GMA Report 2015
Noel A. Espinosa
The school-year 2014-2015 closed with a lone graduate in the person of Ramen Caliwag, pastor of Scripture Alone Baptist Church in San Simon, Pampanga. While Pastor Ramen is a lone graduate, that does not make the school-year lean in harvest. On the contrary. Ramen came from the Bible Baptist affiliation, with all its reputation for excesses of views and haughtiness. HetestifiestothetransforminginfluenceofhisGMAstudiesonhislifeandministry. Hecounts,asthelastinginfluenceof GMA, “the pastoral applications in every lesson… reminding us that theology must result to Christlikeness.” Our singular graduate of 2015 represents the mandate of GMA – a man trained, “to preach the Word of God, and pastor the Church of Christ.”
After a brief ministry as an interim tutor – teaching the important Pauline letters of Corinthian correspondence and Romans – we bid farewell to Pastor Gilbert McAdam. He is scheduled to leave the Philippines for good to settle in a pastoral ministry in his native Scotland. He will leave a vacuum that we look to the Lord to fill with a good tutor. This need is intensified by theanticipatedretirement(forgood?)ofPastorEllisfromteachingtheHistoryCourse. Itisaretirementthathadtobe delayed due to exigency, but he intends to make good of it after this semester. His tutorship is irreplaceable. But it is requisite that we have someone to fill that vacancy. Pray that the Lord may touch the right men for the positions. Tutoring in GMA is never just about the substance of teaching; it is about diligence, scholarship, and character.
At the opening of the school-year 2015-2016, there were six new students who enrolled. One of those, Jun Medalla, is a deacon of our church. He had to go into semi-retirement from his job to handle the load of GMA. He has a supportive family. His wife and two children – twins! – are members of the church. Another member of our church, Ben Patrick Vispo is hoping to graduate in March. We anticipate eight students to graduate. This will be the most number of graduation in our history. Pray that each student graduating will represent a church in our community of Reformed Baptist churches. We have one fulfilled last January 16 when Erwin Cadalin (Batch 2010) was ordained as pastor of the newly covenanted church of Morong. We thank the Lord for this bountiful harvest!
During the first semester of 2015, we had a guest who sat in all our classes. David Birse is a member of the First Baptist Church of Leominster in Massachusetts, where Dr. Lars Larson is the pastor. At the end of the semester, David gave a gracious testimony of his experience of GMA. Excerpts of his testimony are printed in the GMA Progress Report of First Semester 2015. A very encouraging note are his words: Grace Ministerial Academy may well be the best kept global secret in all academia. The world naturally would not recognize its worth, being in darkness. Yet it’s a treasure, a diamond in the proverbial rough.
In the mercy of the Lord, I have enjoyed stable health in 2015. No hospital and no absence, like there was in 2014. Ironically, it was in 2015 and early this year that I saw a number of dear brethren and loved ones pass into eternity. This culminated in the demise of my father, which I learned five minutes after preaching in our afternoon service of Jan 10.
Amidst these difficult losses, a decision that has been hanging needed to be done. After almost a year of prayer and dialogue with Pastor Rodel Lasco of San Pablo, under the counsel of Pastor Brian Ellis, we have come to a growing conviction of a call for sacrifice on both of us and our churches for the sake of reformation cause. Last Sunday, Jan 17, we simultaneously read a joint statement to our churches. In summary, we intend to make the year 2016 a year of transition. When the transition runs its course, I will seek retirement from my church ministry to give myself full time to reformation work. Pastor Rodel, contingent on congregational consent, will seek the pastoral office of GBC. This announcement, Rodel reported to me, was met with a lot of objections in his church. In my church, because it has had more years of preparation, people know it was forthcoming. Still there was a sobering hush in the congregation broken only by sobbing and tears. Both Pastor Rodel and I are pledged to proceed to this only as we have the conscience and consent of our congregation. It goes without saying that this intention is forged in the furnace of agonizing reflection. Pastor Rodel and I, after more than three decades of ministry, are knit to our churches. It tears our souls. But we both agree that the interest of the kingdom Christ must be above personal interest and convenience.
As GMA approaches its 20th year of ministry with a lot of challenges, I look back with incredulous amazement that such a milestone could be reached. It would have been impossible without the consistent support of your eldership and membership. Your consistent corporate commitment to this noble task, without doubt, will cushion my own difficult transition. Let us together face the challenges of 2016 with Paul’s words to Timothy ringing in our ears, O Timothy, guard what was committed to your trust! (1 Timothy 6:20). May the Lord’s countenance shine upon our every step this year.
Your Servant in His cause, NAE
Preaching and Preachers
February 2-4, 2016
We shall be seeking to look at the lives of some of the men whom God has used greatly in the past and expect to be confronted as to our own ministries. At the same time we shall be reminded of the glorious task that is laid upon us to truly preach the Word of God to our generation. We expect to be challenged and encouraged to do all to the glory of our great God and Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastor Mtich Lush - Grace Church, Dowingtown, PA. USA
Daryl Jones - Missions Coordinator, Grace Baptist Mission UK
Pastor Noel Espinosa - Pastor, Grace Baptist Church of Los Baños, Laguna and Principal of Grace Ministerial Academy
Pastor Ramen Caliwag – Scripture Alone Baptist Church, Pampanga
Pastor Gilbert MacAdam – Calvary Reformed Evangelical Church, Pasig
The Conference is only open to men in the pastoral ministry, those training in Seminary or Bible School, plus any key men in the church who are engaged in the regular preaching or teaching of God’s Word. This will be strictly enforced. It is not open to any one. The conference is not open for example, to SS Teachers or Choir Directors etc.
Each day sometime during the Conference different books will be given FREE OF CHARGE to delegates. The delegates MUST ATTEND ALL SESSIONS THAT DAY in order to obtain the books given on that day. We again have many good books to be distributed. All those who pre-register and pay their money will be the first to receive the free books, but again to obtain books they must attend.
A bookstall will be available during the conference with books at 20% Discount. We suggest you take advantage of these special prices during the three days of the Conference to purchase some of the books you have been wanting to buy. We also hope to have DVDs of sermons also available.
Date and Time
The Conference will run God willing from the morning of Tuesday Feb. 2nd through to the late afternoon of Thursday Feb. 4th. There will be no evening sessions as part of the regular conference so that men who reside in the Manila area may attend their week night meetings.
However we are hoping to have a film showing on the Life of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the evening of Tuesday 2nd Feb at 7:00 p.m. Which will also be open to the general public.
Any men from the provinces who require accommodation please call 02-438-4681 or 02-911-0626 or mobile 09192608778 before the conference.
Onsite registration will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday Feb. 2 with the first session scheduled for 8:45 a.m. Registration will end at 11:00 a.m. each day. After that no registration will be honoured.
The total cost of the Conference is ₱800.00 but only ₱700.00 if pre- registered which includes two merienda, lunch, and handouts each day. We would encourage you to pay in advance so that you may avail of the ₱100.00 discount. Registration on the day of the Conference will be ₱800.00. The pre-registration will be from Jan. 5-26 only. Register- ing in advance will greatly help us in the preparation of food.
Cubao Reformed Baptist Church is situated at 21-25 Harvard St, in the heart of Cubao. Harvard St. crosses Aurora Boulevard just before 15th Ave. Manila Bulletin office is on the corner.
Any bus or jeep for Marikina or Project 4 via Aurora Blvd passes the end of Harvard street. Coming from Marikina towards EDSA Cubao, it is the next street after the stop light at 15th Avenue. From EDSA, MRT, LRT Cubao, it is about 15 minutes walk along Aurora Blvd. CRBC is close to Aurora Blvd on Harvard St.
Parking is a concern as it is very limited. Car parks however are available in the Cubao Commercial Centre for a fee.
Once more we ask you to be in prayer that God would be pleased to meet with us to the praise of His glory.
Praise & Thanksgiving:
- Grace Ocampo was accepted into membership in September while Maiah Coquia, Erick Budin and Bebeth Gador in October.
- We also looking forward to the baptism of Bernadette Delector and her addition to the membership this November. Bernadette is one of the girls from our CCM Homes.
- During October CCM held a series of meetings for Parents and children on their roles in the family. This was also an opportunity to bring the truths of the gospel to them.
- The Annual Camp for the Homeless has just concluded and we give thanks to God for those who gathered and the opportunities to witness and to minister the word of God to those who gathered.
- We continue to give thanks to the Lord for His goodness to us as a church and the peace and loving unity that we experience. May the Lord be praised.
- That those who attended the Camp for the Homeless will have been blessed by the ministry and that the Lord will bring many of them to true salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Please continue to pray for our regular meetings among the homeless – each Thursday night when up to 100 attend and also the Monday night Bible Study when about 40 attend. Pray for conversions.
- Please also pray for peace and safety for our volunteers and those from the streets. There have been some untoward incidents recently such as drunken men trying to enter the meetings and the terrible incident of the stabbing of one of the homeless ladies when she alighted from the bus after the camp. The Devil is always active and trying to destroy such witness for Christ.
- Grace Ministerial Academy will, in the mercy of God, begin its second semester on the 10th Nov. Please pray for the lecturers and students. May there also be some new enrollees. May all be done to the glory of God in the preparation of men for the ministry. Particularly pray for Pastor Gilbert MacAdam as he returns to teaching this semester following his break in UK. Continue to pray for good health for our Principal Noel Espinosa.
- We are still in need of additional staff particularly in our new Boys’ Home. This hopefully will be occupied this month if the occupancy permit is granted.
- Gemma Gustillo— Gemma at 67 years old is a faithful member but her illness has hampered her from attending church. She has a severe nerve problem affecting her back. The doctor advised her to undergo an operation. Please pray for wisdom and financial provision for this costly medical operation
- Edith Columbino—has stage 3D breast cancer. She is about 56 years old. Please pray for her and that she may accept the Lord’s will and know His strength and grace. Also please pray for her husband Pat.
- The church through its CCM Relief Arm is seeking to help victims of Typhoon Lando in Pampanga in co-operation with the Reformed Baptist Churches in those areas. May the Lord bless the compassionate relief work but also give opportunity to preach the gospel to those in physical but also desperate spiritual need.
- The Lord willing the mission work in Tacloban plans to conduct house-to-house visitation to invite people to hold a Bible Study. Please also pray for their existing Bible Studies that they may yield fruit in conversions.
- We are hoping to see the outreach in Morong, Rizal covenanted as a church before the end of the year, with Erwin Cadalin as ordained Pastor. Please pray for the preparations and the Lord’s timing of this step.
- Continue to pray for our need to extend our Worship Hall. Plans are being drawn up and we shall then know the estimated cost. Please pray for the provision of the money we shall need.