Monday, February 27, 2012

Another update...

Here is an update Dad wrote:

Today, as the long black, American-made hearse, pulled slowly out of the tiny parking lot of the Riverview SDA Church, John Bradshaw’s warm New Zealand voice sounded from the loud speakers hidden somewhere beneath the hearse’s black panels.  The drivers had been instructed to tune their radio to 101.9 FM, the HCBN (He’s Coming Broadcasting Network) broadcast that Aileen Jamandre helped to start.  It was a fitting postlude as her body was borne away to its final resting place to await the resurrection.  

Friends and family from across the Philippines and some from abroad, came to the funeral of Aileen Jamandre who died Monday morning, February 13 of aneurism complications.  Aileen helped to establish the Riverview Adventist church and Academy, where her funeral this morning was held.  Among the many other ministry projects she promoted, was the fledgling PAFCOE Evangelism School.  She even enrolled herself as one of our first students.  Though she is gone, she has left a legacy that many of her friends and family are committed to continuing.

Last week, we had a most interesting experience—an hour-long visit with the local city mayor!   Aileen’s brother (Boyz) is married to a medical doctor who was a classmate of the local city major, so through that connection, he was able to set up an appointment.  Since the mayor has recently had some health challenges, he was open to meeting Dr. Blessy Varona from Manila, the doctor/nutritionist who led out with our Health Expo last week.  

Dr. Blessy together with her son David, Boyz, and I, arrived at the mayor’s temporary office, which is in the same mall where our Health Expo and Prophecy Seminar is taking place.  After going through security, we waited in his busy office complex, surrounded by city officials and secretaries, all involved in running the local city government.  One of the secretaries took down our names and occupation on a sheet, and we were seated in front of the mayor’s huge desk and large chair.  The chair sat strangely vacant, and we assumed that the mayor was in a side room, meeting with someone else.  

Presently, we were informed that the mayor had decided to see us at his private home.  We smiled at one another.  Originally, we had thought that we would only get a few minutes with the mayor, but this was a good sign, meaning that he actually wanted to spend some time with us.  

One of his private body guards accompanied us out into the mall, and after a few more minutes of waiting, we were instructed to meet the guard in the parking lot.  Outside the parking lot, another guard got in the car with us, and guided us to the mayor’s private residence.  

We arrived outside of a modest looking compound, with little sign of official status except for the guard watching from across the street.  A servant motioned for us to take a seat at an elevated veranda overlooking the river.  We assumed all the while, that we were waiting for the mayor to arrive from his city office.

After waiting for a few minutes, a servant beckoned us to come into the mayor’s house.  When we stepped inside, there was the mayor, seated in his living room in his pajama pants and a tee-shirt!  He had been there all the while, rather than at the office.  

The mayor apologized for his appearance, and said that he was sick, and that the office environment made him cough.  So he had stayed home.  A classmate from medical school (the mayor was originally planning to be a doctor, but dropped out after three years to pursue politics) with her daughter was there visiting, but they shortly excused themselves.

The mayor, though sick, was interested in meeting us, especially Dr. Blessy.  When Boyz raised his camera to take some pictures, the mayor quickly decided to put on more official attire!  Minutes later, he came back from the bedroom looking very sharp, in a collared tee-shirt designed like the Filipino flag.  Beside the logo of the Philippine islands was a large “M” for mayor.

At first it seemed that the mayor was too busy to really visit.  He couldn’t seem to get away from his phone—receiving and sending text messages.  However when Dr. Blessy set up her micro-circulation tester and the mayor caught a glimpse of his blood circulation on the monitor screen, the doctor had his full attention.  Mayor Jed is diabetic, has high-blood pressure, and has been told by his cardiologist that he needs to get on an exercise program.

Mayor Jed asked Dr. Blessy, “Are you a medical doctor?”  

“No” she replied.  “I am a doctor of Public Health, and a licensed nutritionist.”

“Oh,” said the Mayor.  “That’s what I need—a nutritionist!  We need a good nutritionist here in the city.”

Mayor Jed asked many questions, and was so impressed with what we were doing with Health Expo, he made arrangements for Dr. Blessy to give a health lecture to all his office staff the next morning.  He also set up another appointment on Friday morning, for the doctor to lecture to city officials and leaders from the various districts of Iloilo.  

The following day, after Dr. Blessy’s lecture at the mayor’s office, one-hundred-forty-five people came through the Health Expo screening, ninety-five percent of which were city officials and secretaries! Praise God for the many opportunities that He has opened for us through the health message.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support!
Your friends,
Pastor Lowell, family, and team,
PAFCOE (Philippine Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Health Expo in Iloilo

This has been a very busy week for all those involved in the PAFCOE program! Every morning we had classes as usual, but instead of selling books in the afternoons, we’ve been doing other outreach activities!

Every afternoon for the past week, we have been having a health expo in an empty part of the Robinson’s Mall, complete with all the check-ups, banners and everything! All the PAFCOE students have had a chance to give a short 5-7 minute lecture on one of the 8 laws of health. They have done a fantastic job and are very enthusiastic and interesting as they speak!

But the most amazing part of all that happened this week, is that Dad, Dr. Blessey (the Doctor who’s with us from Manila for a week) and several others were invited to visit the mayor of Iloilo. Instead of meeting him in his office, they went to his home. He warmly welcomed them and they learned that he had health problems which could all be fixed by changing his lifestyle. They stayed at his home for about an hour – talking and sharing with him. The mayor is so interested in health!

He then invited Dr. Blessey to come to his office and give a health lecture to all his staff at the government place. So the next day she did. The mayor must have also highly recommended our health expo, as that afternoon, we had a great increase in the number of people who came through it! Over 150 people went through the health expo, and about 95% of them were the government workers! Praise God! They were all enjoying it and having a great time! In fact, they showed up at the health expo before all the workers and helpers could get ready!

Every evening, Dr. Blessey has been having health lectures in a hall and has been well attended. She talks about nutrition and other health-related issues. Sometimes there’s a cooking demonstration and tasting and other interesting things. It has gone over very well here!

Tonight we’ll be starting the evangelistic meeting. Thank you for your prayers that God will bring many people to the meetings and help them to be open to the good news of His truth!

So after the weekend, I’ll write about what happened! Below are some pictures from the health expo which took place all this week.

NEWSTART health expo at the Robinson's Mall

Taking blood pressure

Dr. Blessey doing testing on her machine that looks at the capillaries under the fingernail. Very interesting!

Long line of people waiting to get checked

"How tall are you?"

Getting counseling

Lots of the government workers were there.

"What does your blood capillaries look like?"

Body fat analysis

Philen lecturing on Exercise

Happy PAFCOE student!
Finding time to do homework, in between lecturing

Jeremiah enthusiastically lecturing on Temperance.

Julius talking about water

All the ladies in the green jackets are government workers.

"We need fresh air!"

Health age results

Joefer doing a talk on trust in God.
Truly health is the right arm of the gospel!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


This is an update that Dad wrote. 

Greetings from the Philippines!  PAFCOE (Philippines Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism) is starting its second week, and already is unforgettable.  On the second day of PAFCOE training, we came through a 6.9 earthquake.  I’m sure that it wasn’t quite that strong here locally, but at the epicenter 120 miles away, that was the number on the Richter scale.  Here it was probably closer to 6 on the scale—strong enough to shake everyone up, and not enough to do major damage. 

We were in class in the afternoon at the Riverview Church, when everything started moving and the chandeliers swaying.  Eugene Prewitt who was teaching Literature Evangelism said, “We’re having an earthquake!  Let’s get out of here.”  Since he grew up in Alaska, he knows what earthquakes feel like.  The swaying reminded me of an earthquake that I went through years ago in California.
We waited outside in the church’s tiny parking lot, watching the power poles swaying.  It felt similar to what it’s like to get off a merry-go-round after a good spin—like you’re not able to really get your balance.  The quake only lasted a few minutes, but we waited sometime outside, before venturing back into the building. 

My wife who was home at the time in the house we have rented on the edge of the city, called me very shook up.  I didn’t realize till later in the evening that the area where we are living is near a fault line, so the quaking was much stronger at home than at the church.  In fact, there are cracks now in the concrete walls of the house we’re renting!
Interestingly, the Robinson’s mall where we are scheduled to have our Health Expo and Prophecy seminar was one of the few buildings here on this island, damaged in the earthquake.  AND, the crack in the wall is directly behind the cinema hall we are scheduled to use for our meetings!

Back at the church on that shaky Monday, we hadn’t been inside too long, before we were all chased back outside by an aftershock.  We had several more that evening.  In fact my message during the week of prayer that night, ended with a strong aftershock!  That was an unforgettable experience—seeing the lights swaying, and the supporting pillars moving, and watching people get up and run out.  We ended the meeting with prayer groups, and many opted to pray outside!
A tsunami warning was in effect for several hours, but nothing ever materialized, since the earthquake was centered inland on the neighboring island, rather than at sea.

Now, barely a week later, actually this morning at 2:30 am, (Monday, Feb 13) one of our students passed to her rest.  Aileen Jamandre, one of our most enthusiastic supporters, and a key leader here in the church, died of an aneurism in the ICU unit of a local hospital.  She was admitted early Sunday morning with chest pains, and was soon in ICU.  This morning, she was gone.  Her loss is deeply felt by our students. 
Aileen was a key promoter and organizer of the local HCBN television network, and a visionary for local evangelism.  A business woman together with her siblings, the Jamandre family, she signed up to attend PAFCOE, as much to support the program financially as to sharpen her own skills in personal evangelism.  She leaves behind two children in their early twenties, her mother (the church’s and PAFCOE’s local matriarch), her brother Boyz, the director of HCBN TV, and two sisters—one here locally and the other in the States.  Needless to say, our PAFCOE class was not as cheerful today. 

We started out with around 30 students registered, but several never came, and now one is sleeping in Jesus, leaving us with around 25 very dedicated students.  Our oldest is 66, and the youngest is 17.  Each afternoon we have the students out on the streets of the city, either distributing flyers for the up-coming meetings, or selling books.  They come back in the evenings excited for what God is doing through them.  Several had even gotten Bible studies from their book sales. 
What makes our Literature Evangelism training even more amazing is that when we started, we didn’t even have books to sell!  Thanks to Aileen who is now sleeping in Jesus, we came up with about 13 boxes of the “Story of Redemption” to sell, and more books are on their way.

Overall, our students are enjoying the program, and we are thankful for the team that God has put together for this AFCOE School here in the Philippines. 
Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

 Your friends,
Our home is on the right.
Lowell Hargreaves and family and team.

Below are some pictures from our time here:
Some cute little baby goats who were only the size of a cat!
The road where we go walking along the floodway that leads to the sea.
Passing out health expo flyers

First day of class in the RiverView Church
Dad teaching class
These aren't the best pictures, but we'll upload more later on which are hopefully better!

Monday, February 13, 2012

How fragile is life...

Today I realized how fragile life really is.

                   How a person can be here one day and gone the next...

How the people we love and often take for granted can be taken from us very suddenly....

          How we should live each day as if it was our last one here on earth...

Very early this morning (around 3:00am), one of our dear PAFCOE students went to her rest in Jesus... Here's the story:

She was seemingly in perfect health all day Sabbath and was her usual happy, cheerful self. She was a good leader in her church and also in her family's business and ministry.  A real joy to be around, Aileen Jamandre will definitely be missed by her family, church friends, classmates and teachers of PAFCOE.

Sunday morning, very early, Aileen Jamandre had terrible chest pains and was taken to the hospital. I don't understand all the details of how everything happened, but it seemed she had a heart attack or stroke. (Some of the details may not be totally correct, but this is my understanding of what took place.) Her blood pressure went down to 40/40... She was admitted into the ICU very shortly after entering the hospital. After class in the afternoon, Dad and I went to visit her in the hospital. I was not expecting to be let into the ICU, but after waiting for what seemed like an eternity, we were! Mr. and Mrs. Prewitt, Dad and I and Aileen's Mom donned some strange gowns and entered in to see her. She was just about to have some procedure that I'd never heard of before, but the Doctor allowed Dad and the rest of us to speak a few words to her and pray with her. She was conscious and seemed glad we were there. Dad prayed with her and encouraged her. As we were leaving, her blood pressure was going up and everything was looking favorable. It might be a long uphill, but we felt she was on the road to recovery!

Then early this morning, we received the text message that Aileen Jamandre at age 52, had passed away. She'd had kidney failure and was not able to recover from it. She left behind two young people in their early twenties or late teens (I'm not totally sure).

Her loss is deeply felt here in Iloilo, but we know she made her peace with God and we will see her in the resurrection! Praise God for the hope we have of Jesus' soon return, when we will meet our deceased loved ones and friends again!

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." Psalms 116:15.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Earthquake pictures...

Yesterday between our classes, one of my students showed me some pictures of the results of the earthquake on the nearby island. I was told that the island affected (Negros) was only a 2 hour boat ride away. So the earthquake was closer than I thought! Here are some pictures I saw on the Internet.

Broken bridge (many bridges collapsed)

I didn't realize it was so severe!

Sadly, three of our Adventist churches were completely destroyed. Some people from here in Iloilo are going to Negros Island soon to help out wherever they can. Please keep them in your prayers and all those who were affected.

Praise God that we didn't have any severe damage here in Iloilo! A few buildings have cracks and a few other minor things were damaged, but it wasn't as severe here. Many people are "shook up" and we know they will be more open for the gospel message, which will be soon preached in the middle of February here in Iloilo.Yesterday was our first day of sending the students out to sell books and over 70 books were sold and another 20 were given away. Praise the Lord! They all came back so excited with the stories God had given them! I'll try to get some pictures of our outreach for another post.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Only 3 hours after I wrote the last post, the city of Iloilo experienced an earthquake! All the students (and some of the teachers) were sitting in class (in the RiverView Church, where our classes are held), listening to Mr. Prewitt teach us about the principles for how to make a book sale at the door. Suddenly my bench began to shake and I thought that the lady sitting beside me was moving too much and making the bench move. Then I saw the chandeliers swinging from the ceiling and realized we were in an earthquake!

Everyone realized it at the same time and immediately class ended! We all ran outside away from the buildings, but the shaking continued! The ground underneath us was moving, as if we were on a ship. I really thought I was on a boat in the middle of the ocean! (I had never experienced an earthquake before, so this was all new for me!) I'm guessing it went on for about a minute and we all stood around outside and waited to see what would happen next. I was praying the church wouldn't fall, though I didn't see any other buildings around us falling.

Then as suddenly as the earthquake had come, it ended!  We waited around outside for awhile and then resumed classes, only to run outside again when a strong aftershock came about 15 minutes later. Another aftershock came after awhile, but it was very minor and we stayed inside for that one. We found out later that it was a 6.9 earthquake at the epicenter, though I'm sure it wasn't that strong here.

The earthquake's epicenter was about 100 miles away on another island. You can read a report of the earthquake there at: .

We thank God so much for keeping us safe here in Iloilo! Earthquakes of that size aren't common here, but God is so good in not allowing the earthquake to have been more severe!  We lost power for several hours, but thankfully it's back on again! Let's pray for all those who lost their homes or loved ones in this earthquake. This is just another sign that Jesus' coming is near!

"...There shall be... earthquakes, in divers places." Matthew 24:7.

Let's be ready! :-)

Classes have started!

Yesterday, classes began here at PAFCOE and it has been so exciting! About 30 students have enrolled and we've heard that there are more who are coming. We are so blessed to have Eugene Prewitt here with us! He has been teaching how to do literature evangelism. Tomorrow afternoon, all the students will be out in the community, selling books.

We have students from all over the Philippines and many of them have amazing stories about how they got here! One of them is as follows: There were two girls from southern Philippines, who wanted to come, but were hesitating because they didn't have the money for their tuition. They called the registrar and were talking about how they didn't think they could come. He asked if they had already bought their plane tickets to come and they had. He told them, "Just step out in faith and come anyway and God will provide the money you need." They were nervous to come without the money they needed, but decided to come.

When the girls got here, they registered and (I don't know all the details), but God provided all the money they needed! Their tuition is all paid and they are rejoicing that God made a way for them to learn more about how to do soul-winning!

Many times this is the way that God works. He wants us to step out in faith, trusting that He will provide for us. Sometimes we find it difficult to do this, but God has never failed anyone who trusts in Him!

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." 
Phil. 4:19.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

God cares for us!

Today God taught me an important lesson through a little, ordinary sparrow. I was sitting on my bed, working on which classes I will be teaching for PAFCOE (and other things) and feeling very overwhelmed with all there was to do and so little time to do it. 
As I sat there, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a sparrow had flitted by and landed on the ledge just outside my open window. But I was busy and didn't pay much attention to the little bird. He just stayed there and didn't fly away, though I'm sure he could see me. The thought popped into my head that God was trying to encourage me through him, but I didn't think much of it and went on with my work. 

When I moved a bit, the sparrow flitted away and I forgot about him. But in a few minutes, he was back and sat in the same spot as before. Before he had been quiet and just sat there, but this time he started singing! He opened his little mouth and just sang and sang to his heart's content. He was truly praising the Maker who had given him life!

Of course, it was just a sparrow’s song and not particularly that melodious, but he sat there for a long time (probably only 3 minutes), just singing. As I watched him pouring out his heart in song, I was touched with such a simple, little thing. A Bible verse came to my mind which says, "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."

If God loves and cares for such a small sparrow, He cares about each of us and our problems so much more! God knew I needed that little encouragement and I thanked Him for caring so much for me! I know He will help each of us with whatever life should bring us! 

I pray God will help each of us to do our part in bringing sunshine and cheer to the lives of those around us! :)

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.