February 1, 2019
Visit to the Philippines Marks 25 Years
From the Superintendent's DESK
Bill McKibben, Director of Asia Work, and his wife, Lori, accompanied by their daughter and her husband, Erin and Seth Morgan, have entered the second week of their trip visiting our churches in the Philippines and Japan.
Sunday morning, January 27, at the Bagong Sikat headquarters church, the service began with Sunday school. Before dispersing to classes, the general session included a medley of familiar songs, such as “This Train Is Bound for Glory” and “When the Saints Go Marching In” as well as exciting new verses to “I’m Gonna Sing, Sing, Sing.”
The morning service, which was attended by over five hundred people from many churches throughout the region, celebrated the second anniversary of the new headquarters building’s dedication, as well as the twenty-fifth anniversary of Brother Bill’s first visit to the Philippines. Sister Zenaida Ruiz, Philippines District Superintendent, offered a prayer of thanksgiving for the church building and for the many blessings God has given in the Philippines. Many beautiful musical selections were shared, including “Consume Me, Oh Lord,” sung by the choir, special numbers by the orchestra, and both an instrumental prelude and vocal duet from Seattle. Brother Bill preached from Isaiah 30:21, with Sister Imelda Lucero, co-pastor of our Raniag church, interpreting. He shared that although there are many voices present in our world today, we have a choice to listen to the Voice of truth. A wonderful time at the altar of prayer followed the service. Afterward, a time of fellowship and food was held on the church campus.
On Monday, pastors from around the region joined the group as they headed toward two of our churches in the province of Aurora. After a ninety-minute drive, their first stop was our church in Salay. Then, they travelled a short distance to our church in Cabituculan, where the saints had prepared a delicious lunch. After enjoying the wonderful fellowship, the group and saints from Cabituculan travelled a short distance to the city of Baler, where they had the chance to dip their feet in the warm Pacific Ocean. Monday night and Tuesday morning allowed for a much-needed time of rest and rejuvenation.
The group began the trip back to Bagong Sikat on Tuesday afternoon. Along the way, they stopped for lunch and fellowship with the saints at our church in Kaliwanagan, in the province of Nueva Ecija. This church is surrounded by fields of many crops including onions, garlic, and rice. The group also had the opportunity to sample many delicious fruits straight from the trees.
Wednesday was a busy travel day, with visits to three churches in close proximity to headquarters. The group began the morning with breakfast at our church in Parista. The breakfast was attended by many, including about fifty young people. The trees surrounding the church were decorated with many hand-lettered scriptures, in both English and Tagalog. After a time of fellowship, they travelled to our church in Tabulac, where lunch was served.
Later in the afternoon, the group visited our church in Maragol. As they arrived, the saints began a rousing rendition of “There’s a Christian Welcome Here” accompanied by guitar. After touring the church, many delicious snacks were shared as the group visited with the Maragol saints.
Finally, they returned back to Bagong Sikat for Bible Study, where Brother Bill continued an exploration of 2 Peter. He spoke about chapter 2 representing the “bad news” that judgment is promised for those who turn away from God and follow false prophets. He then shared that chapter 3 represents the “good news,” that the Lord has promised his soon return, which will be accompanied by a radical transformation of the heavens and the earth. After the message, many prayed at the altar.
The group is very thankful for the blessings that have been felt over their time in the Philippines. In total they were able to visit eleven churches, attend four services, and spend much time in prayer and fellowship with the saints. Today they will travel to Manila, and tomorrow they will fly to Tokyo, Japan. They plan to spend the weekend with the saints from our church in Kawasaki before flying home to Seattle on Monday. They appreciate your prayers for travelling mercies, and for the continued presence of the Holy Spirit in Asia.