March 3, 2007 *February
26, 2007 * February 25, 2007 * February 20, 2007
March 3, 2007
The weather here is extremely warm. Typically traffic is
terrible compared to either Atlanta or Los Angeles, but we are blessed in
having an experienced and capable driver in Brother Gene Gonzales. We
returned just this morning from Isabela, having visited brethren in that
province which is located some twelve hours north of Olongapo, the
city from which we most often operate on the main island of Luzon. The
Macuram church in Isabela appears to progress, but the church at Victoria is in
need of assistance. We have arranged for two brethren from Macuram to
alternate going there every other Sunday in hope that this will render necessary
If the Lord will, Brother Wayne is scheduled to speak tomorrow at Masinloc,
about two hours north of Olongapo, while I am to speak at Kalaklan (Olongapo) in
the evening. In answer to several inquiries I will likely speak on
Revelation 20 and possibly Daniel 9.
Lack of employment is an extremely serious problem in these islands. It is not
at all unusual for Filipinos to contract for work in such places as Arabia,
Singapore, and China and be away from home for two to sometimes six years.
We hope to leave Olongapo Monday, spend the night at Manila, and depart very
early Tuesday morning for the States.
Thanks so much for your assistance, concern, and prayers.
February 26, 2007
Harry has requested that I submit something regarding the trip
up to this point, so I will attempt to share with you our journey. Two
weeks ago leaving from Atlanta we arrived in Detroit with a two hour layover 25
degrees and snowing and then the long dreaded trip for 15 hours arriving in
Nagoya, Japan with a 2 hour lay over, reboarding and flying for another 5 hours
finally reaching Manila around midnight. After locating our luggage,
clearing customs, catching a cab, we finally arrived at our hotel. We
were able to rest in a bed after leaving Atlanta 30 hours earlier.
The bed felt great if only for 5 hours. Our flight would be leaving for
the first island at 8:20am for the beginning of a journey! I have
been to Korea as well as Japan but somehow time has remained frozen here in the
Philippines. Hard to think frozen when the temp hovers in the 90's during
the day. I believe progress is further along in Africa than here.
Terrible roads which require hours to travel short distances, people living in
thatched huts with no water or electricity and the sanitary conditions cannot be
described. Fortunately we have been able to find accommodations each night
for as little as $12.00 to $18.00 with a few places being a little more, but the
good thing is when we paid more we were able to receive lukewarm water for a
shower as well as an egg with coffee for breakfast ( quite a contrast from cold
water out of the tap). If you love rice then you would be in rice heaven!
Rice is available breakfast lunch and dinner. We have eaten twice at
a McDonald's and twice at a Shakey's Pizza parlor, but food is
expensive----$8.50 for us to eat a plate of spaghetti with a salad, no drink.
The interest rates to borrow money for a motorcycle or car is 57.42%, and I
was afraid to inquire about home mortgages. But through all of the
pollution, dirt, and anything other descriptive words you would like to add I
have found some of the most exciting Christian people that you will
find anywhere in the world. Yes we have encountered many who have asked
for money---the requests have been for as little as $2.00 to take a small child
to the doctor---yes a $2.00 office visit and maybe another $1.00 for medicine,
the requests have probably not been anymore than a total of $300.00 but to see
the ones the money has been requested for, you would probably have written
a blank check! It will humble you. I'm so thankful to call
America my home. On the other side of it all, I have learned that a
lot of the churches date back to the early 1920's and even a lot of the newer
ones date back to 1980. That says a lot since Harry and Bill first
came over about 12 years ago. Many of the members are like walking
concordances, you name something and they will tell you the scripture.
They are well studied, yet desiring to learn more.! Most studies
were on the one cup, class system, and divorce/remarriage. They are
standing for the truth but just like everyone else they are in need of
encouragement. Liberalism is not isolated to America it is pushing over
here. There are liberal churches in America sending money and men over
here which are working hard to break the brethren down but they are
determined to stand for the truth. In the Philippines we have only
a few men who are receiving support (some as little as $25.00 a month) for
travel expenses to teach. Yes these people are doing a lot with what
they have but they still need that extra encouragement to continue and hopefully
that has been and will remain our mission and goal for coming to the
Philippines. Yes, we will continually be asked for medical assistance and
maybe even 7 to 10 peso's ( 48.25 peso's equal $1.00) for a bus ride back to
their village. So I guess the ! peso's that we have handed out
thus far for transportation and to hopefully help make a difference in a
few sick children's lives, I guess that has been the price I've paid for getting
my batteries recharged on this trip. We have another week to travel until
we return home, both Harry and I appreciate your prayers and your thoughts while
being away from our families. I only wished others could experience the
love and kindness of these people.
Fayetteville Road Church of Christ
TO THE BRETHREN
departed from Iloilo on Saturday morning, flew the 35 minutes to
Cebu, changed planes and then flew the 55 minutes to Puerto Pricesa.
Five brethren from this island of Palawan were at the airport to
greet us. After settling in our room at the Legend Hotel we all went for
lunch at the Warf Restaurant, where Wayne had heard there was good seafood.
Wayne and I enjoyed grilled tuna - plus salt water muscle and ginger soup,
seaweed (as a vegetable), and other mixed vegetables and a large shrimp.
During and after lunch we engaged in some serious discussions, to a great
extent our inquiring as to conditions here. Fred Abisit, one of the
long-time influential leaders, does not appear well to Wayne and me.
He speaks very softly and appears to have little energy. He clearly
maintains, however, strong convictions regarding classes and women teachers
and divorce and remarriage. The congregation with which we labor here at
Puerto Princesses is faithful in following the Bible pattern, but
here there also exists two digressive congregations. We assembled here
this morning (Sunday) with a most responsive group which almost filled the
room they rent for P500 ($10.00) each week at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon we proceeded south some 90 km (about an hour and a half
over rough roads) to meet with the congregation at Narra, the first
congregation established on the island of Palawan (1960's). The
regular morning service was conducted as usual, but since our visit had not
been scheduled, another assembly was arranged for 2:00 PM. The
meetinghouse was literally filled at this unexpected meeting. This
served to emphasize the interest and dedication of those who compose this
Palawan is a long, narrow island situated in the most southwestern
part of the Philippines. There are sandy beaches and fishing huts all
along the shoreline and abundance of banana and tall coconut palm trees.
A mountainous ridge splits the island and there are congregations also on the
western shore beyond the ridge. There has in recent years been
discovered a tribe of people living in a remote area along this western side
of Palawan. These are evidently not such as were the Tassaday people supposedly
discovered a number of years ago, reported by THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
MAGAZINE, and which proved to be a hoax, but these appear to be genuine. Some
items found in their caves have been dated to about nine hundred years ago.
Brother Efren Garcellano has baptized one man on the island of Cuyo, a
mission point in which he has been working for fifteen months. The three
who compose the congregation there assemble in the new brother's house.
Efren desires to continue his work in hope that his labors will be rewarded in
time. He informs us of much opposition. The Catholic priest has
even acknowledged Efren's work publicly from the pulpit, stating that his
teaching is in error and should be rejected. Even the family of Brother
Efren's wife has opposed him. Brother Efren continues, however, to
engage all who will in private studies. We have agreed to continued support
of his work there for the next year.
If the Lord will, we depart from Palawan tomorrow and make our way by air and
bus to Olongapo on the largest island of Luzon. There are a number of
congregations on Luzon with which we hope to visit and encourage.
We were deeply saddened by the e-mail news of the passing of both Brother
Homer Holland of Selma and Sister Williams of the Valley congregation in Alabama.
I had spoken just recently with Brother Holland by telephone and with Doris,
his wife, just a few hours before we departed on this journey. I am
pleased to have had the opportunity a few weeks ago to see Sister Williams
when attending a meeting at Valley. Both were dedicated and very
faithful disciples of our Lord. Their presence will surely be missed,
but thankfully their influence will continue to encourage the righteous.
In event you might wish to know, Brother Wayne just yesterday purchased a cell
phone which can be reached here in the Philippines by dialing from America
011-63-9-212-856-522. May the Lord's blessings be with you all.
February 20, 2007
are surrounded by the warm seas of Southeast Asia, almost half-way around
the world from Atlanta. On this journey far from home, it is indeed a joy
to have as my valued co-worker from Atlanta, Brother Wayne Moore. Wayne
has several times journeyed to work among the brethren in Africa. His
experience, wisdom, and dedication is a definite asset to this present mission.
We are presently on the island of Panay where a number of congregations exist.
The largest and most influential is at Clingnog, the home also of Chris and
Premie Amihay and their five children. This family has been most
instrumental in spreading the gospel message and encouraging disciples at many
places to stand firm in following the Bible pattern. Meetings for
the past three days have been well attended, with the beautiful little
building filled. Singing here is in English, but prayer and teaching is in
their native Cebuano or Ilongo. My teaching, of course, is with an
interpreter. Brother Wayne was scheduled to speak on Sunday, but his
translator apparently felt inadequate and instead taught in his own language.
For some time we have realized the need for a vehicle in the work here at Panay.
After considering several vehicles at various places on the island,
a clean Mishubishi was located and Brother Wayne purchased it on Saturday.
This sedan was owned by the dean of a near-by college who, with his children now
on their own, no longer needed this third vehicle. This professor
requested Wayne to come and speak to his students, an appointment which will
likely be filled next Friday! . He also requested for the college library
a copy of my bo ok, THE ETERNAL PURPOSE, which is being used among the brethren
here in the Philippines.
Several years ago Brother Bill Yarbrough and I visited in the rugged mountains
north of Clingnog. This is beautiful country where are located several congregations
of the Lord's church. Here is also found lush forests, coffee, bananas,
and streams from which one may enjoy without concern cool, fresh water from the
numerous streams which flow from the mountainsides. But conditions have
drastically changed! Where there was peace and tranquility there is now
danger and fear. The communist New Peoples' Army, a Filipino rebel group,
has infiltrated this once friendly area. Our brethren come and go
freely because they are local and offer no threat - but Wayne and I are prime
targets and are strongly warned not to enter that territory. Brethren have
instead come down to visit with us. Moslem terrorists continue to bring havoc
to the southernmost island.
Poverty is evident here at every turn. A twenty year old female student at
a local college both cooks and serves at a local hamburger stand. She
earns 21 cents per hour. Jobs are extremely difficult to find and many succumb
to leaving the Philippines to obtain work in China, Singapore, or Arab
countries. Many of our brethren suffer from lack of employment and,
consequently, have difficulty in providing food, transportation, and medical
needs for their families. Just yesterday we aided five brethren with funds
for medical expenses and today two families for food. Gasoline cost
$3.07 per gallon.
We intend, if the Lord will, to depart tomorrow by ferry for the island of
Negros and visit among the disciples there.