Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

Foreign Mission Stations

philmap2The PRC have two foreign missionaries working in the Philippines at present, with metro Manila as the base. Rev.Daniel Kleyn (assisted by his wife Sharon) and Rev. Daniel Holstege (assisted by his wife Leah) carry out the responsibilities for a number of labors with churches, pastors, and contacts throughout this country (See map to the left). Visit their website to learn more about these labors. You may also visit the Kleyn's blog to see a more personal side to the life and work in this foreign land.

In addition, the PRC help support the mission labors of the Covenant PRC (N.Ireland) in Limerick, Ireland, where Rev. Martyn McGeown serves as missionary. And, several of our congregations are involved with labors in India (Georgetown PRC) and in Myanmar (Hope PRC, Walker). Our sister church in Singapore (Covenant ERC) is also involved in mission labors in India, in Kolkata, through her missionary Rev. Emmanuel Singh.

Secretary for Foreign Mission Committee: 

Rev. James Laning: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PRC Missions in the Philippines (43)

Philippines missionaries

Missionaries Daniel (Sharon) Kleyn and Daniel (Leah) Holstege & family
Calling Church: Doon PRC, Doon, IA

Philippine Mission Resource website (audio and literature)

Missionary blogs:

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Limerick Reformed Fellowship, Republic of Ireland (Mission Field of the CPRCNI) (21)

Website

This is a mission field of the Covenant PRCNI, financially supported by the PRCA.

LimerickmeetingplaceMissionary: Rev. Martyn McGeown

38 Abbeyvale, Corbally,
Limerick, Ireland.

martynmcgeown@gmail.com

Mission:Limerick Reformed Fellowship

Worshiping at: Conradh na Gaeilge Hall 

Thomas St., Limerick City

Services: 11:00 a.m.; 5:30 p.m.

Coming lectures in the British Isles

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Myanmar Labors (Hope PRC, GR) (11)

This is a mission labor of Hope PRC, Grand Rapids, MI, with assistance from her Reformed Witness Committee and the Foreign Mission Committee of the PRC.

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India Missions (0)

The India mission labors involve the work of Georgetown PRC in Vellore with assistance from the Foreign Mission Committee of the PRC, and the work of Covenant ERC (Singapore) in Kolkata.

Map India 1

 

ESingh Nov 2015
Emmanuel Singh presenting in CERC on the Kolkata, India missions, 2016

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Philippines Mission Newsletter - October 2019

PRCA FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES
OCTOBER 2019 NEWSLETTER


Rev. D. Holstege (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Rev. D. Kleyn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Rev. R. Smit (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ in the Protestant Reformed Churches in America and our sister churches, warm greetings from us missionaries in the Philippines!

A New Theological School Begins

August 13, 2019 is now a significant date for the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines because that was the first day of classes at their theological school.

On the Sunday prior to August 13, special sermons were preached in the four Protestant Reformed Churches (PRCP) to direct the attention of God’s people to this momentous occasion in the life of their churches.

  • Rev. Vernon Ibe preached at the Berean PRC on “Men Entrusted with the Gospel” (II Tim. 2:1-6).
  • Rev. D. Kleyn preached at the PRC in Bulacan on “Abounding in the Lord’s Work” (I Cor. 15:58).
  • Rev. R. Smit preached at the Maranatha PRC on “Jesus’ Fishermen” (Mk. 1:14-20).
  • Rev. D. Holstege preached at the Provident PRC on “Training Men for the Ministry” (II Tim. 2:2).

We missionaries of the PRCA, with the approval of the PRCP Classis, are giving the instruction at the seminary at this time. Rev. Holstege is teaching Hermeneutics (The principles of interpreting Holy Scripture). Rev. Kleyn is in charge of Homiletics (The principles and practice of making a sermon). He is also teaching Ancient Church History. Rev. Smit is teaching Greek Grammar (for exegesis of the New Testament). He is also teaching the first locus of Reformed Dogmatics (Theology), rightly called the “queen of the sciences.” These courses aim to give the PRCP students a firm theological foundation in the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, which is life eternal.

There is one full-time student at the seminary for the 2019-2020 school year, Bro. Jeremiah Pascual (see picture). He and his wife are members of the PRC in Bulacan and are expecting their first child this November. Bro. Jethro Ace Flores served as a pastor for about eighteen years in another denomination. He attended some of the 7M classes of our missionaries in the past and became a member of Provident PRC with his wife and daughter just last July. His desire is to become a pastor in the PRCP and he is currently visiting a few classes at the seminary. Bro. Emmanuel Jasojaso is a school teacher who also plans to join Provident PRC with his wife and four little children. He too desires to become a pastor in the PRCP. With Bro. Jeremiah, he is studying Greek at seminary this year, with Classis’ approval. Besides these men, there are others who also plan, if the Lord wills, to begin studying at the seminary next year (2020-2021).

The classes are being taught this year in the sanctuary of Provident PRC in Marikina City, Metro Manila, a quiet and comfortable environment, which is conducive to teaching and learning. The classes meet in the mornings from Tuesday through Friday. For our devotions on the first day of class, we reflected together for a few moments on the mandate of the apostle to Timothy: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (II Tim. 2:2).

PRCP Seminary opening day Aug 2019
Sitting from left to right: Bro. Emmanuel Jasojaso, Bro. Jeremiah Pascual, and Bro. Jethro Ace Flores

Other Developments on the Mission Field

On Sunday, August 25, I made the monthly visit to a congregation in the town of Guiguinto in the province of Bulacan: Bearers of Light Community Church (Pastor: Ronil Domingo). Deacon Jun Armas from Provident PRC accompanied me. This small congregation used to be a Brethren church, like Provident PRC. But now they too are reforming. They are the object of the evangelism work of Provident PRC (which is still the main focus of my labors). The office bearers of PPRC have begun to join me on these visits to assist and to oversee the work being done.

Bearers of light church AdultSS 2019

• [No benediction yet]
• Doxology (“Praise God from
whom all blessings flow…”)
• Psalter (#1)
• Ten Commandments
• Psalter (#53)
• Congregational prayer
• Psalter (#325)
• Scripture reading (Psalm 96)
• Sermon (Psalm 96:1-2)
• Prayer
• Offering
• Psalter (#257)
• Doxology (Psalter #196)

On August 25, as on prior visits, I first taught the Heidelberg Catechism (LD 7) in what they call the “adult Sunday school.” Later in the morning, at their request, I led them for the first time in a Reformed worship service, following the order of worship you see above, which is the order followed in the PRCP churches. We gave them some Psalters from which they sang a new song to Jehovah! After lunch, I began teaching them the Church Order of the PRC (photo above). The plan is to teach them the Church Order on each monthly visit. Pastor Ronil and his little flock have received all our instruction with eagerness; but sadly, some of their members have left because of the Reformed faith.

philippines map 1

Let me now turn your attention to Southern Negros Occidental (SNO), where our missionaries have been instructing a group of pastors for many years now. On Sunday, September 15, Rev. and Sharon Kleyn spent the day with the congregations of two of the pastors who normally attend the monthly classes: the Reformed Free Church in Inayauan (Pastor Ezekias Rosal) and the Reformed Church in Sialay, near Sipalay (Pastor Eduardo Donasco). The plan is to expand our work in Negros from teaching pastors to also preaching in their congregations and guiding them to organize properly as Reformed churches. We are very excited about this development because the SNO pastors are very enthusiastic and committed brethren who are eager for us to develop their churches. On September 15, Rev. Kleyn preached Lord’s Day 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism in the “adult Sunday school” of the Reformed Free Church in Inayauan (pictured below; the one standing on the right is Pastor Rosal). Then he led their worship service, preaching on Deuteronomy 7:6-8 which speaks of divine election. There were about 100 in attendance. Later that afternoon, he gave a speech on “God’s Sovereignty in Salvation” to the Reformed Church in Sialay. In both locations, they worshiped God together using the Psalter.

Reformed Free Church Negros Sept 2019

Besides these developments, the four congregations of the PRCP in the area of Metro Manila continue to grow, sometimes through the crucible of fiery trials, sometimes through joys which earth cannot afford. We missionaries all preach and teach in these churches, give advice to their councils, committees, and Classis, and engage in other work. The great commission is being fulfilled! We count it a high privilege to participate in the spread of the gospel of gracious salvation through Christ. Pray for the believers who desire to become Reformed churches. Pray for the seminary that is training men for the ministry of the gospel. We thank God constantly for your support of the work here.

In Christ’s service,
Rev. Daniel Holstege

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Limerick Reformed Fellowship Newsletter - September 2019

Limerickmeetingplace

Limerick Reformed Fellowship

Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary
38 Abbeyvale, Corbally Co. Limerick, Ireland
http://www.limerickreformed.com/
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

Life on the mission field brings disappointments as well as joys. One young man (“Catholic seeking alternative”), whom I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, has returned to Roman Catholicism more convinced than ever that the Roman Church is the one true church. If you recall, he emailed me on August 17, 2018, and I met with him shortly thereafter. He seemed to be enthusiastic about the Reformed faith for a while, but, sadly, his enthusiasm did not last. On July 30 he messaged me that he needed “a break from the church.” When I questioned him (we corresponded electronically—young people seem to prefer that, although I requested a face-to-face meeting), he explained that he needed time to study in order to determine which is the “true church.” I asked him how he planned to do that, to which he responded that he was reading the Church Fathers. After a few days, during which time he still declined to meet with me, he declared, “Pastor, I have decided to return to the Catholic Church,” whereupon he texted a few of the members of the LRF to inform them.

My young friend, whose name I will not mention (those of you who have visited in the last year will undoubtedly have met him), claims that since the “table of contents” of the Bible is a “manmade tradition” and since the Church of Rome (supposedly) determined which books belong in the Bible, that church, built upon Peter, must have the truth. He also claims that the early Church Fathers taught the “real presence” of Christ in the sacrament, which we Reformed supposedly reject. Of course, no one could possibly master the Church Fathers in a few weeks, so he has taken a few quotes out of context to justify his actions. For one thing, we Reformed do believe in the “real pres-ence,” but we reject a real, physical, material presence of Christ’s body and blood. The Belgic Confession even speaks of “the proper and natural body and the proper blood of Christ” (Art. 35). Unfortunately, due to illness, family problems, and other issues, my friend missed most of my sermons on the sacraments (LD 26-30).

Sadly, my attempts to reason with my friend from the Scriptures have fallen on deaf ears. On September 8, supposedly the birthday of the Virgin Mary, my friend posted a video on Facebook with the comment, “Beautiful Mass and homily today.” The video was two hours long, but he provided the timestamp for the “homily,” which I watched: it was 9 minutes long; it was in honour (supposedly) of the “Blessed Virgin”; and it contained the line that sufferings are sent “to permit us to make reparations for our past sins.” That someone can be present for approximately fifty Reformed sermons and then return to the emptiness and superstition of Rome is unfathomable to me! (Of course, it happened before: in 2013 a longstanding member who had listened to years of Reformed sermons returned to the Roman Church; this young man was a lot less educated in the Reformed faith, although he had been given plenty of material to read).

In response to this young man’s departure I have been preaching texts related to the authority of Scripture, tradition, and the church: II Thessalonians 2:15; Matthew 18:16; Luke 10:16; John 21:15-19; and I Timothy 3:15. I am also considering a speech on the Canon of Scripture to answer the Roman canard that she (the Roman Church) determined the Canon and, therefore, she has supreme authority over the meaning of Scripture.

Another disappointment concerned a family from Brazil. The wife of the family emailed me in February to inform me of their plans to move from Portugal to Ireland, where the husband had a job offer to work in Limerick. They were excited, they said, to find a Reformed church because they had belonged to a Presbyterian Church in Brazil and were dissatisfied with the Baptist Church that they attended in Portugal. (Europeans are often disappointed: good churches or fellowships are few and far between). The LRF were excited to welcome them, a married couple with a twelve year old son—think of the possibilities for a small group such as ours—but they only attended our services for two weeks. On their second Sunday, they began asking questions about the Lord’s Supper: when do we have it and could they partake? On discovering that we do not have the Lord’s Supper on the mission field and that we would, if we had it, practice close communion, they informed me—again by email—that they would be looking for another church. The last that I heard they were attending a Baptist Church in Limerick. This is a very unpresbyterian reaction: in Presbyterian/Reformed churches the preaching of the gospel—not the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper—is the chief means of grace. If one has the former, then one should patiently wait upon the Lord by supporting a Reformed Fellowship until God is pleased to grant the latter. Instead, such people abandon solid, biblical, Re-formed preaching for weaker evangelical preaching so that they can have the Supper in a church that usually practices open communion to the detriment of their spiritual life and that of their children.

Despite those two setbacks the core group remains unified and enthusiastic about the Reformed Faith. I recently finished a series of twenty-six sermons (December 9, 2018 through August 25, 2019) on John 14-16, which is a very profound and fascinating portion of God’s Word. I also began my sixth time through the Heidelberg Catechism on September 1. Our Bible study continued through the summer (and when I was at Synod in June, Rev. Smidstra kindly led it for me): we have been studying Peter’s two epistles, and are about halfway through II Peter 2. Catechism for the children also recommenced in September, which is always enjoyable. I teach Sebastian, Penelope, and Jason (New Testament History for Beginners) on Wednesdays; and my nieces, Anna, Lily, and Hope, via Google hangout (New Testament History for Beginners, New Testament History for Juniors, and Old Testament History for Seniors) on Thursdays. In addition, I teach an Essentials of Reformed Doctrine class on Saturdays, and we usually, weather permitting, spend a few hours at our “witness table” on Saturday afternoons, displaying tracts, engaging passers-by in conversation, and offering literature. We compete with other groups: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Climate Change Activists, buskers, and public reciters of the rosary!

We have also enjoyed visitors: Rev. and Pat Koole and Peter and Dorothy VanDerSchaaf (January 2019); Rev. and Kelly Smidstra (June 2019); a group of young people (Andrew and Briana Prins [Trinity PRC], Faith Bleyenberg and Kara Lubbers [Byron Center PRC], Taylor Doezema [Faith PRC], Sara Langerak [Hope PRC], and Melissa VanBaren [First PRC] in June 2019); Rev. and Nancy Key (July 2019); and Timothy Spence (CPRC in August 2019).

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not, but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God” (II Cor. 4:1-2).

In Christian love,

Rev. Martyn and Larisa McGeown

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Philippines Mission Newsletter - July 2019

PRCA FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES
JULY 2019 NEWSLETTER

Rev. D. Holstege (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) – Rev. D. Kleyn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) – Rev. R. Smit (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
PO Box 1173 ACPO, Antipolo City, Rizal 1870, Philippines

DHolstege family 2019RSmit family 2019DKleyns 2019

Greetings from the Philippines to the members of our Protestant Reformed Churches and Sister Churches.

At the time of my writing this newsletter, my wife Sharon and I have been back in the Philippines from our extended furlough (5 ½ months) for just under two weeks. We were warmly welcomed home, first of all by a good dose of tropical heat and humidity. It may take us a while to get used to it again. One thing in our favor, at least, is that the cooler rainy season has now started. But more importantly, we were also warmly welcomed back by the Smits and Holsteges as well as by the saints in the churches here. It has been good to see everyone again. And it is good to be home again. We are thankful to be here and grateful for the opportunity we continue to have to serve the Lord and His church in this part of His kingdom.

The furlough began in January. Most striking to us, at first, was the cold of winter. After a few days of constant shivering, we realized we needed to put on more layers. Many more layers. In spite of the cold, we did enjoy winter again and were able to appreciate the beauty of that season.

The longer furlough also gave us plenty time to be with our families. We both appreciated this very much. We had ample time to reconnect with them all, including many nephews and nieces whom we hardly knew. A special aspect was the amount of time we could have with our parents – time we will always treasure. Other furlough activity included the following: preaching in many of our churches (15 of them), spending two Sundays in our calling church (Doon PRC), promoting the mission field through presentations in our Protestant Reformed schools, sorting through and shipping books we still had in storage, attending the annual Synod, etc. Through all these activities and more, we were impressed by the overwhelming show of support for the work in the Philippines. It was also good to hear of the excitement for the start of a seminary in the Philippines. All of this support is heartwarming and a great encouragement to us all.

Going into the furlough, my plan was to begin working on an advanced degree (a Masters in Theology). This is something which the FMC and Doon have encouraged us as missionaries to pursue, if at all possible. I was able to make a good beginning, but soon needed to switch gears. The change came about when the Classis of the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines made some decisions in February, 2019 that allowed for theological training in the PRCP to begin already in 2019. This meant that I needed to work instead on preparing the courses that I would be teaching in the PRCP’s seminary. That then became my focus during the remainder of the furlough. And the furlough was very helpful in that regard, not only because I was able to meet with and receive much helpful advice from our seminary professors, but also because I had more uninterrupted study time than I would on the mission field. I was also able to purchase the resources I will need for the classes I will be teaching as well as for the classes that the other missionaries plan to teach.

On behalf of my wife and myself, I take this opportunity to express our thanks to the churches for allowing us to take this furlough. We were able to accomplish many things during our time in the USA, and we were also rejuvenated for the work. Through the Lord’s blessing, the furlough served us very well. But now we are back in the Philippines. Time, therefore, to turn to some news from here.

While we were on furlough, Rev. Holstege and Rev. Smit were able to divide up the work in such a way that, for the most part, the work could continue as normal. This included providing pulpit supply in the PRCP churches, serving as advisors to consistories, standing committees and the Classis, continuing with the monthly visits to and lectures for the pastors in Southern Negros Occidental, hosting the annual delegation (Rev. J. Engelsma and Rev. N. Decker who came in February), teaching catechism classes, leading Bible studies, preaching and teaching among some of the newer groups/contacts, etc. Their workload did increase while I was gone, but the presence of three missionaries certainly helps a lot with furloughs, ensuring that ordinarily there are at least two of us here at any given time. That’s a good thing and very helpful as regards both the work and companionship.

I can also report concerning three significant developments in the churches here in the Philippines.

First of all, the PRCP now has a second sister church. As you know, a sister church relationship was established between the PRCP and PRCA in 2018. Now in 2019 a sister church relationship has been established between the PRCP and the CERCS (Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore). These denominations are close to each other geographically (a 3 ½ hour flight from Manila to Singapore), and even culturally (both are in southeast Asian countries). More significant, however, is their closeness to each other doctrinally. By means of correspondence and visits, both denominations became convinced of their unity in the truth and thus of the need to become sisters. We rejoice with them at this important development and hope and pray they may be of mutual help and encouragement to each other.

 ProvidentCC 2

Secondly, the PRCP now has a new member church. That new member is Provident Protestant Reformed Church (PPRC) in Marikina (picture above). Provident is a congregation of some 12 families. In addition to the families who are members, PPRC also has many regular attendees. The consistory consists of two elders and two deacons. This church has been a part of our labors since November, 2012. Through the work of Rev. Kleyn and then Rev. Holstege, the congregation has, over the years, become well established in the Reformed faith. For a good while, their desire had been to join the PRCP and this past February they eagerly applied for membership. The Contact Committee of the PRCP then met a number of times with the Consistory of PPRC, and as a fruit of these meetings, the CC recommended to Classis that PPRC be accepted into the churches. The Classis, at its June meeting, joyfully approved this recommendation. And so the churches have now grown from three to four. Those four are as follows: Berean PRC, PRC in Bulacan, Maranatha PRC, and Provident PRC. We thank the Lord for His blessing on the churches through the addition of this congregation. Christ does build His church. He continues to gather together the faithful remnant.

Thirdly, the PRCP plans soon to begin providing theological training for men who aspire to the gospel ministry. In fact, seminary instruction is set to begin on Tuesday, August 13. The Lord willing, we will have one student starting this year (2019), and perhaps three or more next year (2020). The students who hope to start next year are currently completing their pre-seminary requirements, which are very similar to the pre-seminary requirements in the PRCA.

As regards the instruction that will be given, the Classis of the PRCP has requested that we three PRCA missionaries provide that instruction for now. This does not mean, however, that we will be professors. For one thing, we have not been and will not be called and ordained as professors. But secondly, the seminary is being established by and belongs to the PRCP. As missionaries, we simply provide advice and assistance in this process. And the goal is that eventually the PRCP will be able to call its own men to be the professors. In the meantime, we missionaries will serve as the instructors.

The PRCP plans to provide instruction, for the most part, in the same subjects as are taught in the theological school of the PRCA. They also plan to incorporate a six-month internship in the training program. The total program will be 4 ½ years, mainly because Greek has been included as a seminary subject (not a pre-seminary subject). The courses we have each been asked to teach in the first year are as follows: Rev. Smit will teach Dogmatics and Greek Grammar, Rev. Kleyn will teach Church History/History of Dogma and Homiletics, and Rev. Holstege will teach Hermeneutics.

As we approach the start date, the work before us is daunting. But we are also excited about it and confident of the Lord’s guidance and blessing. We are thankful that the churches here will be able to train men for the gospel ministry, for that is indeed the need of the hour. And we covet your prayers for this significant and crucially important aspect of our labors here. May God be pleased to bless and prosper this work.

In Christian love,
Rev. Daniel Kleyn

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Limerick Reformed Fellowship Newsletter - March 2019

Limerick Reformed Fellowship

Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary
38 Abbeyvale, Corbally Co. Limerick, Ireland
http://www.limerickreformed.com/
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

Last week, as we were finishing our Tuesday evening Bible study, I received a phone call. Jimmy Hogan, a regular at our Bible study and at our Sunday evening services since 2013, had just passed away. He was 66 years old and had suffered for many years with ill health. Although the Bible study group was initially stunned and saddened, it was fitting, I thought, that the news came when about 10 of us were gathered together at one of Jimmy’s favourite events, the Bible study. Jimmy loved the Bible study: he began attending in October 2013 when we started studying the book of Revelation (he had a keen interest in eschatology and especially the rapture, although eventually he was weaned off “rapture theology”). He was present during our studies of Revelation, Hebrews, Daniel, Romans, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and part of First Peter. By God’s grace he learned more in our Bible study than he had ever learned in the rest of his Christian life.

JHogan Lim
Jimmy Hogan

On the last day that I saw him, speaking through a mask, he “thanked the LRF from the bottom of [his] heart for everything that [we] had done for [him]” and he “thanked the Lord for opening [his] eyes to the truth.” When Jimmy first came to the LRF, he believed in “whosoever,” as he put it. For years he struggled to reconcile “whosoever” and “election” especially when he compared John 3:16 with Romans 9. In fact, on one of his first visits to the LRF in April 2013 he gave me an anti-Calvinist book (A Calvinist’s Honest Doubts Resolved) to read, to which I wrote a response at the time on the LRF blog: “Dave Hunt’s Dishonest Rant Against Calvinism.” When I visited him in hospital, he had his Bible and a copy of my book, Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt, by his bedside. Only a few weeks ago, as we were reading I Peter 2 in our Bible study, Jimmy’s eyes lit up and he exclaimed, “Peter was a Calvinist!” Moments like that give us fond memories of Jimmy.

Jimmy’s death was quite sudden in the end. On Sunday February 17 he suffered a fall in which he broke his collarbone. Larisa and I visited him in hospital twice that week, where we heard him asking his doctor whether he was a Sunni or a Shiite Muslim! (Jimmy could speak to anyone about anything, even potentially embarrassing subjects). On the following Friday he was transferred to ICU where he died the next Tuesday. Larisa and I were able to visit him on the Saturday before he died. Jimmy’s hospitalization was announced in the LRF bulletin, but we did not expect him to die so quickly. Nevertheless, it pleased the Lord to take him shortly thereafter.

Because Jimmy was never a member of the LRF, although he had been connected to us from 2013, I took no part in his funeral arrangements. His wife is a member of a different Christian fellowship in Limerick and their elders conducted the service. A good number from the LRF attended his funeral.

Jimmy’s death has left a void in the LRF: Jimmy was a character, and a humble, gentle soul, as anyone who has visited the LRF will be able to testify. We will certainly miss him.

The work on the mission field continues. The young man I mentioned in the last newsletter is now a regular attendee at our worship services and Bible studies and is growing in the knowledge of the truth. His great desire and prayer to God is to see his family come to saving faith. On December 9 I began a series on “Jesus’ Farewell to His Disciples in the Upper Room” on John 14-16, the “Upper Room Discourse” of Jesus, which is a very profound and beautiful section of God’s Word. After nine sermons in John 14 we began chapter 15 yesterday with “The True Vine and Its Branches” (John 15:1-3). In Heidelberg Catechism preaching we have reached the section on the Ten Commandments. Yesterday I preached on the Third Commandment (LD 36).

Some months ago Larisa and I encountered a curious procession in Limerick city centre: a parade commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (626-680 AD), who was the grandson of Mohammed. A company of Muslims with a police escort travelled along one of Limerick’s main thoroughfares while a man, presumably an Islamic cleric, intoned through a microphone that “Imam Husayn is the continuation of Moses, the prophets, and Jesus: if you follow Jesus you should follow Imam Husayn.” This happened on the busiest day of the week, Saturday afternoon, when the city is usually abuzz with shoppers. It made me wonder where Ireland is heading when Muslims can freely organize a public procession of this nature. I heard several people around me muttering under their breath: “It feels as if I have just walked into the Middle East!”

The Limerick Reformed Fellowship also has a city centre presence, albeit not with a police escort or loudspeakers. Instead, we have purchased a table, a couple of chairs, a sign, and some pamphlet racks. Several of us stand at the table in order to advertise our presence: we do not preach or make any noise. We arrange literature on our table, mostly tracts that I have written, such as “In Debt to God,” “What About Mary?” “Islam and Christianity,” “What About My Good Works?” “I Am A Good Person!” “Justification by Faith Alone,” and “Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Name of God,” and offer it to passers-by or seek to speak to people about Christianity. Because the weather has been very poor, we have only managed to do this a few times (December 31; January 5; and February 23),
but we see it as a good way to make our presence better known (free advertising, if you will), and we have had a few interesting chats with people. “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (I Cor. 3:7).

Lim city center table 2019

City-center table

We thank you for your prayers, kind wishes, cards, emails, and other messages, especially over the Christmas season. Larisa especially enjoyed the Christmas cards and pictures: it is humbling and encouraging that many saints think of us and pray for us. Some people experienced problems with our address because of an error in the recent PRC directory. Please update your address books with 38 Abbey Vale, Corbally, Co. Limerick, Ireland, V94 K7ER.

Pray for us, as we do for you,
In Christian love,
Rev. Martyn and Larisa McGeown

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Philippines Mission Newsletter - January 2019

PROTESTANT REFORMED FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES
JANUARY 2019 NEWSLETTER

3 missionaries Oct 2017

Rev. Daniel Kleyn, Rev. Richard J. Smit, Rev. Daniel Holstege

Dear Congregations of the PRCA,

With the Kleyns on furlough for a few months, the Holsteges have taken on mailbox duty. This involves a weekly trip into town through exciting traffic, and then finding a parking spot at the busy mall where the post office is located. Out of the very dusty room and seeming confusion of mailbags and boxes, somehow the clerks usually hand the Holsteges some mail. Recently, the Holsteges dropped off a bag of mail from The Standard Bearer and Beacon Lights for distribution in the area churches and mission contacts, and a bundle of personal mail from many families throughout the churches. Mr. and Mrs. Mark Van Voorthhuysen visited last month and also brought a significant amount of encouraging letters and family photos from our Hope congregation in Redlands.

The congregation of Peace PRC also collected and sent a package of letters to our missionary families. My wife and I and children have enjoyed reading through the mail and looking at all of the pictures of our fellow saints, some familiar and some new to us. We appreciate your thoughtfulness in this gesture, your expressions of encouragement in the many letters, and your continued prayers for our families here in Antipolo and the families and churches of the PRCP.

In return, here is some news from the last few months.

Family Life

My family had an enjoyable three-week break in December and into early January. This gave us time to visit with our oldest three children (John, Rebekah, and Jay) and Grandma Dykstra who visited from Hudsonville. We scheduled some outings together, including a historical tour of Corregidor Island in the mouth of Manila Bay. This is one of many WWII sites of historical interest that are scattered throughout the region. It’s one of our favorites.

Our children returned back to school for their second semester on January 8, and the semester is scheduled to end on May 31. Irene, our senior, will be graduating from Faith Academy this year.

We attend church at the Berean PRC, Marantha PRC, PRC in Bulacan (Muzon), and Provident Christian Church (Reformed) usually depending on where I am scheduled to provide pulpit supply. From January to June, our schedule has us in Maranatha PRC twice a month, in Berean PRC once a month, and Provident CC (Reformed) once a month. We are thankful for the communion of the saints with the PRCP brethren of like precious faith, and the opportunity to worship Jehovah with them from Lord’s Day to Lord’s Day.

Our middle school boys, Seth and Carl, are looking forward to their “Outdoor Education” week at school. Their classes with chaperones, teachers, and support staff will be visiting the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island from Monday to Friday, February 11 to 14. The main part of this trip is to learn some history (Filipino and World War II), geography (hiking), biology (releasing baby turtles), campfire cooking, hammock camping, some skill training in jungle survival, as well as interact with some Filipino schools in that area. We expect the boys to return home thoroughly exhausted, but smiling.

The children are also planning for their March break which is scheduled for March 18-25. I plan to take some of the older ones with me when I travel to Sipalay, Negros Occidental, in March for the pastors’ classes in Sipalay. By coming along, the children learn firsthand what I and Rev. Kleyn are doing down south, and they also get to meet the pastors and elders there. On average over the last several years, attendance at the pastors’ classes continues at 12 men per month.

PRCP Theological School

On October 31, 2018, the Classis of the PRCP approved the recommendation of the PRCP-Theologial School Committee (Rev. Ibe, Elder Lito Trias, and Bro. Sonny Umali) that seminary instruction begin in August 2019 if potential students have finished their entrance requirements. If none are ready by August 2019, then it is expected that instruction will begin in August 2020. The missionaries were approved to function as a subcommittee that reports to Committee 1 of the PRCP Classis and assists the Committee 1 with advice and help in the planning and implementation of the program.

As regards planning, our professors and staff from our PRCA Theological School in Grandville, MI, have provided much encouragement, help, guidance, and even course material (i.e., syllabi, video lectures of interim and semester courses) that they have developed over the past 5 years in anticipation of its possible use here by our missionaries.

At the next meeting of the PRCP Classis on Feb. 25, the Classis will treat some recommendations concerning an official constitution for the School, a list of semester and interim courses for our seminary program, instructors for that coursework (the PRCA missionaries in the short-term), and a location for the school.

We can report that several prospective students are currently finishing their seminary entrance requirements. It is encouraging to know that there are several men who aspire to the ministry of the Word in the PRCP. Pray for us that this work of the PRCP-Theological School may prosper with the Lord’s indispensable blessing and guidance.

PRCP Tagalog Translations

Committee 2 of the PRCP (Missions, Contact with Other Churches, Translations) has been busy in the work of translation of the confessions, particularly the Heidelberg Catechism. After many months of labor, the Translations Committee has produced a proposed translation of the HC in Tagalog. Copies of the translation were distributed to the consistories of the PRCP in October so that the men have had several months to check the translation. This proposed draft has been submitted to the Classis for its consideration and approval at the February 25, 2019, meeting.

The Classis approved that once the HC translation is completed, that the Translations Committee move next to the translation work of the PRC Liturgical Forms (Baptism, Confession of Faith, Lord’s Supper, Ordination Forms, etc.). There are 13 forms in total that need to be translated yet. Once that work is completed, then the TC will return to the translation work of the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dordt. As you can see, the TC has a large amount of work ahead. Working on this committee are Revs. L. Trinidad and J. Flores, and Elder E. Mescallado with Revs. Holstege and Kleyn as advisors.

PRCP Missions

The Protestant Reformed Church in Bulacan continues to oversee the mission work in Albuera, Leyte. They continue to send monthly delegations to the Protestant Reformed Fellowship for preaching, instruction, various visits, and benevolence work. On occasion, Revs. Kleyn and Holstege have accompanied the delegations, which has been very beneficial for their understanding of this work.

The Classis of the PRCP decided at its meeting on October 31, 2018, that the consistory of Bulacan may ask for one of the pastors of the PRCP, pending approval of their consistory for such a release, to labor in Albuera for an extended period of about 3 months. In the absence of a full-time missionary, this is what the consistory would like to do in order to meet the needs of the PRFA. Of course, this situation is a concrete example of the need for more ordained ministers in the PRCP, and lends urgency to the work of the Theological School.

PRCP Contact with Other Churches

Commitee 2 has also been busy in official contact with the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore. Having completed the steps towards full fellowship with the PRCA as ecclesiastical sisters, the CC of the PRCP turned its attention to work with the CERCS on steps toward full sisterhood.

From December 14 to 18, a delegation from the CERCS visited with the PRCP. On Sunday, December 16, there was a public meeting in the afternoon at the Berean PRC’s church building in which representatives of both churches gave introductions of their respective histories. The next day on December 17, the CERCS delegation then met privately with the CC-PRCP. We are thankful for the visit of Elder Leong Fai Chong and Elder Lee Meng Hsien. We are thankful for the willingness of CERCS to extend the right hand of fellowship to the PRCP in this way and to work together towards the expression of full ecclesiastical fellowship in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Synod of Dordt Lectures

On December 28, we participated in a small, one-day conference in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dortrecht (1618-1619). Revs. Ibe, Holstege, and I gave speeches about the Synod in regards to Dordt’s convictions regarding preaching, grace, and proper Lord’s Day observance. I was informed that there were 97 people in attendance, representing 9 different congregations, besides the PRCP (3) and the PCC (Reformed) congregations. There were several new visitors at this conference which was encouraging to see. There were over 300 books sold, and many free pamphlets were distributed, including the Tagalog translation of Prof. H. Hoeksema’s pamphlet on John 3:16, “For God so Loved the World.” (Tagalog: “Gayon Na Lamang Ang Pag-Ibig Ng Diyos sa Sanlibutan.”)

The consistory and congregation of the Provident  hristian Church functioned as the very capable hosts for the conference, and we are grateful for their help, especially with the always important morning and afternoon meriendas and delicious lunch.

Provident Christian Church (Reformed)

Rev. Holstege continues to work in PCC full-time, and we can report that the work has developed to the point where the PCC is now in harmony with our Three forms of Unity and the Church Order as regards doctrine, worship, practices, and the offices of the church.

Recently, 2 elders and 2 deacons were installed into office according to the Form for Installation of Elders and Deacons, with Rev. Holstege leading the worship service As a result, the congreation is now, as an institute, confessionally and institutionally Reformed, upholding the three marks of a true church faithfully by the grace of God.

The significant consequence of this development in the PCC (Reformed) is that they can focus on the next step of their ecclesiastical journey: membership in the federation of the PRCP. The consistory has submitted a letter of request to the Classis of the PRCP for its
consideration at the February 25th Classis. The letter requests that the Classis work with the PCC (Reformed) to lead them into the membership of the PRCP. We may rejoice with the PCC (Reformed) for the Lord’s blessings on them to this point in their history.

Reformed Bookshelf and Philippine Book Fund

The outflow of RFPA books from the Bookshelf continues. The number of books purchased from October to December 2018 was about 500 books! My wife and daughters, who are filling in for Mrs. Kleyn, just ordered some more books from the RFPA, and also unpacked a recent shipment for the shelves at the Kleyns’ house. We are thankful to the Lord for the means of a sound witness for the truth in this substantial and effective way unto the ongoing interest.

February Delegation Visit

A delegation of Revs. J. Engelsma and N. Decker are scheduled to visit us in February on behalf of the Doon Council, FMC, and Contact Committee for a yearly oversight visit. They plan to arrive on Friday evening, February 15, and will be with us to Tuesday morning, February 26. One of the highlights of their mandate is a visit to the PR Fellowship mission of the PRCP in Albuera, Leyte (Feb. 18-20). Other items on their mandate include preaching in the areas churches while here and attending the meeting of the PRCP Classis on
February 25 . We look forward to their visit.

Kleyns On Furlough

Rev. and Mrs. Kleyn travelled to Grand Rapids on January 1, 2019, enjoying News Years’ Day in three different countries throughout their long day. One month has now passed in their furlough. We trust that the Lord will bless them in their fellowship with the PRCA and family and in Rev. Kleyn’s furlough work and studies. May the Lord bless you and keep you, and shine upon you in His almighty grace.

In His service,
Rev. Richard J Smit

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Philippines Mission Newsletter - October 2018

PRCA FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES
OCTOBER 2018 NEWSLETTER

~ Rev. D. Holstege (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Rev. D. Kleyn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Rev. R. Smit (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) ~

Members of the Protestant Reformed Churches and our sister churches, greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

A New Reformed Church!

On the fifth of August, after our two worship services, I announced to Provident Christian Church, “You are now officially a Reformed church.” And their response? They clapped their hands, joyously and spontaneously, in thanksgiving to God! “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and nations under our feet. He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved” (Ps. 47:1-4).

Before we had lunch together that Sunday, in the fellowship hall downstairs, I briefly explained the following two passages of Holy Writ and applied them to the happy occasion: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (II Thess. 2:15).

The ground of the announcement that Sunday was the official adoption of the Three Forms of Unity by the Steering Committee on July 29. From 2012 into 2018, we missionaries taught them the Reformed symbols: the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dordt. We also taught them the Church Order of the Protestant Reformed Churches. One of us planted, another watered, but God gave the increase (I Cor. 3:6). Then, on July 29, the Steering Committee adopted the Three Forms of Unity and the Church Order, together with the Psalter and the Forms in the back of the Psalter.

When I explained to the Steering Committee the implication of adopting the Three Forms of Unity, namely, that they are now officially Reformed, their faces beamed, and they exchanged hearty hand-shakes. We praise our gracious covenant God for guiding PCC to become a Reformed church of Jesus Christ.

ProvidentCC Oct 2018

More Reformed Believers!

Throughout the months of August and September, the men of the Steering Committee and I visited those who expressed, in writing, a desire to join the now Reformed, Provident Christian Church. We asked them the three questions in the Form for Public Confession of Faith. I explained the questions as follows:
1. Do you believe the doctrines of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God; do you believe the doctrines of the Apostolic Creed; do you believe the doctrines of the Three Forms of Unity, as taught by us missionaries here in this church?
2. Is it your deep desire, by the grace of God, to hold firmly to this doctrine, to reject all false doctrines, and to strive to keep the commandments of God in a new and godly life?
3. Are you willing to submit to the government of Christ through the office bearers of this church and to the discipline of the elders, if you should become delinquent?

As of now, there are about twenty-five, previously baptized, adult believers at PCC who “have made a confession of the Reformed religion, besides being reputed to be of a godly walk” (Church Order, Article 61). Besides these, there are about fifteen children and young people who will confess their faith, Lord willing, in time to come. We thank our heavenly Father for His work of grace in the lives of these believers.

More Reformed Office Bearers!

Having compiled a list of confessing members, we proceeded to nominate new office bearers at our monthly Steering Committee meeting on September 23. We missionaries advised the members of the Steering Committee, for the sake of a smooth transition, to nominate themselves as the elders and deacons of the congregation.

Brothers Bien Montoya and Alex Dela Rosa were nominated to be elders. Brothers Mitch Suarez and Jun Armas were nominated to be deacons. Those four names appeared in the bulletin on the Sundays of September 30 and October 7 for the silent approbation of the congregation. There were no objections.

ProvCC officebearers 2018

The council of PCC, from the left: Bro. Alex Dela Rosa, Bro. Bien Montoya, [Rev. D. Holstege], Bro. Mitch Suarez, and Bro. Jun Armas.

On October 14, I had the privilege of leading the first Reformed installation service of Provident Christian Church. All four men answered “yes” to the three questions in the Form for Installation of Elders and Deacons. All four men then signed the Formula of Subscription in front of church, for all to see. I preached a sermon on Acts 6:1-6 entitled “The First Deacons.” After the service, the whole congregation was invited to stay for lunch and we enjoyed a great time of fellowship.

Recently at PCC, I decided to preach through the book of Titus. What Paul exhorted Titus to do in the churches of Crete struck me as very similar to our task at PCC: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee” (Titus 1:5). Things have now been set in order at PCC. Elders and deacons have been ordained. Lord willing, we will begin administering the sacraments at PCC, for the first time since becoming a Reformed church, this November.

The next step for them is to request membership in the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (PRCP), which we plan to do at the February meeting of Classis, DV.

A Visiting Pastor and His Family

From October 15-19, Rev. Joe Holstege, his wife Lisa, and their son Jacob visited us here in the Philippines. He had been preaching for the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore, a sister church of the PRCA (and soon, Lord willing, also of the PRCP). They decided to hop over the sea to visit us. During their five days here, they were able to experience some Philippine culture and to meet some Filipino believers. On the Wednesday night that they were here, they were able to visit with Rev. Vernon Ibe and his family, to see the new church building of the Berean PRC, and to give a speech at PCC on personal evangelism. I was told that my brother is mas gwapo than me. I will let you figure out what that means and judge whether or not it is true ☺

Minister group Oct 2018

Pray that Christ will continue to build His church at PCC, and throughout the Philippines, and that He will strengthen these newly Reformed believers to hold fast the traditions they have been taught.

In Christ,
Rev. Dan Holstege

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Limerick Reformed Fellowship Newsletter - November 2018

Limerick Reformed Fellowship

Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary
38 Abbeyvale, Corbally Co. Limerick, Ireland
http://www.limerickreformed.com/
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Monday, November 19, 2018

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

Undoubtedly the highlight in recent months was the baptism of Chester and Dale Mansona, two brothers who with their parents have been attending the LRF since April 2011. It has been my privilege to catechise them in Bible History, Heidelberg Catechism, Essentials, and a pre-confession class covering the Belgic Confession, the Canons, and some of our distinctive doctri-nal positions, such as common grace, the unconditional covenant, the Bible on divorce and remarriage, worship, the calling of church membership, etc. At the end of the summer, the CPRC Council interviewed Chester and Dale and approved their request for baptism. The happy occasion took place on September 2 and I preached on Colossians 3:1-4, “Seeking the Things Which Are Above.”

baptism 2018 1baptism 2018 2

Baptisms: Chester and Dale

Our official activities also began again after the summer break in the week commencing September 2. I have four catechism classes: two on Mondays with my three nieces, Anna, Lily, and Hope, via video link (Old Testament History for Beginners, Book 2; and New Testament History for Juniors); one on Wednesdays (Old Testa-ment History for Beginners, Book 2, with Sebastian, Jason, and—for the first time—Penelope; and one on Saturday mornings (Essentials of Reformed Doctrine) with Colm and Irini. The children are on Lesson 11, while the Essentials class, an adult class, is on Lesson 12 (the Mediator and his names).

In our Tuesday evening Bible study we re-cently finished the post-exilic historical books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther; and we have begun I Peter. Recent sermon series included Psalm 103 (eight sermons) from July 29 to September 16 and a series (ongoing) on the Miracles of Jesus. I preached on many of the healing miracles between June and December 2016, but now I am concentrating mainly on the other (non-healing) miracles of our Saviour: turning water into wine, multiplying bread, walking on water, cursing the fruitless fig tree, etc. In addition, we have just started the sacraments section of the Heidelberg Catechism again.

At the beginning of November, Chester and Dale Mansona, Larisa and I attended an “Answers in Genesis Conference” in Athlone, about one and a half hours northwest from Limerick. Not only were the speeches good, but we also met Janet Napier from the CPRCNI and two of her children, as well as James Steele, a friend of the CPRC from Londonderry, at the conference. We also met a lady from Limerick who has since started coming to our Bible studies—she is a neighbour of Noel Kelly, who also attends the Fellowship. She has agreed to bring Noel to the Bible study every week, and she has also expressed interest in coming to our services, but so far she has not come. Pat, another somewhat regular attendee, expressed interest in having his daughter visit our Bible study. He says that she needs good teaching, so we shall see if she begins to attend our studies on I Peter.

friends 2018 1

Friends at AIG Conference

Another very exciting recent development was an email I received on August 17 from a young man in his early twenties. His email was entitled, “Catholic Seeking Alternative,” in which he expressed his disgust at the recent scandals in the Roman Catholic Church. I met with him on his lunch break the next day and discovered that he had been reading the Bible and Reformed websites and had come across the LRF website. He has been attending the LRF ever since—many of the services and most of the Bible studies. There are hindrances to his coming, however. His mother suffers from a very serious illness, for which she recently had surgery, so that he has had to look after her and even bring her to the hospital on certain Sundays, a work of mercy. He is also only one of two qualified drivers in his household, which means that his family either need the car on Sundays or want him to drive them to various places. When he cannot get to the services, he listens to the sermons online. He also has friends whom he wants to invite to the LRF, but they are quite hostile to Protestantism. Until recently, he and his friends attended Mass regularly, which is quite rare among the youth. Some of his friends even tried to persuade him to attend the papal mass held by pope Francis in Dublin on August 26, but he declined to go. We continue to pray for him, his mother, brothers, and friends.

Colm Ring managed to persuade a goodly number of people to come to one of our worship services recently. He encountered a number of young men from the “Church of God” in Dublin singing hymns in Limerick city centre. He took the contact details of one of them and invited him to the LRF. The he called us to see if we would host them for Sunday lunch (Colm and Irini usually have Sunday lunch with us). We agreed, expecting three to five people. However, on Sunday morning, the day after the Creation Conference, a larger group arrived, 12 adults and 3 children! That same weekend, Sam Watterson and Manuel Kuhs were in Northern Ireland and we had also invited Emily-Kate and Felicity Kuhs to join us for lunch. With Colm, Irini, Emily-Kate, Felicity, the Church of God people, Larisa and me, we had 21 people crammed into our house, and we did have adequate food (stir fry) to feed them all, although we had only 11 chairs. I preached on LD 23 (“Righteous Before God”) and we had a discussion about regeneration with a couple of the men—the “Church of God” is an Arminian “Holiness” group. After lunch, three of the young men sang Amazing Grace for us and then they all headed up to Dublin. I am still in contact with the group and hope to arrange another meeting with them.

 cog members 2018

Church of God visitors

We have also had other visitors in the past few months: Brian and Holly Fournier and their four daughters, a Reformed Baptist family from Massachusetts (September 2); my parents (September 9); Todd and Julie Wagenmaker, parents of Bethany who attended the LRF in 2014 while on a study abroad program (October 7), and Rev. Ken Koole (October 17). Next weekend, we plan to have Julian and Marie Kennedy from the CPRCNI; and the following weekend, we look forward to welcoming Larisa’s mother, Cindi, and Larisa’s aunt, Lori, to the Emerald Isle.

koole limrf 2018

Rev. Koole and Bill

As you have probably seen, the RFPA has published two books that I have written: Grace and Assurance: the Message of the Canons of Dordt and Micah: Proclaiming the Incomparable God. Feedback has been encouraging.

Pray for us, as we do for you,

In Christian love,
Rev. Martyn and Larisa McGeown

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Limerick Reformed Fellowship Newsletter - August 2018

Limerick Reformed Fellowship
Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary
38 Abbeyvale, Corbally Co. Limerick, Ireland

http://www.limerickreformed.com/
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Monday, August 6, 2018

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

This is my first newsletter as a married man: as all of you know, Larisa (DeJong) and I were married on April 6. We honeymooned in California (April 9-17), beginning in San Francisco and traveling southwards on Highway 1 to San Diego, and stopping for a few days to stay with Travis and Kayla Feenstra (Kayla is one of Larisa’s cousins), during which time we spent a few days with the saints in Hope PRC (Redlands, CA). Married life is a great blessing for both of us and Larisa is settling well into life in Ireland: she has already learned to drive a man-ual (“stick shift”) car, having mastered the clutch and the art of navigating roundabouts, for example; she is getting used to grocery shopping, cooking/baking with the metric system; and she is acclimatizing to doing laundry in a rainy country without a dryer. She also hopes to compensate for the lack of fresh Michigan fruit (raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are expensive here) by growing her own. (We shall see how that goes in the Irish climate.) In addition, we have made good progress in our application with the Irish immigration service for permanent residency for Larisa in Ireland.

McGeowns Aug 2018
Rev. and Larisa McGeown cutting cake

Unusual for newly married couples is the number of wedding receptions (and cake-cutting ceremonies) that we have had: we cut cake on April 6, then at a second reception for my Irish/Northern Irish relatives/friends in Cookstown on May 12, and then finally in Wales on May 24, when some of the women brought a cake for us after one of the speeches! As I always say, you can never have too much cake, especially if it is chocolate cake!

While I was in the USA for the wedding (with all the preparations that such things entail, including entertaining my family—my parents, siblings, brother-in-law, and three nieces—who were there for the occasion, and spending time with my American friends), Jonathan Langerak, now pastor-elect Langerak, was ably holding the fort: he and his grandparents, Harry and Evelyn Langerak, occupied my house during that time, and Jonathan preached, taught catechism, and led Bible study: the saints greatly enjoyed his ministry; our only regret is that he was not able to finish his sermon series on Jonah, for which he has an open invitation to come back.

JonL Hogan Kelly
Pastor-elect J. Langerak with Jimmy Hogan and Noel Kelly

My last newsletter was March 2, so I did not mention the kerfuffle we had on March 4: on that Sunday morning we arrived at the hall to discover that the access code had been changed and that the employees at the building did not know the new one. After some scrambling, we all managed to get to the Wattersons’ house by about noon (about 30 minutes outside of Limerick city centre), but because one of our regulars had to pick up his wife at 1 P.M. we decided to shorten the service and rearrange the order so that he could hear the preaching: I preached the sermon at the beginning of the service, prayed the congregational prayer after the sermon, and cut the number of psalms down to two. Thankfully, we were able to have the full service at the right time (although again at the Wattersons’ house) that evening. Such flexibility is necessary on the mission field.

Recent sermons in Limerick have included a series on Romans 1:18-32 (“The Operation of God’s Wrath in the World”) from February 11 to March 18, a series on Romans 5:6-11 (from April 29 to May 20), and a series on Hebrews 12:12-17 on “Responses to Chastisement” (from June 3 to July 15). Yesterday, I finished the section of Christ’s humiliation in the Heidelberg Catechism with “Our Saviour Descending into Hell,” a sobering and comforting section of the great Reformation catechism. Catechism for the children finished in May: Sebastian Kuhs and Jason Watterson successfully completed Old Testament History for Beginners (Book 1), as did my two younger nieces, Lily and Hope, while my older niece, Anna, finished Old Testament History for Juniors. We look forward to resuming catechism in September, when Penelope Kuhs will be joining the class for Old Testament History for Beginners (Book 2).

My catechumens are very intelligent, which a few stories will illustrate. When asked: “What sign did Rahab put in her window to show the Israelites that it was her house?” Sebastian Kuhs (then aged 6) answered, “A sign that said, ‘I love God.’” When I explained that it was more of a secret sign that the people of Jericho would not understand, namely a piece of scarlet rope, Sebastian referred to it as a “nothing sign,” for it was a wordless sign! Moreover, when I asked how an army might conquer a walled city such as Jericho, Sebastian answered, “A trebuchet!” When I expressed surprise, Sebastian began to explain what a trebuchet is. “I know what a trebuchet is,” I responded, “but how do you know the word trebuchet?” It is always a delight to teach children the Word of God. May the Lord bless His Word to their hearts and lives!

In addition, Colm and Irini have been taking an Essentials of Reformed Doctrine class on Saturday mornings. We have made very good progress, for both are very keen to learn. We finished Lessons 1-7 on Theology proper. Irini is on vacation for a few weeks in Greece, but after she returns we hope to continue with Lesson 8 on Creation.

On May 25 the Irish electorate voted to remove the right to life of the unborn from the Irish Constitution. Around that time (May 16), I was interviewed on a radio station in Cork (Life FM) in connection with a lecture I gave on “The Bible and Abortion” in Limerick (May 19). I reported more fully on the referendum in the August 2018 issue of the Standard Bearer.

The British Reformed Conference (July 21-28) has just ended: it was such a wonderful, spiritually uplifting, and encouraging week: excellent speeches, delightful fellowship, enjoyable activities, and good food. The airlines managed to make the return journey from Wales to Ireland unpleasant, however: although we should have been back in Limerick on Saturday (July 28) at about 10:30 am, we arrived at 1 A.M. on Sunday morning (July 29)! Although we were tired, we had our two worship services and a congregational get-together with food in the afternoon. It was good to have many pre- and post-conference visitors: Joanna Koerner, Danae Overweg, Kristen Pawloski, Rose and Kate Doezema, Emily Feenstra, Rachel Buiter, and Dave and Linda Poortinga stayed at our home (not at the same time). The Poortingas left this morning—our next guests will be (this evening) Lidi Cecilio (from Brazil) and (on Friday) Joshua Harris (from Wales), DV. Others visited the LRF, but did not stay at our house: Ed Bos, Phil Harbach, Christine Wierenga, Hannah Bos, Marco Barone, Paula Kuiper, and Greg, Candace, Patrick, and Megan Duerr. Visitors are always welcome!

Pray for us, as we do for you,

In Christian love,
Rev. Martyn & Larisa McGeown

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Philippine Mission Newsletter - July 2018

PRCA FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES

JULY 2018 NEWSLETTER

Rev. D. Holstege (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); Rev. D. Kleyn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); Rev. R. Smit (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
PO Box 1173 ACPO, Antipolo City, Rizal 1870, Philippines

PRF Leyte 2018

Dear Members of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America and of our Sister Churches. We greet you in Christ with the news that we and our families and the saints here are, by God’s grace, all doing well. We often think of the words of Proverbs 25:25 (“As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country”) when news comes our way. We trust it may be the same for you.

The Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (made up of the Berean PRC pastored by Rev. V. Ibe, the PRC in Bulacan pastored by Rev. J. Flores, and the Maranatha PRC pastored by Rev. L. Trinidad) is very thankful to the Lord for the establishment of a sister church relationship between them and the PRCA, as finalized at this year’s PRCA Synod. As many of you know, Rev. Trinidad was able to attend the synod as a representative of the PRCP. He thoroughly enjoyed his time at synod and among the saints in our churches. Upon his return he was very excited to tell us about it. He also appreciated very much (and we do too) the hospitality he was shown. Now that this sister relationship is in place, the PRCP decided (at their June 12 Classis) to pursue next a sister church relationship with the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore.

As missionaries, we continue to labor in the PRCP churches. We serve as advisors at their classis and consistory meetings, assist in church visitation, serve on their standing committees (for missions, contact, translation, theological training, etc.), give lectures at their conferences, provide teaching in their churches, and regularly provide pulpit supply.

The need for pulpit supply sometimes arises when the pastors are busy on certain Sundays with congregational outreach work (preaching and teaching among various contacts the churches have). It also arises when the pastors are on one of the monthly visits that are made to the Protestant Reformed Fellowship in Albuera, Leyte (pictured above). The PRFA is now an official mission work of the PRCP, with the PRC in Bulacan as the calling church. For now the PRCB is sending a monthly delegation over a weekend for preaching, teaching, pastoral work, etc. The goal, however, is to call a missionary, and the main preparation that is currently being done for that is to put together a budget for a missionary and his family to serve there. Once this budget has been presented to and approved by Classis (perhaps this coming October), the PRCB will most likely begin the process of calling a missionary from among the pastors of the PRCP.

The standing committees of the PRCP have been busy lately with mission work (the PRFA mentioned above), contact committee work (sister church relationships), translation work (translating the Three Forms of Unity), and theological training (adopting various constitutions, organizing pre-seminary Greek, and preparing a seminary program). As regards the latter, one of our missionaries (namely, Rev. Smit) has been able to devote the majority of his time to assist the PRCP with these seminary related matters. We are very glad that progress is now being made toward the PRCP having a seminary in the near future, the Lord willing. At this point in time, a definite start date has not yet been decided.

The most recent conference in the PRCP was held on May 1. The theme was: “The Power of the Gospel” and the speakers were Rev. Trinidad, Rev. Smit, Rev. Ibe, and I. Approximately 120 attended the conference (pictured below). Sharon, with much help from others, set up a book table and sold close to 200 books. These conferences serve well to bring together not only the members of the PRCP, but many of their and our contacts, too.

PRCP Conf May 2018

As usual, lively discussion followed the lectures with many good questions from the attendees. Here’s a small sampling of the questions asked: Is it correct to say that the gospel adds condemnation to the reprobate who hear it? When did the reprobate become children of the devil? How do you distinguish between true preaching and Arminian preaching? Since we are saved by means of faith, what about children who die before birth or in infancy? Does 1 Timothy 2:4 teach that God does really desire that all men be saved? Can God save without preaching? Weren’t Adam and Eve and the thief on the cross saved without preaching? Can a false gospel save and work faith? What does it mean that we must “work out our own salvation” (Philippians 2:12)? Because regeneration is immediate, is it possible that a regenerated person can live in sin for a long time prior to his conversion and believing?

The Provident Christian Church in Marikina, in which we have been laboring since the end of 2012, is hoping to be ready to join the PRCP sometime in the next six to twelve months, the Lord willing. Rev. Holstege mostly labors in this church. The congregation has come to understand and love the Reformed faith not only through weekly preaching but also through a study of all three of our creeds. Rev. Holstege has also taught them the Church Order. PCC hopes soon to adopt the Three Forms of Unity and the Church Order, and then to reorganize themselves as a Reformed church (their background is a mixture of Brethren and Baptist). We are grateful to God for the progress that has been made and look forward to another church being added to the PRCP, the Lord willing.

Due to your generous support of the Philippine Bookfund, we were recently able to expand the use of the fund to include giving a larger discount to churches who buy the books for their church libraries. Recently one of the churches did just that, purchasing over 150 books. In addition to this, Doon and the FMC also recently approved using the funds to subsidize the cost of seminary books for PRCP seminary students. We also continue to use the funds to cover the cost of magazines, pamphlets, and the translation and publication of some PRCA literature into Tagalog (current projects are Come Ye Children and various pamphlets). We express our sincere thanks for your generous gifts toward this fund.

Monthly visits are still being made to the pastors in Southern Negros Occidental. Rev. Smit and I usually make these visits. Rev. Smit is lecturing in Dogmatics (currently in Christology). Recently I completed a study of the Church Order and am now giving lectures concerning the Reformed Creeds. This will eventually include instruction concerning Heidelberg Catechism preaching, something the men have specifically requested. Usually a group of 10 to 15 pastors attend each month (pictured below).

SNegros men 2018 1

Currently Rev. and Leah Holstege and their family are on furlough in the USA. Rev. Holstege has been preaching and giving presentations. From what we hear, the Holsteges are enjoying the time in the churches and the opportunity to be with their loved ones again for a while. The next missionary to be taking a furlough will be myself and my wife Sharon. Synod approved the FMC’s proposal that we take a 4 to 6 month furlough in 2019, especially for the purpose of missionary development. We hope to begin our furlough in January, and my plan is to use the time mainly for further studies in missions as well as for preparing courses that I might start teaching in the PRCP seminary here in the near future. My wife and I look forward to this upcoming furlough.

We thank you for your continued prayers for us and for the saints here. We remember you all in our prayers as well.

In Christian love,
Rev. Daniel Kleyn

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Myanmar Report - May 2018

Myanmar map 2

Dear brethren,

Greetings in our sovereign and gracious covenant Lord's name. I pray that you all will be in good health and peace of the mind for His mercy.

The month of March was quite special for us, because [for] the first time we are going to have a seminar without one of you come over and teach. So, preparing for that, I stopped writing Sunday Digest, and translating of KJV, [and] Thursday Bible classes. But I continued to edit the KLV Burmese, [and have] reached chapter 14. [I continue] preaching on the Heidelberg Catechism, and am up to Lord's Day 20.

At, seminar, as many as 38 people all over the country and from various denomination came. Two weeks seemed to be a very short time. The men learned a lot in these short two weeks. Especially, the second subject, which is called "Reformed Man." In that subject, I compared the present day so-called Christian viewing [of] their family, wife, children, work, money, modern things, and what the Bible taught us, especially Reformed view. They all are very much surprised and started to say, "We Burmese Christian never view [things] in those ways."

E. g., seeing our wives as our sisters in that Lord, when we get to heaven, we will not be husband and wife rather brother and sister in His covenant family. The same with our children, they are actually created by God Himself through parents, so the real owner is our Covenant God, not the parents. In this area also, when we get to heaven, we will not be parents and children, rather we all will be brothers and sisters in His big covenant family. So, [to] take care of them is covenant duty, so working for the family is not secular thing for the Reformed man but sacred thing, doing covenant duty for His glory; in other words, serving Him. In our Burmese cultural setting, doing religious means sacred thing, so have to forsake all earthly bounds and ties. The result is, feeding the children, working to earn a living to raise family is secular. But, I taught reverse with this popular view and set forth our covenant view.

To love our wives in our duty [is] not a shy-thing; we love our wives because the Bible demands it. I point out the texts, "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband." (1 Corinthians 7:3 KJV) "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." (1 Peter 3:7 KJV) And many others to show the relationship between believing husband and wife is the picture of God's covenant of grace in Jesus Christ for His elect Church. They all love that very much, and they expressed they will not be the same when they return home.

All these things, I can teach only because you invited me and my wife to live among you and learned about your way of Reformed living; during three weeks, I opened my eyes as wide as I can to learn how you live as Reformed people, now I can teach that experiences to my people; thank you for that. And actually the success of this seminar is the fruit of your labors.

[in the] morning, Belgic Confession, I explained all the words are written in blood of Reformed believers, so that we must study with respect. And, to [be] call[ed] Reformed [we] must have confession; without confession, cannot be called Reformed church.

Weather is extremely hot; last year, only the month of May, hot as now. This year is special, but for His mercy, we did not fell sick during the seminar. And, after the seminar, Rakhine state churches demanded me to pay official visit, as well as, Nagah Land also asked me to come over to their place. I promised them, if the Lord wills, I will come, at least two weeks and teach in their places.

We are so much thankful for all the Face-time and Whatsapp videos calls during all the two week seminar, every morning, that gave us real encouragement. Thank you very much for supporting my ministry, without your help I cannot do all the things that I do for His people.

Please continue to pray for us, so that the Reformed truth that we hold dear as PR churches will be through out generations. In my congregational prayer, I continue to pray, always for you, so that you also will have covenant strength to go on in the precious truth that you now have with you many, many generations to come.

The Lord's blessings to you all.

Your brother,
Rev. Titus

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