Filipinos celebrate ministry, need more church planters

by Morgan Collier, posted Thursday, June 21, 2018 (25 days ago)

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected with new information. Please note changes in graphs 12-17.

DALLAS (BP) -- The Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship of North America (FSBFNA) met together June 12 at Dallas Metroplex International Church to celebrate ministry accomplishments from the previous year and to worship followed by fellowship over lunch.

Pastor Felix Sermon Jr., left, from Grace International Christian Church, Springfield, Va., and vice president for the East Coast Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship, prays for Pastor Alvin Camota of International Christian Fellowship in Suffern, N.Y. Camota was elected vice president of the Second-Generation Asian American Fellowship.
Photo by Kathleen Murray
The meeting was held in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Dallas, June 12-13.

From June 2017–June 2018, according to a ministry report distributed to those who attended the meeting, the FSBFNA:

-- sent a $300 typhoon relief fund December 20, 2017, to Oscar Garalde in Samar, Leyte, who has seven churches under his leadership.

-- sent $300 as a scholarship for 10 youth leaders to attend Youth Leadership Camp of the Luzon Convention of Southern Baptist Churches held December 2017.

-- sent volunteers and participated in the North American Mission Board's Send Relief efforts Oct. 19-22 in Houston.

-- visited and encouraged pastors and churches in Houston and San Francisco in October 2017.

Also, FSBFNA leaders:

-- represented the fellowship at an advisory and consultative meeting with the SBC Executive Committee in August of 2017 and with the International Mission Board leaders earlier this year.

-- attended the Church Planting Coach Training April 4-6 to assist church planters in their ministry.

-- sent 115 study Bibles for distribution to pastors of the Visayas-Mindanao Convention in May.

Russell "Butch" Diwa, senior pastor at Biblical Community Church, Richardson, Texas, preaches June 12 during the Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship meeting June 12 at the Dallas Metroplex International Church in Dallas.
Photo by Kathleen Murray
"We are in need of more church planters in order to expand our mission," FSBFNA President Dan Santiago said.

Santiago also shared plans for next year. In his report, he noted, FSBFNA plans to:

-- hold strategic and contextualized training for pastors and church leaders (one each for the east and west coasts)

-- hold fundraising events such as Christian concerts and dinners for church planting initiatives and fellowship funds.

-- help churches with conflict resolution, pastor-search committee training, and other local church leadership trainings.

After Santiago gave his report, attendees formed groups to pray with one another at the start of their worship service.

"We are one together for the Gospel," Santiago said.

The guest speaker for the fellowship was Russell Butch Diwa, senior pastor of Biblical Community Church in Richardson, Texas. Diwa preached from Psalm 133, and spoke about having a personal heart change along with regaining emotional and spiritual feeling for the lost and hurting.

He shared testimony of ministering to a family whose son had been born with no jaw and a hole in his heart. After feeling apathetic to the situation, Diwa shared, he prayed to "feel" again. Shortly after, Diwa was diagnosed with a tumor in the back of his jaw and had to replace his entire jaw with the bone in his fibula. Now he speaks with his jaw pulled back by two screws.

"The only time I forget pain is when I preach," Diwa said. "Before we are able to minister to other people, God makes you feel again."

Morgan Collier, who will be a senior at Lamar University in Texas, is a summer intern with Baptist Press.
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