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:
Here’s a summary of 2021 PAMI highlights that was included in donor year-end statements:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
As mentioned in the June 2021 PAMI newsletter, we’d like to purchase this seaside/roadside property in Candumaay, Santa Isabel, Matnog which includes 102 square meters of land, the red roofed church building, and green roofed parsonage for $15,000. This post is meant to give a little more background on this Candumaay property. We’re thankful for Living in Christ Church (a Filipino congregation in Brampton, Ontario) who pledged support for half of it, but we’re looking for other sponsors to cover the rest of it and to help with future property improvements. PAMI was allowed free use of this property for 5 years, but the owner (Sister Eva) now needs to sell it after her husband (Brother Obet) died from COVID-19 last year while working in the Middle East. Sister Eva lives in Manila and has two daughters in college. Without her husband’s overseas income, she is struggling to meet expenses of housing, tuition, getting a business started, etc. Out of a desire to reach/help under-served provincial village people, Bro Obet and Sis Eva bought this Candumaay lot in 2005, constructed a church building and living quarters on it, and eventually invited PAMI Ptr Gumer to do outreaches there after hearing him on the radio doing Christian broadcasting. After Ptr Gumer got occasional ministry started there, Ptr Michael and Michelle Hista moved there about four years ago to plant a church, and have been really active ever since, including outreach to kids, youth, parents, and policemen–at church, schools, and throughout the community–in two different parts of Matnog (Candumaay Sta Isabel and Culasi). Although Sis Eva’s financial situation is tighter without Bro Obet, she is offering us the property at a significant discount (it’s market value is probably over $20,000) since she wants us to keep doing ministry there. She also plans to continue to contribute to the ministry as she is able. As an example, she sent her husband’s keyboard to Candumaay several months ago for the church to have.
Here’s a video tour of the Candumaay Matnog property, filmed by PAMI Ptr Michael Hista in Nov. 2020. He lives in the green roofed parsonage with his wife Michelle and their toddler Zabdiel Psalm.
Note that Ptr Michael points out in the video that the property extends a ways past the back of the church, and that they pray the church building can eventually be extended to accommodate growing membership. Although PAMI has already made a few improvements the last couple years, we hesitate to invest too much into this property until we actually own it. It may take an extra couple thousand dollars to extend the church building. Ptr Michael also points out in their living quarters that they just have a cloth sheet separating their bedroom area from the rest of the room. They’d eventually like to install a regular wall for more privacy, but this is estimated to cost about $350.
Regarding this extra space behind the church and parsonage, it’s interesting to see in recent pictures how the church young people helped clear the land and put up a temporary bamboo framework covered by blue tarps. In turn, this was used to handle a couple large gatherings with enough social distancing, including celebrating the church’s fourth anniversary/group baptism on April 25 (see previous blog post), and a special Youth Gathering on July 3.
While the current priority is to raise funds to buy the Candumaay Matnog property, Ptr Michael Hista has mentioned other projects that could eventually use funds as well. Some of these relate to his other major branch of ministry that is 13 km (8 miles) across town in Culasi Matnog. For background on how the Culasi ministry got started, see the September 2019 PAMI newsletter. While Candumaay Sta Isabel is a seaside barangay north of downtown Matnog, Culasi is a remote seaside barangay south of downtown Matnog. Since it’s a rough, mountainous road between Candumaay and Culasi, it takes a toll on Hista’s tricycle (motorcycle with sidecar). The current motorcycle always seems to be breaking down and needing repairs. It probably makes sense to eventually buy a new, beefier motorcycle that can better handle the extra load of a sidecar and these rough roads. A new motorcycle might cost about $1600. The sidecar could then be switched to the new motorcycle, while the old one could still be used as a basic motorcycle for excursions when a sidecar is not needed.
Another long-term goal might be to eventually buy a lot and construct a church building in Culasi. Up until now, the Culasi church has been meeting in the home of Sister Joyce Manabat. And perhaps someday it might be nice if Culasi has its own pastor.
For more reference, here are the last few monthly reports from Ptr Michael and Sister Michelle Hista:
And to give an example of previous property improvements made in Candumaay Matnog, see Hista’s Matnog Ministry Report from June 2020, which shows new sliding windows, a refurbished church Comfort Room (outhouse), and a new sign board.
This is a follow-up to the last blog post on Evangelism in Matnog. Evangelism leads to home Bible studies and people accepting Jesus as their Savior and Lord, which then leads to baptisms. On April 25th, the PAMI church in Candumaay Matnog celebrated their 4th anniversary along with the baptism of 7 young people. Ptr Virgilio Fulo came to assist Ptr Michael Hista in conducting the baptisms. A temporary bamboo frame and blue tarp shelter was put up between the back of the church building and the beach, which allowed for a bigger crowd with more social distancing and fresh air. Eventually they hope to expand the church building into this area where the temporary shelter was constructed. But before investing in major property improvements like this, we hope to first buy this property within the next year (but that is the topic for a future post).
Youth helping to prepare the temporary shelter before the event:
This is a follow-up to the last blog post on the Bridge of Life and Evangelism taught by Sister Ofel Mendizabal as part of the EBI Extension classes conducted in different locations. Young people in Candumaay, Sta Isabel, Matnog really took these lessons to heart. Ptr Michael Hista mentioned in his March report how their devotions with young people concentrated on the topic of evangelism and special outreach efforts were done in the surrounding community. The following pictures show them sharing the Good News of the Gospel with shopkeepers, school teachers, patrons of a pool hall, families in homes, people on the street or beach, etc.