Monday, November 19, 2012

What's happening at PAFCOE?

Here's an update Dad wrote:

Greetings from the Philippines!  What is happening at PAFCOE?  You’ve probably wondered on several occasions, and the silence from here may have heightened the mystery.  Yes we have been busy, but in a busy world, that seems like a poor excuse.  So we’ll just have to say politely, like they do so well here in South-east Asia, “We’re sorry, we’re late!”  Being late is much more easily forgiven here, than in the West.  Filipinos smile shyly and say, “We’re on Filipino time.”  That is considered an acceptable excuse for tardiness, but at PAFCOE, our students are required to be on time...  Looks like my PAFCOE journalism is hopelessly late!  Permit me to borrow another Asian expression – “Kindly forgive me!”

Our twenty-three students are on OJT.  That is short for “On-the-Job-Training” – which at our school of evangelism means a one-month evangelistic series in a local church somewhere in the Philippines.  Our students and staff are in 19 different sites scattered throughout the Islands of this tropical paradise, with a combined total attendance of over one-thousand adults in the adult evangelistic meetings, and even more than that in the many children’s meetings. 

Some students are thrilled with the numbers attending, some discouraged with smaller meetings, but all are facing the usual challenges of doing evangelism in enemy territory.  Last night one site sent us a message to pray that the pouring rain would stop so that people could come to the evening program.  About an hour later they sent another text, “Thank you for the prayers.  The rain has stopped, but now there is a brown-out (black-out).  Please pray that the power will come back on.”  We learned later that they had to conduct the meeting in the dark since the power remained off, but even that difficulty turned into a blessing, since the people were very quiet and attentive. 

This is the first week of meetings for our students in their sites throughout the Philippines.  For us, classes ended Oct. 31, and most of our students departed the next day on busses, boats, or planes, for their OJT sites.  For all of them, it is their first 4-week evangelistic series.  They had worked with us in our “training series,” and taken classes on public evangelism, but “on-the-job,” doing it “yourself,” is still the best training!

We conducted the “training meeting” from August 31 – Oct. 6 in an area of Iloilo where there is no Adventist church.  This was a 5-week evangelistic series, with our students as helpers, learning the art of public evangelism.  The meetings were in a covered gym with open sides, in what is considered one of the “roughest” and “poorest” neighborhoods of the city.  Now, praise-the-Lord, there is a new group of Adventists meeting in that district of Iloilo, and the little group of new believers is praying for God’s direction in building a church in their area.

The weekend that we finished that series of meetings, an American friend of ours started a four-week evangelistic series in another district of the city, and before he finished, his brother and family came to conduct a two-week series in yet another area.  When those two young men finished, a beautiful beach baptism brought more souls into the family of God!  Planning, preparing, and coordinating those meetings in addition to teaching classes at PAFCOE during the day, kept us “running” up until the time our students left for OJT.  When Jesus said, “Go,” I think He meant “run,” to save souls! 

Now we are on break—sort of.  We are back to “walking” and our students are “on the run” for soul-winning!  During this month, we will be traveling to Manila to lay plans for moving the PAFCOE school to that metropolis next year.  One of the central churches in Manila has invited us to come hold PAFCOE at their church, and conduct evangelism in metro-Manila.  We have seen God’s leading in that move, and are stepping forward with plans.  We believe that this will broaden the influence and opportunities of the PAFCOE training considerably.  When we initially started PAFCOE here in the Philippines, it was our vision to make the school “mobile” so that different areas of this country could take advantage of the evangelistic training being offered.  Now we are seeing how God is fulfilling that vision.

That is a “little update” from a “little country” in South-east Asia, but we extend a BIG “THANK YOU” to all those of you who have supported the evangelism work of PAFCOE!  “Thank you” to those of you who have sponsored worthy-students.  “Thank you” to those of you who have sponsored this school.  The average cost for all 22 of the evangelistic meetings this session (including our main meeting) was just over $1000 per meeting.  We’ll update you when our students finish their meetings, what the final outcome of souls is.  At any rate, even one soul is an investment that heaven paid the “highest price” for.  “Thank you, and thank the Lord!”

We’ll share some stories about our training meeting in that “rough” district of Iloilo, in our next report.  It won’t be next year either—I promise!

Best wishes for now!

Your friends,

Pastor Lowell & family & PAFCOE staff