And so, it has begun!
Another session of PAFCOE has begun!
And our hearts are full of gratitude and praise to God for bringing us another great group of students to work with!
The days and weeks that preceded PAFCOE’s starting date of August 8, 2013 were filled with preparing many things. The jobs the staff were involved with ranged from cleaning the kitchen, to making bunk beds for the men’s dormitory, to fixing up a room for a new classroom, to printing textbooks and syllabi, to taking care of the student’s applications and so much more; each of them had their assigned tasks to ensure everything would be in readiness for the coming of the future students. Everyone pitched in and worked hard and praise God, it was mostly done when the students started coming!
As the students began arriving, our staff were busy picking them up from the airport, boat dock and bus station at all hours of the day and night, finding places for them to stay and getting them settled. Most of our 36 students came from different places around the Philippines, but one student came from Botswana (Africa) and one came from the US. We are so thankful for each one God has sent us!
As we interacted with them, learned their names and found out more about them, we began to realize that most of them shared a common problem.
Most of them came by faith.
This means they have little to no money and are simply trusting God to provide their tuition and other expenses here at PAFCOE. All of them have a desire to work for God and are praying that He will provide all their needs. And He will! Let me share with you a story of one of graduates from the very first session of PAFCOE. This is his story in his own words:
“I’m Jeremiah, an ordinary boy, a sinner saved by God’s grace.
I was raised in the Philippines by parents with very different religious views and grew up in a very different way from what God intended. But when I reached my 15th birthday, I was baptized and committed myself to the Lord. As I was growing in Christ and learning new things from His Word, God touched my heart to follow His footsteps and reach out to others. I saw how His love for me and everyone else is so great!
As I studied the Bible and the book The Desire of Ages, God showed me what He wanted me to be – a worker for Him. I really struggled with this, because I feared being rejected and despised by others it I shared Jesus with them. I became even more troubled when I started to see that I didn’t know even how to start in reaching my neighbors for the Lord. Many times in my prayers, I cried, pleading with the Lord to teach me and use me.
Then one day, an answer came!
A friend told me about PAFCOE. I immediately thought this would be a great opportunity for me to be trained, but I hesitated due to the $600 (25,000 pesos) tuition fee. So I started asking God, ‘If this be Your will for me to go, I know you will provide.’
My friend urged me to send in an application, which I did and was soon accepted. But day after day went by and I still had no money for the training. I began to think that maybe God had a better plan for me and just kept praying.
A month before PAFCOE started, I still had no money. PAFCOE’s program coordinator called me and said this, ‘Remember, if it’s God’s will, He will provide – so just take the step and believe by faith!’
His words touched me so much that I was encouraged to take the step and go to PAFCOE and trust God for where the money would come from. Then I began praying that God would provide the money I needed to get from my home to the training (about an hour’s plane ride away). I told Him, ‘If it’s Your will, then please provide me the money to travel there.’ In just a few days, some friends helped me with that very need and I knew God wanted me at PAFCOE!
But money wasn’t my only problem… I needed the Lord to work in my parents’ hearts to allow me to be gone from home for 4 months. As I shared with my Mom about my future plans, amazingly, she gave me permission to go! A few days later, I talked with my father and he also gave his permission and this encouraged me even more to go forward, knowing this was God’s will for me.
So I prepared to go to PAFCOE. One week before classes were to start, I still didn’t have the money for the tuition. I continued praying for God to provide for me. However, classes started and for the whole 3 months of the training, there seemed to be no answer to my prayer. I had no close friends to ask for help, nor a rich relative to provide my needs, but I kept believing God would do something for me!
When the time came for us to go out and do our own seminars, I wondered what God had in store for me. I kept praying and claimed the promises that He is able to provide and do miracles – even today. I felt peace in my heart.
Just before we left the class for our own seminars, Mrs. Hargreaves told me one night that someone from the US had stepped in to sponsor all my expenses. I was so overjoyed! God really does do miracles today! I was so thankful to Him!
Today, after graduating from PAFCOE, God has placed me in a position of great trust. I am currently the president of a campus ministry, where I am seeking to reach students and young people like me with the skills I have learned during my training. PAFCOE has helped me to reach more souls, but it has also transformed my perspective for my whole life.
Even though I was the youngest of our class (only 17), in God’s eyes, I was never the least. He always cared for me as if was the most important!”
My friends, most of our graduates have had stories like this of coming by faith and God providing their needs. Now we have another group of dedicated students who want to be trained to be effective soul-winners for Him. If you would like to help out in sponsoring a student or helping to be part of someone’s miracle, just let us know by emailing my Dad’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Next week, I will be updating you on what else is happening here!
God bless! :)