Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sir, did God send you here to talk with me?

Looking my direction, she stopped what she was doing and asked me, “Sir, did God send you here to talk with me?” I told her I believe that He did and this is what he wants you to know. After formally introducing myself to her and I learned that her name is Maggie. I shared with Maggie that God loves her; He knows who she is and what she is going through. Then I told her how Jesus forgives the sins of those who trust in Him alone instead of themselves and their own good deeds.

Maggie’s eyes began to tear up as she shared a little about how hard her life has been. She seemed to be aware that God had been trying to get through to her. Although she was raised Catholic, she had attended a Christian fellowship a few times, but said that it is difficult for a person in her circumstances to get to church. She also explained that she does not have a bible and that she couldn’t read it even if she had one. You see, this conversation started when I asked her if she has been blind since birth or if she had lost her sight during the course of her life.

God had brought me to her through my sore back. I was hurting that day so I stopped by a place in the local mall where for about $2.00 a trained blind person will give you a massage while you sit. I have had massages there before, but because they were so busy that day they asked if I minded if a woman gave me the message. I said okay, and took my seat. They massage people in an open hall way that has several chairs lined up in a row between a movie theater and a barber shop. This was the first time that they had a woman give me a massage and I didn’t think anything of it at the time. As Maggie explained to me about her eyesight she told me that her husband had physically abused her and that a few years ago he had hit her in the head so hard that she had some internal bleeding and lost her sight. She said that she was a little mad at God for allowing this to happen to her. After telling her that in heaven no one will be blind, I asked her if she ever considered that maybe God allowed her to be blind so that she could see Him. I explained that perhaps, with her eyesight she was too busy to hear God speaking to her and now that she can’t see, she is in a place where she can truly hear and see God.

I also shared with her about a blind man in the Bible named Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). Even though Bartimaeus could not see physically, he was able to see spiritually and recognized that Jesus is the one that God promised to send to pay the penalty of the sins of those who believe and follow Him. In contrast to Bartimaeus, there were many people at that time whose eyes worked perfectly well and yet they still would not recognize who Jesus is.

Then I told Maggie about my friend Obet and how God used his polio to reveal Himself to Obet. Obet, who was not familiar with the gospel, had been basically paralyzed since he was a toddler. This is what God used to draw Obet to Himself. God put it on my heart to share the gospel with him after I saw him stuck on the side of the road and unable to walk. I believe that I would never have seen Obet and my heart would not have been so drawn to him if he had the full use of his legs. Perhaps I would never have noticed him or he would have been busy working somewhere else, maybe too busy for God. What a small price to pay for eternal life, just the temporary use of your legs. In like manner, told her that the temporary loss of her eyesight was a small price to pay if that is what God is using to save her life.

Pray for Maggie heart to continue to be open to God’s gracious call and the gift of salvation. I will get her a Braille Bible so also pray that she will read it and that her spiritual eyes will be opened. You might also pray about having your eyes opened to the opportunities around you and the faithfulness to take advantage of them by making the love and greatness of God known.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yesterday was an Interesting Day

(this one is by Jess)

We had 30 people coming for dinner, so I knew my day would be a busy one. First, get the kids off to school. I went downstairs at 6am to pack lunches and start breakfast. No sooner had I put the frying pan on the stove when I suddenly heard the frantic voice of my neighbor, Juan, calling at our back door. It turns out that his daughter, Julie Anne, got into a bike accident on the way to school. Julie Anne is 10 years old
and had not been going to school for the past couple of years because her parents haven’t had the means. Sean and I were concerned for Julie’s schooling, so just last week we got the family connected with our missionary friend, Jeff Long, who runs Cuattro Community Christian School.Through the Lord’s provision, the school is able to give the kids all the uniforms, all of the school supplies, and even lunch every day! Sean and I bought her a pair of nice shoes and socks to go with her new uniform, and she was really excited.

Well, yesterday would’ve been Julie’s 3rd day of school. She climbed onto the bicycle as usual with her dad, but while they were on the road, her foot got caught in the spokes of the wheel and they crashed. Julie’s foot and ankle were really injured, so Juan sat her on a bench at the side of the road while he pedaled back for help. She was still sobbing when her mom and I got to her in the van. I was relieved to see that nothing was broken. Only a few cuts that could easily be stitched up. She was really upset about her shoes, though! (One of them was no longer usable). When we got to the E.R., they were able to see her right away, but I was a little surprised that they were completely out of sutures. Imagine, a hospital out of stock on stitches!!! They suggested I go to the pharmacy just outside the building to purchase some so they can proceed to stitch up her wounds. “ No problem”, I said, and rushed out for my mission. Turns out, ‘just outside the building’ meant 4 blocks away. (Had I known this, I would have taken the van . . . but I didn’t discover this until I was already 2 blocks away and still hadn’t found it). Oh well, I hustled and it was good exercise. I bought extra sutures to leave behind at the E.R. for the next person who might need them. The whole time, Julie’s mom was panicking and worrying. I had opportunities to share with her about God’s goodness , and how he cares for their family and knows everything that happens to them. We had Julie back home in a couple of hours.

Ok . . . so back to my day. I got home about 11am and cooked lunch for the workers We still have construction going on and I like to feed the workers every day. (One of them is Julie's dad). All the while, Sean was upstairs working on his sermon for this coming Sunday, with Bella and Tyler playing in the next room. I walked into the room just in time to see Bella like this:

It appears Isabella had discovered Mommy’s make up . . . Only, the red tube she thought was lipstick was actually mascara. I checked inside her mouth to make sure she didn’t try to eat it – and I found no signs of black on her tongue or her teeth, so I am guessing she probably really did think it was lipstick. But then, that doesn’t quite explain why she also put it on her arm and her legs, now,does it? Well, anyways, since this mascara was waterproof, I knew trying to wash it off in a bath wasn’t the answer. Instead, I grabbed some cotton balls and a bottle of baby oil and voila! It worked like a charm!

Good thing Bella’s clean up didn’t need water, because right after that, just as we were about to do the dishes, we discovered that the water had suddenly stopped working. That’s right, no running water in the house . . . on the day 30 people were coming over. After some phone calls, I learned that our meter was inadvertently put under someone else’s name, and so the bills were never paid, and they cut off the supply because of it. We had credit in OUR name with the subdivision, but it seems no meter was ever assigned to it! I would need to go to the Manila Water office to have them change the account name to ours. But when I got there, they said that before we could even make changes to the account (like the name), the balance needed to be paid in full, which meant that I would have to go to the bank, make the payment, and then return to Manila Water with receipts showing payment, before they would be able to turn the water back on. Ok, no problem. An hour later, I was done. God is good. We would have water in about 30 minutes. I could deal with correcting the credits, etc. later. Now, back to getting ready for company.

Got back home about 4pm, just in time to start preparing dinner for the guests. Still no water. The 30 minutes ended up being 3 hours—and we got water back just before 7pm. Guests arrived at 6pm with dishes piled all over the kitchen and no running water in the bathroom – but praise the Lord, it was only for the first hour or so. I was able to have dinner ready in time and everyone brought additional food – it was really quite a feast!

What made this gathering special is that all the guests were the students from Sean and Mark’s Monday night class of Old Testament Survey as part of the TMAI Philippines program. They normally meet at GCF, one of the larger churches in Manila, but since this was the last class meeting for the course, they all agreed to meet at our house for a change. These are not the typical picture of what students look like. They are

pastors, elders,& ministry leaders. They have maturity, experience, and a whole lot of heart! It was a joy getting to know them. We had a wonderful time of fellowship followed by worship and prayer.

Before everyone went home, we gave out pew bibles for senior pastors to take back to their churches, (thanks to Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California). The pastors eagerly accepted and carried out with them whatever number of bibles their churches needed.

Some of the ministry leaders expressed their gratefulness to the Lord for the TMAI classes they have been taking. It was very moving to hear how they were blessed. I thought I would share a clip of what one student shared:

Brother Mon and a few others walked over to visit with Juan and his family, praying over Julie Anne and her injuries, and then using the Evangicube to share a clear explanation of the gospel in Tagalog. Juan prayed with Brother Mon for Christ’s forgiveness and committed his life to Christ. It’s wonderful to know that Juan went from a man bearing the weight of his daughter’s accident in the morning, to a man humbling himself before God in the evening.

Yesterday wasn't just an interesting day, YESTERDAY WAS AN AWESOME DAY!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Comments from some of our students at TMAI-Philippines

At the Master's Academy in the Philippines we have been teaching classes at Greenhills Christian Fellowship in Manila for over a year now. We are currently teaching a new group of pastors principals for interpreting the bible and we have resumed Old Testament Survey classes with our first batch of students. I thought I would share a few comments from some of our students.

One pastor told us that he has enjoyed what he has learned soo much that he is now teaching it at his church to his elders, leaders and church workers. They have basically taken our one semester course and turned it into a Sunday school class that will run throughout the year.

I was concerned about a woman who was attending our bible interpretation class. I was told that she was pastoring a local church in town. I hoped that she would not be offended by our position that a woman is not to teach or have authority over men. My prayer was that she would at least stay long enough to learn some solid principles on how to interpret the Bible. By the end of the course she said, "Don't call me pastora anymore." Praise the Lord that after learning how to interpret Scritpture, the Word of God did its work, convicted her heart, and caused her to see her biblical role in the church. Let's pray that she will grow in that role and take great joy in it. She is currently continuing in Old Testament Survey Class and will start New Testament Survey in January. She has been with us for about a year now.

Another student told me that ever since taking Biblical interpretataion with us, that they can't listen to sermons the same anymore. The student said that they are felling tension now that they realize that what their senior pastor preaches is often not what the author was trying to communicate in the Word. Pray that this and other students would lovingly and gently be good influences in their churches and among there brothers and sisters as they advote that the Word of God be accurately taught to God's people.Many students keep thanking us for the MacArthur Study Bibles that God provided us to give to them. I am seeing the bibles in the churches that we work in more and more. One student of ours is an elder in a local church. During a bible study his wife told me how beautiful that Bible is and what a help is has been to the two of them. She says that they are constantly using it to understand the Word and to answer questions that they have.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Explaining Death to Little Ones

One of the hardest parts for us in losing a baby to miscarriage was explaining it to our younger children - namely Grace and Tyler. We didn't need to say anything to Isabella because she is too young to really understand. Kian and Christian are mature enough to know what was going on so we kept them in the loop as we went to the hospital to find out what was going on. I knew that Grace and Tyler were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new baby. They were already planning on the things that they would teach the baby and how they were going to help feed, dress, and play with it. That is one of the reasons it was hard to tell them. The other was that they don't have a good grasp on what death means yet. So how do you communicate death to little ones? Here is what I told them.

I told Tyler that his baby brother (we didn't find out the gender, he just wanted a baby brother) was so cute, that Jesus just couldn't wait and took him straight to heaven. Then I told him that someday when he goes to heaven a little boy will run up to him grab his hand and say, "Hi Tyler, I have been waiting for you. I'm your little brother." Then he would lead him around and show him the best places to play. This put a big smile on his face. I basically told Grace the same story except it was a little girl instead of a little boy.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Other Side of the Curtain

I could hear the rapid sound of a baby’s heart beating coming from a monitor on the other side of the curtain. I looked in Jessica’s eyes to see her response. I know what she was thinking; we were both hoping to hear that coming from Jessica’s womb today. However, we would not hear that beautiful sound this time. Jessica started spotting a few days earlier, but wasn’t too worried. After having five kids you know what to expect. She had spotting with at least one previous pregnancy so we knew that spotting happens sometimes. Plus, she was not experiencing any pain or cramping. Last night the spotting turned into bleeding and this morning it started getting heavier. For the last two days, Jess was searching the internet to see if others had this same experience. She was comforted when she found out that even heavy bleeding does not necessarily mean the worst. We drove through the busy Manila streets to see the doctor for an ultrasound. Seeing and hearing the baby would confirm that everything was alright.

After having almost 20 ultrasounds over the years we have become pretty good at being able to make out the images and knowing what to look for and what to expect. Jessica went into the room first and the nurse called me in shortly after they got her set up and looked inside her uterus. We could see the shape of it and a mass inside of it, but it was not the baby. It appears that the baby had already passed out of her body undetected. The doctors didn’t use the word miscarriage, but we knew.

Now, the hardest parts for me is seeing my tender hearted wife heart broken and having to tell our children who were looking forward to the arrival of another baby (especially Grace). I had asked the kids to pray for their mom and the baby on our way to dropping them off at school. I just let them know that their mom was not felling well and that we were going to the doctor for a check up. Even with such little information, the boys were text messaging me and asking if mom was alright. Jess is a pretty tough girl, but I know that she is hurting inside. For me, there is a lot of consolation because we already have five children, but I believe that it is harder for a woman to lose an unborn baby than it is for a man. Going through this has given me even more compassion for couples who have miscarriages and have no other children.

We found out that Jessica was pregnant in mid July about a week after we returned to the Philippines from the States. We have now been back for almost two months, but we had not yet taken Jessica to the doctor for a check-up. As soon as we returned to the mission field we quickly got to work. Two days after we arrived we had a small short term mission team visiting from California. Then, in the beginning of August we had to get the kids prepared for starting school and at the same time we were helping with a minister’s conference. In addition to all of this we were (and still are) in the process of moving. I could tell that both of us were partly blaming ourselves for the lose. Jessica wondered if things would have been different if she had gone to the doctor. I remembered that King David lost one of his children shortly after it was born due to David’s sins and I couldn’t help thinking that maybe God was punishing us because of something I did. I don’t share in David’s sin, but maybe I didn’t work hard enough, pray enough, or was too proud. I believe that those thoughts are wrong, but it is human to have them.

As I write, Jessica is in the operating room where the doctor is caring for her and doing a follow-up procedure that should prevent infection. We hesitated having this done since Jessica has no medical insurance for pregnancy related issues for the first ten months because of our switching over to Grace Ministries International. Jessica was also hoping to just go home and let nature take its course. However, I thought it wisest to do what the doctor recommended.

We thank God for the many blessings that He has given us, more than we deserve. There are so many possibilities as to why He has allowed this to happen and we may not know why till we get to heaven, but we do trust Him and know that this is His will and that it is for our good and His glory. Because He has been so good to us it makes it easier for us to trust Him when He says no or takes something away. We look forward to seeing our little one in heaven where we will have a lot of catching up to do.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Shepherd's Conference sponsored by PETRA
On August 8th and 9th I had the privilege of being a part of a conference held by the Petra foundation, a ministry of Greenhills Christian Fellowship (GCF), which partners with The Master’s Academy in training ministers to reach the Philippines and abroad. This conference – which was inspired by the Shepherd’s Conference at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California – is intended to be an annual conference to equip ministers in local church ministries.

We had the privilege to teach over 400 people various topics, including how to interpret the bible, preaching, ministering to government employees, discipleship, leading small groups, mentoring, biblical eldership, and missions.

The conference was opened with a key note address by the senior pastor of GCF, Dr. Luis Pantoja. Our guest speaker, Dr. Doug Bookman, deepened our understanding of the life of Christ as he taught 4 plenary sessions on the passion week of Jesus. We were also joined by Steve Wheeler, Director of White fields. He taught on missions and expository preaching.

I taught three break-out sessions to about 140 ministers on how to interpret the Bible. I used a workshop style and took commonly misinterpreted texts from the Bible as I modeled how to properly interpret a passage. Then the attendees were given the opportunity to break into small groups and practice doing the same. We are following up the conference by offering classes through TMAI and Petra in Bible interpretation, Old Testament Survey, and New Testament Survey. The conference was well received and many excited ministers expressed their gratitude and eagerness for further training and conferences.

News from the Bridge

Our friends Edwin and Charlyne Cruz just had their third daughter, Elizabeth Cruz. Since she was born under the bridge without any kind of medical help or assessment, we took Elizabeth to the doctor for a check up. Edwin and Charlyne were grateful for this because they were concerned that their daughter vomited up what they described as a lot of “flem.” Since so many of the children and adults living under the bridge suffer from asthma, they worried that Elizabeth may have been born with some soft of illness that could give her breathing problems. After the doctor checked her out she told us that the baby was doing fine and that the “flem” was probably due to the fact that Elizabeth was born without the aid of a doctor or nurse. This means that a standard clearing of the nasal passages was not done. I’m grateful that Edwin asked me a question that he would not have asked a few years ago when I first met him. He asked what was necessary to do a baby dedication. A few years ago they may have asked about baptizing their baby so that she would be saved. Now they know that salvation is God’s gracious gift to those who trust in Jesus Christ alone.

A new family pet

During our last furlough in the States, Jessica and I saw all of our kids admiring the dogs of many of our friends. We had been avoiding getting a dog in the past because our son, Christian, seemed to have his asthma aggravated when he came into contact with animals. But now, it seems that Christian has out grown his asthma, so we finally broke down and bought a small, short haired dog. (Tyler also has asthma, but his hasn’t been affected by animals.)

Isabella was taking a bath with her the other day while I was standing nearby in front of the mirror getting ready for the day. When I turned around I found that Isabella had squeezed out some shampoo on the dogs head and began washing her hair. In this picture you can almost hear the dog saying, “Help me...Help me!...HELP ME! The kids are all crazy about the dog and are doing a good job of helping take care of her.

I suppose that I should tell you the dogs name, but before I do, I need to make a few qualifying statements. When we speak of a man’s man or a rugged man, we sometimes say that he is manly. Or perhaps you might be describing a very feminine girl as – you guessed it – girly. , Pugs are known to be very sweet, friendly, and family oriented lap dogs. Hence our pug, who fits the textbook description of her breed so well, is appropriately named . . . Pugly. As our Grace likes to call her, she can also be called Princess Pugly.

Yeah, maybe we are Crazy

Crazy? Maybe you have thought that about us. Some essentially told me that I am crazy. I have heard Jessica ask herself if she was crazy a few times, but now I’m starting to wonder if there is any truth to that idea. If you find us to be pretty sane and are wondering what in the world I’m talking about, I should mention that we are expecting number six! Yes, we found out last month that Jessica is pregnant. Just recently she asked herself if she was crazy for even desiring another kid. I still remember about 16 years ago how excited I was when I found out that Jessica was pregnant with Kian. No sooner had I found out than I was on the phone calling everyone I know to announce the good news. It was a little different this time. We are both still excited, but it took us several weeks to tell our parents. It’s kind of funny when you think about it. A couple who has been happily married for 19 years thinking about how to tell their parents that they are going to have a baby.

Well, we told them and of course they are concerned about how we are going to take care of such a large family, but of course they will be ‘crazy’ over the new baby. I can understand their concerns and we are well aware of the challenges of having five and now six children. When we arrived at Los Angeles International Airport at the beginning of our furlough last year, it took two cars…no, two vans, to carry all of us and our things. On our last flight from the states we took up a whole row of seats on the plane (both sides of the isle). I also know about getting home at the end of the day and conjuring up my last bits of energy to listen to five excited kids, (a few of them bouncing still) share with me what they did that day; all at the same time. I know about being late for almost everything because of trying to find the shoes of our little ones, packing diapers, bottles, spare clothes and game boys. I could go on and on about the difficulties, but I can also share so many blessings that far out weigh the hardships. Here are some: a van load of kids singing together while driving through the city, the laughing, tickling, games, conversations, family time, and the hugs and kisses to name of few. I’m not saying that it is easy, but it is worth it. God’s Word says in Psalm 127:3-5 that: Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man [and woman] are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man [and woman] whose quiver is full of them! (NLT)

Crazy? Maybe, but if so, what a joy it is to be crazy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lessons Learned From Our First Furlough

We all made it safe and sound back to the Philippines. I wanted to share some lessons that I learned during our furlough in the U.S (our approximately 7 months stay in which we reported on our progress, did some recruiting, visited family and friends, and attempted to do some fund raising).
When we first returned to the United States I expected that it would be easy to return back to the Philippines once our furlough was completed. In fact, I was eager to return. One reason was that our house and most of our belongings were waiting for us in the Philippines. The school and friends that our kids had grown t love was there. Lots of great ministries, opportunities and people were waiting for us. In spite of all these and several other good reasons to return I could feel some anxiety building as the time to leave the U.S. drew nearer. What was troubling me? What was I worried about? After all, the Philippines feel a lot like the U.S. The Philippines are so westernized that I’ve felt that there shouldn’t be any struggles living there for those of us who weren’t born there. I’ve even thought that the differences between the two countries were relatively small and that I haven’t really given up much in going to the Philippines.
Yet, there are some differences and maybe it’s these differences that have been causing me some anxiety in returning. In thinking about what might be the cause I started thinking about some of the things the challenges in living in the Philippines. There is a lot of poverty in the there, but I don’t think that is the cause because I not impressed with wealth and I don’t pity or see people as less if they don’t have money. Sometimes I even envy the freedom that those little have because they are not slaves to things like many who feel quality of life is defined by having more stuff. Another challenge is that people speak many different languages here however, I don’t think that is my problem because English is used and understood throughout the whole country by many; most of the signs are even in English. It’s not the food here because even though you can find a lot of foods that many American’s would call strange or exotic, you can also find many McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and the like.
I believe that answer is – and this furlough has taught and reminded me – that it wasn’t easy to give up family, friends, church, and country the first time and now we have to do it again. In fact, we have to do this on rotation every few years. I now see more clearly that we leave behind many more things than I had realized at first. Many times while we were in the States I watched my kids playing with the kids of our family and friends. I remember feeling a sense of loss over the relationships that would have been if we never left the U.S., a loss of watch our family growing up with other families; camp outs, sports teams, church events, holidays, and some comforts. I appreciate more than ever having a solid church that consistently teaches the Word of God and ministers to God’s people (though some exist in the Philippines, they are more the exception than the norm). I also appreciate the U.S. more for its courts and laws – even though one could go on and on about it’s short comings in these areas – the U.S. is still a great nation and I believe that justice is still more often found than not. I will miss the cleaner streets, cleaner air, lighter traffic, organization, and cultural comforts. Here’s an illustration that might help how I feel. It’s kind of like being home on leave from war and then returning to fight the good fight. After enjoying home, you know better than ever before what you are leaving behind and the gravity of the tasks that await you.
With all that said, I want to say that there are many positives in living in the Philippines. Also, I can honestly say that Jesus is worth it and that everything that might be temporarily lost in this life is nothing compared to gaining an unending joyous relationship with God and what He has waiting for us in heaven. I agree with what Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8 (ESV) where he said, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” It is that knowledge and our joy in seeing the fame of Christ spread throughout the world that makes it easier to lose things again and again.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

How the Bridge Ministry Began

An excerpt from this blog about my friends at Manalo Bridge was featured in the June 15 edition of Grace Today.I suspect this might draw some new visitors, so I thought it would be good to put the following links here:
1. Friends From The Bridge.
Here, I organized the blog posts about the Bridge Ministry in order . . . starting at the top with how it all began when I first met Robert. You will have to ignore the dates shown . . . I had to manipulate these so that the posts will show oldest to newest (instead of newest posts on top).

2. Our Bridge Ministry Picture Book
This is a PDF version of a photo book we created to summarize the beginning and unfolding of this ministry, highlighting the many wonderful things God has done. This is picture intensive, though, so depending on your connection speed, it could take about 10 minutes to load. However, if you don't have time to read through alot of blogs, this picture book will give you the whole story in just a few sentences.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


From the Bridge

My friend pastor Richard continues to minister at the Manalo Bridge while we are here on furlough in the U.S. Here is a report he sent me the other day:

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!!!! How are you pastor sean?how is your study and your family there? well we are all fine here at Crossroads Green hills and Sta.Lucia. by the way did you received my last email regarding chariel? according to Doctor, it is Good that the operation will be held next year since he has Good improvement on his health. here are some news regarding bridge not so latest.

1. two weeks before, obet was hited by car and got not serious damage. the only problem that he got was his right feet (he was using in walking)was swollen so right now he was momentarily unable to walk. his well chair completely destroyed because of impact and after a week the person who hit him gave a new well chair, he also game some money for obets' medicine. he was unable to attend the sunday service for 3 Sundays and hopefully he can attend this coming Sunday.

2. Right now there are on going Meralco (the electric company] post contraction on manggahan bridge, their is a big hole there and hopefully will finish also this week. pray for their safety most especially the children in manggahan.

3. Last week we held DVBS or Daily Vication Bible School from manggahan with 30 was great time of learning and fellowship for children there.

4. two weeks before, Mr.Abug manifested his sick again. ( Mentally sickness) and according to ate charlyn and wife of Mr. abug, it was because he did not received his injection for that month, that's why he was like that.Praised God because Dra.Henson gave money and she swear that she will give monthly but i don't now until when?maybe after you come back here in the Philippines.

5. Regarding our Bible Study, we agreed with Sis.cecil that we will join her group to my group and make it
one Bible study. some of them are busy that is why they did not attended the Bible.
6. Regarding my study in AGS, i will ask 1,000 peso this second week of May to complete all my requirements in AGS. like Picture,x-ray test,entrance fee for AGS. (We are helping pastor Richard finish seminary).

7.Regarding the account of AGS i already e mailed them but as of now no reply yet, i think it will be better if i personally go there and get their account number maybe During my submissions of my requirements or during my entrance exam before this May end.

8. praised God for providing me a motor vehicle which is usefully for the ministry especially right now i am handling Bible study and visitation in Floodway, marikina, and cainta.this motor vehicle was from our denomination exclusively for Pastor and church workers and i loaned it personally with church consent. i will pay 950 peso (about $22 USD) monthly for 5 years no interest.

9. This coming May 24 Saturday their will be medical mission from manggahan through Doctors Free

clinic i Saint Francis. it aims to bring medical support as well as spiritual.there will be 3 to 4 Doctors who will participate on this mission plus counselors and trainers from Evangelim Explossion.

10. there will be another batch of pictures from manggahan last december and i try to have pictures from DVS. i will try to send to you next week

Thanks pastor Sean and God bless!!!

Grace Ministries International
For practical reasons we are changing missions agencies. Starting in August we will no longer will be with Reach Global and instead will be a part of GMI (You can click on the link to learn more about GMI, but our information has not been added yet).

Our ministry to our friends at Manalo Bridge and training national pastors in association with The Master's Academy will not change at all, but our support agency will. This change will join us to a group that is almost exclusively focused on training national pastors and will provide us with a lot more expertise, training and resources. In addition, this change means that 100% of our support will go to ministry because Grace Community Church will cover all our administrative costs as a ministry of the church. If you are a part of our support team, we are in the process of sending you all of the information regarding where to send your contributions. If you and not a part of our support team, but would like to be just go to contact:

GMI Direct
13248 Roscoe Boulevard
Sun Valley, CA 91352

(818) 909-5738
or email

Friday, April 11, 2008

Miss Little Monster

Who says that little girls can't be little monsters? I heard a ruckus in the kitchen while I was studying. It's not unreasonable for my first thought to be, "Tyler, what are you in to?" Instead this is what I found. Isabella!
On a positive note, it looks like she might be the first Ransom child who actually enjoys washing the dishes.

It wasn't long after I rescued her from the sink and got back to work that I heard the sound of a chair sliding across the kitchen floor. It appears that she was not feeling well so she thought she would grab that delicious grape flavored stuff that mommy gave her last night for her mild fever.(Thank goodness for the childproof caps). What happened to the days when we were safe putting all the "keep out reach of children" stuff away in high places . . . like kitchen cabinets? Its not like we don't have toys or a swing set and a pile of sand in the back yard. We even have the flowers and dandelions that Bella's big sister Grace is so fond of.
Once again I returned her to safety only to find her a few minutes later in a state of - I guess - hunger. Jessica and her parents love to cook and it appears that Bella may have inherited that same ability.

Well the third time (in 10 minutes) was the charm. It was time for this little monster to retire to the safety of her bed for a nap and since there was no scuffle or objections, I believe it is safe to say that Miss Little Monster agrees.

Let's see if I can return again to some uninterrupted study time. Lots of papers to write, books to read, emails to answer and phone calls to make. Five kids can be a lot of work, but it is worth it and the blessings far exceed the interruptions.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Home Assignment: God is at Work

As busy as furlough has been, I have been feeling really blessed and refreshed. I admit I feel a lot of pressure as the clock ticks away, (we return to the Philippines July 8). It's kind of funny when people ask me if we are enjoying our time of rest. I am enjoying my time, but rest? I am busy trying to raise support, recruit more team members, speak at churches, visit friends and supports, take care of administrative responsibilities for the Master's Academy, write curriculum for upcoming classes in the Philippines, read a few thousand pages and write over a dozen papers for my doctrinal program at Talbot.

Let me update you on what has been happening in our lives and ministry. Our partners in the Philippines have been keeping the ministry humming along. Our friends at the Manalo Bridge are doing reasonably well. Pastor Richard has continued teaching Bible studies there and is keeping us posted on the progress of our disciples and of special needs. He also managed our Christmas outreach at the bridge. Lord willing, Chariel will have his first heart surgery next month. Obet has been faithful in going to the studies and Sunday Worship services. Pastor Mark has faithfully been teaching classes on how to study the Bible and Bible Survey classes for our training center.

The family and I have been sharing at churches, missions conferences, and small gathering of people who are interested in our ministry. Earlier this month I enjoyed going to the Shepherd's Conference. During that same week I made a presentation before the board of the Master's Academy. The board formally voted and accepted our training ministry in the Philippines as a TMAI school. As a result of that we were given many great resources for the school and doors have opened to us for more partnerships and support.

Kian, Christian, and Grace have all entered public school for the first time and our learning some good lessons outside of the missionary kid bubble of Faith Academy in the Philippines. Kian said that he didn't feel like a missionary in the Philippines being surrounded by hundreds of missionary kids, but he feels like a missionary here. He has already had the chance to lead to class mates to Christ and has been a consistent biblical counselor. I'm a little word about Christian who has been pretty quite about school and usually takes some coaxing to hear how things are going. He seems to be doing well grade wise, but I'm sure he looks forward to getting back to his friends in Manila. Grace likes her teacher and seems to be singing a new song every week. Tyler and Isabella have been enjoying the extra time with Grandma and Grandpa when they are in town. We recently had some time as a family to go to Disneyland.Pray for us as we continue to minister and labor to complete all the tasks that we have in our last 3 months here. Also ask God to move the hearts of those He has called to work with us and those He has called to come along side of us and support us and our ministry. Remember our friends at the bridge before the Lord and our students at the school. Finally, pray that I will do well in my continued education; that God will continue to grow and sharpen me so that i will be a better tool in His hand and a greater blessing to the ministers that I have the privilege to train in the Philippines.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Prayer Requests while in the States

We are starting up our prayer blog again. CLICK HERE for the most recent post.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Master's Academy International in the Philippines

My wife and I keep laughing as God continually drops opportunities in our laps, opening doors for ministry, granting us favor in the eyes of others, and bringing great people to us to work with. I know that all of these things are from Him because they certainly are not because of any skills or credentials that we have. Churches and minister are giving me respect I haven’t earned. More experienced Pastors and elders call me to get my opinion on ministry issues. Other Churches are opening their doors for us to use as venues for training others and holding conferences. One businessman even offered us a building to start a training center in.

So why are churches and people in the Philippines so willing to work with us in this ministry? It started with a man who wanted to meet when he heard a graduate from the Master’s Seminary (TMS) was coming to the Philippines. Because he came to Christ through the ministry John MacArthur and Grace to you, he was eager partner in the ministry of training Filipinos in expository teaching and preaching. In November of 2006 I accepted his invitation to teach a group of about 15 ministers that he oversees. These 15 men each minister to separate groups of 700 to 1,000 people living in the surrounding poor communities. I began teaching these men on discipleship, hermeneutics and Bible.

Then in August of 2007, after a friend of mine who started a bible college in his church shared with me his frustration in finding qualified teachers, I agreed to help train his students. At this time Mark Macatangay, another graduate from TMS joined me. He is a Filipino national and an associate pastor from Green Hills Christian Fellowship (GCF). Mark and I accepted an invitation to train some ministers from a group called “Joshua”. This group specializes in discipling people from the police and armed forces of the Philippines. The class stared with just over 30 students and soon grew to over 40. After they completed Hermeneutics they asked if we would be willing to train more of their people. We started another class of 30 plus students who are currently taking Hermeneutics in the evenings (including some of the pastor’s wives). GCF provided for the copying of the syllabus for each student and copies of the book “How to Read the Bible for all it’s Worth.” Supporters of our ministry from the U.S. provided copies of the MacArthur Study Bible.

Among our students are a navy admiral, a military colonel, businessmen, engineers, bankers, and an attorney. All of them are now teachers or preachers hungry for training. After taking our course in Hermeneutics one student wrote, “Through this course I am truly encouraged to spend more time to read, study and meditate on the Word of God and consequently to trust and obey Him in all areas of my life and share the meaning and the truths to others as He reveals them to me.” Another said to me that he went to a Bible College in the Philippines, but he was never taught the basic principles that we taught him in our Hermeneutics class. I heard the same thing from another pastor who received a Masters of Divinity from a seminary in Manila. Comments like these serve to fuel my passion for bring solid training to ministers of God and to send them out through the Philippines and the nations.

Many other groups have expressed interest in us training them and we haven’t even advertised.One of those groups is White Fields. They are a missionary organization that focuses on training national church planters using experienced missionaries and ministers to help train and equip them for ministry. They asked us if we could help them in the area of Expository preaching. You can read about their ministry in the Philippines at the following website: This partnership will happen through modular training, the first of which will took place in January in the city of Batangas. Steve Wheeler from White Fields will taught a one week module in Hermeneutics to a group of about 100 ministers for one week in the evenings. Classes were held at night because the students work day jobs to survive while ministering during the evenings and weekends. We are lining up other modules in the near future for other ministers who live outside of Manila and on other islands.

The greatest challenges that we face right now are first, we have more potential students than we can teach on our own so we need help. We need more teachers who are willing to leave the comforts of the U.S. and move to Manila. We also need trained men who can come and help teach 1 to 2 week modules in various subjects including Old and New Testament, Theology, Church Planting, Leadership, Counseling, Pastoral ministry and Preaching. Second, we need prayer and financial support for both Mark and I, and for resources for the training center itself. You can contact us ( or the Masters Academy International ( if you are interested in partnering with us.