Manila, Philippines Convention
23rd - 25th December, 2001

Like all conventions, the Believers came from different parts of the country to gather together in one place, with one heart and in one accord to worship, fellowship and hear the Word of the Lord.

The Believers convened from 8.30 in the morning until 9.30 in the night with two breaks for lunch and dinner. There was much singing and worshipping.

The saints gave their testimonies as well as their praises to the Lord. Before the ministration of the Word of the Lord, a minister would first exhort the saints. Exhortations took as long as 50 minutes!

I did not expect to see any American ministers at this convention. But there were two one was from Texas by the name of John Henry, an elderly man; the other was a young man (about 30 years old) from Oregon whose name I will not disclose. Both came, upon invitation, on the last day of the convention, 25th December. Being around with Caucasian ministers for many years and having tasted their spirit, Bro. John Henry gave me a good impression, a rare breed. When he preached I listened, and I discerned an Evangelist. After the service, he approached me to discuss about the one subject which seems to evade believers the Seven Thunders. We discussed a little and then went to the dinning hall, set down to eat and talked a little more. I like the man. He's humble, sincere, and not self-imposing.

Now, the young American minister was a total opposite of John Henry. Sitting at one of the many dining tables with John Henry for lunch, I saw him came in with several local ministers. They were discussing something. One of the ministers (Pastor Franco Togonon) came toward me and said, "Bro. Gan, Brother ~~ wants to have a private talk with you." I said, "Okay" thinking that the young American minister knew me or that I had already been pointed out to him by the local ministers.

The Filipino ministers and the young American minister set down for their meal at a table next to us. John and I were trying to get his attention to shake his hand but he was busy talking. Then he turned to John and introduced himself to him. I was bypassed, not purposely, I believe. [Wearing a barong (a Filipino national shirt) I must have blended in well with the Filipino people. :) ]

A little later, in the meal and discussion at his table with the local ministers, there was something said about the Seven Seals which drew John Henry's attention toward him. The young American preacher then made a remark, "I came here to the Philippines to help the believers, but I find much confusion, different teachings." John Henry turned to him and said, "Hey, we Americans are the ones who brought the confusion."

Questions were asked and the young American stated that the Rapture has taken place but not completed yet. He stated that all mysteries were revealed. That drew me from my seat to go sit down opposite him. As I did so, I asked, "If all mysteries were revealed by the Prophet, tell me what was the mark that God put on Cain and what was the sin of Ham?" Hitching a little, and without an answer, he said, "If the Prophet did not preach them, then they are not important." How foolish!

The young American preacher emphatically stated that Branham did not make mistakes and that we should readily accept what the prophet said "if he said a certain thing one, two, three times". I asked how would he then reconcile the statement that Bro. Branham made several times (in the sermon, Daniel's 70th Week) that there are seven years left to the Jews after the Church is raptured. He said that that was corrected in a question asked by Wm. Palmer and he took out the book "Golden Nuggets" (authored by Wm. J. Palmer). Then, by memory, he quoted a statement of Bro. Branham, saying that Christ made a covenant for one week and in the midst of the week He was cut off, emphasizing that Jesus Christ preached for 3 years.

Taking my Bible, I asked him where in the Bible did Bro. Branham get the verse he just made. I told him that the prophet was a Typologist and he could draw out types from Scriptures. Turning to Daniel 9:27 I read the verse and asked him: "Is this the verse?" (I wanted him to carefully examine the verse.) He appeared bewildered and asked to read it again. I did and repeated the same question. His reply was, "I don't know." To that answer, I said, "How could you be a preacher when you don't even know where Bro. Branham was referring to in the Scriptures? How could you be a preacher when you don't even know the Bible?"

Now, his reply was very cultic, Branhamism in spirit, "I don't need to...as long as I have the statements of the prophet." Oh my!

Then he pointed to me and asked, "May I know your name?"

When I told him my name, he was surprised and said, "Oh, you are Richard Gan!" He turned to a pastor and exclaimed, "You said he wasn't a teacher!" There were some exchange of words between them. (I gathered that this young American preacher was greatly influenced by some "elders" in the Branhamism camp. Coming to the Philippines, he must have felt that it was an opportunity for him to track me down and to correct me to "help" me see the light.)

The young American preacher then said, to all the ministers around, "You people don't believe the prophet, you do not believe the Message." To this, I raised my voice and said, "Please don't put words into our mouth. We believe the prophet and we believe his message. He turned us back to the Word and the Bible is our Absolute."

He exclaimed, "William Branham is my Absolute!"

To that, John Henry turned to him and asked, "Who did the Prophet point to when he proclaimed the Message? To Christ the Word or to himself?" The young American man gave no reply. The question was asked again. Still there wasn't any reply.

There was a little commotion and then the young American man said, "It's better that I leave. I do not want to create confusion here." And turning to Bro. Henry, he said, "You do not belong here." (Note that racist spirit.)

To John Henry, I said, "Bro. John, you belong here, you do." He acknowledged, "Yes, I do."

Later in the Ministers' Meeting, I was given more information regarding the young American preacher. The brother who invited him knew his pastor only by mail and taped sermons. From the tapes, which dealt mainly with Christian living, the brother felt that the young American preacher, who was already in the Philippines (being invited by other Endtime Message churches), should be invited to the convention. However, when the young American preacher arrived at the campsite, the brother was taken aback by his "arrogant speech" when he asked to speak to me.

This young Branhamite has a strange teaching which is totally new to me. He teaches that since the Bride of Christ is the Wife of Christ and since Jesus is God, so the Bride is too. And therefore the believers could praise the Bride as they praise the Lord Jesus.

Strange... and devilish.