From the monthly archives:

March 2007

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter

In the initial work in the Philippines most of our converts came from Calvinistic and Sovereign Grace Baptist. However that has changed. Most of our members now are coming from Charismatic, Catholics or plain old heathens (not church attendees). The charismatic groups have developed hundreds of congregations in the Philippines. They have an excellent love for the Lord and his word. However most of them are shallow in doctrine and biblical practice. At the invitation of their churches I have had the privileged of presenting the doctrines of grace to a dozen of these congregations. With most of these groups it is an immediate love affair with our doctrine. This visit to Providence Church in Molave is an example of this movement.

Three years ago this month I had the privilege of baptizing 10 members from a loosely formed charismatic group with their pastor Rolly Nemeño. They seem to have a genuine excitement about the truth of grace as well as a good understanding of our doctrine and practice. In three years they have formed and constituted five other congregations into churches and developed several outreaches. One of the churches was formed from Subanon Tribal group in the mountains about 40 kilometers from Molave. The name they call this church, because it is located on top of a mountain is Seven Kilometers from Heaven. While visiting this congregation the love and warm, was so obvious that I told them they were a lot closer than seven kilometers from heaven.

Their love for the simple practice of the Primitive Baptist and what they call the SWEET doctrines of grace is both inspiring and contagious. They invited me to be with them this year for their annual meeting. They particularly wanted instruction in how to have a feet washing service. I took charge of both the communion and feet washing on Sunday afternoon. There were 60 members in attendance. The service was well prepared ahead of time. The wine was put in the individual cups. The bread was unleavened and properly baked and ready. The pans for water were distributed under the chairs and benches and individual towels with each pan. This ancient Biblical practice was reverently observed and many freely shedding tears of joy. The partaking of communion and feet washing are my favorite service. The Lord’s blessings were abundantly showered upon this meeting.

There was with us a minister named Mario Langomez observing both the preaching as well as the communion meeting. He requested me to visit his church and preach for them on Monday morning. I agreed to go. That morning I spoke on five phases of salvation. The church members immediately responded favorably to the message of grace. I thanked the pastor for allowing me to speak to the church he pastored. He then informed me that I had done him good service for he had a great desire to unite with the Primitive Baptist, but was concerned with the response of his church. Seeing how they loved the doctrine he requested for he and his family to be baptized before I left for Davao. We then drove to a swimming pool and Elder Nemeño baptized Brother Mario, his wife and his three children.

Brother Mario not only serves the congregation we visited, he has started a work in downtown Molave. The trip was short only three days but the ride home was filled with satisfaction over the response of these good people.

Your Servant in Christ
Gus Harter

Photos Trip to Molave, Zamboanga (02242007)

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Update of the Work

by Original Author on March 1, 2007

Originally posted by Elder Gus Harter

Our expenses in the past few months have exceeded any period since I have been in the Philippines. We are in the process of building two cottages for the children’s home, a clinic for hurting and hungry children, 127 meters of concrete fence and doubling the size of our church structure. We also have hosted a three day minister’s conference with 130 in attendance and aiding many of our churches in the construction of their building. Thank you for your assistance. It was welcomed, appreciated, and needed. As you have generously given we covet your prayers. The Lord is mercifully and gracious.

The best recent news is the success of my wife’s surgery. In the past she had undergone three surgeries on her back. But in the last year she has been in extreme pain and unable to walk. With home schooling our fourteen children, running the clinic for malnourished children, administrator of the children’s home and attempting to be a mother and wife, she knew she had to eliminate the pain to survive. The surgery was nine and half hours, cutting the back portion of five vertebrae and putting in two rods to stabilize the bone structure. The day after surgery she was able to stand, sit and walk without pain. The recuperation will be long and tedious but we feel we have turned the corner on this nightmare. We know many have been praying for her. We are in your debt. Thank you! Thank you! Our Lord answers our prayers “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”.

We are excited about the new building going up and our abilities to help children. In the two cottages, each will comfortably hold sixteen children, a house mother or couple to care for the children. There is also expandable room in an attic space for more children if needed. The clinic for malnourished children which Bea will supervise will far exceed the facilities which we formerly rented. The nurses will have a sleeping accommodation upstairs in an attic room. We have also adapted ways of helping some of the lesser malnourished children without taking them in as patients and treating them in their home. We are thankful to our God for opening doors of service. Since we increased the size of our church building it doubles the capacity of attendees. It also enables us to meet during stormy weather without getting soaked. It rains almost every evening which in our former structure we had eliminated night meetings. In order to eliminate theft and unwanted visitors we have had to put up new fencing across the front of our property and hire a 24 hours guard service. It is one of the necessities of a third world country. It is our plan to build our home in this compound so that Betty Jo can more easily administer Beauty for Ashes and I can better serve the church family.

In the midst of all the activity at home we welcomed the visitation of Elder Gene Thomas and Darrel Chambers from Alabama. The compassion, concern, and able ministry by Brother Darrel was instantly and warmly received by our Filipino Churches. Brother Gene who is an excellent teacher, preached with both clarity and authority. They spoke two and three times a day and traveling each day to a different island and different churches in each island. I wanted them to receive a good view of our work and to understand both difficulties and progress of the churches. We concluded their visit with a three day ministers meeting. We had ninety ministers attending and forty wives. The Lord blessed us with his presence. We distributed eight different books to each minister and several CD’s with singing and preaching. In spite of being 78, Brother Gene spoke each time with both an appropriate subject and with power. This meeting concluded on Thursday. I returned home to Davao City to be with my wife for her surgery on Saturday. Our visitors went to Manila with one more service, then boarded the plane for U.S. on Friday morning. Although it was a strenuous ten days, the result was very encouraging to our people. I am very thankful for the sacrifice of these good men. May their tribe increase.

With as many congregations as we have in the Philippines, we have some who are progressing, others are holding their own and while others are declining. I desire to help all of them but spend the greater portion of my time with those that manifest zeal and growth. It excites me to see the fresh love of a minister who has first understood the free grace of God. They desire for all to see these encouraging truths. They spread the gospel of sovereign mercy as a fire spreads through dry grass. This scriptural evangelism is the force that has kept me from returning back to America. Please pray for us. Pray that the Lord will continue to give his providential care. Pray for my family and especially my good wife. Pray for our churches that they will continue faithful to our Lord. Pray for our many children that we can help them not just physically but that they be receptive to spiritual things. Most of our children in the children’s home over seven years of age have been baptized.

It is my hope to return to America for at least two months in the spring. Although I have been home often my wife and family have not been back for almost seven years. There is no place like America and my family has missed being there. It would also help make my six adopted Filipinos to become American citizens. In years to come I want them to have the opportunity to chose to live in America if they so desire.

In conclusion I will include a picture of my three oldest children by adoption. Bea who has graduated from nursing college has in the past month gone to Guam and passed hers American Nursing Board. She is now a qualified registered nurse in the United States. Bea desires to remain with us in the Philippines for a season to help establish and manage the Beauty for Ashes clinic. Hope is now is her first year of medical school and doing extremely well. She is only 19. Laura is in her first year of college and is making good grades. Forgive me, but I am proud of these little girls and their accomplishments.

Thank you again for help.

G.H.

P.S.
For those that desire to talk with us we have some good news. Thru high technology we have an Atlanta, Georgia telephone that we can answer in our home in the Philippines. However, please consider the time difference. The Philippines is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. When it is 7:00 P.M. in Atlanta, it is 8:00 A.M. in the Philippines. Just dial 404-474-3288. it is amazing how our world is shrinking. We have a new high speed DSL internet connection. Our new email address: gbharter@pldtdsl.net. My cell phone number is 011-63-9209282503. It is always good to hear from home. Our web site is still the same: www.whiteuntoharvest.org.Photos Update of the Work (2006)

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