Wednesday, January 28, 2015

7th Session of PAFCOE has begun! :)

We are so excited to share with you that our 7th session of PAFCOE has begun on January 8 and the last 3 weeks have been such a tremendous blessing!

The Lord has given us 30 students who are taking the full-course program and 20 students who have joined the iShare program happening only on Sundays. This is the first program that we have no international students, but our students come from all parts of the Philippines and what a great group they are!

Many things have been happening here at PAFCOE since we began and we are looking forward for what God will do for us in the future!

Outreach has already begun and the students are finding many people interested in doing Bible studies! Soon some of their stories will be posted for you to enjoy!

Next week, our health expo will begin along with the prophecy seminar in which our students will be learning how to do a public evangelistic seminar for either the adults or the children. The area that has been selected as the site for the seminar is a densely populated area, so we are praying for a good number of people to come to the program!

Also another session of the Bible Worker Intern Program has begun, training PAFCOE graduates on how to be a successful Bible worker. This is a big program with 14 interns working mostly in the area of San Juan. This area has no church yet and though many efforts have been done to plant a church there, nothing has proved successful so far. By God's grace and the hard work of our interns, more than 250 Bible studies are being conducted all throughout that "hard" territory! Praise God! By His grace, a church will be planted in San Juan!

Everyone is looking forward for the arrival of Pastor Doug Batchelor, who is coming to Manila for a one week reaping series in March!

God has amazing plans for this session of PAFCOE! Thank you for your prayers and continued support! We look forward to sharing with you what God is doing here in the Philippines!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Just the help you need! (OJT – Part 3)

Just the help you need! Isn’t that what we need when we run into challenges or difficulties? Jasel and Apple found that out on their OJT, located on an island in the central part of the Philippines. Here is their story of what God did for them and how He provided just the help they needed!

Apple, the adult evangelist, said, “I was so happy when we arrived at our site and saw that it was in the countryside, surrounded by trees and mountains. But what was so amazing is that we were staying in such a beautiful house – the loveliest place Jasel and I had ever stayed in! God really prepared everything we needed!”

The venue
Her partner, Jasel, the child evangelist, said, “As we went out for flyer distribution, I felt so weak. Rashes appeared on my hands and feet and my face became reddish until I realized that I had measles. But I couldn’t let the devil win and so I just decided to keep pushing on and start my children’s program anyways. It was very difficult to teach the children while I was fighting the urge to scratch my itchy skin and my hands turning numb sometimes. I had to keep my distance from them because I didn’t want them to get measles, too. Finally, in about a week, I was so happy that most of my symptoms were gone and I was able to have more strength again!”

Jasel singing with the children
She continued, “But then what was so amazing was that God had been giving me just the amount of strength I needed to keep teaching. And He had placed His restraining power over the children to help them be quiet and listen so I wouldn’t have problems in trying to keep them under control. But as I gained strength, the challenges began! The children were getting to know each other and started making noise during the meeting. But God continued to give me just the help and strength I needed to meet their needs. Also in the beginning, the youth and church members came and helped me with preparing all the crafts so it wasn’t difficult for me to do it alone.”

God really provided just what she needed to continue!

Apple continued the story, “We knew the devil didn’t want us to preach certain topics. For example, the origin of evil topic, I had a severe migraine. I earnestly prayed God would take it away and by the time I started my topic, it was gone and I could present with courage!”

Apple preaching
Previous evangelists who had gone to that area had given away free gifts as incentives to keep people attending. However, it’s not the best way to keep an audience because the people aren’t necessarily coming for the truth – they are coming for the free gifts. During Apple and Jasel’s seminar, they realized the people who were attending were really coming for the Word of God – not something free to be given out. In the middle of their program, Apple’s grandfather died and while she was very sad about it, that didn’t stop her from continuing to preach God’s Word!

Another amazing thing that happened was that all during the week, there was no rain. But every Thursday (their free day), the rain poured so heavily they could not even go out. God was holding the rain during the week so the people could come to the meetings!

Back to the children’s program experiences, Jasel reports, “One night, I asked the children to stand for an action song and after we were done, the children were to sit down again. Some of them were refusing to sit down and I insisted they cooperate. Finally some of the other children pulled on those standing to force them to sit down. That made one boy off balance and he tumbled off the chair he had been standing on head first to the floor. The whole thing happened so quickly that I couldn’t believe it had happened! I ran to him and he was crying, but as I checked his head, I was amazed! No bumps, no scratches, nothing! I could only think of one thing: God gave me proof of His protecting power. I led the child to the other end of the room and had him sit down and he was fine. A week later, he still was fine and I praise God for keeping him safe!”

Day by day, the Apple and Jasel continued sharing God’s Word in their site and He richly blessed them! Apple said, “Though this is a hard area, there were people who chose to be baptized! I am so happy and blessed with the testimonies that they shared when we visited with them before they were baptized. We could really see the transformation in their lives! God is really working on their hearts! The backsliders were coming back to church again and there are so many other amazing things that God did during our time there! One of those who were baptized told me that he had almost been killed several times, but that God had saved him so that he could hear the truth and come to know the Lord!”

(From left: Apple, Jasel, the newly baptized candidates and Pastor)
The man who wrote the testimony at the left with Jasel and Apple.
Praise the Lord for those who chose to be baptized at the end of their program! One of them said, “My life before was so bad. But my wife-to-be invited me to the seminar and I came. There I learned that before I was even born, my Creator had thought of me and he knew everything about me! I learned that He is my friend and protector – the One I can turn to at anytime. When I learned so much about this loving Lord, I wanted to give my life to Him. I am precious in His eyes. That’s why I will not allow a single minute to go by without allowing Him to be my Savior and Lord. My life greatly changed during this program. What I once loved to do, I no longer do. I am so grateful to the Lord for sending Amazing Facts to this place to help me learn more about Him! The lectures were so clear and easy to understand and all from the Bible. Praise God for what He did in my life!”

Apple and Jasel's site were one of those who were praying the coming typhoon would not affect their baptism and final meeting. The waves at the beach were high, but that didn't stop the candidates from sealing their decisions for Christ that day!

It was so hard to believe at the end that they had really finished and God had helped them each step of the way. Yes, He had given them all the help and strength they needed to keep going! What was their advice to others?

“Surrender everything to God – even the challenges you face. Remember that it’s God’s work and He will never leave you. Don’t forget your connection with God and don’t get discouraged. God will use you mightily for Him!”

“Pray and trust God always. Have faith in His promises and everything will be just fine. Take every step, one step at a time, holding the hand of the Master Teacher and you will find true success and satisfaction in your work for God.”

Never fear, friends! God will give you just the help you need when you run into challenges! Take courage!

Monday, January 5, 2015

God’s Protecting Hand (OJT – Part 2)

Many times when we are working for God, His protecting hand is over us keeping us safe from seen and unseen dangers. Rujan* and Rob* were assigned for their OJT on an island in the southern part of the Philippines and what adventures they experienced there! Here are their stories.

Even during the first week, Rujan and Rob felt God’s protecting hand over them! Rob said, “Last Sabbath, we were invited to another church in another place. After the program, we were returning to the site for our evening meeting on 2 motorcycles. I was ahead of my partner, Rujan and his driver. I did not realize that we were in danger at that time! But suddenly 2 more motorcycles sped up behind Rujan and his driver and were trying to do something to be able to “kidnap” the motorcycle and take it away. We sped faster, hoping to reach the main highway where more people were so we would not be hurt as it seemed that the men could hurt us. Later we learned that these same men had killed several people earlier. It was a race for survival and we hurried to the main road. Soon we reached it and jumped off the motorcycles to ride a bus going to our site. Those people who were trying to overtake us stood around staring at us, talking in their own language and we didn’t know what they were saying. The bus soon came and we jumped on and praised God for keeping us safe! We soon found out that stealing motorcycles is very common in this area.”

That night their topic was the Bible Sabbath and obviously, the devil wanted to make problems and distractions for Rujan and Rob, but God’s protecting hand was over them and they were saved! But that wasn’t the only time God kept them safe. Because many of the children coming to Rob’s children’s program were coming from a place quite far from their site, Rob and some of his friends would bring them home every night. The road was very dark and the homes were very far, but every night the Lord’s protecting hand was over them. Rob made it a point to pray with the parents of the children, for which they were very appreciative and continued to let their children attend his program. More challenges arose when the electricity went off just as they were to start the program, but God helped them to be able to still continue anyways.

Rujan, the adult evangelist, said, “About halfways through my one month program, it was exactly 6:30 in the evening when I was ready to start and suddenly we heard gunshots nearby. I was tempted to be afraid, but remembered God’s promises and instead of fear, I felt peace. That night 2 men were killed (not at our site, but nearby) and our attendees were afraid to keep attending. Satan was really trying to cause problems! But we kept on praying and God kept on helping us each step of the way.”

During their visitation, Rujan and Rob found a lady who had just returned from a northern island where she had been working as a helper for an Adventist family. This lady had been observing the ways of the Adventists and was very impressed with everything she saw. But then, the owner had a relative who was sick and couldn’t afford to pay for his helper anymore and so she went home and that’s where Rujan and Rob found her. She wanted to attend the Adventist church and learn more about Him!

Rob was so inspired with the commitment of his children to the truths they were learning each night! When he challenged them to try a 10 day trial and put God first and many of them did! One girl started cooking some of her own food when her mother fixed food with unclean meat in it so she could follow the Bible.

But the most inspiring experience came the final weekend. Rob described it by saying, “When one of my students, a 14 year old girl, approached me late in the program and asked to be baptized, I was very surprised. She had wanted to be baptized before, but always said, ‘in the near future – not now.’ But the last Friday, she told me she wanted to be baptized that Sabbath and had always said in the future before because she knew that parents didn’t approve of her decision. After the program that night, I went with her to her house to talk with her parents. Her father said she could be baptized when she turned 18, not now. So I decided that the girl could not be baptized because we don’t want to baptize a minor without the parent’s consent. Sabbath came and the girl asked to go with us to the baptism and just watch and see what it’s like. But when we arrived at the site, I was surprised to see her stand in the line of the baptismal candidates. I asked her, ‘Why are you here? Your parents won’t allow you to be baptized.’ She looked up at me and said, ‘Kuya (older brother), no matter what happens to me, my decision is final and I must follow Jesus.’”

“I thought to myself, ‘Now I am in big trouble with the father. What will he say when he finds out about it? Surely he will get angry with me!’ Then I prayed, ‘Lord, please solve this problem that you will touch the father’s heart.' Soon the girl was led into the water and tears filled her eyes as the Pastor pronounced the vow before baptized her. That evening, I went with her to her parent’s home and all along the way, I kept praying for wisdom to know how to handle the father. I was so surprised with her parents’ reaction! They were not angry and the father said, ‘Well, if that’s your decision, we can do nothing about it. I don’t want you to stop learning and continuing to grow. Be faithful to what you learned.’ We prayed for them and left, praising God!”

He added, “I learned not to be weary in well-doing. Though every night, we walked about one kilometer sending the children to their homes, when I saw some of the baptized, it was all worth it! We visited with the parents, too and thus won many hearts. We never left their homes without a payer and though we were tired going back to our home, our hearts were full of happiness and joy!”

Over and over again, Rujan and Rob saw God’s protecting hand and care over them during their OJT. Rob said, “Always depend on what God can do through you! You might face giants, but go forward and God will take care of them! Sometimes God allows trials to come to us to help us look more to Him. He know that through Him, we can do all things!”

*Not their real names.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Visitation Works! (OJT – Part I)

Jeezrel and Fermin
The stories and experiences our PAFCOE students bring back with them are so amazing that we want to share some with you! In fact, there are so many that probably you will still be reading about them when the new upcoming session has already started! Here is the first one by Fermin, a young theology student who was partnered with one of our kitchen staff, Jeezrel for the children’s program.

Their open venue.

He was assigned in an island in the southern part of the Philippines and this is what he said the first week, “During the opening night when everything was ready for our start, it rained so hard. We were supposed to start at 5:30 but it rained and didn’t stop until 6:45, so we started soon after. We couldn’t continue when it was raining because we were using an open venue with no roof over it. But we still praise the Lord that people came! The rest of this first week, it rained every afternoon, but stopped before our program and continued after we finished! Truly God sheltered and protected us!”

Having an open venue is a challenging situation but God can turn that into a blessing by holding the rain so His Word can be preached! Later on, Fermin said, “I was so tempted to polish my sermons until late afternoon to be sure I really understood them and just forget about visiting people. But I decided not to do that. So we went with our Pastor to visit one of our church members in the area who was very old and not able to attend church anymore. We did worship with he and his family and I shared a devotional from the Bible. The old man said, ‘I was almost tempted to think that no one cared for me anymore since I have been in bed for 10 years now, but I’m so happy and blessed to have my fellow church members visiting me!’ Then I realized how important it is to do visitation and that in seeking the good of others is where true happiness is found. We started doing Bible studies with his wife who was not an Adventist and saw how hungry his family was to learn from God’s Word.”

During the time that Fermin and his partner were there in that town, a woman was stabbed and several others were killed and soon the rumor spread through the village that this was a cult and people became afraid to go out at night for fear of what might happen to them. One night, Fermin asked one of his faithful attendees if she was fearful to go out at night to their program. She said, “I don’t care if I am hit by a bullet or something else, because what’s important to me is to hear the Word of God.” What commitment!

Preaching in the church
When the program was moved to the church from the open venue, some of the people stopped attending, but still there were the faithful who continued on coming to the program. Fermin said, “This week, I really had to be dependent on God as I preached the ‘hot’ topics – antichrist, mark of the beast, etc. It seemed that I never had enough time to learn my sermon, but when I preached, it was so amazing! It was like it was not me preaching, but God through me. I learned that even if there’s not much time to spend on learning your sermon, if you do your best, pray and do visitation, God will bless you!”

During the last week, he said, “I was so touched when I found out that a lady I personally given the flyer to had come to all the meetings and was baptized! I never expected that someone I gave a flyer to would get baptized!”

The baptismal candidates and friends.
One of those baptized who wrote that last part.
Praise God for the souls who decided to be baptized! One of those baptized said, “I can say that the Prophecies of Hope Seminar gave me confidence to make my decision for Christ. I thank God for sending Amazing Facts to this place! Because of it, we know what the truths of the Bible are. God is so good to us!”

Yes, visitation is very successful! God used that personal contact to help to win souls for Him!

Friday, January 2, 2015

6th Session PAFCOE Graduation!

I am a bit behind in the posts, but since the 6th session is already finished and graduation was on December 10, I will show you some of the pictures that were taken from then.

Scripture Co-mission

Kevin, the outreach coordinator, sharing memories and miracles.

Pastor Mangiliman (Conference President)

Atty. Gizelle doing the offering appeal

Pastor Manez (Union president) was the commencement speaker

Happy student receiving his diploma

Group picture

Commissioning prayer

Marching out - so happy to have graduated!

Bible workers who finished their intern program with friends
Batch 2 friends

Batch 2 graduates who became staff with Michael and I.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year – 2015!

Philippine Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism would like to wish all its family, friends and supporters a very happy and blessed new year!

“Let us enter upon the new year with our hearts cleansed from the defilement of selfishness and pride. Let us put away every sinful indulgence, and seek to become faithful, diligent learners in the school of Christ. A new year opens its unsullied pages before us. What shall we write upon them?” (Our Father Cares, page 7.)

“The new year is just before us, and plans should be laid for earnest, persevering effort in the Master's service. There is much to be done to advance the work of God.”

Yes, friends, there really is much work to be done still to advance the work of God! Much work in the Philippines and around the world! At this time of year when most people are making New Year’s Resolutions to do better in the coming year, why not make a resolution to win someone to the Lord this 2015? If you don’t know how or where to start, why not consider enrolling in the next session of PAFCOE? Registration is still open and we are still accepting new students for the session starting January 8! If God is calling to you to join the program, we invite you to heed His call!

But most of all, may this new year find us trying earnestly to become more like our dear Savior – the one who gave His life for us. Let us seek to make this year the best year of all that we may be truly prepared to meet the Lord when He returns again very soon.

“May the beginning of this year be a time that shall never be forgotten--a time when Christ shall come in among us, and say, "Peace be unto you." John 20:19. Brethren and sisters, I [we] wish you, one and all, a happy new year.” (Our Father Cares, page 7.) 

Happy New Year!