Report of the Philippine Field Department - April 2015
Dear Praying Friends,
October 10, 2014
Greetings to you in Christ's name!
We are thankful that we visited South Cotabato and the Sultan Kudarat Mountain churches and surrounding regions. Many more places need to be visited. When we climbed up the high mountain in our vehicle, there was much rain and landslides, and sometimes we used the four-wheel drive, just to cross a flooded road. Twice I rode a horse to get to certain areas. I enjoyed it, though I was very slow.
A verse that encourages us. I Timothy 2:3-5--3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.
People are really hungry for God. If they would be properly approached they would respond positively to the claims of Christ. I saw it first hand. In spite of the coldness of the wind, rain showers, and distance from their homes, the people hiked through the mud and darkness and attended the evangelistic meetings. Videos are well received and they were amazed with the film in their Hiligaynon language--although they understand Cebuano and Tagalog languages. Even the tribes of UBO Manobo and T'boli speak the language, though not fluently. We are happy that we gave Cebuano booklets that will serve as follow-up to our gospel presentations. And now, I am making additional follow-up materials in Cebuano with the photos that I took in their place. Few of them have reading materials. The children will read them to their parents.
Many places do not have electricity. Some electrical posts are already standing but no power yet. Almost all of the villages have the solar power lights in certain areas. They use kerosene lamps and flashlights. Very hard to find a cell phone signal in the Lake Sebu area. The Agriculture there is super but less profit because of the high price of seeds, herbicides, fertilizers and other overhead expenses. We need to teach them farming God's way. In January 2015 we are scheduling for this.
Church members are encouraged in their Christian life when we visit them. For thirteen years we did not meet. New churches were established and some old churches have few people worshiping. There are improvements in some places. The Deputy Supervising Minister of the area is Pastor Jun and Corah Maglasang. He oftentimes rides on his “Missionary Horse” but when the destination is accessible by motorcycle he will travel that way.
Here are some of the photos that I got there. Hoping that you will have a glimpse of these places and remember these people in your prayers. May God richly bless you.
In His love,
Field Director Eufracio Pielago | April 2014;
52 TCM IGBI STUDENTS GRADUATED THIS SCHOOL YEAR - 31 YOUNG MEN AND 21 YOUNG WOMEN, or a total of 52 students, marched for graduation on their respective campuses this year. These young people were trained for four years in four TCM residential Bible schools to become pastors and Bible women. These new graduates will join more than 600 TCM pastors and Bible women who are already serving the Lord under various department of the Mission. About 85 percent of TCM workers are involved in ministry activities in the field, while about 15 percent are involved in ministry activities through the various Mission departments (Field, Finance, IGBI schools, Radio, Youth, Missions, Literature, and Children). The four Bible schools this school-year has a total enrolment of 186 students, from first year to fourth year. Other students are also being trained in the field through the Field Bible School – a training program that reaches out to laymen in the local church for local church leadership. We sincerely acknowledge the hard work of our workers who are involved in training men and women for the expansion of the ministry. We also recognize the individual members, churches, and brethren – both local and foreign – for their great contribution in supporting the needs of these Bible schools.
BLESSING – 23 NEW TCM CHURCHES PLANTED IN ONE YEAR! - NINE OF THE 23 TCM Ministry Districts in the Philippines planted 23 new churches from January 2013 to March 2014. This was recently reported by the supervising ministers of the districts. Locations of these new congregations are found in the following places: Gingoog City, Mis. Oriental; Diplahan, Zamboanga Sibugay; San Isidro, Pitogo, Zamboanga Sur; Pagtilaan in Surigao Sur; Kalingayan in Agusan Sur; Mabaros in Compostela Valley; San Andres, Quezon; Bagtingon in Marinduque; Sta. Maria, Sibuco, Zamboanga Norte; Tibyawan, Ayungon in Negros Oriental; Nasunggan & Matauta in Tayasan, Neg. Oriental; La Union & Kauswagan in Cabadbaran City, Agusan Norte; Ampayon in Butuan City; Himamaug in Taganaan, Taganito in Claver, & Gasipan in Sison, Surigao Norte; Tanglaw, Sta. Maria & in Mitudlong, Taguranao in Cotabato; Malinis, Malungon in Sarangani; Tupi, South Cotabato; and, Sumilil, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat. Last year’s conference in Manila, 20 new churches were reported planted from January 2012 to March 2013. With this 23 new churches this year, the total number of TCM churches in the Philippines is now 465, from 442 last year. What a blessing from the Lord - a good reason to rejoice in Him, indeed!
TCM WORKERS' CONTINUING EDUCATION PROGRAM - This instituted program provides opportunities for planning the ministry and is designed to achieve the following objectives: to motivate the enhancement of advanced leadership skills of workers and lay leaders; to provide a forum on special problems workers and leaders face in the ministry; to cultivate deeper team building spirit among fellow workers and leaders; to refresh the commitment of workers and leaders to the existing plans and programs, policies, guidelines, and other Mission documents; to intensify the effectiveness and efficiency of workers and leaders in the ministry; to offer an opportunity for periodic learning and sharing of ministry experiences among workers and leaders; to encourage free and intelligent discussion of issues affecting the constituency and ministry of the Mission; and, to discover new ideas that would contribute to the expansion of the ministry. Training under this instituted program is done through seminars under the Grace School of Biblical Studies (GSBS). Featuring under this program is the advanced leadership training of workers and laymen covering a period of five years (2012 to 2017), after which students who could meet the prescribed requirements will be conferred with titles according to educational levels. Close to 500 TCM workers and laymen are presently enrolled in this school. 15 seminars are scheduled in various strategic places this School-Year 2013-2014. This five-year plan of training is in consonance with “TCM Impact: 7,725 & 115 by 2017” – a five-year church growth plan of the Mission. This training seeks to cope with the need of more workers to help in the edification ministry of the growing number of members in the TCM family.
1. TCM SUMMIT in Tagbilaran City, Bohol on April 14 – 15, 2014 (For TCM Board of Trustees, Department Heads, School Directors, Supervising Ministers, Deputy Supervising Ministers, and Designated Local Church Officers)
Expected Attendance: 120
2. 56th TCM GRACE NATIONAL ANNUAL CONFERENCE Bohol Cultural Center, Tagbilaran City, Bohol on April 15-18, 2014 Registration Fee – P1500.00 Theme: “Sustaining God’s Ministry…Till the Day of Christ” Philippians 1:10
Expected Attendance: 400 to 500 participants
3. NATIONAL GRACE YOUTH CONVENTION Keith Williams Bible College, Km 9, Catalunan Piquino, Davao City Date: April 21 – 25, 2014 Registration Fee: P500.00 Theme: Status: In a Relationship with God Expected Attendance: 400 to 700 participants
Speakers: Pastor Eufracio Pielago, Jr.,Pastor Gerson Bermejo, Pastor Ben Anderson Pastor Nathan Killion, Pastor Carlos Autida Pastor Joel Molina
First Hand Report on Typhoon Haiyan
Youth Director Jun Cadelina | November 24, 2013 Greetings to you in Christ's name, who is not willing that someone will perish but that all should come to repentance.
Sixteen days after the typhoon Yolanda I visited Leyte. I saw firsthand the devastation/damages incurred. How was terrible it was right after the typhoon. No electricity, roads blocked by the trees and electric posts, trauma in the lives of the people, no food, no shelter, hospitals closed and was damaged, no dry clothes, the peace and and order. Four days after the typhoon, food reached to some of the residents but the suburbs was neglected. Survival was in the instinct of the people. So, loothing had happened.
Every person/ Parents tried to look anywhere for food to feed their crying children. Sixteen days scenes was still terrible. The City was still full of garbage, many dead bodies were still found in the debris with the garbage. Good that the government has sent in policemen, military personnel, Doctors, helps from different government departments, International Communities /Agencies, Free airline transportation to manila and Cebu to the victims. Now about 7000 now being taken cared of in Cebu by the DSWD and thousands are in Manila. When I was at the City Terminal many buses are full bound to the provinces just to get out of Leyte. The whole province of Leyte, part of Samar, Northern Cebu, Northern Panay and Northern Palawan were very much affected by the typhoon.
Seven Grace Churches in Leyte collapsed. Some are not distinguishable anymore, totally flat. Their Livelihood on bananas cannot recover within eight months. Coconut farm cannot recover in seven years. Irrigated Rice farms could recover in six months but the non-irrigated in one year. We need to help in the putting up of the church buildings and in their livelihood to put food on the table. Grace members are very happy of the Food/groceries sent by the Cebu members in Carlock, Mandaue and Lapulapu. The TCM Team led by the Executive Director, Pastor Gerson Bermejo is now on the way to visit Leyte. Pastor Pielago for the Northern Cebu. A help was sent also to Northern Palawan and groceries to Northern Negros.
We need to pray for the lives of our members and the people. This month I will go back to Leyte to bring food, clothing from Northern Mindanao and some other things. The house of Pastor Carangue and household things destroyed. The house of Pastor Prudencio Honculada in Ormoc is leaking and the fenced destroyed. The house of Pastor Carpentero in Isabel has been totally destroyed. Bible Woman Impas' house partly damaged.
Grace Gospel Church of Christ, Molocaboc
Grace Gospel Church of Christ, Jordan, cut in half by trees.
Grace Gospel Church of Christ, Ormoc City
OUR DEEPEST APPRECIATION FOR YOUR SHARE
Field Director Eufracio Pielago | November 24, 2013 OVER 500 PACKS DISTRIBUTED TO TYPHOON VICTIMS – This number was distributed to TCM churches in northern Cebu (Tabogon, Sunog, Poro, and Villahermosa), Leyte (Palompon, Jordan, Lanipga, Hibulangan, Campurog, Matlang, Honan, Manticaa, and Ormoc City), Biliran Island, and Negros Occidental (Molocaboc Island) immediately after super typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan hit these areas.. The distribution of assorted food items is Plan A of helping our typhoon-victim brethren. Under Plan B of the Mission’s leadership is the allocation of certain amount to help the repairs/reconstructions of the damaged church buildings. And Plan C may be also considered to extend little financial assistance for repairs of damaged houses of church members. Plans B and C will depend on the availability of funds. We are grateful to the Lord for the churches and members of the Cebu Ministry District who immediately responded to the call of distributing packs of assorted food items for our brethren who were then suffering from hunger. We wish also to acknowledge the efforts extended during the entire phases of distribution by the following: Sanchez and Moquite families with the young people of the GGCC in Carlock, Cebu City; the Pilones clan(Engr. NiloPilones, Pastor JoelPilones& church members) of the GGCC of Lapulapu&Mandaue cities; and the GGCC under Pastor Joel Lamberte, Sudtonggan, Lapulapu City. The Mission’s leadership is also grateful to the Lord for the financial assistance from the various concerned Grace local communities in the Philippines and individuals abroad which were and are coming in through Pastor Ronnie C. Plale, TCM National Treasurer.
A VISION-CASTING VISIT!
Field Director Eufracio Pielago | September 24, 2013 We are happy and excited to inform you that Ma’am Joyce’s Philippine visit was very significant and worth-doing again! Her heart is for Missions and her spirit for it is very contagious. Her three-week visit has stirred up many hearts of both young and old for Missions.
The materials Ma'am Joyce prepared were Bible-centered and easily understood. The power point presentation on the ministries of the various TCM fields and target countries in Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam), Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, and Brazil was very informative, well-illustrated, full of challenge, and stimulating! The cry for help and challenge to get involved in Missions (written by the missionaries representing different fields) was straight forward, challenging, and heart-moving.
Special events covered by the itinerary of Ma’am Joyce included the following: seminars for faculty members and students of three IGBI campuses (Tagum City, Ozamiz City, and Bataan); two seminars for TCM pastors, Bible women, and lay leaders in Mindanao and Negros; fellowship meetings with church members in Dumaguete City; and a special meeting in Manila with prospective missionary candidates.
Her coughing was not a hindrance in performing her very hectic itinerary activities. The Lord has used her mightily! Ma’am Joyce’s visit, however brief, has impacted many lives for Missions. The visit was vision-casting and worth-doing again, indeed!
TCM’S TRANSITION OF LEADERSHIP
Field Director Eufracio Pielago | August 6, 2013
In line with the on-going process of transition of leadership in the Mission, the following were recently appointed by the board: MORITO REBANA, Assistant Executive Director; CARLOS AUTIDA, Assistant Chairman of the Board; and FELIX ROSALES, Assistant Corporate Secretary, respectively. In this set up, Pastor Rebana assists Pastor Gerson Bermejo; Pastor Autida assists Pastor Eufracio Pielago, Jr.; and Pastor Rosales assists Pastor Abundio Boco. Due to the “three-term limit” for board members, those who were elected in 2008 and serving their terms without interruption, are no longer qualified to run for re-election in 2014 conference. Three terms are equivalent to six years. Incumbent members of the board who are directly affected by the “three-term limit” are the following senior leaders: Bermejo, Pielago, Boco, Cadelina, and Sanchez. In anticipating the absence of the senior board members come 2014, the present board thought it wise to make an early appointment of “assistants” in order to sustain the normal function and flow of leadership in the Mission from the present and even beyond 2014. The “three-term limit” opens the door for “young blood" leaders to join the TCM leadership through the nine-member TCM Board of Trustees.
“GREAT” & FANTASTIC”!!!
Field Director Eufrancio Pielaogo | April 2013
These two words describe in a nutshell the recently held Manila TCM Conference. The 55th TCM Grace National Annual Conference in Manila, which was attended by 421 registered delegates, was well-planned and organized. We are grateful to the Lord for using the CLAG district to host this year’s conference. The executive committee under the chairmanship of Pastor Buddy Nabus and the working committees did really their best in planning, organizing, and executing the conference plans!
The battery of speakers led by no less than Pastor Ben Anderson, Executive Director of TCM-USA, was seasoned and complemented with energizing expositions of Bible truths around the theme, “Strengthening Partnership in Mission”. Conference main speakers included Pastors Genesis Maraat, Missionary to Thailand; Dean Padayhag, Missionary to South Africa; and, Gardner Improso, Missionary to Kenya.
Other highlights of the conference also included: various ministry reports, recognition of 15 new workers, and ordination of five pastors. The Manila TCM conference experience is truly worth-remembering, not only for the various delegations from Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao, but also for the guests from Indonesia (Lexie & Laura Gerung, Harold & Ella Sigar, Johan & wife Pandalaki, Berty Roeroe & son); Cambodia (Scruoch Sorn); Thailand (Genesis Maraat); Myanmar (Pastor Kenneth); Kenya (Gardner Improso), South Africa (Dean & Sheba Padayhag); and Australia (Missionary John & his son John-john Shriver).
The National Coordinator of this year’s national conference was Pastor Gerson S. Bermejo, TCM-Philippines’ Executive Director. The busiest and the most visible organizers of the Manila conference were: Pastor Buddy Nabus, Pastor Noli Buagas, Ma’am Glo Nabus, Ma’am Volet Nabus, and Pastor Robert Undag. Two descriptive words for the Manila conference: “great” and “fantastic”!
WARMEST CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR RECENTLY ELECTED NEW TCM BOARD MEMBERS!
Field Director Eufracio Pielago | March 30, 2013
The following were elected new members of the TCM Board of Trustees at the Manila conference: PASTOR MORITO REBANA (new); PASTOR FELIX ROSALES (new); PASTOR CARLOS AUTIDA (re-elected); and BRO. ISAIAS SARABIA (new). The first three members represent the clergy, while Bro. Sarabia represents the laity.
The TCM Board of Trustees is composed of nine (9) members: seven representing the clergy and two (2) representing the laity. The present members of the TCM Board are: Gerson Bermejo, Eufracio Pielago, Jr., Abundio Boco, Osias Cadelina, Jr., and Bro. Francisco Sanchez, Jr., plus the recently elected members.
Pastor Bermejo is the Executive Director; Pastor Pielago, Asst. Exec. Director & Chairman of the Board; Pastor Boco, Corporate Secretary; Bro. Sanchez, OIC Treasurer; and the recently elected new members, respectively. Please include these men in your prayers as they take charge of their responsibilities in running the affairs of Things to Come Mission, Inc., Philippines.
PASTOR SAGRADO L. IMPROSO, SR. –
AN EPITOME OF FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN LIFE AND SERVICE
He went home to be with the Lord at 9:10 a.m., Friday, May 3, due to a lingering illness; he was 71. (He is survived by his wife Augusta, daughter Dr. Ruth, and, Pastor Jun Sagrado.)
He served the Lord through TCM since he became a pastor early in the 70’s. As a pioneer worker for TCM in the Bicol region, he was involved in the radio ministry and church planting. His family moved to Bunawan, Agusan del Sur in the early 80’s and continued with his church planting ministry. Several churches were planted in the area.
His faithful service in the Lord through the Mission included the following responsibilities: supervising minister, long time member of the TCM board, national treasurer, and director of the finance department.
The productive 45-hectare rubber plantation of TCM is his “brainchild”. He was instrumental in initiating several moves to improve the financial condition of the Mission.
Pastor Sagrado is no longer with us physically, but his exemplary Christian life and service will continue to produce lasting results in many lives and for the Lord’s ministry through TCM in the Philippines.
He is now resting and enjoying in the presence of his Master whom he dearly loved and served.
Indeed, Pastor Sagrado L. Improso, Sr. is an epitome of faithful Christian life and service!
The Philippines is a unique country. It has a distinctive blend of oriental and western culture which is unparalleled anywhere else. The Filipinos are warm, friendly and outgoing people. They are quick to show hospitality to friends and strangers alike. Due to the influence of almost 400 years of Spanish control the Philippines is the only predominantly Roman Catholic nation in Asia although many of the pre-Spanish animistic practices and beliefs have been incorporated into the worship and ritual of Filipino Catholicism. The willingness of the Filipino people to accept western ideas as well as familiarity with Christian teachings has made the Philippines one of the most responsive nations to the Gospel yet at the same time the strong religious traditions have presented formidable obstacles to widespread acceptance of the message of salvation by Grace through faith in Christ.
From 1898 to 1946 the Philippines was controlled by the United States and the American influence is quite apparent in Philippine society.
The nation is made up of over 7,000 islands located in the South China Sea north of Malaysia and Indonesia and 500 miles west of Vietnam and Southern China. The islands are mostly mountainous with dozens of active volcanoes scattered throughout. The country is divided into 3 major geographic regions. In the north is Luzon, the largest of all the islands of the Philippine archipelago, where Manila is located. Most of the industry and manufacturing is in Luzon. The central region is called the Visayan Islands. Cebu, the second largest city and a trading and business center is in the heart of the Visayan region. In the south is the Island of Mindanao which is an area of vast natural resources and great potential. Mindanao is where most of the Muslim Filipinos live. Davao is the largest and most important city in Mindanao and is an important trading, industrial, and agricultural center.
There are over 75 languages and dialects spoken in the Philippines. The major ones are Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Ilongo and Bicolano. English is also spoken and understood by many Filipinos. The economy is based on agriculture and industry. The staple food is rice and the Philippines is the largest producer of coconuts and coconut products. Industrial products include textiles, steel, fertilizers and handicrafts. Most of the Filipino people are poor. Political instability and natural disaster have hampered economic development. Recently the Philippines has experienced relative peace and secure government which has helped to maintain a number of years of high economic growth.
In the late 1950's several Filipino Christian men answered advertisements placed in a Christian magazine by Herbert Palmer, the founder of THINGS TO COME MISSION. These men were sent Bible Study literature which explained dispensational truth and the uniqueness of the Gospel message entrusted to the Apostle Paul. Desiring to learn more, these men requested that a missionary be sent to the Philippines to teach the Bible and to help evangelize and establish churches.
Vernon and Darlene Anderson were the first missionaries to respond to the request in 1958. They were followed several months later by Joe and Pauline Watkins and other missionaries over the following years.
In 1959 TCM started INTERNATIONAL GRACE BIBLE INSTITUTE as a training center to prepare Filipinos for ministry in the churches which were being rapidly established throughout the country. The establishment of churches and the training of national leaders has always been the main thrust of TCM's ministries and IGBI has served as an integral part of that strategy for over thirty years. Each year, pastors, evangelists, and Bible teachers have gone out from the school to help reach the Filipino people with the Gospel. Several graduates of TCM's Philippine Bible Institutes have gone out as missionaries to other countries such as Kenya, Brazil, and Indonesia.
Throughout the years TCM has expanded the scope of its ministry to use a variety of methods to proclaim the Gospel in the Philippines. This includes translated and original literature, radio broadcasts, children's outreach, youth ministry, elders training centers, crusade evangelism and others. The main purpose for all of these methods is to aid in the proclamation of the Gospel and the establishment of God-honoring, doctrinally sound, self-sustaining churches with capable and committed Filipino leadership.