Mike Burns preaches at ABS Midweek Service, 2018

Philippine Tour: The final days

Five days have past since I wrote the above. We got caught up in many activities including visiting 18 of the area churches in about a 35 mi. radius. We usually attend one church for Sunday School, another for service, and yet another for Evening worship. In between we also visit and photograph other church buildings though not meeting for service, and often meet their pastor, some of their elders and members.

This Fri. I am a guest speaker at the Baccalaureate Dinner for this year’s 9 ABS graduates (2 Associates in Theology, 2 Bachelors in Christian Education and 5 in Church Music). Saturday Daisy and I are invited to take part in a Woman’s Fellowship (other men invited too). Sunday will be only 2 church visitations. Monday & Tuesday we will join a “Conference on Evangelism” for all area churches. Tuesday night I am again the guest speaker for Commencement, where even the non-grad’s will attend.

Early Wednesday AM Esmelito (ABS’s administrator drives us to PBS (about 8 hours), so I can again be the speaker for their Baccalaureate dinner. We can’t stay for their graduation, so Esmelito will take us on to Manila where we visit friends for a day before beginning the flights home via Seoul (6:35 layover), Korea Friday midnight (12:30a). Our flight time including layover is scheduled as 22 hours, 35 min., landing Chicago O’Hare on 3/20 at 10:05 am with Korean Air flight KE0037 (Terminal 5).

We will then be for a rude awakening; our mosquito bites will experience frost bite ! I just know your heart bleeds for us as we must go through withdrawals from best Mango and sweet Amarosa Bananas in the world. Then we must readjust body clocks and get back into gear with long awaiting work schedules.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers.
God Bless you and your daily work to glorify HIM in your words to each other and your work.

– Mike
aka. Miguel

PS: Pray for me esp. since my laptop power supply died due to voltage fluctuations, and my battery is almost dead ! ! !
Slim chance I’ll find a replacement here. Might have to wait till Manila (sigh).

God bless.

Philippine Tour: The Lord is good, supplying all our needs.

We may depend on Him more than our own strength and means.

HE is good to me here in Aparri Bible Seminary (ABS), at the northern tip of Luzon, the biggest of 7,000 islands in the Philippines, where I have been since early Feb. We (Daisy Cajigal & I) are down to our last 2.5 weeks here out of the original 7.

Daisy is my Christian sister from my Cornerstone Christian Church (22 mi. W. of Chicago) who was born in Aparri to a family of faithful ABS supporters, but spent over 30 years as a Nurse in several hospitals (sometimes 2 at a time) in Chicago and suburbs. Though retired she continues her career working more than most her coworkers at Alden retirement homes.

Daisy, together with our brother Larry Ferguson (a preacher of 50+ years who is a “doctor” to ailing churches) & I traveled on this my 3rd Philippine mission trip at noon on Feb 1 from Chicago, over Alaska, via Seoul (3.5 hr. layover), arriving at Manila 21.5 hours since leaving O’Hare. We all then traveled to the central isle of Cebu. Our sister Maricel Powell’s family showed us true Filipino hospitality, driving, housing and feeding us sumptuously. We visited the downtown Cebu Church of Christ and Cebu Bible Seminary, where Larry later delivered his ‘Church Encouragement Services‘ seminars, which are very interesting, informative and relevant to Biblically based Church life and growth. Daisy & I were pleased to hear that they were very well attended.

After leaving Larry with our Christian brothers and sisters there, Daisy & I flew to Manila, visiting friends for a couple days, including at Cabao Church of Christ, and shopping for important computer equipment for ABS. We then took a comfortable 8-hour bus ride to visit our friends at Philippine Bible Seminary (PBS) in Vigan, which was somewhat of a surprise visit to them. We were given a warm welcome and fellowship. I was drafted by administrator Danny Roca to give 2 morning devotions, which were challenging but enjoyable.

After enjoying PBS for 2 nights and the day between, Danny and bro Noel drove us to our main focus, ABS in Aparri. The Filipino people in general define the word hospitality, even giving beyond their means. Christian Filipinos go above and beyond even that. Our friends at these and other seminaries and churches truly exemplify this spirit of love and sharing.

It was very good for us to be back at our Philippine “home” of ABS in Aparri. Aparri is a medium sized town with no stop signs nor lights (driving is by a form of give & take with unwritten rules of the road; the written ones are pretty much ignored). About 60 years ago, Daisy’s grandfather Faustino Peneyra made a “Macedonian call” to “come help us”. Charles and Roberta Selby answered that call and worked with “Pastor Peneyra” to upgrade the Bible Institute that Faustino had started into the seminary (ABS). In the Selby’s 50 year ministry they also helped start an orphanage, 3 Christian high schools, a Kindergarten, a Christian Press, a Christian hospital, and their evangelistic work helped plant over 200 churches throughout the Cagayan valley. They also helped set up CARM, a radio, recording and hopefully future aviation ministry.

The focus of my work this year has been to I am trying hard to complete the work of setting up computers in the new computer lab, with 16 tower PC’s, 18 old-style iMac’s and 22 tablet computers, working with Nervie Ternura, a very capable computer science teacher here at ABS. The PC side of the lab is mostly complete, with much work to yet be done on the Mac side of the room.

I have also been photographer & videographer for all the ABS events, including the Tri-Seminary Fellowship in Baguio, and presentation nights for drama, singing and this Friday a piano recital. I also take group pictures at the area churches we visit, and photo-document all our travels.

I was drafted to deliver a sermon last Wed. night, which through much prayer went much better than expected. I then presented a slide show of the Fellowship to a very eager audience.

My fellow traveler Daisy helps interpret during various church services (we visit 2-3 rural churches on the 2 recent Sundays). She also does most of the behind the scenes coordination work for our meetings with so many Christian workers at churches and seminaries and other important contact people. She has been hosting many informal Christian fellowships at her mother Esperanza Aguas’s house, and she supports many ministries and students in the area.

We just now (Tue.10:53 am local time, 8:53 pm CST, 7:53 pm EST) experienced another mild earthquake similar to last Sunday midnight (12:05:34 am, 10:05 am CST, 9:05 EST):

W H E N LOCAL CST EST L O C A T I O N Lat, Lon DEPTH MAGNITUDE
Recent 2/3/10 Tue 10:51:23a 8:51p 9:51p East of Aparri 18.24, 122.49 18.4 mi. 5.8
Sun pm/Mon am 12:05:34a 10:05p 11:05p N.W. of Aparri 19.16, 121.32 25.5 mi. 4.9

but this one lasted over a minute, whereas Sunday’s was something like 10 sec.

A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – Wrap Up

On the last Friday we were given a phenomenal special presentation of the 2008 Christmas Cantata, with voices and choreography trained by Grace Lopez Alvarez. Cantata Sister Grace has a doctorate in music from U. of the Philippines and was formerly the music professor of Cagayan State U., but gave up that prestigious position and salary to become the music professor at ABS.  Listening to the Christmas message through their beautiful voices and presentation was very uplifting to our souls.

TheBoardThe PMCC board had postponed their monthly meeting to allow the Richards and us to attend on Saturday.  We thus felt more accomplished in our mission.  The board gave us good news of spiritual bridges being mended.  Though the steel rods and other material were already purchased, we learned of their immediate need for well over $10,000 U.S. to buy the cement to start the 2nd phase (2nd set of 2 large rooms above one another) of their new main building.  A new building is critical for attracting, keeping and accommodating the needs of the students coming in June.  ( Is the Lord calling for you to help in this urgent need ?  Would you pray for them as well ?  Please email Mike@AparriBible.org )

grpPicFor lunch we were given a sumptuous pig-roast feast donated by a local construction company.  Then the Richards, Daisy and Mike were showered with warm send-offs, prayers and the inspiring Lutkins Benediction (polyphonic harmony).  It was a very emotional time.  Then it was time to say goodbye to the Richards.polyphonic

On Sunday we finally got to join the local congregation at Aparri Church of Christ.  Pastor Perry Alan led another time of upliftment through his message after rousing spiritual songs of worship.  After the service we enjoyed the fellowship of friends and Daisy’s relatives.  That afternoon we had a send-off for Perry and the graduating preaching students, who drove to Manila to take part in a Church-planting seminar.  They had the rare experience to visit MBS and ICCM, who were very hospitable.  The ABS students considered these visits very educational.  For some of them it was also their first opportunity to visit Manila, and to ride in elevators and escalators.

On Monday, after touring the students’ dorms, the ABS staff treated us to a bus outing to a recreation area called STR (“under the bridge”) for lunch. BridgeLunch We toured to the northeast corner of Cagayan and back, then across the river to Noel and Susan Daquioag’s house and clinic in Ballesteros, where we were treated to another dinner feast.  Along the way the staff pointed out many of the Christian Churches, a fulfillment of evangelism started in Aparri by those who also started ABS and many other ministries.  Driving home that night we joyfully sang old-time Christian choruses.

On Tuesday with a mixture of joy and sorrow we said our goodbyes to the students and staff of ABS.  Esmelito together with 2 other staff and 2 of Daisy’s relatives drove us to the Tuguegarao airport for an hour-long flight to Manila.  Cecil and Robert took great care of us overnight and brought us to the Manila airport for flights to Seoul and O’Hare.CecilRobert

At all 5 seminaries which we were blessed to visit we enjoyed their insightful preaching, joint praise & worship of our Lord, friendship, fellowship, and hospitality of these, our brothers and sisters in Christ.  The staff are all hard working and effective in their task of training young men and women to serve our Lord with sound, Bible-based teaching.

We so look forward to more opportunities for visiting many times in the future as the Lord permits, and to be used by God, by prayer, by sharing our resources for the work of His kingdom, and by hands-on side-by-side help.

It is nice to be back with our home church and families.  We thank God for His guidance, protection and providence.  Thank you so much for holding us up in your prayers, and your on-going concern and prayers for our Lord’s work in equipping and supporting the future Christian leaders of churches all over the world, especially in Northern Luzon where the need for trained pastor/preachers is so great.  God bless you wherever God has called you to serve Him.  May you do so with all your heart & soul.

MikeBurnsPrevious, to read about what we did around Luzon:
A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – Around Luzon

For some more information about the school, ABS:
A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – School History

A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – Around Luzon

PBS_WelcomeOn Monday we journeyed to PBS and were given a warm welcome by Administrator Danny Roca and staff, including a unique, beautiful, native dance by students of the Ilocos mountains.PBSgroup

Larry repeated his marathon 2-day seminar, with Cathie, Daisy & Mike helping behind the scenes.PBSseminar

After many social, worship and historic Vigan tour activities we traveled a half day to Baguio, where we visited staff & students of PCM, and Dr. James Huckaba (Academic Dean) gave a very informative tour, including the rebuilt well-restocked library (see fascinating story of fire damage on their website  PCM.ph ).  Bagiuo used to be the summer capital of the Philippines, due to its cool high altitude.  It is also the source of most of the flower shops of Luzon.  We were glad to tour the three most beautiful parks of Bagiuo: Mines View, Burnham, and Camp John Hay (former military R&R facility).

7-img_6029 PCMLibrary PCMgroup

Leaving exceedingly picturesque Bagiuo, we returned to Manila on Saturday night 2/14.  We thoroughly enjoyed worshiping with Cubao Church of Christ where Rommel Savellano is the minister, but on this Sunday Missionary Eldon Potts was the articulate guest preacher.  We met up with many of Daisy and Mike’s friends and Daisy’s relatives and afterward enjoyed a family reunion at Daisy’s cousin Emmeline, who catered an incredibly fancy feast.

MBSstanding MBSseated MBStable

Monday we met up with Chris and Carole McKinney, who had helped establish PCM in 1992.  After lunch Chris brought and introduced us to the staff at Manila Bible Seminary as well as International Christian College of Manila.  MBSsignJonathan Orillaza (Academic Dean) gave us a tour of MBS ( www.angelfire.com/ma4/mbsbeta_01/default.htm ), the oldest Restoration Christian seminary in the Philippines, that is presently headed by Jeannie McElroy Hoffman.  Russ and Cheryl Wissman gave us a tour of ICCM ( www.ICCManila.com ), which is high up on a mountain in Antipolo overlooking Manila.  Arthur Santiago is the acting president.

meeting meeting2 TheGuys

sitchat

Larry and Cathie returned via Seoul and Chicago O’Hare to their Plymouth, IN home.  We (Daisy and Mike) returned by car 16 hours to Aparri where we got more involved with the daily life of ABS. TheRichards On Thursday we joined Esmelito, Linda Columna and Grace Peneyra to visit Dr. Charles and Mickey Richards in the town of Iguig (about 2 hours south and west  by car).  The Richards are now concluding their faithful 30 year mission of translating the New Testament and 1/4 of the Old Testament into Itawes, one of more than 400 languages in the Philippines that is spoken by 106,000 people in Cagayan.  They have sacrificed so much of their lives and resources for this ministry and are much beloved by the people whose lives they have touched.

Next, to continue reading about the trip:
A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – Wrap Up

Previous, to read about what we did in Aparri:
A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – While in Aparri

For some more information about the school, ABS:
A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – School History

A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – While in Aparri

After Larry’s seminar, ABS hosted students of Philippine Bible Seminary (PBS in Vigan) and Philippine College of Ministry (PCM in Baguio) for their annual 3-day Inter-Seminary Fellowship.

Inter-Seminary FellowshipNervieteam builder

Inter-Seminary Fellowship

This fellowship not only provide spiritual and educational advancement, but also R&R.  The students enjoyed group sports and games (e.g.: best nest of straws to prevent a dropped egg from breaking, best bridge made of sand, etc).  Mike much enjoyed becoming a paparazzo of these events, to the delight of all when frequently projected.  The theme of “Breaking The Walls” (Building Bridges) was presented with insightful messages from eloquent staff & students, who emphasized breaking down barriers of prejudice, hostility, envy and building bridges of love, fellowship, and selflessness.

We had the great opportunity to visit the local Municipal Hall.  Vice Mayor Norman Peneyra greeted us warmly, inviting us in for a social visit & refreshments.  Mr. Peneyra was formerly Mayor of Aparri, as well as formerly the president of PMCC.

After a brief Saturday respite, we went to Domingo Tallud’s church in Tuguegarao, where Larry preached and later conducted 2 hours of Elder and Deacon seminars. Larry Preaches CongregationCarl and Ronalyn Stevens and 2 of their teens then gave us a tour of CARM (Christian Aviation & Radio Mission), which he joined in 1998, including the sound-dampening room of the recording studio that he had designed and built, and the hangar and Helio Courier plane being rebuilt for a hopeful future aviation ministry. CARM

We then very much enjoyed visiting the orphans and homeless children of Children’s Haven at the town of Lal-lo.  This orphanage was started by PMCC under the Selby’s and Mary Pruitt.  The kids were soooo appreciative of our visit and soaked in all the love we could offer.  Children’s Haven is now directed by Mr. Lynn Ragsdale, although we have not yet have had the opportunity to see him.

Group at Children’s Haven in Lal-lo

Group at Children’s Haven in Lal-lo

Next, to continue reading about the trip:
A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – Around Luzon

Previous, to read about how we got to Aparri:
A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – Going to Aparri

For some more information about the school, ABS:
A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – School History

A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – Going to Aparri

Going to the Philippines.
Going to the Philippines.

The Lord so blessed our party of four (Daisy Cajigal, Mike Burns, Larry & Cathie Ferguson) this past February ‘09 with a warm, fruitful, joy-filled 4-week working tour of northern Luzon, the largest of 7000 islands of the Philippines.  Everyone we met and visited were so warm and hospitable.

Some sight-seeingstatuegun inspection
Some sight-seeing

After touring many historic sites in Manila with our exceedingly gracious friends and hosts Cecil (Chief, Logistics and Facilities, Veterans Affairs, US Embassy, Manila) and Robert Salbilla, Larry & Cathy traveled to the northern seacoast of Cagayan where Larry preached at Aparri Church of Christ.  Daisy, Mike and Robert were able to join Norma Manankil on Sunday Feb 1 with ≈18 other volunteers (including Daisy’s daughter Lynette) in the “Humanitarian Mission 2009”, sponsored by Circulo Kapampangan of Chicago.  We helped transport and distribute toiletries and heavy bags of food (which Norma had previously procured) to dozens of hungry families in the 3 towns of Magalang and Angeles City in Pampanga, and then Capas in Tarlac.

Humanitarian Mission 2009

Humanitarian Mission 2009

Pampanga governor Ed Panlilio personally thanked us for our efforts.

Daisy and Mike then caught up with Larry & Cathie at Aparri Bible Seminary (ABS) where the Administrator Esmelito Acson and staff, as well as local supporters warmly welcomed us.

Welcome to ABS

Welcome to ABS

Larry, (http://churchhelp.wordpress.com )who has over 50 yrs. preaching experience gave a 5-day densely-packed, very informative, practical and inspiring seminar, albeit here in the Philippines it was condensed into 2 intense morning-till-night days.

Classroom Session

Classroom Session

God guided Larry and sustained his voice.  In attendance were ≈100 adults and seminary students, esp. current and future church leaders from 37 churches of Cagayan Valley and Ilocos regions.  Larry is an accomplished church doctor, helping to heal wounds, getting all members heavily involved in many forms of effective prayer and teaching Pastor/Preachers, Elders and Deacons what their Biblical role is, as opposed to what traditions tell them.  Larry’s seminar “Raising the Dead: New Life for Churches” explains these roles and helps church leaders to follow Biblical principles to solve problems and build a healthy church.

CES Seminar PicturesinclassCompletion

CES Seminar Pictures

Next, to continue reading about the trip:
A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – While in Aparri

For some more information about the school, ABS:
A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – School History

A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – School History

2-img_0388

ABS was a Christian Bible Institute founded by Faustino Peneyra in the early 1940’s and upgraded to a Bible Seminary in 1952 by him and the missionaries Charles and Roberta Selby that he helped bring from Fairfield, NE.  In their 50 years of service, the Selbys also helped build Christian ministries of a local hospital, an orphanage, 3 high schools, a radio ministry (now CARM) and a Christian press, and whose evangelistic outreach resulted in the rapid increase of churches to around 200 (wow).  After Charles and Roberta retired in 1996 to Fairfield, and Charles subsequently died in 2004, ABS lost its funding and its doors were temporarily closed.  The dedicated staff and local supporters led by Linda Columna refused to give up in the face of its near financial collapse, but continued to make incredible personal and financial sacrifices, running ABS without any financial compensation for several months.  ABS under the new Philippine Mission Churches of Christ of Northern Luzon, Inc. (PMCC) is yet financially struggling.  Its old termite-laden buildings need to be torn down.  The good news is that a brand new 2-story L-shaped building has been started, with the first 2 double-sized rooms (1 on each level) completed, sans enclosing windows & finishing touches.  See the recently renovated AparriBible.org for cool pix including recent views of the second phase bldg. progress; may our Lord bless these efforts with success!  Work has been temporarily suspended, while they are soliciting more donations.

To read about our recent visit to ABS in Aparri:
A Working Tour of Seminaries in Luzon – Going to Aparri

Visiting Lecturer, Larry Ferguson

Back in Feburary, minister, lecturer and writter of book materials on raising the dead church, Larry Ferguson was at Aparri Bible Seminary to give a 3 day intensive seminar. The response was great. We had 150 sets of manuals and class materials and many people had to share. We would like to thank all of the people that helped to make the event a success.

For more information about Larry Ferguson, please check out his web blog
Church Encouragement Services Inc. New Life for Churches