Witnessing in a Broken World
This past week I (Michael) had the privilege of traveling to a small rural community in Capiz province known as Bag-ong Barrio, Tapaz. The purpose of my visit was to attend the 110th Annual Assembly of the Capiznon (Kasapulanan) Baptist Churches Inc, which is a gathering of pastors, church leaders and delegates from 52 churches in the region. I was invited to attend and share about the partnership ministry taking place between Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) and Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries (KPM).
The theme of their assembly was ‘Witnessing in a Broken World‘ and although most of the discussions took place in Ilonggo (language of the people living in Capiz), I was able to grasp some of the stories they were sharing of how God was using them as witnesses (in Word and Deed) in their communities even though they themselves are broken people. They were encouraged through the Scriptures. Passages such as Acts 1:8 and John 1:8-9 reminded them of their calling to be witnesses, and they were reminded through a biblical reflection led by my colleague Emo Yango, that even Jesus was broken and it was through his brokenness that we find healing – “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed“ (1 Peter 2:24).
I was invited to share about our relationship with KPM and the Capiznon Baptist Churches Inc. as Partners-in-Mission, which provides support to 4 childcare centres (Libas, Lucero, Hopevale & Aglongon), has provided relief and reconstruction support after damaging typhoons, and most recently has been working together for the establishment of Food for Life, a cooperative of rural rice farmers (for more information on Food for Life you can read a recent blog post from our colleague, Duane Guthrie). Together, CBM and KPM are exploring new and innovative ways to share the Gospel through Word and Deed, to be witnesses in a broken world, to be agents of community transformation, and to provide discipleship ministries that will assist others to engage their faith with their work.
Late on the last evening of the assembly (about 10pm), after a full day in the heat, I found myself tired and ready for rest. However, the gather came together around the Lord’s table led by Rev. Job Santiago. As I sat in my seat I reflected on the past few days, on my own brokenness, and on what Jesus accomplished through his brokenness on the cross. As Pastor Job led the gathering in communion (in Ilonggo), I was unable to understand the words he spoke but as the bread and wine were passed around I was struck by the wonderful reality that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:5-6). Our language and cultures may be different, but we serve the same God! This experience will remain with me for many, many years!
Each of the churches represented at the assembly raised a flag during the opening celebration. These flags represent their individual churches but demonstrate their unity together as an association of churches.
There were approximately 250 delegates and guests at the assembly. There was a wonderful team of people who tirelessly prepared delicious (masarap) food for everyone. I had the joy of trying many new foods that I had not had before. Yum!
June 5th to 8th – Michael will be traveling to Davao to participate in an Interfaith Youth Leadership Gathering. This gathering is being co-organzied by CRUIS Inc & KPM. The gathering will bring together youth from different faith backgrounds to explore commonalities, shared hopes & dreams, and goals for the future. The goal of the gathering is to develop a strategy for positive interfaith relations within their communities and circles of influence.
Language Learning – Please continue to pray for us as we continue learning Tagalog. We continue to go to language class 3 days each week and are starting to see the results of our efforts. However, it is hard work and we still have so much to learn. Many of the language rules are hard to grasp, but we are determined…thanks for continuing to pray for us!
In closing, we want to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for everyone who continues to pray for us and financially support us as we serve with CBM in the Philippines. Your faithful love and support means so much to us and serves as a reminder of God’s love, faithfulness and provision. Thanks for joining us on this journey…TOGETHER we are impacting families and communities through word and deed!
Thank-you for continuing to support us through prayer and with financial support!
If you are interested in becoming a Partner-in-Mission please contact Barb Keys (firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-905-821-3533) at Canadian Baptist Ministries. You can also visit their website at www.cbmin.org to give online or for more information. We are only able to follow God’s leading in our lives thanks to the monthly support of generous individuals and churches.
All donations of $10.00 or more will receive a charitable tax receipt at year end.
Michael & Melanie
Kyla, Sean, Carter & Allie