It wasn't my plan to visit the Philippines this year even though I had invitations from some ministers as far back as in the beginning of 2004. Back in September 2004, I had accrued enough mileage from my travels on Singapore Airlines for a return ticket to certain destination cities within S.E.Asia. I had planned to go to Sri Lanka but though the distance from Singapore and Colombo is almost the same as that from Singapore and Manila, the required mileage to qualify for the flight to Colombo is higher. Since the mileage accrued would have expired in November 2004, I had to quickly make a choice to use the mileage points to visit the Philippines or forgo the loss.
BUTUAN CITY ― 23-27 March
As I had not been to Butuan City for some 5 years, I decided to make a visit there. I went ahead and "purchased" the tickets in October 2004. The Lord would have it, for two days later Pastor Orsel Dumanon sent me an email. He pleaded that I should go over and minister the Word to his church during the period of the "holy week" for he had a desire to gather together other believers from the surrounding islands − cities, towns and mountains for a big convention. So, the will of the Lord was done. We had the convention.
Bro. Orsel is a man faithful to the Word of the Lord and to his ministerial calling. It has been some 20 years since I first knew him. (Read his Orsel's testimony.) The church has grown since. Together with other able ministers, he had not only reached out to lost souls but he had also forged a unity of faith among the churches of believers among the different islands.
I flew into Manila on the 21 March and connected to a flight for Butuan the following day. The convention started on the 23 March and ended on the 27 March. The saints wanted me to minister the whole of each day (three services a day) but I ministered only twice a day (2 to 2½ hours each time) and took a rest in between. Some other ministers fed them the Word in the afternoon. The weather was very hot and humid. I was drenched to my waist from just about 5 minutes of preaching.
This convention saw a large gathering of believers from sister churches in the southern part of the Philippines. One could see the great expectation on the faces of many when it came time for the hearing of the Word. The ministration of the Word was directed by the Spirit in and from the Scriptures and not from the statements (quotations) of William Branham. These saints are Word-based and not Quotation-based. It is always "Where does it show in the Scriptures?". They are as noble as the Bereans that Paul met in his days. They searched the Scriptures.
The believers were housed in the homes of the local believing families. They would find an available place either in the living room or bedroom to bed down at night. They also contributed whatever they could − pigs, fishes, rice, etc. Some put in an offering towards whatever was needed for food. They are truly a family of God, closely knitted together.
The subjects of the message were on CHRIST THE FOUNDATION, WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP, GOD'S PLAN AND PURPOSE and THE FORMER AND THE LATTER RAINS. I spoke a little on Bible prophecies, modern events that are presently fulfilling Scriptures.
As all good time must come to an end, some of the believers had to leave for their hometowns a little earlier. The convention ended in the afternoon after the morning service on Sunday of 27 March. The pictures on this page show some of the believers from the different places.
On the morning of 29 March, I received a request from a believing sister in Cabadbaran (through Bro. Orsel) that, if it was possible for me to minister the Word to her relatives in the evening. She had been blessed by the ministration of the Word and had testified to her siblings and her in-laws who are almost all Roman Catholics.. Her husband had also been at the meetings and cordially gave me the invitation.
Well, I accepted the invitation and in the evening I was driven over to a restaurant owned by a relative. There the whole "clan" of relatives gathered together for a dinner. After the dinner, I took the stand to minister the Word, speaking on the various modern events that are made clear by Bible prophecies and the need to come into the revelation of the Living Christ.
MANILA ― 30 March to 4 April
I left Butuan on the 30 March for Manila. The same evening I met with the local assembly (in San Pedro) of Pastor Felimon "Nonoy" Togonon . On Friday evening there was a dinner fellowship gathering in the home of Pastor Jonathan Togonon where after we discussed some important issues and the present world events.
April 3rd saw me at Pastor Nonoy's church once again but this time for the morning and afternoon services. Several believers from other fellowships were also there. I spoke on some of the subjects that I had spoken when I was in Butuan.
I flew home on the 4th April and perhaps will not be back to the Philippines again for a very long time.
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