October 17, 2008th Year of Our Lord
HALBROOK REPORT: 31st PHILIPPINE TRIP JULY 31-AUG. 22, 2008
When Jim McDonald first took me to the Philippines in 1995, doors of opportunity for spreading the gospel and fields white unto harvest were abundant. My 31st trip July 31-August 22 found the doors still open and the fields still ripe. Kurt Jones of Dumas, TX made his first trip and proved to be a faithful and effective evangelist. I taught 46 times and Kurt a similar number. We counted 78 baptisms and learned of additional baptisms before and after going home.
August 1 Northwest Airlines flight 71 from Detriot, MI arrived in Manila at
9:30 p.m. Saturday Atoy Franco picked us up at 9:00 a.m. for an hour’s
drive to the Kapitbahayan church in Navotas where we began preaching. Ben
and Elias Cruz preach for this church of about 125 which has just recently
built its own church building after 35 years. I spoke on “Walk in the
Spirit Not the Flesh (Gal. 5:16-26),” then held an open forum. After Kurt
spoke we had another open forum. One was baptized.
Sunday Atoy took us to Kapitbahayan which had a packed building (125-150) at
the 7:00-9:00 a.m. service. I preached “Now I Know Thou Fearest God (Gen.
22:12)” and Kurt “A Willing Heart.” We hurried to the small PhilAm church
for a 10:00 a.m. service where Louie Bautista preaches. They meet in the
home of a wealthy widow who is a fanatical Catholic while she visits her
husband’s grave Sunday mornings. Her son obeyed the gospel and married a
Christian. Kurt preached but our service was cut short when a phone message
said she was coming home early! The saints in “Caesar’s household” must
have suffered similar challenges (Phil. 4:22).
Lordy Salunga from Tarlac, Tarlac planned to join our Sunday trip to Iloilo
City to help in teaching classes, but a severe allergic reaction to
penicillin hospitalized him. As we prepared to fly from Manila to Iloilo
City, we began rearranging our class schedule to cover his material.
At 9:00 p.m. the plane reached Iloilo City, the capital of the Province of
Iloilo on Panay Island, a gateway to the Western Visayas (group of islands
in the Visayan Sea). Roman Catholics and Baptists dominate the region. Jim
McDonald and myself have baptized denominational “pastors” in the area.
Jack Jaco from Victorias City, Negros Occidental has made follow-up visits
here. August 4-8 was devoted to intensive classes for preachers. Of the 42
who attended, 35 received sets of Bibles and study books, so several just
took notes as best they could. Normally, the class is reserved for
brethren, but for the first time about half the class was made up of
denominational preachers. Much of what we are teaching is in direct stark
contrast to what they have been taught and what they have been teaching!
We had eight classes per day following the outlines in the workbooks and one
additional evening session using the reference Bible, concordance, and Bible
dictionary. Classes ran 8-10 hours each day. The teachers were Jonathan
Carino from Cebu City, Cebu, Kurt Jones, and myself. We rented a cheap but
adequate room at an older hotel. My first lesson summarized “The Message of
the Bible: Salvation in Jesus Christ,” followed by “The New Testament
Church,” laying the groundwork for other detailed lessons. They learned how
to study the Bible, how to apply Bible authority, and how to analyze
denominational error. Three “pastors” were baptized; others were convinced
but struggling. Thanks to Rex Luceno and Sonny Pacli-an for helping with
advance preparations. Follow-up teaching is planned.
On Saturday (Aug. 9) we flew to Cebu City on Cebu Island and on to General
Santos City on Mindanao arriving at 12:30 p.m. At 4:30 we proceeded to the
Balite church in nearby Lagao where 80 year old Ricardo dela Cruz has
preached for many years. He held a scruple that the Lord’s Supper should be
eaten at night rather than during the day, resulting in tension in the
church. I preached on “The Authority of Scripture” including commands and
liberties, aids and additions, and essentials and incidentals. These
principles were applied by showing that the Lord’s Supper can be eaten any
time during the 24 hours of Sunday. After some discussion Ricardo was
satisfied. Sunday the brethren ate the Lord’s Supper together and embraced
each other with tears because they were now united.
Sunday over 100 souls worshiped at the Magsaysay church in the countryside
near Koronadal City in South Cotabato Province where Carlito Abella
preaches. Because of the growing Muslim problem, I spoke on “Jesus Christ
or Mohamed?” Kurt visited the San Filipe church where Rosaltio Nardo labors
and four were baptized. They joined us for the afternoon session and he
preached on moral issues. Many young people were present and the audience
was very attentive. It was a good day!
We traveled Monday two hours from General Santos City to Islan in Sultan
Kudarat Province to speak to 130 people gathered in the King’s Room at the
Provincial Capital Building. This free venue was arranged by Pepito
Hidalgo, a provincial chaplain, formerly associated with the “one cup”
faction of the church of Christ. Chaplains’ duties include giving comfort
to the bereaved and giving lectures on moral values on behalf of the
provincial governor’s office. The mixed audience included Muslim imams
(leaders, teachers), so I spoke on “Jesus Christ or Mohamed?” Jesus Christ
is the Son of God and the last great prophet, but Mohamed does not meet the
biblical criteria of the final prophet. Quotations from the Koran show why
he used the sword in spreading his religion and why Muslim terrorist
activities continue today. I emphasized that the death of Christ as a moral
necessity in the divine government of the universe: It proves both the
justice and the mercy of God. Islam denies that Christ died on the cross
(some of them claim that actually Judas not Jesus was crucified!). Islam
offers no alternative addressing the moral necessity of a perfect sacrifice
for sin. Kurt emphasized the need for godly living.
The Muslims asked probing questions during the open forum. The Governor
himself is Muslim and imams complained to his office. Pepito was fired from
his position the next day for endorsing what was preached! While we were in
the Philippines Muslim rebels drove people from their villages, pillaged,
and took over land, leaving160,000 persons displaced and homeless. Our
brethren at times go into these areas and preach (and some Muslims attend
our lectures), resulting in conversions.
Tuesday (Aug. 12) we preached at the Banga gym in the South Cotabato
Province to about 300 people, many of whom were tribal people from the
mountains, requiring the lessons be translated into their dialect. Rosaltio
Nardo arranged this venue with the help of such men as Arnolfo Langit,
Venancio Godwin, Danny Calis, and Melchor Mandac. Ten people were baptized.
The next day’s venue was at the Seguil church building where Daniel
Guindleman preaches. There was an overflow crowd of 80 present. People
stood at the windows and listened under a plastic arbor extension at the
backdoor. Kurt preached on morality and I preached “Rejoice in the Lord
(Phil. 4:1-9).” Three souls confessed Christ and were baptized in the ocean
behind the building.
After moving our base to Davao City, we learned our Thursday appointment at
M’lang in the interior of Mindanao was cancelled to avoid the risk of Muslim
rebels. Friday we taught at the Icdang church in Kidapawan City in North
Cotabato Province where Leo Obrador preaches. At the invitation one man
asked prayer for family problems and eight confessed Christ and were
August 16-17 was scheduled with the Downtown Davao City church of Christ
with Juanito Balbin. I preached a basic sermon entitled “Jesus Came to Seek
and Save the Lost,” which was summarized in the dialect by Juanito. Kurt
spoke on baptism and Julie Notarte summarized his lesson. Other lessons
focused on the church and the need to be steadfast. There were 34 baptized
(area brethren had brought visitors). Sunday Kurt preached here again and I
worked with Ben Canada at the oceanside where about 30 worship; five were
baptized. Late Sunday we flew to Cebu City, Cebu Province.
Monday we preached at Bogo with Guildardo Suico whom we converted in recent
years resulting in a new congregation. Tuesday found us at Catmondaan
working with Jun Daligdig who was converted in our Cebu City meeting last
April. He has started a new work. Wednesday was spent at
Mandaue City with Roy Matta whom we converted last year, resulting in
another new work.
The next day we returned to Manila and flew home the 22nd. What a wonderful
privilege God has given us to share in these labors and to encourage
dedicated Filipino saints! I thank God for fellow laborers here in the
U.S.providing generous financial help, moral support, and prayers!
In Christian love,
PLEASE PASS THIS LETTER TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SPREADING THE GOSPEL IN THE PHILIPPINES.
October 18, 2008th Year of Our Lord
I am grateful Jim McDonald introduced me in 1995 to Filipino fields fertile
for sowing the seed of the kingdom of God! By God’s grace I am planning my
32nd trip (Nov. 29-Dec. 19). Steve Wallace recently returned from many
years of preaching in Germany and works with the Eastside church in
Fairmont, WV. Having preached in the Philippines and other nations, he is
very familiar with the challenge of preaching Christ in foreign cultures. It
will be a privilege and a joy to labor again with him.
Filipinos are sinners like all men, but they are also warm and receptive
toward Americans, and hungry to hold and hear the Bible. Most cannot afford
a Bible and their hearts leap with joy when they receive a copy or hear it
taught. Bible study materials are highly sought after and greatly treasured
by Filipinos. I distribute as many Bibles and study materials as possible on
every trip. While this creates a financial burden (I am always behind on
the bill), it is a joy to struggle with such a “burden.” It is truly a
privilege to provide God’s Word to waiting hands and hearts.
The Republic of the Philippines is the world’s 12th most populous nation
with 90 million citizens. Religious darkness pervades this nation which is
90% Catholic and 10% a mixed conglomerate of paganism, denominationalism,
Islam, and general unbelief. Worldliness and corruption of every kind are
rampant. Many are disturbed by the blatant immorality of the Catholic
clergy and others chaff at the weight of denominational yokes. The rising
Muslim threat disturbs them, and some Muslims are weary of their own
violence. All in all, these conditions make a fertile field for preaching
the gospel of Christ in its original purity, simplicity, and power.
We will focus on Mindanao, the second largest of the islands. It has a huge
The first week of our trip will be based in Davao City, one of the largest
cities in the world. Ben Canada was converted a couple of years ago.
Serving as the mayor’s chaplain gave him contacts with all kinds of
denominational preachers. After he invited many of them to hear us teach,
they have been pleading for him to arrange another session. I will teach
them a series of lessons on “The Authority of Christ” and Steve will
likewise present basic lessons contrasting New Testament Christianity with
denominational errors. Our open forums produce probing questions, but most
of them are truly inquisitive rather than belligerent in nature.
Many have been converted in the General Santos City area, but it has been
plagued by some preachers not living worthy of the gospel. Several have
committed adultery. We have confronted and exposed men who needed to
correct their lives. This time we will teach a five-day series on the home
and family aimed at shoring up morals and marriages. Not only must sin be
condemned, but also saints must hear constructive lessons on how to replace
the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit.
Our remaining time will be spent visiting churches, edifying brethren, and
seeking to convert sinners. Even denominational churches invite us to
preach to their people in their buildings!
We must go because the gospel must go to lost and precious souls. Financial
help from churches and individuals is essential if we are to go. Donors
always receive a financial report (2 Cor. 8:21). More importantly, your
gifts “are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God”
(Phil. 4:18 NIV).
The same thing is true of saints supporting Filipino preachers (remember the falling dollar hurts them).
May I hear from you soon if you are able to help?
In Christian love,
3505 Horse Run Ct.,
Shepherdsville, KY 40165-6954
(Phone 502-955-1748 or 957-6726; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org )