I (Michael) recently had the privilege of traveling to a small rural community in Capiz province known as Bag-ong Barrio, Tapaz. The purpose of my visit was to attend the 110th Annual Assembly of the Capiznon (Kasapulanan) Baptist Churches Inc, which is a gathering of pastors, church leaders and delegates from 52 churches in the region. I was invited to attend and share about the partnership ministry taking place between Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) and Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries (KPM).
The theme of their assembly was ‘Witnessing in a Broken World’ and although most of the discussions took place in Ilonggo (language of the people living in Capiz), I was able to grasp some of the stories they were sharing of how God was using them as witnesses (in Word and Deed) in their communities even though they themselves are broken people. They were encouraged through the Scriptures. Passages such as Acts 1:8 and John 1:8-9 reminded them of their calling to be witnesses, and they were reminded through a biblical reflection led by my colleague Emo Yango, that even Jesus was broken and it was through his brokenness that we find healing.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
I was invited to share about our relationship with KPM and the Capiznon Baptist Churches Inc. as Partners-in-Mission, which provides support to 4 childcare centres (Libas, Lucero, Hopevale & Aglongon), has provided relief and reconstruction support after damaging typhoons, and most recently has been working together for the establishment of Food for Life, a cooperative of rural rice farmers. Together, CBM and KPM are exploring new and innovative ways to share the Gospel through Word and Deed, to be witnesses in a broken world, to be agents of community transformation, and to provide discipleship ministries that will assist others to engage their faith with their work.
Late on the last evening of the assembly (about 10pm), after a full day in the heat, I found myself tired and ready for rest. However, the gather came together around the Lord’s table led by Rev. Job Santiago. As I sat in my seat I reflected on the past few days, on my own brokenness, and on what Jesus accomplished through his brokenness on the cross. As Pastor Job led the gathering in communion (in Ilonggo), I was unable to understand the words he spoke but as the bread and wine were passed around I was struck by the wonderful reality that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:5-6). Our language and cultures may be different, but we serve the same God! This experience will remain with me for many, many years!
About Michael & Melanie Waddell
Michael and Melanie were appointed by Canadian Baptist Ministries to serve as Global Field Staff in August 2015. They departed for the field in July 2016 and are based in Manila, Philippines.