I had a great privilege of visiting Mt. Carmel in Kinuskusan, Bansalan Davao del Sur. It is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention to which it is popular for having a “Rural Life Training Center”. The training center focuses on training people for rural living. They teach agri-technology which can be very useful for farmers. The place was really cool. It has a Tabernacle, dormitories, and a backyard demo farm. The demo farm has a piggery, fish ponds, goat dairy farm, vegetable farm, and even vermiculture / vermicomposting technology.
What intrigue me the most are the hybrid goats. These goats are huge, as if a young calf, and they are great producers of milk. I had the opportunity to taste the fresh milk product of these goats and you can really tell the difference between the commercialized milk from the real fresh ones.
The Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBRLC) was originally designed to train local people for backyard farming applying Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT). Its aim is to help educate farmers and those people who live in areas like these on how to manage their farm in a low-cost and timely method of farming.
My Main Purpose of Visit
My main purpose for visiting Mt. Carmel is to report the accomplished ministries in Leyte as well as the current situations that we have. Ptr. Joe Fernandez, president of the Pastors, Workers, and Missionaries Association (PWMA) invited me to also preach with the Pastor’s Kids group and also to give a lecture on “How to Preach”.
The event was a great celebration of God’s goodness for his workers in the field. Some special guests from the United States also visited the celebration.
The main speaker of the event was Dr. Walter Price, the president of North Carolina Southern Baptist Convention. He talked mainly about becoming God-focused Christians. Basically, his preaching was a part of the book he wrote entitled “God-focus”. It is an exegesis on the book of Isaiah, which was a life changing experience, recognizing that the Lord is the superlative “Holiest” of all beings.
I also have come to know some people who are in some ways related to some of my personal friends. Ptr. Gregory Cochrain, was the pastor who took over the work of my dear friend Tom Smith when Kuya Tom was called to be an IMB missionary in the Philippines. With Ptr. Cochrain is his wife Sharon, Ptr. Dan, and Brenda.
I also met Brian Reitvelt who was a no ordinary member of the Church who felt the need to serve God even if he is not a pastor. I always admire people who are not full time ministers yet gave their lives to the Creator as a living testimony that even if one has a job/work, it is not a hindrance for them to serve God.
Meeting and seeing some old friends is equally wonderful. I have seen my first roommate in seminary dormitory wave back on June 2003. Ptr. Jr. Pasamanero is now pastoring a Church in General Santos City. Some familiar faces were also there, Miss Jennifer Mabayag and Ptr. Eric Avila were also there. Such a wonderful reunion for the people I have known in seminary.
Ptr. Cleto Bacarro, my highly respected predecessor was also there, and it was such a nice feeling to know that both of us were supporting the same presidential candidate, Bro. Eddie Villanueva. Furthermore, as one of my mentors, we talked about several issues inside the Church and how possibly we can deal with it.
The Pastors, Workers, and Missionary Association
I was very blessed to see how far the pastors and workers and even missionaries come together to worship God. I still remember when I was still a kid; there was no organization that gives back up support for pastors, workers and local missionaries. It was a sad experience on my part that I still have to see God’s ministers fell to the ground without someone to encourage them.
The one that I witnessed however in Mindanao is a totally different, blessedful experience. Ptr. Joe Fernandez and family are the key people who currently lead the workers of the Lord. And I strongly believe that God has blessed them with such great gifts in leadership which is pastoring the pastors. It was a great blessing to see ministers of the Lord work together and help each other.
On the other hand, since I started “The Disciplers”, which have the same agenda as “PWMA” (only that it just started last year and is being broadcasted over the net), I have seen that not all pastors are convince and have an all out support for this kind of program for pastors. Sad to say, but some have not yet come to their senses that we as God’s ministers should be united and should have one voice, not only with the message that we bring, but also with one prayer and understanding of each one’s situation.
But these things should not hinder us in serving God. Just like Paul encourages us to be ready in season or out of season. The same reason why I have huge respect to God’s ministers, whether they are pastors, plain workers, or missionaries, I salute them for their perseverance, meekness, and love for the Lord.