From the monthly archives:

December 2000

Encouraging Letters

by Original Author on December 15, 2000

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter
We have received many encouraging letters since making our decision to go the Philippines. From time to time I will share them on the White Unto Harvest website. The letter below is from my second daughter Becky Hagler. It was given to us as we boarded the plane for Manila.

Tuesday, September 26, 2000
6:50 a.m.

Dad and Mom,

I didn’t think you would really go, but you are. I’m trying to be strong because you feel that it’s the right thing to do and I’m trying to be strong to protect my heart from the pain. Sometimes my way of holding it all together seems like unconcern and cold for those around me but please know that I need you more than ever and love and appreciate all that you have done for me. I want this stay to be a positive experience for you and all of us. Because the balance of our lives has been shifted, it requires faith on our part and yours to know that God is in control. I have to keep reminding myself of the verse that says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your faith is weak”.

When my life doesn’t make sense, at times, and I know I have to continue on and keep the pressing toward a righteous life, I often ask why cant I give up? But the verse that keeps me going is Rev. 4:11. “Thou art worthy oh Lord to receive glory and honour and power. For thou has created all thing and for thy pleasure they were created thou art worthy oh Lord!” When life is hard, if we can focus on a God who is worthy of our praise and service and not look on what brings us pleasure but that we were created to bring him pleasure.

But Dad and Mom, I am not trying to admonish you with these verses, I’m actually trying to cheer my own heart, but I hope that these brief words will also be uplifting to you I have been through many trials and times of weakness in my life and God has always carried me thorough. I love the shepherd boy and the crying lamb that I gave Dad for his birthday. That is the story of my life, a loving God and a weak sheep that has gone astray. I will keep that statue safe, Dad until you come back. I respect and admire your love for the gospel and the drive that you have to share it. Not hiding your light under a bushed is an understatement for you. Dad, this is the most beautiful verse describing the desire of a minister and the power of the gospel.

Isaiah 61: 1-3 Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captures, and the opening of the prison to them are bound;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Dad and Mom, go fulfill this verse!

I love you so much I’ll miss you and pray for you

Becky

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Trip To Panay Island and Iloilo City

by Original Author on December 13, 2000

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter
Trip to Panay Island and Iloilo City

At the invitation of Elder Constancio Tejada I was requested to take part in a ministers conference with a group of interested pastors, mainly missionary Baptist, on the island of Panay in the city of Iloilo. Elders Manolo Dalman, Junio Tabunyag, Constancio Tejada, and myself attended the conference from November 28 through December 1. We concentrated our work in two areas, a missionary Baptist Church served by Brother Jerry Navarro, the son in-law of Elder Tejada and a group of interested ministers living in the city of Iloilo. Brother Navarro has been for sometime a believer in our doctrine and practice. He had done the ground work with the local ministry. He had already converted the church to the doctrines of grace and had the local ministry interested to hear our doctrine. The congregations at the church served by Brother Jerry received our messages with warm acceptance and in my opinion will come to the Primitive Baptist. While there the Lord blessed us to baptized a large gathering of believers as well as five Ministers. From my discussion with them I believe there will be of great benefit to the cause of Christ.

In our meetings we would give a presentation of our doctrine and after each session we would have an open discussion and answer questions. Often more was accomplished in the question and answers than in the presentations. Just to illustrate this method, Elder Tejada explained the doctrine of limited atonement. In his argument he wrote on the black board three possible positions available on the atonement of Christ:
1. Christ died for all the sins of all men.
2. Christ died for some of the sins of all men.
3. Christ died for all the sins of some men.

During the question and answer session following Brother Tejada’s presentation, Pastor Enrique Benia, who was called Ike, a missionary Baptist Minister passionately presented the doctrine of universal redemption. He quoted John 1:23, John 3:16 and 1st John 2:2. After giving an exposition of the scriptures used and their relation to the redemption of Christ. I pointed to the black board and asked him which of the positions did he take regarding the death of Christ. Brother Ike stated his belief in position number one. I reasoned that if he took that, then he must be a universalist, for if Christ died for all the sins of all men then there was no sin to condemn any men. Brother Ike then argued that he was not a universalist because if you did not believe in Christ you would be sent to hell. Therefore I reasoned that he must be taking position number two he was stating that unbelief was a sin that Christ did not atone for. I then reasoned the consistency of position number three. Whom ever Christ died for, he satisfied their sin debt. Christ was the complete substitute for those for whom he die. After much frustration Brother Ike realized his position was undefendable. He smiled at me and gave me the thumbs up sign. He was the first man baptized on the island of Panay. What a joy to serve our Lord among these receptive people.

While visiting the church served by Brother Navarro, I stayed in a small home across the street from the church. Several ministers stayed with me and were kind to give me the only bed. A typhoon hit the island while we were there with winds in excess of 100-mph. We call them hurricanes in the states. In one way it was a welcome relief from continual heat. As I viewed my friends putting on coats and heavy clothing, I rejoiced that I was finally cool and comfortable. The fury of the storm passed over during the night and with the exception of the flooding, it did not hinder our attendance at the church. In driving from the church to Iloilo City, about two hours, some parts of the street were in knee-deep water. In the homes of the lower side of the road were in waist deep water. I seemed they would open the front door to let the water in and the back door to let the water out. It was just a way of life with them. No one seemed overly concern with the damaged.

On Saturday morning after several meetings in the home of Brother Leo Engbino, a pastor in Iloilo, we went to the ocean for an exciting baptismal service. You can see a picture of the waters edge after the baptism. After returning to the church served by Brother Navarro another minister arrived from the island of Negroes. He was sadden to have missed the conference and after listening to the new converted ministry he also wanted to be baptized. I did not have a change of clothes so I requested Elder Tejada to perform the service. We found a small stream swollen because of the flood and Elder Tejada located a side pool of water just right for the occasion.

Each of these pastors had some form of secular occupation with their ministerial labor. Brother Ike was a barber and had two shops with six men working for him. Brother Leo had his own business making ice cream on a stick and selling it all over the city. Another able minister name Ronnie Cabaobao worked as a coffee salesman. He had already pioneered the building of three congregations for other orders. I pray the Lord will bless him to build several Primitive Baptist Churches. They like Paul were willing to provide for their families as well as give themselves to the ministry of our Lord’s Kingdom.

The dialect use on this island was Ilongo which was different from those I found elsewhere. However Elder Tejada and Elder Tabanyag were fluent in this dialect. On of them most exciting about this trip was the effectiveness of our ministry in working with these new converts. All the men with me had been with us for 6 years. They are both stable and bless with zeal. They are willing to go thru open doors and spread the gospel anywhere our Lord grants an opportunity.

As we left this bright spot of evangelism, I flew to the island of Cebu to be with the Church at Lapu Lapu. Brother Junio took a boat to island of Negroes to visit a congregation at Silay. Elder Constancio remain with the church Brother Navarro served. Elder Manolo returned home to Iligan to his own congregation. This work at Iloilo has a great promise and I beg for your prayers for these new converts and for the church considering coming to our people.
Photos of my trip to Panay Island and Iloilo

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My trip To Cagayan De Oro And Iligan City

December 9, 2000

Originally posted by Elder Gus HarterTrip to Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City On Tuesday the 14th of November, three ministers’ Elders Junio Tabanyag, Rolly de Guzman and Levi Sebuala left Davao City with me for a two-day conference in the City of Cagayan de Oro. Cagayan is a progressive City of about 500,000 inhabitants. […]

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