Monday, December 27, 2010

The Next Chapter For Our Friends at the Bridge

Heaps of trash are all that remain of Obet's home. All the homes under and around Manalo Bridge have finally been demolished. Everyone was prepared for this since they had been warned about it a while ago. About two years ago they received their first notice of demolition and were invited to a community meeting that took place in the floodway channel that they lived in. The government official directed our attention to the thousands of homes lining both sides of the river banks just a half mile south of us. After looking at me he said to them, all of your are blessed to have a pastor praying foryou because we are not able to provide housing for those people down the way, but we have it for you. Of course I had nothing to do with it, but God used that situation to remind those who were trusting Him that He was caring for them.

Families who were able to put in 1,000 hours of labor to help build their homes and who could afford the approximately $30 a month mortgage over the next 10 years joined in a began to build their homes. A majority of the families there took part in this program and began to help build the new apartments that they would someday move into. This would be a great blessing for our friends who have been living in make shift shanties for over a decade with no running water, toilets, or electricity. Below is a row of make-shift homes on the side of the bridge. The picture above is what it looks like now.

During the months of November and December they finally began to move in except for a few of the families who could not afford the monthly mortgage or did not meet the qualification to receive the housing. Of those families who did not move into the new housing, all but one of them moved in with other friends and family or relocated somewhere else.

When I went to the bridge this morning to take one last look I found one family who had no place to go. I discovered that Geovani, Christy and their 6 children (Joshua Sean was born there under the bridge on Dec. 11) were still there. They took pieces of wood from the torn down houses and built a new home under the bridge. They are hoping to rent a near by place some time soon. Their church has offered to pay their rent for several months while they get settled.

Here is what it looked like under the bridge when I first met my friends there.

Here is what I found today.
The good news is that most of the families live in permanent homes now. They are no longer living in a dangerous flood channel and they now have running water, electricity, in-door toilets and solid walls. Another benefit of this is that some of their living expenses will decrease. Like water, which they will no longer having to buy by the gallon and have to carrying home in jugs just about every day.
Here are some pictures of the Cruz's place. It has a family room, small kitchen and bathroom down stairs and one large bedroom upstairs.

Pictured on the here on the right are several of the families who used to live at the bridge at the dedication of the Cruz's home. Praise the Lord for caring for these families. He has taken them from the bridge to a group of apartments that house thousands of people. I know that they will show Him their gratitude by opening their home to others to make Him known. Pray for their continued growth, protection, blessings.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bringing Training To Minister's Where They Live

In early September, we were joined by Geoff, Elizabeth and Hezekiah Kirkland. Geoff is a graduate of The Master's Seminary and he and his wife are praying about the Lord's Direction for future ministry. They heard about the opportunities with our training ministry, The Expositor's Academy (TEA) , so they came out to see what the Lord is doing and how they might fit in should He lead them to join us in training ministers in the Philippines.
Geoff, Elizabeth and Hezekiak Kirkland

TEA Board member Mike Asperin arranged for Geoff to teach a one week module in the city of Tanay on Hermeneutics (how to interpret the Bible). It was easy to see that the Kirkland's immediately clicked with the people and culture and Geoff did a great job of teaching.
Geoff Kirkland

Tanay is a town of about 80,000 people and is situated about 1 hour west of Manila on the edge of Laguna De Bay. I was told that there are very few Christian Churches in this predominately Catholic town and that the training was greatly needed and appreciated. We were hosted by The Church of the Living Savior and it's pastor, Medel Mendez cared for The Kirkland's during their stay in the city.
The Kirklands with the Tanay Class

Shortly after the Kirkland's returned to the States we were joined by Pastor Jonathan Rourke from Grace Community Church on Oct. 9-18. Jonathan had just wrapped up some ministry in Hong Kong and came here to the Philippines to help minister to some of our ministry partners and to join us in teaching in our training ministry.

Jonathan Rourke at
Greenhills Christian Fellowship in Ortigas Center

Jonathan Rourke at Christ's Commission Fellowship in Alabang

Between the two churches, Jonathan preached 5 times to about 5,000 people. At GCF, he preached on 1 Tim. 1:12-17 (Click hear to listen) and at CCF He preached on Gal. 3:1-14 (Click hear to listen). I had a good time with Jonathan as we met with some of the pastors from both churches to hear about what God has done through them, what He is currently doing through them, and where they are heading.

Sandwiched between these two preaching engagements, Jonathan and I suffered for the Lord in Boracay. I almost hesitated to share this because the place is a popular vacation spot set on a beautiful beach known for it's powder white sand, glass like waters of various blues and greens, great food, and friendly people. Often, when thinking of missionary life, people picture poverty, heat, and rough conditions, not beautiful beaches, but hey, the Word needs to be preached there too and ministers need to be taught wherever they serve the Lord. This door was opened to us so we went through it and were doubly blessed. We were blessed to be in such a beautiful place, and were were blessed to serve such eager pastors. Most of the men lived in the area, but some traveled many hours for the training when they heard about it.
Boracay Hermeneutics Class

The only down side to this module was that it was torture looking at the beach each day and not being able to enjoy it because we had to teach. Jonathan and I kept saying how nice it would have been if our families were there.

However, it was a great working environment. The men in Boracay appreciated the teaching so much that they asked us if we could come back in January to teach a module on preaching. As you can imagine, they didn't have to twist my arm and Lord willing, we will be there in January, maybe even with my family this time.

Please pray that these men would be able to go back through what we taught them, that they would understand it and that they would apply it to their study and proclamations of God's Word. It will take them time to become skilled in all the things that we taught them because they were exposed to so much in one week, but we pray that as they do, it will deeply impact their personal lives, the way they view the world, the way they lead and that it will greatly impacting their pulpits and the churches they pastor.

The last piece of news that I have to share is that we will be starting a new class in the city of Fairview just North of Manila on Oct. 23. Students from my class at Greenhills Christian Fellowship have been asking me for the past few years if we could start classes in Fairview where they minister. They have been enjoying the training that they have been receiving from our training ministry for over there years now and felt a burden for the pastors in their area to receive it as well. I felt bad that I have had to say no the last few years because of being understaffed, but I found some like minded men to help teach the classes with me by sharing the teaching load. This class will meet every Saturday night from 6-9pm starting with Hermeneutics.

Please pray for our new class, that the ministers in it will be learn to better interpret, live and proclaim God's Word. Also pray for more men to join our staff at The Expositor's Academy in the Philippines to train godly men to faithfully preach God's Word.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

A Fruitful Summer

A lot has happened since last June. We have been so busy that I wasn't even able to update my blog the last few months. Where do I start? We went to the U.S. for a two and a half month trip so that I could do some research for my doctorate, go to the Grace Missions Conference, visit family and supporters and while we were there, why not have a baby. On July 13, our sixth child was born at the Adventist Hospital in Glendale California. Josiah Elijah Ransom weighed in at 8 and a half pounds, was 20 and a half inches long and there were no complications for him or mommy.
After we got got a little bible knowledge under his belt we took him to meet John MacArthur during the Grace Missions Conference. We had a great time of fellowship with other GMI missionaries from around the world.

My mom was able to visit us from North Carolina and join us for our first family pictures with Josiah.

We were blessed to spend time with friends like Marnie and Agnes Lacsamana who hosted a lunch for us and those who are interested in ministry in the Philippines. We also were able to visit some old friends at the Grace Church Filipino Bible Study and make some new friends from Calvary Bible Church.

Jessica was even able to catch up with a childhood friend and a cousin.

It was a good trip, we were pretty busy and were not able to see all those we wished we could have. We hope to see the rest of you next time. We all made it safe and sound back to the Philippines and have rolled up our sleeves and gotten back to ministry. I am back to teaching four classes, and we are in the process of starting a new one. We also have two one week bible interpretation modules scheduled for the last quarter of this year. Jessica is caring for Josiah, the rest of our kids and me. She is also working part time at Faith Academy, the kids are back in school and Josiah is now officially a world traveler.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Updates and ramblings

We arrived safely in Los Angeles and have been enjoying catching up with family and friends. I have also been busy doing some research for my doctoral project at the Master's College and Seminary as well as at Talbot Seminary. Please pray for a productive time during the rest of our stay here in the U.S. We will be visiting several churches, friends and supporters. We will end our trip here with a one week Missions Conference with Grace Community Church in August and then head back to Manila on the 23rd. We are hoping to raise some support as we have learned from GMI (our mission) that our incoming monthly support needs to increase substantially. We still have several supporters who did not carry over when we made the swithch from Reach Global to GMI a couple of years ago, but we trust that God is faithfully working all these things out.

It's been nice catching up on my mexican food, In-n-Out as well as other favorite foods that we have been missing. We took the kids to Sea World last week along with some family who were visiting from Kansas. The baby is 2-3 weeks away from arriving and Jessica and I have been going to weekly doctor appointments. We should be delivering at the Adventist Hospital in Glendale. My mom will arrive next week and spend several weeks with us as well in anticipation of the baby's arrival. It's been a few years since we have seen her and we all look forward to the visit.

After the baby is born we will need to get his birth certificate and passport in time to leave on the 23rd. Please pray for the baby's safe delivery, for the timely processing of his passport, and also for me, as I seem to be battling a cold and soar throat (want to be completely healthy before our newborn arrives). Also pray for our students at Greenhills Christian Fellowship, Christ Commission Fellowship and at The Church of the Triumphant Christ. We miss them all and look forward to getting back to helping further equip them. Lastly, pray for Kian as he considers where to go to college in 2011. We toured that Master's College which was great and he really liked it. The little ones (and 9 month pregnant mommy) particularly enjoyed the tram ride.


Friday, June 11, 2010


A friend kindly pointed out that I neglected to mention some important details about the conference we took part in. It was organized by "Purpose and Passion", a ministry of our church, Greenhills Christian Fellowship in Ortigas Center (in the Manila area). I mentioned that in addition to Rick Holland, there were many other local pastors, missionaries and ministers who spoke. Click here to read their bios and to learn more details about the conference. Please forgive my error, no disrespect was intended and thank you to everyone who took part and made this ministry possible. To God be all the glory.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Module, Conference, Packing, Moving and International Travel all in 2 weeks.

Pastor Rick Holland from Grace Community Church arrived in Manila today and will be our guest speaker for a three day conference starting tomorrow. The theme of the conference is the Master's plan for the church. In addition to the 7 plenary sessions built around the conference theme that pastor Rick will be teaching, we will also have several break out sessions on topics including expository preaching, a biblical philosophy of ministry, team leadership in the church, mentoring, biblical counseling and several sessions for women. The speakers include myself (Sean Ransom), my wife Jessica, Lisa La George from the Master's College, Ruth Ortiz from Action International and fellow Master's Seminary alum pastor Felix Ballon.

Last week we taught a 5 day hermeneutics module with pastor Felix as our guest professor . He also taught my monday night class who are currently taking theology (pictured below). It was evident to all how he connected with the students. In addition to being born and raised in the Philippines till he was about 12 years old, he is a very gifted teacher, blessed with the ability to clearly teach and explain the bible to all levels of students. After we taught basic principles of Bible interpretation, we modeled how to use these principles in various passages. Then, on the last day the students enjoyed asking questions about the interpretation of texts that they had always wondered about. Pastor Felix also taught them how he studies passages and divides them up into a logical order and outlined so that they can be taught.
We were also blessed to receive a container from Grace Community Church containing among others things, books, books and more books. These will help many pastors and churches who lost books during typhoon Ondoy or who do not have good resources or libraries for their pastors, leaders, and teachers to use.
In addition to the module last week and the conference this week, we need to pack up our house as we prepare to head back to the states next week. While there I will spend time for some research, we will also attend a missions conference with Grace Community Church, visit family, friends, supporters and o yah, have a baby in July.

We appreciate your prayers for the conference, our travels, U.S. visit and the baby. We just had an ultra sound today that confirmed again that the baby is a boy, on schedule and already weighs about 5 pounds. I look forward to reporting about the conference and posting pictures soon.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Building a Model Church to Establish an Expository Ministry

This week, fellow Master's Seminary Alum Travis Allen is visiting our church, Greenhills Christian Fellowship (GCF) to meet with the pastors and elders in the church to get an over view of the church's ministries, as well as with our ministry, the The Expositor's Academy. The reason for this visit is that the former Senior pastor of GCF retired earlier this year and the pastoral search committee is getting to know Travis to see if perhaps he might join them as their preaching pastor.

Travis has been working for Grace to you for about 10 years now and has been involved with teaching in the Grace Life Fellowship at Grace Community Church. About a week ago while Travis was working, he got a call from his supervisor telling him that he needs to come into the office right away. He arrived to find himself in a small meeting with Don Green, Phil Johnson and John MacArthur. Half joking, they told Travis that they were planning his future and then told him about the opportunity at GCF.

You see, about two months earlier some of the elders of GCF made a personal appeal to pastor John asking him if he could help them find a new pastor for their church who is a skilled expositor of Scripture as well as a men skilled in pastoral ministry. After some searching pastor John hand picked Travis and recommend him to GCF.

When Travis was told about the opportunity that Thursday he was very excited and went home to tell his wife. I think that it is safe to say that most mother's of 5 children would not respond well to their husbands asking them, "What do you think about moving out of the first house we ever owned, the one we just bought less than a year ago, and move to Asia to serve the Lord?" It appears that his wife Melinda is open to this opportunity as it has been something they have discussed in the past. Not specifically going to the Philippines, but serving God in the Asia area among English speakers in a ministry that would allow them to have a wide impact. What may have seemed to be an unreasonable request, (A ministry in Asia to English speakers) may just be what God has been preparing them for.

Two days later Travis had purchased plane tickets and after church on Sunday, packed his bags and got on a plane headed to Manila. He had no idea the week before that he would be in the Philippines visiting GCF. He arrived on Tuesday morning (about four days after his meeting with John, Don and Phil) and has been on a whirlwind tour ever since.

In our excitement, Jeffery Co and I joined elder Mike and Goby to pick Travis up from the airport. We took him straight to his first meeting, breakfast with elder James Oh and pastor B.J. Sabastian.
That same evening we took Travis to a dinner meeting with about a dozen GCF elders so that they could get to know each other better. The next day Travis had breakfast with third year students from our training ministry, the Expositor's Academy, followed by a visit with Compassion International, a ministry partner of GCF.
He ended the day by preaching at GCF's midweek service. On Thursday we took Travis on a tour of Faith Academy, followed by a visit to a ministry we have to the poor. He ended the days with another dinner fellowship with GCF leaders.
On Friday he visited the Far East Broadcasting Company where he spoke at the staff chapel service and led a devotion on Saturday with GCF staff. This Sunday he will preach at two services before getting back on a plane Sunday evening.

God's providential hand in arranging all these opportunities was evident as all these meetings and times to preach came together in a matter of days. If GCF follows pastor John's recommendation of Travis and brings him on as their pastor, it will not only be a great benefit to the church, but it will also greatly help to establish the ministry of the Expositor's Academy to not only teach men to establish expository ministries, but it will allow us to have a solid model of what that looks like for our students and other churches here in the Philippines.

Please join me in praying that God would guide the leadership of GCF to choose the right man, weather it be Travis or someone else, to lead and feed us. Pray also that this pastor would be able to partner with us to train godly men and women for the ministry.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A little business and a little pleasure.

Let me start with the business. I've been back in the Philippines for almost 3 weeks now and I, along with the ministers who joined me, are still riding the high of the Master's Academy International (TMAI) symposium and the Shepherd's Conference.
We were blessed with a very edifying and productive time which included 3 meetings with John MacArthur, 2 with Mark Tatlock (the vice president of the Master's College) meetings with churches, various ministries and other men from TMAI training centers all over the world.
One of the highlights of our time was when I learned that John MacArthur was excited about what God is doing in the Philippines and his desire to come along side of us and help. This help included his willingness to come out to the Philippines to teach if the Lord allows it. We were also excited to see that the Master's College is also committed to partnering with us where then can to help pastor's, local churches, and Filipino Christians to further their education and skills in the ministry.

I am back to teaching 3 classes a week and a weekly mentoring meeting with a group of pastors at my house. Our current classes are Theology Survey, Old Testament Survey and Preaching 1. I am working with our church here (Greenhills Christian Fellowship) in planning our up coming conference in June. Rick Holland from Grace Community Church will be our key note speaker and myself along with a few grads from the Master's seminary will be teaching some break out seminars. Jessica will be joining in teaching some seminars for women. A couple of days after the conference, the whole family and I will be jumping on a plane and flying to the U.S. for a couple of months. During that time I will be doing some research at the Master's Seminary for my doctrinal program. Jessica will be having out 6th baby in late July (Lord willing) and we will visit family, friends, supporters, and our supporting churches. Then in August we will be going to the Grace Church missions conference.

Now to the pleasure. My wife Jessica lost her wedding ring some time ago and I was able to sneak away for a few hours to buy her a new ring. I felt like I was taking a big chance by buying her a ring that she didn't pick out, but after 20 years of marriage I feel like I know her and her taste well enough. I figured that in a worse case scenario, even if she didn't like the ring, she would still love the fact that I thought of her and tried to please her. Fortunately she loves the ring (or at least that what she tells me) I keep catching her looking at it. I was planning on giving it to her on her birthday, but I couldn't wait. So the day I got back from the U.S. I took her to a quite little restaurant with a nice view. I even got on my knee as I gave it to her and told her how much I love her and am blessed by her. Mark Tatlock set me up with a friend how put together a really nice diamond and ring set for us. As an added benefit, I'm guessing that I won't have any trouble going to the U.S. for the Shepherd's Conference next year and that she will joyfully release me to go.

Please be in prayer for the pastors, minister and others who attend our conference in June. Also pray for a fruitful trip to the U.S. and for a healthy baby and safe delivery. If you would like to see us while we are in the States, then please send me an email so we can schedule some time together.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A quick and fruitful stop in L.A.

My week of conferences started off with a visit to Joni and friends a ministry that specializes in sharing the gospel with and helping people with disabilities. Joni has been one of my heros in the faith ever since I was a teen-ager. She broke her back when she was about 18 years old (some 40 years ago) and has been a living picture and proof that we can do all things in Christ, enduring the gravest hardships while glorify God. It was such a joy to hear Joni speak and to share stories with her and to finally meet her husband as well. My fellow TMAI brothers and I had an all day seminar at their office to expose us to a really good curriculum that they developed for ministering to people with disabilities.


The next two days we moved to Calvary Bible Church in Burbank where we meet to discuss TMAI training center specifics. It was a blessing to hear what God is doing in and through my brothers and their ministries.

On Saturday night I was joined by 5 friends from our church in the Philippines (GCF) with 11 more coming tomorrow and 1 on Tuesday. Monday and Tuesday will be the last days of the TMAI symposium and Wednesday through Friday will be the Shepherd's Conference. I will give a presentation on the Philippines on Monday. On Tuesday we have a private meeting with John MacArthur, followed by another meeting with some faculty from the Master's College. On Thursday we have a meeting with the Staff with Grace Community Church.

John MacArthur and the staff of Grace Church are really excited about the ministry in the Philippines and are eager to come along side of us and help us. I can't wait to see what the Lord will do in and through. Mark Tatlock and the Master's College are excited to build partnership with us to offer Masters degrees in biblical counseling, christian education, and biblical exposition. This can all be done in the Philippines which will be a great blessing and solution to what seemed to be a difficult hurdle. It can be difficult for Filipinos to get visas to go to the U.S.

Please pray for me, my guest, our many meetings and the speakers of this conference.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Happy to see her sick.

Jessica has been sick a lot for the past few months. We went to the doctor to get to the bottom of her frequent stomach ailments after some friends suggested to her that she might have an intestinal parasite. After a few tests, sure enough, we discovered that she has amoeba, which is fairly common in the Philippines and can be caught through contaminated food or water . This could actually explain months and even years of decreased energy levels as well as a few other symptoms she had been enduring. It only takes a few days of some strong medicine to wipe out amoeba, but there is one complication; three months ago we learned that Jessica is pregnant. The doctor prescribed the medicine to rid Jessica of her tenant and told us that studies say the meds shouldn't hurt the baby, but why not play it safe and wait one more month before taking the medicine?

We agreed to the doctor's suggestion, but Jessica looks forward to soon finding relief from her symptoms. In addition to the discomfort of those symptoms, Jessica has been feeling some morning sickness as a result of the pregnancy. When Jess would wince in pain or tell me that she felt nauseous from the morning sickness, I would always say, "Praise the Lord" , or "That's great." I suppose that sounds mean, but after two miscarriages in the last year or so, I was happy that she was having signs of a normal, progressing pregnancy. You see, with the last two babies we lost, there was little to no symptoms of pregnancy. So I must admit that I'm happy to see her sick. We rejoice in her having "morning sickness" which reminds us that the life in her is progressing.

We decided not to say anything to anyone this time until we safely passed the first trimester, which is the most critical time of a pregnancy. We just had an ultrasound today which revealed a strong heart and an active growing baby with all its' limbs. We are very encouraged by this because the ultrasound of the first miscarriage showed no more fetus (after heavy bleeding) and the ultrasound of the second miscarriage revealed a baby that had stopped growing several weeks earlier and whose heart was not beating. Both ultrasounds were at twelve weeks, and Jess is now in her 13th week.

Today, we shared the news with our kids who are all excited, especially the youngest three. In fact, less than a week ago the kids were enjoying throwing coins into a fountain. Our 7 year old daughter Grace went up and hugged Jessica and told her about two wishes that she had just made. First, she wished that her wish would come true, and second, she wished that we would have a baby.
We trust the Lord's will with this baby as we do with the last two that He already called home. Pray with us that He will allow us to enjoy watching this little one become a part of our family and sharing His great mercy and forgiveness to everyone who believes and follows Him.