvie was challenging ladies to allow Jesus to “rebuild” their lives by “fixing their eyes” on Jesus, so that He can “fix their lives”.
Also, on Saturday I covered Acts 1 in another Bible Study. When I mentioned about Acts 1:8 (“Go into all the world and preach the Gospel…”, I asked each study member what country they’d like to visit, all expenses paid. Bebing mentioned, “I would go to Pastor Paul’s home State, which is New York.” Then my follow-up question was, “How would you spread the Gospel there?” To which, when it was Bebing’s turn to respond, she stated point-blank, “Refund my ticket!”
When it comes to enjoying life, most humans have no difficulty finding ways to fulfill this obligation, But then when we also are to obey the command to spread the Good News of Jesus everywhere we go, we hesitate. That is why Elvie stressed at the huge seminar for ladies, “Let’s not fix our eyes and hopes on things that we can get in this life, but instead, let us fix our eyes and hopes upon Jesus!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

This week’s Calendar:

September 28 (Thursday) Barners’ Home Bible Study

September 29 (Friday) Family Night/FIA Board Forum/Mexico Missions team departs for Central America

September 30 (Saturday) Church Members’ Home Bible Study/ Abby’s volleyball game (local tournament)

October 1 (Sunday) Church/ Arizona 10-day Missions work-team arrives at BCA

October 2 (Monday) BCA Teachers’ Devotional

October 3 (Tuesday) Kiwanis Club Meeting/ BCA Faculty Members’ Home Bible Study

October 4 (Wednesday) Prayer Meeting

BCA has 433 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $6,000 Remaining: $19,000.

Present Need: $295 for repairs for BCA Bus “M”: $4 for rubber bushing, $2 for bolts and washers, $17 for starter armature, $3 for gear oil, $27 for check-up & repair of starter, $13 for mechanic’s labor, $4 for fixing 2 flat tires, $4 for flap, $7 for tube replacement, $7 for cold patch, $5 for welding of flat bar for center bearing, $6 for “Accelerator” transmission fluid, $6 for RW oil Creoss-Trecher, $6 for Normal Transmission Fluid, $5 for brake fluid, $12 for rubber caps, $13 for bonding of lining, $25 for hose conversion power steering, & $129 for extra fuel.

Remaining Missions Trip Teams:

Now, through May ‘18 AZ Trish
Sept. 23-29, 2017 MX- Dean, Alba & team
Oct, 1-10, 2017 AZ- Rick, Susie, Frank, Emily, Jeff & Kyle
Nov ‘17 UT
Dec ‘17 UT/CA
Jun ‘18 VA Chatham Heights

Tentative plans for 2018 Speaking Tour (6/14-7/31): NY-PA-OH-IN-IL-AR-TX-MO-IA-MI-ONT-NY (estimated 6,000 miles).

NOTE- In the near future, the ACTS Bible studies which I am developing progressively for our home bible studies, will be available (free) via a link from our website at www.barner.org.

 

Rev. Paul, Elvie, PJ and Abigail Barner
Philippine Missionary Church Planters
Barner Christian Academy of Davao City, Inc.
PO Box 82,224
8000 Davao City, Philippines 011-63

Philippine cell phones: Elvie: (63) (946) 258-4259; (63) (926) 939-4357 
Paul: (63) (947) 955-4541
Abigail: (63) (926) 939-4289
Barner Christian Academy Landline: (63) (82) 234-4000
PJ’s USA cell phone #(845) 587 7344
Magic Jack Computer phone: (518) 772-2359 (presently works to receive messages, but not to send them)
Barner Family’s new Philippine home landline phone# 63 (82) 287-3806

Paul M Barner Ministries 501(c)(3) address: Ginger Bruce, 5 Eileen Drive, Rensselaer, NY 12144 [(518) 434-6216].

For online giving: www.christianaid.org CODE: 801-BLC

PLEASE NOTE: OUR PJLILTIM@SKYINET.NET ADDRESS IS DISCONTINUED. PLEASE INSTEAD USE BLCKIDS@YAHOO.COM THANKS!

9/21/2017

Happy First Day of Autumn (9/22). USA Gold Star Mother’s Day (9/24).

2017 Christmas Goal: $9,000 for “BFF- Backpacks For Filipinos” at $15 each x 600 students (both those 433 who have sponsors & those 167 on the waiting list). $1,200 given so far (80 backpacks) and $7,800 left to go before Christmas!

Please pray for Dean, a short-term missionary who will be bringing a team of four from Mexico to assist at our orphanage this next week. Their projects will be to assist Trish in developing a puppet team in the orphanage, and also to build insect-proof “solar fruit driers” to add income for the kids’ daily needs.

Please also pray for Elvie, who will be driving three hundred miles round-trip this week to be the main speaker at a ladies’ convocation in Southern Mindanao with nearly 600 ladies present. The main theme of her messages is, “Fix Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”

Pray too for the positive response from our church families as we challenge them this weekend to drive with us next week out to help one of our 13 island churches, in Bandera. The congregation there has been renting a vacant lot for two years now, & built a church there. But the property owner has decided to not renew their lease. So we want to help them disassemble the church & reassemble it on another property about half a mile from there.

Please pray for an end to the fighting on our Mindanao Island’s nearby city of Marawi. President Rodrigo Duterte could extend martial law to be nationwide if he is threatened with massive violent protests by communists & other leftists against his leadership approaches. A coalition of groups have named themselves the "Movement Against Tyranny" & planned protests on September 21, the 45-year anniversary of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposing his military rule. Duterte's war on drugs has also claimed 3,800 lives in 15 months.

Pray also for 78 of the Philippine soldiers who are getting sick with malaria, dengue, leptospirosis, & getting bitten by dogs while fighting the Maute terrorists in Marawi City, due to their long exposure to the elements. Meanwhile, the military’s clearing operation on the buildings occupied by Maute has become faster. They were previously able to retake control of 23 buildings, & 18 more this past Saturday, from the terrorists. They are only hindered in their timeframe for completion of the project, due to their desire to rescue all the hostages.

Praise God that our church’s annual Thanksgiving celebration this past Sunday was not only well-attended, but also delightful, with half a dozen different auxiliary groups in the church (men, ladies, kids, youth, etc.) presenting songs & dramas.

Praise God as well that an American friend is planning to send a few hundred dollars so that our orphanage can re-wire its electrical lines & circuit breaker, along with a surge suppressor so that it can use appliances. Presently, since island power is unstable, appliances do not last long, due to the surges & outages of power.

Praise God as well for the plans of our upcoming 9-day missions work team from Arizona, USA, in October: 1) pour a basketball court: frame it, pour it & put a smooth surface for all sports. 2) preach “Jesus Heals The Man Born Blind”. 3) dress up in clothes that are red white & blue, to represent the USA with our hundreds of BCA students on their United Nations Day celebration. 4) build a chicken coop. 5 & 6) Plant peanuts at the orphanage and on the BCA roof. 7) build a corral around the garden. 8) goof around & teach too, the orphan kids & also the BCA students. 9) Categorizing, digitizing & shelving thousands of books in BCA’s library. 10) Stuffing envelopes & folding prayer letters. 11) Build small room on roof of school for the ping pong table. 12) Daily group devotionals.
“Today our High School chapel worship time will be led by no other than…Moana!” Our daughter Abigail has the privilege of being chosen as one of the worship leaders in the weekly chapel time at FIA, the Davao school for Missionary kids.

Praise God that the Philippine government has confiscated a seven-minute, English-language ISIS recruitment video which invites would-be fighters to go to fight here in the Philippines instead of in Syria & Iraq, in a shifting of its recruiting tactics. The video contains scenes from battles with government troops near the city of Marawi, including the pillaging of a Catholic church. One of the fighters, Abul-Yamaan, calls on Muslims to, "Come forth to the land of jihad. Perform hijrah. Come forth to … Marawi. Come from East Asia, specifically Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, & Singapore" to migrate & fight alongside the ISIS-linked militants in the Philippines. Washington reps have stated that some of these fighters have gone to the Philippines from Syria and Iraq. Among the hundreds of dead terrorists in the continuing battle for Marawi were Saudis, Pakistanis, Malaysians & Indonesians.

“Today our High School chapel worship time will be led by no other than…the Princess MOANA!” Our daughter Abigail has the privilege of being chosen as one of the worship leaders in the weekly chapel time at FIA, the Davao school for Missionary kids.

This was also “Spirit Week” at FIA, so each day the students dressed up in different costumes: pajama day, super-heroes day, historical characters day, etc. Since Abby already has Pacific Islander skin tone, & an incredible voice to belt out the notes of songs, she had no problem convincing all around whom she portrayed. She received one of the prizes for the day.

All during this past week, we also felt like super heroes. For instance, when a lady came into prayer meeting Wednesday night all smiles, we knew she had a glowing testimony in store. Sure enough, we were not disappointed. Nimfa perked up & cried out, “Your prayers are soooo powerful, Pastor Paul!” Nice compliment, but I assured her that it is not the prayers, but the One we are praying to that is powerful.

“I have diabetes.” Continued Nimfa. “On Sunday when you sent pens & blank index cards around the congregation for us to write our prayer requests, I listed that I have diabetes & need prayer for healing. The next day I was in extreme pain & asked God to remind you to pray. Suddenly the pain just disappeared! A moment earlier I was convinced from the pain, more intense, excruciating pain than I have ever had in my life, that I was going to die.” Nimfa’s tears during her testimony just poured down her cheeks like tiny rivers at this time. “Then, poof! The pain disappeared! Thank you for praying! God is awesome!”

Also a “super-hero” moment occurred on Sunday when, about to head out of our parking space to church for our annual Thanksgiving celebration, three of the career-aged neighbor girls, with their hair still wet from the shower, showed up at our door to come to church with us! These three had been among the sixteen who had received Jesus into their hearts just over a month ago at our weekly Thursday evening home Bible study. What a thrill it was to introduce them to the congregation that day!

Yet one more instance of “super-heroism” was during the evening BCA home Bible Study, which rotates from house-to-house each week. This Tuesday we were hosted by one of the BCA secretaries. As usual, I brought pizza & snacks. Due to the urgency of Hurricanes Irma & Harvey, we spent a third of the evening in prayer for these & other worldwide requests. “Dear Lord, please spare lives in the aftermath of these storms & invite Your Powerful Presence to be with all who are experiencing emotional, physical & spiritual challenges.

“Comfort those who have experienced loss of loved ones & property, & strengthen first responders & counselors/chaplains like Samaritan’s Purse & Red Cross as they serve. For our friends all over Florida, & also in Victoria, Rockport, Santa Fe, Pearland & Houston, Texas, give continued stamina: send your angels & other servants to provide the love & compassion of Christ.”

Since this prayer time had used up a good chunk of our time for the evening, & since the teachers had to get home to study for their next-day’s classes, we doubled-up on the Bible Study questions for the evening. Each week I research from around 25 commentaries to develop study notes & questions on half a chapter from the book of Acts.

With the recent events of the hurricanes & the diabetic’s healing, the study for the evening became so much more real when we learned in Acts 3 of the healing of the crippled beggar & also of the delightful way that the early Christians, thousands of them, shared all they had, even selling their possessions to give to those in need.

Truly God’s workers today are like Peter & John in the early church, as they Say, “Silver & gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up & walk…& be healed of diabetes…& let me help you rebuild your hurricane-destroyed house…& come to Jesus as your Redeemer!”

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

9/14/2017

USA Patriot’s Day (9/11), USA POW/MIA Recognition Day (9/15), Citizenship/Constitution Day (9/17), Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets) begins (9/20).

2017 Christmas Goal: $9,000 for “BFF- Backpacks For Filipinos” at $15 each x 600 students (both those 433 who have sponsors & those 167 on the waiting list). $200 given so far (12 backpacks) and $8,800 left to go before Christmas!

Please pray for war-torn Marawi. After 100 days, the Philippine army has stated that the 'last stand' is near for fighters & militants loyal to Islamic State who had taken over parts of the southern Philippine city. The military is confident the end is in sight for what has been its biggest security crisis in years. Yet the rebel alliance has held out against daily artillery bombardment & air strikes by jets & bombers, & its snipers remain placed in the rubble of the city's business district. Some say that a vast maze of tunnels beneath the city have provided ample hiding places to avoid powerful military conflicts.

Praise God that Trish, our visitor from Arizona, has started a “War-Room” in our Samal orphanage to be a place of prayer for the kids.

“[God has] plans to give you hope & a future…” Elvie’s favorite Bible verse (her “life-verse”, Jeremiah 29:11) was on both “tarpaulin” posters today, as we celebrated her fiftieth “Golden” birthday, September 9.

The day previous we were all up past midnight, baking a quadrupled batch of oatmeal/carrot cookies, muffins & many kilograms of other edibles, for the feasts the next day.

Around 1am, we gave to Elvie her birthday cards. Trish is our visitor from Arizona who is helping out at the orphanage. She had had the orphans each make extremely creative & colorful birthday cards for Elvie. We propped the homemade cards up on top of the piano. Then we all “hit the hay” with a table filled with food. Sure enough, fifteen minutes later Trish knocked on the bedroom door. “There is singing outside, guys!”

At 1:15 in the morning, the BCA faculty & some of their spouses were outside the door, with guitar accompaniment, serenading (singing) & well-wishing Elvie for her Golden birthday.

Nearly two hours later, around 3am, they headed home & we all tried to take naps. However, fifteen minutes later, at 3:15 am, singing began once again. Abby is the president of the church youth group, & 13 of the youth were outside the door, singing.

This “harana-serenade” had been a tad more challenging to plan, as the students are not old enough to drive. So we had to schedule one of BCA’s bus drivers to bring the kids over, in the wee hours of the morning. Selectiveness was the key, for if we had asked the school secretary or nurse to make connections with the driver, they would surely have broken the secret by telling Elvie.

Two hours later they had sung & given their well-wishes & eaten, & then it was time for yet another brief nap. Yet Elvie stayed up to put her finishing touches on the Bible message she was to give to sixty women from different Davao churches, at a day-long ladies’ gathering on the BCA campus.

In the afternoon, with only a few minutes of sleep “under our belts” for two days, it was time to prepare for the evening birthday celebration. Many of the ladies accompanied Elvie from the church, to cook spaghetti, pancit noodles, fried chicken, pork, a roasted pig, rice & other foods for the evening celebration: which lasted, once again, until nearly midnight.

Thankfully, our church board had chosen the next day (9/10) as its annual Thanksgiving celebration, & therefore Sunday’s worship would not begin until 2pm. Whew, finally a time of rest!

During the celebration at our house, many unsaved neighbors visited to join in the eating, as well as many of the newly-redeemed neighbors who attend the weekly Bible study that we host at our house. Since the carport is open-air, all the neighbors could hear from our loudspeakers the Bible challenges given by myself & others from & to the fifty gathered here.

Many people’s lives have been touched by this woman of God’s half-century. May she continue to be used by the Lord during this next fifty! She’ll likely be serving God in this life for many more decades to come. After all, she did survive her 24-hour, non-stop 2017 birthday celebration!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

This week’s Calendar:

September 14 (Thursday) Barners’ Home Bible Study

September 15 (Friday) Family Night/FIA Board Forum

September 16 (Saturday) Church Members’ Home Bible Study/ Abby’s volleyball game

September 17 (Sunday) Anniversary Celebration of our church plant in Oceanview/Baby Dedication for many children

September 18 (Monday) BCA Teachers’ Devotional

September 19 (Tuesday) Kiwanis Club Meeting/ BCA Faculty Members’ Home Bible Study

September 20 (Wednesday) Prayer Meeting

BCA has 433 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $5,900 Remaining: $19,100.

Present Need: $223 for Fields cab- $188 for a differential unit, $12 for 2 liter of gear oil, $5 for a liter of engine fluid, $3 for 2 battery terminals, $2 for 2 battery lugs, $13 for 2 feet of battery cable.

Remaining Missions Trip Teams:
Now, through May ‘18 AZ Trish
Sept. 23-29, 2017 MX- Dean & Alba
Oct ‘17 AZ
Nov ‘17 UT
Dec ‘17 UT/CA
Jun ‘18 VA Chatham Heights

Tentative plans for 2018 Speaking Tour (6/14-7/31): NY-PA-OH-IN-IL-AR-TX-MO-IA-MI-ONT-NY (estimated 3,500 miles).

9/7/2017

Happy Golden (50th) Birthday, Elvie! (9/9/67), Happy USA Labor Day! (9/4)

2017 Christmas Goal:
$9,000 for “BFF- Backpacks For Filipinos” at $15 each x 600 students (both those 433 who have sponsors & those 167 on the waiting list).

Please pray for Bebot, one of our church members whom we visited & prayed with in the hospital this week. He was not wearing a helmet when his motorcycle had crashed into a truck of the water department. His surgery was a few days ago & he is recuperating. He & his wife have six children, two of whom have graduated from BCA & the others are still enrolled.

Please also pray for Elvie & me as we prepare to teach (volunteer) classes this fall at DABC (Davao Alliance Bible College). Elvie’s course is “Church Finance” while mine is “Church Management”. We will likely set the schedule for 1.5-hour classes on Mondays & Wednesdays.

Also, please pray for our son PJ who will be starting classes in his Junior year at Nyack (Bible) College this week. He has yet to receive notification of his 2017-18 New York State financial aid package, so is going in on faith.

Praise God that Trish, the TGA “Temporary Grandma from Arizona” (for our orphanage kids), had no difficulty in extending her Philippine visa this week.

Praise God as well that Abby’s high school girls’ volleyball team won their games this past week against Stella Maris Academy High School.

“Ikaw Filipino!” Dozens of BCA girls in (borrowed) colorful Filipino dresses (with “butterfly sleeves”) & boys in white, see-through barong shirts sang proudly “I am a Filipino! During their annual Philippine Culture Day celebration, this week. One third-grade Filipina had a dress made of fabric in the colors of the Philippine flag: red, yellow, blue & white.

The three-hour long presentation included energetic dances, energizing songs & colorful costumes. All parents stood up to watch their kids in the National Dance; “Tininkling,” where bare-footed students gingerly stepped between long bamboo poles which were rhythmically clacked together. One false step & somebody would get red, sore ankles! But no missteps today…oops, except one…ouch!

And afterward of course, no Filipino celebration would be complete without the food! Sweet rice puto (muffins), sweet banana bread, sweet suman (wrapped in shiny, deep green banana leaves), sweet cassava cake, sweet…notice a similarity? All sweet, of course!

Just a few days before, on Sunday, we had another sweet reason to celebrate. Many of these same children are regularly bussed into BCA from the nearby jungle area of Panantongun, where one of our church plants was celebrating its Twelfth Anniversary as a church. I challenged the congregation to reach out to their neighbors with the love of Jesus. As they befriend the people living nearby, they will know better how to pray for them, & as those prayers are answered, they will start Bible studies in those very homes to lead their neighbors to Jesus!

And of course, after the hours-long celebration in Panantongun, we had lots of sweet snacks…

Back home, we had a not-so-sweet surprise about to be sprung upon us. After we opened the front door, inside we could see a squashed coffeemaker, lots of scattered food & broken glass strewn around the kitchen. The wall cabinet which had been installed a year ago had not been reinforced with long enough nails, & the one-inch-long nails had pulled away from the wall, causing the whole thing to come crashing down, bouncing off the counter & into pieces puncturing each other, once they hit the floor.

Yet often clouds have a silver lining. The week began on the “up” side with Monday being National Heroes’ Day. Elvie & Abby are heroes to all of us of course, & since both Abby’s & Elvie’s Schools (FIA & BCA) had no classes, we celebrated by eating-out for Elvie’s Golden birthday celebration. We also treated Elvie to a 3-hour full-body spa & facial treatment. It was a delightful day, even when I poured half of the contents of the salt shaker on my French fries by mistake!

So, instead of “sweet”, that day was… “salty” 😊.

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

This week’s Calendar:

September 7 (Thursday) Barners’ Home Bible Study

September 8 (Friday) Family Night/FIA Board Forum

September 9 (Saturday) 3am “Harana” serenading of Elvie by the church members/ Elvie’s Golden Fiftieth Birthday Celebration, with Church Members’ Home Bible Study/ Abby’s volleyball game

September 10 (Sunday) Faith Fellowship Church

September 11 (Monday) BCA Teachers’ Devotional

September 12 (Tuesday) Kiwanis Club Meeting/ BCA Faculty Members’ Home Bible Study

September 13 (Wednesday) Prayer Meeting

BCA has 433 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $5,850 Remaining: $19,150.

Present Need: $600 to paint BCA’s Bus “L”. It has always been chrome, but the government established a new law that chrome cars, which blind drivers when the sun reflects off them, must be painted.

Upcoming Missions Trip Teams:

Aug ‘17-May ‘18 AZ Trish
Sep ’17 MX- Dean & Alba
Oct ‘17 AZ
Nov ‘17 UT
Dec ‘17 UT/CA
Jun ‘18 VA Chatham Heights

Tentative plans for 2018 Speaking Tour (6/14-7/31): NY-PA-OH-IN-IL-AR-TX-MO-IA-MI-ONT-NY (estimated 3,500 miles).

8/31/2017

Please pray for the “Clown Team” (of eight) coming from Utah this November. They will be arriving at different times yet working together on street ministry, hospital visits, squatter village visits & tabulating BCA library books. One of the members (Pam) does not yet have her domestic ticket, as she is trying to use her frequent flier miles. Another member (Linda) will hook up with the group when they get to California. She is coming from Montana! She is trying to get a firm answer from her boss on the amount of time that she can take off before she can purchase her tickets.

Please keep praying for peace in Marawi, Philippines. Six were killed 62 miles south of that city this week as Islamic BIFF battled Islamic MILF. The fighting between these two groups began about two weeks ago in the marshy farmlands around the southern town of Datu Salibo on Mindanao island. MILF has more than 10,000 fighters. Martial Law has been imposed over all of Mindanao as the fighting in Marawi is being led by two other Muslim rebel factions, the Maute group & the Abu Sayyaf. The Marawi battle has left 573 militants & 128 soldiers & police dead, along with at least 45 civilians.

Praise God that I got through almost a whole week with no cockroaches in my coffee!

Praise God also that, this week I received an email from Yvonne, a woman in New York who had heard our radio interview on WMHR, & wanted to know how to send stuffed toys to BCA!

Praise God too that, after 60 Islamist Abu Sayyaf “kidnap-for-ransom” gunmen killed nine people & injured ten others in a town on Basilan island here in Mindanao this week, burning houses in which women & children were sleeping, army forces engaged them in a 45-minute firefight & the terrorists suddenly backed away & fled. The militants had burned four houses & a day care center in the town of Maluso.

Praise God that, after seventy years of being lost at sea, the WWII USS Indianapolis (CA 35) has been located under hundreds of feet of water off the coast of the Philippines & the remains of some crew have been located so that the families of loved ones (MIA) can finally “close the book” on their grief. The USS Indianapolis was a heavy cruiser that played a critical role in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima before being struck by Japanese torpedoes. With 1,196 sailors & Marines on board, the vessel was sailing the Philippine Sea between Guam & Leyte Gulf when two torpedoes from a Japanese submarine struck just after midnight on July 30, 1945.

“Please pray for me. I have pulmona really bad.” Elvie & I understood that the sick woman actually meant that she had pneumonia, which could literally be any of a wide assortment of sicknesses in this country.

The details of the illness were not as important as the opportunity to pray for healing for this woman. I had challenged the church congregation a few weeks ago to start home Bible studies which could eventually become house churches & then established churches as they invite their unsaved neighbors to worship with them.

Already, in just a couple of weeks, we have started seven Home Bible Studies! They are in the homes of the following families: Budo, Ocon, Monte, Meneses, Barner, Oliviar & Cabillin. While I have led the initial study in each home, the host families are in charge of leading in successive weeks. I also have made-up a Bible study series on the Book of Acts, & each week an average of a dozen verses are covered.

The studies are deeply researched, & yet the presentations are somewhat light, since many biblically illiterate neighbors are attending. Often after the singing, praying & studying, the younger attendees stick around to play UNO or just chat. Oh, on the first study at each residence, we have American-style pizza! Mmmm.

And this evening, as we gathered around our “pulmona friend,” I peeped from my closed eyes as I prayed fore her healing, and saw that even little children were lifting their hands to her as they prayed for her healing! Pretty cool.

BCA’s Fifth-Grade Teacher Neil was at the Bible study for BCA faculty, which rotates in meeting at different teachers’ places of lodging. He was in prayer for one of his former students, Edcel. This little guy had been at the very top of his class last year, but was not coming back to BCA this year, due to his family’s moving away. On the other hand, looking on the bright side, Neil was thrilled in his confident new students, Akio, Jorjohn & Clint.
Neil truly felt empathy for one of these new students, Jorjohn. One day, Teacher Neil had given the class 3 minutes of preparation time to think of one song to sing for Music class. He let them perform their choice of songs & asked them why they chose each one.

When Jorjohn & Nathaniel sang, they were both crying. “Jorjohn,” inquired Teacher Neil, “what is wrong? Why are their tears in your eyes?”

“Oh, Teacher Neil, this song, ‘One Call Away,’ makes me miss my grandfather so much! I was very close to him, & now he is gone away, called to heaven.” Neil then comforted the whole class with kind words about loving our dear relatives.

Another idea that I recently initiated was to pass out 3x5 index cards & pens. Each person in the group, be it church or Bible study, writes down as many prayer requests for the week as they like. Elvie & I, in our “couples” (almost daily) early-morning devotional, pray for some or all the requests. It helps us know the needs of the people we work with and their names as well!

Since we have all ages fill out the cards, we get some interesting requests. One little boy wrote his request, & then at the end tacked on the phrase, “In short, God, give ‘em what you got!”

As the Pulmonia Bible Study member said, and as Teacher Neil told his fifth grade class, & as the little boy’s request on the index card reflects, we have a Great God who can “give ‘em what He’s got!”

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

8/17/2017 Happy Kadayawan (Davao City Annual Harvest Festival) 8/17

2017 Christmas Goal: $9,000 for “Bff- Backpacks For Filipinos” (filled) at $15 each x 600 students (both those 434 who have sponsors and those 166 on the waiting list).

Please pray for an end to fighting between government-backed separatist rebels & pro-Islamic State militants, which have taken the lives of 25 people in Mindanao this week. Soldiers had provided artillery support for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a Muslim rebel group with which the government has signed a peace agreement, to try to tackle MNLF & Bangsamoro (BIFF) Islamist extremists, which have pledged allegiance to ISIS with homemade bombs.

Please also pray for the Philippine military, as the Philippine government & Muslim factions have agreed on a Bangsamoro Basic Law which needs legislative approval, to create an autonomous region for the Moro minority in the Philippines with its own executive, legislature & fiscal powers, in addition to the already-enacted decades-old law providing ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) so that the BIFF does not join forces with the larger, more powerful militant group, Dawla Islamiya, better known as the Maute group.

Please pray for 23 hostages (including 15 foreigners) in Southern Mindanao who are threatened with beheading after Philippine troops attempting to rescue the hostages (held by the Abu Sayyaf) clashed with the militants, leaving two soldiers & five gunmen dead.

Please pray for the residents in areas of Manila who suffered a 6.2 quake, causing buildings in Manila & nearby areas to sway, with employees of Malacanang presidential palace & other government buildings in central Manila & the nearby town of Bacoor evacuated. The Philippines lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

Please pray too for 84-year-old “Grandma Flo” who has spent a total of nearly half a year on short term missions trip in Davao over the past few years. She is back in Kentucky & fell, “doing a job on” her knee. She has an appointment for yet another knee replacement sometime in September. A speaker at a large Christian Church in Louisville is using Flo as an example of not quitting when you get old but continuing to accomplish something. Meanwhile, another “newly-seniored” Senior Citizen, Trish, is working for ten months with our orphaned kids at the Father’s House here in Davao.

Praise God that a total of 9 large boxes recently arrived from three states in the USA: Arizona (six), North Carolina (two) & Utah (one). Inside were books, clothes, food & stuffies. Another 38 boxes which we sent are still en route, expected to arrive before Christmas.

Praise God that Three men kidnapped by Islamist militants in Mindanao escaped (while their captors prayed), dodging bullets as they ran. This was after a ruse using fake ransom money failed. The Abu Sayyaf group is holding more than a dozen other hostages including several foreigners in remote jungles.

Praise God that the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) is willing to provide defense aid to the USA, should it enter into war with North Korea. But first, the DND will study if such assistance is under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) of the Philippines & the U.S.

Praise God that the 40 children at a VBS in New York raised $500 to purchase chickens & turkeys, as well as grain & some materials for the building of a chicken coop, at our Father’s House orphanage!

“Who would like to pray to receive Jesus into your heart?” During a week of three different Home Bible Studies, I lugged four pizzas to the house for the evening of studying the book of Acts with our neighbors.

Sixteen had arrived for the evening meeting, & all responded to the plea to accept Jesus, & prayed! For the next few days, each time we’d see our neighbors, they had huge smiles on their faces. “Next week we’ll study some more, right?” Most definitely!

Meanwhile back at BCA, Teacher Juvy was struggling with her Second-Grade class. “Why did you not bring your baon (lunch) today, Noah?” As soon as the words exited her mouth, she knew it was the incorrect question to ask, since Noah’s parents are poor & could not afford to send a lunch with him. School lunches are free once a week at BCA, but on other days those without their own lunches go hungry.

Willing to change the subject as soon possible to avoid embarrassment, Teacher Juvy interrupted Noah with, “Today why don’t you start your class project earlier than the others, since you have extra time?” So together they began drawing a Philippine flag & then cut out pieces of colored paper to glue them onto the drawn flag.

As the class gathered back together, they were so surprised that Noah was already halfway through with his project. He became the example for the others to follow. Instead of being “behind the pack” due to not having his lunch, he became at “the head of the pack” as their leader in the day’s project.

Back to the Home Bible studies, we now have three per week, Tuesdays at a home of one of the BCA faculkty, Thursdays at our residence,ma nd Satuyrdays at the ohome of one of the church members. Each week the tstudy is held in a different home, to “prime the opump” so they can invite their neighbors and continue the study after this initial week.

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!
8/10/2017

Philippine National Heroes Day (8/28)

Please pray for Philippine President Duterte’s desire to provide free college for all Filipinos. Last week, Duterte signed into law a bill granting tuition-free education at over 100 state universities & colleges. Congress had passed the “UADTEA: Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act” earlier this year & sent it to Duterte to sign. Economic advisors argue it would be too expensive & estimating costs could reach $2 billion a year. Duterte said the long-term benefits were greater than the “very heavy budgetary implications.” Detractors argued the law won’t help the poorest Filipinos, who’ll still have to bear other costs of higher education, including living expenses & instructional materials. The Budget secretary said the new law would only help rich students. “Only 12% of the poor get to the state universities, 12%, & when you say free tuition, you are actually subsidizing the rich,”

Praise God that one of the members of the Davao City Kiwanis Club, a dentist, is packing up the boys’ clothes that his sons have grown out of, to give to the Father’s House orphanage.

Praise God as well that, at the beginning of our worship service on Sunday, when I passed out index cards & sharpened pencils, almost 100% of those present filled-in prayer requests for Elvie & I to pray for each morning in our 3am prayer time.

Praise God for a VBS in New York which is raising funds for our Father’s House orphanage, for chickens & feed, & if they get more than expected, a little extra to help with building materials for the chicken coop.

Praise God too that The Philippine military is using again the FA-50 aircraft in its operation in Marawi City. What needs to be done is to change tactics in conducting airstrikes. The Philippine Air Force suspended the use of the FA-50 aircraft after its airstrike last July 12 failed, accidental killing 2 soldiers & injuring 11 others.
Praise God that Abby has been elected president of the church youth group, and has also been chosen for the high school volleyball team!
“Me first!”

During Sunday’s church worship service, I challenged the congregation from the second chapter of Acts, to start having Bible studies (verse-by-verse from the book of Acts) in their homes. I even “sweetened the deal” by offering to bring pizza & Coke to the first volunteer who offered to host the study. A hand shot up in the fourth row back, a couple for whom we’d performed their wedding a few years ago.

The same challenge was made during Monday’s BCA faculty/staff devotional. In response, the staff decided to “bunot-bunot” (draw names from a hat) to take turns in hosting the “Bible Study Pizza Party”.

Then we offered our own home for the Thursday evening Neighborhood Bible Study. Meanwhile in BCA’s First Grade class, Teacher Roselyn was praising God for her successful wedding two months ago, & also was announcing her excitement of expecting their first child!
Itemizing blessings from their wedding, she (& her husband Erwin) were so thankful that 1) they had good weather, 2) God met their financial needs, 3) Successfully smooth preparation of the program, 4) safety of visitors’ travel from different far-away places, including the BCA staff, & 5) joy, even though her father was not able to attend, due to his untimely drowning just a few months before.

“You have become a part of my life’s big events,” Roselyn exclaimed, teary-eyed. “I feel like I am home with true family around me.” She also thanked Teacher Rea for advice in teaching the “problem kids” in her class, since Rea had those same students last year…

“Reverse psychology works awesome for these kids” she had been told by Rea. So, Roselyn tried it. She became a psychologist. “Dave,” she tested, on her most challenging child, “I love you even though you act like you do not want to listen or obey. I still love you soooo much. And Jur & Jaden, are you willing to take a dare?” This perked up the attention of the students, as well as their curiosity.

“What do you have in mind?” asked Jaden.

Knowing (From Rea’s advice) that these students’ behavior is due to their hyperactivity, she challenged them, “I do not think that you can follow me around the room with your entire attention.”
“Oh, yes we can!” responded Jur. And so the dare was accepted. They did not chat, nor did they get up to walk around, & not even to jiggle their bodies in their chairs. Instead they followed their teacher, with their ears & eyes, knowing that they would be quizzed afterward.

“Students,” Roselyn prompted the students at the end of the day, “Now is the time for your quiz. Did I move a lot during class?”

“Yes, Madam. Three times as much as you usually do! and where was I standing when I counted the number of apples?”

“Next to the poster of apples, of course” responded Jur.

“Exactly,” blessed Teacher Roselyn. “But can you tell me how many apples I counted?”

Every student understood suddenly the reverse-psychological approach that their teacher had practiced to back them into this corner, but also that the dare had required them to “save face” & answer the question. Jur then stood up &, walking to the poster of apples, counted them, “One, two, three…” and all the way up to eleven apples. “Teacher Roselyn, when you counted the apples, there were eleven.”

“Very good, students. & now, to celebrate,” she reached down under her desk & pulled out a basket of apples. “You each receive a reward!”

Thinking back to Sunday’s worship service, after Sunday’s newlyweds had offered their home for a Bible study, another family shot their hands up, pleading, “Oh, please let us be the hosts next week? Please?”

And everyone was happy.

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

8/3/2017 Please pray for Trish, a grandmother from Arizona who is now living at The Father’s House for a year to work with our orphan children. She is extremely talented & truly cares for these kids. Please ask the Lord to grant her wisdom in discipling the children, effectively increasing their spiritual development.

Praise God that, while waiting in line at the Phoenix, Arizona airport, Abigail convinced Jennifer (the woman seated next to her in the ticket line) to sponsor a BCA student in the Philippines! You go girl!

“Lord, please speed-up the Barners’ plane across the Pacific Ocean!”

Dozens of friends were praying for our flight from California to Taiwan, since there was only a two-hour layover set by the airline, & its arrival coincided with two back-to-back flights. Yet when we arrived at the San Francisco airport, we were notified that the flight was postponed by 90 minutes, due to the plane having just arrived from London with damaged machinery. When PJ (in New York) received the urgent prayer request, his reply was, “Sure, I will contact the prayer chain at church, & also look forward to next year when you use this as a sermon illustration about God’s miraculous provision!”

On the other side of the ocean in the Philippines, BCA’s newly-hired Substitute Teacher Sheena was preparing to teach the first-grade class. “Oh Lord, this morning’s Bible devotional truly touched my heart-strings. Thank you for the inspiration for teaching today! I have had so many hardships & challenges in life but I believe there is no strength when there is no struggle.”

Back in California, Paul, Elvie & Abigail, to get the cheapest flights, had already flown for two days (with layovers) from New York to Florida to Arizona to California, sleeping on airport floors across the nation. After the plane finally arrived for departure from San Francisco, we waited an hour on the runway for the air conditioning to kick-in before takeoff. There was now no way possible (shy of a miracle) for us to catch the flight in Taiwan for Manila. The airline was not even able to tell which gate we were to look for, once arriving in that foreign country.

With the 2 ½ hour delay, we’d be arriving half an hour after our connecting flight was to take off. “By the way,” the Micronesian lady at the California gate counter had mentioned, “That will be the last flight of the day out of Taiwan…If you do not catch it, you’ll be staying overnight at the Taiwan airport & miss any scheduled connections. Please have a nice day & a pleasant flight.”

Back at BCA in Davao, Teacher Sheena escorted her students from the flag ceremony to their classroom. Starting with a prayer. she introduced herself to the pupils, that she was their temporary teacher for a week. “Students, why are you talking while I am talking? Please give me your undivided attention!” Considering that her students’ limited attention may be due to her being unfamiliar with them, Sheena suddenly came up with an idea.

Back somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, I (Paul) considered how difficult the Taiwanese airport screens have been to read in the past, since they have always been written in Chinese characters. Once the plane finally landed, I noticed that the pilot had actually sped up the 575-mile-per-hour flight & shaved a whole hour off of the 12-hour expected airtime!

I then told Elvie & Abby to be ready to high-tail it out of the plane, along with our carry-on luggage, before the other passengers would get a chance to do so. Sadly though, it seemed that our hundreds of fellow passengers had had the same idea. But God was at work, responding to the hundreds of prayers being lifted up by His praying warriors across the USA. One of the airline stewardesses noticed the anxious expression on my face. “Can I help you sir?” she inquired. “Oh yes ma’am. You see, we will only have 20 minutes to catch our connecting flight & will likely miss it.” To which she matter-of-factly responded, “Well then, try & push your way through. After all, you never know. You might get lucky!” So, apologizing along the way & quipping over & over again, “Please excuse us. We¬¬ have a connecting flight in 20 minutes!” God parted the crowded aisles like He had parted the Red Sea for Moses!

However, we had a shock waiting for us in the airport, for, even though we could read plainly the departure screen (written in two languages), it would be a half mile from our entrance gate to our departure gate! With a security check along the way! All in just sixteen minutes! If we were to miss that connecting flight, we’d have to stay overnight in Taiwan, & after finally getting to Manila, & picking up our luggage, then passing through immigration checks, plus a half-hour shuttle bus ride between terminals, rechecking our bags & getting boarding passes, missing our connecting flight, having to pay $300 or more to purchase new tickets for the three of us to Davao.

Before we had left San Francisco, Abby had Facebook-messaged Trish who was already in the air (flying from Seattle), to not wait for us if we were not there in the Taipei airport, where she had a layover of six hours before heading on to Manila.

About 2,000 thousand miles away in Davao, Teacher Sheena had thought of something nice to do to facilitate her students. “Kids, how would you like to make up a brand-new song?” This caught their attention, and suddenly the formerly-disorganized first-graders were a harmonious chorus, singing “We love our teacher & we love our great God who leads her”. Sheena made the words up as God gave her utterance. Then she pulled out a book with lots of colorful pictures, & all 30 kids sat around her in a circle while she read to them about Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

In Taiwan when we left the plane, It was 8:10 and the gate would close at 8:25. We had 15 minutes to find the gate & run through it. I noticed the cart that rish people in business class and also cripples and elderly use. The Chinese driver asked us, “Which is your flight?” I told him “Manila, in fiftyeen minutes.” Her told us to hop in, and breezed along that next queatrter mile, beeping along the way to warn others that we were passing through.

Arriving at the security check, we rushed through, with no line!n Then we ran. Oh,m did we run! The clock was ticking away as the gates breezed by us. “A-1…A-2…A-3…B…C…D-1…(stop to catch my breath and wait for Elvie & Abby to catch up…finally D-6! Rush down the stairs…is the gate closed yet? There is no way it could still be open! Is it open or not? We will know in ten seconds as we turn the corner…

Down in Davao, Teacher Sheena noticed that her attempts at control had worked like a charm! The students were attentive, active & participative because they loved the story that was full of values. While reading, Sheena observed (and mentioned) the characters’ different personalities & tried to manage them politely.

“Look at Daniel. He had strong faith. What about you, Junjun? Do you have a strong faith like Daniel? Would you stay all night in a den full of hungry lions?” Inside the mind of Substitute Teacher Sheena, her fears had totally subsided. She considered, “Oh, how I wish that I could be the First-grade teacher at BCA. I may be just a “Bukid Girl”. (from a rural village), but I am soooo, so looking forward to, & deeply praying that everything will be okay this year. I may be still just adjusting & adapting to this new environment & people I meet, but with God by my side, I can overcome, like Daniel, any obstacle that crosses my path!

At the entrance in BCA, one of the school buses pulled up with Elvie, Trish, Abby & me aboard! We had made it! We had arrived at the gate the night before in Taiwan, three minutes before it closed. Trish was waiting there for us at the bottom of the stairs. We continued on to Manila & finally to Davao. God is Good! Although we were in the lion’s den of uncontrollable circumstances for portions of four days, we had followed the God who has the solution to any and every circumstance!

Yay, God! Thank you, prayer warriors!

Score another point for the Creator!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!
8/2/2017

2017 Christmas Goal: $9,000 for “BFF- Backpacks For Filipinos” (filled) at $15 each x 600 students (both those 434 who have sponsors and those 166 on the waiting list).

Please pray that the six home Bible studies (averaging 20 in each) which we have started in these past two weeks will continue & that many more neighbors of the hosts will attend and be drawn to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We have a goal to start two new home Bible studies each week, during the months of September & October. I am developing study materials in a verse-by-verse study sheet for the book of Acts.

Please pray too that Sohaima & her family (one of the thousands of families who fled their homes in Marawi City when the crisis began 5/23), & all of the 30 members of their family who took refuge in the house of their relative in the town of Balo-i in Lanao Del Norte, will receive the relief goods assigned by the government & by different Christian humanitarian groups who came to Balo-i. Also, that Sohaima can renew their chicken business to pay their loan, which will be used to provide other at-risk families with their own small scale businesses.

Please also pray that, after Monday’s “shock & awe" raid, in which Philippine police killed 32 drug traffickers in Bulacan Province (as well as 109 suspects arrested), that other drug personalities will think twice before continuing with their drug trade. Pistols & grenades had been seized from the violent drug dealers in the raids. Statistically, the Philippine public is pleased with the raids, as voters were previously fed up with high crime rates & corrupt politicians.

Praise God for the Silver anniversary of my ordination, which was on 8/16/92.

Praise God as well that I (Paul) was once again elected to the one-year volunteer position as a Trustee of the Faith International Academy Board (the school where Abby attends).

“Lord, please commission Freddie to stack chairs!”

On Sunday at church I was speaking from Fist Corinthians 12, on spiritual gifts. Before the message, I had sent the youth group out into the congregation to hand-out pens, index cards, safety pins & pages from a small notepad.

“Elvie & I pray for you daily, so please write your prayer requests on the cards with the pens provided. As to the note paper, please write on it your name & what you feel God has called you to do in the church. Safety pin it to your shirt at the end of the message.”

When I had finished preaching, I challenged the elders of the church to line up at the altar with little cups of vegetable oil. “Since you are serious about serving God, please come, one by one, to the altar to be anointed with oil for the ministry that you feel God has called you to do in the church.” Titles such as “Sunday School Teacher” & “start a Bible Study in my home” were also interspersed with other titles such as “set up chairs” & “clean the church toilets”.

At first, only about one or two came forward. I led the congregation in singing, acapella, “Amazing Grace”. The elders were about to sit back down, but then people with hand-written & safety-pinned “title-tags” kept coming forward, in groups of ones, twos & threes.

So I led in other songs. The church musicians tried to play by ear the impromptu songs that I had chosen off the top of my head. The Holy Spirit was working. For nearly twenty minutes, people kept coming forward for prayer & anointing. Many of the songs were just hummed by the congregation, as they were ones I knew but had never taught them. Many who were back in their seats were praying for those who were still at the altar.

The children were dismissed from Children’s Church, & once they heard from their parents what was going on, they also started coming forward to be anointed for the titles that they had pinned on their shirts. Some just said, “I will be a good son for Jesus”.

The next day during class time at BCA, many of these same kids, & some of the teachers who attend the church did not forget the lessons they had learned just 24 hours before. In Teacher Hazel’s Fourth Grade class, she was challenging the students to write letters to their sponsors to thank them for their commitment to keep them in school.
“I am amazed that there are still people who are generous enough to share what they have to help those who are in need,” Hazel confessed before her class, “Praise God for His unfathomable power. He is indeed the Alpha & the Omega. He has found, among the billions of people upon this planet, a sponsor who loves, you, prays for you & also provides funds for your education! Let’s pray for them now!” Hazel then prayed, “Oh God, you are soo good! We can fully trust our lives into Your hands. There is nothing to worry about because You, God, are greater than any false gods.”
Excited & happy, the students were pleased that they were a meaningful part of the ministry. Even through such a simple little thing as a letter & a prayer, the kids were a meaningful part of the Kingdom ministry that God has set out for His church! In class time, they even had the fourth graders elect officers to represent any grievances from the students regarding the classroom & how the learning atmosphere could be enhanced, along with “house rules” that need to be followed this school year.

All glory and praise belong to God!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

This week’s Calendar:

August 24 (Thursday) Barners’ Home Bible Study
August 25 (Friday) Family Night/
August 26 (Saturday) Church Members’ Home Bible Study/ Abby’s volleyball game
August 27 (Sunday) Faith Fellowship Church
August 28 (Monday) BCA Teachers’ Devotional
August 29 (Tuesday) Kiwanis Club Meeting/ BCA Faculty Members’ Home Bible Study
August 30 (Wednesday) Prayer Meeting

BCA has 433 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $5,750 Remaining: $19,250.

Present need: $72 for another week of pizzas, Coke & roasted chicken for food in the three home Bible Studies this week, which we are either starting or continuing..

Upcoming Missions Trip Teams:

Aug ‘17-May ‘18 AZ Trish
Sep ’17 MX- Dean & Alba
Oct ‘17 AZ
Nov ‘17 UT
Dec ‘17 UT/CA
Jun ‘18 VA Chatham Heights

7/27/2017

Pray Please- for a little four-year-old boy in New York. After we spoke at his church, we noticed him in the nursery waiting for his parents. He seemed somewhat sad, so I tried to brighten his day by joking around. His full & free laughter was so contagious that I couldn’t help but laugh along with him. Later the nursery attendant confided in me that “He hasn’t smiled all day, since today was the day he had to say goodbye to his birth father & was adopted by another family. Thank you so very much for bringing joy & hope back into his soul!” Wow, you never know…

Please pray also for a profane man whom we met on a commuter train to New York City. During the hour-long ride, an obviously- drug-empowered thirties-ish man approached our family & derided our faith repeatedly with profanity-embellished epithets. As we attempted to share the Gospel with him, he tried to refute our claims with shallow, inconclusive & obviously historically inaccurate arguments. His voice was so loud that all those on the train car could hear the message of salvation! What the enemy had meant for harm, the Lord had turned around for good! May those who overheard his false refutations of our message turn & respond favorably to God’s call upon their souls.

Please also pray for a church youth group from Virginia that is planning to assist BCA’s ministries in Davao next June, returning to the USA with us halfway through the month. The youth leaders explained in an email, after we had shared a challenge with them, “We know that God allowed our paths to cross that night. We are looking forward to getting to come to the Philippians for a missions trip to help show God's love to the community there. Pray that all the details will get worked out & that we will be able to do this. I really feel that God is leading us to serve!”
Praise God that the United States has recently assisted the Philippines in trying to end the ongoing war against terrorists. Two new Cessna 208B Grand Caravan intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance aircraft were formally delivered to the Philippine Air Force during a handover ceremony. The U.S. has also provided reconnaissance aircraft & pilot training, uniforms & body armor, combat rubber raiding crafts, night vision devices, rockets & unmanned aerial systems.

Praise God also that, while we visited friends in Pennsylvania, they not only helped us to pack four large boxes for the Philippines, but they also paid for them to be shipped! We also received kitchenware, stuffies, books & research supplies from three locations in NY, before we were interviewed on a Christian radio station (WMHR in Syracuse) & PJ & Abby sang a duet over the air.

Praise God that all four of us were given the chance to volunteer at a VBS in New York where over a hundred kids heard the Gospel through Bible stories each day. We also shared a missions challenge each day & over a hundred stuffies were donated by the VBS kids! One day Abby actually dressed up as a “Pikachu” stuffie & leapt out of a shipping box on stage to explain how the toys travel from the USA & across the ocean into the loving arms of poor Filipino children.
Praise God also that when we visited a college campus while in New York City, one of PJ’s professors overheard Abby & PJ’s duet of “The Prayer”. After Abigail hit the high note at the end of the emotional song, the professor exclaimed, “Young lady, with a voice like that, if after you graduate from high school, you apply to our college, I can definitely guarantee you a music scholarship!”

Praise God that on Saturday, after we spoke at a Men’s morning prayer breakfast in New York, the men especially prayed for the decision of the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte. On May 23 when the war started, Duterte had declared Martial Law in Mindanao. The constitution allowed the declaration for sixty days, after which time the president would have three choices: #1- wipe out the city with bombs, eliminating both the terrorists & their hostages, or #2- extend Martial law throughout the entire country, or #3- extend Martial Law to a longer period of time until the terrorists are eliminated. Presently the average is that each day four terrorists are killed & also one civilian & one soldier. Halfway through the New York prayer meeting one of the men announced that BBC News declared Duterte had decided not to wipe out all of those remaining in Marawi, but instead to extend martial law through December to also stamp out other extremist groups across the south, something five presidents before him have failed to do.
“They look so excited!”

Elvie, Abby & I were watching at the Phoenix, Arizona airport as two young girls fidgeted excitedly in anticipation of, what could be no other than the soon-coming arrival of their mom. After all, standing beside them was a young dad with a bouquet of red roses hidden behind his back.

Sure enough, after about half an hour of waiting, the girls rushed forward to hug the legs of a smiling young mom. And then she was embraced & kissed repeatedly by the “roses man”. As the three of us glanced on while eating pizza at the airport, we each considered next year’s reunion with our son (& brother) PJ. Two flights previous, we had tearfully waved him off at the airport in New York, before sunrise.

It wasn’t him departing this time however, but rather him who was staying behind as we began our four-day, five flight trans-Atlantic trip around half the planet back to the mission field.

Meanwhile on the other side of the planet, a prayer was being lifted up for other special people to return: “Dear Lord, please heal the sick children in my Kindergarten class.” Teacher Rea’s Monday lesson reached only 2/3rds of her students since the other 33% were out sick with colds. Rainy weather had taken its toll on the pupils, but Rea was certain that God would bring back her precious kids, healthy & strong, on Tuesday.

Rea had led the BCA students in singing the Philippine National anthem in the morning during flag raising. As she looked out on the many rows of students, aligned by grad levels, her class line was the shortest. Yet she was convinced that God would not let her down.

During the previous week, BCA’s teachers & staff had had their annual staff retreat & visited Heart Spring Island, Centennial Tree, & other tourist spots, a few hours from campus. “Oh,” exclaimed Teacher Rea, “I will treasure these precious memories with my coworkers, forever!”

Yet now, as classes resume, Rea had to figure out ways of exciting the weak students enough (by glowing tales from their classmates) that they’d want to come back to class. She decorated her classroom with designs like origami flowers, butterflies & more. “What else?” thought Rea. Then her mind burst with showers of ideas, as she posted different charts & verses in every corner of the room. Nurse Lucy noticed Rea’s fervor of creativity & helped her to paint her ceiling with bright colors. Threatened at home with the demolition of her own house at Purok Cacao, Kaputian, Teacher Rea focused on beautifying her “other home,” the BCA classroom.

Truly, we could learn a lesson from Rea & also from the “Rose Man”. As we will be missing our son while he attends college, we also can remain active in bettering the world through serving God, & then have something to share with our dear son the next time we see him, in ten months!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

July 28 (Friday) New York: Morning and evening VBS at Pineview CMA/ Pack 14 large boxes of stuffed animals, etc. to ship to Davao/pack

July 29 (Saturday) Florida/Arizona: Flying at 5:40am to Orlando & Phoenix

July 30 (Sunday) California: Flying to San Francisco.

July 31 (Monday)Taiwan: Flying overnight to Taipei, Picking up Trish, to join us in Davao to assist at Father’s House Home for Street Kids.

August 1 (Tuesday) Philippines: Flying overnight to Manila & Davao

August 2 (Wednesday) Philippines: Abby starts her Junior year at Faith International Academy

BCA has 433 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $5,550 Remaining: $19,450.

Present need: $50,000 for the fourth phase of BCA’s main campus renovation. This will be the last story of four stories.

Remaining 2017 Furlough Plans: New York 7/27-28…4-day flight back to Philippines-7/29-8/1.

7/21/2017

Pray Please- for Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, as he closes-out the constitutionally-allowed sixty-day period of Martial Law (military rule) on our island of Mindanao, this next Saturday, July 22. This will be a decision between him & the Secretary of Defense. The declaration of Martial Law had come on May 23, after pro-ISIS rebels from the Maute group, a local band of radical jihadists, raided Marawi, Mindanao’s predominantly Muslim city of 200,000. More than 70,000 people are now living in government-run evacuation centers. Congress has the right to vote to extend Marshal Law beyond 60 days, even through the remainder of Duterte’s presidency, which ends in 2022. And the question remains, what has this done to alive the 21.6 percent of Filipinos who live below the national poverty line, & also the fact that “Transparency International” rates the Philippines 101st out of 176 countries on the 2016 Corruption Index listing? Will Duterte extend the declaration to include more than just Mindanao, even to the entire nation?

Also, please pray for four kidnapped workers (painters & carpenters) in a Mindanao (Patikul, Sulu) school which the Abu Sayyaf attacked a few days ago. While six were initially captured, one escaped from the terrorists & government troops rescued yet another. The ransom-seeking Abu Sayyaf militants still hold about 25 foreign & Filipino hostages in Sulu's jungles. Also 14 inmates, including suspected Abu Sayyaf fighters & drug dealers, escaped early Sunday from a jail in a new building that also houses the police headquarters in a government compound in Sulu's main town of Jolo. Three of these were killed & another was captured.

Praise God that a friend in Western New York wears clothes the same size as Elvie, & had saved up some of her wardrobe to give to her while we were passing through. Another former missionary family (PJ & Abby’s middle/ high school teachers) called out when our car pulled into their driveway, “They’re here!” We could hear the joyful pronouncement even from inside the car. Then they treated us to a delicious pasta lunch they had prepared, before praying for the remainder of our trip.

Praise God as well that when we visited friends in Pennsylvania, since they have acres & acres of property on a hillside, PJ was able to stretch his legs while racing their kids. Thousands of miles & hours of driving can cramp up a passenger’s ligaments somewhat…

This past Sunday in Western New York, buddies from Maryland drove up & stayed overnight so that the six kids from three different families played games after church & feasted on corn-on-the-cob & raspberries.. mmmm!! Abby also has returned to us after an invigorating week of Bible camp where her team won in the most Bible verses memorized. PJ & Abby also sang a duet in church Sunday.

“I am so happy today!” BCA’s Teacher Neil was inspired after overhearing his 4th grade students’ statement (to another teacher) that they loved coming to class each day. “The lessons are sooo much fun,” they stated, “and yet we also learn at the same time!”

Not quite certain if he’d heard correctly, the very next day Teacher Neil met some of his students on the school stairs (en route to class), & they gleefully exclaimed, “Sa amua ka unya?” [will you be with us later?] “Yes! Yes! We cannot wait!”

God often balances our joys with trials. The day after Teacher Neil’s positive encounter with his students, a bullying case arose in his classroom. Jun’s parents came in saying that Nat, Reya & Kyle had ganged up on their son to make fun of him. But Teacher Neil had a delightfully positive attitude from the previous day & the truth came out: Jun had provoked the three, & not vice versa. Within minutes of the revelation, they all cried, embraced & promised not to do it again.

Meanwhile on the other side of the planet, we received the fascinating news that a sponsor in New York had given extra last month to not only sponsor their BCA student, but also to send $400 for BCA’s new (tribal) campus construction, as well as $600 for BCA bus fuel!

While we were driving thousands of miles through the Southeastern USA, we had looped back around, via thousands of miles, visiting families & churches in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee & Kentucky. Arriving in Ohio, my brother Tim’s church invited us to share at their Vacation Bible School.

A tad weary from over a month of driving, we became excited as the VBS kids’ overflowing joy passed on to us. After I presented our Philippine ministry, our son PJ & his cousins successively led four classes in singing “Be A Missionary, Every Day!” When he asked, “How many of you want to fly across the planet & tell Filipinos about Jesus?” hands shot up across the classroom. Then my brother Tim led in the craft-time, challenging the kids from their Bible verse, to be energetic for Christ, in God’s power.

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

July 21 (Friday) New York:: Visit three families in Clifton Springs/Delhi/Rensselaer/ Share at Bruderhof Woodcrest Community

July 22 (Saturday) New York:: Visit one family in Westmere/ Share at Pine Knolls CMA Men’s Breakfast

July 23 (Sunday) New York: Speak at Pineview Community CMA Church/ Visit three families in Rensselaer/Schenectady

July 24 (Monday) New York: Visit two family in Rensselaer/ Assist at VBS in Albany

July 25 (Tuesday) New York: Visit one family in Chappaqua/ Rest in New York City

July 26 (Wednesday) New York: Visit two families in Slingerlands/Guilderland/ Assist at VBS in Albany/Visit Prayer Meeting in Albany

July 27 (Thursday) New York: Visit four families in Schenectady/Colonie/Watervleit/Albany Assist at VBS in Albany

BCA has 430 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $5,500 Remaining: $19,500.

Present need: $150,000 for the third phase of BCA’s main campus renovation. This is the third story of four stories.

US Address: Paul M Barner Ministries 501(c)(3) address: Ginger Bruce, 5 Eileen Drive, Rensselaer, NY 12144 [(518) 434-6216].

Remaining 2017 Furlough Plans: New York 7/21-28…4-day flight back to Philippines-7/29-8/1.

7/14/2017

Pray Please- for Christian Aid Mission (CAM), in Virginia. Many who sponsor BCA students send through this delightful agency. CAM will soon revise the way they handle the contributions received. On September 1, 2017, CAM will be subtracting 5% from all contributions. The reason is that: #1-many are now giving by credit card. The average bank fee for a credit card is 3.2%. #2- It costs CAM $5 to issue a receipt. #3- CAM has expenses for sending checks &/or bank wire transfers. If you prefer to avoid this new fee, please send your sponsorships through our own 501(c)(3), at the address listed at the bottom of this email diary.

Please also pray for an end to the ongoing ISIS-Marawi war, on our island of Mindanao (Philippines). The war is now into its third month, since starting on May 23. Airan is a young seven-month-pregnant Muslim laundrywoman being counselled by Christian agencies. With her other four kids, she is living in a nearby gymnasium until the war ends. During the aerial bombings, she & her kids skittered away without their dad, who was working as a farmer in fields a few hundred miles away. Due to the war, she cannot get prenatal checkups. So instead, Christians are assisting the family with basic first Aid, noodles, canned goods & other relief needs. Last week an infant from another family in the refugee-assigned gym died of dysentery. Airan prays that one of hers will not be next.

Praise God that, after this week’s 6.5- magnitude Philippine earthquake, Christian pastors in Kananga & Ormoc City are assisting the homeless, hurting, hungry & trauma-stricken, including the families of two who died in a collapsed building, and 72 others in the same structure who were injured. Other after-effects of the quake include landslides and dangerously cracked roads. Elizer & Janice now live in a tent near the geothermal plant. And Janice cuddled her 3-year-old girl, she praised God that “The ground did not eat us up!” Had they not left to get groceries before the floor opened up in their small house, they would surely have perished. Newly-homeless families are now catching pneumonia due to the rainy weather.

Praise God also for Bill, a Christian educator in Davao’s “FIA” school for missionary kids. In response to his recent visit to BCA’s “Father’s House” orphanage, he exclaimed on Facebook that “Today was such a joy. Your staff was kind enough to pick me up & return me back home. I was greatly blessed by all the wonderful children at the Father’s House. I hope to do it again soon! Today was such an exhausting joy.” Along with pictures that he attached, Bill captioned, “These wonderful children shared their lunch, snack, afternoon, laughs, games & smiles with me.”

Praise God that while we were in Florida last week, loving prayer warriors for this ministry met with us in Brooksville, The Villages, Avon Park, Fort Myers (Shellpoint Village) & Kissimmee, and on our 21st wedding anniversary we were greeted with lots of hugs by those in a retirement community who had been married much longer. We also were incredibly inspired while visiting the Holy Land Experience series of musicals and presentations in Orlando.

Praise God too that after we sent off our daughter Abigail to fly to Bible camp in New York, families and churches in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee & Kentucky shared with us updates on their families and also showered us with delicious food & delightful prayer requests. Since one of these families I had not seen for thirty years, the grandparents shared awesome pictures of their grandkids.

“Students, pick a country and stand on it!” BCA’s Teacher Hazel was teaching Social Studies to her fourth-grade class by placing papers in various locations on the floor of the classroom. Upon each paper was written the name of a country. Each of the 30 fourth graders scrambled to place a foot on a paper until there was no space left on that item.

“Teacher Hazel, is Manila a country?” inquired Emma-Jean, cute as all get-out in her pigtails. In response, Hazel pointed to the chalkboard. “Swell, let’s go through the specs again that qualify a location to be a country. What is first on the list, Emma-Jean?”

“Teacher Hazel, #1 is “Tao (People)”. Yes, there are people in Manila.” Then Hazel asked another student, “Jun, what is #2?”

“Teacher Hazel, #2 is “Territoryo (Territory)”. Yes, there is territory in Manila.” Then Hazel asked another student, “Roberto, what is #3?”

“Teacher Hazel, #3 is “Pamahalaan (Government)”. Yes, there is a government in Manila.” Then Hazel asked another student, “Princess, what is #4?”

“Teacher Hazel, #3 is “Soberanya (Independence)”. No, there is no independence in Manila, since it is a portion of the country of the Philippines.” Then Hazel clarified, “So in answer to your question Emma-Jean, Manila is a city, not a country. Since you are the only one not standing on a paper, and there is no more space, you will get to sit-out until after the next round, when we fold all the papers in half!”

Meanwhile on the other side of the planet, as our family of four was driving from state to state along the east coast of the USA, the member of a church in South Carolinas asked, “What makes a person a prayer warrior?”

Comparing the answer to that 4th grade game, although financial givers are essential for the ministry, the components for prayer warriors are that the person is #1-praying and also #2-informed about what to pray for.

The three chief aspects of support for missions are “Going, Giving & Praying”. While all three can be done, each one individually can represent support for missions.

Then again, for those wanting to GO to the mission field, God can intervene with friends who can do a little finagling…

For instance, when we had dropped off Abigail at the airport in Florida (to head up to New York for a week of Bible Camp), we got up at 2am to bring her to the airport. When we got her to her gate (#104), we only found out after her flight left that we were at the wrong gate (#105). However Stephanie (the gate agent) quickly rescheduled Abby’s flight to arrive three hours later than planned, re-routing her through Baltimore. What a gift that God sent his own angel to re-rout Abby’s flight so quickly!

Sooooo…., whether God has you GOING to the mission field, or GIVING to send missionaries, or PRAYING for missions, God might also be leading you to, like “Angel Stephanie”, BOOSTING-UP missionaries as they head out on their way!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

July 14 (Friday) Ohio: Visit two families in Akron/Wickliffe New York: Visit one family in Colden

July 15 (Saturday) Pennsylvania: Visit one family in Bradford New York: Visit one family in Andover

July 16 (Sunday) New York: Speak at Andover Alliance Church

July 17 (Monday) New York: Visit one family in Andover

July 18 (Tuesday) Pennsylvania: Visit one family in Sayre New York: Visit one family in Corning/ Share at church luncheon in Hillside Alliance Church in Ithaca

July 19 (Wednesday) New York: Visit one family in Painted Post/ Share during prayer meeting at Beartown Road Alliance Church

July 20 (Thursday) New York: Share at Morning Bible Study in Fulton/
Visit three families in Romulus/Clifton Springs

BCA has 430 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $5,100 Remaining: $19,900.

Present need: $280,000 for the second phase of BCA’s main campus renovation. This is the second story of four stories.

US Address: Paul M Barner Ministries 501(c)(3) address: Ginger Bruce, 5 Eileen Drive, Rensselaer, NY 12144 [(518) 434-6216].

Remaining 2017 Furlough Plans: New York 7/14-28…4-day flight back to Philippines-7/29-8/1.

7/7/2017

Independence Day, USA- 241st Birthday 7/4/1776 Happy 21st Wedding anniversary, Paul & Elvie! (7/6/1996)

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Pray Please- for continued healing for Sandy, a mother in North Carolina. She was almost blind a year ago. Yet this past week she shared with us how God has miraculously restored her sight back & therefore she is able to drive & work again. She is trusting God that the healing will be permanent.

Please also pray for BCA’s newly-elected PTA officers over the course of this new school year.
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Praise God that while in Virginia, we were given many stuffed animals to send from North Carolina. We also presented a certificate of thanks to a donor who last year had given a financial gift in memory of his wife of over fifty years, who had recently passed away.

Praise God that while in North & South Carolina, families & church members promised to pray for our family’s increased impetus to emphasize the practice of extended & concentrated daily prayer for God’s work in Davao City.

Praise God as well that PJ’s 20th birthday was celebrated by the entire missions committee at a church in North Carolina, as we shared with them (over a scrumptious dinner) plans & direction for God’s ministries through our family on both sides of the ocean. PJ & Abby also treated multiple families & congregations to the message of the Gospel & the challenge of missions through their incredible singing abilities.

Praise God for His perfect timing as we spoke in South Carolina. During the 4th of July weekend, many visitors who joined the church’s annual “Freedom Social” holiday festivities (including fireworks!) were also able to hear of BCA’s Philippine ministry to destitute Filipino children.

Praise God for the very special families who have hosted us as we travel. While in North Carolina, we had a delicious feast of lasagna, prepared by a husband/wife team Don & Carol. When PJ embraced Don in his vice-like arms, Don breathlessly pleaded, “But I only made the sauce!”

Praise God that believers in Pinehurst treated us to fresh blueberry pancakes/waffles, & then we picked a gallon of fresh blueberries. When brought to a barber, PJ shared about our ministry in Davao & the man refused to accept payment, explaining that “You are in God’s work. This is a gift to God!”

“What can we do for you?” The founder of a global ministry in Virginia asked PJ, Abby, Elvie & me.

“We need 600 stuffed animals, Sir.” I responded. “Every Christmas we give a stuffie to each of the 600 children in BCA’s Davao ministry. Once we have enough in stock for 2017, we can begin filling BCA’s stuffie-bin for 2018”

A few minutes later, the hundreds of newly-donated toys were loaded into the back of our rented minivan. They had just been provided to their ministry a week or so earlier, & now they were being donated to our ministry for free. But how were we going to fit 13 large cartons into our rented vehicle, along with our luggage & our family, too? Nor only that, but we had already driven a few hours that day & still had nearly a hundred miles to go, visiting two more families. Plus, the ministry was only a few minutes before their closing-time for the day.

Meanwhile on the other side of the ocean in the Philippines, Barner Christian Academy was just starting its school day & the staff was preparing the campus for the arrival of hundreds of parents of BCA students. Since the faculty was involved with the election of PTA officers, the students stayed home to enjoy their day off from classes.

“After counting the ballots” announced BCA’s school administrator Minmin into the microphone, I am happy to introduce your new PTA president for the 2017-18 school year!”

After the dad ascended the steps to the school stage, he graciously received the microphone & proceeded to announce his platform & projects for the ongoing betterment of the school through his upcoming tenure of leadership, with his newly-elected cabinet of volunteers.

Too bad he was not in Virginia with us though, as we continued to try & figure out how to fit 13 cartons of stuffies into our rented minivan… “How about strapping the kids to the roof? …only kidding!” One of the assistants helped me unstrap the crossbars of the roof-rack to tie down our suitcases. Then PJ & Abby helped empty the cardboard cartons’ contents into many plastic garbage bags. Miraculously, the more we stuffed into the vehicle, the more space we seemed to have. Stuffies are mostly air, after all. Before we knew it, we had all the hatches latched & were praying with the staff before heading down the road to our next destination. Yay, God!

Just a few hundred miles later, we found two shippers willing to get the burden sent overseas, so we packed & squeezed all 600 animals, plus books & canned food into five boxes.

Meanwhile on the other side of the ocean, 267 miles from BCA, a war was raging…Soldiers’ progress in clearing the city of Marawi had been hindered by militant fire & booby traps like gas tanks rigged with grenades. More than 400 people have died, including over 300 militants, 82 security forces & 44 civilians.

One Muslim Marawi elementary student named Laarnie had been dressing for school on that fateful day in May when the war began. Suddenly at the sound of gunfire, she had to run for her life, not allowing her to grab any stuff for school. Along with her 14-year-old older sister, & hundreds in their community that had to hitchhike to quickly reach the evacuation center in the nearby town of Ramain. Laarnie’s father & brother helped the Christians who were trapped in the Capitol to move away from the rebel Maute group.

A few days later, after airstrikes hit near the refugee camp, they escaped to the gymnasium in the next town of Balo-i. There, Operation Blessing provided food packs, hygiene kits & trauma counseling. An estimated 40,000 Marawians are squeezed into gyms, schools & government offices converted to evacuation centers. Over a hundred thousand others have taken refuge with relatives. Deaths have mostly resulted from dehydration & pneumonia.

Corpses are being eaten by dogs & chickens. Rebels are using live hostages as human shields. Based on information from those who managed to escape, the Maute were forcing them to cook food, carry their weapons & retrieve their dead. President Duterte has declared, “You don’t invade Marawi with men. You crush it with bombs.” The Maute claimed responsibility for a September 2016 bombing in Davao City. Some who escaped said that after they ran out of food, they tore up cardboard boxes, chewing them as food.

God is miraculously providing angelic assistance in response to the global prayers of believrs as we travel through fifteen states in our American speaking tour. Church members & families at eighty different stops (nearly forty thus far) are being challenged to go, give & pray for God’s intervention into the lives of the Filipino people in Mindanao.

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

July 7 (Friday) Florida: Visit Holy Land Experience in Orlando/ Visit one family in
Brooksville

July 8 (Saturday) Florida/Alabama: Abby flies to New York for Alliance Bible Camp/visit one family in Gulf Shores

July 9 (Sunday) Alabama: Speak at Family Life Assembly of God Church

July 10 (Monday) Georgia/Tennessee: Visit three families in Pelham, Acworth and Dayton

July 11 (Tuesday) Kentucky: visit one family in Louisville

July 12 (Wednesday) Kentucky: Visit one family in Crestwood/ Speak at DeHaven Baptist Church

July13 (Thursday) Ohio: visit one family in Trenton/ Speak at Vacation Bible School in
Trenton Nazarene Church

BCA has 430 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $5,050 Remaining: $19,950.

Present need: $320,000 for the first phase of BCA’s main campus renovation. This is the first story of four stories.

Remaining 2017 Furlough Plans: FL-7/7, AL-7/8-9, AL/GA/TN-7/10, KY-7/11-12, OH/NY-7/13-14, NY [2]-7/14-28, 4-day flight back to Philippines-7/29-8/1.

6/30/2017

Independence Day, USA- 241st Birthday 7/4/1776, 21st Wedding Anniversary 7/6/96

Pray Please- for the 31 Philippine hostages (including 12 children) who were freed recently from 300 “BIFF” (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) at a primary school, after a day-long gunbattle with troops at the town of Pigcawayan (North Cotabato Province), 120 miles south of Marawi City, where fighting between government troops and pro-Islamic State militants has entered its fifth week. Meanwhile back in Marawi, the Maute Rebel Group, holed-up in Amai Pakpak Hospital, is looting stores that have been evacuated, while also keeping-up a barrage of munitions exchange, shooting at the Philippine government troops. Many families have vowed to never return to Marawi, but are taking up residence in nearby Iligan where they are being provided by Evangelical churches of all denominations with hygiene kits and food packs. Also, communist New People's Army rebels suffered five casualties when the rebels stormed a police station in a central Philippine island of Leyte and seized a dozen assault rifles and pistols. Three communist fighters were killed in Davao Oriental. Thousands of troops and police have been deployed to end the month-long siege Casualties thus far total 242 rebels, 56 soldiers/policemen & 26 civilians. There are still many civilian hostages. Emalyn is 37 years old. She, her husband & two girls, 1 & 3 years old, were four of the hundreds of refugees seeking shelter in nearby Maria Cristina Gym. The youngest child died of diarrhea shortly after they were rescued, since no medicine or doctors were available.
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Praise God that during this past week when we have visited, great Prayer Warriors in NJ, PA, MD & VA churches have assured us that they are lifting up this Philippine ministry.

Also praise God that a dear Christian friend in New Jersey, upon our recent visit, gave free vocal lessons to Abigail, which she & her brother PJ used when they sang in a church sixty miles away as they sang a duet of “The Prayer”.

Praise God as well that a New Jersey pastor donated over thirty of his published books for Elvie to distribute to her students as she and I teach at a Bible College in Davao this fall. Also, an incredibly talented artist donated one of her best sculptures to PJ to decorate his dorm room at college!

“Hey, Siri, call Mom.” PJ tried all kinds of different names, but there was no number listed for “Dad, George, Grandma, Church,” or even “Me,” on the orange Smart Phone he found lying on the ground under our rental car in the shopping mall parking lot.

While driving eight thousand miles during these two months of speaking engagements in the USA, we have developed a few special techniques: Whenever the car odometer hits a division of one hundred miles, we all-together sing “Happy Birthday” to the car. When we hit a division of one thousand miles, we celebrate the occasion by buying ice cream.

The rental car’s odometer read 7,000 miles in Delaware, so we treated ourselves to “FroYo” blackberry cobbler & other flavors. Heading back to the car, PJ picked up the battered phone from the pavement, but all the info he could get from it was that the owner’s name was Vivian. We finally located the mall’s Lost & Found office & they assured us that they have ways of tracking down the phone’s owner through the local police department & satellites.

While speaking in churches on our fifteen-state USA journey, the gist of our presentations is that Christ’s Great Commission to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel” is similar to His New Testament command to Philip, when Philip traveled on the dangerous Gaza road, to lead the Ethiopian Eunuch to salvation.

Try as we might, we will have no success in converting lost unbelievers without the participation of our dear Lord’s Holy Spirit.

Similar is the case in BCA’s fifth-grade class with Teacher Neil. “Students, your studies will take you far in this world. Since we are almost finished with this month of June, you are therefore already one-tenth completed with your school year which began three weeks ago, & ends in March. My question to you now is a simple one: do you know the name of your teacher?”
Sara’s “kamot” (hand) shot up first into the air. “Oh, I know, Sir!” After being chosen, she stood & recited, “My fifth-grade teacher’s name is Teacher Neil.”
“Excellent, Sara. You may now sit down. Second question…who is the instructor of Teacher Neil?” Puzzled faces spread like a wave throughout the classroom, until finally Sara responded, “Teacher Neil, you do not need to have a teacher, since you know everything!”
Grinning in pride on the confidence of his students, Neil responded, “Well, thank you so very kindly. But I do have a very good teacher, & He is yours as well. Jesus is my teacher. We must listen to His fantastic words of wisdom every day, by reading the Bible & praying, & therefore we will never lack for insight to the answers for the questions we face in life.”
Yes, just as that Delaware shopping mall’s Lost & Found Management knows who to contact to give Vivian back her cell phone, likewise, Christian believers worldwide know that God gives us direction for every circumstance that we face.
Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

June 30 (Friday) North Carolina: Visit three families in Pinehurst

July 1 (Saturday) South Carolina: Visit one family in Rembert

July 2 (Sunday) South Carolina: Speak at Bishopville Alliance Memorial Chapel. Evening “Freedom Social” with food, games, huge water slide & fireworks!

July 3 (Monday) Florida: Visit three families in Brooksville & The Villages

July 4 (Tuesday) Independence Day, USA- 241st Birthday 7/4/1776
Florida: Visit one family in Avon Park

July 5 (Wednesday) Florida: Visit Shellpoint Village Residential Care Facility in Ft Myers

July 6 (Thursday) 21st Wedding Anniversary 7/6/96
Florida: Visit one family in Kissimmee

BCA has 424 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $5,000 Remaining: $20,000.

Present need: $859,800 still needed for BCA’s new renovations of its present campus, which include the international administration building, classrooms & also 700-seat auditorium. $200 was sacrificially given this week.

Remaining 2017 Furlough Plans: NC-6/30, SC-7/1-2, FL-7/3-7, AL-7/8-9, AL/GA/TN-7/10, KY-7/11-12, OH/NY-7/13-14, NY [2]-7/14-28.

6/23/2017

Pray Please- for Jerry & Sarah, faithful sponsors in Georgia, USA. Their son was in a motorcycle accident with compound fractures below the knee. Where the bone came through the skin it's left a flap of skin which, along with the rest of the skin on that leg, is shredded. Also the hip socket is broken in at least 3 places. Doctors are trying to determine how to proceed & which procedure needs to be done first.

Also please pray for replacements for three children who lost their sponsor recently. While five children were dropped, we have “picked up” two new sponsors (& three potentially new ones…checks are in the mail) this past week.

Praise God that faithful friends in Utah & Pennsylvania churches/youth groups/Sunday school classes/homes & prayer meetings, as well as at a family reunion, have bent over backwards to assist in our challenge to call people to go, give & pray for missions globally.

Praise God too, as we continue to commemorate fathers, for my own dear dad, who has prayed for me every day of my life.

“Students, today before BCA’s staff feeds you your free lunch, let’s write thank-you cards to God (using full sentences) for sending the funds for these “lomi” noodles & pomelo fruit, through caring believers around the world.”

BCA’s Teacher Juvy peeped over the shoulders of some of her second graders as they created their unique letters. “Great job, Zia! Your letter follows all the rules of grammar that I have taught you so far this year!”

Meanwhile on the other side of the planet in Pennsylvania, churches & nursing home residents hummed along to PJ & Abby’s singing “People Need the Lord”, “You Raise Me Up” & “My Prayer”. At one residential care facility, many of the prayer warriors whom I have known for decades confided, “Every day I pray for you, but I have not seen you face-to-face for thirty years. Now I see by the slides you have shown, that God is answering those prayers!”

Even as Teacher Juvy’s students’ letters reflect their lessons, likewise, God’s work through us in the Philippines reflects the relentless labors of His faithful prayer warriors.

Back in the Philippines prayers continue to be answered especially in war-torn Marawi. Refugees in nearby Mokado Colony were under siege for a week & a half, making soup out of rice with four times the normal amount of water, gathered from continuous rains, to feed her nine children. Cut & bruised from splinters in the explosions, they were able to remove shrapnel from their feet but not their shoulders. Escaping by night to nearby Balo-i, a local doctor sent by 700-Club removed the blood-soaked rags and eliminated infection, while pastors counselled the families through their post-traumatic “Listening Ministry”. The kids bided their time making necklaces & bracelets from “loom bands.”

God is faithful. He hears the prayers of His people & answers them, crossing barriers both chronological & physical.

Yes, God is always faithful, and never, ever forgets a prayer!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

June 23 (Friday) Virginia: Visit one family in Nokesville

June 24 (Saturday) Virginia: Visit two families in Charlottesville & Suffolk; Visit Christian Aid Mission

June 25 (Sunday) Virginia: Speak at Oxford United Methodist Church

June 26 (Monday) Virginia: Visit two families in Concord & Martinsville; Visit “Gleaning for the World Ministry”

June 27 (Tuesday) North Carolina: Visit 2 Families in Eden & Pinehurst
June 28 (Wednesday) North Carolina: Visit one family in Sandhills; Speak at Trinity Christian Church

June 29 (Thursday) PJ’s 20th birthday! (6/29/97)
North Carolina: Visit one family in Pinehurst; Dinner with Trinity Christian Church Missions Committee.

BCA has 421 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,950 Remaining: $20,050.

Present need: $105 for food for hundreds of on-campus BCA students this week.

Remaining 2017 Furlough Plans: VA-6/23-26, NC-6/27-30, SC-7/1-2, FL-7/3-7, AL-7/8-9, AL/GA/TN-7/10, KY-7/11-12, OH/NY-7/13-14, NY [2]-7/14-28.

6/16/2017

Happy Father’s Day (6/18), Global Running Day (6/7), US President Donald Trump’s 70th Birthday (6/14), 73rd Anniversary of D-day landing at Utah beach: Normandy: France during World War 2 (a major turning point during the war: 6/6/44)

Pray Please- for our delightful hosts/hostesses thus far during our 2017 USA speaking tour!

Please also pray for the families of thirteen Philippine marines who were killed in fierce fighting with Muslim militants who have laid siege to the Mindanao city of Marawi for the past three weeks. A U.S. P3 Orion Navy aircraft is providing surveillance for the local troops as the battle rages on. It is noncombat-assistance, since the Philippine helicopters lack adequate surveillance equipment. A Philippine government policy bars foreign troops from local combat. A peaceful family mentioned how the ISIS-inspired Maute group had stayed in their backyard ransacking their chickens and all their other belongings. Meanwhile groups of evangelical churches are combining their efforts under “700-Club” leadership to reach-out with food packs, rice, counseling/debriefing sessions & slippers/loom bands for the children, in partnership with the “Shining Light Foundation”.

Praise God that when a Utah friend noticed I had no cell phone, she donated one to our ministry. Since it has never been used before, we are in the process of getting it “registered” & usable. It is not the old-fashioned filp-phone type that I am used to, so this will definitely be a learning curve for me! Welcome to the 21st century, Paul…

Praise God as well that an Arizona cargo-shipper arrived to pick up the six boxes of books which we had packed, just a few days after we drove round-the clock 20 hours from Tempe, AZ to Ogden, UT. It was a slight challenge to get the boxes into the shipper’s small pick-up truck, but they were successful “with a little effort & some ingenuity.” A few days later two more boxes were shipped from Utah.
“We are praying for you every day for these next twelve months!”

As Trish came to the front of the church sanctuary Wednesday night, many from the congregation joined our family & her pastor in “laying-hands-on” & “praying-for” Patricia, who will be assisting us in “The Father’s House Home for Street Children & Other Children At-Risk” for a whole year.

Our plane had just landed the previous afternoon from our 31-hour trans-Pacific flight, & the “Arizona team” was waiting for us at the airport with balloons & signs of welcome. After lunch, we headed to a friend’s house & boxed-up half a dozen huge boxes, filled with thousands of seminary books & curriculum which were donated by one of my former professors. Elvie, Abby & I also visited the retired professor & his wife to thank them for the delightful gift, & pray with them.

Regarding the next day’s church celebration, Trish commented a few days later on Facebook, “From my perspective, LifePoint (Church) did an awesome job!” After the pastor toured us of the church building, we & the team were treated out for pizza. While there, we shared our testimonies & callings to ministry.

“Eat your fill!” was the theme of the night, as all different kinds of scrumptious food was served. On Wednesday night, the congregation was treated to a report of the team’s visit last fall, along with an overview of the Philippines churches, school & orphanage which we’ve started & operate.

“Trish,” Pastor Nathaniel stated, “In all the history of our church, you are the very first missionary to be sent from us. We will faithfully provide for your needs through finances & prayer!”

Trish’s grown children & even some grandchildren were there to witness this prayerful ‘sending-off”. Abby’s solo was followed by a Bible lesson from me & also Elvie distributed some “Pasalubong” (souvenirs) from BCA for each of the members of the team.

Before members of the congregation laid their hands-on Trish’s shoulders & one by one prayed for her upcoming trip & ministry, they did the same for me, Elvie & Abby.

Trish “brings along” her alter-ego, Sparrow T. Clown, whose specialty is Face Painting, presenting the Gospel & Balloon Twisting, with the theme, "Clowning for the King!" God is sure to use her in incredible ways to empower the 13 orphans (& counting…) in our safe-house ministry.

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

June 16 (Friday) Pennsylvania: Share in six separate sessions at Chapel Pointe Nursing Home in Carlisle

June 17 (Saturday) Pennsylvania: Attend Family Reunion and also visit three families in Liverpool/Elizabethtown

June 18 (Sunday) Pennsylvania: Speak at Elizabethtown Alliance Church

June 19 (Monday) Pennsylvania: Rest in Ronks, PA

June 20 (Tuesday) New Jersey: Visit 3 Families in Mercerville, NJ and New Hope, PA

June 21 (Wednesday) New Jersey: Speak at Phillipsburg Alliance Church

June 22 (Thursday) Maryland: Visit a families in Glen Burnie

BCA has 424 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,900 Remaining: $20,100.

Present need: $660 to ship six huge boxes of books from Arizona to the Philippines. The books were donated from one of my former seminary professors.

Remaining 2017 Furlough Plans: PA-6/16-19, NJ-6/20-21, MD-6/22, VA-6/23-26, NC-6/27-30, SC-7/1-2, FL-7/3-7, AL-7/8-9, AL/GA/TN-7/10, KY-7/11-12, OH/NY-7/13-14, NY [2]-7/14-28.

6/9/2017

- for those who hear our presentations this Summer as we travel. Our main goal is that a Pray Pleasell of the 79 destitute unsponsored children on BCA’s waiting list will receive free schooling through new sponsors.

Also please pray for three short-term missions teams, some of whom we will be visiting while stateside: Arizona: coming to Davao October, 2017; Utah: coming to Davao in November, 2017; & a California team, to arrive likely around Christmas. In addition, a retired American woman will be coming to help at our orphanage for a full year, starting in August, 2017.

Praise God that You-tube has a listing of “We Are the World” for the Philippines (Typhoon Haiyan) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bI8pGLBagY

Praise God also that a young couple in New York has decided to sponsor a second child at BCA, bringing the total sponsored children up to 424!

“Cousin Callem, you can have my cell phone. It is a nice one.”

Callem is my Associate pastor, and this gift of a free cell phone will be handy for him as he is busy these next 2 months here in Davao, while our family is in the USA on our June/July speaking tour.

“But won’t you need it?” asked Pastor Callem. His cousin’s response stymied him.

“Cousin, I am being reassigned as a soldier to Marawi. I may be killed by the terrorists there, so I will not need the phone anymore.”

Marawi is a city 286 miles from Davao. Unrest there has brought terrorists from many other countries, including Malaysians, an Indonesian & possibly Arab extremists, to fight the Philippine military in hopes of developing a new ISIS hub in Southeast Asia. Since Marawi is part of Mindanao, President Duterte declared Marshall Law on our entire island until mid-July.

Militants who have laid siege to Marawi during the Muslim month of Ramadan and about 100 militants, soldiers & civilians have been killed.
This mostly Muslim city of 200,000 people has seen unrest perpetrators torching buildings & taking hostages. They are withstanding a sustained assault by the Philippine military. However, the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. The military, working house-to-house, has cleared 70 percent of the city & the remaining militants are isolated.
Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed & resilient. Since ISIS is weakened in Syria & Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters. Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith on Mindanao island. Special forces found out that the extremists had previously planned to also kill Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria & Iraq.
Since ISIS has little local support, the recent violence could turn more people against them. It is the opinion of locals that, in the end their relatives & everyday people may be the ones who will kill the terrorists. The Davao City jail is holding some of the recently captured “Maute” militants, alleged suspects in last September’s Roxas night market bombing.
In an outreach of love, Philippine pastors have arrived in Iligan City, close to Marawi, to provide aid of hygiene kits, food packs, & medicines for the Muslim & Christian war refugees. The municipality of Pantar in nearby Lanao Del Norte, is their main target area for relief efforts. In Pantar, 126 families are staying in the evacuation center.
The war continues in Mindanao. However, another much more serious struggle continues to be waged. After church on Sunday our own Elvie & Abby flexed the muscles of their spiritual armor, as a different kind of soldier, in the War of Love...

Although their Sunday afternoon schedule included a full night of packing for our trans-oceanic flights on Monday, they took a little “breather” to visit the dying 93-yr-old grandmother of a church member. While there, the Gates of Hell were shattered as not only the grandmother, but also an aunt & cousin prayed to receive Jesus into their hearts!

Truly, a war rages. But Jesus is, & always has been, the Victor!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

June 9 (Friday) Utah: Visit 2 families in Kaysville/Ogden/Syracuse area

June 10 (Saturday) Utah: Visit 1 family and speak at Kaysville Baptist Church (Missions team to visit in November)

June 11 (Sunday) Utah: Speak at Kaysville Baptist Church

June 12 (Monday) New York: Fly to Albany

June 13 (Tuesday) New York: Visit 2 Families in Albany

June 14 (Wednesday) Pennsylvania: Speak at New Buffalo Alliance Church

June 15 (Thursday) Pennsylvania: Visit 2 families in Williamsport

BCA has 424 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,850 Remaining: $20,150.

Present need: $400 for air conditioner for BCA’s Fifth-Grade classroom.

Remaining 2017 Furlough Plans: UT-6/8-11, NY [1]-6/12, PA-6/13-20, NJ-6/21-22, MD-6/23, VA-6/24-26, NC-6/27-29, SC-6/30-7/2, FL-7/3-7, AL-7/8-9, GA/TN-7/10, KY-7/11-12, OH-7/13-14, NY [2]-7/14-28.

6/1/2017

Pray Please- for Elvie as this week she is visiting the homes of dozens of poor families who are desperately in need of free schooling for their children. She will analyze each family’s housing and employment situation to determine which are the poorest of the poor. Only those who really, really need free schooling will be placed on the BCA sponsored students’ waiting list. We will then seek out sponsors during our American speaking tour this summer.

Also please pray for Elvie as she interviews prospective new teachers this week at BCA and is assisted by the other teachers in evaluating their demonstrations in teaching techniques/abilities.

Praise God that a young friend from Maryland donated $12 to BCA for bus repairs: a tie rod end set and battery lugs.

Praise God as well that a friend in Pennsylvania informed BCA of an insurance company (Thrivent) that will give donations to BCA when and if their members notify them of this need. Thrivent’s “Action Team” option has potential grants of two $250 per year per policy. Through the “Action Team” concept, many members set up small projects that they use to help needy parents and local organizations.

“PRESIDENT DUTERTE DECLARES MARTIAL LAW!”
In shock, Elvie and 16 BCA teachers/staff checked their cell phones to get updates. They had been out of internet coverage for 24 hours, since they were having their annual BCA staff retreat out in the boonies.

“CHAOS IN MARAWI CITY, WITH INTERNATIONAL TERRORISTS JOINING FILIPINO TERRORISTS!”
Each time they checked the internet news, the info seemed to get worse. 22 million people were placed under military rule as ISIS-linked militants battled troops in a southern city after a raid targeting a top terrorist suspect (with a $5 million price tag on his head) went wrong.

Thus, Elvie had some difficult decisions to make. The staff had been working extra hard during the tail end of the school year and also in summer school and VBS. They really needed this reprieve in the form of their annual retreat. They’d brought swimming clothes, planned to visit the local rural museum, and even had reservations to visit a coral reef.

In Marawi City, as a priest and more than a dozen churchgoers and staff were also taken hostage from a Catholic cathedral by gunmen, military vehicles carrying government troops headed out to reinforce Marawi City on Wednesday. Nearly fifty people had already been slaughtered.
Meanwhile back in Davao City, I was driving Abigail to her final exams at Faith International Academy. “How will I do this?” she asked. The church youth group had me scheduled to sing a solo at their summer youth camp on Thursday night, but changed it to Friday night. The graduation at school is that same evening!” And now, with the unrest and Marshall Law declared, we are concerned about more revisions to the schedule!”

“ALL OF MINDANAO ISLAND IS NOW UNDER MARSHALL LAW, AND MILITARY RULE”
Militants occupied parts of Marawi. The President had cut short a Moscow trip to deal with the crisis. The extremists seized the city hall, a hospital and a jail and burned a Catholic church and a college. ISIS flags were hoisted as the militants took over streets and bridges as they sought to block troops from entering the area.

“Listen, God is always in charge,” said Pastor Alex, the devotional speaker for BCA’s retreat. “We have nothing to fear. God is always, always in control.” After some games and workshops, the staff started planning a special secret surprise: to wake up Ben, one of BCA’s bus drivers, at 3am with a stirring serenade rendition of “Happy Birthday to You!”

The next morning Ben looked surprised, but confided that he’d overheard them the night before and had planned a surprise of his own…to wrap boxes in his blankets and hide up on the roof of the bus to watch as they sang to a fake “Ben”. But then he had changed his mind.

Meanwhile in Marawi several militants were killed in the fighting in the largely Muslim city of more than 200,000 people, which is about 260 miles northwest of Davao. The gun battle was sparked when troops raided the hideout of top terrorist suspect Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf group notorious for piracy, banditry and for kidnapping and beheading Westerners. Here on Mindanao Island, we have already been beset by decades of unrest by separatist and Marxist guerrillas, and now ISIS is showing its ugly head.

“MARTIAL RULE IS DECREED FOR 60 DAYS IN THE ENTIRE MINDANAO REGION.”
President Duterte said the situation would be similar to the tough 1970s rule of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Martial law allows Duterte to harness the armed forces to carry out arrests, searches and detentions more rapidly.

The next morning Abby shared, “Dad, the Youth Camp is cancelled due to Marshall Law, so there is now no conflict with my schedule!” Then after graduation that evening, when we arrived back home, Elvie’s car was in the driveway. “We shortened the retreat by one day, due to political unrest! Still we were able to squeeze in the museum, beach and reef!”

Alex was right. God is always in control. Due to the President’s declaration, we have one more day together as a family, and also Abby got to attend her schoolmates’ graduation. As the Apostle Paul said in the New Testament, “I have learned in all situations to be content!” God is in control!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

June 5 (am)- BCA School year (2017-2018) begins;

June 5 (pm)- Barners fly to USA for eight-week Speaking tour, Golden anniversary of Davao Kiwanis Club.

BCA has 423 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0. 

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,800 Remaining: $20,200.

Present need: $400 for fuel for BCA’s school buses for June and July.

2017 Furlough Plans: AZ-6/6-7, UT-6/8-11, NY [1]-6/12, PA-6/13-20, NJ-6/21-22, MD-6/23, VA-6/24-26, NC-6/27-29, SC-6/30-7/2, FL-7/3-7, AL-7/8-9, GA/TN-7/10, KY-7/11-12, OH-7/13-14, NY [2]-7/14-28.

5/25/2017

Pray Please- for the BCA teacher’s five-day retreat this week. They will be travelling over seven hours (round trip) for this inspiring & edifying time of Bible-study, games, prayer, fun & reflection.

Also please pray for our last week before flying to the USA: It will be filled with visiting poor families who have applied for student sponsorship, & also with planning schedules for the faculty/staff during the eight weeks we will be away, & also construction contracts & preparing the classrooms for the beginning of classes for the 2017-8 school year on June 5.

Praise God that our college-student son PJ has cancelled his plans for this summer so that he can travel with Elvie, Abby & I on our 15-state USA speaking tour! YES!!!

Praise God as well that our daughter Abby has just successfully finished her sophomore high school year.

“Teacher Juvy, how were the kids in Babak this week?”

To visit the village of Babak & also the Father’s House, which are on nearby Samal Island, require a barge ride to carry your car across the one-mile-wide Pakiputan saltwater Channel. This is the channel which I (Paul) swam across in my recent triathlon.

Elvie rode in one of BCA’s larger school buses with teachers & staff from the school, as well as with some of the leaders from our church. Ten of the 23 churches we have planted are located on this large neighboring island, of Samal. We assigned staff to work with the pastor of each of these churches. Some churches, being smaller, had combined VBSes. A total of over 300 children were reached with the Gospel during the Samal Island VBSes.

“Oh, Madam Elvie,” responded Teacher Juvy, “the kids were so delighted each day, & kept bringing more & more friends! We will even sing the VBS theme song for you!” Elvie watched & listened as the poor little kids in tattered rags sang. The words were all there, but the tune did not quite fit. It made the staff remember the Bible verse, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” Yup, those were the right words, but oh, that screechy noise! God loves ‘em!”

After a few hours at Babak, Elvie brought Teacher Juvy & her staff (with their luggage) to the next stop, the closing exercises for the villages of Pinaplata & Limao. “Teacher Anajean, how were your kids this week?”

Anajean is a fantastic instructor, but to camp out on the dirt floor of the rural church for five days had kind of taken its toll on her. She still showed her best side & gathered the dozens of kids for their performances and rewarding of completion certificates.

After another two hours, as Anajean & her staff packed their bags & joined the others in the bus, she whispered to Teacher Juvy, “Five days without internet! It’s not until you don’t have it that you realize how much you use it! Yet oh, the joy of giving these kids my full attention! I just love them all so very much!”

Teachers Rose & Rea (& staff) were team-teachers at the next stop, the kids at Tucanga & Kauswagan (KAH-oo-SWAH-gahn) churches. When Elvie brought out huge sacks of bread & sweet flavored rolls, their eyes got really big. “Where did you get the rolls? Our VBS food budget was already used up!”

It was then that Elvie told of God’s miracle of the multiplication of the bread. “Yesterday when we went to visit the Davao Kiwanis Club, an American friend whom we hadn’t seen in over three years was there! He’d just come from a month-long visit to Cambodia, & was only in town for two days. He then followed us home & visited the bakery across the street from our home.

He’d explained, “I want a bag of sweet-buns to hand out to hungry beggar children that I meet on the street.” When he heard that Elvie was going to Samal the next day, he said, “Here, bring this bag with you!” The baker was so thrilled that she stuffed the bag with twice the bread he’d paid for. Elvie thought out loud, “Ma’am, could I buy a few more bags of bread as well?” When she did so, the baker TRIPLED the amount from what was paid. “It is my gift to the poor children in Samal!” was the baker’s response.

After their performances at Tucanga & Kauswagan, the bus was getting pretty filled with BCA faculty & church staff. They then visited Kaputian & Sian, & then Bandara, Yet there was still one more stop. Teacher Neil, at San Vicente was ready & waiting for them even though the sun had already started to go down. “Madam Elvie, you are just in time to lead in telling the Missions story!” Elvie shared about Amy Carmichael, a missionary who had rescued over a thousand young girls from the prostitution of India’s Hindu temples.

The electricity on the Island is still a pretty new commodity, & surges & blackouts are common. Yet God kept the lights on until the last note of the last song as over a hundred children (along with many parents) performed & ate.

When Elvie arrived back home after the barge ride back, she was exhausted. “How did your day go?” Abby and I inquired. “Overwhelming and blessed!” was her response, before sinking into a deep, deep sleep.

Next event: BCA’s five-day Teacher’s Retreat!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

May 23-27 BCA’s five-day teacher’s retreat.

June 5- BCA School year (2017-2018) begins;

June 6- Barners fly to USA for eight-week Speaking tour, Golden anniversary of Davao Kiwanis Club.

BCA has 424 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0. 

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,750 Remaining: $20,250.

Present need: $539 for BCA Bus “M”: $340 for 2 tires 700 x 15, $48 for 2 gallons of diesel engine oil, $23 for oil filter set 4032, $10 for fuel filter set, $35 for a release bearing, $23 for 2 transmission supports, $60 for tie rod end set.

2017 Furlough Plans: AZ-6/6-7, UT-6/8-11, NY [1]-6/12, PA-6/13-20, NJ-6/21-22, MD-6/23, VA-6/24-26, NC-6/27-29, SC-6/30-7/2, FL-7/3-7, AL-7/8-9, GA/TN-7/10, KY-7/11-12, OH-7/13-14, NY [2]-7/14-28.

5/18/2017

American Memorial Day (5/29)

Pray Please- for the “VBS Extension” this week in nearby Samal Island. Last week we hosted nearly 300 children each day in our three “Mainland Center” VBSes, while this week we will likely exceed that number in six centers consisting of ten churches on nearby Samal Island. Elvie is taking the barge nearly every day to assist & supervise the staff at each location. We have a total of 23 churches that we have started. Total estimated VBS kids for the two weeks: 750.

Praise God that the 250+ very poor children at BCA’s VBS last week raised 2,764.75 pesos ($57) over the course of five days, to help a church in Kentucky to ship bandages to a hospital in Africa. The extension of VBS this week is bringing in additional funds. Hopefully, they will raise the total needed funds of $110.

Praise God as well that our son PJ successfully excelled in his second year of college.

“Our broken home was repaired by God’s great love!” Marie Claire has just graduated from the University of Southeastern Philippines (“USEP”) as third highest in scholastics (Summa Cum Laude) in the entire university system. Her siblings were former elementary students at BCA. With tears streaming down her cheek, Claire went into detail about God’s amazing influence upon her life.

“Papa left Mama when I was very small. We hardly ever had anything to eat, due to our broken home. Then Mama met one of BCA’s bus drivers & remarried. My little brother, sister & I were taken in by the Barners & received free schooling at BCA!”

Each Sunday morning, during testimony time at church, birthday celebrants are recognized & sung to as they troop to the front of the church. The whole congregation comes to the front to shake their hands and/or give them a hug or flowers. Since Claire is in town after receiving her teaching license, she also is applying to become a teacher at BCA. “This Mother’s Day is very special, as I almost feel as if BCA has become a mother to me!”

In many ways, BCA is a mom. As a mother church, we have planted 23 churches altogether, and during these two weeks of VBS, are “nourishing” our 600 students (& their guests) in each of these ministry centers. While last week we had three ministry centers combining the kids from 13 churches, this week the remaining ten churches are hosting VBS in six additional ministry centers on nearby Samal Island.

As you pray for these centers, they are: #1- Pinaplata & Limao, #2- Babak & Father’s House, #3- San Vicente, #4-Kaputian & Sian, #5- Bandara, #6- Tucanga & Kauswagan. At each center on Monday, Elvie dropped- off one BCA teacher & 2 assistants. The staff brought knapsacks filled with their clothes & personal items, to “camp out” in the churches during the week. During this past week, BCA hosted the morning sessions & two other ministry centers (Bangkal & Matina Pangi) hosted the afternoon sessions, with Elvie supervising each. She now has the sniffles from the weariness of constant travel, & a hoarse voice from leading hundreds & hundreds of children in songs, Bible training, etc. But oh, the joy to see that over a hundred made professions of faith, many for the first time (small children often learn progressively the truths of salvation).

During the burial of the little brother of a BCA family this past week, I preached during the narcological service. “We exist eternally in the mind of God. Imagine Little JR, as he was about to head off from Heaven to visit our planet. “Heavenly Father, you have chosen a delightful family for me to join. How long will I be there? 120 years?” No, my little one. Only ten months. “Why so short, Sir?” Oh, I am sure that you can bundle-up more than a hundred years of love into those ten months. Smile a lot! Love everybody!

This Mother’s Day celebrated the living moms & also those who have already preceded us to their Heavenly reward. Abby drew an incredible picture of her mom (which we will definitely frame), & gave her the flowers that we had given to Abby the night before during the last curtain call of her high school play, “Steel Magnolias”. Abby had played Clairee, the fun-loving widow of a former mayor. The energetic, cheerful Southern mid-60’s lady was played delightfully. And at church, after giving Elvie her flowers (I also gave her some), Abby donned a choir robe & led twenty of the church youth as choir director, singing “Amazing Grace,” followed by a duet “The Prayer” with our Assistant Pastor.

When the service was finally ended, & all the moms went up to the stage, special recognition was given to Roma, the mom who had lost her little boy this past week. And Elvie set down her flowers on the front chair to sneak over to little Apec, the son of our Associate Pastor. Since his mom Filipina just died a few months ago from cancer, Elvie picked him up to hold him for a while & gave him a great big hug. In her hand was a card he had made for her. “Mom is in heaven. Thanks for being a mom to me here on earth, Madam Elvie!”

In my closing prayer, I mentioned, “Thanks, Lord for giving each of us moms. Some, like mine, are already working with you now in Heaven. Some remain here with lots of other work to do. Together with the moms down here, we promise to fulfill your command that we ‘train up a child in the way he should go, so that when they are old, they will not depart form it!’”

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

May 15-19 Extension of BCA’s Five-day Vacation Bible School, to ten churches in BCA six ministry centers on nearby Samal Island.

May 22-26 BCA’s five-day teacher’s retreat.

June 5- BCA School year (2017-2018) begins;

June 6- Barners fly to USA for eight-week Speaking tour, Golden anniversary of Davao Kiwanis Club.

BCA has 424 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,700 Remaining: $20,300.

Present need: $52 for BCA Bus “Fo”: $5 for fuel filter, $8 for air cleaner with clip, $23 for 2 Scrum headlights, $3 for 12 15-amp fuses, $13 for upgrade of carburetor.

2017 Furlough Plans: AZ-6/6-7, UT-6/8-11, NY [1]-6/12, PA-6/13-20, NJ-6/21-22, MD-6/23, VA-6/24-26, NC-6/27-29, SC-6/30-7/2, FL-7/3-7, AL-7/8-9, GA/TN-7/10, KY-7/11-12, OH-7/13-14, NY [2]-7/14-28.

5/11/2017

Happy Mother’s Day (5/14)

Pray Please- for our 16-yr-old daughter Abigail as she performs in the emotional high school southern play “Steel Magnolias” this Friday & Saturday.

Please also pray for the families of two Filipinos who died when explosions hit the Philippine capital of Manila on Saturday night. Four others were injured from the blasts. The initial blast occurred at about 6:00pm near a Muslim mosque in one of the older parts of Manila where there are big slums. The second explosion occurred in the same area just under three hours later.
Praise God that BCA’s cashier Minmin, who pays the water bill, salaries, etc. is recuperating after falling off the curb & getting stitches on her forehead & a cast on her arm.

Praise God that I (Paul) have almost fully recovered from a severe case of the flu which had me bedridden last week,

Praise God for this week’s USA Presidential Executive Order Promoting Free Speech & Religious Liberty, reiterating & clarifying the constitutional rights.

“He was like Superman!” Monday was the first day of BCA’s 2017 VBS. As I taught missions biographies to three classes of high schoolers, three other missions teachers taught the other grade levels. And on that day the students learned about John Paton, Scottish missionary to the wild, cannibalistic New Hebrides Islands, over a hundred years ago.

“I am immortal” I quoted Paton as saying, “until God’s work through me is finished!” The kids sat amazed as I told how a tribal chieftain had followed Paton around all day with a gun to his back, yet never pulled the trigger. “No bullet can kill me, no spear penetrate my skin and no snake poison take my life until God’s work through me is done.”

Daily, we challenge the kids with Hudson Taylor’s leading 35,000 Chinese to Jesus, Bob Moffatt leading African kings to faith in Christ, Amy Carmichael’s rescuing Indian children from prostitution & Pilot Jim Elliot’s South American prophecy, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Teaching missions to children is my deepest heart’s desire. Here in the tropical Philippine summer heat, I am dripping with sweat & changing shirts three times a day between classes. Then after taking a nap in the afternoon on the couch in my office, I woke up to gulp down water to finish swallowing whatever had crawled down my throat & had woken me up, giving me a splitting headache.

Each day hundreds of poor Filipino children of all ages, while singing active Christian songs, games, Bible stories, crafts, etc., they also brought in a peso or two (2-4 cents) to help an American church to ship bandages to an African hospital.

“Pastor Paul, why don’t we have the kids raise funds for a Filipino missions project, like school supplies for the T’Boli tribal children, instead of Africa?” The question put to me by the support staff for the VBS was a good one. “Guys, we have our Philippine needs before us every day. Our church can continue to keep these ones before the congregation & Sunday School classes. But let’s get these kids focused on needs outside the coastline of the country where they live.”

Half of the Philippines’ 40,000 villages are still unreached with the Gospel. A quarter of the 102 million population has never even once heard a presentation of the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. This need cannot be met in a one-time offering, but as an on-going need which we will keep constantly before the people, 365 days of the year.

“Okay, but what about the missionaries that we teach about? Why focus on leaders from decades & even centuries ago, when we could instead focus on living missionaries like you?” I explained that I can tell about myself & other living missionaries as a point of reference while delving into the lives of those heroes who pioneered into the unknown, even as the author of Hebrews eleven relayed the great exploits of God through men & women of the faith down through history.

The urgency of the Gospel has been especially before us during this particular week of VBS, for as we see the activity of energetic kids from all over the city up until noon each day, we have performed a funeral each evening. In Filipino-tradition, the baby boy who died last week has a full week of evening funerals before his burial. The contrast is stark as we play with lively kids daily and then see the one who is already gone into eternity.

Life is short. Whether our lives be extended as a “superman” John Paton, or whether our life be abbreviated by some surprise illness, may we do our utmost to reach as many as possible until God’s work through us is finished…

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

5/4/2017

National day of prayer (5/4) Happy Cinco De Mayo (5/5)

Pray Please- for Roma, a young BCA mom whose 8-month-old boy Michael died yesterday. Michael has been sick since his birth, last September.

Also please pray for BCA’s cashier Minmin. She pays the water bill, salaries, etc. But while downtown this past Tuesday, she fell off the curb & had to have stitches on her forehead & a Cast on her arm.

Please pray for my niece Emily in New York. She graduates this week from Nyack (Bible) College.

Please pray for the families of Fourteen people who were wounded in a pipe bomb blast in Manila, just at the time of the ASEAN Asian leaders' meeting under way in the capital. The explosion was about five kilometers (three miles) from the heavily guarded complex where the Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) leaders were meeting and police said they were investigating the possibility it was a revenge assault.

Praise God that Faith International Academy, where Abby attends school, sent a photographer to BCA to make a short tape of our campus, to show one of the various ministries that are benefitted by this Missionary School.

PTL that this past week, when A strong earthquake measuring 7.2 struck off the coast of Mindanao island, there was no major damage besides cracks in walls.

Praise God that a church in Kentucky gave funds so that we could buy a clean water dispenser at Our Father’s House Home for street children. Now we need a surge suppressor before we can install it, since electrical current on the island is sporadic.

Praise God that the DepEd (Department of Education) has released BCA’s operational permit for the next school year, 2017-18.

Praise God too that during our weekly prayer meeting this week, testimonies of God’s great favor to the thirty or so members present lasted over an hour!

“Goals are dreams with deadlines…” Rev. Cajes, the newly-elected president of CAMACOP (an international church-planting society) challenged the 2500 delegates this past week in Manila. Elvie is one of the fifteen trustees (board members) of this two million-member Philippine Christian organization.

The week-long conference lifted our spirits, as Bible-based speakers challenged us each day in ways to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus, to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel”

“God will never leave you nor forsake you” coaxed our speaker. “He is always with you.” During the course of the conference, delegates had opportunities to “get out” and see Manila, in between sessions. Manila is huge. Rev. Jun, a delegate from Mindanao, met us after one of the sessions in the back of the session hall. After chatting with him a bit, we excused ourselves and went out to eat with friends. When we were leaving the restaurant, there was Pastor Jun, coming into the same restaurant.

We ended up bumping into him over the course of the week, over and over again, and I started to think that Pastor Jun was omnipresent too!

On Sunday, Elvie and I visited a church on the other side of town, and also shared our testimony to the congregation. The church was an hour-train ride away. When we were leaving the worship service, we had lunch with members of the church, and who should we see while getting back on the train, but Pastor Jun!

Then the day we were to leave, we traveled across town again to the Bureau of Immigration to pick-up PJ’s & Abby’s dual citizenship papers. As we were getting onto the train again, sure enough there was Pastor Jun. Then it started raining. We stopped at a stationery store to get a plastic folder to protect the immigration papers. Coming out of the store, I heard that familiar voice one more time, “Hi Pastor Paul and Elvie!”

Finally, as we got to the airport a few hours later, we headed toward the departure gate, and sure enough, sitting down in the departure area, there was Good old Pastor Jun. Around midnight when we arrived back in Davao, Elvie said, “Yup, that was truly incredible. But by the way, that last guy at the airport was not Pastor Jun. He just looked like him.” I still think it was him though…

Meanwhile at BCA, Teacher Rose was teaching her first graders in their Summer class. Beginning her day, she prayed, “Lord, one of my goals this year is to pray for my pupils and have a weekly prayer session with them. Please help me stick to it and have it every week…even during Summer School.”

“Teacher Rose,” piped up Amieza, one of her first graders, “Is God everywhere? If I pray to Him at BCA, will He answer my prayers at home as well?”

“Oh yes,” replied Rose. “There is no place that God is not. As a result, we can rest in Him for guidance no matter where we are!

Kind of like Pastor Jun…every time you turn around, he is there!
Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

4/27/2017

Happy Philippine Labor Day (5/1), Golden anniversary of the Six-Day War in 1967 when Jerusalem was reunified (May, 2017).

Pray Please- for the children of one of our BCA mothers who recently died of diabetes. Elvie & I spoke at her funeral just after my triathlon & then we flew to Manila for a weeklong Christian conference. Please also pray for our church leaders as they counsel the family during our absence.

Praise God- that Elvie & I attend a biweekly “Davao Christian Leadership (DCL)” community prayer meeting. But recently it was suggested that we postpone it, since the host will be away for a month. I inserted, “Why not meet at McDonalds next time?” A local pastor said, “And we could meet at my church after that!” So this past Friday we met at McDonalds. There was a pretty good turnout, yet it was a little noisy at the restaurant, even at 7am. A lawyer in the group suggested, “Why not use their party room, since nobody uses it this time of day?” When we asked the management, they responded with, “Sure, why not?” It was a delightful breakfast & prayer time, as we shared our respective prayer requests and lifted each of them up before the Lord as a group. Occasionally a crew member would pop into the room, but when they saw us praying, they’d often sneak out to carry on their work.

Praise God also that before my recent triathlon, different groups of athletes approached me to pray for their team’s performance & safety during the race.

“Lord, do I have to go to school today?” BCA’s Kindergarten Teacher Rea was just “not up to” heading off to work, but knew that God likely had some nice surprises in store once she would be seeing the beaming faces of her thirty students, so went ahead & got up from her pillow to get ready & head off to work.

“Rodi, what is the first letter of your name?” Little Rodi beamed with the obvious answer “Oh, Teacher Rea, it is the same as yours: R”. Rea could see that she had tapped into a commonality with the boy, so continued. “Today during Summer School we are really going to concentrate on teaching you 3-Rs: First, how to READ, second, how to WRITE properly, & third, how to RECOGNIZE some of the letters & numbers, so that you will be up-to-par with your classmates once the school year resumes in June. So, could you repeat with me the 3 Rs?” Together they recited, “Read, Write, & Recognize!”

The learning curve for this particular student was not as steep as his classmates, so God gave Teacher Rea a special unction to give extra emphasis for Rodi to excel. Oftentimes, a student is just waiting for an excuse to go all-out with the “extra mile” in his or her studies. Teacher Rea is the perfect influence for this little guy.

Rea questioned the Lord after school was over. “God, thank you for the improvement I have already seen in Rodi’s attitude in class. But how can we really get him to speed up his learning and catch up with the others? The Lord started inserting ideas into Rea’s mind & she quickly grabbed a notebook which was always alongside her bed, for ideas she’d get…often in the middle of the night.

The next day Rea’s energy level was on a high as she saw the eager eyes of Rodi. “3 Rs today, right Teacher Rea?” Rea was ready, as she handed Rodi a set of extra worksheets which were different from his classmates. “Learning should start at home, Rodi. Please bring this note to your parents. It explains how you can work together with your Dad & Mom so that when you get to class tomorrow, you will already know what your will be taught!”

My own “faith learning curve” was bolstered this week, as I competed in Davao City’s 51.5km Durianman Triathlon. Every time in the past when I had taken the barge across the Pakiputan Channel to Samal Island to visit our “Father’s House” home for street children, I have thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to swim across this mile-wide body of water? I just know I could do it!” So I registered for the race last December, & trained whenever I had a little spare time over the course of the past four months.

In one of BCA’s school buses & in our pickup truck, we brought with us some families from the church & took the barge to Samal the afternoon before. Once we arrived, I picked-up my race number “bib” & also checked-in my bike. We searched around the island & rented a nearby campsite with an open-air tiny cottage where Elvie, Abby & a few families from church rested on its benches. Some others slept in the BCA bus while I dozed in the truck. Many of the kids brought their swim suits to frolic along the shore the next morning.

Up at 3am, Elvie & I walked over to the T-1 & T-2 (transition area) where I joined 299 other athletes to ferry across the Pakiputan channel to the mainland where the race was to begin. Once we arrived at the opposite side of the channel, we waited for twenty minutes at the designated starting beach. Before we could leave the boats, they started moving again, upstream! Once they stopped, contestants started diving off the boats to get “limbered-up” for the race.

No sooner were all 300 racers in the water, then suddenly the starting horn went off! It was mass confusion as the administration had not informed us that due to the strong current that morning, they had to relocate the starting point, remove the guide ropes & just make it a free-for-all to get to the other side. The 30 ships & jet skis from the Coast Guard, military, etc. had machine guns to deter any terrorist activity from natural (sharks) &/or unnatural (human) activity. But they did not direct the swimmers.

Once I arrived at the other shore, something seemed wrong. The transition point was nowhere to be found! Diving back into the water, I joined other swimmers in heading north, along the coast. We had to back-track up the coast a quarter-mile through shallow-water beach resorts & private property. Non-race families of bathers scattered as we came through their areas. Barriers of nets, floating bamboo walls & rocky outcroppings barred the way, & ghostlike pink jellyfish continued to taunt us. Six times I stopped to ask for directions. Most had no idea where we were to go. When I got caught in a net underwater & was running out of air, I thought, “I wonder if this is how dolphins feel when they get stuck in tuna boat nets!”

Finally arriving at the transition area, I tore off my swim goggles & cap and donned my bike apparel. “What a nightmare!” I exclaimed to one of the volunteers at the bike station. “At least I am now on my dependable bike. The next two hours should be a breeze.” Then on the first hill my chain fell off…four times!

A race marshal noticed my dilemma & cautioned, “You have two choices. Your small sprocket was damaged in transit. Either drop out of the race, get it repaired, or just use your big sprocket.” Not one to lose time or quit, I said “Thanks” & completed the next 40 km in high gear! This was the hilliest course I have every been on in the twenty or so triathlons I have competed in, & wouldn’t this be the one where I had to go uphill in the downhill gear!

Yet I noticed something. While other cyclists were pedaling exhaustively, I strained to muscle up & down the hills. I started passing people!

After finishing the running portion of the race, with Elvie, Abby & the church family cheering me on, I crossed the finish line. During the awards ceremony, a lawyer who was in my age bracket sat alongside of me. “Whoa, that current was intense! For every two strokes forward I swam, the current forced me backward one!”

I stopped to think, “Wow, God was truly answering all those prayers that people were lifting up for me in my race. When I was way off-course due to the current, I was swimming with the current instead of against it. Thus later on the bike, I was still strong enough for the steep uphill climbs in high gear! Is God awesome, or what?

Like when Teacher Rea had given extra worksheets to her student Rodi so that he could perform better, even so, God gave me “extra challenges” to help me perform at my very best!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

April – May- BCA Summer classes (one month)

24-28: CAMACOP General Assembly in Manila. Elvie is a member of the National Board of Trustees.

May 1- Philippine Labor Day;

May 2-Paul and Elvie pick up PJ and Abby’s Philippine passports in Manila;

May 12- BCA Summer classes end and one-week VBS begins.

June 5- BCA School year (2017-2018) begins;

June 6- Barners fly to USA for eight-week Speaking tour.

BCA has 423 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,550 Remaining: $20,450.

Present need: $95 for a connecting rod for BCA’s “L” Bus.

4/20/2017

Holocaust Remembrance Day (4/24)

Pray Please- for me (Paul) as I swim across the Pakiputan Channel (1.5 km wide) to Samal Island & then bike 40km & run 10km in a local 300-member triathlon this next weekend, before flying to Manila that evening with Elvie for a week-long Christian Conference.

Praise God- that during Good Friday’s afternoon Worship Service, Seven leaders in the church preached 3-7 minutes each on one of the seven phrases which Jesus spoke from the cross. Although most had never previously spoken before a group, all did wonderfully. Now please pray that they follow-up this very positive experience with deeper training in Christian leadership & evangelism.

Praise God as well that this week we received yet another positive response for our agenda during upcoming visits by “The Barners” during this Summer’s speaking tour in the USA.

Praise God too that, when Elvie made bnignit (an Easter custard) & was ready to go across the street to give some to our neighbor Gina, there was suddenly a knock at the door. It was Gina, who had also just made up a batch of bnignit herself & was giving some to us! So…we received hers & gave her some of our own, along with some oatmeal cookies I had made. Since Gina is a baker, she returned to us again to give us a few loaves of bread!

“Today students, let’s sing our Alphabet Song…A-B-C…” Teacher Anajean’s Preschoolers burst out with the easy lesson for the day with the familiar tune which taught them the letters needed to form words.

That lesson was this past January. Now four months later Teacher Anajean was able to take the students to the next level as she began teaching the same kids during the first week of Summer classes. Summer classes are required for all returning BCA students, & many adults from the church volunteer to teach extracurricular classes for all ages.

“Students, your classmate Sean will not be able to learn guitar this Summer because he was in an accident and His wrist bone was fractured. I talked to his lola [grandmother] & she said that the doctor had put something starting with an “S” on the broken bone. What would that be?”

Hands shot up all around the room, & Teacher Anajean picked a bright student, Frances, to answer. “Oh, I know, I know! Sean had ‘semento’ put on his arm as a cast!” The local word for medical plaster for a cast is “semento”.

Thrilled, Teacher Anajean expressed her appreciation with, “That is exactly correct, my little angels. Now I can see that you were studying your lessons over the Easter Break before Summer classes began!”

BCA's preschoolers were not the only ones studying their lessons over vacation. Kids from the church also performed on Easter Sunday during our 3am “Sunrise Service”. All the choirs (adult, youth & children) performed anthems from the hymnal & also the kids performed a pantomime.

“When Jesus rose from the dead,” I challenged our joint- congregations in the Resurrection message, “He revealed His power as the perfect Passover Lamb. As with the visitors to the empty tomb that early Easter morning, may we clasp onto our Redeemer & never, ever let go!”

Closing with the hymn, “He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord. Up from the grave He arose!” Amens were heard called out by various people around the congregation, between stanzas of the song.

While some parishioners went home after the early-morning service, dozens stayed after for brunch. Then we laid down blankets & pillows on the stage & laid around watching the “Jesus” film & other Christian movies. Some of the adults fell asleep, since they had stayed up all night at church for an overnight prayer meeting, after the birthday party of one of our members.

While they were being entertained, I snuck out & hid hundreds of pieces of wrapped candies around in the 5th grade classroom; on desks, in window frames & along the chalkboard’s edge. Then I gave bags to the children before the countdown when they could rush in & fill their bags with searched-out treats.

Abby taught songs & games to the kids for a few hours, & before we knew it, it was dinnertime. What a blessing it is to know that we fellow believers are like a family, worshipping together. All we alike have been healed from our sin. But unlike broken bones which require “Semento” to heal, Jesus gave of Himself as “Savior” to solve our brokenness & to make us whole.

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

April 17- BCA Summer classes begin (one month)

April 23-Paul competes in 32-mile Davao “Durianman” Triathlon, then flies on 24-28: CAMACOP General Assembly in Manila.

May 1- Philippine Labor Day;

May 2-Paul and Elvie pick up PJ and Abby’s Philippine passports in Manila;

May 12- BCA Summer classes end and one-week VBS begins.

June 5- BCA School year (2017-2018) begins;

June 6- Barners fly to USA for eight-week Speaking tour.

BCA has 423 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,500 Remaining: $20,500.

Present need: $123 for a battery for BCA’s Bus “Pr”.

4/13/2017

Good Friday (4/14), Resurrection Sunday (Easter 4/16), Passover (4/10-18), Centennial of US Congress voting to declare war on Germany, marking the entry of the United States into World War I (4/6/17).

Pray Please- for two adults in church who are in the hospital for difficulty breathing. One is a guitar player at church and the other is the husband of a church soloist.

Praise God- that after Elvie and I visited the bakery next door to where we live, the owner gave us a big bag of fresh-baked pastries and rolls to give to the kids in our “Father’s House” orphanage during Elvie’s visit there the next day.

Praise God as well for Flo, a delightful octogenarian who has been volunteering her time for the past few months here at BCA. This week she is flying back to the USA. She has been diligently sorting out the multitude of files in my office, training the BCA moms to crochet, and also distributing Bibles to families that had none.

“Students, look! Mr. Sun is finally shining down on us today!”

BCA’s Teacher Hazel had struggled with teaching her third graders a few weeks before graduation, since they were absent so often due to the heavy rains in Davao. Many families are “homebound” when it rains heavily, since they live in bamboo shacks along dirt paths which are impassible when the mud gets too deep. Often homes also get filled with a foot or two of muddy water, & the day becomes “swamped” with scrubbing out the mess.

Yet finally, as the sky cleared, the 3rd Grade roster was complete with perfect attendance & the classroom was filled with shouts, bickers, laughter & joyful voices.

“Students, welcome back! Today’s message is taken from John 5:1-15. Even though it has been dreary lately, we will not dwell on the negative things (trials in life) but we learn to overcome them by trusting God. When everything may seem wrong & beyond what we can handle, God is always ready to lend His hand. Learn to stand up, get rid of negativity & lean on God….& now that we are focusing on the positive & not the negative, let us review some positive multiplication tables! After all students, multiplication is really just repeated addition…”

A few weeks later, just days after BCA’s graduation exercises, Hazel’s brother “A.L.” (& Jade) got married. Just after they recited their vows I was invited to the stage to pray for the couple. Of course, the entire staff came to the “second reception” & the newlyweds received tons of well-wishes. Abigail was one of the few children present. She herself had been in the Spring Chorale concert recently, & even performed in a trio during the festivities!

BCA students & staff love to sing. Recently, when the last installment of BCA’s 600 students joined us to buy shoes for them at the mall, we once again went to McDonalds afterward for lunch. When I asked the students to sing, I noticed other young students in the eating area were wearing uniforms from neighboring public schools. Focusing on their mouths, I noticed that they were singing along with the Christian songs that BCA’s kids were singing!

Even as Teacher Hazel had taught her students that big problems (like floods & multiplication) can be broken down into digestible fragments, we have seen that big challenges like reaching unbelievers for Jesus can be tackled easily by us just being transparent in our faith, reaching the world one bite-sized bit at a time.

On Sunday after church I led a board meeting for a few hours. Then Abby & I drove home to prepare dimmer. However, Elvie followed a bit later, since she was busy counseling one of the young mothers in the church. When she arrived home, it was a good thing that Abby & I had made extra tacos, for she brought the entire church board with her! And some even came with their families! We had nearly 20 people eating tacos, some who had never had tacos in their lives... what a mess!

But since we already had made a mess, we followed up with make-your-own banana splits. Once again, a new “invention” which most had never tried…but are sure to re-enact in their own private domiciles!

The board was delightful company, as we watched a Christian video together & then they all washed the dishes & put them away before heading home!

Life? Never too much for us to bear…just take it one bite-sized bit at a time, & before you know it you are hearing those joyful words, “Look! Mr. Sun is finally shining down on us today!”

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

April: 14: Good Friday Worship Service: Seven leaders in the church are preaching 7 minutes each on one of the seven phrases which Jesus spoke from the cross.

April 16: Easter Sunday Sunrise service @3am; April 17- BCA Summer classes begin (one month)

April 23-Paul competes in 32-mile Davao “Durianman” Triathlon, then flies on 24-28: CAMACOP General Assembly in Manila.

May 1- Philippine Labor Day;

May 2-Paul and Elvie pick up PJ and Abby’s Philippine passports in Manila;

May 12- BCA Summer classes end and one-week VBS begins.

June 5- BCA School year (2017-2018) begins;

June 6- Barners fly to USA for eight-week Speaking tour.

BCA has 425 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,450 Remaining: $20,550.

Present need: $1395 for repairs on one of BCA’s 20-year-old buses, Bus “L”: $24 for release bearing, $338 for set of piston casings/liners/cylinders, $263 for pistons, $48 for main bearing set, $40 for connecting rod bearing set, $18 for trust washer set, $120 for overhauling gasket set, $22 for piston pin bushing set, $70 for piston ring set, $23 for 2 oil filter sets, $8 for fuel filter, $8 for air cleaner element, $29 for 3 valve tappet 380, $5 for rear transmission oil seal, $95 for 2 front shock absorbers, $30 for 2 front signal lights, $48 for 2 gallons engine oil, $19 for 3 quarts engine oil, $43 for 2 gallons gear oil, $25 for 2 engine supports, $18 for 2 T/M supports, $30 for injection pump, $63 for pump handle set with kit, $8 for 4 injection balances.

4/6/2017

Pray Please- for BCA’s teachers this week as they finalize the grades of the students & also make up the permanent records of their students based on the kids’ performances over the past school year.

Please also pray for the choice for new destitute families to replace those who have graduated from BCA’s sponsorship program.

Please pray for the church families and also BCA faculty & staff as they prepare for Summer School & VBS.

Also please pray for the seven members of the church who will be each giving a 5 minute sermon on Good Friday, one for each of the seven phrases of Jesus on the cross.

Praise God- that BCA’s 19th annual graduation and moving-up ceremonies went smoothly.

“Joy, every day when you come to Kindergarten class,” Consoled BCA’s Teacher Rea as she took her student aside, “you are tired & have messy hair.” Since Rea knew that the reason for the messy hair was that Joy’s mother is always busy, she decided to cut Joy’s hair herself… just trimming the split ends. Then, when she introduced letter “Hh” sounds & gave examples, Joy raised her hand in confidence, saying “H- Hair starts with the letter H, like my nice hair that has no split ends anymore because my teacher is a barber!”.

Taking matters into our own hands like Teacher Rea did was a lesson for each of the staff. A week after BCA’s 19th Graduation Exercises, I was visiting a public elementary school’s graduation, & was asked to speak impromptu before around three hundred politicians, parents, teachers & students. Fortunately, I still had my notes in my Bible from the message I had given at BCA…& was able to clear up some “split ends” during their ceremony!

Graduation exercises at Barner Christian Academy this past week had brought parents, friends, relatives & many visitors to the packed campus gym. Our international visitors opened with prayer & then the different classes performed. First up were the preschoolers.

“Sing for Joy…Hallelujah!” joined a little 3 yr old with his (borrowed) long, long tie draped down past his waist. Following this, the Kindergarteners sang “Set the world on fire”. With arms lifted up, a tiny little 4-yr-old girl amazed all those present as a hush settled over the auditorium & her wee little voice belted out a five-minute incredibly memorized recitation, entitled “A Voice of the Pupils”.

With fluffy pink pig tails, Meil’s gestures multiplied the effects of the crisp & clearly enunciated message. “Ladies & Gentlemen, I find it a continual joy to be a pupil. Amazingly enough, I have been chosen out of the millions of children in the world, destitute as I am, by the Sovereign Grace of Almighty God, to receive sponsorship at Barner Christian Academy…” I peeked over at Abigail & with wide-open eyes we both silently mouthed the words in unison, “WOW…”

Next up were the white-outfitted 1st graders as they sang “We are the Children of Yesterday’s Dreams”. With white gloves calling to attention the gestures of these 6 yr olds, when they got to the word “dreams” they put their gloved hands together next to their cheeks, as if they were sleeping, then made like they were climbing as they sang “Together we stand, together we fall, together we climb to the top of the wall”.

As they sang, one little guy’s excitement got the better of him & his voice belted out louder than the rest. Next to him, another little graduate wore a blue plaid tie to his knees while across the stage a much bigger, burly classmate comically-wore a tiny black & white tie only 4 inches long.

As the first graders trooped off the stage, a drumbeat rolled & 2nd graders with brown bandanas over their heads chanted a drama of the Good Samaritan, complete with poetry & singing. Laughter erupted when one of the second-graders crawled across the stage as a donkey with his saddle being yet another brown neckerchief. “Your Grace is Enough for Me” sang the students as the Samaritan led the bruised traveler across the stage riding on the back of the “donkey”.

“God is greater” sang the 3rd graders as they entered the stage with red & gold sashes. Bandits in masks chased children across the stage, but then when they sang “Water is turned into wine…there’s no one like you…Our God is greater, Our God is stronger, our God is higher than any other…Our God is Healer…” the children pushed away their enemies, who fell to the ground.

Just after the hours-long giving of certificates & pinning of “Honors” ribbons, the 4th graders sang “Bring me back to the place of forgiveness & grace” & recited Bible verses together. A fellow student came in dressed as a pastor in tie & with a Bible in his hand. The classmates sat to listen. At the end, they knelt in prayer.

During the graduation exercise itself, I (Paul) gave the Bible message from Proverbs 1, challenging them, “As you become leaders, others will come to you for spiritual advice. What will you tell them?” Each student, wearing a white toga, came forward to get his or her diploma, which I, in my black Doctoral gown, handed out with a handshake & a blessing. Flo, our 83-year-old Kentucky visitor draped each graduate around the neck with a colorfully-crocheted yarn pen holder, which Flo had trained the parents to create.

A few days later, as I visited another school’s graduation, I was suddenly asked to give a challenging message. It was the same message as at BCA- but then the village mayor (Barangay Captain) interpreted my message into the local language as his own challenge to the people. Many different religious faiths were present, yet they all heard this message from the Bible.

Thanks, Teacher Rea, for reminding me, to always be ready to clear up a few split ends, when others are too distracted to do so!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

April: 16: Easter Sunday Sunrise service @3am;

April 17- BCA Summer classes begin (one month) April 23-Paul competes in 32-mile Davao “Durianman” Triathlon, then flies on 24-28: CAMACOP General Assembly in Manila.

May 1- Philippine Labor Day;

May 2-Paul and Elvie pick up PJ and Abby’s Philippine passports in Manila;

May 12- BCA Summer clases end and one-week VBS begins.

June 5- BCA School year (2017-2018) begins;

June 6- Barners fly to USA for eight-week Speaking tour.

BCA has 425 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Awaiting Government Survey of new (previously agricultural) campus, which may take as long as three years.

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,400 Remaining: $20,600.

Present need: $99,701 for 3 lots & a house next to BCA’s present campus, for a parking lot for our school buses, so that we no longer will have to park the buses in the gym of the school.

2017 Furlough Plans: AZ-6/6-7, UT-6/8-11, NY [1]-6/12, PA-6/13-20, NJ-6/21-22, MD-6/23, VA-6/24-26, NC-6/27-29, SC-6/30-7/2, GA-7/3, FL-7/4-7, AL-7/8-9, TN-7/10, KY-7/11-12, OH-7/13-14, NY [2]-7/14-28.

NOTE- If you have given financially to this ministry in 2016, you will receive a tax-exempt receipt in the mail. If you sent your gift/s through Christian Aid Mission, they will send you the receipt. If you sent a gift to BCA (or me), we will be the ones to send you your receipt. If you desire to receive your receipt faster, please let me know & I will email you a copy.

3/30/2017

Happy 19th Graduation Day, BCA! (3/30)

Pray Please- for our American short-term (2 month) missions team from Massachusetts: Wayne, Barb & Bernice, as they fly back across the ocean this Friday (3/31). All 3 are leaving with minor colds.

Praise God- that a church Missions Committee in North Carolina is proposing sending 485 personal Christmas cards (with Bible verses) to BCA for its 423 sponsored kids, & also for the 62 students who are on "partial sponsorship" since they do not yet have sponsors. They are titling the outreach as “The Joshua Campaign” with the objective to build strong Christian ties by linking between American Sunday School children & Barner Christian Academy children. Each card may even enclose a picture of the child who is sending it.

Praise God as well that during this week’s “moving-up” ceremony at BCA, 83-year-old Grandma Flo gave an inspiring Bible message to the kids and parents who were present. Also as each student came up to the stage, before receiving his or her certificate & medal/ribbon of honor, they also were outfitted with a Gospel bracelet & crocheted pen holder necklace which Flo had trained the parents to knit for their kids.

Praise God too that at the end of each of the speaking engagements where our visitor Barb has shared, dozens have come to the front of the auditorium requesting prayer. This includes jails, churches, a hospital, & a college.

Thank the Lord that Wayne (Barb’s husband) has repaired many items during his 2-month stay here at BCA. This includes (just to name a few) the solar heater on the roof of the BCA guest house, the terminals of our car battery & some welding repair work for BCA’s fire escape.

“Okay kids, are you ready for ICE CREAM?” Silly, silly, silly question! DEFINITELY rhetorical…
“YES!!!!!” Yup. Just what we expected the 66 students to say… Bernice, one of our four American guests, has come with us each Saturday for the past two months, as we have purchased brand new black shoes for a portion of the hundreds of BCA students, followed by lunch & dessert at McDonalds.

She has learned from the past six weekends, as can be seen by the tables that are now neatly lined up in three long rows, with 22 pupils in each row. Boy, does BCA have a biiig family… “Notice something?” Bernice asked. “Yeah, Bernice. The kids have no straws for their soda!” She responded, “Notice as well that this is the first Saturday that no kiddos spilled their soda on their laps!” Little kids on high tables pull the glasses down when they try & sip from straws…clever, clever.

Their 66 shoeboxes were stacked in neat piles alongside the doorway of the room we occupied at McDonalds, & then every head outside (in the dining area) turned from their discussions & digestion as the angels sang…or so it seemed. 66 BCA students, aged from three to thirteen chorused in unison, “Jesus Loves Me, this I know…” Then they recited Bible verses into the microphone, word-perfect. It was truly a joy. Even little tiny kids quoted long series of verses, complete with hand motions!

Two days later, as BCA’s Kindergarten Teacher Rea taught her students reading syllables like “ba, ma, ka” & so on… she also introduced to them some addition. In the afternoon, they had the letter Vv & its sound. Most of the students were able to write their names & were great in mathematics.

Suddenly as realization hit her, she held her jaw open in astonishment. “Richard! You have been totally behaved this day. You are doing everything that I have requested from you! You no longer roam around the classroom while we have oral recitation. No more running inside the classroom while taking your recess. And no more talking & bullying your classmates when the class is going on! Thank you Lord for changing this behavior!”

The difference for many (like Richard) came from the influence of weekends at church. After the class discussed different kinds of weather & “Pangalan Ng mga araw” (days of the week), she let them know that weekdays (Monday-Friday) are “Time ONE-days” to go to school, & Saturday is “Time TWO-rest day/study time/ family bonding, & “Time-THREE Sunday”, is when all are to be present at church, to fellowship with one another & above all to praise & worship, giving thanks to God.

Teacher Rea then listened to the stories from her students (except Richard) of what they did during weekends. Some kids said, “We do not go to church. Instead we go & wander around the mall.” Rea, realizing the tragedy & also the significance of the moment, encouraged them to tell their parents that God must be placed first before everything or anything.

“Okay kids, are you ready for this weekend’s ‘Time-THREE Sunday?’ at church?” Silly, silly, silly question! DEFINITELY rhetorical…

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

March: BCA graduation & Baccalaureate, New black dress-shoes bought for 65 more BCA kids, as they take field trips with us to the mall.

April: 16: Easter Sunday,

          23: Paul competes in 32-mile Davao “Durianman” Triathlon, then flies on 24-28: CAMACOP General Assembly in Manila.

BCA has 425 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld./Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East: Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Target goal for ground breaking: June, 2017

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,350 Remaining: $20,650.

Present need: $680 for BCA bus fuel: Bus “Fo” $32, Bus “L” $82, Bus “Ph” $51, Bus “N” $54, Bus “Fi” $79, Bus “C” $ 176, Bus “M” $206

2017 Furlough Plans: AZ-6/6-7, UT-6/8-11, NY [1]-6/12, PA-6/13-20, NJ-6/21-22, MD-6/23, VA-6/24-26, NC-6/27-29, SC-6/30-7/2, GA-7/3, FL-7/4-7, AL-7/8-9, TN-7/10, KY-7/11-12, OH-7/13-14, NY [2]-7/14-28.

NOTE- If you have given financially to this ministry in 2016, you will receive a tax-exempt receipt in the mail. If you sent your gift/s through Christian Aid Mission, they will send you the receipt. If you sent a gift to BCA (or me), we will be the ones to send you your receipt. If you desire to receive your receipt faster, please let me know & I will email you a copy.

3/23/2017

Pray Please- for Elvie & I as we re-write the building construction contract which was developed by the architect for BCA’s new buildings. He cannot understand that we refuse to take out a bank loan, so that the funds which would otherwise go toward interest will instead be used to design a more beautiful building. It would mean however that the project will take a lot longer to complete.

Please also pray for the BCA faculty and staff as they pull a few all-nighters in preparation for next week's graduation ceremonies. Also a week after graduation, Vacation Bible School and Summer School begin.

Praise God- that our international visitors will have one last opportunity to be televised (on yet another station) this coming Sunday, when they are the guest speakers at a large church which hosts the “Davao City Broadcasting Channel” (DCBC). They also will be flying back to the USA right after the close of BCA’s graduation/moving up ceremonies next week.

Praise God as well that, this past Sunday our visiting team spoke at our “jungle church”. Afterward we prayed with a Down-syndrome boy for healing, and many others came forward for anointing & prayer.

“Uh, oh… traffic!” Teacher Neil is often late to his fourth-grade class, since he spends his weekends with his sick grandmother a few hundred miles away in Southern Mindanao’s Malungan, Sarangani Province. Their residence is on mostly dirt roads, & it takes nearly half a day to ride the bus back to Davao, BCA & his waiting students. During weekdays, he stays at a boarding house.

Due to continued rain in the Philippines, Neil's grandmother is not the only one who is sick. The fourth-grade classroom often is only 60% full, with absent students succumbing to colds & diarrhea. Neil needed to figure some way to be sure all the students would receive equal aptitude for their lessons. Fortunately, the kids seemed to “tag-off” with their illnesses. Where one week three students would be out sick, the next week it was a different three.

Pairing up with a boy & a girl on each team, Neil had the students partner with varied students each day so that when someone had been absent, the partner could fill them in on what they missed. The experiment began with the subject: Reading. Neil had them read a two-page article & dialogue in front of the class, knowing they were to be graded on their performances.

The new approach required a lot of reviewing, but that helped reinforce in the minds of all the students the flow of the lessons. As soon as one particular student, Luke, arrived after being out for three days, an argument arose. “Mom, I really WANT to be in class!” To which his mom replied, “But you have been sick with a cold & you are not really over it yet!” Luke’s mom’s eyes got really wide when she heard her son say, “Mom, please, please, please let me come to school? I love school. I love my classmates And I love my teachers. I really miss them!”

After Teacher Neil sat Luke down into his seat, Luke’s mom drew Neil aside. “This is really amazing! Luke has never enjoyed school. For many years now, he would even fake being sick so that he didn’t have to go to class. But now, I just do not understand what has made the difference. Whatever it is, keep it up! My son is finally becoming intelligent!”

In his daily journal, Teacher Neil’s entry reflected his excitement over the electric way the kids responded when they saw the commitment of Luke in their classroom. The topic was “Adverbs”. Neil wrote, “I can see in their eyes & faces the fun during my discussion. I felt that I must have become an anime (cartoon) standing in front of my students. That even after the dismissal bell rang, they wished me to talk more…YES!!!”

Neil was not the only one surprised with opportunities this past week. When Elvie & I brought our international guests with us to buy shoes for yet another 55 of our hundreds of BCA students, I had to be late, since I was attending a fundraiser breakfast for CBN’s 700 Club-Asia outreach arm, “Operation Blessing”.

The grand ballroom of a large hotel was filled with seats & they fed us a delightful display of delicacies, such as broiled fish, eggs, ampalaya, chicken adobo, rice, “bistik” (Filipino beef slices), fresh fruit & lots of other scrumptious dishes. Abby was with me & one of the masters-of-ceremonies, Lizbeth, came over to my table & called me aside. Lizbeth was one of the interviewers from earlier that week, when the television station had come with their cameras to our BCA Guesthouse to ask us for information on the work we do with poor Filipino children.

“Pastor Paul, due to scheduling conflicts, many who expressed a desire to come to this gathering have not arrived. There are lots of empty seats, & our sponsor has paid for all those meals in advance. Could you bring your BCA kids over for breakfast?”

Carefully trying to contain my excitement, I assured her that the kids would be coming through the door within half an hour. I quickly contacted Elvie who was accompanying one of the three vehicles carrying our students to the mall for their shoes. Some of the students were afraid to come, since they had never been in a ritzy hotel before. Even though we assured them that they would not be charged, only 35 of the 55 kids came. But many of the parents, when they found out about the free meal, also arrived.

In God’s perfect timing, our BCA kids had already been on the road in BCA’s school buses, excited that we were buying them brand new shoes, which is our weekend practice this February & March. The nicely-dressed guests who had been listening all morning to the exciting outreach & humanitarian work of 700 Club grew huge smiles on their faces when dozens & dozens of BCA students trooped in and filled the empty seats.

The event reminded me of the Bible story where a king was hosting a marriage supper for his son & he had his servants go out into the highways & byways to find hungry individuals to fill in the seats at the grand buffet.

Our orphans especially enjoyed the food, & they went back for seconds & thirds until they could hardly move.

Still, they seemed to be hungry enough a few hours later when, with their brand-new shoes in hand, we brought them to McDonalds for hamburgers…

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

March: BCA graduation & Baccalaureate, New black dress-shoes bought for 65 more BCA kids, as they take field trips with us to the mall.

April: 16: Easter Sunday,

BCA has 425 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Target goal for ground breaking: June, 2017

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0. 

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,300 Remaining: $20,700.

Present need: $59 for various needs at BCA: $6 for a new padlock for the main gate; $20 for a
fuel pump for BCA’s Bus “H”; $10 for accelerator oil for BCA’s Bus “Fi”; $4 for brake fluid for BCA’s Bus “M”, $1 for bolts and washers, $2 to fix 2 flat tires, $4 for flap and change of tire; and for BCA’s Bus “Fo”, $3 oil seal, $5 for rubber caps and $4 for a spring.

3/16/2017

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day (3/17). USA Daylight Savings Time (3/12), First Day of Spring (3/20), Happy 88th Birthday, Dad! (3/20).

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Pray Please- for the eighty young professionals with whom Grandma Flo & I were able to share a Bible message. At the last minute, our International guest speakers (Barb & Bernice) got sick & had to cancel their assigned speaking engagement for the employees of a local office supply store. I asked 83-year old Flo, who is also visiting from the USA, & together we challenged the group of listeners to have godly priorities & not disobey God’s perfect plan for our lives. It weas a joy to see the listeners so very attentive & responsive during the (last-minute) presentation!

Praise God- that I (Paul) was elected this week as Vice President of a local volunteer prayer organization, the DCL (Davao Christian Leadership Foundation). I was also nominated this week for a volunteer position on the board of another Christian School.

Praise God as well for the successive weekly BCA field trips. During these trips we bring BCA students to the mall to buy them new black shoes. This year (we take a different group every weekend) has topped over 300 pair! We still have a few more groups to go…

Praise God also that this past Sunday at church was “Youth Sunday” & our 16 year old daughter Abigail performed on the tambourine team, then changed into a black choir robe to direct the youth choir in their anthem, & also sang with a friend a duet! Thank you Lord for a daughter who is a true woman of God!

“Your students are your congregation. Make plans with them for their spiritual maturity.” I (Paul) shared from the Bible in the BCA teachers’ weekly devotional, “PLANNING is necessary. Without a plan, we lose track of our direction. Not just in worldly things but most importantly in heavenly things.”

“Hmm…” thought BCA’s 1st Grade teacher, Rose, “Starting today I will PLAN my students’ spiritual aptitude. I will spend half an hour during my hour-long lunch break to tutor my students who have trouble. And…hmm, what else?”

“Oh, I know…then I’ll also take ten minutes at the end of the day from 4:00 until 4:10 to pray for the pupils’ attitude, academic performance, social skills, health conditions & spiritual life. Hmm, what else could I do?”

“Got it! Every Friday morning, we will have a prayer session of at least one hour: 8:00-9:00 am with the whole class. We will do singing, prayer requests, thank-you messages & prayer.”

The next day was Friday, & the pupils’ response was everything that Teacher Rose had hoped for & more! During the prayer time, the big ones prayed to be thin, the small ones prayed to be taller, & fatter, & Rose was amazed that almost all of them wanted to become MAKA-DIOS (like God).

God truly uses prayer to accomplish so very much! On Sunday this week at church we prayed for our international visitors Barb & Bernice to have more opportunities to share the Gospel. Their two-month visit is coming to a close, & the total number of listeners in all the places they’d spoken combined has been less than a thousand. “Lord, please open the floodgates and let the message be heard!”

The very next day, on Monday morning, a friend texted me on my cell phone. “How are your international visitors, Bernice & Barb? Would they like to be on television?” Whoa! Talk about quick answers to prayer! Three days later the TV cameras & crew from the other end of the country had flown into Davao City. Christian Broadcasting Network’s “700 Club” set up right in our own living room!

“Lights…camera…(straighten your hair)… lights…camera…(you need a little powder to keep the shine off your nose)…action!” The TV crew interviewed Barb & Bernice as they sat on our family’s couches!

And then they approached Elvie & I. “How about you also? How did you meet each other? How did this exciting ministry of yours get started? How many thousands of children have you helped again?”

Praise God for answered prayer! Although we do not yet know when the edited versions of the program will be aired in both the USA & Philippines, we do know that millions will be challenged, as with Teacher Rose’s class, to be Maka-Dios (Godly people)!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

March: BCA graduation & Baccalaureate, New black dress-shoes bought for 120 more BCA kids, as they take field trips with us to the mall.

April: 16: Easter Sunday

BCA has 420 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Target goal for ground breaking: June, 2017

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,250 Remaining: $20,750.

Present need: $670 for BCA’s Bus “C”: $240 for new tires, mounted & balanced; $33 for repacking front wheel hub; $18 for repair of back window; $6 to remove & replace fuel filter; $24 to repack front wheel hub bearing sets both sides; $39 for engine oil Delvac: 6 ltrs; $18 for oil filter element; $5 for brake cleaner; $3 for windshield washer C25; $17 for deisel system treatment 240 mlk; $21 for engine treatment 240ml; $103 for asm fuel filter; $5 for brake cleaner; labor & grease- $138.

3/9/2017

Happy Feast of Purim! (3/12/2017)

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Pray Please- for my associate pastor, Callem & his children. Filipino custom is to have an additional memorial service for dearly departed loved ones, 40 days after they go on into eternity. Their wife & mom Filipina’s memorial service is this Saturday.

Praise God- that this week we were invited to the birthday party of a BCA student, 5-yr-old Jiboy. Although the family is quite poor, they roasted a pig & fed many from the church, as well as neighbors, BCA teachers & staff. Asked to give a short Bible message, I challenged the parents from Matt 20 where the mom of James & John asked Jesus to have her sons sit on Christ’s left & right sides in Glory. When I asked Jiboy’s parents what they’d ask God if He allowed any request to be answered, they said “…a full life with Jesus!” Amen: A life full of years, & years filled with life!

Praise God as well that this year, since political unrest had cancelled the local missionary school’s annual field trip, they decided to travel to local destinations instead. Four different teams of high schoolers helped alphabetize, systematize, categorize, organize & tabulate hundreds of new (used) books which have recently been shipped form the USA. They also folded clothes in BCA’s used clothing room & assisted with stuffing envelopes.

“It’s a Quadrathlon!” I had to get permission from Race Director Stax to pull our car out of the race parking area right after my race was over last week, & before the second race was to begin, since I had to drive back the 45 minutes to get to church & preach.

“Paul, for most of these racers, swimming, cycling & running is enough, but you’ve added a 4th leg to the 2-hour triathlon race: preaching! Sure, you have permission to leave right after you get your finisher’s medal at the finish line! I will give you your trophy another time, since you are the oldest contestant & the only one in your age category” (Male 55 & above).

Earlier the previous week, BCA’s Teacher Juvy noticed that many of her second graders were missing school due to colds from the constant rainy weather. “Lord,” she prayed that Thursday morning while applying floor-wax to the classroom’s red cement floor, “How can these kids catch up? It always seems to be the same students who get sick, & they are falling way, way behind in their reading assignments.”

When the children arrived with sniffly noses, she looked at all the empty seats & went ahead to give the students their Bible verse for the day (which just happened to be her favorite). “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you & not to harm you. Plans to give you hope & a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Suddenly God gave her an idea. “I must think of those things inside the classroom which will help my pupils catch up, even though it seems impossible…but I know God will do the rest.”

“Students, one of my goals for this year is to give you sets of rules for 2017, so please write New Year’s resolutions & include the name of one student whose seat is empty today. When you see them either at home or in your neighborhood or even if they get well & return to school, please sit down with them & help them catch up in their assignments. We will lift each other up!” Cheers went up from the students, as they love sharing God’s love with others…especially with their peers.

The students then formed a big circle and held each other’s hands. Teacher Juvy prayed for each of them, & then the students themselves prayed for their new “charges” (their absent classmates).

“It was really a serious thing!” Teacher Juvy jotted down later in her daily journal. “Oh, how I thank You, Lord God, because all of my students were so very serious about their new responsibilities.”

Closing in prayer, she thanked God that He will truly help her & her kids to grow more like Him.

Similar with the Triathlon which had another added event tacked onto the end, Juvy had found ways of going beyond expectations to solve problems which confronted her. Likewise, our American guests have been speaking at various locations in Davao, as well as helping in ministries here; fixing the guest house solar panels, building porches onto the cottages at our Island orphanage, distributing shoes for BCA students & also organizing office files. We had a brand-new challenge: a new corral was built at our orphanage, & the sheep & goats had to be transported from ten miles away, including a barge ride across the Davao Gulf. How would we get them there?

Goats are smelly. Sheep are not much better, but bearable. To go all that way in our small “multicab” bus with two smelly goats was just too much for our team. Then the bus stopped working! We switched to the larger “jeepney” bus & the driver got a bright idea: why not tie the goats onto the roof?
The driver climbed up to the roof. Bebing prodded the animals from behind & I grabbed the tethers to pull them up the eight feet to the vehicle’s roof. Goats can be ornery when they are upset, & the female, being pregnant, hollered at the top of her lungs. But they made the trip fine.
We did look a bit odd with goats on the roof of our bus, as it drove down Davao City streets & then onto the barge. But now the animals are enjoying fresh air & lots and lots of grass at the orphanage…our new lawn mowers!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

March: BCA graduation & Baccalaureate, New shoes bought for 200 more BCA kids, as they take field trips to the mall.

April: 16: Easter Sunday, 23: Paul competes in 32-mile Davao “Durianman” Triathlon, then flies on 24-28: CAMACOP General Assembly in Manila. 

BCA has 420 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases B, C & D): Present Goal $87,000:

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Target goal for ground breaking: June, 2017

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0. 

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $4,200 Remaining: $20,800.

Present need: $665 for fuel for BCA Buses for the month of February: $175 for Bus “C”, $191 for Bus “M”, $106 for Bus “L”, $84 for Bus “Fo”, $83 for Bus “N”, $11 for Bus “Fi”, $10 for Bus “Ph”, $5 FOR Bus “Pr”.

2017 Furlough Plans: AZ-6/6-7, UT-6/8-11, NY [1]-6/12, PA-6/13-20, NJ-6/21-22, MD-6/23, VA-6/24-26, NC-6/27-29, SC-6/30-7/2, GA-7/3, FL-7/4-7, AL-7/8-9, TN-7/10, KY-7/11-12, OH-7/13-14, NY [2]-7/14-28.

2/23/2017

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Pray Please- for the sixteen new believers we baptized last Sunday at a mountain Bible camp. As Rea gave her testimony, she pointed to her mom in the audience & made a “thumping” motion with her hands over her heart “I love you mom” was the meaning. Her mom had led her to salvation in Jesus Christ, during their family devotions. After the baptismal ceremonies were over, the sixteen all counted “1-3-three!” & leapt into the swimming pool together.

Praise God- that recently, while returning from getting groceries downtown, I was driving one of BCA’s school buses. The fuel gauge didn’t work & I ran out of gas. Leaving the groceries with passengers in the bus, a friend & I pushed the bus to the next gas station. Half a dozen Filipino men appeared out from nowhere to help push, but once they saw that the station was closed, they said their goodbyes & my friend & I walked a mile in the pouring rain (without an umbrella) to the next station. Earlier that day I had seen a friend who volunteers for the Gideons. He gave me a few Philippine-language New Testaments, & I was able to give one to Ali, the Muslim gas station attendant. When we finally arrived back at the school, the bus had a flat tire.

Praise God also that on Valentine’s Day BCA’s students performed special songs to commemorate “Teacher Appreciation Day”. During the ceremonies I gave a Bible message from First Corinthians, enunciating what one of our teachers has posted on her classroom wall; “Teachers who love teaching teach children who love learning.”

Also praise God that when the BCA staff travelled a few hours to the funeral of the dad of one of our teachers, the grieving family was thrilled that our staff brought some food to share with the visitors. Still, their hospitality was overwhelming when, around the grave an enormous 10-foot-long (4-inch-thick) snake slithered out of the bushes. The farmers quick-as-a-flash butchered the serpent & the ladies cooked it up to feed the guests.

“Jesus loves the little children: all the children of the world…” sixty BCA students sang with all the gusto they could muster as they chomped-on chicken legs & rice at a local McDonalds restaurant.

The kids alternated singing & filling their mouths with ice cream as the “McDo” crew brought into the room vanilla cones 2-at-a-time. Dozens of customers listened-in as sixty of our BCA kids’ voices sang Christian songs & also cheered out, “We Love JESUS!”

BCA’s 2016 annual Christmas celebration had been extended into this year. These poor students all received stuffed animals & gifts during their Christmas parties last December. Donated funds were not adequate for their “very special” gift of shoes, so we delayed the shoe distribution until a few months later.

Over the course of 6 weeks in February & March, BCA’s 500 students are being brought over, sixty per day, to the mall for black shoes & lunch. Sixty students at a time, aged from 3 to 17 & donned in colorful BCA school uniforms, are prancing into the mall single-file, singing Christian choruses as they come! It sure has a way of drawing people’s attention.

We presently have a few international visitors, & one is a tad heavier than most Filipinos. She got stuck on the mall’s Filipino-sized escalator & had to be assisted out from it. Meanwhile, some of our destitute students had never been inside a mall before. They were afraid of the escalator’s constant moving & had to be assisted, one-by-one by the same mall cashiers who had helped them try-on shoes.

At McDonalds, the kids became a tad rambunctious before the food arrived, so when it was time to say grace, one of our American friends stood up & her clapped for the kids to settle down. The kids misunderstood & joined in the applause. In essence, she received a standing ovation!

Misunderstandings do happen. Pastor Callem shared a story during his recent sermon about a prize horse & his goat friend. The horse got sick & the goat convinced the horse to get well so that he would not be butchered. When the horse recuperated, the owner celebrated with a feast with his friends, in which they butchered the goat!

Our visiting Americans are international authors, specializing in the field of “Recovery from Abuse”. Their inspirational Biblical message has been shared here in jails, hospitals, civic clubs, churches & schools. After Barb shared about how God “frees the captives” we all prayed for prisoners who wanted to receive God’s gift of salvation and/or comfort from the Holy Spirit. As we were about to leave, a cheer went up from the ladies. One of their members, after years of waiting, was finally informed that her case was approved & that she was leaving to go home to her family.

Truly, God does free the captives from their chains…and as the BCA children sang in McDonalds, He also provides for all of their needs.

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

NOTE- If you have given financially to this ministry in 2016, you will receive a tax-exempt receipt in the mail. If you sent your gift/s through Christian Aid Mission, they will send you the receipt. If you sent a gift to BCA (or me), we will be the ones to send you your receipt. If you desire to receive your receipt faster, please let me know & I will email you a copy.

2/16/2017 Happy Valentine’s Day! (2/14), American Presidents’ Day (2/20)

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Pray Please- for Trish, who will join our family as we fly back form the USA this August to become a “house-grandma” for our orphanage. Also please pray for her team from Arizona who will be arriving for their second visit this October.

Please also pray for the decision on where and when the staff of Faith International Academy of Davao City (FIA) will have their “Outdoor Education” field trip this year. Abigail’s teachers had to cancel their original plans of travel this week. Their assessment of the security situation in the target area with New Tribes Mission & other locals revealed that the recent developments with the ceasefire termination on Feb. 1, that they should move and/or postpone the event. The Philippine government is in a state of high alert & it is unwise to take 63 foreigners into the area.

Also, the aged father of FIA’s first & second grade teacher Marla is very ill & she had to rush back to the USA to care for him. Please pray for a temporary substitute teacher for an indefinite time period.

Praise God- that Manny, the president of a local civic club, confided in Elvie & I that he wanted to resign his position. In response I cited four Bible characters who were given positions of authority: 1- Esther, whose cousin Mordecai challenged her that “perhaps you‘ve been placed here for such a time as this”; 2- Moses, who at 80 yrs old, stuttered, yet still was chosen to free 2 million Jews from bondage in Egypt; 3- Joshua, whose leadership challenged others to “be strong & courageous”; & finally 4- Jonah, who disobeyed God & therefore was punished. After all, Romans 13 claims that those who are elected have been placed in power by God Himself.
“There is a little boy in the trunk of that taxi!” As we followed a white taxicab, we stayed a safe distance behind it since three boards were sticking way out of its trunk. As the sedan went through a pothole, its trunk popped up & two adorable eyes set in a cherubic face peered out from the gloom. The kinder-passenger likely was holding the lumber in place, but if the car had ever been rear-ended, the child would have become two dimensional.

Poor judgement on the part of the child’s parents was no excuse for having a small child ride in the trunk like an animal.

Meanwhile at BCA, Teacher Hazel was teaching her third-grade students about real animals which we see every day. “What is your favorite animal, Keyshia?”

“Oh, I looooovvve horses!” responded Keyshia.”

“Have you ever seen a horse, Keyshia?”

“Nope, but I still love them!”

“I feel the same way about dogs!” blurted out Loraine.

”Oh, but I am sure that you have seen dogs before?” Questioned Teacher Hazel.

“Yes,” clarified Loraine, “But I like them in a way most kids do not…with ketchup and soy sauce!”

“Oh, I see,” said Hazel. “You eat dogs. Yes, I hear they are quite tasty, when prepared correctly.”

As the students drew pictures of their vast assortments of critters, each came up to the front of the class, in turn, to describe their pictures. “This horse,” began Keyshia, “is shiny & brown because she is sweaty from running. Kind of like a person.”

Teacher Hazel saw the opening she had been waiting for. “In many ways animals are like people, & vice versa. But can you name some ways in which people & animals are very different from each other?”

Lots of ideas were batted back and forth, but Lorraine was sure she had hit the nail on the head when she raised her hand & was called upon. “People do not eat people!”

Everybody chuckled, & then Teacher Hazel commented, “Right. And also, only people have souls. Only a person can spend eternity in heaven with Jesus after he or she receives Him into his or her heart.”

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

2/9/2/17

Pray Please- for Trish, a senior citizen who has visited Davao a few times using “clowning” as an evangelism tool. She sent an email (forwarded to us by a friend) saying, “while you were praying, I was listening to a guest speaker at church, Mark, who stated, ‘Say YES first... God has all the details worked out already.’ So, I am saying YES to God, to being the "house Grandma" for the BCA Father’s House kids. My pastor was very emotional & pleased when I told him. He assured me God would provide for all my needs! I told both of my children, who are pleased & support me. I will tell my young grandsons this week, so they will get used to the idea. Prayers appreciated for that! Leaving them will be the hardest. So... We begin!! Love to you!”

Please also continue to pray for the family of Filipina, BCA’s discipleship coordinator whose battle with cancer ended this past week when she entered Heaven. She leaves behind a husband & 3 children, one of whom is in third grade at BCA.

Praise God- that through the advice of a friend I was able to get insurance for our family through “Samaritan Ministry”, a group that allows its members to send aid checks to each other as emergencies arise. This was to comply with the US Government’s requirements & avoid “Obamacare” penalties.

Praise God as well that Carol, a friend in North Carolina, just sent us an email saying, “You will have 2 large boxes that were shipped yesterday. The boxes contain 83 new toothbrushes, 27 children’s books, 11 Bibles, 81 Bible commentaries, toddlers’ underwear & socks for both boys & girls and 56 stuffed toys. There are other items but the list is long. We will pray that the boxes reach you safely. The last time I shipped boxes to you it took 113 days. So, hopefully, it will not take as long on this shipment. May the Lord bless you and keep you & make His face to shine upon you!

“Bam!” My pickup truck lurched forward with such force that my glasses flew off my face (I caught them), & things on the seat ended up on the floor.

I’d noticed the upcoming traffic light at a busy intersection had turned yellow, so even though the car in front of me sped up to zip through it, I gradually slowed down to a stop. Unfortunately, the truck behind me had other plans.

The eighteen-wheeler’s grill was all I could see in my rear-view mirror, since he was literally “on my bumper”. Over the next four hours as the police arrived & reports were filed (it is a whole lot more complicated in the Philippines), a peace remained over me. Abby had to wait longer for me to pick her up from school, & Elvie was out-of-town, so it was just me & the trucker & the policeman. Later, I even drove him in our pickup truck to the police station to file the backup report.

Occasionally the policeman would gently push me closer to the car to avoid my getting hit by a passing vehicle whizzing by (it is illegal to “move to the side of the road” after an accident, here). Since I had just bought groceries, I gave snacks to the truck driver & policeman. “What was the time of the accident?” asked the traffic-policeman, glancing down at my notebook. “Oh, I see. it was 3:15pm.”

That evening Elvie, Abby & I had identical Facebook messages from our son PJ: “What happened, Guys? This morning God woke me up extra early & strongly impelled me to pray for you!”

I looked at the time of PJ’s email & got tingles. It was sent 40 minutes before my accident! 1:35am in New York, during savings time, is 2:35pm in Davao. The truck hit me at 3:15pm! Is God incredible, or what? That truck was huge & hauled coconut-shell-charcoal hundreds of miles. It hit me on a down-hill decline, & the intersection was quite busy at that time of day. Yet I can imagine that, moments after PJ began praying, God dispatched His angels & they flew to my rescue, holding back that huge semi! Even with that, our tailgate is now broken, as well as the rear window motor, tail-light & bumper.

Meanwhile in BCA’s 3rd-grade classroom, Teacher Hazel instructed her students, “Being healthy is not merely about the absence of disease or infirmity, but also about having the complete aspects of well-being.” She was congratulating her proud students for the certificates they received for accomplishments in school.

“For health & wellness,” Hazel continued, “you should attend to your physical, emotional, mental, social & above-all spiritual needs. Once your spiritual needs are met, the others often fall into place.”

Oh Hazel, you are so very right. That is why God continues to give us patience as we work through official proceedings to convince the trucking company & insurance companies of their obligation to get our pickup truck functioning properly again…

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

1/26/2017

1/26/17 Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (1/16)

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Pray Please- for an evangelist friend “Nono” whose prayer goal for the nation is to double the present Philippine total of 66,000 Bible believing churches, to 120,000 churches by 2020. The title of this aggressive goal is “PV-120 by 2020” (Philippines Vision 120,000 by AD2020).

Please also pray for our church youth group which will begin a combined choir with the adults as of February. While I have chosen the monthly anthems we’ll be singing, Abby will replace me as the new director.

Praise God- that our American friends Wayne, Barb & Bernice will minister to both women & men next month here at a Davao City Jail, on separate days. They have both ministered at many prisons in the USA & around the world. Barb was once the key speaker in Loch Lomond Scotland with the Coalition of Prison Evangelists. Bernice came with her & they had a workshop. They give interactive skits about domestic violence & hope in Jesus. They also were interviewed on the American television show, “Dr. Oz”. Our team of BCA & international visitors also plan to distribute to the prisoners some soap, books, toothpaste, toothbrushes, Gospel bracelets, Daily Bread devotional guides, juice packs & sandwiches.

“Students,” BCA’s third-grade teacher began, “today we will become a band! The song we are singing & playing is ‘Mang Kiko’.”

“Oh, I know that song,” third-grader Shorine interjected, “My lola [grandmother] sings it to me all the time!”

“That is great,” responded Hazel. “Since you know it so well, maybe you can start us off. Before you do though, let me explain to everybody how we will introduce “Mang Kiko’s beat & rhythm. Let’s count off and divide up into pairs.”

“I’ll be #1,” offered Shorine. Dennis was next as he called out “And I am #2!”

“Awesome,” said Hazel after the last student was numbered. “Now, stay right where you are & all the #1s can clap your hands to the beat, while #2 will sing to the rhythm. Then we will switch!”

Everyone was very enthusiastic & excited to perform with their classmates. Hazel then decided to transfer their excitement of “Mang Kiko” into Bible verse memorization. Lyca & Harold bowled her over by reciting from memory every single one of the assigned verses! Even the bonus ones! Then, these two exceptional students offered to take the next half hour to help their classmates memorize those same verses.

Shorine, freshly adept at the verses she’d just learned called out, “Oh, Teacher Hazel, I have a great idea! Let’s recite the Bible verses to the beat & rhythm of “Mang Kiko!”

The class enjoyed clapping & singing “The 23rd Psalm” to the tune of “Mang Kiko”! What a delight it was to see the kids’ excitement over performing Bible verses! And I am sure that Mang Kiko didn’t mind one little bit!

Meanwhile the Republic of the Philippines was also very excited about their new president, Rodrigo Duterte. He is firmly against corruption, crime & drugs. With a no-nonsense approach to exterminate drug dealers, the police are “cleaning up” the streets via its war against drugs. Cars have “DU30” on their bumper stickers, & silhouettes of the president’s face on their rear windows. Colorful Philippine flags with “DO30” & photos of the president are painted over entire hoods of cars, and many stores have life-sized cardboard replicas of the president so that photographers can take their pictures next to the president.

Duterte’s symbol is a fist, with the four knuckles showing on each finger respectively, “D-U-3-0.” Citizens are referring to him as “The Penalizer” as he explained, “Drugs have been destroying the minds and families and safety of my people for too long, and I will not allow it anymore!” Over 6,000 drug dealers have been wiped out in the past ten months.

With less crime on the streets now, people are wearing baseball caps & t-shirts, even tattoos that say either “DU30” [Doo-Tare-tay] or “DU31” [Duterte won]”.

The Duterte hype even was taken advantage of by a local Davao entrepreneur as I noticed a water truck pass by on the road. On its side was emblazoned, “R-U-Thirs-tay?”

Hmm, maybe the water company took lessons for BCA’s third grade teacher in creativity!

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

1/19/2017 Happy USA Presidential Inauguration! (1/20), Happy Chinese New Year, the “Year of the Rooster” (1/27)

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Pray Please- for God to give wisdom to the architect who is planning the expansion of our main BCA campus’s gym which houses the church services each Sunday & Wednesday. Since the church’s building fund is not enough to purchase property, the church board agreed to let the school borrow the $6,000 it has saved up over the past 20+ years, for construction, & then pay them back a little at a time.

Also please pray for Wayne, Barb & Bernice who are planning to visit Davao through February & March. Wayne has a sty on his eye lid & Bernice’s mammogram revealed several cysts & a large mass. If they find it's cancer she'll wait until she gets home to have both breasts removed.

Praise God- that when the Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe visited Manila & Davao, Philippines a few days ago, he agreed to invest a trillion yen (10 billion dollars), over five years, in infrastructure & employment projects for the country. To prepare for his coming, police lined all the streets of downtown, & a thousand Japanese “red dot” flags were hung from the power poles. Shrubs & flowers were planted & streets with newly-painted white lines were swept.

Praise God as well that the church leaders’ meeting at our house this past week went well. We will be inducting the committee chairmen in February during a worship service.

“Students, write on your papers ‘one peso’ without using words.”

Suddenly BCA’s Teacher Hazel saw a third-grader’s hand leap into the air. “Oh, Teacher Hazel, Teacher Hazel!”

“Yes, Julia. What is it?”

“Teacher Hazel, that is impossible. How can we write ‘one peso’ without writing ‘one peso?’ It doesn’t even make sense.”

That morning during her “Quiet Time with God” Teacher Hazel had thanked God for helping her to heed His commands so that she would never go astray, even after being warned by Him. “Dear God,” she had prayed in sincerity, “please help me to respond positively to Your warnings … even if sometimes I fail to recognize that it is really You. Thank you for pouring out your blessings.”

The entire staff of BCA was deep in contemplation at the sudden death of Arnie, the father of Teacher Rose. Arnie was a fisherman, & when the swift current of the river he was wading in had caused him to stumble, his machete caught in the fishing net & his body wasn’t found until three days later. The entire BCA staff sang at his funeral, eight hours away in Compostella Valley.

“Everything happens for a reason & with a reason, Lord,” prayed Hazel. “Therefore, ‘In everything I will give thanks, for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Brought back from her contemplation, she responded to Julia’s inquiry about writing “one peso” without words. “Julia, there are lots of ways to express ourselves, not just with words.”

April stood at attention in her excitement. “Oh, Teacher Hazel! That is just what we studied earlier when we talked about the purpose of our ears! They are to hear. Not just words, but other sounds too!” Then, promptly April sat back down, having said her “piece”.

“Excellent point, April. Does that make sense to you now, Julia?”

“Not really. How can you write ‘one peso’ without using words? I just do not understand!”

Hazel heard the school bell ring for recess, but nobody moved a muscle. They were so intent on the discussion. Hazel was amazed. Never did the kids miss recess. But here they were, oblivious to the recess bell as the discussion deepened.

“It is so simple, actually. Here. Everybody take your pencil…” all the students in Hazel’s third grade class picked up their pencils & set them against their papers. “Now write the letter ‘P’”. All obeyed, then also wrote the number “1” as she instructed. “Now look at your paper. What does it say?”

“One peso!” exclaimed Julia. “Well duh, I knew that!”

Certain things come clearly when all the facts are right in front of us. This past week I myself (Paul) acted speedily before all the facts were in and regretted it. Elvie & I had taken some friends out to eat at our favorite barbecue restaurant. An elderly pastor was sitting to my left & a younger pastor to my right. The serving plate came out with three pieces of BBQ chicken on it. We each took a piece of chicken & placed it onto our respective plates.

I love the black, burned-type gristly stuff on the edges. After eating the gristle from my piece, I looked over at the empty serving plate & noticed that some gristle had been left on the plate. Not wanting it to go to waste, I discretely reached over & popped it into my mouth. A bit later, halfway through my chicken, I noticed that other small pieces of chicken were on the serving plate which was on the table between me & the elderly pastor.

How could I have missed…then I saw my elderly pastor pulling a piece of gummed chicken (he had no teeth) out of his mouth, sucking the flavor out before placing it on the serving plate…

Okay, well maybe next time things will become much clearer when all the facts are right in front of us…

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

1/12/2017

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Pray Please- for the family of BCA’s First-Grade Teacher Rose. A few days ago Rose’s dad went out to the river to fish for their family’s dinner with a neighbor, and Rose’s dad was swept away by the strong current (it has been raining a lot lately). His body still cannot be found.

Please also pray for safety for over a million Catholics participating in the “Procession of the Black Nazarene”, one of the largest religious gatherings in the Philippines. First brought to Manila by Augustinian priests from Mexico in 1607, the Nazarene statue acquired its color after it was partially burnt when the galleon carrying it caught fire. On January 9, at 7am, the parade begins and lasts 20 hours, going just under 5 miles. So many adherents reach out to try to touch the statue and cross to get healing powers from it, that nearly every year people are trampled.

Please pray for the recapture of 158 convicted terrorists who escaped in a raid by suspected Muslim rebels on a jail in Mindanao. This was the biggest jailbreak in Philippine history. They stormed a dilapidated jail in the violence-plagued south of the country, killing a guard.

Praise God- that members from the Arizona Missions team which visited here to work for almost two weeks in October raised funds for the following: posts, chicken wire and lean-to for the animal corral at the Father's House, and also music training books for Abby and her friends to teach ukulele to the rescued street kids.

Praise God that a few days before my cousin David died of cancer in Rochester New York, he rededicated his life to Jesus. PJ was able to attend the funeral with my dad and sister. Also Elvie drove eight hours round trip to bring church members to the burial of one our church members (Arlene) who died of kidney failure. Meanwhile, Filipina (my associate pastor’s wife) is getting quite thin due to her final stages of cancer.

“Kids, today we will discuss Noah’s ark.” BCA’s Teacher Anajean informed her kindergarten students. “A man built an ark. This ark was a great big ship.”

“Bigger than this school?” asked Maneljean. “Of course it was bigger than this school!” quipped her classmate Bryan. “How in the world could you fit 2 of every animal in the world inside our school?”

Maneljean responded matter-of-factly, “I think we already do have some wild animals. Have you seen some of the fourth graders?” Teacher Jean stifled a chuckle of her own as she quieted down the guffaws of the kindergarteners. “Our memory verse for today is Genesis 28:15, ‘I am with you and will keep you wherever you go!’ If you were Noah in that great big boat with lions and tigers and bears…”

“Oh my!” exclaimed Maneljean.

“Then God would be right there with you, protecting you too,” concluded Teacher Jean.

Seeing an opening for her lesson right before her, and since the number they were studying for the day was “2”, she asked, “Bryan, how many of each kind of animal did you say were on the ark?”

“2” replied Bryan, after standing tall so that all his classmates could see the source of his great intellect.

“Then since our colors for today are orange & violet, which animals on the ark were that color, Bryan?”

At this, Bryan clammed up and sat back down, defeated. “I-I don’t know…” Suddenly Maneljean leaped to her feet, raising her hand. “O, I know, I know! A toucan!”

“Well done, both of you,” responded Teacher Jean, not even attempting to stifle her laughter. “You are both right. You both get 100% for today!”

“One last question,” she said, “Since yesterday we learned about good & bad smells, what do you think smelled good & bad on the ark?”

Bryan & Maneljean both got up together. “Hay smelled good…& fruit too!” Bryan added, “And since our letter for today is C, they also had carrots!”

Shy, petite Princess slowly stood to her feet & added, “And the next day that same hay & fruit smelled pret-ty bad at the bottom of the ark! Even the carrots, too…especially the carrots, I think…and the broccoli…and any other vegetable you can think of.”

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

1/5/2017

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Pray Please- for the survivors of Philippines’ “Typhoon Nock-Ten” which packed maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers (114 miles) per hour & gusts of up to 255 kph (158 mph) when it made landfall last week in Catanduanes province, where fierce winds & rain knocked down the island's power & communications. Davao also suffered minor flooding in low-lying areas.

Praise God- that our family was warmly received when we visited churches in Guam this past week. Two families even treated us to dinner! What a blessing it is to have loving brothers & sisters worldwide in the Family of God!

“Whistle while you work…” BCA’s 4th grade Teacher Neil Jun was whistling with anticipation & renewed energy as he came back from vacation a few days before the students were to resume classes. BCA’s policy is to bring back the staff for “Campus Cleanup” & the faculty he next day to prepare their month’s lesson plans.

Reminiscing over the previous month’s successes & failures, Neil made his goals for the final semester, since Filipino schools end their school year in March. “Plusses” & “Minuses” were listed on a chart as Neil evaluated 2016:

Plus:

  1. God keeps touching everyone’s hearts to build up better & harmonious relationships.
  2. Art Class crafts by the students are well-planned & creatively prepared.
  3. The students get very excited whenever we have a planned event.
  4. Students enjoy in-school events where they can interact with younger grades.
  5. Faculty & students pray together.
  6. Students are typically exceptional in Math & Gym, but challenged in Science, Filipino Grammar & Social Studies.

Minus:

  1. Absences, due to sickness from inclement weather (fever, cough, stomach ache)
  2. Students miss reviews for monthly exams (so I revise the dates, until at least 75% of the students can take them, as well as providing makeup exams)
  3. Many students had difficulty answering questions on exams, so Neil “bent the rules” by guiding them one-by-one, catering to their varied questions.
  4. Cheating (a student wrote something on his armchair before the exam). After we talked to each other, he cried & sincerely apologized for what he had done.
  5. With so many grade levels in the school, whenever there are all-school assembly perfromances, with only a few minutes per class, we focus on quality instead of quantity.

“Oh,” responded Neil as he evaluated his “2017 List”, it is soooo great to be back! I can’t wait to see my students again!

The teachers & staff had their goals in-hand, so when the students arrived after Christmas break, I (Paul) led the teachers, during homeroom time, in a “Destiny Devotional”: the first “Teachers’ Devotional” of 2017, from Psalm 73. “If our life is like a dream” (verse 20), “then let us tell the world of Jesus, so that the dreams of unbelievers will cease to be nightmares.”

To make my own dreams come true this year, I also made goals, based on evaluating last year’s:

Paul’s 2016 Goals (11 of 16 accomplished: 68%)

  1. Make list of “16 goals for 2016” (DONE)
  2. Take the family snow skiing. (DONE)
  3. Swim 1000 laps (UNDONE)
  4. Turn 55 years old (DONE)
  5. Bicycle 100 hours (UNDONE)
  6. Re-memorize John 1 (UNDONE)
  7. Re-memorize James 1 (UNDONE)
  8. Buy new campus for BCA (DONE)
  9. Read Bible cover-to-cover 3x (DONE)
  10. Enroll PJ in 2nd year of college (DONE)
  11. Get weight down to 155 at least once (DONE)
  12. Build first floor of home destroyed by flood (DONE)
  13. Speak at and/or visit 20 USA churches in 2016. (DONE)
  14. Bring sponsorship total for BCA kids up to 500 (UNDONE)
  15. Pay-off PJ’s 2016 Student loan (subsidized, in savings) (DONE)
  16. Visit five churches I have never been to for a Sunday morning worship service. (exposure for BCA) (DONE)

Paul’s 2017 Goals

  1. Turn 56.
  2. Make list of 2017 goals. (DONE)
  3. Read Bible cover-to-cover 4x (Total 70 in lifetime)
  4. OURNAL A: keep daily log of achievement in hitting 129 pounds at least once, and averaging 150 pounds each day (presently 168).
  5. JOURNAL B: keep daily log of achievement in memorizing 200 Cebuano-language words.
  6. JOURNAL C: keep daily log of achievement in attempting “Phase One” in “portioning” a weekly Sabbath- one day a week, spend one hour in Bible-reading & prayer.
  7. JOURNAL D: keep daily log of achievement in swimming/cycling on at least 25% of the days of the year (92 days).
  8. JOURNAL E: keep daily log of achievement in having “Morning Prayer Time” on at least 75% of the days of the year (274 days).
  9. JOURNAL F: keep daily log of achievement in practicing my French horn at least 25% of the days of the year (92 days).
  10. Re-reach 500 sponsors for BCA sponsored students’ education (presently 417).
  11. Build first two buildings of BCA’s new “Mountain Outreach” campus.
  12. Replace damaged laptop computer before this one stops working (parts keep falling off).
  13. Clean my office at BCA.
  14. Speak in at least ten churches on furlough in June/July, 2017.

Until next time…

Let the islands rejoice!

Calendar:

January: Arrival of “Grandma Flo” sort-term octogenarian missionary from Kentucky
February: Arrival of Hansens, short-term missionaries from Massachusetts, training in defeating human trafficking/BCA’S 4th Periodical Exams/20th birthday of our 1st Davao church plant.

BCA has 417 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund (Phases A, B, C & D): Present Goal $143,000:

Phase A: 3-Acre Property/Need: $56,000 Raised-PTL! $56,000 Remaining: $0
Target goal for land purchase: December, 2016

Phase B: Administration Bld. /Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Wing-East:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $37,000 Remaining: $0 Target goal for ground breaking: June, 2017

Phase C: Classrooms Phase One (First Floor South Preschool Wing/Cafeteria)
Need: $25,000 Raised: $25,000! Remaining: $0.

Phase D: Classrooms Phase Two (First Floor Elementary Wing-West/Library)
Need: $25,000 Raised: 3,750 Remaining: $21,250.

Present need: $72 for four ukulele training books (Hal Leonard method & Disney songbook) for Abby to Xerox & begin training the kids in BCA’s “Safe-House” for street kids (“Father’s House”).


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Last edited September 24, 2017
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