Camar ministry in Prieto Diaz & Bulabog (Padaba, feedings, Bible studies & 5-day kids club)

Pastor Benjie and Elah Camar live near EBI and the PAMI Bulabog Church (part of the municipality of Sorsogon City), and are involved in ministry in these places in addition to starting outreaches a few miles away in the neighboring municipality of Prieto Diaz that they plan to eventually turn into a church plant. Sister Elah is especially active as a Compassion case worker/teacher. Click here to see a pdf report with a lot of pictures of their ministry activities and family situation.

The most recent activity of Pastor Benjie and Elah Camar has been to do a 5-day kids club in Prieto Diaz, which was sort of a Daily Vacation Bible School right before the school year started:

Soon to follow after this will be the distribution of Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes from Samaritan’s Purse, along with follow-up discipleship. You can see in the background of some of these pictures that the boxes are already on site, but they are awaiting the teaching materials to arrive from Samaritan’s Purse before dispersing.

San Jose Bulusan Church construction update

As noted in the July 2022 PAMI Newsletter, we are thankful for an August 2021 $5000 gift from ReStored Thrift Store of Lakeville, MN that went towards a 5 x 7 m chapel, along with a 5 x 3 m back room with Comfort Room (i.e. toilet) & sink & a front to back sidewalk. Here is a video of church members singing a song of appreciation:

Here are the stage and benches within the new Bulusan chapel

Here is a video of a kids song within the new chapel:

And here are a video and pictures of ongoing finishing done since last August. This included adding a 5 x 3 m extension off the back of the chapel (which can be either used as pastoral living quarters, classroom or meeting space, food preparation space, storage space, etc.), and cementing the floor of this back room. Note that a sink was roughed in but not yet finished with tiling.

The chapel (front 5 x 7 m) portion was improved with wall plastering/smoothing on a couple of the more prominent walls and addition of front double doors. More of the inside and outside walls still need plastering and painting.

For reference, you can see the following reports from Pastor Lorenzo Fugen:

Sept 28 2021 Report

Jan 27 2022 Report

May 4 2022 Report

July 15 2022 Report

Also note that the San Jose Bulusan Church also created their own Facebook page, which you can see here:

https://www.facebook.com/Bulusan-Christian-Church-PAMI-115272147737776/

For further reference, you can see the Aug 27, 2021 blog post. Note that the $5000 from ReStored covered both the $3300 of initial chapel construction, along with the additional $1700 mentioned in the Aug 27th post. Construction also freed up $40 per month that was previously designated towards Bulusan rent, which has been redirected to ongoing property improvements. Bit by bit, they’ve been adding doors, curtains, drapery, etc. Additional funds would be nice for further finishing (e.g. smoothing the inside and outside walls, painting, tiling, upgrading windows and ceiling, adding chairs/benches, adding musical instruments) and to add a kids Sunday school cottage. A kids Sunday school cottage hasn’t been built yet because funds were used instead to make the back room be full concrete rather than half concrete to be more storm resistant and longer-lasting, and for other improvements. Until a separate Sunday school cottage is built, the kids can meet either in the back room, outside in the yard, or in the cottage of a neighbor.

This is Ptr Lorenzo’s wife, Sister Abigail, teaching a Bible lesson to kids in the cottage of a church member that is near the church. This is the type of cottage that the church would eventually like to construct for themselves.

Here are other members of the San Jose Bulusan church that can help teach. Sister Carmela and Sister Cristy attended April 20th training along with Ptr Lorenz and received certificates given by Samaritan’s Purse, in preparation of teaching/discipling kids who will receive Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. They are still waiting for more teaching materials to arrive before the shoeboxes can be disbursed.

July 2022 Newsletter

Here’s the latest PAMI newsletter:

10 big boxes of books from ICLD received & distributed

Thank you to International Christian Literature Distributors of Minneapolis, MN ( www.icld.org ) for sending two batches of five balikbayan boxes each, totaling over a ton (2000 lbs) of Christian printed materials. This included study Bibles, reference/study/devotional books, kids books, teaching materials, and other media. Sister Ofel Mendizabal, director of PAMI’s Emmaus Bible Institute, has been distributing this literature to various pastors and Christian workers of PAMI and other missions/churches throughout Sorsogon Province from January – June 2022. Some books were given to EBI students, and some distributed to attendees of Province-wide workshops and seminars of partner organizations that are fairly often hosted at EBI.

The first five boxes arrived on January 9, 2002 and contents sorted into stacks for distribution:

EBI students were happy to each receive a couple items each:

Bags of books distributed to various pastors and ministry leaders:

The second batch of 5 boxes arrived March 27, 2022 and contents sorted into stacks:

Books distributed to attendees of March 30-31, 2022 God’s Appointed People seminar hosted at EBI:

Books distributed after Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child teacher training hosted at EBI in April 2022:

Books distributed after Faith Comes By Hearing Bicolano Proclaimer audio Bible training hosted at EBI in early June 2022:

After all these distributions, Sister Ofel still has 10 more bags of ICLD books yet to give away. All these materials provided and sent by ICLD are much appreciated. We send a big thank you to John Stacknik and the rest of ICLD’s volunteers, and all those who donated these wonderful resources.

For more pictures of ICLD book distribution, you can view previous blog posts:

Or see the following Distribution of ICLD Books pdf file listed in the following December 22, 2018 post:

2021 Summary and January 2022 Bulletin

Here’s a summary of 2021 PAMI highlights that was included in donor year-end statements:

Dear Friends:

Thank you for your gifts and prayers for PAMI in 2021.  John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son..."  God is a giver, and he wants us to be like him.  We give because God gave first.  Our giving is a way of saying thank you for all that we've been given by God.

Despite the continuing challenge of COVID, much was accomplished this last year.  172 people were baptized (about twice a typical year)!  The first graduation of the new Emmaus Bible Institute Modular extension program was conducted on December 20, with 21 students in 6 locations who completed 12 months of weekly classes.  EBI also continues its regular 4-year program, with 16 on-campus students.  Weekly on-line ukulele music lessons have been ongoing since April.  160 Compassion sponsored kids continue to be served with home-based visits by case workers/teachers.  Food distributions were conducted, along with some in-person feedings.  Several balikbayan boxes were sent with books, CDs, games, toys, school and office supplies, hygiene supplies, clothes, and laptops.  New chapels were constructed in San Jose Bulusan and Juag Island Matnog.  And we are soon ready to buy the property of the PenaFrancia Sorsogon and Candumaay Santa Isabel Matnog churches.  It’s through the partnership of dedicated Filipino workers and faithful supporters like you that all this is possible.

Here’s the latest PAMI publication that was also included with donor year-end statements:

December 2021 Newsletter

Here is the latest PAMI publication:

Update on Chapel/parsonage construction in San Jose, Bulusan

Since the previous blog post about this project, chapel walls were completed, a cement floor and stage area added, green plastic mesh placed over the windows, and drapes hung. As noted in the August 2021 PAMI Bulletin, chapel construction has progressed enough for it to be used since early August. So far construction efforts have concentrated on the main 5 meter x 7 meter chapel portion of the project, and the initial $3300 has already been used up. There are materials left over (some lumber and cement blocks) from the initial budget that are intended for the parsonage, but more are needed. They hope to add a modest (3 m wide) pastoral living quarters off the back side of the building. An updated lot transfer document was signed (see below), for adding 3 m x 8 m to the existing 8 m x 8 m lot, making the lot be 11 m x 8 m in all. The church people plan to eventually pay off the 33,600 pesos = $680 dollars for the lot themselves, over the course of time by installments. And the mission would like to provide another $1700 towards construction–$1500 towards pastoral living quarters and additional finishing, and $200 for a basic Sunday school cottage on the property next door (offered by the neighbor for free use). The members and people in the neighborhood are excited for this new place being established in their midst.

July and August Baptisms

As stated in the August 2021 PAMI Bulletin, there have been a lot of baptisms, including 50 in July. Even after the 136 baptisms mentioned in that bulletin, there have been 17 more in August, to bring the year-to-date total to 153! This post includes photos from these August and July baptisms.

On Saturday, August 21 a group baptism of 16 was conducted at a resort pool near EBI by PAMI Ptr Raf Dominguez and Ptr Vir Fulo. Sister Ofel Mendizabal of EBI explained that “8 candidates for baptisms were OFW (overseas foreign workers) from Manila living here in Sorsogon. They were the ones sis Judy handled in Agency. The other 6 were from a Bible study in Pangpang–the one I handled–and the other 2 are youths here in ECF..”

Another person was baptized in August in the ocean at Culusi, Matnog by PAMI Pastor Michael Hista. This was a young mom named Sis Elaiza, that decided to follow Jesus on August 2. At the same time, the church group there had a PAMI-ly bonding and fellowship.

On July 30, a group baptism was held of four from San Jose, Bulusan by PAMI Pastor Lorenzo Fugen.

On July 27, a group baptism was held near EBI of 14 young people from PAMI Bulabog Church. Since Bulabog Pastor Marlon is dealing with health issues (i.e. pain and weakness from gallstones), guest Pastor Lorenzo Fugen conducted the baptizing. After the baptisms, they also enjoyed some games.

On July 20, a group baptism of 16 was held in MonteCalvario Bulan by Pastor Nonie Polo and Ptr Vir Fulo.

On July 17, a group baptism of 11 from Bulan was held at the beach by Ptr Vir Fulo and Ptr Pio Guray.

On July 16, a group baptism of 4 from PAMI PenaFrancia Church was held near EBI, conducted by Ptr Rolly Catubig.

One more person was baptized in July in Castilla by Ptr Redgie. Another 7 were baptized from Castilla in April.

Aug 2021 PAMI Bulletin

Here is the latest PAMI publication:

Chapel/parsonage construction in San Jose, Bulusan

Also mentioned in the June 2021 PAMI newsletter, we’re looking for sponsors to cover $3300 of construction in San Jose, Bulusan. The PAMI board agreed to move forward with this project after local church people promised a financial counterpart and secured a written agreement letter concerning transfer of an 8 meter x 8 meter lot (64 sq m). The local church people proposed to supply P16,000 = $333 of already collected tithes and offerings towards construction, and to pay for half the lot (P19,200 = $400) by installments. We are thankful that the owners of the lot are only charging P19,200 for 32 sq m, which is a reasonable price of P600 per sq m (i.e. only $1.20 per square foot), and donating the other half. To speed up the process, the PAMI board decided to temporarily use PAMI reserve funds until designated funds get contributed. With an initial release of $1100 of PAMI reserve funds, lot clearing and work on the foundation/pillars commenced the first week of June 2021.

San Jose Bulansan Church Proposal of April 12, 2021 shows a cost of P120,000 = $2500 for a basic 5 m x 7 m church building. Then it was estimated that P35,000 = $730 more would be needed to increase the size to include parsonage quarters, electricity, and a comfort room.

Here are some pictures showing construction progress so far (as of July 23). Note that plans changed a bit from the floor plan shown in the June 2021 PAMI newsletter. Ptr Lorenz writes: “the carpenter suggested (which are also prayed by our church members) that it is much better to make the main church building to be fully concreted and the pastoral quarter which is the smaller one will be the half concrete. The reason for this is to make a stand against typhoons and storms when it comes, since that we are located in higher grounds which strong winds are usually struck during rainy and typhoon seasons here in the Philippines and to prevent more spending when it comes to repair. Its been 12 days construction only because there are many days that the construction workers must take rest due to fever they experienced for the last few weeks.” They are intending to add the cement flooring soon. And then to add an extension on the back side of the church (rather than the side of the church), for the pastoral quarters. Some of the loose lumber shown in the pictures are eventually meant for the pastoral quarters.

Below is the the written and signed lot agreement, photo of the lot owners (red and green shirts), the San Jose church members, and shots of the lot (in a flat open field, next to a road).

Here are some photos showing initial construction progress:

Here are some other pictures from Pastor Lorenz of Bible study every Tuesday in brgy. Sapngan and Sabang of Bulusan. So this shows that ministry is also ongoing in other parts of Bulusan than the San Jose barangay.

For recent background on Pastor Lorenzo Fugen’s ministry in San Jose, Bulusan, please see the following:

Bulusan church report for 2nd quarter 2021

April 25, 2021 Additional Lot Information

Bulusan church report for 1st quarter 2021

Bulusan church report for 1st quarter 2020

For older information on how the ministry in San Jose got started:

Here are some notes from early 2019

Here is a blurb from the U.S. PAMI board’s prayer list from Jan 2019: New outreach in San Jose, Bulusan (7-8 families that are relatives of Nida Rivera) started in November 2018 and headed by Ptr Lorenz, with other PAMI workers coming to help out too.  Already having intercessory prayer on Tuesday nights and having worship in a furniture shop on Sunday afternoons, but a member is offering part of their lot to put up a nipa chapel.  Nida is a former PAMI worker that referred us to there being interest in San Jose for establishing ministry there. Nida said “needs a thorough warfare because there is a witchcraft who inflict sickness in that area..”

Note that the nipa chapel mentioned above was just a temporary arrangement. Another place was then made available. But when the real owners (vs the tenants that were part of the church) had relatives that needed use of it during COVID, they went back to meeting in homes. Now we are constructing a more permanent place for church members to meet. This will also be the new place where Ptr Lorenz lives, so that we don’t have to keep paying $40 per month rent for a place in Sapngan Bulusan.

For further reference, here is a previous blog post about Ptr Lorenzo Fugen in Bulusan.