From the monthly archives:

April 2003

The Recent Funeral of Lucia Alcoriza

by Original Author on April 19, 2003

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter

The mother of one of our faithful members began attending Providence Church in Davao. She live in Samal Island located in Davao Bay. In order to attend she had to rise at four in the morning to catch a ferry across the bay. She told us last Sunday she was going to join our church next Sunday and requested to be baptized. In the first of the next week she suffered a stroke from high blood pressure and died on the way to the hospital. Her daughter our member wanted us to take part in the funeral. This was my third funeral by relatives of our church family and extremely sad. She was only 49 years old. They display the casket in the home with a glass top over the body. Her families were members of a local independent Catholic Church (not associated with the Roman Catholic). The time between the death and the burial is sometimes very lengthy because on the casket is an offering plate to receive donations to pay for the burial. They do not bury the body until sufficient money to cover the funeral is received.

Upon arriving at her home which was a small coconut farm. I estimate about 200 people were already at gathered. A large canvas was spread beside the house to allow the visitor to stay out of the weather. A large table of rice, various meats and vegetables were placed on the table spread under the canvas. Friends, neighbors and family brought abundance of food to share with the mourners who came. I first visited the room upstairs where the body of Lucia Alconriza was displayed her casket. The family was there to greet us. We sung a few songs and one of our members offered a fifteen-minute discourse to comfort the family. We were treated to a sumptuous meal.

I then wander through the crowd. There was a table set for card playing and I noticed they were playing poker. I was told this was the standard at a funeral and the winners always give a generous portion of his winnings to the expense of the funeral. The Catholics had a short service after our meeting and the casket was carried down the stairs. The father of the house then took a new plate and shattered it on the stairs. This was a local superstitious that this action would stop another family member from dieing in the coming year.

We then proceeded toward the funeral. There were five jeepneys filled with people, several buses, and dump truck with over a hundred souls and about 20 motorcycles with four to five people on each one. We first went to the church to hear a sermon given by a lady minister and all the family was given a flower to place in a vase behind the casket. After the service we went to the graveyard. I was asked to speak. I spoke for about twenty minutes. They all listen with interest. I do not know how much they understood of my English. But I could not have asked for a more reverent congregation. They concluded the gathering by songs sung by the entire crowd. Tears by the family and friends flowed freely as they placed there loved one in a concrete vault above the ground and sealed the tomb. We drove from the scene with a heavy heart for a loving and lonely father and five mourning children.

G.H.
Photos of the Funeral

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Baptism

by Original Author on April 19, 2003

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter

In the last few weeks we have baptized ten new members into Providence Church in Davao. Six young ladies, a medical technician, two ministers form Nabunturan and a Barangay Captain (mayor) of small village. These experiences have made us to rejoice. Friday, April 11, I had the joyous experience to baptize 12 ministers who have recently been converted from free will to free grace. Brother Tony Decena one of our new ministers in Surigao City had taught for several months the leading minister named Wendel Lampad of these men the doctrines of grace. He immediately shared his new found faith with his close associates. They called me and asked me to give a two-day seminar on the doctrine and practice of the Primitive Baptist. I returned April 11 to continue my instruction and twelve of them requested baptism. We went to a beautiful resort, which had a hot spring pool. We baptize all twelve in the warm water. It was a very solemn occasion knowing the response of their former religious order. After the baptism, they spontaneously began to sing five verses of Amazing Grace in the Visayan language. I did not promise any support of any nature and they did not ask. I went away rejoicing.

After the weekend, their former association acted swiftly to terminate any assistance or benefits they were receiving. Three of the twelve were in housing owned by the mission and they were told to vacate immediately. They also used every tool they possessed to reconvert their ministries and the churches. I expected the response and I would have probably done the same thing.

I am not interested in stealing sheep that are others. But if they believe our doctrine and our practice they are no longer others but ours. I drove up to these churches Monday to be an encouragement to these new converts. Five of these men who were the most shallow in the doctrines of grace were wavering on their commitment. They may not remain with us. The three who had lost their housing remained faithful. They said they could find housing for $20.00 a month. I did promise to provide this immediately. These are good men and I believe their motives are honorable. Please pray they will weather this storm. It is difficult for us from the west to grasp the quickness of the response of the eastern mind. If they are convinced of the truth of a matter, they respond immediately. I find this refreshing. These men are honorable and hungry to honor their Lord.

G.H.
Pictures of Baptism in Providence Church

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Samantha is Married

April 12, 2003

Originally posted by Betty Jo Harter April 5, 2003 at two-thirty o’clock in the afternoon Samantha Lynn Harter and Rommel Paul Samson were married. Venue: Tagum City, Davao del Norte, Philippines. Our Sam” is married. We first met Sam in the home of Nelda and Terry Kyle in Austin, Texas. The Kyle’s were foster parents […]

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Feeding the Hungry Children

April 10, 2003

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter Beauty for Ashes clinic finds the malnourished children in many places. Most often in mountain areas where poverty and scarcity abound. But in the poorer housing areas in the large city of Davao, many children go to bed hungry. Our young people in our church often gather for the […]

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Beauty for Ashes

April 7, 2003

Originally posted by Betty Jo Harter We understand more and more that man alone lacks the wisdom to tackle monumental problems like widespread malnutrition and disease. Yet, for the believer this does not have to lead to apathy or despair. We want with all our hearts to serve the Lord in tangible ways by ministering […]

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Beauty for Ashes by Chris Fulmer

April 7, 2003

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter Brother Chris Fulmer has been good benefit to my efforts is serving our churches, as well a good assistant to Betty Jo in Beauty for Ashes. He has regularly sent emails back home to his friends in America. He allowed me to read a few pages in a general […]

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