Sunday, May 5, 2013

March 30, 2013

The few days (from March 20-31) that Pastor Doug and his family were with us here in the Philippines flew by much quicker than we liked. Days were filled with classes with our students in the mornings, appointments with important people, and the evening meeting every night at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

All too soon, March 30, our last Sabbath of his time here arrived. It was a bright, sunny day with only a few clouds lazily drifting by.  The day started early with our team and us arriving at the Amoranto Sports Complex at 7:15 am. There we joined the many other helpers who were busily preparing for the day's events.

We rented the Sports Complex because we were unable to find anything else available for a good price and that could accommodate the large influx of people we were expecting for that last Sabbath. It was an old stadium that would be able to seat up to 40,000 people, if necessary - though we weren't expecting that many!

I was very surprised at how early the people starting coming! Everyone was running around, doing last-minute things to make sure everything was ready for the starting time of 8:00 am. A number of different choirs were scheduled to sing and they were changing into their choir uniforms and practicing their songs.
One of the many choirs.

At last everything was ready and promptly at 8:00, the service began with several beautiful choir pieces. The main part of the Sabbath School program was the PAFCOE promotion led by Kevin, our outreach coordinator.

During this promotion, 3 of our graduates shared their testimonies of how God had blessed them in coming to PAFCOE, how He had provided all their tuition and needs and what they had been doing since their graduation. These are their pictures and a little about them:

 Maya - she was a 2nd session graduate who came to PAFCOE from the LIGHT training school and had no way to pay for her tuition. Yet she stepped out in faith and came anyways, and about halfway through the session, she found a sponsor who paid it all, praise God! When she went out for her OJT, she had some amazing experiences in seeing how God could overrule the devil's plans to stop the work of God and since her graduation last year, she had done several more evangelistic meetings and been very successful in her work for the Lord.

Joefer - he was a 1st session graduate who also came to PAFCOE without knowing where his tuition would come from. But praise God, by the time he graduated, his whole tuition bill was gone!  Though he had been a Bible worker, yet he still appreciated learning more tips and techniques for making his work for God more effective. During his OJT, he reported that while out visiting, preparing people for baptism, there was heavy rain in his area.  He knew that whenever there was heavy rain, the house that they were staying in, flooded.  He and his wife remembered that the two borrowed projectors they were using for the children’s and adult meetings were both sitting on the floor in different parts of the house.  Earnestly they prayed that God would work a miracle, and save the projectors from getting wet.  Upon returning to the house after their visits, they found the water was ankle deep in some places, but when they picked up the projectors, they found them completely dry, and the flour under them also completely dry!  After recovering the projectors, they proceeded to mop up 50 buckets of water from the rest of the floor!  God still works miracles today! Since his graduation last year, he has continued doing Bible studies and has been teaching others how to work for God.

Romelyn - she is a current student from this session and yet another of our many students who also came without her own way to pay for her tuition. Yet again, God covered everything she needed while being here. For about a year, she had been wanting to come to PAFCOE and praying about it and finally God worked everything out in His way and currently she is doing her OJT right now.

After their amazing testimonies, the children we had been working with came on stage and sang several of their favorite Scripture songs, including the whole 10 Commandments for the audience. Most of them were just street children, but all knew the songs very well and sang enthusiastically!

Then the Conference President gave a short sermon to close the Sabbath School and the church service started with a mass choir of several churches combining to sing the music. And what lovely music it was! Filipinos really know how to sing!

Before Pastor Doug's sermon, Dad had the privilege of introducing him to the audience.

Pastor Doug gave a very inspiring message about Mary Magdelene and shared how God can transform anyone into His likeness.

The stadium was very full! Though we don't know the exact number, most people estimate that around 7,000+ people were there! Several of the churches in the area closed their doors and posted signs that their service would be in the Amoranto Stadium that Sabbath.

After the service, everyone ate their lunch and gathered at the nearby swimming pool for the baptism. We praise God for the 143 precious souls who were baptized and added to the kingdom of God!

To end the Sabbath, Pastor Doug did one last sermon on heaven and inspired everyone to be ready to be taken there with Jesus very soon! After the closing remarks, many hundreds of people came to take pictures with Pastor Doug and his family and our family too.

And about 6:00 pm, everyone was gone, everything was packed up and put away and we praise God for what He did during that memorial Sabbath of March 30!

To see more pictures of Pastor Doug's time here in the Philippines, click here