For my 65-day trip to the lands of sands, my first stop was Kuwait. We were scheduled there for five days in time for the celebration of the MBBC South Congregation’s 4th Foundation Day. It was the first time that our BP would be present for the South Congregation’s anniversary, as he would usually be with the Kuwait Central’s birthday during summer time.
Just before we headed out of the immigration to the waiting area, my pastor quipped to me “you’re lucky you came here at this time of the year. It’s cooler here now than if you went here last summer.” A few more steps nearing the exit doors, I felt for myself how true his words were. But I soon found out it wasn’t the exit door yet–it was just the doors heading to the airport mall. The closer we were getting to the actual exit doors, it was getting cooler and cooler. It wasn’t long before cool became cold. As in literally cold!
I remember Cess telling me to bring two jackets, preempting for the cold climate of the middle east during this season. I told her one would just be enough.
We were both wrong. We should have brought three.
Ptr. Allen Belwa, the designated resident pastor-in-charge there, picked us up at the Kuwait International Airport. As our pastor was staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, a car from the hotel was on hand to pick him up. We dropped by the hotel first to check if the BP had any instructions for us, and when we were cleared to go, we first went to the congregation’s villa, where I spent the remainder of the wee hours of the morning to get some winks, before we checked in at the Safir Hotel at 10 AM.
Our morning and afternoon schedules were free for that day, so I had some time to prepare some of the lectures I compiled for the Preachers’ Conference that the Kuwait brethren will be hosting among our preachers from the GCC countries the day after their anniversary festivities. Later that night, the brethren treated us for an all-fish dinner fellowship.
Just as the evening gathering was progressing, I felt my eyes were getting heavy. I checked on my cellphone clock and saw that it was 9PM in Kuwait–which means it’s already 2AM in the morning in Manila. That was my very first encounter with jetlag.
My seatmate in the dinner table, Bro. Jojo, was trying to jolt me out of my dreariness, noticing that I wasn’t returning to the buffet table anymore for seconds. I was telling him that my body is telling me to find a bed and get some sleep. He laughed and told me it will be a full week before you get to adjust to the whole time difference thing.
After the dinner, we headed back to the hotel. I actually didn’t notice that we’ve arrived already, because I was totally knocked out during the travel from Crowne Plaza to Safir. I went inside my room and just dropped like a log into the bed.
The following day was the 4th Foundation day Celebrations of the Kuwait South. We had a great time, where more than 600 adults and young people came and attended to hear our beloved pastor preach the Gospel. The Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait, who happens to be a relative of the BP, came and attended to address the Filipinos who attended the event. After our BP’s preaching, more than 100 people came forward to receive Christ as their Savior. Since it was a whole day of set activities, the members did not leave the venue anymore, where they had prepared lunch for everyone, by 3PM the service resumed, where the BP preached a message that has yet to be heard by the main church. It was a challenging message that saw three couples coming forward to surrender their lives to the Lord.
The following day, the Preachers’ Conference pushed through, where I was also slated as the kick-off lecturer on the music ministry. I spent almost an hour discussing the details of the music ministry, before our BP took on the pulpit and preached for the next five hours.
Later that evening, a victory banquet was set in a hotel, where the members were treated to an almost acoustic concert by our beloved pastor, who sang songs and played the guitar to the delight of his people. He gave an inspirational message to challenge the brethren to keep on keeping on for the Lord in Kuwait.
On our last night in Kuwait, the BP got another chance to talk to the brethren during their Sunday evening service. There were a few visitors who attended also, who were later on dealt with the Gospel. After the service, I got a chance to do a hands on rehearsal with the Kuwait choir on how they should do their vocalizations and pre-rehearsal routines. And then finally, for the last time, the BP and the brethren went out for a fellowship dinner, where he had a wonderful time telling jokes and funny stories to the brethren, who just can’t resist laughing out loud in the restaurant over the BP’s humorous tales.
Our trip going to Dubai was slated in the afternoon, and so several of the members who were already off from work joined in accompanying us to the airport. We had a few more chats in the airport mall just before our flight number was announced ready for boarding. We said our goodbyes and ’til thens to the brethren, who are anticipating the BP’s next trip there next year, probably August or November.
I had a great five-day trip in Kuwait. I enjoyed the fellowship we had with our BP and the brethren there. The experience with them is something that I will cherish and remember as well for a very long time.
But this was just the first leg of my 65-day trip, and soon we were bound for Dubai.
(To be continued)
Today’s my last day here in Brunei Darussalam, my first ever trip out of the Philippines. I thank my senior pastor, Dr. Benny Abante Jr., for the privilege and opportunity to represent him in our work here in Brunei for the last two weeks.
We had a great time here learning together, me and the MBBC Brunei brethren. We were able to conduct a three-day new believers’ class, a one-night workshop for the men and workers of the congregation regarding church ministries and involvement, two nights where we got to talk about cheerful giving, and an opportunity to share the gospel and witness to seamen from the ship that ACTS Preacher Ben Dampal is steering as captain. We were able to visit several Filipinos here and invited them to church, as well as disciple new believers who got saved on the first Sunday I arrived. We also baptized one mother at the Pantai Muara beach resort, as well as learn more gospel songs from our hymns. It was indeed a very fruitful ministry visit.
Tonight, we’re having one final service just before I leave tomorrow early morning at 2AM. The members decided that they will have the service tonight at 8, have it run until 12 and bring me to the airport by 1. Tomorrow morning and evening, instead of having the service, they will be joining the MBBC Main Church for the services via webcast.
I would like to thank Pr. Henry Pangan for the hospitality, support, and partnership he extended me during these last two weeks. Also I would like to thank all the members of the MBBC Brunei who were very kind and warm in receiving your servant as a guest. While each and every member of the congregations was gracious, special thanks goes to Bro. Frank and Jigs Limboc (and to their only boy Franz), as well as to ate Ruth, Ruby, Lisa and Leah. Also to Pr. Ben Dampal for the chance to share the word to his crew on the ship, as well as having him come over with his other crew to our service last Tuesday.
We will be praying for the work here at MBBC Brunei as they prepare for their Cheerful Giving Sunday on December, as well as their upcoming 4th Anniversary on March 2011.
Terimah Kasi, MBBC Brunei!
This is RCandCess, reporting to you live from Brunei Darussalam. I’ll be here for the next 13 days, visiting the MBBC Brunei work of Bro. HJP (for security reasons, I can’t divulge the details.)
This trip is the first among so many other things. It’s my first time to travel by plane all by myself. I thought I wouldn’t be able to manage it by myself, but thank God everything went smoothly. It was relatively faster than my usual inter-island trips in the Philippines. This also is my first ever trip out of the country. It’s a privilege to represent my senior pastor Dr. BMA and the MBBC to our work here in Brunei, and to help the brethren here with their weekly meetings, as well as give them lessons and messages on discipleship, doctrines, and cheerful giving. We will be having a three-night lecture-workshop here for new members, as well as lectures on homiletics.
It’s quite bittersweet, though, since I left my wife at Manila. They still have classes though, and she’s prohibited for trips like this due to her pregnancy. But the 14 days will pass quickly, I’m quite sure, and it won’t be long before I’m back.
That’s it for now, guys. Will see you soon!
Our church, the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church and Ministries just had one of the toughest, most challenging, but eventually one of the most historic anniversary celebrations in its 35-year history, as we held our “Acts 2 Revisited Campaign” all throughout last week.
From September 19 to September 26, 953 workers from all of our congregations, mission works and organized daughter churches both here and abroad went out to share the Gospel and follow-up new believers to obey the Lord in the waters of baptism.
Everyday for 8 days, from sunrise to sunset, all of our brethren from the MBBC was just all abuzz to getting the message out, and bringing the harvest in. It was the busiest, most productive week ever in the history of the MBBC, albeit in the history of Baptist churches.
After all the results have been sealed, the more than 900 workers, coming from 36 different MBBC works here and abroad, by the grace of God harvested 21,673 professions of faith and 680 believers obeying the Lord in the waters of baptism! Amen to that! Praise be to God!
The obedience campaign will continue on until the entire month of October, to harvest the remainder of the baptism goal that wasn’t reached, which is 1,000!
Thanks be to God for His amazing grace!