Pray BFF Letter #214
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Live Reports from Philippines
Dear Prayer Partners,
Here are the live reports from when Paul was out on the field in the Philippines.
Off to the Philippines - Sep 17th, 2012
Thank you so much for your concern and prayers. How exciting to get even notes from people from around the world like in India who are praying. I am at the airport and targeting Manila, Philippines. The next day I take another flight. Our first seminar runs Thursday to Saturday. So do pray.
Typhoon Karen (another one) is just leaving the island. The first meeting place might not be very rain protected so do pray (no electricity without generator).
Praise the Lord that my 52 lb baggage got through without penalty. I try to bring as many of our materials that I can.
They are starting the boarding so I need to go. Do continue to pray for our family.
First Seminar - Sep 21, 2012
Greetings from the Philippines!
On Wednesday I safely flew over to this spot on northern Mindanao. I am always so glad to see someone at the airport to pick me up! Overall my health has been well. I am still getting used to jetlag. Last night I woke up and thought my sleeping had adjusted, that is, until I looked at the clock. It was not the usual time I get up but 12:54 a.m! Well, I was nicely alert and had a great time with the Lord and could even edit one of the video messages. (Right now I am laboring to stay awake at 7:30 pm).
The weather is hot and strong bursts of rain come down usually at night. This morning we had some rain, but it went away during travel time. Fortunately (and rarely), the place I am staying at is close to where I am speaking. The five minute trip beats a typical one hour drive!
When I get out of the tiny van, I walk walk down a short dirt path to enter the largely Mus-lim village where this church is located. How nice to see so many people interacting with each other. Often two volleyball games are going on, one in the small field and another on the road.
Each day is difficult preaching through four messages but when you see the Spirit of God working, it is exciting and the heat, perspiration and tiredness go away. Since attendance is around 35, I am better able to meet and discuss with the attendees and discover what they are getting from the seminar. Some have even come on this second day when yesterday they said they could not make it.
I praise the Lord for driving the rain away, providing electricity via a neighbor (rather than through a generator - the church has no electricity), for alertness when preaching, time to sleep and rest. So far I have had hot water and great inexpensive food. Saturday (we are twelve hours ahead) will be my last day here and then I take a few flights to go to our second site on Sunday. The marriage seminar will be more challenging as it might not be translated. They consolidated the seminar into two days, each day having five messages.
Thankfully, I have been able to 'chat' with Linda through the internet, though often being cut off. She is glad to see I am in fine.
Land of a Thousand Roosters - Sept 26th, 2012
I don't know what you think of when you hear about the country of Philippines, but I increasingly think of roosters. I suppose it is a bit worse when you are still suffering from jet lag (already a week plus) and mistakingly arise at midnight thinking you had a full night's sleep. Well, you get to hear all the roosters take their turn crowing across the valley, some of them starting around 1:30.
Hope Mountain Transformation Retreat Center is beautifully situated on a high projection which enables one to have a 270 degree view of opposing mountains and surrounding valleys. It's beautiful.
Our 'Building a Great Marriage' retreat for pastors and their wives was held there. Some of the mountain pastors didn't make it, but we still had a great group with twenty couples.
Marriage seminars are emotionally draining for several reasons. There are many anti-biblical sentiments that need to be properly articulated and reproved. Some very difficult (though good) questions were asked during the question-answer time. What was most draining, however, was the constant spiritual warfare being waged. God's people were being transformed right before my eyes.
Many individuals, sometimes couples, told me how helpful this seminar was to their lives and marriages. Others have tears in their eyes as they hear God's Word. The open testimonies publicly affirmed the renewal taking place in their lives.
One couple, that was miraculously invited at the last minute, wanted to talk to me. They had not been married many months but were totally distressed over their marriage. The wife thought,"Survival sounds good." She couldn't even conceive of the idea of having a great marriage. In any case, they said they were about to break apart but now have greatly changed and full of hope. They went through the process of clearing up everything between them. You could just see the love and devotion between the couples grow each day!
Thank you for your prayers. God was mightily working, transforming the flint into water. "Who turned the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a fountain of water" (Ps 114:8).
May His great Name be praised. Praise Him for keeping the storm away from our first seminar, timely moving the storm so Paul could fly to this location and for working in the hearts of His people. Keep praying. There is one more seminar this weekend including a Sunday message.
Third Seminar - Sept 29
This third seminar was different from the previous ones. This church building not only has electricity but hundreds of hard working small group leaders. Usually, I focus on training pastors/evangelists and church planters from various churches but thought training these small group leaders would be a great opportunity. Well over a hundred of them showed up both Friday night and Saturday.
There was one similarity with the previous seminars, however. God was powerfully working through His Word. "I am so blessed." "I have been changed." These are just a few reports of many on how God was working. One sister still had tears in her eyes as she explained God's special work in her life with me.
This seminar lit an excitement among the leaders of this church to use our new'hot off the press' video training series (same Reaching Beyond Mediocrity but in 105 smaller portions). I had the privilege of telling the head pastor that he should keep this 26 gb of BFF training material along with the thumb drive. He already copied it onto his computer. I encouraged him to strategically distribute these materials. Pastor J. has a great burden to disciple his people and equip them for ministry. What a blessing for me to be acquainted with him, the other pastors and the people of God there. From the beginning we released God's training tools to those around the world.
Free distribution has been a part of our approach from the beginning as God began to develop the BFF training library. Free distribution is taking on a different approach as we explore distributing on thumb drives and online access. This effort hopefully will not only reach pastors but training centers, colleges and missionaries working in poorer nations.
After preaching at a few worship services tomorrow, I will go on to Manilla and have a few meetings including a visit to a seminary. On Wednesday, October 3rd, I return home. Praise God that I had my first normal sleep last night. Now I know I am ready to go home. In Christ's Majestic Service,
End of live reports
Rev. Paul J. Bucknell, President and Instructor
Biblical Foundations for Freedom
Phone: (412) 398-4559
3276 Bainton St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212 USA