From the monthly archives:

August 2001

Ministry in the Philippines by Dave Bergman

by Original Author on August 22, 2001

Originally posted by Dave Bergman

Today is my 12th day in the Philippine Islands, and in four more days I will board a plane in Manila to make the long journey back to Atlanta.

At my arrival I was greeted at the Manila Airport by Elder Gus and Sister Betty Jo Harter who was carrying John Mark Harter, a precious six-month-old baby with boundless energy and enthusiasm. That evening all of us attended a service at the Manila Primitive Baptist Church where I spoke on “Creation of the Universe” and was followed by Elder Harter.

The next day we traveled to the Harter’s home in Davao City where I renewed my friendship with the thirteen children that moved from America, and where I met Angel, Ricky, John-john and baby Lydia. Most of the children were abandoned and horribly mistreated, both physically and emotionally. Even experienced Social Workers thought they were beyond the possibility of becoming healthy and happy. But in the Harter’s home, I see children who are responding to the love and discipline of a Christian home. Watching the older children care for the younger children has made a deep impression on me. All in all, the Harter’s home in Davao City functions much better than most so called “normal” household.

I also visited many of the new Primitive Baptist Churches in the Philippines. All are small by American standards. Same church buildings are made of concrete blocks and floors. A few have tiled floors, but many have dirt floors. Several time I had to clean my shoes when I returned “home” to the Harter’s residence. Service held in Filipino Primitive Baptist Churches are no different than those in America, except that sometime the singing is in the Cebuano language instead of English. On a couple of occasions, a sermon in English was interpreted by a pastor who knows both English and Cebuano.

Most of the children recently added to the Harter family came to them through the House of Joy. This is a small warm medical clinic that cares for malnourished children given up by the local government hospital. Through excellent care and the grace of God they have been able to serve all but a few of the 199 children recieved.

In spite of the proven success and great need for this ministry, an American church that sponsored this work decided to shut it down and has been removing the furniture. Local Filipino Doctors and the Chief Administrator of a large hospital in Davao were in tears when they heard this bad news. Then, God providentially arranged for Elder and Sister Harter to rent the same building starting October 1st. the four nurses who cared for the sick children have all agreed to stay at the House of Joy, and the local doctors will continue to provide medical treatments for the children. Please pray for this ministry and for the wisdom of its Directors.

I visited and walked over the property purchased for the ministry of Beauty for Ashes. I think the property is the perfect place to provide a home for abandoned children. It is located on a mountain ridge just outside Davao’s perimeter road as we drove through a small village near the property, I saw the local children assembled to play together.

On Saturday morning, I heard Elder Harter present the work of child care to the Christian Leaders of Davao, in the hope that Filipinos would help support this ministry to their own people. At this meeting, he was seated next to the Vice Mayor of Davao City, who said that the property where Beauty for Ashes will be located is a very safe area.

The main purpose of my trip to the Philippines was to observe the various ministries that are supported by generous people of Primitive Baptist Churches of America. I saw the evangelistic outreach and amazing progress in church growth and development—as well as many acts of mercy to needy children. I can verify that the prayers and financial support of the saints are needed, are deeply appreciated, and are blessed by our Lord and Saviour.Photo’s of Dave Bergman

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Thank you again for your love, prayers and help!

by Original Author on August 22, 2001

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter

Our Lord is gracious in His providential dealing with us. I can say with David, “The lines have fallen into me in pleasant places”. Our work continues to expand in both evangelism and opportunity of works of mercy. Our ministers in the Philippines are becoming increasingly stable with a good understanding of what is essential and what is non-essential. As our ministry back in the States, the doctrines of grace is an area of highest organization and best understood by our brethren. Thank you for your support. It is both needed and is also greatly appreciated. Thank you for your prayers. I have felt our Lord’s blessing upon this work because you have been faithful to intercede in our behalf. This is not just words but written to you with an overflowing heart of gratitude’s for your petition on our behalf. Your contribution in laboring with us has help to lighten our load,and made things possible that without it would not be done.

We had good visitation from the States with Elder Thomas and Elaine Bond with our good friends Clay and Robin Cunningham spending almost three weeks with us. We filled appointments from Manila to Davao and a host of places in between. I enjoyed my visit with a Baptist Church in Iriga City in Camarines Sur. The church is served by kind and zealous minister named Roseller Y. Orolfo. We also enjoyed being with the brethren in the Island of Panay, Negros, Bohol and with the church in Manila. We had sweet services with the church at Lapu-lapu. My wife and daughter Bea with our infant John Mark went with me to Bohol where I met with a group of thirty ministers for a seminar on the doctrine of Grace. I am thankful to report that many responded positively with good interest.

In the coming months we have much to look forward to. On August 25, on Saturday at 10:00 A.M. we will meet at Iloilo to consider the ordination of Leo Engbino, Ike Benia, Ronnie Cabaobao, Edmund Linatan, Hernani Osorio and Rogie Tasoy. In September we will constitute with their fellowships into churches. Please pray for these meetings. In November, Elder James Pruitt from Atlanta, Georgia and Elder Don Farris from Arkansas will have appointments in Manila, Iloilo and Davao area. For almost a month in October and November I will be traveling to United States. I am taking three ministers with me, Brother Rollie de Guzman, Ronnnie Cabaobao and Constancio Tejada. The choice of three men from among our many ministers was extremely difficult. I made my choice based on three things. (1) Their ability to communicate in English. (2) The content of subjects dealt with in my presence. (3) How they would be received by an American audience. I pray their reception in America will benefit all our people. One of my reasons for going home was to share with our people in the States the able ministry that is developing. Nothing can do that as well as hearing them proclaim with power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please beg our Lord to bless them with good liberty.

The House of Joy has been in the last year, a place that our Lord has blessed to save the lives of scores of children. They have taken children that the hospitals have given up to die because of extreme malnourishment. They have taken one hundred nineteen patients and thru antibiotics, nourishment, and loving care have returned most of them to their families in good health. For various reasons they have to close down. My wife and I have agreed to keep this same service open and try to secure funding for this work. We will do this under our existing license Beauty for Ashes. We will rent the same building and keep the same staff. There is no other service in the Davao area and it is desperately needed. The Chief of Staff of Davao Medical Center (a large government hospital) Doctor Jean Tay wept upon hearing it was closing, through tears she said, “Where will we send our children”. Please pray for this good work. Since this is a Filipino child we are saving, I will seek from the people of the Philippines to fund this program.

There seems to be no end to the doors of service that continues to open up to us. Please pray for us that we will use judgment and wisdom to respond with humility and compassion. I long to be used of our Lord to build His Kingdom. I also desire to respond with warmth and good works in order to glorify our heavenly Father.

Thank you again for your love, prayers and help in our Lord’s work in the Philippines.

Your Servant in Christ,
Gus Harter

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An Unusual and Enjoyable Meeting

August 4, 2001

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter From different sources, including letters written to the Baptist Bible Hour, I was informed there is a strong interest on the part of several Baptist ministers in the doctrines of Grace on the Southern part of the island of Luzon. I wrote to three different men stating my interest […]

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Beauty for Ashes/Home for Malnourished Children

August 3, 2001

Originally posted by Betty Jo Harter We now have an opportunity to serve in one of the most needed services in the Philippines. To restore the physical health of the children who are dying of malnutrition. I have mentioned so many times about how burdened I’ve been for the children in a home for malnourished […]

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New Updated Pictures of the Harter’s Children

August 3, 2001

Originally posted by Betty Jo HarterPlease view the updated photos of the babies, the older children and our license for Beauty for Ashes. Mama HarterPhotos of the Children

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