November 15, 2018

HALBROOK REPORT: 32nd PHILIPPINE TRIP

December 28, 2008th Year of Our Lord

32nd PHILIPPINE TRIP  NOV. 29-DEC. 19, 2008

Dear brethren,

I thank God for permitting me to join Jim McDonald on my first Philippine trip in 1995 and for permitting me to complete my 32nd trip November 29-December 19, 2008. As the years have passed, the opportunities have increased. Filipinos cry, “Come over, and help us,” and truly the fields are “white already to harvest” (Acts 16:9; Jn. 4:35). Steve Wallace of Fairmont, WV was my faithful co-laborer on this trip. Steve is mature in faith and flexible in working arrangements. We know of 36 baptized immediately, and others followed. I taught 53 lessons not counting private sessions, and Steve taught a similar number of lessons.

After arriving in Manila on Luzon late November 30 and sleeping a few hours, I was accompanied the next day by brethren Atoy Franco and Jaime Battung to the Kapitbahayan church in Navotas where Ben and Elias Cruz preach. About 120 souls gathered to hear two lessons on “Two Attitudes Toward God’s Word: Conservative VS Liberal” followed by a lengthy open forum. My dear friend brother Jaime Bobis was present in a wheelchair, recovering from a serious stroke. Thank God the life of this talented and faithful brother was spared!

Brethren Atoy Franco and Jaime Battung are relatively new converts interested in starting a new congregation in Makati, Manila, which they have discussed with Ben Cruz and Elijah Sikat. Atoy and Jaime are opening new doors in Manila. To learn more they went with me on Tuesday (Dec. 2) as we flew to Davao City, Davao del Sur Province in southern Mindanao and met other men who would help us in our work: Jonathan Carino and Jhun Apatan from Cebu City (Cebu), Ramon Carino from Pagadian City (Zamboanga del Sur, Mindanao), and Jack Jaco from Victorias City (Negros Occidental).

The next day I preached out in the countryside at Marilog in a denominational building (Happy Christian Bible Centered Fellowship Church). “Pastor Abon” is the preacher and the contact was arranged by brother Ben Canada. Ben was converted a couple of years ago and is opening new doors for us. This nice building was built by funds from Korean Presbyterian missionaries. They build such buildings for denominational and independent groups throughout the Philippines. About 160 attended our all-day session which involved seven hours of translated teaching on “Jesus Came to Seek & Save the Lost,” “How Sinners Receive Salvation,” and “The Gospel Makes Us Right with God.” Two open forums yielded a good mix of questions. None were baptized but this was an important new opening for us.

Steve Wallace arrived in the Philippines and caught up with us for the two-day session Thursday-Friday at the Faith Tabernacle Church in Davao City. Again, Ben Canada opened this door for us. Steve preached on such themes as the inspiration of Scripture, the two covenants, conversion, and new life in Christ, and I presented a six part series on “The Authority of Christ” contrasting New Testament Christianity with Catholicism and denominationalism. The open forums included questions on homosexuality, Christmas, tithing, women preachers, instrumental music, unity in Christ, prayer for the sick, speaking in tongues, the proper use of the OldTestament, etc. Six were baptized.

Saturday-Sunday (Dec. 6-7) we worked with brother Julie Notarte at DigosCity, Davao del Sur Province. Saturday we preached first principle lessonsand held an open forum for a full house of over 100 people. Steve and I jointly discussed “The Deity of Christ” on a radio program for an hour in the evening. There were 22 baptisms this day. Sunday I preached a lesson of edification, “Safe in the Arms of Jesus,” and another seven obeyed the gospel. Steve preached in a jail service where many have been baptized and others are now ready. In the late afternoon we traveled to General Santos City.

Dec. 8-12 (Monday-Friday) was devoted to classes on the home and family in General Santos City, South Cotabato Province. Seventy brethren received the workbooks on Family Life by L.A. Stauffer and Harmony in the Home by Mike Willis, and others joined us as sit-in students. Over thirty hours were spent in this important study. Our purpose was to strengthen the homes of our brethren who preach and also to equip them to teach this vital theme to the churches where they labor. To maximize the effectiveness of the classes, we rented a function room at a hotel so the students could open their Bibles and notebooks at tables where they sat without the usual distractions of heat, rain, and noise.

Brother and sister Jolly Julom allowed many brethren to sleep on their property and also prepared meals for them with the help of several brothers and sisters. Jolly preaches for a congregation in Lanton not far from the hotel. This is a stable church meeting here since 2001 when Jolly was baptized. We learned the brethren were about to be ejected from the property and the building was about to be demolished. The land had been granted to them by a government sponsored agency, but someone later filed a case claiming the land based on a deed which the courts ruled was valid. Since the brethren could not pay the $9,000 demanded by the landowner, they were under court order to leave or be ejected by the sheriff. Jim McDonald, Connie W. Adams, and other faithful men have preached here through the years and we are now trying to raise the funds necessary to save this property for the brethren.

All who attended the classes were very focused and attentive. Wives who attended expressed their great appreciation for the lessons. After a couple of days of classes, a man left and we thought he was disappointed in the lessons. When he returned the next day, he said he had gone home to apologize to his wife without delay because he learned that he had not shown the proper love and honor to her required by God’s Word!

Jaime Battung is a former police chief. He asked to speak for five minutes. He expressed his gratitude for the hospitality shown to him by his new brethren and for all the lessons he had learned. As a policeman he taught himself never to cry, but, now, he said, he had learned to cry again.

I closed out the series by teaching “The Song of Solomon: A Celebration of Love.”

Saturday we flew from GenSan City to Cebu City and on to Iloilo City, Iloilo Province (Panay Island). Sunday (Dec. 14) Steve preached at the Liberty Garden Bible Church, Agape Christian International Ministries, Inc. in Pavia where Rex Luceno works and I preached at Boulevard Christian Church Praise Center, Agape Christian International Ministries, Inc. where Roger Toretapreaches. These men have been baptized into Christ and are trying now tobring their congregations to the truth. They have much to learn and are trying to learn. Steve and I were sick Monday and missed the trip to Talisay, Negros Occidental, but the Filipino brethren carried on without us in a fine way.

Denominational pastors from Iloilo were invited to join us for two days of study in a function room at an older hotel and 68 attended. Tuesday-Wednesday (Dec. 16-17) Steve and I presented first principle lessons covering the plan of salvation and refuting premillennialism and Calvinism. We had a wide range of questions during the open forums each day. We were well received and several are asking for follow-up teaching. Armando Elocendo was a Baptist preacher from a tribal area and he was baptized the last night in the ocean nearby. He assured us he can gather 1,000 souls to hear the gospel in his area if we can go there in the future.

Thursday (Dec. 18) we flew to Manila and went straight to Christ’s Fishers of Men Christian Church in Paranaque City, Manila where Ben Hur Pineda preaches. This was arranged by Jaime Battung and Atoy Franco, and Ben and Elias Cruz joined us. Battung and Franco family members and denominational pastors attended, and we were very well received. We have been invited to return and teach them more. This is typical of the reception we receive in denominations, and actually we cannot accept all the invitations we get to preach in various denominational churches. This is one reason we must continue going to the Philippines to preach the original gospel of Christ to sincere souls groping in darkness to find the truth.

We returned home exhausted and exhilarated! As Paul had a vision of a man pleading for help in Macedonia, we too hear the voices of Filipinos crying out, “Come over and help us” (Acts 16:9). So long as God’s providence opens the way, we must answer their cries by proclaiming the unsearchable riches of the gospel of Christ to them. May God bless all of you who are helping us to go and answer the cries of weary sin-sick souls in the Philippine Islands!

In Christian love, Ron Halbrook

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