Thursday, October 03, 2013

September October 2013 Updates

The Expositor's Academy and Soli Deo Gloria in Davao

Last week, I had the joy of spending the day with the elders of Soli Deo Gloria Church (SDGC) in Davao City.  These humble men invited me to come alongside of them to help strengthen them and their church.  In addition to their hunger for growing spiritually and training their members to do the same, they have caught the vision to help train pastors and church workers in other churches as well.

Their Pastor, Jurem Ramos, is a faithful expositor whom the Lord has used to impact the country through a radio ministry.  They have recognized the responsibility that comes with that privilege and are interested in partnering with The Expositor's Academy (TEA) to help maximize their impact for the kingdom.

The Lord has just opened up a larger facility for them that has several classrooms and they have plans to use it to expand the training of their members and others.  We are looking into the possibility of partnering with them in this endeavor and having SDGC be the home of TEA in the south of the country.

Starting last August, the elders and I agreed to meet every few weeks to study 1 Timothy and to discuss what a biblical ministry.  Last Thursday, I flew into Davao to be with the elders during the day and then to teach a Survey of the Book of Acts in the evening to members of the church.  Again, I was blessed and overwhelmed by their kindness.  They have a high view of Scripture and a serious commitment to an expository ministry, including preaching, leadership, discipleship and membership that is refreshing and exciting.  I can't wait to see what the Lord will do through this church and TEA's partnership with them.
Mentoring Time with Elders and Ministers at Soli Deo Gloria
Vincent's Visit

From August 23 to Sept. 10, my fellow GMI missionary Vincent Greene came to the Philippines to do some scouting in anticipation of his arrival with his wife and their five children in January 2014.  Jessica did the hard part, she took care of all of us.  All I had to do was drive Vincent around to about six cities to help him get a feel for what housing in the Philippines would look like and cost.  We looked at areas that we believe would be key for Vincent and Kim to learn Tagalog, while at the same time would be close enough that we could cultivate team unity,  find them a good church that would minister to their kids as well and could potentially be a good location for future ministry.

We had the opportunity to meet with a Tagalog language teacher named Emil, who has been teaching missionaries for about 17 years.  He is a believer who is sensitive to the needs of language learners who are specifically learning Tagalog to serve in Christian ministry.

During his stay, Vincent was also able to join me for a visit with SDGC, a church service at the church plant we are involved with (Christ's Commission Fellowship in Paranaque), our weekly discipleship group meeting there, and my on going classes at Church of the Triumphant Christ.  He also preached one service at Pastor Erwin's Church, Tagumpay (meaninig "Victory) Baptist Church.

The Arrival of the Rest of the Team

Lord willing, Chad, Cara Mia and Titus Dexter (also GMI missionaries) will be moving here to join our team in the next month.  Chad is currently working on ordination at Grace Community Church and finalizing their support raising on the East coast before returning to California.

The Greenes are fully supported and plan to arrive this January.  The Lucianos (our third GMI family) are between 70-80% and pray to move here sometime shortly after the Shepherd's Conference in March of 2014.

As each family arrives, we will be busy helping them settle in as they look for vehicles, places to live and getting set up.  They will need to do basic things (which are not quite as easy as we're used to in the U.S.) like setting up bank accounts, paying bills, grocery shopping, etc.   They may have some immigration issues as well, depending on what they can or can't get done before they arrive.

Upcoming Ministries

  • In early November, we are hoping to complete our New Testament Survey course with our men in Boracay, however, the church that we meet in there is facing eviction and we may have to move the class to Iloilo (one island south). 
  • We are planning the graduation of our second batch of students in late November or early December.  These students have been studying with us for the past 3-4 years.
  • In January, we plan to start a new batch of students at Church of the Triumphant Christ.  

Support and Furlough

Lastly, our support has been shrinking to critical levels over the last year so we plan to return to the U.S. next June.  The timing of this would work out well, as our second son, Christian, would be graduating from high school and starting college at that time.  We can all go back together and get him checked in just before we attend our GMI missions conference in July.  During our furlough, we will be focusing on raising up more prayer partners and the support that we are lacking.  Our stay could be as short as six month, but will likely be a year.

It will be tight financially to stay on the field until June of next year, but we pray that the Lord will provide us enough support to stay till then.  That way, we can be here to help the rest of the team get settled in and our kids can finish the school year.  We may have to make some adjustments to stay, but we are optimistic that we will be able to do so.  If the Lord puts it on your heart to help us by joining our support team or to give a special gift to keeps us going, please let us know.  You can also make a donation directly on the web:

Prayer Items

  • Pleases pray for the Lord's guidance with SDGC as we look at growing our relationship with them.
  • Pray for the families who are still raising support to join us.  Ask the Lord to provide for their needs, help them to get here safely and set up smoothly.
  • Pray for our upcoming ministry plans, including ongoing classes, modules, graduation and enrollment of new students for January 2014.
  • Pray that the Lord would provide for all of our support needs, including now through June of 2014 and during our support raising time while we are on furlough.  


Sean and Jessica Ransom

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Updates 2013

Modular Classes 
July was a fruitful month for the Expositor's Academy.  Pastor Erwin flew into Kalibo to teach our men (and a few new faces) from Negros, Bacolod, Iloilo and Aklan.  This two and half day module was part 2 of 3 of our New Testament Survey, focusing on Galatians through 2 Timothy.  We all met at Boracay Grace Baptist Church, which has been partnering with us for about 3 years and is pastored by Angelo Panganiban.  I enjoyed good interaction with the men who had many questions, especially about elders in the church as I taught from 1 Timothy 3.  Their questions included, “Can women be elders?” and “What should we do about an elder whose children are living in unbroken patterns of sin?”  I walked them through Scripture to see what God’s Word says on these and other issues.

New Testament Survey Class at Boracay Grace Baptist Church
Sean Ransom with students on last day of class in Boracay

Classes in Manila
Back in the Manila area, our on-going class at the Church of the Triumphant Christ started it’s eighth and final course in our Local Church Ministry track.  Their final course is called “Mission, Evangelism and Discipleship.”  Lord willing, many of these students will graduate this December after having studied with us for 3-4 years.  Those who joined us later will be able to attend classes with the next batch of students whose first class will be “Bible Study Methods and Rules of Interpretation.”
Missions, Evangelism and Discipleship calls at Church of the Triumphant Christ
I also had the joy of preaching for the 17th anniversary of Soli Deo Gloria Chruch in Davao City (SDGC).  SDGC Pastor, Jurem Ramos, his wife Ging and their son Abraham (who just graduated from the Master’s College) picked us up from the airport.  Jessica and I were so blessed by our time with them and the Church.  Every aspect of their worship service impressed us; from the choices of songs we sang to the mature words of their prayers, the godly wisdom and humble hearts of their elders and the kindness and encouraging fellowship the members.  The elders invited me to meet with them every other week for three months for a time of counseling and mutual edification.  This will also give us time to learn from each other and to get to know each other better as we looking into the possibility of partnering with them to help train their members as well as other pastors and ministers in the area.

The elders of Soli Deo Gloria Church (Pastor Ronnie, Pastor Alan and  Pastor Jurem) and I
Lastly, we are encouraged and getting excited as the three families who have been raising support and preparing to join us here in the Philippines are getting very close to moving here.  One family may move here before the end of the year and the other two, should arrive early next year (Lord willing).  Although their primary focus will be on language and cultural studies and not on joining Pastor Erwin and I in teaching, it will be very encouraging to have them here as we dream and plan on taking the training ministry of the Expositor’s Academy to the next level in the near future.  Please continue to pray for all of us as the Lord continues to grow us and uses us to raise up godly expositors in the Philippines.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Calvary Bible Church

(This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for months now, but due to internet issues, more-than-usual travel time, and a very busy wife as my blog-proofer, it is only now getting published. Thank you for your patience).

January was a full and busy month as we had two sets of visitors come out and minister with us.  PJ Tibayan, from the West Coast, and Travis Rymer, from the East Coast, flew to Manila mid-January

to conduct training modules on Mark Dever's Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.   Pictured with me here are (from left to right) Pastor PJ Tibayan, Pastor Jurem Ramos (of Soli Deo Gloria Church in Davao), Pastor Erwin Quimboy,  and  Travis Rymer.

The following week,  a team of eleven people from Calvary Bible Church (Burbank, CA) came out to minister to my family, the church plant we are serving in, and some of the students from The Expositor's Academy. The team started their week by leading a basketball tournament with 32 three-man teams.  They used this event as an opportunity to share the gospel with the players and the crowd, as well as to introduce our local church partners to more new people from their community. 
Michael Brinkley shared at the Basketball tournament

Jon Lee spending time with kids from the community
The following morning was Sunday, and their senior pastor, Tim Carns, served as guest preacher at the church plant we serve in.   Then he and Nestor Ual and I headed off to the airport to fly to the island of Panay, where Pastor Tim would teach a module for the next three days.  It turned out that the time we spent waiting for our flight was longer than the actual flight itself, but after a smooth flight to Kalibo airport, the three of us made our way to Boracay. After landing, we drove for about an hour and a half to catch a short boat ride, followed by a motorcycle ride and then a short walk to our hotel. The next day, Tim began teaching the first part of our doctrinal survey and continued for two and a half days and capped the module off by preaching at Boracay Grace Baptist Church's mid-week service.  This was the sixth module offered on this island by our training ministry, The Expositor's Academy, as we have been teaching there for almost three years now.  

Pastor Tim teaching theology to a group of pastors

As always, we were very humbled by these men, many of whom traveled more than six hours on buses, boats, and motorcycles to attend the module.  These men are all very eager to serve the Lord and His church.

While Nester, Pastor Tim and I were at the module, Jessica and the rest of the team were busy ministering in Manila.  They were given the opportunity to share the gospel in the classrooms of a public elementary school.  They spent about 30-40 minutes teaching in each of 12 different classrooms of 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students.

Bethany Carns and Sean Cullen with the students they shared with
Agnus Ofrecio shares with students
The team shown with Principal Myrna Visaya of Maybunga Elementary School, with kindergarten kids in front
John Lee, Cindy Dyer and Kristi Stone with students

The kids were invited to come back to campus after school for more teaching about God and they did! Over 250 students showed up at the end of the day to hear more of the gospel.

Our Tyler is shown below  helping one of the kids put on a "wordless gospel" bracelet.


The teachers were given bibles for the classroom (courtesy of a faithful family from our church), and the kids were given clothes that were donated by church members at Calvary Bible.

After the module, the three of us flew back to Manila to rejoin the rest of the team for a three-day conference for the leaders of our Church plant.  Tim wasted no time and taught the first session that evening. 

Tim took us through the book of Ephesians over several teaching sessions, sharing with us what God's word says about unity so that we can function as a church body that glorifies Christ.


Nestor Ual, Bethany Carns, Shawn Stapes and Jon Lee leading worship

The team from Burbank not only lead worship, provided the conference materials, and facilitated the small group discussions, but they also lead games and team activities for fellowship throughout the weekend.  They made sure everyone was blessed.