We join the Christian world in celebrating Jesus’ birth! He is the reason for the season.
Last month, we were treated to a week-long but noteworthy tour of the Holy Land - Israel. What a privilege to see the places where Jesus was born- in Bethlehem, the places where He grew and spent His time ministering to many, did miracles, the Sea of Galilee and the Beatitude mountain where He had many encounters with the people and the disciples, the Jordan river– where He was baptized by John, the temptation mountain where Jesus was tempted by Satan after He fasted, Jacob’s well- where Jesus offered living water to the Samaritan woman, at Cana- where Jesus turned the water into wine, the city of Jerusalem, and places where He spent His final days before crucifixion, the garden of Gethsemane- where centuries old olive trees are still there- the silent witness to His agony, the path He travelled to Calvary, the empty tomb, and Mt. of Olives where He ascended, and many more. The song truly pictured for us which stated, “What a humble birth place, but oh how much God gave to us that day, from a manger bed, what a path has led, what a perfect Holy way”. Praise God for His great plan of saving mankind, and bringing us back to Himself as His children, by sending Jesus, to be our Savior. This plan was made even before He created the universe. (Eph. 1:4-5). All glory and praises to the King of Kings!
After Israel, we visited our brethren at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). We stayed with them for two weeks – had a two-day seminar, water baptism, prayer meeting, child dedication, and time in the Word. We praise God for the many wonderful things He is doing in their midst - changing lives, giving new hope, and causing many to obey the Great Commission.
Many of us are celebrating Christmas with much joy and thanksgiving for what Christ is doing in our personal lives and as member of a bigger body of believers. May this season bring us to more opportunities to share the real meaning of Christmas to many more people, so that they, like us, will experience spiritual birth. Jesus was born so that we can be born again.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace”. Merry Christmas and a blessed Christ-filled 2019!
Because He lives,
Ptr. BERNARDO and Sis. FELINA MENDOZA
May the hope, peace and love from God be yours in abundance.
We would like to share what God had done in our midst the past weeks. Last month, September 28-29, more than 30 brethren (including my wife) from various Christian organizations and churches trooped to ACMI’s National center in Cagayan de Oro city for a reunion. These brethren were residents of ministry apartments 30 (or more) years ago, during their undergraduate days in Mindanao State University in Marawi City. It was a moving time of recollections, fellowship, sharing of one’s life and what God did and is doing in each of them. We praise God for through these years, He had kept them, brought them to various Christian ministries where their gifts are being used by God for His glory. They look forward to another fellowship/reunion on 2020 and hopefully many more will be able to join. Truly, the Word of God sown in their hearts kept growing through these years. All Praise and Glory to God.
The ministry had also intensified its work on tribes and unreached people groups. Very recently, many of the ACMI brethren have started works on Bajaos, Tibolis, Manobos, and the Muslim Filipinos, particularly, the Iranons and Maguindanaons. We thank God that aside from the Word of God shared to them, livelihood projects (courtesy of benevolent brethren from other Christian Organizations/Churches) are being extended to them so that their physical needs could be addressed. Other livelihood projects are on their way for implementation. The Lord also had blessed other livelihood projects among the non-tribes contacts/outreaches in Negros, Cotabato, Bukidnun, Zamboanga, and Agusan. In addition to livelihood projects, scholarship support is also given to poor students involved in ACMI’s campus outreaches. Moreover, financial help had been extended to brethren who have critically ill children (courtesy of a benevolent Christian Church in Manila).
Last weekend, Oct. 13, the ministry conducted a free medical mission in Magpet, North Cotabato. More than 200 patients were served, and all of them heard the Gospel, and many responded. The brethren residing in this ministry outreach will follow-up those patients/people who are willing to grow spiritually. Attached are some pictures taken during the conduct of the said activities.
The Leadership Development Program (LDP) of ACMI which is being conducted to equip leaders is also regularly conducted in various ministry regions.
Let us claim together Ps. 16:11, which says “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”
Rejoicing in His faithfulness,
Ptr. BERNARDO and Sis. BABES MENDOZA
For the Arise Christian Ministries, Inc.
Dear Brethren in Christ,
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! May this letter finds you trusting in our Savior’s unconditional love.
Join us in thanking the Lord for what He is doing in our midst. In several occasions, God opened doors for the Gospel to be shared: in school openings among students, parents and teachers; at the wakes of friends; gathering with family members and neighbors; among officemates who lent their searching ears to hear God’s Word; during birthdays; one-on-one encounters, etc. The Holy Spirit indeed is working in convicting men of sin, righteousness and judgment.
We also praise and thank the Lord for blessing the UAE ministry with new believers, and strengthening our leaders there to help in the growth of members. One of their leaders, Jerry Suello, was assigned lately to work in Qatar. His going there is primary to be used by God for the Great Commission. His work in a certain company is only secondary. Let’s pray for him.
We thank the Lord for strengthening the ministry among the Higaonons by using the livelihood projects to encourage them and bless them in their walk with God. The ministry started to work on other tribes, particularly; the Tibolis, Iranons, Maguindanaos and Bajaos. A team to work and focus on the ministry’s tribal work had been formed. One of the of the identified activities to equip the brethren involved in tribal work is a language/dialect training and culture study. This is being conducted by a sister (a convert) who is willing to share her time to train the brethren (the tribe is purposely not identified to protect the Sister). The other project was the distribution of school supplies to the children of the tribal folks our brethren are trying to reach out. By the grace of God, there were no negative responses from the tribal folks. In fact, they were very receptive and thankfully welcomed the assistance. Soon, Lord willing, livelihood projects will follow.
With regards to the ministry’s assistance to the brethren thru livelihood projects, God had blessed this ministry endeavors that many of the recipients had repaid their loans. The recipients testified of God’s goodness to meet their physical, material, financial and spiritual needs.
The ministry recently bought two motorbikes to be used by our ministry leaders in Lantungan, Zamboanga del Sur, and another full time worker who regularly does follow-up of believers in 3 places in Negros and two in Cebu, in the Visayas. Travels to far flung areas are now faster and easier. Some brethren even bought their own motorbikes for ministry use.
This year, the ACM celebrates its 19th founding anniversary. Several ministry areas and outreaches have already celebrated the ministry’s founding anniversary by conducting various activities, such as; family outings in beaches, mini conferences (Leadership Development Training), distribution of school supplies (coincided with school openings) and water baptism of brethren (pictures attached). Many more areas will celebrate the ministry’s anniversary this coming month of July. A common activity of all ministry areas and outreaches to celebrate the ministry’s founding anniversary was a witnessing spree conducted on June 24. This was conducted simultaneously in all areas after the worship service. Together we give God all the glory and honor for being our Shepherd and Guide through these years. We look forward with much anticipation to seeing His promises fulfilled in our midst. Thank you so much for travelling with us as we co-labor in His vineyard.
Regional Youth Conference in Fortchacu Tres, Bukidnon
Distribution of School Supplies in Malahone, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte
Distribution of School Supplies in Taluto, Negros Oriental
Water Baptism at Kitub-Bao, Alamada, North Cotabato
Rejoicing in His faithfulness,
Ptr. BERNARDO and SIS. BABES MENDOZA
For the Arise Christian Ministries, Inc.
Dear brethren in Christ,
Join us in praising the Lord Jesus for His abiding love, presence, strength and the many graces given to all of His children.
This summer season, the Lord allowed us to focus on activities which encouraged us to go on as we walk with Him. Last March 29-31, a head count of 360 conferees swarmed the Couples’ Retreat staged by the Arise Christian Ministries, Inc. at Mt. Moriah Camp in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Out of the 360 warm bodies, who came from all over Mindanao and the province of Cebu, 118 pairs are couples totalling to 236, while the rests are widows, singles and some children.
The couples retreat enabled the participants to review God’s perspectives on marriage, roles of husband and wives, marriage and finances, love languages in marriage, and discipleship and marriage. The last day was the renewal of vows, wherein, the couples’ renewed their love for God and for each other. Tears of joy flowed, forgiveness asked and released, and commitments to serve God together as husbands and wives were renewed, as they promised to fulfill the Great Commission.
The brethren had several evangelistic activities (individually and as small and large groups) that took place this summer. Here are some of them - April 26-April 30, three teams of disciples visited the Visayas area. One (our team) team visited the brethren in the mountains of Taloto, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental to encourage them and to attend a wedding of a member of the Fellowship. By God’s grace, the brethren there are growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The day after the wedding, the team dropped by another outreach in the town proper of Guihulngan, to see how the brethren are progressing in their relationship with the Lord Jesus. After a word of encouragement, the team left for Cebu to visit another ministry outreach.
Another team (a couple) proceeded to La Libertad, the town before Guihulngan. The couple visited their homeplace and for the third time shared the gospel to relatives and neighbors. The third team visited the brethren based in Cebu city, and exhorted them to continue in their faith. Many of these brethren joined our team in Bato, Cebu, (another ministry outreach which is approximately 4 hours travel from Cebu City) on April 29. Praise God for raising up a leader who committed to regularly visit these places to help the core leaders and encourage the brethren to continue serving the Lord. Coming home from Visayas, we visited a missionary couple in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental, who will spearhead our mission work to the tribes in Mindanao.
One highlight of the trip was God’s intervention on our way to Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. Leaving Cagayan de Oro at 4 in the morning of April 26 by land, we arrived Dapitan port at past 11 am, only to be told that all barges (boats) servicing the Dapitan-Dumaguete route were fully booked with vehicles and passengers, and we cannot be accommodated anymore. I (Bernie), needed to be in Taloto, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental to solemnize a wedding (among other ministry activities there,) so we need to be there on time. We waited and prayed as Bernie approached and talked to one of the captains. The Captain asked some questions, and lo, he allowed us to board the boat. After few hours, while we were already halfway, I (Bernie) went up to the captain’s office/deck to thank him for the favor. I started to share the Gospel, but the captain interrupted me and requested that the Gospel be shared to all passengers. He switch off the television and gave me the microphone to share the Gospel. The captain and his crew prayed the acceptance prayer, and we trust those passengers who have an open heart might have been convicted by the Holy Spirit to decide for Christ. Praise the Lord for all these opportunities.
Next week, the ministry board will meet so we can plan for our mission outreaches for the tribes, evaluate our on-going livelihood projects for the poor, and open other projects for those others in need, all for the expansion of His kingdom.
We are grateful for all your prayers, support and encouragement.
In His Vineyard,
Ptr. Bernardo and Sis. Felina Mendoza
May this New Year be a refreshing year to all of us. Together let us claim His promise in
Ps. 147:12-14 which says, “Extol the Lord O Jerusalem; praise your God O Zion, for he strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. He grants peace to your borders and satisfies with the finest of wheat”.
Before the year 2017 ended, a strong typhoon visited the island of Mindanao which devastated many provinces. Houses in some areas of Cagayan de Oro City were under water and countless families stayed for quite some time in covered court in their barangays. In our little ways, we tried to extend physical help by distributing clothes and rice, and fed them with hot porridge and bread for breakfast. But before they received the goods, we shared the Gospel to them and many responded positively.
Last weekend (January 27-28, 2018), the ministry conducted two Leadership Trainings (LDP) in two places - one in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte and the other in Midsayap, North Cotabato. The LDP in Nasipit was attended by leaders from ACMI ministry areas in Surigao, Butuan City, San Francisco and Nasipit while the one in Cotabato was attended by brethren from ministry outreaches nearby. We were able to attend the LDP in Cotabato. During the sharing time, some leaders shared breakthroughs in their ministry areas, where every member now shares the Gospel regularly and each one has started following up those who responded to the Gospel. According to them people are very receptive to know Jesus and to grow in His Word. To God be the glory.
Simultaneous with the leaders meeting (LDP in Cotabato) is a regional youth conference, which was attended by 48 youths from ministry outreaches in Cotabato. Many were challenged to really grow in the basics of Christian Life – i.e. word, prayer, witnessing and fellowship.
The following day, Sunday, during the regular worship service in Katingawan, eight pioneering members of the fellowship who started the ministry 45 years ago were honored. Most of them are in late 60s and early 70s, and are having physical ailments. The congregation laid hands on them, thanked the Lord for their lives and commitments. During the sharing time, it was announced that 9 others already joined Jesus in heaven, and recalled how they have sown in tears, and reaped in joy, as they shared the gospel. They finished the race victoriously. Their lives had big impact to all those who are still living, an encouragement that even in old age, and even in death, nothing can stop them in giving honor to Jesus.
This March 29-31, the couples will hold a 3 day couples conference and retreat at Mt. Moriah Camp, Malaybalay, Bukidnon. We are expecting 100 couples to attend. We covet your prayers for this conference that this will help build up marriages as designed by God, and will overflow into the couples’ commitment to obey the Great Commission.
Together, by His grace, “Let’s press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Ptr. Bernardo and Sis. Felina Mendoza