Volume 13, No. 1
"Make Them a Blessing"
Lord, guide them, our ambassadors to Cagayan de Oro." The DABC Bible College was sending its music team on its holiday tour. They'd sing in some very large churches as well as congregations whose members you could count on your fingers and toes.
As they travel, they challenge hearts of young people to join the ministry and get their training at Bible College. Maybe the next Filipino-type Billy Graham might be waiting to hear the Lord's call on his heart at one of these churches. As I consecrated these singers, through prayer, I challenged them with this verse:
"And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" - Romans 10:15
"Give thanks to the
Lord, call on his name;
-1 Chronicles 16:8
"Think about His love" sang the men during our Christmas/Thanksgiving Presentation at church. In the Philippines, churches choose their own date to celebrate Thanksgiving. This year we chose Christmas Eve. Nice that it fell on a Sunday.
A year ago, mud was caked on the walls, right up to the ceiling, from a flash flood in which two people died and much of our equipment and furniture was destroyed or washed away. Truly as we looked around at the freshly painted walls and new hymnbooks, we'd much to be thankful for!
Our guest speaker was the District Church Supervisor. He challenged us with, "Often it is not the happy who are thankful, but the thankful who are happy!" Each of the church's groups performed: the men, women, youth and kids. The youngest sang "This Little Light of Mine," with candles.
Accompanied by worship music, our elder's daughter Joy used her tambourine to give praise to God. Her tambourine's colorful ribbons scattered in the breeze, writing "Jesus Loves You" in the air. At Christmas, even the winds breathe praise to God, their Master!
A Time For Love
"Christmas is a
Our 120 Barner Learning Center children sang to their parents, with hand motions, that Christmas is a time to focus on Jesus, who showed his love by leaving heaven to be born in a manger for us.
At the tail end of the presentation on our outdoor stage, it started raining, so the families gathered in their kids' classrooms to exchange presents and to eat. "Where's my gift?" asked our own little PJ. His "secret pal" was late with his gift, so PJ had no wrapping paper to pull apart in anticipation. Yet in the nick of time, his gift (a book) arrived. He had me read it to him over and over again.
The school's 36 poor sponsored children also would've had no gifts, except that many families in the USA gave funds so that, through the giving of toy helicopters, dolls, clothes and books, the kids could all see that "Christmas is a time for love".
"Merry Christmas, Sir, Ma'am. Peso Please!" 500 children stood begging with these cardboard messages written with charcoal and crayon, in their hands. We passed these who had palms stretched out to cars that passed by, hoping that one would throw a coin out a window. This was the scene during the 3-hour trip over cement, dirt or gravel roads to our sister Anilyn's wedding in the foothills of volcanic Mount Apo.
Our van carried the bridal party over the rocks and mud, in and out of deep ruts cut by heavy rains. Passing coconut trees, banana plantations and lush rice fields, we arrived at the rural church. Our son PJ was ring bearer in his transparent Filipino embroidered barong (shirt). Elvie, in red, was Emcee.
During the ceremony, a pig roasted over a fire of sticks and dried coconut husks back at the family farm. One man wiped the sweat from his forehead as he slowly turned and basted the pig hour after hour while it hung with a spike through his mouth and out his tail.
Drowsy relatives stirred other meat from five pigs and a goat which were chopped up and mixed with spices the long night through. Steam rose from huge wicker baskets lined with banana leaves and filled to the brim with boiled rice. Hundreds of chicken coop black flies had first dibs on the white frosting of the cake.
Just 2 days previous, we'd been to another wedding, that of BLC teachers Bing (Maribel) and Bong (Raymond). Bing is PJ's Nursery II teacher, so he came right up to the stage behind the altar as the bride and groom said their vows! He "helped" the minister!
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Last edited September 02, 2002