Dave and Denise Dobson are doing a great job in overseeing the Work in the Philippines and both are highly regarded by the Filipino brethren. We discussed our Kingdom of God seminar in Quezon City, hoping for a good response from our 500 plus Beyond Today subscribers in the Manila area. In the Philippines, about 3000 people receive the Beyond Today magazine.
The next day, Friday, the Dobson’s, McNeelys, Bev and I spent the day at Corregidor Island, located at the entrance of Manila Bay. On the Sabbath, we held a Kingdom of God seminar in Quezon City. The day was well-organized. Women operated the literature and registration table. Everyone seemed engaged welcoming newcomers. About 10 members came from San Carlos, the other congregation about five hours away on this island of Luzon. Between the music, the messages and the attentiveness of the audience, the seminar went perfectly. Rey Evasco opened with introductory comments before the prayer. The choir sang the Hallelujah Chorus. The lyrics—“King of Kings and Lord of Lords” and “He shall reign forever and ever”—fit beautifully with my message about the return of Christ to set up his Kingdom.
After my message another musical piece, “Let there be Peace on Earth,” fit well with Darris McNeely’s message about the Kingdom of God and learning the ways of peace. After the presentations, a Q&A session covered prophecy, suffering, the Kingdom of God and other topics. There were 140 in attendance, including 38 new people.
We spent Sunday afternoon with Wes and Madel Kerlin at the American Military Cemetery in the Global City, Manila. At the cemetery Darris McNeely and I made a podcast, which can be found at ucg.org/inside-united-podcast.
That evening was the opening night of the Ministerial Conference in Manila for all the ministers in the Philippines and one pastor from Myanmar. It was patterned after the Pastoral Development Program we’ve been holding in Cincinnati for five years.
Monday morning, we began our classes for the 40 plus attending. I spoke about the high calling of the ministry and Darris McNeely spoke about the Mission and Vision of the Church. After lunch David Dobson spoke about the ceremonies in the Church and I gave a presentation on the calendar. After dinner, Darris offered an ABC class sampler on the book of Daniel.
Over the course of the Conference, we covered topics such as the nature of God, ethics, the role of wives in serving with their husbands as a team, evangelism, local church organization, expository preaching plans, biblical resources, an overview of the Pastor’s Policy Manual and more. Four men gave expository sermonettes that attendees evaluated. We also recorded two podcasts. We had an eye-opening presentation from Ireneo and Glory Ann Suaner from Sabah, Malaysia who spoke about the church there. Additionally, Gum Seng Aung from Myanmar talked about their congregation in what used to be Burma.
During the conference, the women met separately to discuss their role with their husbands in the ministry. Conversation extended to how this could be done in a team-like way that husbands could appreciate and respect.
Finally, we did an assessment all together about the entire training seminar. I plan to use this method in our U.S. regional conferences to assess the effectiveness of the program and discuss how it can be improved. It was meaningful because everyone was involved and listening to each other’s comments. The last presentation was to Earl Roemer, who served here as senior pastor from 1997 until three years ago. He and his wife Carol helped lay a foundation for what fruit we see today.
We were thankful that the transition of senior pastor was seamlessly made to David and Denise Dobson, who have been so loving and caring for the Filipino brethren. I want to thank our Filipino ministry and brethren for making us so welcome, and David and Denise Dobson and Earl Roemer for their part of this educational event.
After our endeavors in the Philippines, we flew to Singapore. At the time of this writing, on Saturday Dec. 28, we have had a wonderful Sabbath in Asia. Services were at Rosalind Yong’s condo. We met Selvartnam Sinniadurai from Kuala Lumpur who is very interested in proliferating Beyond Today into the Malay language.
In the morning I spoke about grace and our new booklet on the subject. The Bible study was followed by a lunch and fellowshipping. In the afternoon, Darris covered the story in Acts of the beginning of the church at Philippi. Rosalind’s son JJ led songs for the Bible study and church service.
We appreciate the faithfulness of this remote church that meets here, far from other congregations. The closest churches are Hong Kong, a 4-hour flight away and Perth, Australia, a 5-hour flight.
Clement Lim, a member of over 50 years, calls me from time to time in Cincinnati. I first met him at the 1993 Feast of Tabernacles in Phuket, Thailand. We plan to visit him tomorrow. The people here are a very close-knit group that have known each other for decades in some cases.
I’d like to thank Darris and Debbie McNeely for the many hours of teaching, and my lovely wife Bev for her support. We also thank you all for your prayers and support as we make this trip to care for the ministry and brethren in this part of the world.