From the monthly archives:

June 2001

Visiting Churches in a Muslim Stronghold

by Original Author on June 25, 2001

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter

Zamboanga City is located at the far western tip of a narrow peninsular on the coast of Mindanao. We have had a congregation of believers in that city since 1994. Our American ministry has only visited there on one occasion because it is surrounded by Muslim stronghold. However in last few months new interest in doctrine of grace has greatly increased and several ministers from that city have requested me to visit them. After the ministry assured me that it was safe in the city, I set June 14 to 17 to hold a conference inviting visiting ministers and our congregations. As the time drew near Muslim terrorist kidnap several people including two missionaries from a beach resort. They were known to have gone to Basilan, a small island thirty minutes boat ride from Zamboanga City. The government sent troops to Basilan. There is both an army base and marine base in Zamboanga. Several battles were fought and the government troops had the terrorist surrounded. But using the hostages as shields, the terrorists escape and melted into the surrounding population.

I boarded a plane and soon landed in Zamboanga. I was met at the airport by over twenty people. They placed around my neck 20 necklaces of orchids that were beautiful. I did not desire to be unappreciative of the gifts but I thought if it was not obvious to all that I was an American visitor; I certainly was after all the decoration. In order to make to make me feel safer they had an armed guard escort us to the hotel. The hotel was a walled compound with adequate accommodations and a good meeting hall.

On Thursday night and all day Friday we had an excellent conference with in excess of eighty people in attendance. There were several visiting ministers but most of the attendees were from four congregations of people committed already to our churches. On Saturday morning we went to the ocean to have a baptism. We baptized first a fine minister named Genorlito Tanduyan, who from a logging accident was paralyzed from waist down. In joining us he had to give up his congregation and church building, but he gladly came with seven of his members joining as well. His brother in law Roberto Santiago who is also a minister had joined at meeting in Iligan City, had his entire church of twenty members unite with us. We baptized seventeen people on that Saturday and were going to baptize the remainder on Sunday. But a typhoon was blowing off the coast and the waves were too high to enter the surf safely. Across from the spot of baptizing, you could see the island of Basilan, the home of many of the Muslim Rebels. At the conclusion of the article you can see a picture taken after the baptism of this island.

We now have four ministers, Elder Bert Tejada, Pastor Roberto Santiago, Genorlito Tanduyan, and Abel Maghuyop who all have congregations in Zamboanga. Please pray for these brethren.

Your Servant in Christ,
Gus Harter
Photos: Trip to Zamboanga City

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Trip to General Santos City

by Original Author on June 20, 2001

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter

Over a year ago a kind and gentle minister with another order of people visited with one of our churches in the Davao area because of his love for the doctrines of grace. His name is Marino Oliveros. There were a group of ministers at the church from the States including Elder H. D. Fulmer. Brother Fulmer showed a special interest in this young minister and baptized him before he left for home. I am thankful to say Brother Fulmer has continued to encourage him through correspondence. I have visited with him several times at his congregation called Shekinah Primitive Baptist Fellowship. On June 8 and 9, I scheduled a two-day conference in General Santos and encouraged Brother Oliveros to invite both interested ministers as well as his congregation.

One of the things that made this trip most enjoyable was General Santos was close enough that I took my family with me. I also took Elder Rolly de Guzman and his family. My family including a young helper, numbered 20 people. We stayed at the hotel where we hosted the conference. All the employees at the hotel watched with interest as my wife and I came in with 18 children. We looked like the United Nations committee. The children enjoyed the meeting of all the new people and mixed freely with the visitors attending the conference. The wives of the ministers enjoyed meeting with Betty Jo and especially enjoyed holding John Mark and Lydia, our babies. I am thankful for a family that enjoys serving others and their such an encouragement to me. Just to spent the night divided in three motel rooms took a spirit of adventure, especially with three babies.

We met on Friday night and Saturday during the day. On both meetings we had a packed house. There were about thirty ministers present with various backgrounds and about twenty regular attendees from Shekinah Fellowship. Several of the ministers present were excited about our doctrine and wanted me to return to speak to their churches. I scheduled a time in July to go back and talk with these new churches. After both the Friday night meeting and the Saturday morning we had an excellent session of questions and answers. A couple of the ministers asked very thought provoking questions and the discussion became intense but never malicious. Please pray for their increase in interest in the kingdom of God.

The best result of the meeting was that seven new people united with Shekinah Fellowship. The entire congregation was excited and have great prospect of their future. Brother Oliveros is a good pastor and a benefit to our cause. Pray for him and his congregation that our gracious God will prosper this work.Photos: Trip to General Santos City

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My Journey of Faith

June 14, 2001

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter The following article was written by Arnel Gonzales who I recently baptized in Manila. His experience with two other ministers was a bit unique in that they had embraced the doctrine and practice of Primitive Baptist and were waiting and praying for an ordain minister to come and baptize […]

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Beauty for Ashes

June 12, 2001

Originally posted by Betty Jo Harter God bless those of you who share with us our vision for a home for the precious homeless Filipino children. One of my burdens for wanting to serve in the Philippines was to somehow provide food and shelter for the longing, weary, hungry, hopeless eyes I come in contact […]

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Update of the Work

June 11, 2001

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter I recently made a new directory of churches, fellowships and ministry in the Philippines. It has not yet been proofed by our ministry and I know I am missing several fellowships and ministers. But it records fifteen churches, which have been constituted; thirty-eight fellowships, which meet every Sunday, and […]

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Prayer Request

June 6, 2001

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter Providential Protection. In the past few days the Muslims have increased their activity and have kidnapped over 20 hostages even raiding a resort call the Pearl Farm where we have stayed with our children. These groups are ruthless and cruel and are kidnapping people to raise money to increase […]

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Prayer Request

June 4, 2001

Originally posted by Betty Jo HarterIn the past few weeks I have had difficulty with arthritis in my hands and shoulders causing, me to temporarily lose function. I visited a doctor here and after consultation with a rheumatologist and sophisticated antinuclear, antibody blood work, the test revealed a positive diagnosis of Lupus or SLE. As […]

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Visit to Iloilo (May 25 – 27, 2001)

June 1, 2001

Originally posted by Elder Gus HarterThe ministry in Iloilo saw a need to instruct their membership more clearly in the message of grace and in the simplicity of worship, they asked me to be with them for a three days meeting. We gathered the membership of six fellowships at Bacacay Church with over one hundred […]

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Trip to Manila (May 25-27, 2001 )

June 1, 2001

Originally posted by Elder Gus HarterFor several months I have been corresponding with three ministers in Manila, Manuel Briva, Arnel Gonzales and Ronaldo Lopez. Brother Briva had come from Land markers (a conservative Baptist group). Brother Arnel and Ronaldo came from different charismatic groups. Through personal study of scripture and contact with various groups of […]

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