About the time that you readers in North America come home from the morning worship service, we are in the midst of the morning worship service, or perhaps still travelling to the morning worship service. Depending in which time-zone you live, your fellow saints of like precious faith here in the Philippines are at the end of their Lord’s day. The word of the gospel has run its westward course on the Lord’s day through most of the world by the time that you hear it. In fact, you are some of the last of God’s people on earth to hear the fading gallop of Christ’s white horse and rider for another Lord’s day.
That reminds us that the work of the Lord in the gathering of his sheep is his global work. His sovereign guidance of the running of the white horse and rider each Lord’s day from time zone to time zone, through the many islands of the sea, through the continents of the earth, and through every nation, is his wondrous work for the ingathering of his elect sheep.
The Lord in his good pleasure and mercy has given our churches a small place of labor in his harvest work, particularly in missions in the Philippines, a group of islands located in a time zone 12 to 16 hours ahead of many of you. Here are some of the highlights of our labors in the islands of the Philippines.
First, Rev. Daniel Kleyn and myself currently are assisting the Berean Protestant Reformed Church in Cubao, Metro Manila, and the First Reformed Church in Muzon, Bulacan, in the formation of a denomination of churches. This work began almost three years ago, in December 2010, and is nearing completion soon when the churches plan to federate officially on Reformation Day. That’s right. On October 31, 2013, Reformation Day, the federation of the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippine Islands will become a reality, the Lord willing and by his grace. What a joyful occasion that will be for the churches here!
Second, we both are working with other congregations with the goal that they might join the federation, the Lord willing. Rev. Kleyn is working with the Provident Christian Church in Marikina, Metro Manila, and I am currently working with the Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church in Valenzuela, Metro Manila. These congregations have left their former denominations, and they have begun for some time the process of reformation from Arminianism, Pentecostalism, Anabaptism, and independentism. They receive instruction in Reformed doctrine and in Reformed church government with the hope that with the Lord’s blessing they may become sister congregations of the PRCP.
Third, we lead a class in the metro Manila area called 7M, which is for pastors with whom we have contact in metro Manila. This class meets twice a month, and the class meets from 9:30 a.m. to noon. We are currently studying Eschatology and New Testament Greek reading and exegesis. Of course, you may wonder why 7M is the name of this class? Well, 7M is an acronym that comes from the first letters of the following phrase: “Metro Manila Monthly Ministers Monday Morning Meetings.” Our first 7M meeting began three years ago on August 23, 2010, and we have been meeting regularly ever since for study and Christian fellowship.
Fourth, we lead a similar class for pastors in southern Negros Occidental. (By the way, “Occidental” means “Western.”) In Sipalay (pronounced see-pah-lie), at the southern end of Negros Occidental, we conduct our pastors training class once a month. We call this class the PRPTSNO (“Protestant Reformed Pastor Training in Southern Negros Occidental”), or we more commonly call it SNO, for short. The class is held on the third (or fourth) Tuesday of each month; it begins at 9:00 a.m. and continues until 3:00 p.m., with time for two coffee or tea breaks and a lunch meal. The SNO class began to meet regularly in January 2013. Currently, Rev. Kleyn is teaching a course on Reformed church government by a thorough study of our Church Order, and I am leading a study of the introduction to Reformed Dogmatics and then very soon a study of Theology.
Fifth, we have been asked recently to assist the consistory of the Berean PRC in the preparation and training of Pastor Oseas Andres, a confessing member of the Berean PRC and a pastor without a fixed charge. His preparation and training has the goal of his eventual examination by a future classis of the PRCP according to article 9 of the Church Order. This preparation will begin in October and continue for half a year or so until an examination is scheduled at a future PRCP classis meeting. We are thankful to the Lord for the possibility of another Reformed pastor, the Lord willing, for the work of the churches here.
Sixth, concerning our Sunday preaching, we preach regularly in our respective congregations of focus (Provident Christian Church (Rev. Kleyn) or the Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church (myself)), and in the Berean Protestant Reformed Church, the First Reformed Church, and the All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship in Gabaldon, Neuva Ecija. The AGPRF is a mission work of the Berean PRC, and we have been helping the BPRC in that work with monthly preaching (in Tagalog) and catechism instruction since January 2010. Our preaching schedule for September to December 2013 has us listed for preaching every Lord’s Day, except for a one Sunday break for each of us, the Lord willing.
Finally, we make available our sermons in English and Tagalog, Reformed Witness Hour sermons in Tagalog, Bible study outlines, catechism outlines, and other materials through the Internet at our website, “prcaphilippinesaudio.wordpress.com.” The Kleyns manage the “Reformed Bookshelf” through which we can provide at an affordable level many RFPA books, Psalters, and Bibles (in Tagalog and Hilagaynon) available to our contacts in the islands of Luzon, Negros, and elsewhere in the islands.
As far as we can tell, the work seems to develop and grow under the Lord’s blessing. We continue to keep busy, for which we are thankful to the Lord. We are thankful to the Lord that we may be used by him in the service of the coming of his kingdom in his people here in the Philippine Islands.
If you really want to stay up to date with the latest about what is happening here, then I suggest that you not only read our quarterly newsletters, the latest of which is the September 2013 newsletter, but take the time to read through all of our past newsletters, which go all the way back to early 2009. These newsletters can be easily found at our mission website or in the Foreign Mission section of the prca.org website.
In addition to the newsletters, I suggest that you subscribe to the Kleyns’ blog at “kleynsphilippines.blogspot.com”. There is a little button on their homepage that you can hit, and through that you can sign up. By your subscription you will be notified right away whenever the Kleyns add news and information to their blog . This is an easy way to remain current with the latest news and information in our life and labors here.
In addition to the newsletters and the blog, you might also consider reading the weekly church bulletins from the churches here that are sometimes posted on the church bulletin page at “prca.org/current/bulletins” from the prca.org website. This will give you a better understanding of the worship and the congregational life of the local churches and mission stations here.
We trust that you will continue to develop a good awareness of our small mission work in the Philippine Islands, in a time zone that is 12 to 16 hours ahead of yours. Yes, when you are finishing up your chores and preparing for the Lord’s day on Saturday night, we, our families, and our Filipino fellow saints of like precious faith in Southeast Asia are already busy in the worship of our covenant God in spirit and truth as he has commanded us in his word, just as you will have the privilege to do half a day later.
As we remember you in our prayers, please remember your Reformed friends in Southeast Asia in prayer to our Lord of the harvest.