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Cebu bible college visit

 August 2008 

The highlight of the month of August has been our trip to the Philippines to visit my cousin, Nigel Pyle, and his family. Nigel visited us in April and stayed with us for two nights. During that time, he joined our family in doing the Quiet Times, praying and sharing with us. He was greatly encouraged with what he experienced and asked if we could, as a family, come to the Philippines to introduce the QTs to their Bible College and churches.

Nigel has been in the Philippines for almost 20 years and has a Bible College in Cebu, a city of 3 million people. The Philippines, which is about the same size as New Zealand, has a population of 82 million, while the population in New Zealand is only 4 million. Nigel set up the BIble College with the express purpose of evangelising the cities. Before we visited the Philippines, Nigel had been having the QTs with his family for 13 weeks.

We are grateful to Nigel and Loida for inviting us. We stayed with them in their home and had a wonderful time. It is not easy having another family staying with you for 3 weeks, but they put up with us which was great.

In the Philippines, there is a small wealthy class while the bulk of the people are quite poor. They have, however, been very effected with the Western World culture. Even poor families have TV and we have been told that they do more txting per capita with mobile phones than any other country in the world. They, therefore, have difficulties, as we do, in allowing Jesus to be the centre of their lives.

We were thrilled with the response we received when we shared the family QTs. Most of the Bible College students are now having regular QTs. The majority of them are from rural areas, many miles away. A number come from Negros, which is an island in the Philippines. It took us 10 hours travelling to get to the church in Negros. We had a wonderful response from the Negros church as we taught about 60 people to have QTs.

A young pastor from that church is very keen to share the QTs with other churches in that area. There are also other areas in the Philippines where church leaders are very keen to introduce the family QTs to their churches.

It quickly became apparent that downloading the QT sheets from our website is a problem in the Philippines. Nigel was having difficulty printing off the sheets for the various groups. Because of this problem, we are engaging a printing company in Cebu to print 2500 booklets with a year's supply of QTs in each booklet.

Basically, we have been thrilled with the openness people had to our family QT ministry. We are, however, very aware that in the Philippines, especially in the cities, people are living very pressured lifestyles that make it difficult for families to pray and share together.

I preached each Sunday. One sermon I preached sums up our ministry of trying to get families walking with God. Below is a summary of this sermon.

The title of my sermon is this: "Parents, Listen to Moses."

The book of Deuteronomy is mainly a series of messages that Moses gave to the Israelites concerning how they should live when they got into the Promised Land. In Deuteronomy 6, we have Moses instructing the Israelites to teach their children to fear the Lord and they in turn were to teach their children the same thing.

Deuteronomy 6v7 is a key verse. It says this: "Impress these commandments on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

Joshua, aged 80, led the people into the Promised Land and under his leadership, the various tribes settled in the land. He died 30 years later, aged 110. Just before he died, he gave a farewell speech and renewed the covenant the Israelites had with God.

In chapter 24, he told the people to serve the Lord with all faithfulness and he said, "Choose you this day whom you will serve." in v15, he said, "But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." In verse 16, it says, "Then the people answered, 'Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods.'"

I then turned to Judges, the very next book after Joshua. I said that Judges 2:8-11 is one of the saddest passages of Scripture in the whole Bible. It says that when Joshua died and that whole generation had died, another generation grew up that neither knew the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. And they started worshipping other gods. In one generation the people began worshiping other gods.

It is hard to believe that the ones Joshua spoke to did not tell their children about the amazing miracles God had done for Israel. How he had led them out of the bondage of Egypt and into the Promised Land. That generation did not teach their children to know the Lord.

Moses had said that they were to teach their children to know the Lord and those children in turn were to teach their children. I pointed out that we in New Zealand are no different. Today about 90 percent of children from Christian homes are dropping out of Christianity and are worshiping other "gods." Many Christians in New Zealand are worshiping the gods of materialism, education, career advancing, luxury homes, TV, computer games, txting, music, cars and many other "gods" instead of dying to self and making Jesus the joy of their families. We Christians in New Zealand are not doing a very good job in passing on our faith to our children.

In Psalm 16:4 is says this: "The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods." There is much sorrow today in many Christian families in New Zealand because of these other "gods."

We left the Philippines very encouraged that the Lord is starting to use this ministry he has given us to help many families walk with God in the Philippines.

Before we left, I suggested to Nigel that someone or maybe a couple should be given the responsibility of teaching and promoting this ministry. Consequently Nigel has appointed two young men, Chris and John Paul, to promote this work. These two young men are themselves very keen on spending time with Jesus each day and in promoting this family QT ministry throughout the Philippines.

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