Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas


Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas! 

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." 
2 Corinthians 9:15
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

August and September Recap

We are thankful for the Lord's goodness to us these past couple of months. We welcomed our second child, Luke Andres Raymond Wolff on August 5. We are grateful that he is healthy, and we are now adjusting to life as parents of 2 young boys. Please continue to pray for God's protection and blessing on our growing family.


I was given several special speaking opportunities during the past two months. I had the honor of speaking once again at Baptist Bible Church Sta. Mesa in absence of Dr. Lyons. Also, I was privileged to be the guest speaker for the church anniversaries of Dayspring Baptist Church with my good friend Ptr. Edwin Samson as well as Ambassador Baptist Church with Ptr. Ferdinand Reynon. I recently met Ptr. Reynon after speaking at a youth camp that he hosted this past May and he graciously invited me to come and speak for their anniversary.


The Lord was gracious in protecting us as we traveled to these different churches. Our car broke down on the road travelling to Ptr. Edwin's church, but the Lord allowed the engine to die right next to an emergency call box and after everything was said and done, we were only 15 minutes late to the service!


We had some special visitors come and join us for a couple of weeks. My parents and my sister Michele flew over here to spend some time with us but most importantly with Liam and Luke! :) We haven't seen them in over a year so it was great to be with them again and we enjoyed the time they spent with us.


In September, our church had our annual "Family Sunday" event. During the service we had a dedication for both Luke and Liam and we were blessed to have over 160 people in attendance. Following the service, we had food fellowship (a big thank you to Mrs. Flores and the kitchen crew) and picture taking for each family. We praise the Lord for all of the families who attended. We pray that God will continue to strengthen the families in our church and give us more opportunities to reach out to the families in the surrounding barangays.


On a sad note, one of our faithful church members past away this last September. Bro. Manny came to know Christ as his Savior as a result of our annual medical mission. He was a quiet, older man who had a gentle spirit and a willingness to help with anything.  He was a jack of all trades and he assisted in repairing and building many things around the church. He loved the Lord and he had a desire for others to come to know Him as their Savior. He helped with passing out tracts, going on Bible studies, and inviting/bringing people to church. His testimony was clearly seen by his family, and some of them have also come to faith in Christ. We are thankful for the time that God allowed us to have him in our church. We will miss him and we look forward to seeing him again one day.


We are so grateful for your constant prayers and we ask that you continue to pray for our family, the Lord's work in our church, and for the upcoming events that will be occurring during these busy next few months.  

Grace and Peace,

Matt, Rina, Liam, and Luke
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Thursday, August 14, 2014

July Update

It is hard to believe that 2014 is already halfway finished. Please continue to pray for us and for the Lord's blessings as we enter into the second half of the year. Let me briefly tell you about a couple of highlights from the month of July.

AWANA club begins



This is year number two for our AWANA program. It has been a blessing for our church to have this weekly ministry for kids ages 4-14. We have seen a good start to the program as we have been having around 90+ kids attend each week. We are so thankful for each kid and we rejoice knowing that everyone who comes to AWANA has the opportunity to hear the gospel. We are also grateful for all the volunteers who willingly give of their time every Saturday morning. Please continue to pray for the Lord's guidance and blessing on this ministry, the salvation and growth of the AWANA clubbers,  and the continued burden, care, and love for the clubbers in the hearts of our volunteers. 

Speaking opportunities

I had the privilege once again of being asked to speak at Baptist Bible Church Sta. Mesa during the Sunday am and pm services. I ask that you keep Dr. Lyons and Mrs. Lyons in your prayers as they are in the U.S. having their annual medical checkup.

Also, for the past three months I have had the privilege of speaking at Victory Baptist Church in Baliwag. It is a fairly new church pastored by a missionary friend of mine whom I met several years ago. He asked me to help out with the preaching while he was back in the U.S. So, every other week in between our church services, I was able to fill in for him and speak. I am thankful for the opportunity and it was a blessing to get to know some fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. 


Thank you for your continued prayers and support!

Psalms 67:1-2 - "God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations."

God Bless,

Matt, Rina, Liam, and Luke





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Monday, August 11, 2014

The Newest Member of Our Family


We are blessed to welcome Luke Andres Raymond Wolff to our family. He was born on August 5th, at 8:57am. We ask that you please continue to pray for Rina's recovery and Luke's continued good health and growth.

God Bless,

-Matt, Rina, Liam, and Luke-
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

June Recap

School Supply Sunday

The beginning of the month marked the start of another school year here in the Philippines. As we have done for the past several years, we gave away some school supplies to help the students prepare for their classes. This year there were around 120 kids from Kindergarten - 7th Grade that attended both Sunday School and the Morning Service. Following our Sunday morning service, we handed out some notebooks, pencils, and pens. We thank the Lord for this opportunity to reach out to these students and influence them for the Gospel. Please pray for them as they journey through another school year. 


Father's Day

We celebrated Father's Day at our church and there were 14 Father's who came for our Sunday morning service. Afterwards we enjoyed food that the ladies had prepared. Please continue to pray for the men in our church that we may be Godly examples to our families and in our church.


Speaking Opportunity

I was was able to speak at Baptist Bible Church in Sta. Mesa, Manila filling in for Dr. Lyons while he is back in the U.S. On Saturday night, I spoke for their Father/Son Fellowship, and then the following day I spoke for their morning service, the Men's Alive group, and the evening service. It was a privilege to be asked to speak, and I am thankful for the safety God gave us in travelling as well as for the opportunity.


Immigration Department

We made several trips to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Manila relating to our Visas. Liam is applying for recognition and I am applying for resident status. After we had gathered all of the required documents we submitted them to the BI and went through the application process. We went through the various stations, counters, and interviews, and if all goes well, our updated immigration status will be implemented in August. Please pray that everything will go smoothly during this final review and approval process.


Thank you for the continued support and prayers,

-Matt, Rina, and Liam-


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Thursday, June 5, 2014

May Recap

We thank the Lord for guiding us through another month. We also would like to thank all of you who continue to pray and support us. We are grateful and very blessed!

We would like to highlight some of the things that have gone on this past May.

VBS

We held our week long VBS. God really blessed our church's outreach to the kids. You can see some pictures and read more about it by clicking here.

MOTHER'S DAY

We celebrated Mother's Day at our church and this year there were 21 mothers who came for the morning service. Each mother who attended the service received a coin purse as a gift. Following the service, the men served a special lunch. They prepared the food, served it, and washed the dishes. It was a good day to thank and celebrate all of the mother's that the Lord has given to us. 



YOUTH CAMP SPEAKING OPPORTUNITY

I had the privilege to travel to a youth camp held just outside of Baguio City at the High Acres campsite. It was about a 5-6 hour drive from our house, and the camp is located within the Cordillera Mountain range. As a side note, this campsite was where Pastor Nelson and Dulce first met in the 70's, so it was neat to be there.

I was at the camp because I was invited to be their guest speaker and it was a great opportunity to be able to be speak to the 200+ campers on Monday and Tuesday before headed back home on Wednesday. The theme for the camp was "Knowing God". I am thankful that the Lord gave us safety travelling as well as a fruitful time at the camp. 


YOUTH SYMPOSIUM SPEAKING OPPORTUNITY

Towards the end of the month, Pastor Edwin Samson's church hosted a youth symposium. The schedule was from around 9:00am to 4:00pm. I had the privilege to be asked to speak on several different topics during the day. Some of the specific topics that we looked at were peer pressure, modern technology, and giving a clear gospel. There was also an opportunity for a question and answer session. There were between 100-150 young people from several different churches who attended the symposium. I am thankful for the opportunity that was given to me to speak and to present a timely challenge to the youth as the start of the school year is here.


Thank you again for all of the prayers and support!

Matt, Rina, & Liam






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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Vacation Bible School 2014

It was that time of year again for our annual VBS program at the church. This past May 5th - 9th was another exciting, busy, and fun-filled week of VBS. We started at 8:00am and finished at 11:30am, and each day the schedule was full. There was singing, stories, games, crafts, snacks, memory verses, prizes, and even a skit performed by some of the volunteers. We thank the Lord for answering our prayers and providing an average of around 130 kids each day. We are grateful for the opportunity we had to share the gospel with the children. 

Our theme for the week was “Kingdom Chronicles - Standing strong in the battle for truth.” All of the songs, stories, lessons, and crafts focused on the truths of God’s Word, emphasizing the "armor of God" based in Ephesians 6:11-19.  

Thank you for all your prayers and we ask that you please continue to pray for these kids as well as for the Lord's guidance and blessing as we continue to reach out to them with the gospel. 

"Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish." -Matthew 18:14 











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Friday, May 2, 2014

April Recap: A Busy Start to Summer


Graduation Time


School is over and summer is in full swing. At the beginning of April, we had our annual graduate recognition/awards night at church. We are proud of all of the students and their hard work and accomplishments this past school year. Several of the students received high honors within their school and were at the top of their class. One of the girls, Judith, was the valedictorian of Bahay Pare National High School! Please continue to pray for all of those students who attend our church, especially those who will be enrolling in college this upcoming school year. 

Speaking Engagement


I was given an opportunity to be one of the guest speakers at the annual pastors' and men's fellowship at GCF Baptist Church, where Ptr. Resty Rivera is the senior pastor. There were around 140 men in attendance and the theme for this year was, "Fear not, neither be fainthearted." It was a privilege to preach and it was a blessing to be there. 

Youth camp



One of the signs that summer is officially here is the arrival of youth camp. This year, 19 of us traveled once again to the Word of Life campsite in Calauan, Laguna. This year, the camp was extended for one extra day, so we left for camp early on Monday morning and we arrived back home late Friday afternoon. All in all, it was a great youth camp and the youth from our church really enjoyed it. From the early 6 a.m. exercise and devotion time to the culminating evening service, each day was packed with activities, games, good food, and challenging messages from the Word of God. We are thankful for the protection that the Lord gave us as well as for the impact that this camp had in the lives of the youth. 

Easter

We had a special Easter service this year. Although it wasn't held exactly at sunrise, we began it a little earlier than normal, starting at 7 a.m. Easter is always a joyful time and this year was no different. We are so thankful that we serve a risen Savior! Following the morning worship service, we had a special Easter breakfast spearheaded by Dulce as well as some of the other ladies in our church. It was a great morning as we rejoiced in the fact of our Savior's resurrection. 

Ladies' Fellowship


The ladies group had a time of fellowship at our house on Saturday. Breakfast was served for around 20 ladies from both Rina's and Dulce's Sunday school classes. They enjoyed their time together and sang, shared testimonies, ate delicious food, and had a fun time of fellowship.

Men's Retreat


At the end of the month, some of the men in our church took a short, 2-day trip to the province of La Union for a men's retreat. There were 9 of us in all, and we left Sunday evening following our church service. We traveled about 5 hours north until we arrived at Bauang, La Union late Sunday night. It was a good opportunity for us to relax and fellowship with one another. We visited the beach several times, we went sight seeing, we traveled to the nearby botanical gardens, we ate delicious Ilocano flavored food each day, and we had great Bible studies throughout the trip. We are thankful for the safety God gave us travelling, for the opportunity to enjoy His creation, and for the time of fellowship together.

Thank you for the continued prayers and support.

Matt, Rina, & Liam
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Saturday, April 5, 2014

March Recap

Thank you for your constant prayers. The Lord has continued to give us strength and He has blessed us in so many different ways. There were many exciting things that happened this past month. I would like to tell you about a few of them.

ASIA BAPTIST BIBLE COLLEGE

Since November, I taught twice a week at the Asia Baptist Bible College in Manila. On Tuesday I taught "Christian Worldview" for first year students and on Wednesday I taught "Christian Apologetics" for fourth year students. It was definitely a busy second semester but it was a great blessing to be able to teach the students. 

Well, the school year has finally come to a close. The final week of school is known as "fellowship week". The son of Dr. Lyons, Pastor Eddie Lyons of High Street Baptist Church, was the guest speaker throughout the week. During this time there were special presentations, encouraging messages for the students and alumni, a banquet, and of course the graduation ceremony. 



MISSION TEAM VISIT

A group from Dayspring Baptist Church and Belmont Bible Church came to visit our church and minister to several other churches here in the Philippines. They had a busy schedule while they were here, each day brought something new. On Thursday, they encouraged the students at Asia Baptist Bible college during a special chapel time and then during the evening they ministered at a church in Manila. On Friday, the group traveled to be with Pastor Edwin Samson. They visited some schools during the day and then at night there was a youth rally at the church. We brought with a group of teenagers from our church to join the youth rally and the messages were a great challenge and encouragement for everyone. On Saturday the mission team came over to our church and helped with the AWANA program in the morning. They assisted with the game time, group time, directed the singing, and led an awesome puppet show. The kids loved having them there! That evening we had a special Saturday night service, both Pastor Dan and Pastor Mark preached and there was also a special children's service in the back area. It was a blessing to have the mission team come to encourage and minister.




"GRACE SEMINAR"

On March 27-28, our church hosted a seminar/conference for the first time. We called it the “Grace Seminar”. The Lord opened up an opportunity for us to have two days of Bible teaching and training centered around the gospel of grace based out of a study of Romans 1-5.  Pastor and Bible teacher Scott R. Johnson was our speaker. He is currently the director of the Alaska Christian Ministry to Seafarers in Seward, Alaska, and he previously was on the pastoral staff of Duluth Bible church for many years. He taught verse by verse through the first 5 chapters of Romans and the theme of the seminar centered on "God’s Righteousness”.

There were over 85 people who registered for the seminar, including over 30 pastors. We did not charge any fees for the seminar. Everything was free for those who attended including the materials and the food. We are especially grateful to Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church and Duluth Bible Church for donating some resources.

We are also thankful for the many volunteers from our church who worked hard and helped make this "Grace Seminar" possible. A total of five meals were cooked and snacks were provided both during the morning and afternoon. Some of our church members graciously housed some of the pastors while others stayed at the church. It was a lot of work planning for this seminar but we are thankful that God allowed our small church to host something like this.

It was a wonderful opportunity for everyone to systematically learn and hear about the importance of the gospel of grace based out of the book of Romans. There were many positive comments by those who attended and we give all the praise to God. It is our prayer that everyone who attended will take what they have learned from God's Word about the clear gospel of grace and use it in their church.



END OF AWANA

We praise the Lord for a successful inaugural year of our AWANA Club. We saw over 330 different kids walk through the door from August 31 - March 29. There were new clubbers each week and we rejoice in the fact that all of them were able to hear the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. We also are so thankful for the 20+ volunteers who faithfully served our Savior and those children week after week. We are taking a break for the summer, but Lord willing we will start year number two once school begins again. Please pray for God's continual guidance and blessing on our AWANA Club!



Thanks for the continued support!

-Matt, Rina, & Liam-
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Friday, February 21, 2014

College Day and Valentine's Day

The Sunday before Valentine's day, we had our annual "Sweet Sunday" at church. We encouraged everyone to invite some visitors and we asked that they bring some small sweets to share. After the conclusion of the church service, all of the sweets were distributed and everyone went home with a bag filled with candy - and possibly a sugar rush!





On Valentine’s Day, we held our annual “Love Banquet” at church. This was our biggest year yet, we had almost double the amount of attendees compared to last year. We started the evening with a delicious buffet that was prepared by several members of our church. We then listened to Ptr. James Montenegro, our guest speaker for the night, as he spoke from 1 Corinthians 13 and talked about love as it relates to the marriage relationship. We then wrapped up the evening by playing some group games. We were thankful that we had some new people attend the banquet and that they were able to hear about the greatest love of all, the love that Jesus showed on the cross. 




Last Monday we took 12 high school students (juniors and seniors) to Manila to visit Asia Baptist Bible College for their annual "College 4 a Day". They attended several 30 minute "sample classes", including the one that I teach, that introduced them to some of the different subjects that are taught at the college. Some of the current students moderated the main program and led all of the visitors in some group games and singing. Dr. Boyd Lyons, the president of the college, then delivered a challenging message encouraging the students to be open to God's leading. Please continue to pray for the young people in our church that they will follow the Lord wherever He will lead them. 


God Bless,

-Matt, Rina, and Liam-
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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Typhoon Haiyan "Yolanda" Relief

As you well know, this past November 2013, the Philippines was devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan. This massive category 5 typhoon, locally known as Yolanda, struck the Visayan region of the Philippine Islands with record setting strength. It left in its wake a path of death and destruction.

According to the most recent update published on January 22, the "official" toll is listed as 6,201 dead, 28,626 injured, and 1,785 missing. More than 16 million people were affected, over 4 million people were directly displaced, over a million homes were damaged or destroyed, and well over 3/4 of a billion dollars in total damages have been incurred.

In response to this great calamity, many countries, corporations, churches and individuals responded with compassion for those who were suffering as a result of this catastrophic storm. We were thankful to help with a small portion of the relief effort due to the generous donations from countless individuals and churches spearheaded by and funneled through a ministry of the Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church called Victory in Grace.

In late November, almost 3 weeks after the typhoon first struck, we were able to make our first trip with relief goods. We left our house in Baliwag, Bulacan at around 3am on Wednesday morning and made the long drive heading to Tacloban City, Leyte.


Our destination was a small church in the heart of Tacloban, Faithway Baptist Church. This church would be the drop off point for the relief supplies. Since our time was limited and many of the roads were not yet clear, the most practical way of distributing the relief supplies was to have different pastors from area churches meet in one location and then bring the relief back to their specific areas for distribution. Among the different relief goods we brought were generators, antibiotics, vitamins, sugar, instant coffee, mosquito nets, antibacterial soap, alcohol disinfectant, high energy biscuits, clothes, instant noodles, and lots of canned goods.



I can't adequately describe the experience of being there in Tacloban. It looked like what I would imagine a war zone to be like. There were piles of debris everywhere, houses and buildings were either heavily damaged or destroyed, telephone poles were snapped in half, and in many areas you could still vividly smell the stench of death. It was something that I know I will never forget.


One particular area that we visited was right next to the sea, and so it was among the first to be hit by the tsunami-like storm surge that was said to be 15-20 feet high. This area was completely devastated. It looked like a demolition site. Several large ships had washed ashore burying both houses and people. It is hard to describe how I felt as we walked through the debris, seeing clothes, toys and shoes, scattered on the ground among the wood, metal, and concrete. 


Typhoon Yolanda made landfall five different times. One of the other places that suffered from the typhoon's furry was Panay Island. Early in December, we were also able to provide relief goods to the provinces of Aklan, Antique, and Iloilo, all located within Panay Island. Once again we met at several central locations and distributed the relief goods to different pastors who then went and distributed to the people in their area. 




In early January, we made a return trip to Tacloban. The airport was functional again and open to commercial traffic, so we flew down there for a couple of days to distribute a second wave of relief supplies. A truck filled with relief goods met us in Tacloban, and this time we drove to around 8 different areas in both Leyte and Samar. The people were always very grateful for the help!



Returning to Tacloban two months after the typhoon struck, many of the original emotions that I had when we first went there, returned  There weren't as many large piles of debris lining the roads, and you could see signs of people trying to rebuild their homes and their lives, but the scenes of devastation still lingered everywhere. Although not as bad as before, there were still a few areas where you could smell the dead bodies. In fact, we were told that at that time they were still recovering on average 5-6 bodies per day. It was especially heartbreaking as we passed areas with informal grave sites by the side of the road. You could see large graves, and listed on the make-shift tombstones were the names of six or seven family members.




Thank you to everyone who generously donated to the relief effort for typhoon Yolanda. Thank you to Victory in Grace for launching the relief aid. And thank you so very much for your prayers. Please continue to pray for all those who have been effected by typhoon Yolanda. Their ordeal may have passed from the headlines, but their lives have been forever altered and they have a long road ahead as they rebuild. By God's grace, may they rise again, and by God's grace, may they come to find the hope that is in Christ.  


I want to leave you with a video from one of the churches that we visited in Basey, Samar. The pastor's children are the ones who are singing, and in the background you can see some of the damage in their church. The storm surge knocked through the wall and reached up to that top beam while the family took shelter above. I hope you are blessed by this precious song of thanksgiving.

video

God Bless,

-Matt, Rina, & Liam-
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