Title: Serving for the glory of God
Main Sponsor: Bob Jones Memorial Bible College
Venue: Gospel Light Baptist Church, Philippines
28 May to 30 May 2013
Taking off 27 May
It only seemed like yesterday when we first heard about this Bible conference to be held in the Philippines. After signing up for the trip, we were hoping that more would sign up but nonetheless we were thankful that Brother Chew’s boss eventually approved his leave application at the eleventh hour; and that Samuel could join us for the full trip.
With much anticipation for the refreshing and rejuvenation of God’s words, apprehension of the extreme hot weather and possible anti-Chinese sentiments owing to the recent island spat between China and Philippines) and work burden for Chew, we were grateful to be on our way to the land of thousand islands. We were also thankful for the sweet fellowship of faithful brethrens and sister who sent us off at the airport, and for the assurance that the church was praying for us.
We touched down safely in the Philippines and were welcomed by Brother Cedric’s family. They were all waiting to pick us up to send us to the hotel. We marveled at the number of high-rise buildings which were mostly condominiums that had sprung up around the airport area. We were spared the notorious traffic jam as it was well after 10pm and with Brother Cedric driving like a local who knew the short-cut ways, we headed for our dinner/supper at a much-anticipated Jolly Bee outlet within one hour. With happy tummies, we headed into dreamlands to prepare for the great feast of God’s blessing the next few days.
Feasting on God’s words
We met Reverend Matthew Yong and his four church members at breakfast. Brother Alvin came to fetch us to the Gospel Light church. He was the gracious brother who gave his car for our use for the next few days. We got to the venue before 8am to get our badges and lunch coupons and then it was spiritual feasting time.
Some highlights of the spiritual feasts:
1. Servant leadership.
2. Glorifying God in the way you die
4. Making choices that transform your lives
5. Meeting Christ in all the Scripture
6. Trimming our tree
Ways to trim our trees:
7. Preserving and passing on fundamentalism to the next generation
Questions to help arrive at biblical boundaries:
a) Am I disobeying a clear scripture principle?
b) Am I disregarding any Biblical principle?
c) Am I being associated with worldly thought patterns of the day?
d) Am I being inappropriate?
On the sidelines
Usually we had a few hours off in the afternoon and so we took the chance to do some sightseeing around the area. We tried the local transport called the ‘jeepney’. It looked like a lorry but with a covered ceiling and two rows of cushioned bench. It was usually brightly painted and some were adorned with bold decoration. Some ‘jeepneys’ were even equipped with loud music apart from the roller-coaster like sensation when on board. Passengers could aboard and alight at anywhere and the fare ranged from 8pesos to 25pesos (about $0.25 to $0.78). Street and road paddlers were a common sight. They would literally go in between vehicles when they stopped at the traffic light junction or during a jam, trying to sell their goods. Another common sight here was every shop or café in the mall would be guarded by a security guard. Even the eateries like fast-food joints and restaurants on the main street also come with their own security guards.
Sightseeing and food
We were very thankful to have Sister Jenny working at the venue. We had the privilege to stay in the air-conditioned office during lunch times and many other times. We also got to sample home-cooked Filipina dishes as we had access to the kitchen, where the local leaders’ wives took turns to cook for the speakers. On top of these, Sister Shirly always had additional dishes for us, especially the vegetables from her parents’ place.
We had a free day before returning home, so Brother Cedric and family graciously took us to Tagaytay. The Filipino word tagaytay means ridge, in this case volcanic ridge.
It is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations because of the outstanding scenery and cooler climate provided by its high altitude. Tagaytay overlooks Taal Lake and provides one of the iconic views of the Philippines, the view of Taal Volcano Island in the middle of the lake, viewable from several vantage points in the city.
We stopped by Sonya’s Garden, an idyllic garden tucked away in the gentle rolling hills of Tagaytay. It grows its own vegetables and bakes its own bread and even provides spa facilities and Bed and breakfast service. We were recommended to try their Cinnamon raisin bread but it turned out that they had many more other varieties of bread and biscuits. We even had generous free sampling, each was offered a full regular-sized bread. Imagined how many yummy breads we could have happily chomped but we had to reserve our stomachs for the long awaited buffet lunch. After some exploration in the garden, we proceeded to their spacious restaurant. The tables were elegantly set, with embroidery table cloth and napkins. There were free-flow of sesame bread and salad with lots of condiments. The dishes include pasta with two kinds of sauces which were sun-dried tomato and chicken cream with mango, salmon belly, shitake mushrooms, ratatouille, glazed sweet potato and banana rolls with sesame and jackfruit. We had refreshing, freshly squeezed dalandan (green mandarin) juice along with our food. We thought we could eat no more but when we tasted their dark chocolate cake served with tarragon tea, we knew it must not be wasted.
After a hearty meal, we headed towards a lookout area to have a bird’s eye view of the volcano amidst the lake. It was a timely workout after the heavy meal as we made our way up the winding walkway. The wind was quite chilly and the view was breathtaking. If time permitted, we might venture to the volcanic island via a boat ride and experience horse riding on the island.
Till the next time
We thanked God for His provisions that we could reach the airport in time for the flight back. We were also indebted to both Brother Alvin and Brother Cedric & family. They were so sacrificial to give of their material goods and time to make our brief stay so comfortable and memorable. They were truly serving for the glory of God. A picture to take away to conclude the trip is this:
Serve and bear fruits for the glory of God!
Great links for missionary updates :
(Edelweiss Issue 10: June 2013)
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