Monday, August 6, 2018

The Market, Weekend Youth Gathering and Sunday Worship and Classes

Matt, Clint and I ventured to the Ramon Central Market Friday afternoon to assist Edward and his wife Bing in shopping for all of the meals for the weekend.  We arrived in the center of town to a very large market.  It was a metal and wood structure with a maze of passages within.  Merchants were selling clothes, household goods, vegetables, fruit, meat and fish there.  Saying it was hot does not do it justice, i would say it was 100F inside with no air moving.  The Blessed Prince Meat Market was formidably fragrant but we got what we needed. The people were great, but apparently us Gringos were quite the spectacle from the stares we were getting. We loaded up the goods and headed back to the Bible Study Center.  We have been so taken care of.  The food seemed to be never ending and they put a lot of thought into making it the best they could for us.  I am so grateful for all that was done for us.

Youth from 7 congregations assembled in Ramon with us for their monthly gathering.  Friday night there were over 100 watching the movie 'God is Not Dead'.  Saturday morning started out with wonderful singing and messages for the kids.  Luke and Jake took over at various times during the day for fun activities and games. The kids had a blast bonding and having a good time together.  Kevin Singcol delivered the message Saturday to all the gathered Christians, and did a great job.  At the same time some of the brothers taught the kids that were 'seeking' more about the Bible and plan of salvation.  There were 5 responses from those kids who planned to be baptized when they returned Sunday to their home congregations.  The congregations in the area are doing such a great job in building a strong base of young Christians.

Sunday Worship morning worship was held in the open air upstairs of the Bible study center.  We just had too many for the chapel which was a good thing.  The song service was outstanding in its praise.  There is so much enthusiasm among the brothers and sisters.  Clint brought us an effective sermon to close the service.  Myself, Matt and Ken then taught a multi session class the rest of the day on Restoration Principles and we ended around 8pm.  In between classes we had great fellowship eating together.  Rice, Adobo, greens, squash, fish, rice cakes, some kind of brownie cookie greatness, and coffee.  It was a  long day but a great day.  We pray that efforts in staying at the pure waters of the New Testament church as delivered in the Word will continue to strengthen there. 

Monday morning was goodbye to our home of the last 6 days as we headed to Cauayan Airport for our flights to Manila then Cebu .  We have been so blessed by these people.  Edward, Bing, Dick, RJ, Arnulfo, Hector, Jerry, Xan, Marvin,Andy, Sharon Kay ... the list goes on.  Till we see you again brother and sisters!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Cauayan Valley

We arrived from Manila to the Cauayan Airport on Wednesday morning. We were greeted by Brother Edward and Brother Arnulfo. We loaded up in their SUVs and headed to Ramon. We arrived at the Ramon Bible Study Center late morning. What a beautiful place of rolling hills overlooking the Cauayan River Valley. In the distance we see the mountains of the Ifugao province. Our rooms are great and we have aircon!

Thursday morning we woke up to a wonderful breakfast of Fried Eggs, Rice, Dragon fruit, steamed Wild Fern and Coffee. We then loaded up in Arnufo's SUV and headed for the mountains and the Ifugao province. The landscape was exceptional. Corn, Rice, Banana trees all growing in the steep terrain. We visited the village of Potia and met part of the congregation there. We were treated to a special story from sister Corine about how she became a Christian after studying her Bible as a visiting worker in Saudi Arabia. How she was immersed into Christ in a bathtub in her dorm by a friend, and how both of her sons are now preachers. We have found everyone wants to feed us! They brought us a snack of bread and soybean coffee. We were then on our way to visit another family further up into the mountains (the fried squash dipped in vinegar and garlic was amazing!). It was a great morning.

Thursday afternoon we loaded up and headed to Diffun in the Quirino province to the Bible Study Center there. We were to teach a group of young people there. The topic was Jesus' impact on you in your past, present and future. Clint, Jake, Luke and Matt taught the class of 29 students. I am really proud of Jake and Luke's effort of short notice. They are adherents to the Wilkey ideals of tough, flexible and optimistic. We headed back to Ramon and to much needed sleep for our still jet lagged bodies. Rest is needed for the next 3 days. Friday and Saturday youth gathering at Ramon. Sunday worship followed by a full afternoon and evening class on Restoration Principles.

Ifugao Province

Wednesday, August 1, 2018



We arrived just after 10am Monday morning on our flight from Taipei.  On our approach we flew a long gentle circle around south of the sprawling city of 15 million and then landed East to West.  A quick pass through immigration and baggage claim and we were out the doors to meet brother Wilkey.  We were soon greeted by Ken, Clint Robinstein and Kiven Singcol.  

We all loaded up in a taxi van and we were off into the packed city streets of mid day Manila.  I have been to places where lanes were merely a suggestion, but this ride redefined that concept for us.  We had a good driver though, and we transected the city from south to central Manila and the Instruccion Street church of Christ.  

Our afternoon consisted of naps and preparation for the first night of the lectureship we were participating in... 'Restoration Principles'.  Ken suggested I present my material first.  So at 7pm I taught class on the Authority and Lordship of Jesus, the Authority of the New Testament writers, and the guardian tasks of our Elderships.  Matt followed up after our midpoint meal of 'Lomi' with a presentation of 'Restoration History'.  It was a good night meeting with brothers and sisters we had only heard about. 


We woke early and then took a jeepney to McDonalds and ate breakfast together.  The jeepney vehicles are all over Manila, and are essentially a Willis jeep with an extended bed with benches and a covering.  It is a cheap 'exciting' way to get around town. 

Ken suggested we go to the national museum.  We saw a variety of art important to Philippine history.  We also saw artifacts from the San Diego a sunken Spanish warship.

One of the indelible scenes from our day to me was one of impoverishment.  We were stuck traffic and I observed a burnt out building that had not been repaired.  It soon became clear that there were people living in this building with very few windows and undoubtably few utilities. As I continued to be choked up about the whole thing I see a mother in one the rooms fixing her young daughters hair in the window light.  I couldn't help but thinking about my Laurie and Abbie half a world away.  This was a poignant moment for sure, I won't forget it.

The evening ended with a great class on restoration principles by Ken.  These people are of the most kind and wonderful nature.  Fittingly we finished off our evening at the home of Brother Phillip.  His wife made us the traditional meal of chicken and pork Adobo (a garlic and onion marinade).  It was a great end to our days in Manila. 

We went to our place for a short night of sleep, and then off to the Cauayan Valley of Isabella province at 4am.  From sprawling city to rural agricultural area, we continue our journey.

Sunday, July 29, 2018


One needs to experience this places in this world when the oppourtunity arises.  We learn about differences and commonalities with our fellow man.  We can see landscape and culture influencing each other. Paul observed culture and used it as part of his teaching.  I think of his approach with the Corinthians and Athenians.  We took the opportunity on our layover to see a few things in around LA.  I used to come to the area fairly regularly.  So showing the team around was something I looked forward to.

Hollywood on a Friday night.  We drove up from the LAX area right into the heart of Hollywood.  In-N-Out burger on Sunset Blvd? Yes thank you!  A dude dressed up like Poseidon carrying a large Trident down a darkened street? Um yep… Not surprising that once you get to Hollywood Blvd. and the “Walk of Fame” you see some pretty crazy stuff.  It hits you pretty hard as you observe the people and go from Hollywood into West Hollywood, as my brother Chris Carson says “they need the gospel”. One of the boys spoke up wondering about congregations in the area and mission work here.  A tough work, but there are souls to win there.

Malibu on a Saturday morning. We woke up and headed up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu.  Some breathtaking views on the way to the famed beach community.  One of our team's small goals was to put our feet in the water on the Pacific Ocean’s Easterly edge in California and Western edge in the Philippines.  It was pretty cool seeing Matt and Luke experience the power of Pacific for the first time.  California’s natural and varied beauty is something to behold and appreciate, and we thank Father God the Creator.

China Airlines on a Saturday afternoon.  We boarded our flight for the 13 hour flight to Taipei, Taiwan ROC.  Aircraft and their systems are my livelihood and it never gets old seeing them upclose.  The 777 we were to take flight on is an admirable piece of engineering.  As I sit in row 63 I am comfortable for a coach seat and impressed all the way around with our crew.  As a bonus Jake and Luke got to move to a set of 4 seats on the bulkhead...lots of legroom.  They are loving it.

We are just east of Tokyo now.  The trip and our work is getting more real by the mile.  Looking forward to meeting up with brother Ken in less than 20 hours in Metro Manila to begin.

~God is in control...We have no concerns~

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Travel Plans
We leave in 3 days.  Lists are made and being modified.  Clothes washed and packed.  Sermons and class lessons being printed out and downloaded to the iPad.  Travel details being poured over.  There is not a sense of panic, but there is a sense that this is an undertaking that is quite out of the norm from everyday life (<-understatement!).  Our family has travelled a lot in our lives, within the states, Mexico, Belize, Europe several times, Hawaii, Alaska... but this feels different.  First trip for Jake and I to Asia.  First airline trip for Luke.  First International flight for Matt.  Looking forward to this trip to meet up with our beloved Brother Ken Wilkey and press forward with the Gospel in the Philippines.

Our Itinerary as I understand it (Wilkey says to be Tough-Flexible-Optimistic, and we shall)

  • Friday 7/27 AUS to LAX - We saved $1000 with the overnight layover in LA! Nice 3 hour intro flight for Luke.
  • Saturday-Sunday LAX to TPE - arrive with a 10 hour layover in Taiwan.  Plans for checking out the markets in Taipei, Taiwan and hoping to meet and share the word with someone.
  • Sunday-Monday TPE to MNL- We arrive in Manila 9:30AM Monday morning.  We will be scooped up by Ken and begin our work.  We should be travel weary by then (12 Time Zones away from College Station), but looking forward to our first day in the World's most densely populated city of 15 million.
  • Monday-Wednesday meeting the brethren, classes, worship and whatever Ken has in store for us.
  • Wednesday-Monday - Fly to the North for our work in Ramon, Isabella, Luzon area.  Looking forward to sharing lessons on restoration to the first century and the pure water of the New Testament church to the people there.  Jake and Luke will have a beneficial role in the large youth gathering planned for the weekend.
  • Monday - Tuesday - Fly to Manila then boat from there to Cebu (overnight trip).  We will visit and work with the Murrell crew, and do whatever else Ken has in store for us.
  • Tuesday-Thursday - Cebu, maybe some work on Bilarian.  
  • Friday - Fly Home MNL-TPE-LAX-AUS 

This of course subject to change, but our team has the mindset to be ready for anything.  We pray for strength in the Lord and he provides.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Our travels across 12 time zones to The Philippines is only 10 days away! Lots to do in preparation for our trip. Today? Work on class material on the restored New Testament church for our brothers and sisters over there.

2 Timothy 1:13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.