Philippines Summer Fellowship 2019
April 17 - April 23 + 1
This is my first time going on a trip with Bro Gan. It came rather unexpectedly; I was invited when Bro Jonan was discussing the trip with him. It was also Godís answer to my prayer, that He would open a way for me to contribute to the church or help Bro Gan in some way; to lessen his burden. The guilt of not doing anything despite Bro Gan telling us often, about the amount of stress he had to go through was pricking at my heart. I have my own limitations; I am a rather soft spoken person and felt awkward asking if I can help in any way. Furthermore, it was my heartís desire to visit other churches outside of Singapore, especially those that we are affiliated with, and hearing news about them from Bro Gan.
I joined up with Bro Jonan and Sis Yvonne for this trip. We flew by budget airline and arrived in Manila at around 3pm, with a 5 hours connection for our flight to Butuan. While at Manila airport, we were joined by Bro David Kwan and Bro Jerry of Zamboanga.The flight was delayed; it took off an hour late, arriving into Butuan late at 10pm. We were received by Bro Bonbon Tamparong and Sis Luz and they took us to Watergate Hotel where we stayed for the whole of the Butuan trip.
The next morning and for the subsequent 2 days, Bro Gan taught on ďBeastlyĒ, where he elaborated on some history regarding the visions of Daniel in chapter 7 and 8, and how they eventually led to theFirst and Second Beast of Revelation 13 and the connection with the Church Age messengers. His last message on 21 April was on Godís Ultimate Intention in creation and whether Jesus Christ will still come to Earth if Adam and Eve had not sinned.
It was a wonderful time fellowshipping with the believers in Butuan. It was a joy just to be with them in worship as they worshipped together in unity with a joyous spirit. I was especially touched by the song ďI love this family of GodĒ where it emphasized the love between believers and their walk in the faith with God. It was a blessing to be received warmly into the homes of the believers and to partake of the meals they had provided. It was a heart-warming experience to watch believers united in helping the church, each in their own way. I was told that the sisters would cook together to provide meals for the church. We were grateful for the kind hospitality provided by the believers during our stay in Butuan, where our needs of food and transport were being looked after.
It was painful to see Bro Orsel in his condition. It was very different from what I expected via information heard in Singapore. Having only seen him once when he came to Singapore to preach for us and also hearing from Bro Gan on how he valiantly stood for the truth he believed, it was heart-breaking to see him suffering from this affliction. My heart goes out to him and I pray that God will touch him and heal him. Despite that, it was also an inspiring sight to see Sister Luz testifying in tears in front of the church and standing strong despite all the trials. It was also encouraging to see the elders and other members of the church step up and help to contribute. This was such a wonderful testimony and an important lesson for me to stand strong and embrace what God allows to come in our life, but always looking towards His Will in faith.
The convention ended on the 21 April after the Sunday morning service. We had the following day free. Our return trip to Singapore was on the 23 April. The flight from Butuan to Manila was delayed by 5 hours, which resulted in us missing our connecting flight back to Singapore. This was due to an earthquake that took place in Luzon the day before and caused all flights in and out of Clark Airport to be moved to Manila International Airport. With many flights re-scheduled, delays were inevitable. We were put into a local hotel near the Manila Airport for 1 day and caught our flight back to Singapore at 8.30pm. Thank God for the safe journey and the experience. Many thanks also to Bro David and Bro Jerry who have been such a joy to fellowship with and such fun to travel with, and for all the help they have provided throughout this trip.
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Testimony from Jonan Gan
When I decided to travel to Butuan with my uncle (Bro. Gan), I had 3 main agendas set in mind.
1. To get out of Singapore. Because it has been a while since I travelled out of the country.
2. To meet and see how Bro Orsel is doing.
3. To meet my fellow brothers and sisters in another country and fellowship with them. Because after all, we are one big family scattered all over the world. To fellowship with them; to find out their testimony as to why they follow the faith, and at the same time share with them my own testimony.
Getting out of Singapore was the easy one. We when arrived on the first day of the fellowship I think the only thing that we were all unprepared for was how hot and humid it was going to be. My heart really goes out to our brothers and sisters there as their church do not have an air-conditioner. It was almost a struggle on a daily basis to keep ourselves focused during the sermons.
When we met Bro. Orsel, he cried when he saw us. We didnít know about his condition, we only knew that he was discharged and based on the pictures we received we thought all was good. Regardless, my dear Bro. Orsel, please do not be discouraged as I have said to you when I was there. ďall things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.Ē (Romans 8:28). Hence, good will come out of this.
Finally, I do really like to thank the youths of the church who brought us sight seeing on the last 2 days when I was there. Especially for Sister Windy, I do sincerely thank you for sharing your testimony and what made you turn to the faith. It is a great blessing to hear all your stories. Though we are different, live in different countries, we have different experiences and gifts. It is a blessing that it bring us to one place, and that is to bring us into this great of God of Heaven and Earth.
May the Lord Bless all of you there. Amen.
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Testimony from Yvonne Lim
As Bro. Gan grew older, the amount of traveling he used to do, reduced. Much lesser in comparison to the past. I did hope for the opportunity to travel overseas with him to visit our overseas brothers & sisters, in Christ, and fellowship with them.
Interestingly one day, while having lunch with my cousin (Bro. Jonan). He shared with me the same view as well. He too wished for the same opportunity. About a week later, he came back to me informing that Bro. Gan was looking at the possibility of traveling back to the Philippines (a place he always said that he would never return to :P). I immediately took the chance, and I thank the Lord for hearing our wishes with this sudden and unexpected trip.
Although, we were all told to prepare for a cultural change (from urban city community to the rural village city). I believe nothing would have prepared us for the humidity and how warm it was going to be. I truly admire the passion our Filipino Brothers and Sister have when they are worshipping the Lord, especially having to face the heat. :O
When we heard that Bro. Orsel was discharged from the hospital, we assumed that all was well and fine. I truly thank the Lord greatly as he did show much grace to Bro. Orsel. Even though when we met him, we all did noticed that he was quite emotionally down. Bro. Orsel, if you are reading this, worry not. The Lord always has a plan and purpose with the things he allows, just as how he allowed the same things happened to Job. Trust in the Lord my brother.
Truly it was by Godís grace that brought us all together, and together we will grow in His Faith. May the Lord bless our fellow Brothers and Sisters in the Philippines.
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