We would like to greet you in the glorious Name of the Lord Jesus Christ as the end of another year approaches. We are in the long holiday season here in the Philippines.
We rarely write a personal letter these days as we have given over the task of writing prayer letters to Pastor Mon Macapagal. He produces our church Newsletter which contains most of our news. Certainly the news of the ministry and work of Cubao Reformed Baptist Church.
This year has been a difficult one for Necy who was taken ill in February and spent one week in hospital. Brian was able to leave for deputation ministry in the UK in March, and to attend the 250th Anniversary of Wattisham Chapel our home church in the UK. However members of Necy’s family called Brian back in May, a week or so earlier than he expected, as she was quite ill again.
We thank the Lord that she has been making a slow recovery but has lost some of her strength and cannot walk as well as she used to. A recent visit to two of her doctors meant they took her off most of her medication for which we are thankful. We go to see our usual doctor soon to see what his recommendations are. Please continue to pray for Necy’s health as old age increases and strength fades. That is now true of both of us.
Necy still continues however to translate the Daily Readings which are written by Alex Taylor, into Tagalog. She also keeps busy around the house. However we have had to take on another girl in the home to help her so that she is not left alone at home when Brian is away. We now have Hanah, the 17 year old daughter of one of our GMA students living with us. She is in her first year at College studying to be a school teacher. Beth who has been with us now about 5 years and who is a gem, is of great help to us. She is in her last year of college. However she plans to stay with us after graduation although we hope to encourage her to get a job outside. Please pray for Beth. She attends the adult Sunday School Class and the morning Tagalog service and our family devotions. Yet we have no idea where she stands spiritually. Please pray for her conversion and that of Hanah who has grown up in a Christian home.
Brian told the church he would retire when he reached 75 which is now past but retirement seems still a long way off. He keeps as busy as ever and particularly at the moment handling most of the correspondence due to the very important relief work which the church is conducting. Reports on that can be found on the CCM website at www.ccmmanila.org. We are astounded in many ways at the kind and gracious response of friends all over the world to the terrible event of Typhoon Haiyan. The numbers of dead still slowly climb as more bodies are being discovered aside from those which probably will never be found having been washed out to sea. Our teams have been active and working through evangelical churches in two of the main areas affected in Samar and Leyte provinces. We are now beginning to plan to help with reconstruction of at least small homes to help some of those who have lost everything. What we are doing is in some ways like a drop in a bucket among all those involved in the relief effort, but every drop helps in the great need that is everywhere. Pray also that through this terrible tragedy there will be those who are awakened to their spiritual need of the Lord Jesus Christ and that God will be pleased to save many to His glory. Pastor Mon and Pastor Ismael have been actively preaching to those being helped by the relief effort and literature has also been distributed as well as Bibles. This work will continue well into the New Year. Thank you again to all those who have given so generously to this work. Thank you also for all your loving prayers.
Brian is still the main preacher at what is now our English Service on a Lord’s Day afternoon. Numbers are usually about 120 or so. The morning Tagalog service however sees our Worship Hall almost full with over 200 in attendance. We rejoice in the Lord’s goodness and mercy to us in that this past year we have seen 12 added to the church and 5 of those by baptism. Currently we have about 10 people applying for membership and they will be interviewed and expected to give their testimonies probably in January. A number of those will also be by baptism. Two of them are young ladies from the CCM Homes.
Brian continues to teach a class in Church History at Grace Ministerial Academy. He had hoped that someone else could take over but we have not been able to find anyone as yet. Pastor Noel Espinosa carries the heavy load as the main lecturer. He is a very gifted man and we value your prayers for him. He is sometimes unwell. Pray for continued strength and enabling. We are again looking forward to our Pastors’ Conference, the first week of February, in the will of the Lord. This is a gathering where we usually have something like 300 pastors and preachers coming together for good ministry for 3 days. It is also a time for distribution of good God honouring books. Three different books are given away each day. The Lord has been using the Conference over the years to bring many men to a much more biblical position in their ministry and churches. Please remember the preparation for the Conference.
Christian Compassion Ministries, the church’s Foundation which helps children and the poor and needy, usually receives a fair amount of publicity. Brian continues as Chairman of the Board which oversees the work of CCM. They often meet for much of a day once a month. We do thank the Lord for the marvelous staff the Lord has given to us in CCM. They do a great work and often for little reward. We seem to be constantly under staffed and are particularly in the need of Social Workers who are essential to the ministry. Currently we are one short in the Children’s Homes as Virgie Biala marries John T. Sparrow and moves to England in January. We are however short of 3 in the Educational Assistance Program and Community Development work. This is headed up by Cathy Gacutan. The staff are under great pressure. We are also losing Xander Maniwang in the New Year which makes a large hole. One of our problems is that our pay scale is often lower than many other organizations, together with the fewness of evangelical Christian Social Workers. Please make this a matter of priority prayer. That we will be able to find the right staff to work among the poor in the Cubao communities and among the homeless. Continue to pray also for the large sums of money that we constantly need for the whole program CCM is involved in. We also still have our vacant lot ready for a new Boys’ Home but our current funds fall far short of even beginning to think about building.
Evangelical Outreach, our literature work struggles as printed books are being superseded by books on line. However books do continue to go out and we pray the Lord will speak through their pages to the blessing and encouragement of the readers.
We rejoice that our outreach work in Lubao, about one and half hours north of Manila has now been constituted as a church with Gilbert Lugtu our member now installed as the Pastor of this small church. He is doing a fine work for which we are truly thankful. They are small but slowly growing. We still give oversight to the work in Tondo which up until a month or so ago has been without a pastor. Larry Malabayabas has now been installed as Pastor. He is the father of Hanah (see above) and a GMA Student. He however has previously pastored other churches. He has eight children and his family live on the island of Marinduque.
We would like to express our gratitude once more for all your loving prayers for us personally and for the ministries of Cubao Reformed Baptist Church. We do thank the Lord for all those who hold us and the work up before the throne of grace. We also greatly appreciate all your love and practical support which we very much need.
The Lord richly bless you and grant you much joy in believing.
Yours through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Brian & Necy