Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas! 
- Matt, Rina, Liam and Luke - 


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Monday, December 21, 2015

Church Anniversary Celebration

We praise God for His goodness and grace as we celebrated our church's 13th anniversary!

Our theme this year for the anniversary was "Called to Make a Difference" and the theme verse was Matthew 5:16 in which Jesus says, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven."

I spoke during the morning service and we had a guest speaker, Pastor James Montenegro, for our special evening service. The church was packed and we are thankful for the many visitors who attended our anniversary. We are also so thankful for the many wonderful people we have in our church who continue to grow in their faith and serve the Lord.

Thank you all for continuing to support us and remember us in your prayers.

- Matt, Rina, Liam and Luke -







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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mission Team Recap

A little over a month has passed since we were joined by a mission team from the U.S. The group was led by a team from the Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church and they were joined by people representing Bemidji Baptist Church, Grace Bible Church, and Calvary Bible Church. It was a blessing seeing familiar faces as well as meeting some new ones. Even though the group was here for only 11 days, it was a very productive time. The group was able to do out-reach and ministry in 5 different Provinces as well as throughout the Metro Manila area. 

Of course for us the highlight is when the mission team is in our area. We had a couple, Kuya James and Ate Rhonda Castro, stay at our house the first Saturday and Sunday. It was a blessing to spend some time with them and also to have them teach in Sunday School, give their testimony, sing, and preach. 

The next day, our church hosted a medical and dental mission and we had around 180 people come through the doors. We are thankful to Dr. Tanney, Nurse Meg, and Jeff Smith for assisting with the medical clinic and we are also grateful for the local Filipino medical professionals who volunteered to assist with the outreach. We also thank the Lord that through this outreach we were able to lead many people to Christ.


While the clinic was going on, we also were involved in school outreach in our local community. We were able to go to the local high school as well as two local elementary schools and share the gospel with thousands of students. The mission team was able to give a special puppet show presentation as well as pass out tracts and candy to all of the students. We are grateful that the Lord gave us this opportunity.


The following Sunday night the mission team was back at church for one last special service. Ptr. James Mucerino was our guest speaker and it was fun to fellowship and enjoy the company of our guests before they went back to the U.S.



It was a blessing to have the mission team visit once again. We are thankful for the strength and protection that God provided throughout the trip. We also are grateful to the people of our church for all of the preparation and hard work they did to help make this trip successful and memorable. Lastly, we are thrilled to think of the many souls that came to know Christ during this trip and so we thank the Lord for enabling us to be instruments of blessing for the sake of the Gospel of grace and the glory of God.

Thank you for the continued prayers and support!

- Matt, Rina, Liam, and Luke -
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Friday, December 18, 2015

Family Day & Friend Day

Hi everyone, we just wanted to give you a quick update about a couple of outreach events that we had at our church during the past several months. 

“Family Sunday.”  


Every year we challenge our people to invite their extended family to join them at church for "Family Day". There were quite a few that were able to come. We had a special guest speaker, Bro. Arman Serrana, who talked about God's plan for the family. And we enjoyed the rest of our morning by taking family pictures and eating delicious food prepared by our church members.

"Friend Day"


As the name implies, everyone was encouraged to bring a friend to church. We are thankful that there were over 20 visitors with some of them professing faith in Christ for the first time! We again had another food fellowship after the morning service and then we rented a photo booth for the day - everyone really enjoyed that.

Thank you for the continued prayers!

-Matt, Rina, Liam and Luke-
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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ministry Update

It is time for a long overdue ministry update. We hope that as you read, you will be encouraged by what the Lord has been doing. And we also hope that you will continue to keep us in your prayers.

We celebrated Mother’s Day in May and we had over 20 mothers who attended our special service. As a small way to honor the mothers, we gave them earrings and a daily devotional to read. We also had a special guest speaker come to speak to our congregation during Sunday school as well as the morning service. Together with his wife, they are Filipino missionaries to Cambodia. Following the service we ended our Mother's Day celebration with food that was prepared and served by the men of the church.


We also celebrated Father's Day at our church and we had 12 fathers in attendance. There was a food fellowship following the morning service as well, and this time, all of the ladies were the ones who prepared and served the food.


We started using the Awana program at our church in 2013. We love the fact that the Awana program emphasizes the clear gospel of grace in reaching out to boys and girls to help them know, love, and serve Jesus. Because of this, our church hosted an Awana seed planter's seminar. There were 6 other churches along with some of the Awana volunteers from our church who attended the two full days of Awana training. 

The Awana missionary for the island of Luzon came to lead the training. He spoke about the importance of children’s ministry, gave the history of Awana, and taught extensively how the game time, team time, and council time work. Towards the end of the training, there was an Awana "demo" where around 40 kids from the area came to join in helping the trainees put into practice what they had been learning. 

It was another great experience and opportunity for our church to host something like this. It was encouraging to see our people serve and work during those two days for the sake of the gospel. Please pray for those churches who attended the training. We are excited to see and hear about how the Lord will be using the Awana ministry in their church.



Speaking of Awana, here is a picture from the first day of our Awana Club at church. As of now we are having about 60-70 kids each week. Please continue to pray for God's blessing as we reach out to these kids with the gospel.


School started up again here in the Philippines and that means that it is time once again for our annual "Back to School Sunday." We were able to pass out hundreds of notebooks, pens, and pencils to students from 1st grade - high school. There were over 105 kids who came to church and received school supplies. We are thankful that the Lord allowed our church to be a blessing and provide some materials for these students as they start a new school year. We also want to say a special thank you to Mrs.Teresa Laskus who graciously donated the pencils. 



Our youth group had a couple of special events. We took them bowling and we also had a lock-in at church. The youth really enjoyed these outings!




This past July and August we travelled back to the U.S. for about 8 weeks. It was good to see our family and friends once again and we are thankful for all of the time that we were able to spend with them. While we were there, we also celebrated Luke's 1st birthday and we were able to be a part of two of our families' weddings. We were blessed to attend the two day Grace Conference at the Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church. We also had opportunities to speak at the Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church, Dayspring Baptist Church, and Belmont Bible Church. 

During the last 3 weeks of our stay, Matt got sick. Actually, it was something that he had been dealing with for the past several months, but some of the symptoms flared up and he really felt quite weak. He ended up having a CAT scan and biopsy done to find out what was going on. While the CAT scan revealed a rare inflammatory problem, we thank the Lord that the biopsy ruled out some of the more serious things. We would appreciate your continued prayers that he would be able to get back to all that God has called him to do with full, complete, physical strength.

Other than that, we enjoyed our time back in the U.S. with our loved ones. We thank the Lord for protecting us and keeping us safe during our trip and bringing us back safely once again to the Philippines. Please continue to pray for us, specifically for Matt’s health, our family, our church's growth and maturity, and for the upcoming church events we will be having.  We appreciate your love and support for us more than you know. 


God Bless,

-Matt, Rina, Liam, and Luke-                          
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Friday, May 8, 2015

Vacation Bible School (vbs)


Every year during summer vacation, we have VBS. It is one of the highlights of summer. This year our VBS was held from April 20-24 and our theme was "Arrow Island: Choosing God's Way". 


Every day from 8:30am -11:30am we were joined by an average of 125 kids. We organized the kids into four different age groups with each group going to a different activity for about 30 minutes and then rotating again to a new section where they enjoyed a new activity. The different sections included a Bible story/lesson, crafts, games, memory verse/singing, and snack. On the last day there was an extra special event. The volcano that we had been using as a prop had an eruption! The kids really were surprised by that!



At the end of each day the kids enjoyed a special skit that emphasized what they had learned. We also passed out prizes for the best artists, best listeners, those who brought the most visitors, as well as for those who memorized the Bible verse for the day. On the last day, all of the kids received a special certificate for completing VBS. 


We thank the Lord for giving us a successful VBS. We are thankful for the good weather and protection that He provided and we rejoice that we were able to share the gospel with these precious kids. We are also so grateful for all of the incredible volunteers who helped make this VBS possible. In addition, a special thank you to Belmont Bible Church for supplying the curriculum for our VBS.

We hope you enjoy seeing the pictures, but if you would like to watch the video highlights from our VBS, please click here and you can see them on youtube.


Thank you for your continual prayers. We ask that you please pray for our Mother's Day program this Sunday, May 10 as well as for an AWANA training seminar that our church will be hosting May 11-12. 

-Matt, Rina, Liam, and Luke-
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

AWANA Year In Review

God has been so gracious in all that He has done through the AWANA program at our church. We rejoice that 416 kids registered this year!



We thank the Lord for those who volunteered to serve in this ministry. All of the leaders have done such a great job and we praise God for them. We are thankful that God has allowed us to have the space to have two game circles, one for the younger kids and one for the older kids. We praise Him for the safety and protection that He has given. We are thankful for the good weather He provided on Saturday mornings. We praise the Lord for supplying our needs. From the game supplies to the puppet show, to the snacks and lessons, we thank the Lord for the materials that He has provided for us. Most of all, we rejoice in the fact that we were able to share the gospel to each of these precious children. Many of them come from broken homes or live in an environment where they may not feel loved.  But we are so thankful that the Lord has allowed us to use the AWANA program as a way to reach out to them to show and share the love of Christ.



This year we decided to have a special "AWANA Sunday". We wanted to celebrate God's goodness and look back at the AWANA year God has blessed us with. We had a great night of singing, awards, testimonies, pictures, and food. There were even a few new parents who came with their kids. It really was an exciting night!


Thank you for praying for our AWANA program. Lord willing our next club year will start in June. Please continue to pray that the Lord would work in the hearts of these kids so that they would come to know, love, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

-Matt, Rina, Liam, and Luke-
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Friday, April 10, 2015

1st Quarter Update

We are continually grateful to God for His grace in our lives and we thank all of you for your continued support and prayers. 

At the end of January I had the opportunity to travel to the province of Isabela in the northeastern part of Luzon to speak at a Bible Conference. The conference was hosted by Tumauini Baptist Church and it was a privilege to be asked to be the guest speaker. I was there from Thursday to Sunday and it was a blessing to share the Word of God, and see the how the Lord is working in a different area of the Philippines. I am thankful for the kindness and hospitality that was shown to me by Pastor Dennis Paguirigan and church family. I thank the Lord for giving me that opportunity and for keeping me safe throughout the trip.


In February we had our "Sweet Sunday". We asked people to invite a friend to church and also bring some chocolates or candies to share. After the service everyone received some sweets to enjoy. This is just a fun event that we have close to Valentines Day and I think everyone enjoyed it.


Also in February our church hosted our annual "Love Banquet". This year we were blessed to have Pastor Edwin Samson as our guest speaker for the evening. The event was open to all couples or singles over the age of 23 and we are grateful that around 60 people attended the banquet. The youth of our church served as the waiters, waitresses, cleaners and food servers. We thank the Lord for the good evening that He blessed us with. 


It has been a privilege to teach again at Asia Baptist Bible College. This has been my fourth year as a member of the faculty and this past March the school year concluded. Every Tuesday and Wednesday during the second semester I taught Christian Worldview and Christian Apologetics. I thank the Lord for protecting me during the travel back and forth from Manila as well as for providing the strength and wisdom to teach the students.

During the final week of school the college has its' "fellowship week". This is a time for alumni, students, faculty, staff, pastors and wives to get together for fellowship and encouragement. This year Dr. Lyons wanted to also add a practical touch and have some lectures that focused on some ministry related things. I was privileged to be asked to speak about children's ministry. I was able to share with those in attendance about the importance of children's ministry and I encouraged them to consider the Awana program.

The culmination of fellowship week was the 41st commencement ceremony of the college. It was an extra special event since there were three young ladies from our church graduating with a Bachelors degree in Christian Education. We are so proud of them and we ask that you please continue to pray for God's guidance in their life and that they will continue to follow the Lord no matter where He leads them. 



Also this past March our church had our annual graduate/award recognition night. During our Sunday night service a special message was given and we recognized all of the graduates as well as those students and even teachers who received special awards or honors during the school year.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. In conclusion we ask that you please pray for a couple of things:

Please pray for God's blessing as we start our study through the book of Jonah this Sunday morning. We ask that God would use this time to bring our hearts closer to Him.

Please pray for the success of our upcoming VBS this April 20-24. We ask that God would work in a powerful way as we share the message of the gospel and show the love of Christ to all the kids.

Please pray for wisdom as we are in the middle of facilitating several different translation projects.

Please pray for the safe travel of mom next month as she heads back to the U.S. for a little bit to spend some time with her other apo's (grandkids).

Please join us in thanking the Lord that our interview at the U.S. embassy concerning Luke's birth certificate and passport went well.

God Bless,

-Matt, Rina, Liam and Luke-
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Friday, January 9, 2015

4th Quarter Update

We are grateful for all of God's gracious blessings this past 2014. It was a very busy last quarter of the year, and we praise God for His continued grace. Here are some of the highlights from the different events:

OCTOBER

In October we had a special evening of fellowship with the youth of our church. We had a bonfire, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, sang, and heard testimonies. 


Also during October, Rina and I had the privilege of being part of the 30th anniversary celebration of AWANA Philippines. There were representatives from different AWANA clubs throughout the Philippines as well as the from the headquarters in the US (including the CEO Jack Eggar). We also were able to meet AWANA directors and missionaries representing Nepal, Pakistan, Fiji, and South Korea. We were both challenged and encouraged to continue ministering to kids through AWANA. We ask that you please continue to pray for us and that part of our ministry, we know that kids matter to God.


NOVEMBER

November was an exciting month. We had our annual visit from the Victory in Grace mission team (composed of people from Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church as well as Bemidji Baptist Church) from November 14 through November 25. They had a busy schedule while they were here and it was great to see some familiar faces from the U.S.

We are thankful that the Lord allowed us to have another Medical/Dental Mission at our church and we are grateful for Dr. Tanney and Nurse Meg, Nurse Loretta, and the Filipino dentists for providing their expertise and care. We are also thankful for the help and support that the other mission team members provided as well as for the many volunteers from our church who contributed in this outreach (especially the kitchen staff led by Dulce). There were around 150 people seen by the doctor and the dentists but we rejoice most of all that everyone who came to receive the free medical attention was also able to hear about the free gift of eternal life offered to them by the grace of God because of the finished work of Jesus.


While the clinic was open, a portion of the mission team visited several different schools throughout the day. They were able to meet and share the gospel with the students from both the local high school and elementary school. They passed out tracts and candy, and at the elementary school they held a puppet show. In addition, there was a private school about 15 minutes away from our church that graciously allowed us to come and hold a basketball exhibition. Once again the Lord provided a way for the gospel to be shared to the students and teachers.




During their trip the mission team also visited several churches in Manila, as well as Ptr. Resty's church, and Ptr. Edwin Samson's church where there was another full day of visiting schools, basketball outreach and a medical clinic. They also had the privilege of being part of a Bible conference attended by about 700 people. Both Pastor John Fontana and Pastor Paul Julian were able to speak at the conference. We are also grateful to the Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church as well as Duluth Bible Church. for the generous donation of books and materials for the pastors at the conference. This included the newly translated Talk Time discipleship booklet!


During the last Sunday the team was in the Philippines, we had a baptism after the morning service. The teenager who got baptized was the grandson of Bro. Manny, one of our church members who passed away last September. Then that evening, the team came to our church to bless us with special songs, testimonies and a challenging message given by Pastor Paul Julian. We ended the evening with fellowship and food, including the traditional lechon baboy (roasted pig).


We thank God for His blessings and protection on the mission team and we are excited about what opportunities the Lord will bring next year. 

DECEMBER

In the month of December we celebrated our church anniversary. God has been faithful to our church and we praise Him for His grace. We had special morning and evening services in celebration of God's goodness to our church. During the evening service our guest speaker was Pastor Gerardo Mateo. He has been a good friend for many years and it was a blessing for him to speak at the anniversary. We thank the Lord that there were many visitors and also people who made professions of faith. We pray that God will continue to use our church for the advancement of the gospel of grace throughout the years to come.


Also during the month, our church held our annual Christmas party. It was a fun evening filled with games, singing Christmas carols, fellowship, and of course food. Everyone enjoyed the evening and we are thankful that we have a a God and Savior who "...made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philippians 2:7-8


Since the students have a two week break from school during the Christmas holiday, we thought it would be fun to try and have some sort of outreach for them during their break. And so we held our first annual "Christmas Cup" 3 on 3 basketball tournament. There were 7 total teams who signed up for the tournament and they all played well, but in the end, it was the yellow team who came out victorious. All of the players enjoyed the competition and we look forward to doing it again next year.


Thank you for taking the time to read through this update and thank you for the constant prayers and support. May the Lord continue to bless you this new year.

-Matt, Rina, Liam, and Luke-
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