Posts Tagged ‘December 2013’

Ellis’ Personal Letter from the Philippines December 2013

Written by jorupacs on . Posted in December 2013, Featured News, Pastor Brian Ellis

Pastor Brian and Necy Ellis

Pastor Brian and Necy Ellis

Dear Friends,

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

Leyte and Samar Relief Work

Written by jorupacs on . Posted in Christian Compassion Ministries, December 2013, Featured News, Relief Operation

Typhoon Haiyan ravaged a large part of central Philippines. Due to its distance from us here in Manila, a team of two, Levi and Henry, both from the affected region, were sent to Leyte to survey the area and help us plan how to go about the relief work. They initially went on Nov 18th to Cebu City in order to find prices of rice, canned goods etc as well as to find a truck to transport the relief goods to Leyte. A sister Baptist church in Leyte, (AFBC) helped them in the survey. Pastor Jovert, one of the pastors of this church, joined Levi and Henry and helped establish contact with churches there as well as local government units (barangays). After four days, Levi and Henry returned to Cubao to report to the relief coordinators and plan the distribution.

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Based on their survey it was decided to buy most of the relief goods in Cebu, and repack the goods in Leyte. Levi and Henry left on the 25th to do the purchasing and arrange for the delivery of the goods. Cathy Gacutan, (CCM EAP Director) and nurse Joy Putal (CCM Staff) left on the evening of the next day to help administer anti-tetanus shots in Palo, Leyte where Reah (one of CCM’s Board members), is currently assigned. Cathy also surveyed other places in Palo and Tacloban. Pastor Mon Macapagal and his wife Bekha, together with Reddy Gonzales (CCM staff) followed on the evening of the 27th in time for the packing of goods in Abuyog the next day.

Packing of relief goods with the help of Abuyog Reformed Baptist Church members

Packing of relief goods with the help of Abuyog Reformed Baptist Church members

Everyone was shocked at the devastation they saw upon arrival in Tacloban. Pastor Mon and Bekha were there earlier in January of this year and their hearts were crushed by what they saw as compared to what it used to be. From Tacloban City all the way to Abuyog, (more than an hour’s drive), they saw the same thing over and over – the ruins of large and small houses, trucks, cars and other vehicles smashed into buildings, fallen coconut trees, posts, people living in tents, mass graveyards and most of all people begging along the highway. It was a sorrowful sight that would shatter anyone’s hope.

The team of seven from CRBC and CCM all arrived in Abuyog and started packing goods immediately before it got dark – since there was no electricity. They repacked 200 sacks of rice (50 kgs per sack), 20,000 cans of food, bottled water and lighters (for lighting fires) together with gospel tracts. All in all, this made 2000 relief packs. They were assisted by the members of the Abuyog church until it became dark.

Pastor Mon Sharing the gospel

Pastor Mon Sharing the gospel

Early the following morning, the relief goods were loaded onto the truck, which was generously loaned to us by one of the deacons of the church. The relief distribution started in Tacloban where almost 400 recipients were waiting. Our contact there was with a local pastor. Pastor Mon from Cubao then shared the gospel to the awaiting crowd. It was obvious that these people desperately needed the relief goods as they patiently waited for their turn.

The next stop was in Calogcog. Pastor Jovert, who joined us from Leyte, gathered the residents along the highway before Pastor Mon once again shared the gospel to them. This time, tickets were used in distributing the relief goods for 50 families. It was also in Calogcog that the relief team met the group of Americans from Texas whom CRBC has been assisting. They had just come from Samar where they installed water filters in different communities.

Our American brethren set up water filter stations in various different parts

Our American brethren set up water filter stations in various different parts

The Relief Team then proceeded to Dagami, a very remote area in the province where we had a contact called Pastor Roel. Pastor Mon again preached the gospel. People with their tickets patiently waited in line as 300 packs of relief goods were distributed. While this was going on, our American brethren set up two more water filter stations.

Queues form behind the truck loaded CRBC/CCM relief goods

Queues form behind the truck loaded CRBC/CCM relief goods

The following day was Abuyog, Leyte’s turn to receive relief goods. There was much devastation here again – destroyed homes, mostly without roofs, fallen trees and of course no electricity. Very early in the morning people flocked to the street where the church is located. After Pastor Mon’s preaching, an orderly distribution ensued with the use of tickets and priority numbers for 650 packs. However, after these were served, there were still about 300 people waiting patiently for a share of relief goods. The volunteers were seized with fear and apprehension as the crowd had started to become unruly. For a time, they decided to stop the distribution.

The 5th distribution this team made - at one point the crowd became unruly

The 5th distribution this team made – at one point the crowd became unruly

However, as they saw the desperation of the gathering, they were deeply moved. When one lady sprained her ankle in the crowd, they knew that these people had to be served quickly. The volunteers decided to repack packs for another place so they could give 300 more to the crowd. Our men asked them to kneel down and encouraged them to pray, after which there was an atmosphere of order and calmness. All those waiting were then served and the volunteers felt the hand of the Lord upon them as more than 950 relief packs were distributed. In the afternoon of that Saturday, the team set out for Baybay, Leyte where 120 packs of relief goods were also distributed.

The whole family living in this house died when the typhoon hit

The whole family living in this house died when the typhoon hit

After the Lord’s day, the volunteers started on the long journey to Samar, another province badly hit by the typhoon. A church in Tacloban received 50 packs while three other churches in Samar received about 250 packs.

CCM's Cathy Gacutan helping coordinate

CCM’s Cathy Gacutan helping coordinate

Seeing the place where the storm surge had occurred was a very distressing sight for the volunteers. They felt that what they had done trying to meet the great needs was so insignificant, just a drop in the ocean. They wondered what more they could do. The whole province is in a state of calamity, such as they have never seen nor known before. The whole team were gripped with pity for the people they left.

The signs say 'Thanks to those who help - those local and foreign sponsors thank you'

The signs say ‘Thanks to those who help – those local and foreign sponsors thank you’

The members of CRBC then met on Sunday afternoon, Dec 1st to discuss what still needs to be done. Together with the volunteers for Basey Samar, the Leyte relief volunteers all agreed that we still have to do much more to help in these two provinces, maybe to give more relief goods, but also this time tools and construction materials are needed for the victims. Foremost in our minds are how we can provide livelihood for these desperate people. Please pray for us as we explore how we might go about this.

Rebecca Macapagal